Our beloved Guru Maharaj was born in a pure Vaishnava family and in one of the speeches, Maharaj very humbly speaks about the turning point in his life and this speech is full of practical instructions for the householders who have taken up the process of Krishna consciousness and finding it a great difficulty to balance the material and spiritual aspects of our existence.
“Once it so happened that I was the president of the Gujarati community in London. We had a function. We heard that some Bengali sannyasi has come and he is organizing some programs, some Hare Krishna movement. So we wanted to invite him for the community program. So I told Srila Prabhupada, ‘Swamiji, I want you to come to our program. You can have some kirtan and give us some nectar.’ “But there is one condition”, he said,. I thought, “This swami is after money, you know. We may give him five pounds and he will keep quiet.” (laughs). But he was not of that steel. His steel was very different. So he said, “If I come, I and my Krishna and my devotees will be on the stage and no president, no treasurer nothing.” Otherwise we all Indians are very much fond of putting on suits and roaming about as president and treasurer. He said nobody should be on stage except me and my Krishna. So we had to agree. Somehow or the other, we wanted him to come. So we agreed. At the end, when he came, we had to get down and remove all chairs and tables, everything. He sat on the dais and a few devotees performed nice kirtan and he gave a nice lecture. That was really the turning point in my life.
He clearly said that we are in a precarious condition. We think we are happy but frankly speaking, happiness is a myth in this world and the sane person tries to find answer to this janma, mrtyu, jara and vyaadi – birth, death, old age and disease. This is the main problem in front of us. He told a very nice thing that when we meet each other, we ask how are you? How is your children? How is your business? And then we have to keep quiet. At the most, in England, we have to talk about the weather. Oh! The weather is very cold today. That’s all. There is nothing to be talked. Matters end there. So either we carry on nonsense talk or we depart. Prabhupada said, instead of asking these things, we should ask each other how are you progressing in getting relieved from janma, mrtyu, jara and vyaadi. This should be our question to each other instead of asking how your health is and how are your children, how is your business. He said all these are a passing phase and nothing is going to accompany you but the thing we should be worried is to get relieved from the vicious cycle in which we are caught helplessly. And this was very nice I thought. I don’t do anything to get relieved from janma, mrtyu, jara and vyaadi. We were reading Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam but I could not understand. Here and there I could understand something. I was educated in Sanskrit and double graduate M.A. and Prabhupada told there is no use of academic qualification. In the catuh shloki Srimad Bhagavatam 2.9.34, Lord Krishna says:
rte ‘rtham yat pratiyeta / na pratiyeta caatmani
tad vidyaad aatmano maayaam / yathaabhaaso yathaa tamah
“O Brahma, whatever appears to be of any value, if it is without relation to Me, has no reality. Know it as My illusory energy, that reflection which appears to be in darkness.”
It clearly says that except Krishna, what is not connected to Krishna, it is His illusory energy and then I thought that without Him I passed nearly 45 years of age. I was at that time 45 years of age and the streaks of grey hair was coming out and so I was trying to press them very hard but could not press long. They were increasing. I thought that it is time now I should come to my senses and that is why since last nearly 20 years I am struggling daily to find out how to do it and the more I struggle with the books, the more I am getting and even now my notes are ready and my books are ready everywhere.
In the beginning, I was not really serious. But slowly as in the natural course all other things were dropping down and by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and Krishna, the path became much more clear in front of me and as it became clearer and clearer, I stopped other things very nicely. I did not run away from home. I completed my responsibilities and that is how we should do. We should not have got married, but as we have got married, then we have to complete our role, the part we have taken. May be in a drama of Ramayana, we have accepted the part of Ravana. You may not like it but you have accepted it and you play as Ravana and till that moment you cannot forget that you are Ravana. You have to think that I am Ravana. Then only you can play your part very nicely. And that is why it is very much essential that we have to be very serious about the family matters also and we cannot just run away from the family matters. If we do, then we are not the followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. He clearly said that we have to adjust our lives according to the instructions of the scriptures. If you do it, you will see the clear path.”
Thank you very much.
Yours in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev,
Vaijayanti mala devi dasi