The Importance of Sadhu Sanga

by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja

sbrsm4.jpg - 8876 Bytes Sadhu sanga krsna nama. The holy name must be taken with the attitude of service to the saints. Serving means die to live; to throw oneself wholesale for the higher existence. Mr. Gandhi risked his whole life at every point of action. His attitude was, “Whatever I told to others, I am to maintain that throughout the whole of my life.” What am I taking the name for? To have some fame as a sadhu? No! That should not be our objective. Kanak, kamini, partistha – not for money, not to attract women, and never to attract popularity.

Rather I should be ready to sacrifice myself fully for whom I am serving, for whom I am taking the name. It is not a limited thing, but complete surrender, then the whole thing is guaranteed. My pursuit, my attempt should be backed by my whole energy, whole prospect and everything. This is the attitude I should have to search for a drop of Vaikuntha nectar. Otherwise our effort will be useless.

Die to live means sacrifice or seva. Seva means death. Seva means to give one’s own self for a particular cause, for Krsna. That this mad, mundane concocted self should be saved is not a very laudable thing. It is a mortal thing, and the depot of many reactions. So one should get rid of this centre as soon as possible, and enter into the land of confidence, goodness, fairness and sweetness. Try to enter that land with a sincere and wholesome attitude. Your campaign must be wholesome not partial. Taking one step forward and three steps back won’t do. There should be no such hesitation. You are finite and you want to get the advantage of the infinite? You are so small, and do you think that by sacrificing only a part of your smallness your aspiration for the whole can be fulfilled? Is it reasonable to expect such? No, it is not so easy.

Atah sri krsna namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih, if only our superficial senses are engaged in Krsna cultivation, as if it is nothing, then you cannot produce the name, but only mundane sound. Sevon mukhe hi jivadhau svayam eva sphuraty adah. Your tongue can produce mundane sound, but that is not Krsna. For the name to be Krsna, Krsna has to come down. Don’t be self-deceptive, thinking that, “Taking the name, I am a great sadhu.” It is not like that. Krsna has come down to you in the form of sound and He is spiritual, transcendental. So seva mukhe or your complete surrender to Him will attract Him, and He graciously descend to save you by His name. In your archan, in performing your duties, at every step He will come when you are giving yourself to Him, then He will accept you. He will come and embrace you. He’ll be within you and without you, everywhere. But only those whose eyes are clear, and are not captured by any prejudice from selfish end or ordinary things can see Him. Those who are not captivated by any prejudice, in whom all prejudice is cleared can directly see the highest power or highest principle, underlying all.

Our own tendency for exploitation and renunciation creates so many units of this plane, like so much dust to blind our eyes so we can’t see Him. Kanaka pasyanti kamini mayayo jagat. Those who are lustful try to find out where is a beautiful lady, pasyanti dhana mayo jagat, the greedy people always busy their minds with the thought, “Oh, there is Birla, there is Tata, there is Ford,” who are the moneyed men in this world. They only think about moneyed men because they love wealth the most. Dhara mayo jagat and khira prayanti narayano jagat, those who are liberated from the outer external influences may find, “Oh, I am in the kingdom of Narayan, who is the support and guardian of the whole world. We see His hand everywhere. Without His direction nothing can move.” They may boast that, “I have got such power, I have got such beauty, I have got wealth,” but it is all a false show. The real backing spirit is Narayan, the all pervading, all knowing, all good principle. And the temporary external plane is the killing aspect of existence. It is only our prejudices of so many types that have captured us.

So by whatever process we approach the Lord the tenor of our movement should be, if we want a guarantee that it will actually be for the satisfaction of Krsna, that my whole effort depends upon the genuine character of the agent through whom I am rendering my services. If the agent is a false man then my whole energy is wasted. But if he is a real agent then I must be the gainer through him. If I connect with Vaikuntha through him then my actions will be valued. Otherwise we may be the loser, aparadha (offender). Nama aparadha, seva aparadha, arcana aparadha – there are so many aparadhas. It is also written in the scriptures that if service is not done properly, then we are sure to commit some offenses against the Deity. Either we will get satisfaction or trouble. Aradhana is the proper thing, and the hateful handling of the holy things is aparadha. It all depends on the satisfaction of whom it is we are serving. So we must be careful.

