Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
July 12, 1996
[The following transcription is a translation of Srila Gurudeva’s conversation with the devotees in Hindi]
[Devotee:] What will happen to these certain devotees who are committing so much Vaisnava-aparadha?
[Srila Gurudeva:] I am not considering any of their offenses.
[Devotee:] You are not taking these offenses into consideration, but Krsna is seeing everything.
[Srila Gurudeva:] I tell Krsna, “Prabhu, You should be merciful to them.” And, Krsna will surely be merciful to them.
[Devotee:] Maharaja, there is the example of Ambarisa Maharaja in the Bhagavatam. Ambarisa Maharaja did not consider any offense, yet Krsna chastised Durvasa Rsi.
[Srila Gurudeva:] It is like this.
[Devotee:] Then what is the fruit?
[Srila Gurudeva:] The fruit is that they will deviate from the bhakti line.
[Devotee:] But what if ISKCON breaks up?
[Srila Gurudeva:] If there are leaders like this, then the devotees will also follow them.
[Devotee:] But how will the devotees who are not involved be affected?
[Srila Gurudeva:] They will not be affected. They will transcend this. Those, who are in the lower class of devotion; but yet, who don’t disobey Gurudeva and criticize Vaisnavas, and who are not on the karma-marga and who want to go towards suddha-bhakti, will be unaffected.
[Devotee:] A question arises regarding guru-avajna.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Svamiji told his disciples, “Meet with Maharaja. Listen to his hari-katha and respect him.” But they did not listen to him. This is disobeying the guru.
[Devotee:] We got a phone call from our guru, telling us to not see you. So is it guru-avajna that we are seeing you?
[Srila Gurudeva:] This is not guru-avajna. It is not written anywhere in the sastras that “Don’t meet with Vaisnavas. Don’t serve them and don’t listen to their hari-katha.” This is not written anywhere.
Svamiji had himself told the assembled devotees that “Narayana Maharaja is my beloved associate. He will give me Samadhi and he will speak hari-katha to you all. He will help you all.”
So, they don’t believe in the words of their Gurudeva? Will a guru say, “Don’t meet with Suddha Vaisnavas?” If he says so then he is not even a devotee; what to speak of being a guru?
[Devotee:] So, if we disobey our guru and come to see you, then it is not guru-avajna?
[Srila Gurudeva:] It is not guru-avajna. When a guru tells his disciple to not see a Vaisnava, then he is committing an aparadha, an offense. It will not be guru-avajna. Therefore, Bali Maharaja left his guru. It was not an offense on his side to leave his guru.
[Devotee:] I spoke this example of Bali Maharaja.
[Srila Gurudeva:] This is stated in the Srimad Bhagavatam.
[Devotee:] So, it is not guru-avajna, Maharaja?
[Srila Gurudeva:] No, it is not guru-avajna. A guru speaks this way to his disciple because of his worldly selfishness. Therefore, it is not guru-avajna. Rather, Bhakti and Bhagavan will be satisfied with the disciple who goes to see a Vaisnava, and they will uplift him in his devotion. As for the guru who speaks as such, they will make him fall down.
If a guru tells his disciple, “Kill this Vaisnava,” then this person is not a guru and his disciple who wants to kill the Vaisnava is also not a Vaisnava. I have never heard from the sastras or from Guru-Vaisnavas that Vaisnavas should be disrespected. I have never heard like this. Instead, it is stated in the sastras that if a guru criticizes Vaisnavas, then he should be forsaken. If the guru doesn’t do Bhagavan’s bhajan, if he criticizes Vaisnavas, and if he doesn’t follow the injunctions of the scriptures; then it is appropriate to leave such a person.
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] In the Gaudiya Kantahara, many slokas are there, which are evidence.
[Srila Gurudeva:] But they don’t know these slokas.
One such sloka is:
guror apy avaliptasya karyakaryam ajanatah
utpatha-pratipannasya parityago vidhiyate
—Mahabharata Udyoga Parva 179.25
A guru who is engrossed in sense gratification, who is a fool with no ability to discriminate between proper and improper behaviour, and who is following a different path, devoid of suddha-bhakti, is a false guru. One should immediately reject him.]
