By Samita Basu, (Reproduced from Niladri October 2003 issue)

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!


Some of the things that Baba would want us to be aware of, and take heed of, are given below, in a question-answer format:

Devotee: Must we do puja everyday and is it necessary to perform rituals?
Baba: Doing puja, or performing any ritual for that matter without devotion (bhakti,) is quite useless. But what may start as a chore can get converted to bhakti, if you stick with it and take small steps along the way – like making sandal-paste, inhaling the fragrance of agarbatti and offering flowers, lighting diyas, etc.

Question: Must we visit places of pilgrimage and temples regularly to rid ourselves of bad karma that we constantly accumulate by our thoughts and actions?
Baba: On the contrary, it is not recommended that one undertake pilgrimages or visit temples too often. If you are not careful or vigilant, you might tread on flowers that have been offered to the Lord in prayer. Or, the pushing and jostling of crowds might spoil the whole experience for you, causing you irritation. All this could well make you commit aparadh, which would make the very objective that you had set for yourself – being close to God – unreachable. However, making such visits under the guidance of your Guru is the right thing to do.

Question: I have accumulated over time, many idols in my mandir. Is it advisable to reduce the number if I want to? By immersion or in any other way?
Baba: Immersion of idols is not recommended at all until and unless one has reached a stage where one is aware of the consequences of all one’s actions. Let me illustrate with a small anecdote.

Once a man was faced with an imminent disaster.  In fear, he started paying fervently to Goddess Durga. He prayed for Her to save him from the danger that was rapidly approaching, but nothing happened. Disaster struck. As he succumbed to the inevitable, he had darshan of Goddess Durga dancing away in gay abandon to the sound of drums. The man asked Her why She did not save him and why She was dancing happily when he was dying. The Goddess replied, “Why are you surprised? Isn’t this the way you all behave when you immerse me?”

A Christian disciple: I have been praying to Christ all my life. Should I start praying to Krishna as well?
Baba: Krishna and Christ are both one. If you have a Guru, you do not need to worship any God. It’s like watching the live telecast of an event. When you are in the actual presence of your Guru – can hear him, touch him and see him – why do you need to pray to someone remote?

Question: How do we do japa? What do we hope to achieve?
Baba: With japa comes surrender. Always do your japa regularly with pure devotion. Never ask for anything when you do it - nothing at all. If you go on asking for things constantly, a time will come when you could get totally frustrated because whatever you have asked for may not have materialized. This frustration could cause you to become upset with your Guru. That would be your ultimate aparadh. Never make your japa conditional. Japa has no rules, regulations or procedures. Do it with feeling – that is all you need.

Question: Can one reduce one’s praarabdh karma (destiny) by the Guru’s grace?
Baba: Yes, certainly. But let your Guru decide what’s best for you. He will do kripa when he thinks you deserve it.

Question: Can one worship any deity other than Krishna?
Baba: You can worship any one form – be it Krishna, Kali or Shiva. The vraja-gopis did Katyayani puja. Katyayani is a form of Kali. But their objective for the worship was to attain Krishna. Any deity you worship will take you to Krishna – the ultimate Godhead.

Question: How does one do one’s japa?
Baba: With love and sincerity – not mechanically. Anytime, anywhere, as long as you don’t let anything disturb you, except of course, a dire emergency. Even then your japa should go on in your mind.

Question: How should one behave with one’s Guru?
Baba: Love your Guru and surrender to Him completely, unconditionally. Hold on to Him through life’s trials and tribulations.


Jai Guru

Jai Sri Radhey