Vishnu Priya Ashram From Guatemala 8/25/13
My very dear devotees,
Accept my affection from Guatemala.
Today I want to speak of Vishnu Priya Ashram and the beautiful opportunity we all have to become Vaishnavas or vaishnavis.
The illusory condition in which we find makes us waver between good deeds and bad deeds all the time. Men can behave in positive or negative ways as well as women. Vaishnava and vaishnavi is synonymous with sainthood. A person who intends and tries to be a Vaishnava or vaishnavi is on the path of holiness. Sure, a true Vaishnava or vaishnavi never consider themselves Vaishnavas. They see themselves as not "Vaishnava" and see all others as Vaishnavas. A true devotee should think: I'm not a Vaishnava, I'm not a vaishnavi. If I think others are not Vaishnavas, I become offensive and if I think I am a Vaishnava then I have gone crazy. That's the secret of success: seeing all others as Vaishnavas, but thinking of oneself as a Vaishnava. That is the correct Vaishnava mind, humble and respectful.
Now I want to refer specifically to vaishnavis. But I do not just mean how men should view women, but as men should see and appreciate the vaishnavis and further more, how the same devout vaishnavis should see and appreciate the other vaishnavis and Vishnupriya Ashram, the place of the vaishnavis.
The number one lesson here is:
-That all women belong to Vishnupriya Ashram, but even if a mother does not live in the Vishnupriya Ashram, she is part of it. Each devotee should engage herself in having a concrete link with Vishnu Priya Ashram. Why? Because spiritual education of women is the basis of society.
Also, something very important is that both our family and the mission of Mahaprabhu in general is full of mothers. Even if we did a count among which we are now in this room, we can see that there are more mother devotees. Imagine! This was not so in the beginning of our own Mission. Actually, the fact that more men or women is not the main point. The important thing is to understand that women are mothers, are vaishnavis and that they are the "secret weapon" of Srimati Radharani. "Secret weapon" of Srimati Radharani means that they are the best preachers and moralizing agents, that mothers can maintain the standard of Vedic culture, as the vaishnavi is also a representative of Mother Earth, they are the basis of religion.
Women are much more inclined to religion than men. As soon as a woman has a child all the potential of protection and conservation blooms because a child is not a fad, a child means responsibility and care to minutest detail. If we get to the plane of preaching, each new soul that comes to the temple, each new bhakta is like a son to care for. And the same care that is required by the new bhaktas is also needed by the Deities, the administration of the temple, the Laksmi of Krsna, etc. Well, it all belongs to Srimati Radharani in Her service to Sri Krishna.
Those who look after the children, who are the future of society, that responsibility and care also comes from the mothers. Therefore children are born from the womb of women and not men's arms :) God knows how things are organized. The design of God is perfect, we need not correct it ... but now human nature has become so crazy that they think they can do it as well.
So think a bit and analyze the position of women:
She is the guardian by nature, cautious and steady.Therefore they are compared to the Goddess of Fortune, because they are full of qualities. Thus, a Vishnu Priya Ashram is the refuge of vaishnavis serving Srimati Radharani. They are sites of protection to women, mothers, young women. Protection of women by women. Women should be protected, but never feel independent, that is against their nature and their own psychology. So the role of men is to become guardians of the mothers and where there is no man who fulfills this role, a senior mother should give the other mothers the greatest care. In a spiritual family there is also the guru and his supporters like the sannyasis, who are the protectors of all, both men and women, however, mothers need guidance in daily life and for that there is no one better than another mother who the can protect them if there is no husband to do so.
A Vishnupriya Ashram is the site of maximum protection for women and children. Therefore, our spiritual family must be aware to always support the Vishnupriya Ashram, our daughters, sisters and mothers should never feel abandoned. The reality of the spiritual life is that we are servants and to Krishna we are all feminine in nature, Krishna is the only Purusha, and we are all Prakriti.
The temporary male or female body is just that, temporary. No matter the rank or role we have, what matters is how we develop it, because if not properly used it becomes useless. So women in our family are protected, they are never abandoned, they are not independent and yet are empowered to do all that is at their fingertips.
The Vishnupriya Ashram school is for mothers to become pure devotees, servants and protective experts of Vedic values, family and society. Several of the larger projects we are doing are headed by women in our family: the House of Wisdom, the Oidatherapy, the Spoon Revolution, the Global Awareness Compact ... most are mothers who bring the pulsing beat of these services. Therefore devotees should become qualified to become true protectors of mothers, responsible true leaders of deep religious values, otherwise, without these they will be guided only by their own mind which will seek to satisfy the senses. So men should work hard to be trustworthy people, 100 percent, and fulfill their guardianship to mothers in all circumstances.
