Who are the devotees? From Hungary 7/29/12

Conference from Hungary

Dear devotees,

Please receive my affection from Nandafalva. Radha Gopiballabha Ki Jay. Today I want to ask a question. Who are the devotees?

We know that the devotees are servers. But they are servants of the Truth, not the illusion. There are many questions about it. For example, what is the main duty of a devotee? The main duty is to serve others. Although we are of divine nature, we go through identity crisis and suffer from contact with material nature. This is due to the fact that we have taken a false identity and we have become consumers of this world, we stop paying attention to spirituality and fall into crisis. But the ideal of a devout life is simple living and high thinking as taught by Srila Prabhupada. Living in a healthier, more conscious life and not so artificial. And that service to others, which is our main task, is our therapy against selfishness and false identification.

The ideal life of a devotee is to interact with the environment without damaging it. It is an ideal. It is similar to how the Arhuacos live in the Sierra Nevada of Colombia. It is amazing how for thousands of years they live like this and are still that way. And Srila Prabhupada taught that when he established organic farms. He taught us to live with what the earth gives you. Simple living means to appreciate all we have because we were given it by Mother Earth.

Being part of our eco-village is a very nice identity. The eco-villages are havens where there are open doors to all people to benefit from Bhakti Yoga. For our eco yoga villages provide that union that is more than a simple organic farm. It is so that the people who come to them can benefit and help the world with the guiding light of Bhakti Yoga. Then the devotee who is part of this eco yoga village becomes a living example for the world. The devotee can get people to visit an eco village so they can become vegetarian, and then become excited by philosophy or to be more environmentally conscious and want to do something similar in their life. It is therefore very important to keep a country lifestyle focused on serving humanity. That really makes sense.

It is not the idea that our eco yoga villages become large hotels with many amenities, but must we remain rather austere, very clean and very welcoming to others. We must also give exceptional classes, organized art programs, exemplary monastic lifestyle that is coherent with ecological consciousness like Vrinda Bhumi. Vrinda Bhumi is a perfect place to study and meditate. Thus, the devotees always offer a friendly attitude and universal heart. And it is not possible to have this open heart if you still possess biases inside.

The most important part of our communities both within our eco yoga villages, our temples and monasteries are that they are sanctuaries based on love. In the love of Mother Earth, who is Krishna Himself. We must therefore consider that we have a commitment to Mother Earth, we must protect her. And protection means an active rejection of everything that is abusive. A devotee never hurt others, much less Mother Earth. We must put it into practice. How? Put it into practice by becoming conscious activists of spiritual love. Devotees should be known to be guardians of the Earth. They are promoters of Universal Love. For that we have many tools at hand that we can use. But first we must become conscious consumers and consistent. Stop using products that have some connection with the mistreatment of other beings. We have many materials and programs that can link people in this spiritual activism. Maybe it's different in shape, but the essence is one: that people become aware and start being vegetarian and become more sensitive to the environment.

Therefore we have vegetarian restaurants, which are not merely distributors of food ... but providers of prasadam, spiritual food that comes from Krishna Himself. We have hundreds of okis with different messages about these issues. What for? To reach the hearts of people, make them more sensitive and awaken their consciousness. The Spoon Revolution is NOT our goal. But it is an important tool to connect to more people, because people today do not want to hear from spirituality, they do not want to hear from God. What is our goal then? It is to take the holy name of Krishna to every town and village. We follow just as Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught. For that we spare no effort. Of course, so long as it is not contrary to our ideals. Never lose sight of that goal. A true yogi is one who respects all living entities. A place of yoga is one where all are welcome. A guardian of nature is one who believes and practices all these messages. So our task is to preach, preach and preach. It is to bring people to our communities and to know the simple life with high thinking. For that we must be aware, consistent and steady. That is the answer to the question of the beginning of this message.

What is our identity? It is to be servants of humanity. And what is the nature of a servant of humanity? They are one who is a living testimony of Universal Love. What does this server do? They are looking to share with all this knowledge that has been so mercifully given, that is our goal. So there are many ways that devotees can serve humanity. Essentially, it is to help others and feel happy doing it. Devotees are promoting wisdom and thanks to Krishna, all of which expands continuously every day. If a devotee does not know what to do with their life or they do not have a service already where they can pour their heart, they are in danger ... and must turn on the alarm alert. This alarm is to report to your leader or spiritual master to find ways to serve wholeheartedly. That's our philosophy, our religion. Our religion is union with God. Krishna is present in every moment of the life of surrendered devotees, the devotee who longs to serve.

           Therefore, my dear, I appreciate all of you that have read this message today. For you are the living representatives of this. You are those who put this into practice and who will educate future generations. There is plenty to do in this life to fulfill the statement of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.          

pritivite ache yata nagaradi grama
sarvatra pracara haibe mora nama

"In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard." (Caitanya-bhagavata, Antya 4.126)

This Sankirtan movement will be known in every corner of every village and city. If we do nothing for it, then our life becomes meaningless. We must break the ice of illusion and ignorance for what? To share with people the treasure we have received from our spiritual master. I leave my affection with you all from Nandafalva. Srila Prabhupada Ki Jay.

Your always well-wisher,

Swami B. A. Paramadvaiti.

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