A guru who is on the wrong path, who doesn’t respect Guru-Vaisnavas, and who doesn’t follow the injunctions of the sastras, should be rejected. This is clear.
[Devotee:] If a guru falls, then the disciple should take re-initiation?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Then the disciple should wait until he finds a suddha-guru.
[Devotee:] Maharaja, I read one book of Krsna-Balarama Swami, where he said that a guru should be born in a brahmin family.
[Srila Gurudeva:] This is a lie. He is against bhakti. He sent that book to me, but I refused to accept it. I had it sent back to him and I told him, “You are acting against devotees. You are deviating from the line of bhakti. You have betrayed your guru and Vaisnavas.” My reply to him was very clear.
[Devotee:] I read a little of that book, and then I realized that it was totally wrong.
[Srila Gurudeva:] His conceptions are against our sampradaya.
[Devotee:] Wasn’t he in ISKCON before?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes. I knew him since his childhood. I know all the devotees of ISKCON; I know those who have fallen and I also know those who haven’t fallen. I know them better than they know themselves. Gopala Krsnaji is a very good person. But he is being pressurized to act in a certain way; or else he is not like this.
[Devotee:] But Maharaja, shouldn’t he not give in to this pressure?
[Srila Gurudeva:] He shouldn’t give in to the pressure. But, there is not so much strength. He comes to me and asks many questions. He listens and understands my hari-katha.
He told me, “I greatly fear Vaisnavas. I know you very well, but these people are making me act in such a way. What can I do?”
I said, “Shouldn’t you feel sad? If ISKCON becomes against bhakti, then you should reject ISKCON and silently do bhajan. There is nothing superior to bhajan. The leaders who are acting against me are so afraid of me.
[Devotee:] Maharaja, can you please explain the first nama-aparadha?
[Srila Gurudeva:] The first aparadha is satang-nindha. The first offense to the holy name is to criticize the sadhus who are engaged in chanting harinama and in doing bhajan. These Vaisnavas should not be criticized. A man doesn’t offend guru as easily. He will respect his guru who gave him harinama and diksa. Only a degraded person will criticize his guru; or else no one will offend their guru. They know the glories of Sri Guru. But a person thinks of a Vaisnava to be like him. Although the Vaisnava is on the same platform as one’s guru, or although he may be even more advanced than one’s guru; but still, people consider him to be an ordinary person and thus, they criticize him.
Hence it is said, “The first offense to the holy name is criticizing the Vaisnavas. You should be very careful to avoid this offense.” What to speak of criticizing a Vaisnava, you should not even criticize a person who is in samsara, who doesn’t chant, and who is of bad character. You should not criticize him, or else all his bad qualities will enter your heart. Therefore, don’t criticize the Vaisnavas, or else you will suffer in hell for millions of lives. And bhakti will not be had.
[Devotee:] Shouldn’t we tell a man if he is doing something wrong?
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should be silent. You should speak to him if he is acting against bhakti. Or else, you should be silent.
[Devotee:] You seem to make a difference between a Vaisnava and a Suddha Vaisnava?
[Srila Gurudeva:] It is very difficult to become a Suddha Vaisnava. Actually, it is not that difficult. I never criticize anyone. I have never criticized anyone. So, you should never criticize anyone. But, if a fault is seen in someone, then just be silent because his previous karma is like a fangless snake. This karma will not bite him.
api cet su-duracaro
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah
samyag vyavasito hi sah
—Bhagavad Gita 9.30
Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.]
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] A person’s present karma will end very soon when he is engaged in Bhagavan’s bhajan. A burnt rope looks like a real rope, but in reality, by the faintest of touches, it will crumble and fall to ashes. A snake that has its fangs removed cannot kill anyone by its poison.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Similarly, one who is engaged in Bhagavan’s one-pointed bhajan; who worships only Krsna and who chants and listens to hari-katha; yet if he commits an abominable action like theft or looking at a woman, or any other form of ill behavior—even so, this should not be considered. You should still consider that person a sadhu, because his actions will not bear fruit. All his inappropriate tendencies have been done away with because of practicing bhakti. All the reactions to his karma have been burnt.
