Srila Sridhar Maharaj: If you can manage to enter the positive, then the negative will remain far away: this is the basic principle.
As much as we can make progress towards the positive, automatically the negative will have to withdraw, to leave us. The positive is sadhu-sangha, sadhu-sastra-sangha, association with saints and scriptures. No other thing is needed, only the simple thing: our association with the sadhu. And association with the sadhu means, with surrender. So, surrender to the positive, and, according to the degree of surrender, and confidence in what the sadhu and sastra say, automatically the negative, the apparently irresistible demands of material desire, will be withdrawn.
And in the positive side, there is gradation: vaikuntha-bhakti, devotion to Narayana; devotion to Ramacandra; then to Dwarakesa; then to Krsna in Vrndavan. Progress through selection and elimination will continue there. But always, this should be our earnest prayer:
viracaya mayi dandam dinabandho dayam vaKrsna is the friend of the fallen dinabandhu dayam va, He may do anything and everything, at His sweet wish. Rupa Goswami here prays: “You may make or mar, but I have got no alternative but to want Your grace. Everything is tasteless, it is tasteless to me, my Lord; please accept me, give me some sort of menial service to your holy feet.” This is what is needed: our earnest prayer, deep prayer towards Him for His grace, for His service, and to have no other alternative. We must be like the Cataka, the bird who never takes any water, however pure, which has fallen on the earth, but only that from above, from the sky. With her face to the sky, she waits, praying: “pratik jala, pratik jala", “a drop of water, a drop of water…” And water may come so profusely from the sky as to drown her, or a thunderbolt may come, and finish her; whatever may come, whatever may happen, she has no other alternative but to pray: “O Lord, give Your grace, a drop of Your grace. That grace is infinite. For You to give a drop is nothing, yet it may save the whole world. So, I have no other alternative…” We must have such saranagati, surrender, and such hankering.
gatir iha na bhavattah kacid anya mamasti
nipatatu sata-kotir nirbharam va navambhas
tad api kila payodah stuyate catakena
(Srila Rupa Goswami)
“O Friend of the most needy, whether You chastise me or reward me, in the whole wide world I have no other shelter but You. Whether the thunderbolt strikes or torrents of fresh waters shower down, the Cataka bird, who drinks only the pure falling rainwater, perpetually goes on singing the glories of the raincloud.”
And we can get much help from His associates the devotees, the Lord’s own. They are really our friends because in their association, our hankering may be increased. And, sajati-yasaye snigdhe sadhau sangah svato vare (B.r.s. 1:2:90), good association for us will be with a sadhu who is of the same line, and superior to myself. In sadhu-sanga, this has been recommended, that the sadhu will be in the same line as myself: of the same type of hankering, of aspiration, as well as holding a position in devotion superior, even a little, than me. I shall try to throw myself at his disposal; and that will help me to the greatest extent.
This human life is rare, and it is transient; any moment, I may die. At any moment I may be finished here, and this chance may not occur again. This human life, with its special opportunity, and some favourable environment, may not come again. So, it is important to perceive this, to conceive of the value of the time in our hand; we must be particularly conscious about the great value of our present moment.
In Srimad Bhagavatam, this question was asked by Pariksit Maharaj to Sukadev Goswami:
“I have only one more week to live. In this short time, please give me some instruction, that I may be saved.”
And Sukadev replied:
“Oh, one week that is enough!”
From Sukadev Goswami came this statement a wonderful thing! He explained:
“O King, we have passed so much time, so many lives, in this world. From time immemorial we are having our existence, our life but it has not been utilised. But only one second, if properly utilised, is sufficient, Maharaj. Such is the fact. So, try to utilise your time, the point of time, moment of time at your disposal, for the best possible purpose. There are so many mountains, so many trees, and they have a long life, a long, long life what of that? If one is unmindful, unattentive to one’s own interest, a long life is of no value. But if we can properly understand our situation, and our necessity, then only one moment, properly utilised, will produce immense growth in us, an immensely fruitful result.”
Then Sukadev gave the history of Khatvanga Maharaj and how he utilised the one moment he had left to live. Khatvanga Maharaj asked the gods:
“Will you tell me how long I have to live?”
“Only one moment.”
“Oh, then you all go. You cannot give me my desired result. Who can give me that?”
The gods answered:
“Only Narayana can fulfil your desire.”
And Khatvanga Maharaj said:
“Then, all of you leave me, go!”
And without any reservation, he surrendered to the feet of the Lord; he engaged himself in His service, and achieved his desired end:
khatvango nama rajarsir, jnatveyatam ihayusahThe Lord is specifically mentioned in this verse as Hari: gatavan abhayam harim. And who is Hari? He is abhayam: when we get Him, then all apprehension, all fear and every undesirable thing will be vanquished, forever. ‘Hari’ means saccidananda eternal existence, perfect consciousness and also the fulfilment of life in ecstatic joy. Maharaj Khatvanga achieved all this within one moment!
muhurtat sarvam utsrjya, gatavan abhayam harim
“The saintly King Khatvanga, after being informed that the duration of his life would be only a moment more, at once freed himself from all material activities and took shelter of the supreme safety, the Personality of Godhead.”