Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
[An excerpt from the Harikatha Festival in Wales: May 10, 1998]
You have all come here from so many faraway places; you have spent so much money to come here. Some of you have come from India, and some of you have given up their jobs to come here – only to hear from me, and also to attend the classes of the devotees here.
You should try to attend morning mangala-arati [*see endnote], Tulasi-parikrama (circumambulation of the sacred Tulasi plant), giving water to Tulasi, vandana (singing prayers), some kirtana, then breakfast, and then again hearing class from 10am to 12 noon. Then taking some rest, always chanting and remembering, and again attending our class in the evening up till 8 or 9pm. Then after class, you can chant by yourselves, and then take the remnants of Krsna’s prasada. Then you can sleep, continuing to chant and remember at that time as well, and then again begin all these devotional activities the next morning.
I want to know who has not attended mangala-arati today. I want those who didn’t attend to hold up their hands.
[Seeing many hands raised, Srila Maharaja says with an affectionate chastising tone:] Oh, so much thanks to you all. So much thanks to you, because you have spent so much money to come here. I don’t know what you were doing this morning. If you were chanting during mangala-arati – if you give me the explanation that, “I was chanting” – then my reply is, “You can chant before or after arati, and you can sleep before or after; no harm.” And if your explanation is, “Oh, we were busily chattering and prattling with each other,” then I will reply, “No harm; you can chatter and prattle after arati.”
[Continuing with the same affectionate chastising tone mixed with sarcasm in his voice:] So, I am happy. I want to be like you, because as you have left all these things – chattering and prattling, and sleeping and talking. I cannot do as you have done. I want to be with Krsna in the same way as you, having given up all worldly things. I think that you are really renounced persons, like sannyasis, because for self-recreation and self-interest you can give up Krsna; so you are really very advanced. [The sarcasm ends here, but the affectionate chastisement continues.…]
Those who are giving up everything for Krsna are really very selfish, so selfish, because they want to gain something – and you want to lose everything. Don’t be like this. You have wasted so much money.
You have come here to be inspired for seven days. This Harikatha Festival is a time for training. We have seen in the police force that the recruits undergo training for one month, or six months. This is true in the field of law as well, and in practically every field there is some special training. So please understand that this festival is a special training for devotees, all kinds of devotees. Try to attend all the classes, and try to be very strong.
If you are strong during my visit here, you will be strong forever. Even if you are alone, you will be very strong and qualified to teach others. How can a lazy man, a person who is not doing bhajana, help others? So think of this as a training period, and do not miss any of the devotional programs or functions.
Otherwise, those who are managing will fine you. Do you know the meaning of ‘fine’? Actually, Krsna is the manager, and He will fine you. He has the authority to fine you, and He also has the power and authority to punish you.
[Mangala-arati definition – the daily predawn worship ceremony honoring the Deity of the Supreme Lord, which brings auspiciousness (mangala) to the performer.]
[So this arcana-paddhati, the devotional service, although we have got this material body, under the direction of sastra, under the direction of spiritual master, we are working, we are trying to serve God, Krsna. So that service is as good as the service in the spiritual world. There is no difference. Just like… The example is: just like you have got a green mango. Green mango. So the green mango is not so tasteful, but when it is ripe, it is tasteful. The mango is not different. The same mango. You wait. You wait for the time when it is ripened; you will taste it, nice. Similarly, in the beginning, in the neophyte stage, when we say, “You must rise early in the morning, you offer mangala-arati, you do this, you take your bath,” these things, because we are not ripened, in the neophyte stage, these things appear to be botheration, not tasteful. But you have to do it under the order of the spiritual master and the order of the sastras. Because unless you practice, how you can…
But when it is ripened by practicing, practicing, when one is accustomed… Say by practicing he develops love for God. Then, when he’s in love for God, he cannot do without it. Automatically he will rise early in the morning, automatically he’ll do everything. It is simply the question of time to arrive to that ripened stage. (lecture by Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, August 17, 1971)]
[People still, in India, those who are rich men, they have got their family temple Deities. One temple is there in Kanpur. The family members, they are very rich. The rule is that if the family members do not come in the temple to offer obeisances to the Deity, they’ll be fined. The mother, the head of the family… Mother is still living. She has imposed this law, that “Any of my children or grandchildren, if he or she does not visit the temple, then according to this rule, this fine should be realized from them.” So if somebody misses to go in the temple one day, the priest presents the bill: “Sir, you have been fined five rupees.” So they pay. Yes. So we should also enforce that rule. Anyone who is not attending mangala-arati should be fined. (laughter) And the fine should be that he must sell one Krsna book. Is that all right? (Srila Prabhupada’s lecture of June 1, 1972)]
[note: Srila Prabhupada’s Vedabase quotes are presented here exactly as they appear in his Vedabase folio.]