We must not be overconfident of our previous acquisition – so much I have acquired, my progress is so much. I must not be satisfied with my self-certificate, self-satisfaction, the certificate of my own making. Mahaprabhu Himself said, “I am taking the name, I am showing so many tears in the name of Krsna. But why? It is all a false show na prema gandho ‘sti. My crying is only a show to canvas others to see what a great devotee I am.” So much you are to disbelieve your own self that you are a devotee. In this way we must be very careful, very, very careful.

Kotis vapi maha mune, Krsna das Kaviraj Goswami and Narottam Das Thakur were seeing, “The whole world is absolved from sin, but I am neglected, I am left as the only exception. I am so low and ill fated that I am rejected from that most benevolent infinite lila. I alone am rejected. I could not utilize this great fortunate wave.” This should be the real tendency of a genuine vaisnava who has actually come in relation with the infinite. Whenever the finite comes in touch with the infinite his temperament cannot be otherwise. “I am empty, I don’t get anything,” that should be the temperament. I feel emptiness within me. I can’t get the goal. My life is frustrated. Neither do I get a drop of grace from the Lord, and the world, of course, I have left. So both sides gone.

I have no alternative, O Lord. If you don’t accept me then I am undone. Please, just make me the servant of the servant of the servant. Give the remotest connection to me. Graciously give the most distant connection of Yourself to me. Don’t leave me, my Lord. I can’t tolerate the craving for you. This heart-felt, heart rending prayer must come to the vaisnava devotee of the Lord. Onlookers will find that he has got a peep of the fortune. The charm for the world outside is fully eliminated for that person, from the core of his heart. And in the near future his heart will be filled with the nectar of the grace of Krsna.

Bhukti, mukti sprha yavat pisci na nivartate. The desire for enjoyment, and also for renunciation or mukti, no engagement, are compared to two ghosts (pisaci). So how do you dare to express that bhakti, real love for Krsna, will descent in your heart? Those two demons are there, and do you think the noble lady of devotion will come and sit on the same bench with those demons? How can you expect that? Have you freed yourself from all those nasty things that you dare to invite the lady of Krsna bhakti to come?

Krsna bhajan is independent of any external form of life. Mahaprabhu says “naham vipro na ca narapati na vaisya na sudro, gopi bhartu pada kamalayor dasa dasanu dasa.” Varnasrama dharma is just the beginning, then gradually improving we are to go up to the absolute service of Krsna. Without consideration of any law or form, thinking only of service, whatever we do or think or speak, everything should be done for the service of Krsna. That is the standard of real devotion. And mere form may be a little favourable, but not always.

The spirit, even crossing every formality, is what is required of us. Our absolute attraction for the service, the beauty does not allow law to have any status. In the beginning they have got some sort of utility. But when a little advanced they do not care for anything. Only sadhu sanga, adherence to the saint of similar type and a little better. Those who are on the path of raga bhajana, divine love and attraction, find that the only way, the only thing which can guide us is spontaneous desire, laulyam atram mulyam ekalam. The only price is earnest desire and nothing else. Krsna bhakti rasa-bavita mati, murti kriyatam yadi kuto ‘pi labhyate. Ramananda Raya says to Mahaprabhu, “Anywhere you find it, try to purchase it at any price.” The pure inclination towards the service of Krsna, the innermost tendency to want Krsna, to get Him, the earnest desire to have Him – a drop of that desire for the divine attraction, anywhere you find it, one must try to purchase it at any price. You may acquire it anywhere. It may be from a brahmana or from anyone. It does not matter about the form.

Kiba vipra kiba nyasi sudra keno haya, yei krsna tattva vetti sei guru haya. Wherever there is a drop of that divine love, try to get it. And what is the price? Earnest desire for it. No other price but earnest desire, laulyam. It is not to be purchased by any money, or anything else which is acquired by so many formal practices in cores of births. Substance is necessary and not form. Form may be adopted only as much as it may connect me with that higher thing. So, sarva dharman parityaja, ‘all phases of duty you perceive as perfect, give up. At once try to jump in Me, into the ocean of nectar. I am the ocean of nectar. Try to jump.’ That is the direct teaching. So our addiction to this or that, to vanaprastha, sannyasa, or grhastha has got very negligent value. But the earnest desire, that is to be acquired by any means. That is bhakti proper.