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] When you stop a fan, it doesn’t stop immediately. It runs for some time and then stops. Similarly, even a sadhu does something inappropriate, he cannot be punished for that. Bhagavan will Himself correct that devotee. The devotee will automatically be rectified.
[Devotee:] Maharaja, a lot of problems come because of management.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Svamiji had so much responsibility, yet did he ever criticize anyone? We also have a lot of responsibility, but do we criticize anyone?
[Devotee:] We should tell them to correct themselves.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Who will say? There is no one to advise them.
[Devotee:] So, we should remain silent?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Will they listen to you?
[Srila Gurudeva:] They did not listen to me. I am like their guru. They don’t listen. But they repeatedly criticize Guru-Vaisnava and don’t follow their instructions. A guru who doesn’t do bhajan and who only tries controlling others should be offered namaskara. You should then remain silent. You should then do bhajan. We only have the need to do bhajan. We have no need to control others. What do we want? Do we want position? We have left everything and come. So, we only want bhakti. We should only serve in such a way that we get bhakti.
[Devotee:] We should only pray for bhakti?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes.
[Devotee:] Maharaja, sometimes during some festival days, there are so many services to do that we don’t chant harinama.
[Srila Gurudeva:] If you are really doing Krsna’s service then you should understand the holy name and Krsna’s service to be equal. But you should not think karma to be bhakti. For instance, you may collect one lakh rupees. But, you see that the money is not being used in Krsna’s service. Rather, it is being used for sense gratification; then this work should not be done. If Krsna’s seva is really being done, then it is all right. Krsna has given us intelligence to properly discriminate. You should use your intelligence. Don’t close your eyes; don’t become blind.
[Devotee:] Maharaja, for the Janmastami festival, they tell us to make so many arrangements.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Did they ever ask you, “How many rounds have you chanted? You should increase your rounds and do Krsna’s bhajan.”
[Devotee:] No. They have never told as such.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Than they believe in money.
[Devotee 2:] They don’t even appreciate Maharaja.
[Devotee:] Rather they say that “They don’t talk to us on the phone because they are chanting.”
[Srila Gurudeva:] Just see.
[Devotee 2:] We don’t answer the phone when we are chanting Maharaja.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes. Don’t answer the phone.
[Devotee 2:] So, they complain to Guru Maharaja that we don’t pick up the phone.
[Srila Gurudeva:] They will ask, “How much money have you collected? Why haven’t you collected any money?” But can one not chant harinama for at least five minutes? Instead, they should ask you, “How is your bhajan? Is your consciousness inclined towards Krsna? Is your mind wandering here and there?” If they would speak of any solutions and if they would speak Krsna-katha, and if they speak the instructions of Rupa-Sanatana, then you should understand that they are merciful to you. Bhagavan dasa, Hamsaduta, Brahmananda, and Bhavananda held high positions. They collected lakhs of rupees. But where are they today? Did they not do these services? But where are they today? Therefore, you should be told to do Krsna’s bhajan.
[Devotee:] They tell us that is also seva.
[Srila Gurudeva:] They don’t know what seva really is. All services are not equal. Like I said yesterday, you should do Krsna’s bhajan with love. They should tell us this. This is really being merciful to the devotees. Those services are secondary. They will only give sukriti and not anything greater.
[Devotee:] Gurudeva, when we get up and start moving about while chanting, then the focus is lost.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes. You will not be one-pointed. Did Valmiki ever stand up? Look at Narada, Dhruva, and Prahlada. Look at Rupa-Sanatana. They would do bhajan for twenty four hours a day. They even made their followers immersed in bhajan. They made Jiva Gosvami like themselves. Jiva Gosvami also made Narottama das Thakura, Srinivasa Acarya, and Syamananda Prabhu into Acaryas. This is the work of the guru. Will it suffice by just blowing some air into the ear? Therefore, I say that don’t listen to them or else your faith towards ISKCON will weaken.
