Virtue is its Own Reward
by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: I must seek the truth, internally. Virtue is its own reward. We shall be virtuous, that does not mean for something else, virtue is its own reward. That I am in the real path of searching the truth, that is its own reward. With this capital we must go forward. Can you follow?
Devotee: Yes, goodness for goodness sake.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: I am searching after truth, eliminating falsehood, dismissing sense of falsehood. That is the reward. Virtue is its own reward.
Devotee: I find myself and many of Srila Swami Maharaj's disciples who have left ISKCON have tremendous difficulty trying to…
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: According to your sincere conscience you will choose your companions. What can one do other than this? A sincere seeker of the truth can only do that. According to his own choice of conscience he will associate, find out, select association.
Devotee: It's so hard to regain sadhana.
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: No other alternative, otherwise I must be a cheater of myself. Near to my conscience I shall select my association who will be able to help me on this long journey.
And selection - only search after truth, that must have the first consideration, not any other thing, that I will get some name, fame, or money, or power. All these things must not come in consideration when we are searching a real companion, only the truth, not for anything outside, capital, temptation, or wealth. Anyabhilasa, karma, jnana.
anukulyena-krsnanu-silanam bhaktir uttama
"One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Krsna favourably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service." (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, 1.1.11) + (Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya-lila, 19-167)
Neither power, nor rest, idleness, nor any fleeting desire, trifle things, neither trifle acquisition, nor an organised acquisition, or idleness or salvation that enters into zero, to be reduced to be zero.
Devotee: When a devotee notices, how does a devotee rid himself of weeds that have crowded his creeper?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: I don't follow.
Devotee: Once a devotee realizes certain weeds that have surrounded his creeper of devotion, so how does he make progress and strength to overcome such weeds?
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: By self analysis from time to time he'll find out whether he's being misguided by any other ulterior motive, thing. Self analysis, and what are they?
atyaharah prayasas ca, prajalpo niyamagrahah
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca, sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati
"One's devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) atyahara - eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) prayasa - over-endeavouring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) prajalpa - talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) niyamagraha - practising the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scripture and working independently or whimsically; (5) jana-sanga - associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness; and (6) laulyam - being greedy for mundane achievements." (Upadesamrta, 2)
These six are detrimental to devotion proper. In Upadesamrta, just as before I told, that is contributing to devotion, and this will diminish the devotion.
Atyaharah means whatever we get to collect that, and to also feed one's own self more than necessary. Not only by this food, but whatever I get I want something, I want a portion of that thing.
Prayasas ca, in Bhaktivinoda Thakura's Bengali translation of this there is visaya prayasa, some false errand, enthusiastic attempt for some undesirable, false scent, prayasas ca.
Prajalpa, and the slackness in the mind and to discuss anything and to enter into the discussion of anything and everything. One may read the newspaper, the present topics, the war topics, and some other unnecessary things which happen around. To abuse the reign of our self-control and to allow to enter into the discussion of anything and everything outside what we get, that is prajalpa.
Niyamagrahah, to give extra attention, abnormal attention to any particular rulings. Rulings are always meant for some stage, and after passing that stage that ruling is no longer applicable to me, another ruling I shall have to mark. So in particular, just as suppose in the Ekadasi day we must fast, wholesale, without taking any drop of water, to be very much firm to such ruling. The general rule is I must keep my body fit for the service of the Lord, so to take something, some water, at least some sankalpa, I must not be very strict, over strict to a particular rule, so that the general law will be hampered, niyamagrahah.
Jana-sangas ca, and to be very approachable to the public persons, for politics, sociality, this and that, the poor feeding, all these, so many conceptions of ideal are there all around, and to allow to be chased, or to be captivated, captured by them, jana-sangas ca.
Laulyam ca, and laulya means the very softness of the nature. Whatever I get I want to note that. I am going to the market and something is, 'Oh, everything is trying to capture my attention.' So many things, hundreds of things we find and if anything and everything comes to capture my attention, that is laulya, weakness of the heart, or weakness of our promise, or our object of life. Whatever I find I engage myself in that. In the market, or anywhere and everywhere, everything is attracting my attention. We must save ourselves from these natures.
atyaharah prayasas ca, prajalpo niyamagrahah
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca, sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati
utsahan niscayad dhairyat, tat-tat-karma pravartanat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh, sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
"To endeavour for spiritual life with enthusiasm, to be certain that the Lord will give His Grace, and therefore to patiently continue to render devotional service. By following the practices prescribed by the saints, to give up the company of those who are averse to devotion, and to tread the path which has been chalked out by the true Vaisnavas; these six practices will go a long way to help us be successful in our spiritual life." (Upadesamrta, 3)
There it increases, and here it decreases, decrease and increase by these practices. And also there are some others.