Others try to know about Krsna from the scriptures (sastra). Ramakrishna once remarked that in the almanac it is written that this year so much rain is expected. But it does not mean that if we please the almanac a drop of water will ooze out of it. So the sastra is something like that. The sastras say do this and do that. But that does not mean the sastra will give us the result too. They give direction, and as much as we practice we get.

So, helplessly, when one is searching by this method or that method, when he practically comes in contact with the service for a vaisnava he gets real benefit. Then the service of vigraha and sastra all becomes superficial. The more real thing we find in the vaisnava. In his heart, the Krsna conception, Krsna as He is, knowledge or love, whatever we may be searching for, we will find in a living condition in the heart of a vaisnava who is regulating all his activities towards the service of the Lord. In the vaisnava it is animated more than in the vigraha, than in the tirtha and than in the sastra.

Direct connection with Krsna we can find in the consciousness of a vaisnava. From what plane is he regulating all his activities? To what plane is he withdrawing himself from all worldly attraction? What is that which guides him towards some direction which is unknown and unknowable? He is moving towards that direction which is not to be traced in any loss or gain of this world. What is that thing? Nanam tisthami vaikuntha yoginam hrdayesu va mad bhakta yatra guyante tatra tisthami narado. “I am not even in Vaikuntha, not even in the heart of the yogis, but where my devotees are singing with pleasure about Me, I am there, I am owned by them.” Mac citta mad gata prana, bodha-yantah parasparam kathayantas ca mam nityam tusyanti ca ramanti ca.

In the Ramanuja sampradaya there is an incident regarding three Alwar devotees, nitya parsada devotees, who were contemporaries. One night they went to a temple perhaps for some occasion. They did not know one another. In the darkness one was talking, another hearing. It was also very sweet to him. Then the third also joined. They were talking although they did not know one another. They might have heard the names of each other, but this night they have met together. Natha yogi, Bhuta yogi and someone talking between them. Then one questioned, “We three are here. Do you feel the presence of a fourth one?” One told, “Yes, I feel the presence of a fourth one”. By this it is meant that the Lord, about whom they were talking, is present. In their talking, in the conversation, He has come and is hearing the talk. So, only attraction, pure spiritual attraction, and nothing else can be pleasing to one but Krsna, Radharani, the gopis, all this, the very innermost part of the heart is taken possession of by the thought of Krsna and His associates, His lila, His name, and His paraphernalia. That is what is necessary.

man mana bhava mad bhakta mad yaji mam namaskuru

Krsna says, “You Arjuna, you are My most favourite devotee. I promise you at least, I won’t deceive you. So I say that I am everything. I tell you clearly that at least I won’t deceive you because you are My friend. Always mind Me, become My devotee and serve Me. If you sacrifice anything, do it for Me. Or at least you may show respect to Me. So you are sure to enter Me, to come to Me. Myself alone you will come to. This is the truth. I promise you. You are My favourite. The truth is this, do everything for Me, attend Me, always think of Me and you are sure to come to Me.” The thinking, the engagement, the very life of engagement is attraction for Him. Attraction for Him, but how to get it? How to seek shelter from the devotees? Superficially we can get something from the sastra, but substantially from the devotee.

The influence you catch from the devotee, what they hold within their heart, within their endeavour, pervading through all their activities, that particular attraction is the divine thing that I want. That most subtle of the subtle, the nerve structure within, that can move the bodily activities, that can help the body to do its functions is what we are after. That inner energy of the devotee, that makes him do what we do not find in the world, with no attraction for sense pleasure, fame, name, money, etc. but for something else, for Krsna. We must follow their path. “Who comes to serve Me directly are not My real devotees. But who is the devotee of My devotee, they are My real devotees. If you love Me, love My dog. His love for Me is so intense that wherever he finds any external connection with Me he engages himself fully there.”

