Does one need to check one’s material propensity?

Amrta Vani

Q&A by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakura Prabhupada

Q. Does one need to check one’s material propensity?

A. If the propensity to enjoy material life is not checked, then one will continue in the cycle of repeated birth and death. It is important to stop acting for sense gratification. Unless one stops acting for sense gratification, the propensity for material life—and the suffering that comes from material distress—will not be destroyed. It is essential to cultivate Krsna consciousness. Spiritual cultivation removes the desire for material life, destroys the desire to try for artha, kama, dharma, and moksa, and gives one supreme fortune. All the material desires in the heart of a person in which Lord Krsna has manifest are automatically destroyed, because Krsna is the transcendental Cupid and all desires serve Him and no one else. One who has captured Krsna in his heart has no desire for sense gratification.
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What is karma?

Amrta Vani

Q&A by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakura Prabhupada

Q. What is karma?

A. Work done for one’s own happiness and the happiness of others is called karma. There is nothing about trying to please Krsna in the performance of karma. The goal of karma is to search after one’s own happiness and the happiness of others, whereas searching for Krsna’s pleasure is called devotional service.
This material world is the field of karma for ordinary people, but for the devotees the material world is a place in which to cultivate devotional service. Whatever is performed in this world with the prideful thought, “I am the doer,” is called karma, whereas whatever is done for the Lord’s pleasure, induced by the Lord, with the idea, “I am Krsna’s servant,” is called devotional service.

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What kind of people find fault with Vaisnavas?

Amrita Vani

Q&A by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakura Prabhupada

Q. What kind of people find fault with Vaisnavas?

A. Only those averse to Lord Hari and whose only assets are their defective material senses find fault with Vaisnavas. In Bhagavad-glta Lord Krsna states that His devotees never perish. Can those who worship the Lord without deviation ever fall down? They certainly achieve perfection. Since our vision is polluted we find fault with others and thereby ruin ourselves. When we thus become materialists we become bereft of service to guru and Krsna. We think of the trouble of others because we ourselves are in trouble. Because we are full of faults we find fault with others. If we can correct ourselves, we will find that we have no time to find fault with others.

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Is it essential to become subordinate?

Amrita Vani

Q&A by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakura Prabhupada

Q. Is it essential to become subordinate?

A . An independent person cannot worship Hari or become a devotee. One’s benefit lies in following in the footsteps of one’s acarya. People with independent natures maintain different opinions. If millions of gopis have millions of opinions, then there will certainly be disturbances in their discharge of service to Krsna. No one has the power to please Sri Madhava without subordinating themselves to the daughter of Vrsabhanu. The spiritual master is nondifferent from and an intimate associate of the daughter of Vrsabhanu. That is why it is important for a person desiring auspiciousness to take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master. There is no other way to achieve auspiciousness.

How did the dependent independent souls receive their independence?

Amrita Vani

Q&A by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakura Prabhupada

Q. How did the dependent independent souls receive their independence?

A. We are part and parcels of the fully independent Personality of Godhead, and therefore God’s qualities are present in us in minute quantity. Krsna is fully independent. Therefore we also possess minute independence.
In our independence, there are two kinds of aversion to the Lord, aversion in the form of desire for material enjoyment, and aversion in the form of renunciation of material enjoyment. For the independent souls, there are only two ways open; to walk the path of material enjoyment or to walk the path of devotional service. No one can remain neutral; everyone must choose one of these two paths.
By constantly worshiping the Lord with love and devotion, one is not covered and thrown by the Lord’s illusory energy. But worship should be constant. If there is even a slight interruption in our attention, Maya will take advantage of the situation and cause us trouble

As many opinions, as many paths

Amrta Vani

Q&A by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakura Prabhupada.

Q : Is the phrase “As many opinions, as many paths” correct?

A : Opinion is born from mental speculation. As there are innumerable living entities, there are innumerable thoughts and tastes. The path that has been created, is being created, and will be created in the future by peoples’ whims can never be the eternal occupational duty of the spirit soul (sanatana-dharma). Although there have been and will be innumerable opinions based on mental speculation, Srimad- Bhagavatam, the king of all sastras, declares, sa vai pumsam paro dharmo, yato bhaktir adhoksaja/ ahaituky apratihata, yayatma suprasidati: “The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.” (Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6)
The philosophy of “as many opinions, as many paths” found in this world is a path born from material knowledge; it is a path favorable to the material world. It is unmotivated, uninterrupted devotional service to Hari that is the supreme opinion for all humanity. The soul can be happy by no other means. Since other religious principles and processes award a little pleasure to body or mind, gross materialists and mental speculators consider such religious principles and processes as their ultimate goal. Discussions of the Absolute Truth must be heard from the living source. Then the living entities can attain highest eternal benefit. Otherwise, there will be danger at every moment for those who are misguided.

What does true humility means?

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur PrabhupadaAmrta Vani

Q&A by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakura Prabhupada

Q : What does true humility means?

A : In other words, true humility means to develop a taste for chanting and to become a true servant of the holy name. Service to Guru and the Vaisnavas is the gateway through which we develop such taste.

Of what type of guru should we take shelter?

Amrta Vani

Q&A by Gaudiya Gosthipati Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakura Prabhupada

Q: Of what type of guru should we take shelter?

A: If I am fortunate enough, I will take shelter of a spiritual master who always worships Hari. I should surrender to a spiritual master who is cent percent engaged in the Lord’s service. Otherwise, unable to follow his ideal example, I will not be able to engage myself cent percent in the Lord’s service. A person devoid of proper etiquette, a platform speaker, or a professional priest cannot become guru. If we receive such a spiritual master, unfortunately, we cannot learn to worship Hari. A spiritual master must be free from material desire, self-controlled, well conversant with scripture, and self-realized. Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.3.21) states:

tasmad gurum prapadyeta, jijndsuh sreya uttamam
sabde pare ca nisnatam, brahmany upasamasrayam

“Therefore, any person who seriously desires real happiness must seek a bona fide spiritual master and take shelter of him by initiation. The qualification of the bona fide guru is that he has realized the conclusions of the scriptures by deliberation and is able to convince others of these conclusions. Such great personalities, who have taken shelter of the Supreme Godhead, leaving aside all material considerations, should be understood to be bona fide spiritual masters.”

Why are we unable to serve Krsna?

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur PrabhupadaIt is impossible to serve Krsna without receiving the mercy of great souls. This is why it is so important to take shelter at the lotus feet of a bona fide spiritual master. The Caitanya-caritamrta states, mahat-krpa vina kona karme ‘bhakti’ naya, krsna-bhakti dure rahu, samsara nahe ksaya: “Unless one is favored by a pure devotee, one cannot attain the platform of devotional service. To say nothing of krsna-bhakti, one cannot even be relieved from the bondage of material existence.” (Madhya 22.51)

If one associates with those devotees who continually serve Krsna, then his propensity to serve Krsna will also be awakened. Without the association of Krsna’s devotees, one cannot develop his own desire to engage in the Lord’s service. Service to Hari is not a joke. It is dependent on the association and mercy of devotees. Simply by following in the devotees’ footsteps, one receives the good fortune to engage in the Lord’s service.

 

Amrta Vani of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Thakura Prabhupada