A devotee should strive to become a great devotee and set aside anything which is unfavorable to the development of bhakti. A devotee, just one vaishnavi is someone very powerful. So I started the Vishnupriya Ashrams, to encourage them to take leadership, to preach and to protect other mothers. Every devotee is able to establish a new Vishnupriya Ashram, making programs, preaching, etc.. A mother must recognize the validity in all that has been received and refrain from being exploited by others, not to be minimized or belittled, there in Krishna Consciousness there is magic , because you can transform the karmic qualities into the service of Lord and His devotees.
Vaishnavi Dignity in action. Mothers who have been abandoned by their husbands, single mothers, etc.. are only the symptoms of Kaliyuga and a society of irresponsible sex addicts. There should be no unprotected women and single mothers. However, all of them can find refuge in the Vishnupriya Ashram. The capacity that mothers have are wonderful and those who minimize this are fools who does not understand anything. Even in some of our churches there are mothers who are temple presidents who have done their service much better than all the devotees who came before.
The submissive nature of the mothers qualify them for such things. And that submission is very important in the spiritual process, it is the submission to the Guru and the Vaishnavas what makes someone to assume more responsibility in their service. Spiritual life without service, just does not work. The Guru can not be present in every little detail, especially when the family grows and spreads quickly, so leaders need confidence to help you make your service better and protect others. Men and women who are responsible. Thus a vaishnavi decides to abandon a life of worldly womanhood and instead of becoming a fool watching TV or running after men, or someone influenced by consumerism she decides to assume the role of a representative and protector of dharma.
My dear vaishnavas and vaishnavis, this is an invitation to a life rendered in service and backed by sincerity, a life dedicated to the service of the Lord and the Vaishnavas. So I am giving this lecture today, because I want each of you understand the importance of Vishnupriya Ashrams and become committed to supporting the protection and development of the vaishnavis. Without the Vishnupriya Ashram one can not guarantee the protection of children, or the conservation of dharmic values. And all those pious youth living in Vishnupriya Ashrams like brahmacarinis and are doing service, but also have aspirations to find a good devotee with whom they can establish a beautiful family in service to Sri Krsna, they will achieve that only with lioness preaching ... preaching and serving so selflessly and honestly.
It is the spiritual intelligence of women and the vaishnavi's qualities which allow a family to remain united and dedicated to God. The essence of our life is to serve, serve and serve and thus the Vishnupriya Ashram school teaches one to learn to serve. We must move away from the exploitative and selfish mentality that has been spread throughout the material world of illusion and help dedicate lives to service.
Whoever worships Krishna becomes someone very special and if you do so from the bottom of your heart, all imperfections disappear soon. So we continue in appreciating the Vaishnavas and Vaishnavis who worship Krishna. From Guatemala I leave you with a special greeting with great fondness. I am very happy to see the pioneer devotees here. Preaching and pioneering is very nice. It is the best use of one's life that can be done in this human birth. When I see the work that the couple of Rupa Manohar Prabhu and Mother Parvati in Guatemala have done I get excited by seeing the power and mercy that Krishna delivers to a family dedicated in their service to Him. At the same time I am very happy that tomorrow I get back to my Datadesh prabhu, where Sri Krishna allowed me to do service over the years.
I believe that every day that I can do service it is an extraordinary gift that Srila Prabhupada has given me in life. I firmly believe that the essence of this process is to be happy with what you have and the people around you, because only when you learn to appreciate what you have and you are happy with it you can make others happy. I feel really happy in Mexico, Guatemala and am now in Colombia. Happiness is unique to each site. I ask you, my dears, do not stagger over the inconsistencies. That is the happiness I wish for all of you and it is the happiness I'm experiencing anew for approximately the last forty years.
Of course, there is also sadness in the way and certainly the highest sadness is not able to meet any of you, or worse, not even knowing how you are. Srila Prabhupada once said: "I receive too many letters, but still I feel anxious when I do not receive a letter from you" :) Imagine, Srila Prabhupada had such tenderness for each of us. With these words I say goodbye for today is my last day in Guatemala and there are many things still to be done.
I leave you with a big hug from the heart.
Srila Prabhupada ki jay!
Your always wisher,
Swami B. A. Paramadvaiti.