The picture was taken in 1973 on the Candrodaya Mandir Opening.
Srila Sridhar Maharaja: This ashram is being opened today. What is its position? In Srimad Bhagavatam we find,
vanam tu sattviko vaso gramo rajasa ucyate
tamasam dyuta-sadanam man-niketam tu nirgunam
(S.B. 11.25.25)“Residence in the forest is in the mode of goodness, residence in a town is in the mode of passion, residence in a gambling house displays the quality of ignorance, and residence in a place where I (the Supreme Lord) reside is transcendental.”
Vana-vasa means plain living with the minimum of material things to help our life, that is vana-vasa. It is a simple life, plain living and high thinking, but there also we are masters of that little thing, that sattvika-vasa. It is most conducive to our religious life. There is no grandeur of any material enjoyment, etc. That is sattvika-vasa or vana-vasa.Rajasa-vasa is a life where one is engaged in various activities in the uplifting of society, the world and civilization. That is rajasa, where a maximum amount of energy is spent to improve the paraphernalia where we live to make us comfortable.
Tamasa-vasa dyuta-sadanam is a life without caring for any social life, only for the maximum amount of sense pleasure and minimum amount of giving to others, to society or any paraphernalia. It is a reckless life, a life in the clubhouse or hotel – something like that. It is irresponsible life – tamasa-vasa dyuta-sadanam.
Man-niketam tu nirgunam – if we spend our life in the house of the Lord, we may live in any amount of grandeur, or anything of the type – but still it is nirgunam, because we are not masters there, we are servants.
In the vana-vasa, we lead so simple a life with a minimum of material things with which we surround ourselves to live, but still there, we are masters to command others. Here we are all servants – everything is to be served. Whatever we shall see, all around, even a tree, even a creeper or even a particle of dust is to be served and is not to be enjoyed or renounced. That is the form of life, a life of worship, a life of devotion. It is not only to please the Lord but also all of His paraphernalia and to see that they are also serving the Supreme Entity. With this idea – to be a serving factor in the all-serving environment of the Lord – this is man-niketam tu nirgunam.
So, we have come here to a nirguna life, crossing all sorts of relativities of this material world, whatever conception it may be, and to learn that isavasyam idam sarvam, the fundamental truth given in the Isopanisad, that isavasyam idam sarvam – everything here is the presence of the Supreme Entity, the Supreme Lord. With this conception we are to live in such a training house.
I was told that in Back to Godhead one gentleman wrote that the so-called universities, colleges, and schools are slaughterhouses. I am very much pleased with this idea. Yes. They are nothing but slaughterhouses, and this sort of institution, that our Guru Maharaja (Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur) has inaugurated in this world is to uplift us and all jivas toward the worship and loving service of the Supreme Entity. Each is like an oasis in the desert. They are life-giving and not flattering institutions, like so many educational institutions that we find.
Sa vijna mammate jaya – where this sort of training comes, that goes towards the centre, towards reality, towards beauty, towards harmony, towards a solution of life, towards nectar giving life – these institutions are only helpful and this is necessary.
Once Madana-mohana Malaviya, a famous leader in the recent history of India, came to visit our Guru Maharaja and after listening to his words he told, “Every village should have one centre of your Divine Grace.” But our Guru Maharaja answered in return that, “I want to make everybody a temple of the Lord, every human being, every human body I want to make a temple therein, not only villages.” So, that was his idea.
prthivite ache yata nagaradi-grama, sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama
With this idea he started his mission, Gaudiya Math, Gaudiya Mission. And we are seeing that Swami Maharaja (Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja) by his grace, he is able to spread it around India and throughout the world and different continents. We are very happy to see new faces around us for the preaching purpose and spreading the news of Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur and Sriman Mahaprabhu, and the vision of Sri Krsna and His beloved.
There are elevationists, there are renunciates, but we are servitors. Geham jusam api mansy udiyat sada nah – true to the kindred point of the heaven and the heart. Cloister and the heart, the knowledge of these – but the hearts has been made the cloister. The gopi-bhajana is to make the heart the cloister. Not that the cloister has a separate place. The heart is the cloister and this is only possible with the Krsna conception of Godhead. All will be converted wholesale, every nook and corner. Nothing should be left out. No vacancy should be left out for any other purpose but to devote all respects to the Supreme Entity, to be faithful to the extreme. Nothing should be left. This is only possible in the Krsna conception of Godhead (akhila rasamrta murti). All sorts of ecstasy, happiness, and everything of the type can be possible in its divine form when we find Sri Krsna as the Supreme Lord and nowhere else.
One western gentleman told that there are many conceptions of religion in different parts of the world, but we do not find any conception of religion where twenty-four hours can be devoted in the service of the Supreme Lord. Not only engaged on Sunday, not only twice in the day, not only thrice in the day, but every hour and second should be devoted in the service of the Supreme Entity and then nothing will be left behind. This sort of service is only possible in kirtaniya sada harih and in the asta-kaliya-lila of Sri Krsnachandra Himself in the madhurya-rasa. Sri Chaitanyadeva came down to this world to preach that, to give that nectarine life to one and all. Nrmatrasy-adhikarita – take the Name of the Lord and you will find yourself in His harem one day. For religion, money is not necessary, physical energy in great quantity is not necessary, nor are other helping things necessary. Only try to take the Name sincerely.
It should be acquired through the right channel, otherwise there will be some disturbance tampering with it. Trade in the name of religion is also going on here and there, and we should save ourselves from those difficulties by following a bona-fide path. So, on the day of the advent of Sri Krsna Chaitanya, which means serving Krsna in all aspects, this laudable attempt is being done in great quantity by our Svami Maharaja. We are very happy to get the chance to attend this function. Swami Maharaja ki jaya!