(Click photo to see a larger image of Srila Prabhupada and young Vaisnavi.)
"Vaisnava is the ocean of mercy. There is no end. As you cannot, I mean to say, draw all the waters from the ocean, it is not possible. Similarly, a Vaisnava, a devotee... ocean of mercy. You can draw from it as much mercy as you like, still, it is full."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Boston, May 1, 1969)
"Hṛda means heart, and su means good, good heart. A devotee, a mahātmā, is good heart. How he is good heart? He sees everyone that 'This living entity' especially human being, 'he is engrossed in the clutches of māyā. He is suffering. Let me try to make him understand Krishna consciousness, or his eternal relationship with Krishna.' He tries everywhere. That is his business. He doesn't mind whether he is failure. Failure or success, he doesn't mind. But he thinks, 'Oh, this conditioned soul is suffering. Let me do something.' Therefore Vaiṣṇava's prayer is vāñchā-kalpa-tarubhyaś ca kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca.
A Vaiṣṇava, he is just like the ocean of mercy. He always feels for the sufferings of the humanity. That is their business. People think that they have taken relief from all social work. But a Vaiṣṇava is giving the best social service because he knows what is the cause of suffering, how people can be saved. Therefore he is suhṛdaḥ. Suhṛdaḥ means well-wisher friend. A Vaiṣṇava or spiritual master or a saintly person is suhṛdaḥ. Suhṛdaḥ means he is well-wisher friend. As Krishna is suhṛdaḥ, He is the friend of all living entities... Suhṛdaḥ sarva-bhūtānām. In the Bhagavad-gītā you'll find. Similarly, a Vaiṣṇava, Krishna's devotee, is also suhṛdaḥ. Suhṛdaḥ sarva-bhūtānām. Suhṛdaḥ. Sādhava. And sādhava means well-behaved. Sādhavaḥ. Sadācāra. His character is firm, without any spot. So these are the qualifications of sādhu, mahātmā, or spiritual master."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, September 14, 1969)
"Vaiṣṇava means para-duḥkha-duḥkhī. Vaiṣṇava should be always duḥkhī for others. Vaiṣṇava personally he has no duḥkha. That is Prahlāda Mahārāja says. Naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaraṇyās tvad-vīrya-gāyana-mahāmṛta-magna-cittaḥ, śoce tato vimukha-cetasa (SB 7.9.43). They are simply anxious for the persons who are godless. Even they are godless, even they are enemy of the devotee, still Vaiṣṇava says, 'How I can correct him?' Not that 'He's my enemy. Let him die.' 'How I shall correct him?' That is Vaiṣṇava, para-duḥkha-duḥkhī. He is under ignorance, he is talking nonsense -- 'How shall I correct him?' That is missionary spirit."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Bhuvanesvara, January 24, 1977)
"Vaiṣṇava is he, devotee is he, who is very compassionate to these conditioned souls. Kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca. Kṛpā means mercy, and sindhu means ocean. A devotee is ocean of mercy. He wants to distribute the mercy. Just like Lord Jesus Christ, he was God conscious, Krishna conscious, but he was not satisfied in himself. If he would have continued his God consciousness alone, he would not have met crucification. But, no. He wanted to take care of others also, the others should be God conscious. Others should be Krishna conscious. He was forbidden by the king -- not to do that. So at the risk of his life he did it. That is the nature of devotee. Therefore the preacher devotee is the most, dearest devotee of Lord. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. They are going outside, they are preaching, they are meeting opposing elements. Sometimes they are defeated, sometimes disappointed, sometimes able to convince, there are different kinds of people. So, not that every devotee is very well equipped. There are three classes of devotees also. But that endeavor, that 'I shall go and preach Krishna consciousness,' is the best service to the Lord. Because they are trying, in opposition, to elevate people to the highest standard of self-realization."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, February 18, 1969)
Prabhupada: You have accepted others' children also?
Devotee: Yes. Well, especially girls who have no husbands. There are quite a few here.
