If a disciple asks the guru for permission to drink alcohol, the guru is sure to disapprove and never grant it. When the guru does not indulge the disciple in his prayer for the cravings of his mind, he might dismiss the guru. Such disciples accept only those gurus who are ready to supply fuel to their desire to indulge in sense enjoyment. These days, accepting a guru has become a fashion meant not for the disciple’s true well-being, but for getting one’s sensual pleasures approved of. Like selecting a barber or washer-man, such appointments only satisfy social or family customs.
As soon as Truth is ascertained, it should be ardently put into practice then and there. Since the span of our life is very short, we should not misspend even a moment of what still remains of it in attending to worldly affairs. Rather, we should utilize it to perform our service to Sri Hari. King Khatwanga attained his highest good by engaging in Lord Hari’s service for but one muhurta (forty-eight minutes) and Ajamila by serving Him just at the time of death. The following anecdote illustrates this point:
Sivananda Bhattacharya – by faith a Sakta, or worshipper of goddess Kali, or Durga – sent his son Rama-krsna to purchase some sacrificial animals like goats and buffalos and other necessary articles for the upcoming festival of Durga-puja. When Rama-krsna was returning home after purchasing them, he met Srila Narottama Thakura, a holy saint of the highest order. After Srila Narottama Thakura talked with the youth instructively, the youth’s mind was changed altogether. He let the animals go in order to obtain initiation from the Thakura, and went home empty-handed.
Sivananda was waiting expectantly for his son to return with the goats, buffalos and other articles for Devi-worship. Seeing that he returned without them, he anxiously asked about them. Sri Rama-krsna replied that he had been blessed to have gotten the grace of the illustrious Vaisnava, Srila Narottama. Upon hearing this, his father flared up with excessive wrath and called him a disgrace to the family for accepting a guru who had not taken birth in a brahmana family.
Rama-krsna was fortunate enough that upon hearing the Truth from the mouth of the Thakura Mahasaya he was roused from the worldly mire and at once gave up the duties of this world as deplorable and insignificant in order to engage in the service of Hari.
Since we cannot rely on even the duration of a breath, for it may be our last, we should utilise even this moment for attaining our true well-being. For this end, we should not listen to anyone of this world who might give us contrary advice. In the Srimad Bhagavatam (5.5.18) Sri Rsabhadeva teaches us that “We are encompassed by death, and whoever does not deliver us from it cannot be obeyed as our well-wisher, even if he is a guru (like Sukracarya to Bali), a near relative (like Ravana to Vibhishana), a father (like Hiranyakasipu to Prahlada), a mother (like Kaikeyi to Bharata), a demigod (like Indra to Nanda), or a husband (like the yajnika-brahmanas whose wives were devoted to Sri Krsna). Such was the case with Sri Rama-krsna Bhattacharya, who wisely courted his father’s certain displeasure to secure his true well-being.
by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura Prabhupada
Published in Rays of The Harmonist No. 19 Gaura-purnima 2009