Sādhu-saṅga: This category covers quotes and excerpts by Swami B.G. Narasingha Maharaja that focus on the importance of association with saintly persons in spiritual growth. These are quotes and excerpts that have been extracted from articles, lectures and letters by Swami B.G. Narasingha.
FORGET THE PAST THAT SLEEPS…
As soon as there’s saṅga, association, there’s so much more growth! There’s so much more happiness in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Association is essential towards growth. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a happy thing. We don’t go in a room and beat ourselves with whips like some of these monks in Christianity do. We don’t bludgeon our heads crying, “Oh God! Forgive me! I am so sinful!” We don’t get into self-deprivation. No! Joining Kṛṣṇa’s devotees and serving Kṛṣṇa is a happy thing. But every once in a while we might think, “Yeah….the past.” But Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says:
Forget the past that sleeps
And ne’er the future dream at all
But act in time that are with thee.
And progress thee shall call.
This is from a poem by Bhaktivinoda. He is the ācārya and Kṛṣṇa is speaking through him. Don’t worry about your past. Past is past! It’s done! It’s gone! And don’t worry about the future. Just be here now! Live now and you will see the future will be bright. A lot of young people just waste their life worrying about the future. Live man! Do something! Be alive! Just don’t go to school, get a job, and just hunker down to watching TV at night. Do something! Live your life – and best is to live your life with Kṛṣṇa.
FLOATING OFF INTO OBLIVION…
The scientists haven’t understood that the only thing that keeps the planet in orbit, the only thing that keeps any of us on this planet is not gravity – it is the presence of devotion! It is the presence of the Lord’s devotee! Without them, this planet would just float off into oblivion…
NOBODY IS QUALIFIED!
any times people think it’s a disqualification to seek any Vaiṣṇava association, help or guidance. They also think it’s a breach of faith, chastity, loyalty, or surrender. It’s a violation. They firmly think like that. At the root of this idea is, “I’m the best! I can’t see any senior Vaiṣṇavas, I don’t see anyone qualified.” This is the vision of the Ṛtviks. They see nobody is qualified. They are from the Duryodhana school. Although they haven’t actually gone and looked or inquired everywhere, nonetheless they just take it for granted. Because in their neck of the woods, nobody is there, so in the whole world, nobody is qualified. They haven’t taken the time to go and inquire, meet, see, and hear, so – “Ha! Nobody is qualified!”
CARING FOR DEVOTEES IS SERVICE TO KṚṢṆA
To care for the devotees is to serve Kṛṣṇa. Primarily that means to serve exalted souls. Kṛṣṇa sees no difference between Himself and the devotees. But Jīva Gosvāmī says that anybody who approaches Kṛṣṇa is an exalted soul. It is not ordinary, in any way, at any time actually, for any living entity to approach Kṛṣṇa. Everyone who approaches Kṛṣṇa is exalted. But we also understand that those who have dedicated themselves to the Lord’s service and have been accepted as His own, that is the best association. Those are the best devotees to serve, think about, care about. But that is extended down to all of the devotees.
NO ABILITY TO RECOGNISE HIGHER VAIṢṆAVAS
T hose who are advancing in spiritual life are always interested in associating with senior Vaiṣṇavas, if they are to be found, regardless of what society. Those that are not advancing in spiritual life, or don’t even have a spiritual life – they have no ability to even recognise higher Vaiṣṇavas. They sometimes even try to bring higher Vaiṣṇavas under their control. They don’t like to tell the world about higher Vaiṣṇavas.
WHAT DID WE GET FROM BEING THE DISCIPLE OF A GREAT PARAMAHAMSA?
I f one has gone through so much study, so much memorization – even if one has gone through so much sādhu-saṅga, but the desire in our own heart is not born, then we have gained nothing! Simply reading books, simply chanting mantras, and simply having sādhu-saṅga – if we don’t awaken our own hankering, then what have we got from that? Some prestige? “Oh, we are the disciple of a great paramahaṁsa!” Bravo! What did that get you? Your part has to be played.
SĀDHU-SAṄGA IN THE KANIṢṬHA STAGE
Some devotees have this idea that a ‘pure devotee’ means someone who comes directly from the spiritual world – well, that is there. That is one kind of pure devotee. But how about where Śrīla Prabhupāda says, “All my disciples are pure devotees!” When I first heard that back in the early 70’s, I was like, “Hmmm…well, I know who I am, and I’m not a pure devotee!” But later I understood one who strictly follows the path of pure devotion is a pure devotee. Just like someone who works in a mine is called a miner; someone who makes jewellery is a jeweller – so what is someone who follows the path of pure devotion? There are many kinds of pure devotee – its not all the same thing. You can read all about that in the first part of Bṛhat-Bhāgavatāmṛta.
VAIṢṆAVAS HAVE NO ENEMIES!
rīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja used to stress this idea that the environment is friendly, actually it is not antagonistic, and by the environment we mean the whole world. But we have an antagonistic vision, especially when bad things are happening to us. But actually everything is for our benefit. Of course, when we are less advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there may be some difficulty to see that always. But nonetheless, the high ideal is there. All for the good! Everything is favourable! There is no enemy. Vaiṣṇavas have only friends – they have no enemies.
FEEL THE BLADE, AND FEEL THE LOVE!
he world is full of self-deceivers of every kind. Bhakti has become ‘popular’ but not śraddhā or śaraṇāgati. So it is not actually bhakti, but the shadow of bhakti called bhaktyābhāsa. You cannot get a suntan in the shadows – you must come out into the sunlight. It is easy to delude oneself, but impossible to delude Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa’s pure devotees. I have nothing to gain by telling you these things, only that Kṛṣṇa is happy that I speak the truth. A sādhu should speak the truth and the sādhu’s words cut like a sword. It is not possible to disentangle oneself from material bondage. One must cut the bonds to material attachments or be dragged down. If you don’t feel the blade, you will never feel the love!
A SĀDHU DOESN’T JUST DITTO!
f we approach a senior devotee or sādhu for śikṣā we should not think that he is simply going to ditto that which we think we already know. If so, he is actually not a sādhu. A sādhu will see what it is that impedes our progress and will give proper understanding and instructions to set us on the right path. It is more important to first eliminate the negative than it is to give the positive. When the negative is eliminated the positive will be illuminated automatically.
HOW WILL WE JUDGE A VAIṢṆAVA?
t is not wise of us to attempt to judge other Vaiṣṇavas. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Knower and He knows ‘what is what, and who is who.’ On the other hand – we, the living entities, are in a perpetual state of illusion – so how will we judge the activities of another Vaiṣṇava?
VAIṢṆAVAS HAVE NO ENEMIES – EVERYTHING IS FOR THE GOOD
rīla Śrīdhara Mahārāja used to stress this idea that the environment is friendly – actually it is not antagonistic, but we have the antagonistic vision. By the environment we mean the whole world and things that are happening to us. Actually everything is for our benefit. He used to say, “All for the good.” And of course when we are less advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then maybe there’s some difficulties to see that always. But nonetheless, the high ideal is there. All for the good. Everything is favorable, there is no enemy. Vaiṣṇavas have only friends…they have no enemies.