I say, “Do suddha-bhajan. We don’t need money. By being faithful, Krsna will give you everything. What need do we have for money?”
Yesterday, did I ever speak about money? I also spoke about bhakti. They don’t have time. Day and night, they are only engaged in meetings and in controlling everyone. They also tell their followers to bring money.
[Devotee:] Meeting, eating, and sleeping.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Passing resolutions, but no solutions. If they would come to me, then I would make them listen to hari-katha. Thus, their lives would have a better purpose.
[Devotee:] It is true.
[Srila Gurudeva:] They cannot serve Prabhupada the way I served him even in millions of lives.
[Devotee:] They are bringing many artists and promoting them so that devotees will be drawn to them.
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] Gurudeva has made such an impact that during the time of Gaura Purnima, they invited all the mayavadis and did ratha-yatra.
[Devotee:] Who did?
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] The ISKCON devotees.
[Srila Gurudeva:] It wasn’t for the ratha-yatra. It was for the centennial. Their guests wore big rudraksa beads and other mayavadi attire.
[Devotee:] Was it during this year’s Prabhupada centennial parade?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes. But they did not call me.
[Devotee:] There were mayavadis, but they did not call you Maharaja?
[Srila Gurudeva:] No.
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] In Delhi, they called all cinema stars.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Is this bhakti? You should always use your intelligence properly.
[Devotee:] We need your mercy Maharaja.
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should not blindly follow whatever you are told.
[Devotee:] They say, “You should always be surrendered to guru.”
[Srila Gurudeva:] But what is surrender? Have they surrendered to their guru? Why are they not following his instructions? Why are they not listening to the instruction that you should respect Vaisnavas. If Svamiji was there today, would he ever stop me from entering the temple? Rather, he would embrace me. Svamiji used to call me to the temple. Svamiji had so many disciples, but he did not tell them to give him Samadhi.
He said, “Narayana Maharaja will give me Samadhi by his hands.”
Why did Svamiji say this?
[Devotee:] Just by asking this question, they will be silenced.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Why don’t they ever come and talk in front of me? They don’t come in front of me.
[Devotee:] The Indian community will break up here when they know the truth.
[Srila Gurudeva:] If I stand up and speak, then everyone will leave ISKCON. But those who have left will also return to ISKCON when I will speak. I only want this—I want to bring everyone back to ISKCON. I have only come for this.
[Devotee:] They are bringing so many artists.
[Srila Gurudeva:] But everyone knows my name.
[Devotee:] We cancelled their shows.
[Srila Gurudeva:] You did a very good thing.
[Devotee:] They have become angry at us.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Let anything happen. Let their own anger burn them, no harm.
[Devotee:] This happened even during the pada-yatra.
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should do pada-yatra in Vrndavana, dear daughter. You should never believe fools.
[Devotee:] Sometimes, we are alone Maharaja.
[Srila Gurudeva:] I am of the mood that “I will be on one side and the entire world will be on one side.” Svamiji also had this mood like me. Svamiji would have remained in this world for some more days. But they started controlling Svamiji. The soul can never control anyone. Krsna is the controller. You should always have faith in Krsna and in harinama.
[Devotee:] In Krsna and in harinama?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Definitely. Don’t ever act against bhakti. You should always act favorably to bhakti.
[Devotee:] We should always be alert in trying to discern what is favorable or unfavorable to bhakti.
[Srila Gurudeva:] The Bhagavatam states that you should properly discriminate. You should not act without due discrimination. Don’t become blind. Krsna has given you intelligence, so why should you not utilize it? By reading Svamiji’s books and by listening to hari-katha, you will realize what bhakti is. You will know what is favorable and unfavorable to bhakti. Therefore, you are questioning their actions. When you realize that any action is against bhakti, then don’t do it. You should only do those actions that are favorable for bhakti.
Now they want to remove Adideva Prabhu also.
[Devotee:] Maharaja, they told us that we will be removed from ISKCON.
[Devotee 2:] I said, “Then we will go to Vrndavana quickly.”
[Srila Gurudeva:] Very good.
