Takeaways for Me from HH Bhakti Vasudev Swami Maharaj

I was in two minds, but Gauranga’s mercy that I received through Krishnanand Prabhu on Gaura Poornima made me take the right decision of attending the morning Srimad Bhagavatam class and receive the nectar of Krishna katha from HH Bhakti Vasudev maharaj. Maharaj is an exalted devotee! When he said Vancha Kalpa Taru …to all the devotees, he bowed his head sitting on the vyasasana, looked at each of us, and with his hands folded, he chanted the mantra with humility. The purport of this morning’s verse was 3-page long, so Ruchi Sevan prabhu asked maharaj if he needed to read it. Maharaj said in a firm but polite tone that we don’t come to the temple just to bow down. This temple exists to give spiritual education, so we must read the full purport. He also said all of us should read books that Srila Prabhupada has given us so that nobody makes a fool out of us on the name of scriptures.

During the QnA timeslot, I asked Maharaj for some tips on how to always remember that we are not the bodies we live in. Maharaj’s advice came with the intensity of his purity, and it registered quickly in my mind. Lord Gauranga will make me follow it.

  1. He said that the performance of austerities help us rise above body consciousness. So we should perform the austerities that our Acharyas have instructed us to perform. The next Ekadeshi, I’ll try to chant more and eat less. Gauranga please give me the strength and wisdom to do so. Your mercy alone can transform me.
  2. Perform devotional service sincerely so that the consciousness that rises from the body takes shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna. Maharaj told us about a priest in the Nigeria ISKCON temple who was diagnosed with a serious disease and left the world shortly after the diagnosis. When the doctors told him about his bodily condition, he laughed and returned to the temple. His body was in severe pain but the priest was in the state of joy as he was soon going back Home. A few minutes before he left the body, he asked the devotees to help him bathe and get ready for the departure. And He left. HH Gaur Govind maharaj was performing Hari Naam sankirtan before he left the body. He could see it coming. So he called out to his deity, ‘Gopal’ and soon he left. Maharaj said when performing the devotional service, the body gets purified too because we use our senses in the service of Krishna and eat only Krishna prasadam.

More Points to Internalize:

  • Another point maharaj made was that it’s easy to control the sex drive, but much difficult to control is our tongue. He gave the example of tiger who indulges in sex only one in six months, but tigers are not Krishna conscious. So, to control the tongue, eat only Krishna prasadam and chant the Hare Krishna mahamantra.
  • He said, very compassionately, that whenever you are feeling lonely, remember that there is one person always with you. And that person is Krishna.
  • If you don’t like someone, you don’t like Krishna.
  • Maharaj emphasized a lot on studying scriptures that Srila Prabhupada has given to us. Bhagavad Gita and Krishna are not different. So, whenever we are in doubt about something, we can just open any page of the Gita and Krishna will give us the right answer.

In a nutshell:

  • I need to eat only Krishna prasadam. Refrain from useless talk. Don’t react. (As guru maharaj says, “Tolerate the provoking situations.”)
  • Eat less on Ekadeshi and chant more.
  • Wake up earlier than 4.30am (my usual time).
  • When in doubt, consult the Gita by opening any page after praying to Krishna.
  • In the moments of loneliness, remember that Krishna is with me.

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