A Lecture by His Divine Grace
Sri Srila Bhakti Ballabh Tirtha Maharaja
nidosa, vadanya, mrdu, suci, akincana
akama, aniha, sthira, vijita-sad-guna
gambhira, karuna, maitra, kavi, daksa, mauni
"Krpalu": The sadhu should be compassionate. One symptom of the sadhu is that he tries to remove the difficulties, the miseries, of the conditioned souls of this world. That is the nature of the sadhu. He is always compassionate and kind to all jivas.
"Akrta-droha": If anybody does any harm to him, the sadhu does not retaliate. He tolerates it. By this behavior, we can understand whether or not he is a sadhu. "I will become furious if anybody does any injury to me! I shall retaliate and teach him a lesson!" If a person thinks like this, then he is not a sadhu. In a sadhu, the tendency of retaliation toward hostility is absent.
"Satya-sara": Truthfulness (satya) is the sole object of his life (sara). He cannot speak lies.
"Sama": Sadhus are equal and impartial to all.
"Nidosa": Sadhus are faultless. You cannot find any fault in them.
"Vadanya": They are bountiful and munificent. Their hearts are magnanimous.
"Mrdu": They are of mild temperament. Sadhus never become harsh. They are very mild. "If anyone says something against me, I will become furious and speak harsh words." Sadhus cannot speak like this.
"Suci": Sadhus are pure.
"Akincana": They have no desires of this world.
"Sarvopakaraka": They do good to all the living beings of the world.
"Santa": As they have no desires, their minds are always restful-calm and quiet. When we have desires that we cannot fulfill, we become disturbed. But the sadhus have no desires, so they are calm and quiet. If anybody comes in contact with them, that person will also become calm and quiet. Why? Because of "krsnaika-sarana".
"Krsnaika-sarana": This is the original quality of the sadhu. God is the embodiment of all qualities--infinite, transcendental qualities. When you worship the Supreme Lord with devotion, these qualities will descend to you. You can get these qualities. So, this original quality of the sadhu means that he has taken absolute shelter of Supreme Lord Sri Krsna--absolute shelter.
The discussion between Kapiladeva and Devahuti in the Third Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam illustrates this. Mother Devahuti was asking questions and Kapila Bhagavan was answering her. Mother Devahuti, the consort of Kardama Rsi, prayed to her husband, "Please give me a son! Without a son, my life is futile." Then Kardama Rsi told her, "If you want a son, then I shall leave and go to the forest. Choose which one you want-me or a son." Devahuti became puzzled and remained silent. But after some time, she again appealed to her husband, "Without a son, I cannot be happy. Please give me a son." Repeatedly, Devahuti prayed to her husband for a son. Finally, Kardama Rsi instructed her, "We must perform penance, as per my direction. Then, by the grace of the Lord, you will get a son." Thus, he and his wife both embarked on the performance of immense penance together.
Observing the strong desire and penance of Kardama Rsi and Mother Devahuti, God Himself made up His mind to appear there as their Son. He appeared first in the heart of Kardama Rsi. Then, Kardama Rsi imparted knowledge of that Divinity to his wife by diksa initiation, and that same Divinity entered into her heart. Eventually, at the auspicious time, the Supreme Lord entered into Mother Devahuti's womb. After that, all the demigods came to know of the imminent appearance of Bhagavan and came to offer prayers to her womb. Afterward, Brahma came to Mother Devahuti and told her, "Mother, God is appearing as your Son. Do not think Him to be a human being." After alerting her, Brahma and the other demigods left.
On the auspicious day, Bhagavan Kapila appeared. Just after His appearance, He assumed the padma-asana, the yogic lotus sitting posture, on the bank of Bindu Sarovar. Upon seeing this, Mother Devahuti was astonished. "No child can sit like this as soon as he is born! What is this? Oh! Brahma told me that I should not think my Son to be a human being. God has appeared!" Then she made obeisances to Kapila Bhagavan, saying, "For so long I have been entangled in worldly desires! Therefore, I prayed so many times to my husband to grant me a son. Now that You have appeared, I can understand this." If someone has lived in darkness throughout his entire life, will he be able to understand that he is in darkness? When a glimpse of light comes, he realizes, "Oh! I was in darkness for such a long time!" Like this, Devahuti said, "For so long I was bereft of knowledge, but when you appeared, I realized that I had been in ignorance, enveloped by nescience. This was the reason why I prayed for a son. Please tell me how I can pass over the ocean of births and deaths and the miseries of this world."