Vaisnava seva, guru seva, vigraha seva and nama seva are all recommended, but in Kali yuga especially, the service of the name has been given as the most general approach. It is mentioned sadhu sanga Krsna nama ei matta jai. We must climb up to the real plane where we can take the name proper, vaikuntha nama grahanam asesagham haram vidun. It is true that an infinite magnitude of sin may be removed by one name, but that must be vaikuntha nama. It must have the characteristic of vaikuntha, the unlimited plane of eternity, not only the physical sound. So sadhu sanga is necessary. The name must be taken from gurudeva, and with the company of sadhu the name must be taken.

Nama sankirtana means to preach the name, what the name is, and the ten offenses against the name. There are also four abhasa or shadowy expressions of the name. They should also be eliminated and the real name which is one and the same with the Lord should be taken. The greatness and magnanimity of the name is so charming, the name is the Lord Himself. In this way, by taking the name, nam bhajan or kirtan, we can be saved from the external contamination of the forces of the world of karma and jnana, exploitation and renunciation.

These are the two great enemies of devotion, bhukti mukti sprha. The tendency to exploit and its opposite, the tendency to renounce, neither the negative nor the renunciation of the negative can be a real positive. A third thing is necessary and that is constructive, full in itself and perfect. Positive is not mere withdrawal from the negative side. The positive has got its own characteristics, so we must come in connection with the positive: sat cit ananda, satyam sivam, sundaram. We must connect ourselves in all phases, whatever is possible for us.

Grha va vante thake ha gauranga bole dake. It doesn’t matter much whether one is a householder or a sannyasi. How much he has intensely engaged himself in the service of the Lord, that is to be seen. A grhasta may even be above a sannyasi. During the time of Mahaprabhu, so many grhasta devotees were there, but the real spirit is all Gauranga. We found in our young days when we joined the non-cooperative movement of Gandhi that there were so many volunteers who had left everything. But when the police were coming they were fleeing for fear of their life. Still we found that a grhasta like Chittaranjan Das and others, with all their family members, were giving resistance to the police attack. Although a grhasta, he sends his son to the prison and his daughter and wife to police custody. Gandhi remarked, “I envy your situation.” As a grhasta he was living like a fully attached man. But in the real work of supporting the cause, he is not less than one who has left everything and dedicated himself wholly. As a family man he is not afraid, whereas others may be afraid. So service is necessary. In whatever position he may be it does not matter much. When the necessity will come, even an apparently worldly minded householder may sacrifice the whole for Krsna.

In the case of Haris Chandra, for example, he was a king for the truth as he could conceive of it. He left everything for the cause which he loved. So wholesale dedication, the internal hankering, the fire within is the real necessity. It may not be found in a sannyasi, but in a grhasta, vanaprastha, brahmachari or anyone. We want the substance and not the form so much. The burning fire of separation from Krsna is the real wealth. Just as with Sri Chaitanyadeva, His separation from Krsna is so intense, that he can’t sleep or take food. His separation is so intense that at night He is trying to get out of the house, though it is all closed. So he jumped the walls of the house, practically unconsciously, and fell in front of the Jagannath temple and fainted. What degree of separation is found in Him! It is not possible for us to conceive the degree of feeling that there was. Sometimes he was rubbing his face against the walls because he could not get out and go to His Lord.

A sakhi is representing to Krsna the pain of separation which Radharani feels for Him. Previously, she explains, a continuous flow of tears was found in Her eyes, but it is not there anymore. Somehow She has managed to distribute them to Her friends. Now they are weeping like anything, but no trace of tears can be found in Her. She had some temperature in Her body, but now that is also gone. That She has transferred to Her intimate sakhis. Her attendants are now saying many things. Undesirable talks of mourning are found among Her attendants. Previously all those things were found in Srimati Radharani, but somehow She managed to leave them all with Her friends. She had also been absorbed in deep thought. What will be Her fate? Maybe Krsna will never come again. He is doing this and that. So many thoughts were within Her, but now we find no trace.

