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By Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja

I am not qualified, but when my Guru Maharaja gives me a task I should make myself qualified, otherwise I will lose what I have. Krishna is like a brightly burning effulgent sun. If you do not deserve, if you don’t qualify yourself, how can you remain before this blazing sun? You’ll be burned to ashes. First, qualify yourself.

You should be serious, “How can I be qualified enough to carry out what my guru maharaja has given to me and in this way deserve Krishna?” This is most important. But you never try for it. You are never conscious of it. You think, “Oh, I am now a very great paramahamsa.” Instead, you should cry, “How can I become qualified and worthy? Otherwise I will not be able to keep what my guru has given me.”

There is a story about a crow that once saw a ripe bitter melon plant. Although it tastes bitter, it is very nice. The crow wanted to have it. He went to the plant, “Please, I want to take this ripened fruit.”

The plant said, “You can’t have it.”


“It requires much work to produce such a fruit. The gardener has prepared the ground and planted the seed. With watering it gradually germinated. This creeper developed, then flowered. Fruits came and ripened. How can you expect to get these things all of a sudden? First you must prepare the ground with a plow and make it nice. Then make a fence, clean and root out the weeds and put the seed. Water it regularly and the seed will germinate. Then there will be flowers, and then you will get the ripened fruit. Otherwise how can you get it?”

“All right, all right. What do I have to do?”

“You should first plow the ground for sowing the seed.”

“So a plow is required. How can I get a plow?”

The plow is wooden and has an iron part that is required to make furrows in the ground. The blacksmith puts the iron in the fire, makes it red hot, and then beats it with a big hammer.

The crow went to the blacksmith, “Please give me that iron so I can take it to the carpenter, make a plow, and plow the land.” The blacksmith had the iron in the fire. It was red hot. He said, “Are you qualified to take this burning iron?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Can you take it now? It will burn you if you are not worthy.”

He said, “Yes, please give it to me. I am all right.”

The blacksmith gave him the iron and the crow was burnt to ashes - finished.

You are not worthy. You are not qualified enough. How can you take this thing? First, qualify yourself. Make yourself worthy. Guru is giving you Hari - Krishna, but you should take care of him or else the reverse effect will be there. There are aparadhas to watch for and regulative principles to be maintained. Associate with sadhus chant the holy name, hear Srimad Bhagavatam - engage yourself 24 hours a day in the loving service of the Lord under the guidance of a bona-fide sadhu vaisnava guru. It is a razor-edged path, very sharp. If there is the slightest negligence you will fall down from the path. Guru has said all these things and you should follow, accept it as it is and make yourself worthy. But you are not doing anything. You are not following the instruction of guru. You are thinking, “Oh, now I have gotten everything.” If you think like that then you will lose whatever you have gained.

Devotee: Some devotees say that now that Srila Prabhupada has left they don’t know how to get his mercy and they are not sure what to do. In reply you said that if someone is really eager their guru can appear in different forms to help. Can you explain?

Gour Govinda Swami: This is a most important question. You can see your guru if you have developed the right vision. Prahlad Maharaja saw the Supreme Lord in a stone pillar. But his father saw only the stone. You can see your guru if you are really eager to see him. “Yes, my guru is here. He is speaking to me.” If you are really thirsty you will cry for water and run, “Where is water? Where is water?” This is real eagerness. In the same way, if you are eager for your guru’s instruction then you will be able to see how he is there. He will give you instructions. He will definitely impart knowledge.

Devotee: In the form of sadhu and sastra?

Gour Govinda Swami: Just like sastra is always there and sadhu is always there, similarly, guru is always there. He is eternal. But you are not eager. You have no thirst, so how can you get water? You are not eager for water, so how can you get water? “Oh, I have gotten. I have no thirst.” This mentality is very dangerous. You think yourself so great. You are puffed up. You are not humble at all. In the Caitanya-caritamrta (adi 17.31), Mahaprabhu says:

trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih

This is a very important thing. Kaviraj Goswami says, make a garland of this verse, put it around your neck, and do hari-bhajana. Otherwise you are not doing hari-bhajana at all. You are not feeling lower than the grass, you are not more tolerant than a tree, you are not free of false pride, and you are not giving respect to all. So how will you do hari-bhajana? But you say, “Oh I am doing hari-bhajana. I am doing. I am doing.” This is not bhajana.

– From a darsana in Bhubaneswar. 14 November 1991.


Excerpted from issue number 136 of Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu the fortnightly email magazine from ISKCON Gopal Jiu Publications. For information about obtaining a free subscription to Sri Krishna Kathamrita Bindu, write to:

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1 Unregistered

I love this article! I keep reading it over and over again. Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja makes so many important points.

Maharaja answers a question that may be troubling some of us: “Why is it that I have been here for so many years but it doesn’t seem that I’ve made any advancement?” Of course we may be collecting valuable bhakti-unmukhi sukriti, but in this article Maharaja makes it clear why we are not yet directly getting bhakti. Thanks for posting it.

Comment posted by Krishnadas on September 25th, 2006
2 Unregistered

Haribol, Krishandas Prabhu!

I am just writing a quick note to offer my obeisances. Anyone who enjoys Gour Govinda Swami’s books, full of commentary and explanation of our Srila Prabhupada’s books, is blessed. There are several such works available, and they are ALL great! you may wish to contact at Iskcon Sri Krsna Balarama Mandira, Bhubaneswara, for them.

Your servant

Comment posted by Tamoharadasa on September 25th, 2006

Comments are closed. Please check back later.

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