Residence in the Holy Dhama

One day a young devotee, very anxiously desiring to serve and reside in the holy dhama (place of pilgrimage) of Navadwipa, came and revealed his intentions to Srila Gaura-kishora. The young man had made arrangements to remain in the holy dhama and, as a doctor, treat sick persons. He planned to beg from the residents of the dhama and sell his medicine on the side. Then, with the profits, he would maintain himself and give free medical treatment to sick patients. He considered that in this way he could perform his bhajan and at the same time perform the highest welfare activity. To confirm his plans he came to get the advice of Srila Gaura-kishora. When he arrived and presented his proposal, he quoted the following verses from Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi Lila 10:50-51):

pratigraha nahi kare, na laya kara dhana
atma-vrtti kari kare kutumbe bharana

cikitsa karena yare hoiya sadaya
deha-roga bhava-roga, dui tara ksaya

"Srila Murari Gupta never accepted charity from his friends, nor did he accept money from anyone. He practiced being a physician and maintained his family with his earnings. As Murari Gupta treated his patients, by his mercy, both their bodily and spiritual diseases ceased."

Srila Gaura-kishora could understand the restlessness of the doctor and his pretensions of wanting to live in the holy dhama for his so-called devotional service. Srila Gaura-kishora made this evident when he explained, "Murari Gupta is an eternal associate of Lord Chaitanya and is always residing in the holy dhama. He never suggested any intentions of residing in the Supreme Lord's holy dhama by supporting himself through unjust means to enjoy sense gratification. He never, at the expense of any temple, supported his family, nor was he ever solely interested in earning money to maintain a full stomach. He would never accept charity from his friends or any other persons. He was the direct form of the storehouse of love of Godhead. By his mercy, persons would obtain the mercy of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Whomever he would treat would become completely free from disease and obtain loving affection unto the Supreme Lord. If one does not follow the example of his character, one must suffer the distress-filled results of his past misdeeds, because of one's false pretensions of seemingly performing devotional service while actually supporting sense gratification. You are a patient yourself of this material world. How will you properly treat others? You must incessantly and seriously pray for the mercy of Srila Murari Gupta. Then you will be able to understand what is actual benefit. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu instructed that one must have no false pretenses in his intelligence when chanting Hare Krishna. Those who have such intentions are considered less intelligent. You should give up your bad intelligence and begin the process of chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord. If anyone performs devotional service with your false intentions, then one's devotion becomes a product of lust and everything is lost. The administering of free medical treatment for the purpose of self-prestige and the desire to reside in the holy dhama have no point of unity. A person desirous of the fruits of his activities can never live in the holy dhama."

Hearing the instructions of Babaji Maharaja, the doctor inquired, "Therefore, what should I do?" Srila Gaura-kishora replied, "If you actually want the result of residing in the holy dhama, then you should first give up all relationships with the idea you are entertaining. Abandon this misconception of benefiting materialistic persons by distributing free medical treatment. Those who are resolute in performing worship unto the Supreme Lord, Hari, will never discharge any activities unfavorable to the Supreme Lord, and they will only perform favorable activities. Other then this, all activities performed will be the cause of deep conditioning. If you want to support yourself in the way you have planned, then you should return to your own residence outside the holy dhama, but do not live within the Supreme Abode of the Absolute Truth, Sri Krishna, and deceptively maintain your livelihood."

From "An Era not to be Forgotten, Srila Gaurakisora Still Lives in Our Hearts," by Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura.