Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Odessa, Ukraine: September 22, 2002
First of all I offer my millions of daṇḍavat praṇāma at the lotus feet of my spiritual guru, nitya-līlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī. I offer the same millions of praṇāma unto the lotus feet of my śikṣā-guru, nityalīlā praviṣṭa oṁ viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja.
Today I am especially remembering my śikṣā-guru, Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja and his first journey to America by boat. He passed through the Mediterranean Sea, on to the Atlantic Ocean, and finally he arrived in Boston. On the order of his gurudeva, he carried the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī to America. During his journey across the seas, he performed the humanlike pastime of becoming so sick that he seemed to be on the verge of death. He had no medicine or doctor at that time; he was completely dependent on Kṛṣṇa. He showed us by this pastime that despite such great inconvenience, he was determined to go to America and preach.
I think that you have all come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness only by his mercy. Because of his preaching, people all over the world are chanting and remembering the glories of Kṛṣṇa, Jagannātha, Baladeva, and Subhadrā, and they are hearing the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Without his efforts to travel and preach around the world, no one outside of India would know of these teachings.
The aim and object of the teachings of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī is to know that Kṛṣṇa is love and love is Kṛṣṇa. Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa have combined to become Śacīnandana Gaurahari (Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu), who exhibits the highest form of mercy. Caitanya Mahāprabhu traveled throughout India, from north to south and east to west, and He preached love and affection wherever He went. This was also the mission of Śrī Śrīmad A. C. Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja and our entire guru-paramparā.
We want to associate with everyone on the platform of love and affection. Our aim should not be to control others. You cannot bring others to Kṛṣṇa’s service by manipulating or controlling them. If you cannot control your own mind, how can you control others?
Exhibiting His profuse love and affection, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu caused the wild animals in the jungles of Jhārikhaṇḍa to chant together the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra in ecstatic love. By His influence, the behavior of these wild animals towards each other was completely transformed. They lived together peacefully and even drank from the same places at the rivers, ponds, and lakes. This was the mercy of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who quickly spread divine love and affection throughout this planet and entire universe. The love that He came to experience and distribute is the special prema of Śrīmatī Rādhikā.
If you want to make your life successful, happy, and peaceful, then try to give all of your love and affection to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, show that love to all living beings. Don’t try to control others by force or subtle manipulation. Try to give your whole being in their service. One who comes to others with love has nothing to take, but everything to give.
If your aim and object is to preach the pure love and affection of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, then try to give yourself to others; your whole life dedicated for others’ welfare. They will reciprocate that love and give their life to serve Kṛṣṇa. They will not do so if you try to control them. Avoid criticizing others; rather, correct your own faults and bad habits.
If you want to show love to others, then do not cause them any pain or suffering, or burden them for your personal happiness
or maintenance. Your first concern is the happiness and satisfaction of others.
We want to be completely selfless in our dealings. We have the example of the tree that gives its bark, roots, fruits, leaves, wood, and shade; everything is offered to others with no expectation of remuneration. As human beings, why can’t we be as selfless?
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given us this verse:
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror api suhiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
[Thinking oneself to be even lower and more worthless than insignificant grass which has been trampled beneath everyone’s feet, being more tolerant than a tree, being prideless, and offering respect to all others based upon their respective positions, one should
continuously chant the holy name of Śrī Hari.]
Try to follow this instruction. I want all my sannyāsīs and preachers to understand and follow this verse completely, and to teach others by their personal example. I don’t want them to behave selfishly. They should try to give their hearts to others. I have come to give my heart, not to take anything from you. Don’t think that we need to ask anyone for money. If we are selflessly preaching the message of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He will automatically send money from the sky like a rain shower. We need not worry at all about that.
Please listen very carefully to what I am saying here. Don’t listen and then forget my words. Everyone should write down the instructions herein, and try to follow them.
I desire that you understand the object and mission of Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja, Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, and our entire guruparamparā, and that you spread it broadly around the world. Begin where Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja left off, and continue to preach more and more. Presently, we see that many senior Vaiṣṇavas and sannyāsīs are falling down, derailed in their devotional service and giving up their sannyāsa and chanting and remembering. I want our preachers to set a high example of behavior, and to preach the mission of their Gurudeva.
If you wish to be successful in preaching, then give up the desire to praise yourself. Don’t think “I am very glorious and talented, I can preach everywhere.” Instead, glorify your dīkṣā-guru and śikṣā-guru everywhere. By doing so, you will be successful and glory will come into your pocket. I have realized this fact and you should also realize it. By glorifying your guru-paramparā, everyone will be pleased and praise you. Go on with your preaching, taking care that you don’t seek that praise. Remember that you are a servant of your dīkṣā- and śikṣā-gurus. Do not be ambitious to create your own disciples; try to bring disciples to the lotus feet of your Gurudeva.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu never glorified Himself; rather Rūpa Gosvāmī glorified Him. Rūpa Gosvāmī never glorified himself, rather, Jīva Gosvāmī, Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī, Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, and Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura wrote about his glories. Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has written [in Śrī Prema-bhakti-candrikā 1.38]:
śrī-caitanya-mano-‘bhīṣṭaṁ sthāpitaṁ yena bhūtale svayaṁ rūpaḥ kadā mahyaṁ dadāti sva-padāntikam
[When will Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī give me the shelter of his lotus feet? Because he understood the innermost desire of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he was able to establish His mission in this world and is very dear to the Lord.]
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura never wrote anything about himself, but Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Prabhupāda wrote so much about him and Śrīla Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja. And who wrote the glories of our Śrīla Prabhupāda, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākura? My Gurudeva and other disciples wrote extensively about him. And I wrote a very powerful and authoritative book about the life and teachings of my Gurudeva, Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Prajñāna Keśava Gosvāmī.
I have no desire to glorify myself, because I am worthless. I am nothing more than dried out grass. I can speak, however, about the mercy of my Gurudeva and my guru-paramparā. I am not fit or qualified; whatever I have accomplished is their desire, and they are acting through me. I am like a pen that has no power to write on its own. Someone must use it. Whatever my Gurudeva, guru-paramparā, and Śrīla Bhaktivedānta Svāmī Mahārāja want to write, I am doing that. I have fully realized that I am insignificant, and that no credit should be given to me.
Without chanting, remembering, knowing yourself as soul, and knowing the Supersoul and the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, you cannot be happy in any way. You may launch sputniks into space or travel to the moon or the sun, but even then you cannot be happy. Whatever you may accomplish in this material world cannot make you happy.