But Her superiors are burdened with those deep thoughts. “O, the girl won’t live. She will pass away very soon. What will be the fate of Braja? If She passes away Krsna won’t come here again”. What little is left in Her we see in the form of hard breathing and beating heart. In a day or two that will also disappear. Now, Krsna, You may remain happy here for your misdeed. Your misdeed is the cause of all these things, but She has managed to relieve you. No complaint will come against you any more. Silently She is passing away keeping You safe while You remain here and enjoy with Your own friends.

Prahlada was requested by his father, “Please tell me what progress you are making in your gurukula study. What have you learned to be the best thing in life?” Prahlada answered sravanam kirtanam visnu smaranam pada sevanam archanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam. Iti pumsarpitam visnu bhaktis avalkanam. “I think the best study is this: to hear, chant, and serve – all in relation to Visnu. That is the best utility of time for everyone in the world. Tat sadhu manye sura varya dehinam. This is what I consider to be the best thing I have learned”. Prahlada’s trouble began from here. His father replied, “Visnu is my enemy eternally, and who has taught you that to cultivate love for Him in different ways is the best understanding of human life?” The torture began. We must also be prepared for that torture. Torture will increase our enthusiasm in an indirect way. Anything may come, anything may go on. Wherever that impetus, that intense tendency to serve Krsna is to be found, there we must go. But it is nowhere, it is unknown und unknowable, and in this way transcendental.

For Aurobindo it was the supramental plane. In fact he was constructing the figure of Siva, Mahadeva, who belongs to that plane. But instead we see that he has wrongly constructed the figure of something other than Mahadeva. Again, when Bhaktivinod Thakur said that India is the best place in the world, and within India, Bengal is the best; then in Bengal, Nabadwip Dham is the best, the highest of all; Aurobindo imitated him saying that India is the best in the world, and Bengal is, of course, the best in India, and the Hooghly district is the best in Bengal. Then I thought, why has he selected Hooghly eliminating Nabadwip? The recollection then came to me that is was the birth place of Raja Ram Mohan Raya, the founder of the Brahmo Samaj. It was my conclusion that it was only for that reason he had selected Hooghly to be the best.

Chitaranjan Das may be as good as Raja Ram Mohan Raya and Rabindranath Tagore, and although his father was a Brahmo, he himself returned to Hinduism telling his friends, “If you write something about me, then please describe me as a servant of a vaisnava”. That was his temperament. He was a good and sincere man, but not a vaisnava of the ghosha, or pure type, but only the ordinary type who had respect for the vaisnavas. Vipin Pala, who was a revolutionary, extremist and the first in violence, could not accommodate the Gandhi movement, but he was closely connected with C.R. Das. Vipin Pala was in fact engaged as the editor of the magazine published by C.R. Das called “Narayan Patrika”. When, as a college student, we read the “Narayan Patrika” we found Vipin Pala’s explanation of Bhagavad-gita, etc. and a lecture he gave in the Viraha meeting at University Hall, Calcutta.

In that lecture he mentioned that “Sri Krsna Samhita” written by Bhaktivinod Thakur had taken his faith back to vaisnavism, although he had been a pure Brahmo type when he first read the book. We appreciate that he has acknowledged Bhaktivinod Thakur’s writing to such an extent. Bhaktivinod Thakur’s conception was very scientific, as well as deep, simple and fervent. It was accurate and modernized as well. We find many excellent qualities in the writings of Srila Bhaktivinod Thakur.

The high type of realized conception Bhaktivinod Thakur has given us should not be conceived as having been acquired by him in his present life, though it may seem to come from the ordinary events of his life. Rather we should assume that this is the natural growth of the jnana sunya bhakta. It is because of fashion that Bhaktivinod Thakur had some other tendency in his married life and all these other things. They should not stand in the way of the fact that he was an eternal associate, servitor of the Lord. Otherwise, such intensity, such depths of feeling cannot come abruptly. So, Bhaktisiddhanta Prabhupada has seen him as a facsimile of Gadadhara Pandit, and Gaura Kisor Das Babaji as Swarup Damodar. Sometimes he saw Bhaktivinod Thakur as Radharani because his vision was so graphic, spacious, and all comprehensive, filled with deep knowledge and experience. It is impossible unless we consider him to be at least saktyavesa, that is, inspired by the Lord Himself.