[Devotee:] Maharaja, when some devotees were going from Seattle to Vancouver, then they called us when we were on the way. They said, “Don’t bring Maharaja here. It is an offense.”
I replied, “Let’s see who will stop us. I will take Maharaja home and host him there. I want to see who will stop me.”
[Devotee 2:] Are we prisoners of our own house?
[Srila Gurudeva:] What to speak of respecting a Vaisnava, we respect an ordinary person or even a dog. We will give one roti to the dog.
[Devotee:] They told us, “Take Maharaja back from the border. Don’t bring him here.”
[Srila Gurudeva:] Very good.
Break of audio]
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should consider if bhakti will increase or not by these actions. You should not do anything that will obstruct bhakti. Only do that, which will increase your bhakti. And, regarding Guru-Vaisnavas, you should behave very carefully with them. You should deeply consider this. If we commit any offense, then bhakti will be finished. Bhakti is a personality, who bestows her mercy on us. But if she sees that offenses are committed, then she will not come. You should carefully think about this.
[Devotee:] Maharaja, what is the importance of Mangala-arati? We are always told to attend Mangala-arati.
[Srila Gurudeva:] I have spoken on this many times. Mangala-arati should really be like Mangala-arati. Svamiji could not set up everything completely during that time. How much could he do because he was alone? If there is arati, then the arati-kirtana should also be sung. When Radha-Krsna arati is sung, what need is there for Nrsinghadev? There is no need of Nrsinghadeva at that time. Nrsinghaji has no relation with Vraja-bhakti. He destroys the obstacles of bhakti. He has a relation with bhakti up to this point. Nrsinghadeva cannot come where Radha-Krsna are there. This should be understood. At that time, Lalita, Visakha, and Yasoda Maiya are doing arati. You should carefully listen and sing as well.
[Devotee:] We sing the Gurvastaka as well.
[Srila Gurudeva:] “Therefore, call everyone. At that time everyone will come and we will tell our plans on how to collect money. We will tell what we are in need of during class. But bhakti should not be told because it is for higher classes of devotees. Devotees will come during that time and we will tell them on what they should do.” Then there will be a problem.
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] He is saying that Gurvastakam is sung during Mangala-arati.
[Srila Gurudeva:] If you are doing Guru-arati, then sing Gurvastakam.
[Devotee:] They sing Gurvastakam during Mangala-arati.
[Srila Gurudeva:] They don’t know. I had already spoken on this but they could not understand. When Bhagavan’s arati is being done, then sing Bhagavan’s arati. When Gurudeva’s arati is done, then sing Gurudeva’s arati-kirtana. When Tulasi parikrama or Tulasi arati is going on, then sing Tulasi-arati at that time. If Radha-Krsna’s arati is being done, then what need is there to sing, “Govindam adi purusam tam aham bhajami?” Rather, “Arati koroye Lalitadi sakhi-gana,” should be sung. Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written all these kirtanas.
[Devotee:] Govindam adi purusam prayers are not needed at that time?
[Srila Gurudeva:] What need is there at that time? At that time, the arati-kirtana should be sung.
[Devotee 2:] Which kirtanas should we sing at that time?
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should sing, “Jaya Jaya Radha-Krsna Yugala milana.” Bhaktivinoda Thakura has written these kirtanas. Our Acaryas have also written many kirtanas. Raghunatha das Gosvami has also written. These kirtanas should be sung during arati. You should never oppose bhaktas.
Do you offer bhoga?
[Devotee 2:] Yes.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Which mantras do you chant while offering bhoga?
[Devotee 2:] I chant the Hare-Krsna mantra.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Then will bhoga be offered?
[Devotee 2:] By chanting the Guru-mantra?
[Srila Gurudeva:] No.
[Devotee:] By chanting namo-brahmanya devaya?
[Srila Gurudeva:] No.
[Devotee 2:] They didn’t tell us the mantras.
[Srila Gurudeva:] When they don’t know, what will they tell? If you are feeding him, then while you are feeding him, you will say, “I have brought sak, puri, and other items. Please eat.” Shouldn’t it be like this? You will fan him also while he eats. Similarly, Yasoda is also feeding Krsna this way. At that time, by chanting mantras, you will say, “Please eat this prasad.” But this is not there. So, what need is there for the mantra of guruji to be chanted?
