[February 16, 2018 is the disappearance day of Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja, the Founder-ācārya of Śrī Caitanya Gauḍīya Maṭha, and the revered spiritual master of Śrī Śrīmad Bhakti Vijñāna Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja. The following is an excerpt from an upcoming book - 'Viṣṇupadera Patre Upadeśa' - comprising instructive letters from Śrīla Bhakti Dayita Mādhava Gosvāmī Mahārāja.]
śrī śrī guru-gaurāṅga jayataḥ
All glories to Śrī Guru and Śrī Gaurāṅga
16 February, 1948
Dear recipient of my affection,
As one proceeds to worship Śrī Hari, the minions of Māyā will all attempt to create disturbances—some more than others. However, this will not cause even the slightest harm to the devotees of Śrī Hari. Instead, their devotion will increase and their glory will spread. The fountain of all energies is but a singular entity—the Supreme Truth. How could those who have aligned their interests with that veritable truth—Parameśvara, the Supreme Lord—possibly be destabilized by Parameśvara’s energies, specifically His material energy?
The ignorant masses are constantly gripped by fear because they are absorbed in material objects. However, the pure devotees and wise persons know that Kṛṣṇa is the controller of everything. Those under the guidance of Śrī Kṛṣṇa therefore have no cause for fear. Māyā enters the living entity to the degree that living entity sees himself as separate from Śrī Kṛṣṇa. She brings about sorrow, fear and remorse born of ignorance.
Religion that is a show for the public or for deluding one’s mind is of one category, whereas true bhakti for Śrī Kṛṣṇa is something else entirely. Once our desires are a perfect fit with those of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, like a blade in its sheath, then we will discover pure devotion. This is the objective for which we strive. If you become Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s, Śrī Kṛṣṇa will become yours. Do not let the delusion of traditional and trivial, worldly religiosity ever deviate you from the path of pure bhakti.
If you carefully analyze the lifestyle and character of those who obstruct your efforts to perform bhajana of Śrī Hari, you will come to learn that their lives are being guided by motives averse to Kṛṣṇa. The views of such purely conditioned souls, who are bound by Māyā can never bear any similarity whatsoever to the character and conceptions of pure devotees. There is bound to be a difference between them.
Keen and clever devotees have full conviction in bhajana and therefore do not retreat from interactions with the people of this world. One must shun only social conduct that is opposed to bhakti. There is no need to reject social interaction and societal activities that are not unfavorable to pure bhakti. I do not understand why householder devotees would abandon ordinary social engagements simply because they are pursuing hari-bhajana. You must participate in the weddings and various social occasions of your friends and relatives. Just do not accept the remnants of offerings made to the demigods or preparations impure or unfit to offer to the Lord.
Were you remiss in seeking higher education just because not everyone in your community or among your relatives received higher education? The same goes for spiritual education. Must you remain unenlightened like your relatives because they fail to aspire toward teachings of a higher caliber? No intelligent person would suggest such a thing. All saintly persons will simply advise you to pursue your own welfare, and that of your community, by leading a highly exemplary life. Do not destroy your spiritual well-being for the sake of temporal life. To what extent and by what means will you continue to strive for your own temporal happiness and liberty and for honoring the opinions of others? Such matters endure for only a short time, and you have to carefully consider whether such endeavors will ultimately bring about welfare for you or for them.
A person may die at any moment. Will the ordinary person’s so-called sympathy be of any use or help at that time, or afterwards, for that matter? The moment we die, all our body’s worldly possessions are left behind and we are forced to detach ourselves from our association with them. Do not trouble yourself in the slightest by attempting to honor the views of those conditioned souls who have no concept of what is beneficial or detrimental for them, who are attached to lust and anger, and who are layered in evil habits and impressions. Śrī Bhagavān, the beautiful Lord, is everyone’s protector and maintainer. Do not waste the extremely valuable currency that is your life and your tender faith by trailing the clichéd lifestyle of hapless fools who have been cheated of their well-being.
Without enthusiasm, no one can advance in any pursuit. Find as much time as you possibly can to call out to Śrī Bhagavān with eagerness. Engage in chanting a fixed number of rounds of mahā-mantra on your śrī mālā daily, without fail, always guarding against committing offenses. If you know yourself to be Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s property, you will not be eager to expend yourself in gratifying the senses of others. You will only find bliss and enthusiasm if you remain fixed in Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s service. Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the transcendental embodiment of all forms of nectarean bliss (akhila-rasāmṛta-mūrti). He answers the prayers of all those who pray for bliss (rasa). Those who no longer have any specific motive or intent obtain the opportunity to fully relish Bhagavān in the love-imbued entirety of who He is. Whatever rasa, or pleasure, you offer Śrī Bhagavān is what you will receive from Him. On the path of bhakti, we hear that everything must be offered for the pleasure of the Lord. For His happiness, we must sacrifice all our tendencies of seeking our own happiness and comfort. There is no point in sacrificing one’s body, mind and words to an ordinary, insignificant person if you seek deliverance from the clutches of misery, fear and grief. All these gifts are destined only for the infinite, omnipotent embodiment of eternity, consciousness and bliss—Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Free yourself of all concern and call out to Śrī Bhagavān. He will certainly dispel all your vices.
The servant of Śrī Gaura’s associates,
Śrī Bhakti Dayita Mādhava