Bilvamangal Thakur says anartha bandhu karanaik sindhu. “How can I pass these barren days, my Lord? These unfortunate days are impossible for me to pass. Without having a peep of your sight, I cannot stand to live any more. But you are a friend to the helpless, and you are an ocean of kindness and grace. Please consider it my Lord, how can I pass my days without You.” The normal temperament of a devotee will be like that. Separation, of course, will be encouraging. If we find a person is always feeling separation from the Lord that will be appreciated, whereas anything else should be considered abnormal and dangerous.

Sometimes there may be some confusion about the relative and absolute consideration. The absolute consideration is our own internal Krsna consciousness, and the relative refers to the environment. One must not be influenced by the environment of the mundane world. But that does not mean he won’t seek an environment of the spiritual realm. That is found through sadhu sanga. In the spiritual plane the environment contributes much. Even Radharani says that Krsna alone cannot satisfy Her without the environment, so She doesn’t want Krsna as such. For instance, in Kuruksetra when She met Krsna, She wanted to take Him back to Vrndavan where Their meeting could be more intimate.

The devotee also says, “Only Krsna, that is nothing to me if we do not find Radharani at His side”. So, the environment has a great contribution to make in that realm. Everything there, every minute particle of the environment will help promote my attention towards Krsna. That will be very desirable. But here in the mundane plane, just the opposite is found, the perverted reflection. Everything comes to take me away from Krsna in this plane, and there everything pushes me towards Him. So there in the plane of dedication everything will be healthy. But in the plane of exploitation and renunciation everything is just the opposite, taking me away from the centre, asat sanga. Sadhu sanga means promoting towards my cause. The mundane plane is the perverted reflection, but just above that it is the real plane which is just the opposite of this. So we must not be maladjusted. Asat sanga tvag ei vaisnava achar. The practices of a student of vaisnavism is only one – to renounce the environment; but that does not mean that the sadhu is eliminated also if he is found. Stri sanga eka sadhu krsna bhakta ara. There are two types of asat. One is stri sangi or yosit sangi, those who are attached to sensual pleasures. And the other is Krsna abhakta, one who has no attraction for Krsna but is engaged in other errands, bhukti kami siddhi kami, who have other desires such as for liberation or material perfection. They should be eliminated. We should be careful, cautious about these two. One may be a scholar, a yogi, a tyagi and all these things, but if he is not a devotee of Krsna he should be eliminated.

Anyabhilasa karma jnana. Those who have the desire to reach for something, for fruitive activity, to plan for some result, and those who are busy to know Krsna to measure Him, and finish Him by their analysis, these are to be eliminated. Jnana means to always want to measure Krsna or the environment. Jnana means to know, to be master, and to be acquainted with everything. That is jnana, the false errand that I shall be the subject and everything else should be the object of my knowledge. Such wild goose chasing is impossible. It is running after a phantasmagoria, in the words of our Guru Maharaj. Another expression is will-o-the-wisp. It is impossible to know everything and be master of everything. Tvam aham veda sarvani na tvam vetta parantapa. It is not your business to know everything by your constitutional position. It will be folly to bring everything within your consciousness. Jnane prayasam utapasya. Here uta apa asya, where asya means throwing hatefully, and uta means far away. These two adjectives are given for dismissal of knowledge. Only through faith, with the nature of submission can the truth be known.

Mahaprabhu has taught trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina mana dena. It is very difficult to conquer one’s fame, or prestige. Pratistha, one’s love for position is very difficult to give up. It is easier to give up attraction for females or money, but hankering for one’s own position is most difficult. Prestige for position is our innermost enemy. So long as that remains we cannot offer ourselves in the service of a vaisnava. I may accept somewhat hesitatingly the service of God, but to serve a vaisnava would be like coming to a lower settlement. In fact, to become the servant of a vaisnava would actually be the all and end all of my life. But how can I accept that idea? I may accept service under the Supreme Lord, that I may anyhow manage. But to become the servant of the servant of the servant – what is this? What is the fun? Should a man stoop so low as this? Therefore, pratistha, position, the consciousness of prestige, is the greatest enemy of the conditioned soul.