Kapila Bhagavan smiled. Why? He thought, "Why is Mother Devahuti speaking to Me in this way? 'I was in ignorance, I desired a son, etc.' I do not appear in the impure heart! What is she saying?"
yad iyate tatra puman apavrtah
sattve ca tasmin bhagavan vasudevo
hy adhoksajo me namasa vidhiyate
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 4.3.23)
But Mother Devahuti said, "I was in darkness for such a long time." This is the special quality of the suddha bhakta. The suddha bhakta is the highest, but he has no pride or vanity. Because suddha bhaktas have knowledge of the Supreme Lord, because they have the taste of the highest truth, they think that they are nothing. When you see an inferior thing, you think, "I am higher than that. I am superior to it." But when you see a superior person, your head automatically bows down to him. So, it is very difficult to understand a suddha bhakta. The yogi and the jnani have pride. Actually, the suddha bhakta is the object of worship of the yogi and the jnani, but he has no vanity. So, the suddha bhakta cries that he has been in this world for so long, full of material desires.
So that we will not commit any offense toward the suddha bhakta, Kapila Bhagavan warned, "Mother! You do not have any such material desires! Your heart is sanctified! But, I shall reply to whatever you might ask me on behalf of the enslaved jivas of this world, for their eternal benefit!"
Then Kapila Bhagavan began His instructions to Mother Devahuti. You are to hear this repeatedly. We have already heard this many times, but it is our nature to forget. We hear now and, when we go outside, we forget. The repetition of hearing and chanting is necessary for this purpose. For my own self, it is also necessary-I also forget:
muktaye catmano matam
gunesu saktam bandhaya
ratam va pumsi muktaye
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.15)
Mother Devahuti put questions to Kapila Bhagavan for the benefit of the enslaved jivas of this world. She asked, "What is tri-guna? We have little knowledge. Clearly explain this to me." It is something abstract. We cannot understand abstract things. She asked, "Explain this in a concrete way," so that we may understand. We are dunderheads. We are fools.
She continued, "Also, if we can achieve emancipation by having our minds attached to Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, how can we cultivate that attachment to Sri Krsna?" We cannot see Krsna. With our sense organs, we see all the living beings of this world and communicate with them. We exchange thoughts with them. We know that this body and all its relations will not live forever. We know this very well, but as we constantly exchange thoughts with these relations, we become attached to them. We see the deity in the temple and devotees refer to Him as Bhagavan, but He does not speak to us. If there is no exchange of thoughts, how can we cultivate attachment to the Lord? This is the problem. Rarely, from among crores (tens of millions) and crores of devotees, the Supreme Lord may have spoken to one or another. But He does not speak to us. Without such an exchange of thoughts, how can we feel love? Please explain this."
Then, Kapila Bhagavan said:
atmanah kavayo viduh
sa eva sadhusu krto
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.20)
Mother Devahuti then asked, "How can we communicate with the Supreme Lord? How can we cultivate that attachment to Sri Krsna? If we have attachment to the Supreme Lord, we will be rescued. But we cannot see Him. We see Him in His Deity form only. He does not speak with us."