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam, jihva-vegam udaroprastha-vegam
etan vegan yo viñaheta dhirah, sarvam apimam pathivim sa sisyat
"A sober person who can control the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world." (Upadesamrta, 1)
Vaco vegam, not to get control over our speech, our speaking nature. Anything and everything I speak and then I repent, 'Why did I say so? I should not have told that thing, only to pain the heart of that gentleman.' Vaco vegam. When the force comes from within to say something I can't control. I may abuse a sadhu, also sometimes straight forward. 'I'm straight forward, I can say anything and everything to anyone and everyone.' And that should not be, we must try to control the force coming out in the form of speech, talk. We must have some control, balance. We shall try to keep up the balance of our mind.
Manasah, mental waves, sometimes some idea, the rush of some idea overtakes me and manipulates me to anything and everything.
Then, manasah krodha-vegam, I abused someone, or by pressure I used to take something which may not be proper diet to me, out of greed I took something, or I took something more, what was not necessary for my health, so krodha-vega, these rough speeches.
Jihva-vegam, what is very tasteful, I am a servant to that, slave to the tastefulness. Whatever is tasteful, it may be detrimental to my health, but I cannot control my tongue. I shall try not to be a prey to my tongue, the slave of my tongue, jihva-vega.
Udara-vega, to feed more. Jihva-vega means what is palatable to the tongue, and udara means to feed one’s own full belly. Otherwise we think, 'No, I have not eaten.' What is necessary that sort of food we should take, and that amount of food we should take, what is necessary to keep up the health, udaroprastha-vegam.
Then one’s earnest desire to be united with, for the men the women, for the women the men, that is also a great tendency within us. We should try to check that sort of tendency. That is mental, that is not even in the soul, that is only in the mind, and that is the worst cause of our wandering in this world. Even from the tree to the demigods this sort of tendency is flowing, and we must be very cautious not to be prey of such flow. It is a universal and very powerful flow, and we shall try our best to keep aloof from the flow of that plane as much as possible.
Etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah, one who can control all these animal tendencies, sarvam apimam prthivim sa, he can control the whole world. Prthivim sa sisyat, one who is master of his own self, his own mind, he can be master of the world. Otherwise, in other words, whatever he likes he can do. He can make fair progress towards his ideal. All these things are recorded for our benefit and caution, in Upadesamrta, that was given by Mahaprabhu through Rupa Goswami to us in details. We shall be very much cautious about all these animal tendencies within us. We are rather slave to them. These different types of mentalities, they're masters, and I am their slave. And we must be independent of all these masters.
kamadinam kati na katidha palita durnidesas
tesam jata mayi na karuna na trapa nopasantih
utsrjyaitan atha yadu-pate sampratam labdha-buddhis
tvam ayatah saranam abhayam mam niyunksv atma-dasye
"O Lord, for so long I have obeyed the unending, wicked dictates of lust, anger, greed, madness, delusion, and hatred, but they never took pity on me, and I have felt neither shame nor the desire to abandon them. O Lord of the Yadus, after all this, I am leaving them behind. At last I have found my genuine sanity: I am surrendered wholly unto Your lotus feet, which are the abode of fearlessness. Please now engage me as Your personal servitor." (Chaitanya-charitamrta, Madhya-lila, 22.16)
These are my lords and they're using me as their slave, and such a helpless life I am leading here. In the name of a human being I have got so many shameful tendencies within me that an animal also may not come to that lower standard. So this is our self-analysis, our real nature will be like this, shameful nature within. The enemies are within, not outside. And again within that, the Lord is there in the heart, the conception, the reign, the kingdom of Lord is more deeper. So we have got that consolation and hope and prospect. More powerful are the agents of the Lord.
Only we must give a bond and try to keep up our promise, then the help will come from that deeper plane and will drive away all these superficial enemies that are dancing like demons on the surface of our mind. They must be driven away. And help will come from within, if we seek, if we cooperate, if we invite them really, then those sadhus, the agents of the Supreme Lord will come and drive away all these things. These demonic demonstrations on the surface of the mind will be driven forever. And we'll have happy engagement in the service of the Lord. We'll be free from all these demonic masters. That is not a cheap gain, achievement.
Devotee: The process is to recognise the defect and then to pray to Paramatma?
Srila Sridhara Maharaj: Yes, Paramatma, to Guru, that is more to Guru and devotees, to Mahaprabhu, Nityananda Prabhu, Krsna. To pray to Nityananda Prabhu, that should be most fruitful. His incarnation is meant only for the fallen. Easily we can get His help, Nityananda Prabhu, the Lord of the fallen, the chosen Lord of the fallen, Prabhu Nityananda, Guru Nityananda. Gaura Hari. Gaura Hari. Gaura Hari.
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