Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Mathura, India: Summer of 1994
Devotee: In ISKCON I'm pretending to be an older devotee, a senior devotee, but here in your sanga I see that I'm junior to the juniors. I'm just at the very beginning of bhakti.
Shrila Gurudeva: You are my very little dear, darling daughter. You have taken birth only two or three days ago.
Devotee: I feel like I am going back and forth between a pretend situation and a real situation. I'm wondering if I should keep going back and forth with the make-believe situation; or should I concentrate more on the real situation, which is that I'm not really a teacher or a guide?
Shrila Gurudeva: You are a senior Vaisnava, an actual Vaisnava.
Devotee: I keep going back and forth. Will I make more advancement if I just concentrate on the fact that I'm a little baby in bhakti?
Shrila Gurudeva: You can follow your Prabhupada and myself. Both of us are doing bhajana and also giving something to others. When I sit at the lotus feet of my Gurudeva, I see that I am very foolish, actually knowing nothing. Then, being anywhere else, I see that everyone is sleeping; they don't know anything about bhakti, not even ABCD. I will then tell them whatever I have heard from my Gurudeva.
So, we should do both – bhajana and preaching – as our forefathers and acaryas have done; otherwise, we will be deficient.
Devotee: We'll be lacking something?
Shrila Gurudeva: Yes, yes. According to what our Gurudeva has taught us, we have to preach. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has told us, "You should preach, 'Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.'"
yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa
amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa
(Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila, 7.128)
[Instruct everyone to follow the orders of Lord Shri Krishna as they are given in the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad-Bhagavatam. In this way become a spiritual master and try to liberate everyone in this land.]
kabhu na badhibe tomara visaya-taranga
punarapi ei thani pabe mora sanga
(Shri Chaitanya Charitamrita Madhya-lila, 7.129)
[If you follow this instruction, your materialistic life at home will not obstruct your spiritual advancement. Indeed, if you follow these regulative principles, we will again meet here, or, rather, you will never lose My company.]
Mahaprabhu said, "You should become guru, and on My behalf give the holy name to the world. Because I am with you, no worldly maya will come and touch you." But do not think, "I am an acarya, I am guru." Think only that, "I am fulfilling the wish of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. I am carrying out the orders of my Gurudeva." Telling others what I have learned from my Gurudeva is also a kind of bhajana.
Suppose I am giving class and I am sitting on a 'throne,' higher than others. Still, when Gurudeva or any senior Vaisnava comes, I will get down from there and pray to them, "Please speak. I don't know anything."
Devotee: We try to remember the pastimes of Krishna, and you have said that the pastimes are personalities. But the pastimes include many personalities, like Yasoda, Krishna, Nanda Maharaja...
Shrila Gurudeva: They are all included in one.
Shrila Gurudeva: This is their speciality.
That pastime personality is prema-bhakti, and in prema-bhakti there are five different personalities: Santa (neutral relation), dasya (servitorship), sakhya (friendship), vatsalya (parenthood), and madhurya (conjugal service). We should pray to madhurya-bhakti, which lives in the gopis, and among the gopis, Shrimati Radhika is the embodiment of hladini-sakti (Shri Krishna's pleasure potency). When hladini-sakti and samvit-sakti mix together, that essence is called lila-sakti, or Yogamaya. If we pray to this Yogamaya, Paurnamasi, who is a manifestation of Shrimati Radhika, she will arrange that a chain of pastimes will automatically manifest in our hearts.
Devotee: So, the pastime personality is Yogamaya?
Shrila Gurudeva: Yogamaya.
We also pray to Radha-kunda, Giriraja Govardhana, and Yamuna, because they can manifest in your heart.
Devotee: Uddhava-kyari is a personality?
Shrila Gurudeva: All the places are personalities, but all the pastimes together are embodied as Yogamaya.
We also pray to Vrnda-devi, Gurudeva, and the Vaisnavas.