Kapila Bhagavan replied, "You cannot see the Supreme Lord with these material eyes. 'Sa eva sadhusu krto moksa-dvaram apavrtam.' But, you can see the sadhus. They are moving about, just as you are. You can talk with them; you can exchange thoughts with them. You can behave this way with the sadhus. Then, you will be rescued. You cannot see God. This is true. You are presently giving your attention to your own body and other bodily relations, but you should give your energy for the service of a true devotee, the sadhu, the suddha bhakta. Prasangam: you should associate with them correctly, not superficially, externally. You can associate with the sadhu from here even if the sadhu is in India. India is so many thousands of miles away from the USA. But even from the USA, you can associate with the sadhu in India. The sadhu is thinking about the service of his object of worship: Radha-Govinda-Mahaprabhu. If you follow that thought, even from a great distance, then you are associating with the sadhu. But, remaining in physical proximity to the sadhu does not necessarily imply association. You have gone to the Math and you have slept in the same room, by the side of the sadhu, but you were thinking about something else. The sadhu was thinking about the worship of Sri Krsna but you were thinking about something else. Can you have association with the sadhu like this? We once saw a Babaji Maharaja who was lying on his bed. He had been going from temple to temple, always performing harinama. While he was lying on the bed, we noticed that there were many bugs in it. They were "associating" with Babaji Maharaja. What were they doing? They were sucking his blood! Direct contact! This is not association. There are other kinds of insects, such as lice, who like to remain in the best part of the body: the head. What do they do? By sitting on the head, the best part of the body of the sadhu, they suck his blood. Merely remaining in the vicinity of the sadhu is not sadhu-sanga. The sadhu is thinking about the Supreme Lord and how to serve Him, but I am thinking how to exploit the sadhu. This is not sadhu-sanga. You can have sanga from a distance if the purpose is correct. The end justifies the means. If the end is bad, everything will be bad.
Srila Rupa Gosvami has advised us how to associate with the sadhus:
guhyam akhyati prcchati
bhunkte bhojayate caiva
(Sri Upadesamrta 4)
We should follow the teachings of the sadhu. We are not to place importance merely on external behavior. We must see the purpose for which sadhus are acting: for the service of Sri Krsna and the devotees. We should behave like the sadhu only when we understand the purpose of their behavior. We should follow, not imitate. What is the difference between following and imitation? This story may be given as an example.
There was once a peddler who maintained his family by selling caps. He would carry the caps on his head in a wicker basket. He would walk through the streets all day long selling these caps, taking his food along with him and eat along the way. He spent the day walking along the road, shouting, "Very nice caps for sale today! Price reduced! Take! Take! Take!" People would come and purchase his caps and he would thus maintain his family. But one day, even though he had spent the entire day shouting, he could not get any money. Not a single person had bought anything. Needless to say, he was very disappointed. Toward the afternoon, he became fatigued from so much walking. So, he sat under a big banyan tree. Being hungry, he ate the food that he had brought with him. After having eaten, he became drowsy and began to yawn. As he was so tired, he thought, "Let me lie down for some time." He spread a chadar on the grass beneath the tree and lay down. He placed the wicker basket, filled with caps, by the side of his head. He also kept a cap on his head and fell asleep.
After some time, some monkeys came from nearby and climbed up into the banyan tree. From the top of the tree, they could see that someone was sleeping underneath, who had a cap on top of his head, and next to him was a wicker basket-full of caps! "Oh!" they thought. "Let us get those caps!" They descended the tree and, silently, they approached the basket. Each monkey took one cap and put it on his head. In this way, all the caps were emptied from the basket. The monkeys became very satisfied with themselves by having put the caps on their heads. They climbed back up the tree and started to jump about from one branch to another with great delight, shrieking, "Kak! Koo! Kak! Koo!"
Hearing the sound of the monkeys, the peddler woke up. He was surprised to see that it was now evening. He looked at his wicker basket and saw that it was empty. "What? Not a single cap was sold but the caps are all gone! Who took them?" He looked about and saw the monkeys with the caps. "Now I have eaten all the food and have none left. If I have no food to give the monkeys, they will not return the caps." If you go to Vrndavana, there are many monkey-devotees there. Those monkeys will steal your spectacles. They will only return them if you give them some food. Now, this peddler realized that he had nothing to give the monkeys. "If they surround me, I shall be killed by them!" he thought.
He became enraged and shouted, "You have taken all that I have! Why have you not taken the cap on my own head? Here, you should take it!" He took his cap and threw it at them.
