by: Sri Srimad Gour Govinda Swami Maharaja
Although many persons may come to hear Srimad Bhagavatam, who is actually hearing? To whose ears do these words penetrate and go deep into the heart? There are many that are posing to be hearing, but actually they are not hearing. The words are entering into one ear and going out the other. It never penetrates to the heart because they have no faith. They are crooked persons. They are not simple. This is the only reason. They have no faith in the revealed scripture. They are doubtful persons, so how can they get the result?
There was a village where Bhagavat-parayana was going on, recitation of Srimad Bhagavatam for seven days, saptaha. Many people from neighboring villages came to hear the recitation from seven o’clock to nine o’clock each evening. There were two women who were regularly coming. One was an old woman about seventy years old with gray hair. The other was a young girl sixteen years old. She was the daughter-in-law of the elderly woman.
One day in his lecture the speaker sang in Oriya, ananda bolo hari hari, hari karibe upaya — “Chant the name of Lord Hari with pleasure! Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari! That Lord Hari will enable you to cross over the dreadful ocean of material existence.” Both the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law heard the speaker, but from that very moment the daughter-in-law started chanting, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!” She put complete faith in those words. Although both of them heard, the mother-in-law did not sing the song. Why is it that the daughter-in-law was able to put full faith in the words of Srimad Bhagavatam and start chanting, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!” from that very moment while the old experienced mother-in-law could not do so? Because the old lady was not simple, she was crooked. She had no faith in what she heard. This is a question of samasyatma, doubt. She was a doubtful person. The young girl was very simple. She was not crooked, so immediately she put faith in what she heard and started chanting, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!”
When the recitation finished, the ladies had to return to their home. On the way there was a tidal river that they had to cross. When they had first come the water was knee-deep, but when they were returning it was neck-deep. The daughter-in-law was walking ahead and the mother-in-law was following her. Chanting, “Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!” while she was walking, the daughter-in-law easily crossed over the river and stood on the other bank. Meanwhile, the mother-in-law was drowning in the middle of the river. She shouted, “Oh! Oh! Daughter-in-law! You are there on the other bank! I am drowning here in the river!”
The young girl replied, “You should chant, ‘Hari! Hari! Hari! Hari!’”
The mother-in-law replied, “You rascal! Are you my master? Are you teaching me? I am your master! You are my daughter-in-law, I am the mother-in-law!”
The young girl said, “Didn’t you hear? That speaker said, ananda bolo hari hari, hari karibe upaya — ‘Chant the name of Hari with pleasure. That Hari will enable you to cross over the dreadful ocean of material existence.’ So what is this tiny river? Why will Lord Hari not be able to help you cross this small river?”
The mother-in-law got angry. This is a practical consideration of faith and simplicity. The young woman was simple, so immediately she was able to put faith in the speaker’s words and by chanting she easily crossed the river. The old woman was faithless and doubtful. Although she was experienced and old, she was a crooked person. There was no simplicity in her heart. This is the point. The only thing required is to be simple. Give up all of your crookedness and put full faith in Krishna. Put full faith in His words, put full faith in the revealed scriptures, and put full faith in the words of acaryas, sadhus, and mahajanas. Then you will achieve success. This is most important. You should be as simple as a child. By nature a child is very simple. But when he grows up he becomes crooked. Why? Because of association with crooked persons.
Some people will say, “Oh, if we become so simple then we will be cheated. Therefore we will not be simple, we will be crooked”. But Krishna says, nayam loko ’sti na paro na sukham samsayatmanah – “If you have no faith then you cannot get any happiness, either in this life or the next.” [Bg. 4.40] Why should you be crooked? Will it bring you happiness? Will it keep you from being cheated? You are being cheated, and you are not getting happiness, why? Why not be simple and put faith in Krishna’s words and achieve success in life? Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu likes those who have simplicity. They are natural vaisnavas. Simplicity is vaisnavism.
[From an evening lecture in Perth, Australia, 22.11.90]