A True Devotee

(An excerpt of a speech made by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Jayanti)

तृणादपि सुनीचेन तरोरपि सहिष्णुना ।

अमानिना मानदेन कीर्तनीयः सदा हरिः ॥

trinadapi sunichena tarorapi sahishnuna

amanina manadena kirtaniyah sadah harih

(Shikshashtak, Gaurang Mahaprabhu)

Devotees on the path of bhakti need to fulfil the following conditions if they are to progress towards the attainment of their cherished goal-

Be humbler than a blade of grass (trinadapi sunichena), be more tolerant than a tree (tarorapi sahishnuna), respect everyone without desiring any for yourself (amanina manadena) and be always immersed in the loving remembrance of the Lord (kirtaniyah sadah harih). 

All of us constantly engage in all sorts of activities in a vain attempt to have others call us good. This is a major flaw in our personality and a recipe for disaster when it comes to our spiritual growth. Instead of being called good superficially, we should make a constant and sincere effort to become good. 

For example, if someone criticises us we feel upset. We may even get angry and considering that person an enemy, we harbour negative feelings towards him. By acting like this, we are only causing harm to ourselves. Instead of remembering God and Guru and cleansing our heart, we invite fallen souls into our minds and nurture the growth of even more associated negativity. 

Just remember one very basic principle. Till such a time as we become God-realised, we shall continue to be governed by maya and therefore suffer from all kinds of mental afflictions, such as anger, greed, desire, ego and so on.  In addition to this, it should not be forgotten that we are also carrying an unlimited stock of sins from our innumerable past lives, and all this can only be abolished upon God-realisation.

Our scriptures say, 

सर्वधर्मान्परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणं व्रज ।

अहं त्वां सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः ॥

(Gita 18.66)

Consider with a calm mind if someone calls you lustful, sinful, greedy, egotistical or any other such thing. The fact remains that he is only telling you the truth. We should be able to accept this truth and then work to improve ourselves. If we address a constable as “constable”, he does not take umbrage at our greeting. He will not ask you to falsely address him as the Superintendent of Police. In the same way, why should you feel bad when someone addresses you in the correct manner?

मो सम कौन कुटिल खल कामी ।

(Saint Tulsidas)

Think about it, God-realised saints who are beyond the influence of maya openly proclaim that they are devious, sensual and wicked, whereas we ignorant souls, who are actually all of these things and more, fail to accept this truth and suffer an even greater spiritual loss as a consequence.

Saint Kabir says,

निन्दक नियरे राखिये आँगन कुटी छवाय ।

“Keep your critic close to you. Give him a cottage in the courtyard of your house because he cleanses your heart without using soap or water.”

The people who criticise us are actually our well-wishers. Just imagine if a scorpion was crawling on your back and someone alerted you to it; surely you would consider him your well-wisher?

Please understand one more basic principle.  Only those moments spent in the sweet loving remembrance of God and Guru are meaningful and worthy of acceptance, at all other times know that you are only committing sins and nothing else.

It is for this reason that everyone must analyse how much time they spend in twenty-four-hours devoted to God, and how much time they waste being devoted to the world. We must also remember that we carry a monumental burden in the form of all our unlimited sins from innumerable past lives that we flippantly add to in this present life. 

Now in spite of all this, we still fail to sincerely ask for a pardon by shedding tears of repentance. We should be ashamed of ourselves. So firmly resolve, without a moment’s delay, not to feel bad if someone points out your mistake. With practice you will surely succeed in improving yourself. 

Every night before sleeping, reflect on the mistakes you made earlier in the day and resolve not to repeat them tomorrow. If you practise this, over the passage of time you will stop being affected by criticism directed at you. Realise at all times that Shyamasundara resides in the heart of every living being, noting all our thoughts.  How can He possibly grace us if we continue to feel bad after being criticised? 

Our constant awareness and reflection on such things will result in our improvement. It will also be very helpful in assisting us to remember God and Guru even more. So do not hold any ill feeling, even towards the greatest of sinners. Maintain your equanimity of mind and again and again pray to the sweet Lord.

(We wish all devotees a happy Chaitanya Mahaprabhu Jayanti)

*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*

(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharaj Ji)

The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957, by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include  -  Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh,  Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.