The monkeys saw this and, taking their own caps in their hands, threw them at the peddler below. Because the peddler had thrown his cap toward them, they also threw their caps toward him. Now their caps were on the ground and they were left with nothing. They do not know why one wears a cap. They simply imitate. Such imitation is not good. "How is the sadhu sleeping? He is sleeping like this, so I shall have to sleep like that. How is he sitting? I shall have to sit like that. How does the sadhu take his steps?" All this is imitation. You have to know the purpose. You will be able to follow by knowing the purpose.
Mother Devahuti again put a question to Lord Kapila, "You are now advising us to associate with sadhus. How can we recognize the sadhu? Who is the sadhu? What are the symptoms? What are the qualities of the sadhu? Please tell me."
Then, Kapila Bhagavan said, "By these qualities, you are to understand. One particular quality is the original quality: krsnaika-sarana. When that original quality is there, side by side, there are other concomitant qualities." First, Kapila Bhagavan described these accompanying, concomitant qualities. He describes the original quality later on. By seeing these qualities, you are to know that the person is a sadhu:
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.21)
The first of these accompanying qualities is "titiksavah": tolerance, forgiveness. sadhus have no material desires, so sadhus can be tolerant. When we have desires and there is some obstacle to the fulfillment of those desires, then we become angry. "Kamat krodho 'bhijayate" (Bhagavad-gita, 2.62). We become unbalanced. The only desire of the sadhu is the satisfaction of Sri Krsna, nothing else. He has no desire for wealth, no desire for sexual satisfaction, no desire for name and fame. If we have the desire for wealth and someone puts some obstacle in our way, we become furious. But there is no cause for the sadhu to become furious and unbalanced. He does not want anything. Therefore, the sadhu is, by nature, tolerant and forgiving towards others.
Our Guru Maharaja used to give one very good illustration of this. The sadhu's behavior should be such:
chinnam chinnam punarapi punah sadhucaiva iksu khandam
dagdham dagdham punarapi punah kancanam kanta rupam
na pranante prakrtir-vikrti jayate sajjananam
Narada Gosvami gave advice to Dhruva. Dhruva's mother, Suniti, also advised him thusly. "If you have any kind of hostile mentality against your stepmother, then you will not succeed in your worship of the Lord. You will not receive His grace. Your stepmother is not the cause of your miseries--you are the cause. You have brought this upon yourself through some behavior in a previous birth. You are now reaping the fruits of that behavior:
bhunkte jano yat para-duhkhadas tat
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 4.8.17)
If sugarcane is cut to pieces, will it say, "Oh! You have given me affliction! I shall give up my sweet nature! I shall become bitter or sour!"? Even if you cut sugarcane to pieces, it will not give up its nature. It will always give a sweet taste. Its nature is to give sweetness. No other tendency is there. If you heat gold, that gold will not give up its radiant glow. "Oh! I have been burnt by fire! I shall give up my beautiful radiance and become black!" No, as much as you heat the gold, by that much, its glow will increase. Like this, if you oppress the sadhu, his glory will be manifested ever more and more. He is incapable of doing any harm to any living being of the world. By such behavior, you are to understand such a person to be a sadhu.
"Karunikah" is like "krpalu". The sadhu is always compassionate and kind to all the jivas of this world. He could very easily worship by sitting in one holy place of pilgrimage, but he chooses not to do this. Instead he moves from one place to another because he sees that all the living beings of this world do not know how to find their eternal welfare. They are in darkness. Seeing this, the sadhu cannot tolerate it. He moves from one place to another to make the jivas understand that they are on the wrong path. "You have forgotten your Supreme Lord, Who is All-Bliss, All-Existence, All-Knowledge! You are running after a phantasmagoria! You should worship the Lord!" Like that, the sadhu goes from door to door. This was Caitanya Mahaprabhu's order to Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura. "Go beg from door to door. Do not beg for money, etc., but say, "Bolo `krsna,' bhajo krsna, koro krsna-siksa!" Nityananda Prabhu and Haridasa Thakura went to every door and said, "We have come with this message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu! Please utter the Name of Krsna! We do not want anything else. Worship Krsna! Study about Krsna: find out who you are and what your relationship is with Him. This is all we beg from you." Going from house to house, as per the direction of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, they did this. Today, through that preceptorial channel, as per the direction of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, we are going to different places and performing sankirtana everywhere. So, this is the way in which the sadhus do good to others, for their eternal welfare. Those who are enslaved jivas are in bondage. They do not know what is in the interest of their own eternal welfare. What can they do? They can do things for material benefit, but not more than that.