Radha dasyam means to become a slave, to embrace the ideal, the hope of becoming a slave. To classify oneself as the slave of Krsna is not the end. One must be willing to become the slave of the slave of the slave. “This is the most ludicrous thing. Let them accept this mean settlement; I won’t. So ‘ham. I am the biggest of the big. So ‘ham, Shivo ‘ham. I am the master of maya, Siva. Sivo ‘ham.” This is the point where the false, separate existence from God begins.

Transcending mortality one comes to the plane of mangal, auspiciousness, which is good in comparison with the plane of mortality. The first reach beyond the limit of mortality or mrtyaloka, is Mahadeva, Siva. But from Siva we have to pass to sundaram, the land of beauty. Siva is only the middle position or mangalam. But this mangalam is not differentiated in its fullest characteristics at this point, only it is out of danger. To be out of danger is nothing positive, but it is the highest safe position. However, one must not only be safe, but engaged in the most desireable thing. The safe position is relative Siva. Above that is Sada Siva and the plane of positive engagement.

Once there was one god brother named Kumar Surendra Narayan Raya, an M.A. graduate of Punjab University. He was a rich man whose annual income was three lakhs. He took Hari Nam from our Guru Maharaj. That gentleman went with him to Celon on one occasion. When Guru Maharaj was passing in a car, Surendranath Narayan Raya, who was out for a walk, met him on the wayside and immediately fell flat in the road offering his obeisances in the mud, since at that time it was the rainy season. Then Prabhupad asked, “What are you doing down in the mud? What are you doing? He has got a rich dress but it is all smeared with mud”. Then Surendranath said, “We have only one thing to do in life – to make prostration to the Vaisnava. We can’t do anything else. Should I be a miser only there? Pranam is our only wealth, everything. If I be a miser there then what will be my fate? Pranam, pramananta eva, that is our only aspiration.”

Mahaprabhu once had a talk with one Mathura brahman, Raghupati Upadhyaya, on His way back from Mathura, perhaps in Allahabad. In their talk we find one sloka mentioned. What is the highest conception of figure? The answer was Syamasundar. Syama eva param rupam. What is the highest place of worship? Mathura mandal is the highest place to worship Him. What should be the best age befitting for our service? Kaisora, or new youth. And in what sort of rasa should we try to serve Him? We should try to serve in the mood of madhurya rasa. Mahaprabhu told him that “you have taught Me a good lesson.” We want to worship Kaisora Krsna, we are not going to worship old Krsna. There is Mathura and Dwaraka, but we are fond of worshipping Krsna in Vrndavan, where He has a new, youthful life. His companions are also new youths. The highest point is beauty. The idea of eternity is like that, navayauvana, new, youthful, progressing not full blown, but blossoming.

We should not be afraid of our youth, we should adore it. Not that youth will be engaged in pleasure seeking, but in supplying pleasure to the Lord. Utilization, not renunciation is our end. Utilization is the highest good. We want to have our energy in its fullest command. All are youthful in Vrndavan, but well planned, managed, well aimed, and well idealized. Why should we worship anything that is fading or dying? We are worshippers of the full energy to the extreme, but it is absolute good. Our Guru Maharaj said that there is a proverb: when there is fire in the shed, the cow or bull come out because of fear of fire, seeing the red colour there. And when the cow sees the red colour in the sky he again becomes afraid thinking that there is fire and it will come to attack me and burn me.

In the same way the mayavadis are suffering from that disease, because they are afraid of energy and opulence and thus they take to renunciation. Wherever there is opulence, youth or beauty, they are afraid, because they are worshippers of the negative side. If they go to enjoy, the reaction will come to get them. But vaisnavas know how to utilize everything for the service of the Lord. So they are not afraid of anything good. All good, attractive, beautiful things, everything they will utilize for the service of the Lord. If our association with the environment is sadhu sanga, with real beauty and love in truth, then everything will come to help us in our search for Krsna, Reality the Beautiful.

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