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] Will Thakuraji eat or guruji eat?
[Devotee 2:] So what should we say?
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should take the mantras. We will write the mantras and you can chant them. Have you been initiated?
[Devotee 2:] No Maharaja.
[Srila Gurudeva:] You haven’t been initiated yet? Don’t waste time.
[Devotee 2:] But we are being forced to take diksa at this time.
[Srila Gurudeva:] What is the use of accepting diksa this way? I will give you mantra and you should offer bhoga by chanting this mantra. Be fearless; don’t fear. They should not destroy your life as well. Always be discerning.
[Devotee 2:] I asked the devotees, “Why are you chanting Guruvastakam during Krsna’s arati?”
[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes. What is the need? There is no one to instruct them.
[Devotee 2:] I asked Maharaja also.
[Srila Gurudeva:] He cannot say.
[Devotee 2:] He said, “No. Arati happens like this.”
[Srila Gurudeva:] How can arati be like this? He doesn’t know anything. You should chant Krsna’s bhoga mantra.
Break of audio]
[Devotee:] Did Svamiji say like this?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Svamiji didn’t say this. At that time, Svamiji did not give suddha-diksa. There was still something left. Therefore, he didn’t give them these mantras. When one is not initiated, how can he give these mantras? He gave harinama and was examining his disciples; he was waiting.
[Devotee:] Svamiji did not give siksa in a complete form?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Is it so easy to give siksa in a complete form? It is not so easy. Firstly, Svamiji told everyone to stop taking intoxicants, tea, alcohol, fish, meat, eggs, and other prohibited food. After that, he gave further instructions. Can you tell me where Bhavananda and the others went? Hence, everything will come gradually in everyone. You should chant the bhoga-mantra for bhoga. During the time of arati, arati should be done. During bhoga, Yasoda Maiya sits with Krsna and feeds Him. During arati, Lalitaji and the sakhis are doing arati of Radha-Krsna. So, this mood should be there. At that time, what need is there for guru-mantra? Guru-mantra is chanted because the disciple is of the mood that “Gurudeva, please come and feed Radha-Krsna.” This mood should be there. A male cannot feed Radha-Krsna.
The disciple prays, “Gurudeva, you are in your gopi form. So, you should feed Radha-Krsna.”
When Radha-Krsna are there, can any male come near Them? Never. Hence, the gopis are near Them. Our Gurudeva is a sakhi of Radha-Krsna. He will feed Them. Guruji plays a role up to here. After this, the bhoga mantra of Radha-Krsna should be chanted and you should gradually advance.
[Devotee:] Everyone is chanting this way in ISKCON, Maharaja. Will there be a fruit?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Everyone will gradually advance. If there is faith, everyone will gradually advance. All of you are on the right path, you have not derailed yourselves. But, if you disrespect Vaisnavas, and don’t take part in sat-sanga, then you will be on the same stage of devotion. If Krsna sees that someone is sincere, then He will send a devotee to help that person. Svamiji will come again and deliver that person.
Break of audio]
[Srila Gurudeva:] If someone is offering bhoga to guruji, then how will bhoga be offered to Krsna?
[Devotee:] They say, “We are not so qualified to offer bhoga to Krsna. So firstly we offer bhoga to guru and he will offer to his guru and so on.”
[Srila Gurudeva:] Then does the mantra have this? Will anything happen on its own? Svamiji wanted the children to gradually learn and advance.
[Devotee:] If they offer bhoga this way, then are they taking prasad?
[Srila Gurudeva:] While doing guruji’s arati first, they do Thakuraji’s arati. This is an offense. First, you should do Thakuraji’s arati, and you should show the arati lamp to guruji. These are the regulations. An ordinary person will understand this. There is no need for any intelligence in this regard. But what are they doing?
[Devotee:] First guru, parama-guru, Nityananda Prabhu, Gauranga Mahaprabhu, and then, Radha-Krsna.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Don’t offer one lamp then. Offer separate lamps.