"Suhrdah sarva-dehinam": Sadhus are the friends of all corporeal living beings. Are they only friends of the human beings and enemies of the beasts? No. They see that, in every being, the spiritual spark is present. We were also previously born as aquatic animals, trees, birds, etc. We should be compassionate toward them. We should not kill them. The sadhu has no impetus to do any injury to others because he sees Krsna and that all are connected to Krsna. If I love you, I cannot have the tendency to injure any part of you. To love you means that I love you along with all your parts. That is actual love. I say that I love you, but I am, at the same time, cutting your hand or cutting your leg. That is not love. If I have love for Krsna, then I shall have love for all living beings. Then actual love is there. Sadhus have this understanding. For this reason, they cannot have the temptation and mental inclination to do injury to others. It is absent in them.
You might say, "Yes, but they are eating vegetables. Vegetables also have life and they are killing them." Yes, it is true that if one eats vegetables for his own sake, then he is killing them. But what do sadhus do? They do everything for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. They know that all the living beings have to serve the Supreme Lord. These beings (vegetables) are in an undeveloped state of covered consciousness and they have no way to serve the Supreme Lord. But sadhus offer them for the service of Sri Krsna:
bhunjate te tv agham papa
ye pacanty atma-karanat
"Ajata-satravah": Sadhus do not see anyone as their enemy. "This is my friend and that is my foe." You will not find this sort of discrimination in the sadhu. All are connected with the Supreme Lord. There is no foe. My mind is the greatest foe. I have no other foe in this world. Prahlada also says in his prayer to the Supreme Lord, "When we become enveloped by the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord, we have the vision that this is my friend, that is my foe, this is mine and that belongs to someone else. We get this sort of distorted vision when we are enveloped by maya. I bow down to the Supreme Lord, by Whose energy, we in this world think that this man is a foe and that man is a friend, this country is a foe and that country is a friend."
"Santah": Sadhus are always calm and serene because they have no desire other than the service of Sri Krsna.
"Sadhavah sadhu-bhusanah": Sadhus give all respect to the scriptures. They practice everything as per scriptural injunction. They do not go against scripture. Another meaning of this phrase is that they are simple hearted, simple natured. They have no crookedness.
These are the secondary qualities of the sadhu--tatastha-laksana. But what is the original quality?
bhaktim kurvanti ye drdham
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.22)
sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah
harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-guna
mano-rathenasati dhavato bahih
(Srimad Bhagavatam 5.18.12)
Take, for example, a small boy. He is very beautiful. As he plays here and there, he smears his body with dust and mud. But still, that boy is giving happiness to his parents. If he is decorated with beautiful clothes, then he becomes even more beautiful to them. But if the life leaves that body, and that dead body is decorated with all the most beautiful garments and ornaments, will that dead body give any happiness to the parents or any other person? All will be afraid at the sight of the dead body. When we do not have one-pointed devotion to Sri Krsna, there is no life in our existence. It is like a lifeless, dead body. By decorating your dead body, you cannot get satisfaction for yourself and you cannot give satisfaction to others. You are lifeless.
When you have one-pointed devotion to Sri Krsna, then actual qualities with intrinsic value will appear. Now, without devotion to the Supreme Lord, whatever qualities you may exhibit have no actual intrinsic value. It is an outward show only. It is not coming from within.
"Mat-krte tyakta-karmanas": In India, you will find that all human beings are not of the same status. There are differences. In one person, you will find sattva-guna predominating, in another rajo-guna predominating and in another, tamo-guna. So, they are advised to practice varnasrama-dharma, whereby they are encouraged to act according to their own ability and level of competence within the four varnas (brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra) and four asramas (brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasi). If they relinquish this practice, they will be committing a sin. They will be violating the Vedic order. But, if they relinquish this for the service of Sri Krsna, it will be correct.
