A True Devotee
By H.H. Sushri Dr. Shyama Tripathi Ji
Gauranga Mahaprabhu beautifully summarises the characteristics of a true devotee on the path of devotion in his Shikshastak, “Be humbler than a blade of grass, be more tolerant than a tree, respect everyone without desiring any for yourself, and be always immersed in the loving remembrance of the Lord.”
A major flaw in our personality is that we constantly engage in activities in a vain attempt to impress others; a pure recipe for disaster in our spiritual growth. Instead, a constant and sincere effort should be made to amend ourselves. For instance, we feel upset and angry when criticised, harbouring negative feelings towards the critic. By doing so we are only causing harm to ourselves. Instead of remembering God and Guru and cleansing our heart, we nurture the growth of even more associated negativity.
Principally speaking, 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. Only the intensity of these afflictions will vary from person to person. Furthermore, let’s not forget that we also carry infinite sins from our innumerable past lives, and they can only be eliminated upon God-realisation. Consider with a calm mind if someone calls you sinful, greedy or egotistical or anything else unpleasant. The fact remains that he is only telling you the truth. 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 offended, when someone addresses you in the correct manner?
Saint Tulsidas proclaims,”No one is as deceitful, wicked and lustful as me.” Think about it. God-realised saints who are beyond the influence of maya, openly declare that they are devious, sensual and wicked whereas we ignorant souls,who are actually all of these and more, fail to accept this truth and consequently suffer an even greater spiritual loss.
Saint Kabir, emphasises, “Keep your critic close to you. Give him a cottage in the courtyard of your house as he cleanses your heart without using soap and water.” The people who criticise us are actually your well-wishers. Just imagine if a scorpion was crawling on your back and somebody alerted it to you; surely you would consider him your well-wisher.
One more basic principle for a true devotee to understand is, only those moments spent in the sweet remembrance of God and Guru are meaningful and worthy of acceptance; at all times 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.
To conclude, if one wants to rapidly progress in the path of devotion, one should strive to enhance humility and forbearance; and engage their mind in the loving remembrance of God and Guru as much as possible.
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*जगद्गुरु श्री कृपालु जी महाराज का संक्षिप्त परिचय *
जगद्गुरु श्री कृपालु जी महाराज को काशी विद्वत् परिषद् द्वारा 14 जनवरी, सन् 1957 में जगद्गुरु की मूल उपाधि से विभूषित किया गया। आपने ‘प्रेम रस मदिरा’, ‘प्रेम रस सिद्धांत’ और ‘राधा गोविन्द गीत’ जैसे अनेक दिव्य ग्रंथों की रचना की है जो संपूर्ण विश्व को भक्ति करने की सही राह दिखा रहे हैं। आपके द्वारा विश्व को दी गई अनमोल धरोहरों में भक्ति धाम मनगढ़ स्थित – भक्ति मंदिर, वृन्दावन धाम स्थित – प्रेम मंदिर और बरसाना धाम स्थित – कीर्ति मंदिर आदि प्रमुख हैं। जगद्गुरु श्री कृपालुजी महाराज ने गरीबों, असहायों और साधु-सन्तों की चिकित्सीय सेवा हेतु अलग-अलग स्थानों पर पूर्णतः निःशुल्क, पूर्ण सुसज्जित चिकित्सालयों की स्थापना की है। प्रथम-जगद्गुरु कृपालु चिकित्सालय, भक्ति धाम- मनगढ़, कुण्डा, जिला-प्रतापगढ़, उ.प्र., द्वितीय- रँगीली महल, बरसाना और तृतीय वृन्दावन, जिला-मथुरा, उ.प्र., जहाँ प्रतिदिन हज़ारों रोगियों को स्वास्थ्य लाभ मिल रहा है। कल्याण एवं परोपकार के उद्देश्य से ही गरीब ग्रामीण बालिकाओं के लिये नर्सरी से लेकर एम.ए., बी.एड. तक की शिक्षा हेतु जगद्गुरु कृपालु महिला महाविद्यालय, कुण्डा, जिला-प्रतापगढ़, उ.प्र. की भी स्थापना की गई है, जहाँ हज़ारों बालिकाओं को पूर्णतः निःशुल्क शिक्षा एवं आर्थिक सहयोग प्रदान किया जा रहा है। अतः ‘जगद्गुरु कृपालु परिषत्’ गरीबों, असहायों की सेवा के लिये सदैव ही समर्पित है और रहेगी।
*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*
(known by His devotees as Shri Maharajji)
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, 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.