Guru maharaj: I don’t know why you are asking me. I don’t think I am fixed up (?) But whatever I have, I owe it to Srila Prabhupad. And I think that I am indebted to repay Srila Prabhupad. By his mercy I could see how wonderful is Pancha Tattva. By his mercy, I could see how wonderful are Radha Madhav and the Ashta sakhis. So by his mercy the holy name I have appreciated. Considering this and more, I will always want to serve Srila Prabhupad. So I am trying to be the servant of the servant of the servant of Srila Prabhupad.
Question: Three times I serve my spiritual master in my dreams. He gives me diksha and another time he instructed me to do some service. But I am not getting the proper relationship in actuality. What should I do?
Guru maharaj: So he is getting lot of mercy from the guru through his dreams. Why does he think his external relationship is not good? By carrying out the instruction of the guru he will naturally get the mercy. He may be approaching the guru in a very familiar way. So these are like more individual questions than philosophical ones. He might ask his guru if he has done some offence or not.
Question: What are the parameters on which one can judge oneself and decide his ashram?
Guru maharaj: Brahmacharis and sanyasis have a lot of freedom to engage in devotional service. But Prabhupad said, if someone is thinking should I be a brahmachari or grihastha, then he should be a grihastha. Because as a brahmachari he wants to remain as a brahmachari. All our shaastras say that getting a Krishna conscious wife, talking to her, touching her is permissible, Bhakti Vinod Thakur had many children. Most of them also became grihasthas. But Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, he was a lifelong brahmachari. He started a club for brahmacharis but gradually many of the members dropped out. So if you are a grihastha you have to follow the same spiritual rules. But grihasthas have to work and earn money to maintain their family. And then they in free time, they can do some preaching outreach work. They don’t have that much time as brahmacharis but they do wonderful work. The thing is that Bhakti Vinod Thakur said that being a married person, their sadhana bhakti should only be increased. I am the minster of Congregational Development Ministry, so naturally we see how married people can also help us to spread Krishna consciousness. I heard that in Chowpatty they have youth who work outside for a couple of years and then they decide whether they want to be a grihastha or enter as a brahmachari.
Question: If Krishna is the Supreme controller and it is decided what will happen, what is the point of taking spiritual anxieties?
Guru maharaj: We have minute independence. But we can choose to serve Krishna or choose to serve our senses. So if we want to achieve Krishna then we need to choose the Krishna conscious alternative. If we want to serve our senses, then maya will make it initially pleasant. After that we will be kicked, jhaapatiya dhore, we will be tackled and thrown down. This pandal is not too far from the Fiji Hospital. If you want to see people suffering, then visit the hospital. In the ICU there was someone crying out, oh my baba, baba, baba. Another person was crying out maago, maago, maagooo…And third person just cried out aw, aw, aw…All three died. In Bombay when I was in the Intensive Care Unit during my stroke I heard the doctor talking on the phone to the police. The patient died, he died, you said you will come in 24 hours any time and take him away! So we have a choice, we want to serve Krishna or to serve maya. Baap re baap! Ha!
Question : If a devotee serves guru a lot but another devotee does not get too much to serve but he serves according to his capacity, is the guru pleased equally with both the devotees?
Guru maharaj: Reminds me of the story where Hanuman throwing big boulders into the ocean and the squirrel was throwing pebbles. So Hanuman told the squirrel, move over, move over. But Lord Rama said that this devotee is working according to his capacity. So I accept his service and your service. But you should see that you are working to your capacity.
Question: Is it more important to take up services based on one’s nature or based on the authorities’ desire?
Guru maharaj: I wrote to Prabhupad, I said, that I felt guilty. You told me to stay in India. I like India, I like the dham, I like Indians. I thought one should receive difficult orders from one’s guru and carry out them. So Prabhupad wrote back, you are lucky, you like doing what the guru has ordered you. But whether you like it or not, you should still do it.
Question: Sometimes maintaining a proper balance between studies and performing different services, it becomes difficult and I cannot responsibly perform the different services. Is it ok to do the services that I can properly perform and give up the ones I cannot properly do? What should I do?
Guru maharaj: Person starts out question saying about studies. So you fill out some of the questions and some you fail, they will give you a score on your total studies. So in studies if you fail in something that shows up with poor marks. If it is a practical service, then talk to the person who gives you the service. He may say that anyway you try because there is no one else to do it. Or he may keep the services you are good at for you and give the services you are not good to someone else. Similarly, in Krishna consciousness we do not make such decisions ourselves but serve the seniors. So tomorrow is Purna Ratha Udhyapan. There are four more questions. I will try to answer quickly.
Question: When we are facing different challenges in preaching, what are the different aspects we need to focus or practice individually or collectively in order to get success?
Guru maharaj: Distributing Srila Prabhupad’s books is always a good option.
Question: If Krishna is so pure and source of all good qualities, how do we possess bad qualities? After all we are part and parcel of Krishna. How can impure come from Krishna who is absolutely pure?
Guru maharaj: Krishna’s backside is where evil comes from. In Krishna’s character it is all good. In us when we turn away from Krishna it is a perverted reflection. In the spiritual world it is shuddha satva. But in the material world there are the three gunas. So the evil things are due to the predominance of the tamo guna. So we want to be in the spiritual world and serve the Lord there in pure goodness and love.
Question: How can a disciple be sincere in his devotion so that he is connected to his guru?
Guru maharaj: By carrying out the orders of the guru – chanting and avoiding breaking of the four regulative principles.
Question: Coming from a non-devotee background, when attachment from our previous life disturbs us what should we do in that case?
Guru maharaj: Lord Caitanya taught that the holy name cleanses our heart, ceto darpana maarjanam. And in this way one can gradually remember Krishna and these material thoughts will fade out. Any question here? No.
Acharya Ratna is already there. He is already selling books.
Transcribed by Jayaraseshwari dd
21 July 2018