You will find, in the Gita, Krsna first told Arjuna, "Perform your work according to your own competency. Do not attempt to do the work of others who are of a different nature." But ultimately, He says, "Sarva-dharman parityajya, mam ekam saranam vraja" (18.66). "Give up all the relative duties I have spoken about earlier and take absolute shelter of Me. You are my own person. You are related to Me. You are part of My own potency. I have hitherto advised you to act according to your own capacity, but you will obtain your actual, eternal welfare when you take absolute shelter of Me." When we take absolute shelter of the Supreme Lord, we will not be committing sin by giving up those relative duties. But, take careful note of the words, "mat-krte": for Me. "Performing household duties or brahmacari duties has become too difficult, so I have given them up." Thinking like this, you are committing sin. You are violating the Vedic injunctions. But if you take shelter of Supreme Lord Sri Krsna, then automatically you are performing service for all.
Generally, we refer to those who have given up their household life as sadhus. "I am married. I have a wife and children. I have no funds to maintain them. So, I have given up household life. I am moving along the road, begging. I have become a sadhu." He is not a sadhu. He is committing a sin. But if a person lives within household life, serving Krsna, then all the family members are benefited. "Mat-krte tyakta-karmanas tyakta-svajana-bandhavah": "for Me."
What are the original qualities of the sadhu? One is one-pointed devotion to the Supreme Lord and another is that you have to give up this varnasrama-dharma and bodily relations for the service of Sri Krsna. If you do this, then you are doing good to all. That is a sadhu. Another of the original qualities of the sadhu is that the sadhu only likes to hear and speak about Krsna:
srnvanti kathayanti ca
tapanti vividhas tapa
(Srimad Bhagavatam, 3.25.23)
The sadhu cannot speak for money or some other ulterior motive. Then it is not hari-katha, as it is not for Krsna:
"You have given up everything. You have taken shelter of the Supreme Lord, but you have no belief! The Supreme Lord is maintaining and sustaining the whole universe--even all the beings who are averse to Him. If anybody takes shelter of Him, will he not be protected? Do you not have such belief? You have to take money for giving Him service? Hearing is devotional service. Speaking for the satisfaction of Sri Krsna is also devotion."
"But, if we take no money, then how shall we live?"
"Then let us die! If no one gives us food for our service and we die, then let us die! What is the use of having this sort of belief? God is maintaining the whole universe. He will not maintain me? Why should I ask for this?"
If a person goes to another's house and starts working for him, without demanding anything, how long will the master of the house remain silent? Two or three days go by without feeding him. The master thinks, "He is working for me. How can I eat without giving him something?" That person might be a very bad person, but the master does not consider this. If anybody acts on behalf of the Supreme Lord, will He not protect him? The Supreme Lord is All-Powerful. He maintains infinite brahmandas but does not give these worldly things to the devotees? So why should you accept money for speaking about the Supreme Lord. If you hear that sort of speech, then that person is speaking about the end, and that end is money.
For this reason, we should always remember Nrsimhadeva. Nrsimhadeva kills Hiranyakasipu. Who is Hiranyakasipu? "Hiranya" means wealth and "kasipu" means bed--sexual desire. So "Hiranyakasipu" means "those who have desire for wealth and sex, and also for name and fame". Such persons cannot get Krsna. So, Hiranyakasipu is within us. Externally, we may see a demon, but that demon is also residing within ourselves. That demon should be killed! Then you can go to Krsna. There is also one-pointed, causeless, eternal devotion residing within our real selves. That is called "Prahlada". There is Prahlada, Nrsimha Bhagavan and bhakti. Nrsimha Bhagavan will remove all ulterior motives from our hearts. He will kill Hiranyakasipu and enhance Prahlada. So we should remember Lord Nrsimhadeva:
yato yato yami tato nrsimha
bahir nrsimha hrdaye nrsimha
nrisimham adim saranam prapadye
Srila Bhakti Ballabh
Tirtha Maharaja Page