[Devotee:] Only one lamp is offered.
[Srila Gurudeva:] If only one lamp is offered, then do the arati of Bhagavan first and then do everyone else’s arati. But, you should do Bhagavan’s first.
[Devotee:] Can we change our worship at home?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Definitely. You should change. First do the arati of Radha-Krsna. The arati of Radha-Krsna and Mahaprabhu should be done at the same time. After this, do the arati of guruji and everyone else.
[Devotee:] Like, Jagannatha, Balabhadra, and Subhadra?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Yes. Do the arati of Radha-Krsna and Mahaprabhu first. Then, do the arati of Jagannatha or Girirajaji while keeping them behind. After this, do the arati of guruji as prasadi. After offering the lamp to Thakuraji, give it to everyone. Don’t give anything else.
[Devotee:] What about flowers and water?
[Srila Gurudeva:] No. You can sprinkle the water on everyone. Regarding the flowers, you have already offered them to Radha-Krsna or guruji. Now, you are offering this puspanjali to others. This is an offense. The flowers should not be given. Don’t show the camara, or anything else.
[Devotee 2:] The incense?
[Srila Gurudeva:] You can give the incense, no harm. Everyone can take its prasad. But, you are offering the camara to Thakuraji. So, why are you giving it to others? The mor-pankha should also not be shown.
[Devotee 2:] They say that there are other Vaisnavas.
[Srila Gurudeva:] The peacock feathered crown and fan will not be given to Vaisnavas. Just offer the lamp and sprinkle the water.
[Devotee:] Maharajaji, this is happening in all the temples.
[Srila Gurudeva:] Then this is wrong. They don’t listen to anyone. Shouldn’t they listen to senior Vaisnavas?
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] Maharaja changed so many families in America.
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should consider what I have said. Is it all right?
[Devotee 2:] We had this in mind Maharaja.
[Srila Gurudeva:] By giving the camara to others, it becomes impure. And the same camara will be offered to Bhagavan? The peacock-feathered fan shouldn’t be given to even guruji. It should not be offered. It is only offered to Krsna. Mahaprabhu also doesn’t accept this.
[Devotee 2:] It is not offered to even Radharani. But it is offered to everyone.
[Srila Gurudeva:] This is wrong. Don’t say this there, then there will be chaos. You should just change your services.
[Devotee:] But if it is different at home, then my habit will change. What will I do during the arati at the temple?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Do pranama, that’s all.
[Devotee:] But what should I do when I am doing the arati on the altar in the temple?
[Srila Gurudeva:] Then do arati according to their desire. But change your services.
[Devotee:] Maharajaji, what is asta-kaliya-lila?
[Srila Gurudeva:] First leave all your offenses. It is not for now. By gradually advancing, you will realize what it is. When a devotee chants harinama while remembering the pastimes of Radha-Krsna that manifest throughout the day and night according to the eight segments, then this is called asta-kaliya-lila.
[Devotee 2:] Maharaja, can we serve the Vrajavasis?
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should understand who is called a Vrajavasi. You should serve a devotee who is like Nanda Baba, Yasoda Maiya, Subala Sakha, and the gopis. Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami are Vrajavasis. But, those who only want your money and who are atheistic; but yet, who claim that they are Vrajavasis, are liars. They have no relation with Vrajavasis. They are ordinary people. If they approach you, you should give them a little money. Then they won’t waste your time.
[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] Do you have the book, Manah-siksa?
[Devotee:] I don’t have the book.
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should give them Hindi books.
[Devotee:] I read Manah-siksa every day.
[Srila Gurudeva:] You should read to practice. You shouldn’t read superficially. You went to University to pass your exams and to apply what you have learned in your work. You didn’t go to only study. So, study these books to practice the instructions they embody. But, they read these books to only control others. They want only want to tell others that they have read the books. They don’t read the books for their own benefit. This is the difficulty.
You should advance in the line of bhakti after due deliberation. You should not speculate.
[End of audio file]
*Transcribed and edited by the Govardhana dasa.