In Srila Gurudeva’s Words

Posted on December 21, 2010 by Raghava 1 Comment

by Swami BV Nemi

There is quite a bit of discussion just now about Srila Gurudeva’s instruction on harmony. Syamarani Didi and I started working on a book of Srila Gurudeva’s lectures on this subject. In the course of that we took some really choice, succinct instructions, and made a small booklet, which was distributed freely during Kartika. This is like an appetizer for the larger book, which will be available within a few months.

Here are four guidelines taken from Srila Gurudeva’s instructions. If we would only agree to follow these guidelines in their relationships with each other, how happy and dynamic our Sanga would be!

  1. We should listen to each other and understand each other, instead of imposing our own mood.
  2. We should help and support each other, instead of taking from each other.
  3. We should appreciate each other, instead of criticising and offending each other.
  4. We should tolerate each other, instead of manipulating and controlling each other.

Srila Gurudeva himself emphasized the importance of following these instructions:

“We should try to follow all of these principles. This is the ground-level – the platform – of bhakti. If the platform is not made, then all these showers of instructions (hari-katha) may come but they will not remain with you.”

Srila Gurudeva even said that we should have a school for teaching devotee association and relationships.

“We must not be angry and upset about disturbing occurrences. A school should be established for the purpose of teaching this. Meetings and classes may be held fortnightly, weekly, or on the occasion of any festival. This is done for association, and for developing love and affection towards each other. Sometimes one prabhu can give class, sometimes another. Everyone can benefit from these classes. There should be harmony; this is most essential. By harmony you will be successful.”

Suppose that, within our sanga, a group of devotees committed to following these guidelines. That group would be harmonious and powerful, both in terms of achieving goals on our servers, and also in advancing in bhakti.

Here are some of Srila Gurudeva’s instructions on these points.

(1) We should listen to each other and understand each other, instead of imposing our own mood.

“We should try to understand the suffering of another. We should try to keep our own mood concealed, and try to accept and hear the other person’s mood. We should try to understand the happiness and distress of another. We should give up our own moods and hear the other person’s moods. Then, together, we can consider what to do. If we do not hear the other person’s mood, but rather keep our own mood prominent, this is not called ‘association’.”

(2) We should help and support each other, instead of taking from each other.

“Try to give your whole being. Love has nothing to take, but everything to give. If your aim and objective is to preach the love and affection of ?r? Caitanya Mah?prabhu, try to give yourself to others. Your whole life should be dedicated for the welfare of others. They will reciprocate that love and give their life to serve K???a. They will not offer their love and affection if you are trying to control them.”
“The first thing is that if you want to show love to others, do not cause them any pain or suffering, or burden them for your personal happiness or maintenance. Your first concern should be the happiness and satisfaction of others.”

(3) We should appreciate each other, instead of criticising and offending each other.

“It is very important that we don’t focus on anyone’s faults. Look at their good qualities. We have to absorb these qualities in ourselves. We must take the association of Vai??avas who are superior to us and who have the mood we want. Then we can attain bhakti.”
“Also, while we are chanting, remembering and engaging in devotional services, we should protect ourselves so that we do not commit offenses to others. Otherwise, those offences will spoil everything. All our endeavours will be wasted and go in the garbage can. So we should try not to offend anyone, and we should always honour all.”
“If you chastise Vaishnavas, not honouring them, and at the same time you are doing so abundant service to Gurudeva, Gurudeva will not accept your service.”
“If lust or any other attachment is present in that person’s heart it will go away very soon, if he is chanting and remembering and listening to hari-katha. Be very careful. Don’t criticize devotees – or non-devotees. First look at your own condition, and try to purify yourself. Is there any lust in you? Is there any deceit in you, or not? Be worried for that; don’t worry for others. Sri Guru and Lord Sri Krishna are responsible for others. You cannot do anything to help them, so you have no right to criticize.”

(4) We should tolerate each other, instead of manipulating and controlling each other.

“If any problems come, try to reconcile it. You should think, ‘It is due to my past karma’, or, ‘Krishna wants to test me and to operate on me.’ – these two things.
“We want to associate with everyone on the platform of love and affection, not by controlling others. You cannot bring someone to Krishna’s service by manipulating or controlling them. You cannot even control your own mind, what to speak of others’. Don’t try to control others by your order or your mind.”
“Gurudeva can control. He is a controller, and Krishna, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Sri Nityananda Prabhu are controllers. We should think, “I am not the controller. I should be controlled by Them. I should try to control myself.” In this way we should try to develop our Krishna consciousness.”

You may also like: Harmony – the platform for bhakti

Raghava says:

Beautiful reminder of how to walk this path, and walk it with others.
Yrs,
R