If I show myself to be a soldier but always try to remain within the fort, then I am not a soldier. But still, to be a soldier for Mahaprabhu, to preach His mission, we must be careful. Before going to attend a seriously diseased patient, if we are not strong but are feeling some weakness, then we are to intimate to our master: «This is my situation, and if you think it appropriate, for the time being you may change my field of service.» But we also shall have to keep in mind that we will need to become sufficiently strong in order to be able to attend to that type of serious patient. If we are preachers, the patients may be prostitutes, dacoits, or wealthy men, but still we shall have to approach them for the service of Krishna, and we must be bold enough and healthy enough for that duty. At the same time, we must not be trespassers and on the way take things that are meant for Krishna, for that will make us traitors, unfaithful servants.

kiba va karite pare kama-krodha sadhakere
yadi haya sadhu-janara sanga

Narottam Das Thakur said, «If we have the favour of the great personages, then what can such types of temptation do to us? They can’t do anything. If we work under our guardian and he is very careful, very strong, and very judicious, then no temptation can do any harm to us.» This attitude is the key to the success of life. Generally, according to our capacity, we shall try to move in this way, and at the same time we shall keep in our mind that to attain to our highest position it is necessary to be able to deal with all the serious things, even the most serious; otherwise, there will be some defect in us. Wholesale conversion must come within us that we are servitors and not masters. This is the case with fame also. Name and fame, pratistha, is the most subtle, most dangerous enemy. It is the highest enemy, and at the same time it is the most subtle. Pratistha, to take name, fame, and credit for one’s own self without giving it to Gurudev, is the greatest enemy there is, and it is very difficult to detect.

Three things in particular are very dangerous for the devotees: kanak, kamini, and pratistha — money, women, and fame.

Devotee: How can we detect pratistha within ourselves?

Srila Guru Maharaj: That comes with the development of internal perfection and our continuous thankfulness to Gurudev. It is necessary to understand and feel that everything comes from above: «I have nothing. I have no position, and therefore my present situation always depends on the mercy of my Gurudev. It may be withdrawn from me at any moment. Whatever I may have is not a fixed thing in me. It is not as a matter of right but is only extended grace in me. The moment it is withdrawn, I am nowhere. It is all Krishna’s svarup-sakti. I am tatastha-sakti and have no capital. I am working on the capital of my master. I have no capital of my own.» We must be able to remain on such a plane of thinking and realise that, «Without his help, without his grace, I am in darkness. My fate is dark. As long as he extends his grace in me, I can see. If the light is withdrawn, the eye is helpless.» We are to realise the position that it is not our birth-right. By our birth, we are tatastha-sakti, marginal potency, and whatever we have found, it is the gracious extension of svarup-sakti in us. Our Guru and the Vaisnavas are the proprietors. It is their wealth and property; it all belongs to them.

At the same time, it never occurs that the Guru and Vaisnavas withdraw their grace from the faithful. Such cruel activity can never be seen; rather, they are busy to extend their circle, and they never withdraw — that is our solace, our consolation. But it is not a matter of right that we can make some demand. There must be no demand and no challenge. The challenging spirit towards the Vaisnavas must be eliminated forever. We are living on their grace, their prasad. Uddhava said to the Lord:

uchchhista-bhojino dasas tava mayam jayema hi

«Adorned with the articles that have been offered to You, such as garlands, fragrant clothing, and ornaments, we, Your personal servitors who partake of Your holy remnants alone, will certainly be able to conquer Your illusory energy (Maya).» And Lord Krishna in Gita said,

yajna-sistasinah santo muchyante sarva-kilbisaih
bhunjate te tv agham papa ye pachanty atma-karanat
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 3.13)

«Saintly persons who partake of the remnants of sacrifice become liberated from all the sins arising from the five kinds of violence to living beings. But those who cook for their own consumption, those sinners eat only sin.»

We are entitled only to taste the remnants left by the Vaisnavas. We are to accept those remnants and continue our lives in that way without any rights or demands. This is similar to Aryan samskrti, Indian custom. Hindu law gives no rights or position to the females. The whole right is with the men and nothing with the women, but by their affection and serving spirit, the women hold the whole respect — the key to all respect. They have the respect of the son and the affection of the husband, and they enjoy like anything.

By the law of the society, externally, no rights have been given to the mother, wife, or daughter, yet the ladies hold a peculiar and very venerable position in the eyes of society.

pita raksati kaumare bharta raksati yauvane

Here, Manu explains that during early age the father will protect the females, during youth the husband will protect them, and in old age the son will protect them. Though externally having no rights, they draw respect from society more than a goddess does.

In a similar way, the potency of Krishna, His servitors, hold such a position in relation to Him. They have no external right and do not care for any. They are His, but only through the power of affection and loving service, they command the whole. The potency aspect of Krishna does not want any right, force, or power, yet they have the subtlemost power: the power of affection, the power of love, the power of service, and that is considered to be the highest power ever known to the world. Give up your legal power or any physical power; the sakti (potency) is such that it does not care for that.

The respected Ashutosh Mukherjee was several times wanted by the government to go to England, but his mother did not give permission. He therefore told them, «My mother does not allow me to go to any foreign country; therefore, I cannot go.»

There are many examples of a mother controlling her son. Taking the feet dust of the mother, the son feels he can do anything and everything. Affection and love have such power, such value! Therefore, Mahaprabhu says, «To give this and that to God is self-deception. Give love. Love of Krishna, prema, is everything; it is all-in-all. You are spending money and giving your physical energy in so many ways, but love is the real essence of any existence, so offer that to the Lord and through that come to the plane of love that surrounds Him.»

God takes the form of Krishna in the plane of love, and that is the most fundamental and the most subtle plane behind all this variegated creation. So, come to that plane, try to penetrate into that plane, where God is Krishna and where the paraphernalia is Vrndavan. Anyhow try to have admission in that plane, and you will find there the happiest form of life.

Mercy is more beautiful than justice. We cannot think of blaming the spirit of justice, but at the same time we cannot deny that there is mercy over justice. But one who can extend mercy over justice must have such power that he is able to give due compensation. The Lord has such power of compensation. Krishna is such an aspect of the Lord. He can give mercy through love and affection, and by any means we want to live in that environment. Mahaprabhu came to show that to be the plane for which we should strive. And Bhakti Vinod Thakur said, «In no time, the intelligentsia of the world will come to understand that this is the highest conception of attainment of all humans as well as of everything else in the whole of creation. The intelligentsia cannot be misguided for long by so many other proposals of the highest attainment which are only giving partial achievement. Many things are going on in religion in the name of the highest solution of our life, but what Mahaprabhu has given very soon will be detected by the intelligentsia of the world, and all will flock to the banner of Sri Chaitanyadev and will sing the glory of Mahaprabhu and Krishna.»

What do you think? Do you think that it is very laudable and tasteful? Our Srila Prabhupad began that mission, and Sripad Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj has actually firmly established and propagated it widely. I am growing old, and our generation is almost finished. Now you are all to participate and fully develop what they have begun.

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The middle point, we may say, is the golden mean. Love is there. Love does not want to see into the future, but only the present — the concentrated present. Love. For love, we may risk the whole future and may not care at all about the past. «Act. Act in the living present.» Grandness and reverence are not very suitable for love. We are to think that a plain life is the highest position for the transaction of love, whereas grandeur disturbs us in our transaction of true love.

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