Germany - Feb 23 2003
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
[Almost four hundred devotees gathered at the Youth Hostel in Olpe, near snow and ice-filled Frankfurt, Germany, for the week of February 18-24, to attend this year's hari-katha festival. The theme of Shrila Narayana Maharaja's nightly hari-katha classes was "What is the goal of life, and how to attain it." Besides his formal classes, Shrila Maharaja held two special darsans for all the devotees present, in the large fireside-heated hall just below the temple room. The following is an excerpt from one of those darsanas, in which several devotees posed their interesting questions:]
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja (speaking to the Berlin temple president):]
First you should preach from your center in Berlin, so that all will be happy and inspired, and then together you should make a committee with board members, and with its help you should make the temple still better. At that time we can bbring very beautiful Deities from India - Radha-Krsna and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. You should preach to others and they should be inspired to serve. To create a center is easy, but to maintain its activities is very hard. If you do this, I will be happy; and if you need help, we will help you. I will send preachers there.
(Now speaking to everyone:) I am inviting you all to our Navadvipa parikrama, for the Navadvipa Mahotsava - the festival of Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. We will be performing parikrama of the nine islands. If you have no money problems and your visa and passport are in order, then come; otherwise wait for the one month Vraja-mandala parikrama. I am inviting you all. If some of you come to parikrama, I will be very happy, and if you cannot come, do not be weak. Always be strong and see that Krsna, Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu - and myself - are there with you. Never be weak. This is my message to you all.
[Devotee:] I want to thank you very much because in the last month, since you gave me initiation, I have felt so much more strength to chant harinama.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Disciples should not give thanks to Gurudeva. Do you understand? They are not qualified to give thanks to him. They should be always begging mercy.
[Devotee:] Can I have some more mercy so I can chant better please?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] In my classes I am giving my everything to you all. I am giving this without any cost, but how much you take and preserve is up to you. It depends on you. If you are like a bird you can take a little water, if you are like an elephant you can take more; and if you can still take more, then do that.
[Devotee:] I have a girlfriend back home and she is not so interested in Krsna Consciousness. How can I cultivate her in Krsna Consciousness without being too forceful?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] I am not interested in girlfriends and boyfriends. Keep me out of that. I am only concerned with pure bhakti. If you want that, I can give it, but from where can I give you girlfriends or boyfriends? You should follow the instructions I am giving without cost. You should read Jaiva Dharma, Manah-Siksa, and Shri Upadesamrta.
[New devotee:] What book should I read first?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Jaiva Dharma and Bhagavad-gita.
[Devotee:] Our parampara acaryas are nitya-siddha devotees. Are there any examples that a sadhaka has become liberated and an acarya in our line?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] There are so many. Someone from that side (Goloka Vrndavana), and not having experiences of this world, cannot preach; they cannot help us. This is because they are absorbed in the bhavas of their pastimes with Radha-Krsna, we cannot understand their activities. Only those devotees who have practiced bhakti-yoga can be acaryas. By practicing they have gradually come to ruci, taste, then asakti, great attachment for Krsna, then rati, and then prema, and now they are serving Radha-Krsna and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The devotees who are madhyama-adhikari, who have passed through all the processes and have become uttama-bhagavata, can preach more then those who came from there (Goloka Vrndavana). They can help more because they know everything about the sufferings of this world, and the process to become free from these sufferings and attain pure bhakti. A madhyama-adhikari can help more than the mahabhagavatas can. The mahabhagavatas cannot help very much, because even if they give their association, we would not be able to understand their activities. In other words, if Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami came to you naked, what would you do? You would not be able to appreciate Him. A madhyama-adhikari who is just about to reach the stage of uttama-bhagavata is the best personality for our association.
[Shripad Aranya Maharaja:] But Shrila Narottama dasa Thakura preached everywhere - and he has come from there (Goloka).
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] But he was also taking initiation here in this world. He attained realization from Shrila Lokanath Gosvami and Shrila Jiva Gosvami. Uttama-mahabhagavatas will have to come as devotees in the stage of madhyama-adhikari. In other words they will have to act like they are coming from here; they will have to accept the role of madhyama-adhikari, or else they cannot preach. This is very hard to understand. Although such a self-realized soul is pretending to be madhyama-adhikari, all disciples will think very strongly, without any doubt, that "My Gurudeva has come from Goloka Vrndavana and is an associate of Radha-Krsna and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu. He is like Krsna - very merciful - and he is liberated." They must think like this. They should think that his wooden sandals and all his paraphernalia are transcendental.
[Devotee:] How can I serve you? I asked yesterday, but the kirtana was so loud that I could not hear your answer.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] You can serve me by engaging your body, mind, words, all your senses, and even your mood. You can serve by all means - by wealth, by distributing and reading books, and also by having great affection for others. In this way you can serve.
[Devotee:] There are many services to do now. I want to know in which service I should completely fix my mind.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Try to fix your mind in harinama kirtana and japa. This is first. Pray to Nama Prabhu, who is not less than Krsna and Shrimati Radhika. In fact, Nama Prabhu is more powerful even than Krsna. So pray to them: "Please make me qualified to serve you in all respects." Then, serve with your senses, mind, words and everything you possess.
If you concentrate your mind only on chanting and not eating, you will die after two, three, or four days. So take some prasada, because you will have to maintain your body. As long as your body is there, you will have to maintain it. But don't be attached to that. Try to be attached to the pure name. We do not have darsana of Krsna, but He is present in the form of His name. Have this strong mood, and then you will be able to perform all activities like Ambarish Maharaja and Prahlada Maharaja.
sravanam kirtanam visnoh
arcanam vandanam dasyam
["Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Visnu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words) - these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 7.5.23)]
Maintain the mood that: "I am servant of all," not a temple commander or temple superintendent. One should think, "My Gurudeva has told and inspired me to serve all, to preach and to have love and affection for all." He should think, "I am servant of all;" otherwise he cannot do anything. Every preacher should think, "I am a servant of all." He should not think he is the monarch of all, otherwise he will be lost in false ego. Be very polite and humble. Everyone should behave gently and sweetly with all others.
[Devotee:] I want to know what we should think regarding your coming in our dreams, and giving instruction and darsana there.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] I don't want to come in dreams. You should come in your real position. Dreams will never do anything. I see that all are pursuing dreams. Do not dream. If you drink water, or eat in a dream, you are not really drinking water or eating. I do not have much faith in the dreams of conditioned souls. Dreams are only for realized souls.
[Devotee:] But how will I know what to do when I have such a dream?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] If something is good, you should follow it, and if it is bad then reject it.
[Devotee:] But what if we see you there?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaja:] Why not come to real life?
Editor: Shyamarani dasi
Transcriber and typist: Vasanti dasi