Prabhupada: Anyway, you are so kind you don't refuse anybody. That is... Who is so kind unless one is a Vaiṣṇava? Nobody is kind. Kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca. Kṛpā-sindhu, ocean of mercy, that is Vaiṣṇava. Never mind what you are; come here, stay, drink milk, chant Hare Krishna."
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, New Vrindavan, June 24, 1976)
"I think all of you must have got some knowledge of forest fire. It takes place automatically. And you can very easily experience that we are living very peacefully, but by the dealings of the politicians, at any moment there can be war. So this war is just like forest fire. Nobody likes war, but it takes place. So similarly, in the forest nobody goes to set fire, but it takes place. Therefore this material world is compared with the forest fire. So this forest fire can be extinguished by a different process than the fire in the ordinary way extinguished. Just like in the city if there is fire, you can take advantage of the fire brigade or you can take advantage of some volunteers carrying bucketful of water. But to extinguish the forest fire, neither you can take the help of the fire brigade nor the volunteer carrying bucketfuls of water. The forest fire can be extinguished when there is rainfall from the sky. Similarly, this misunderstanding of the world -- although we are one, but we have divided ourselves in so many groups -- this will create forest fire, and this forest fire can be extinguished.
Therefore this Krishna consciousness movement is just like falling of rain from the cloud. Yes. The cloud means a process which collects water from the sea and distributes all over the surface. And the same water again glides down through the river unto the sea. Similarly, this movement means taking mercy from the ocean of mercy of Krishna and distribute it all over the world, so that again the merciful water goes down to the sea.
So those who actually want peace or mercy of God, they should kindly try to understand the philosophy of Krishna consciousness movement. And even though you have no time to understand this philosophy through books of knowledge, you can simply join with us for chanting and dancing this Hare Krishna mantra."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Tokyo, April 29, 1972)
"Saṁsāra-dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam. Just like this forest fire can be extinguished only if there is cloud upon it -- if there is rain. You cannot send fire brigade. That means this is the indication that this fire of this material world can be extinguished through the exigency of spiritual master, because he has received the mercy, cloud. Cloud. Just like cloud has taken water from the sea, similarly, the spiritual master takes mercy, receives mercy, from the ocean of mercy, Krishna, and he pours it over this saṁsāra-dāvānala. This example is very nice, that you cannot extinguish by your plans the blazing fire of this material existence. That is not possible. This is foolishness. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānāḥ (SB 7.5.31). The so-called rascal leaders, they are making plan, lifelong. The United Nation making plan to stop war, fighting. They cannot do it. It is not possible. You have to take mercy from Krishna. Then it is possible to extinguish. We have to seek mercy."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, London, August 10, 1971)
"Vaiṣṇava means he is always feeling for the distress of the others. Just like Lord Jesus Christ. What is the necessity of being crucified? Because he was a Vaiṣṇava. Vaiṣṇava means the servant of God or the devotee of God, Vaiṣṇava. Viṣṇu means Lord, and Vaiṣṇava means one who is devotee of Viṣṇu, he is called Vaiṣṇava. Godly. Godly person. Vaiṣṇava means godly person. So every godly person, he thinks for others. 'Oh, people are suffering for want of knowledge, for want of God consciousness, for want of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Oh, let me do some service. Let me enlighten them so that they may be happy.' Therefore we offer our obeisances to the Vaiṣṇavas: vāñchā-kalpa-tarubhyaś ca kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca. Vāñchā-kalpa-taru means that 'My dear devotee, you are just like a desire tree. Whatever I desire from you, you fulfill.' Vāñchā-kalpa-tarubhyaś ca kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca. Kṛpā means mercy. 'You are the ocean of mercy.' And patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo, 'And you are deliverer of the fallen souls. Therefore I offer my obeisances unto you.'
It is very nice to offer respect to a godly person. It is described very nicely. Why? Now, patitānāṁ pāvanebhyo. A godly person's business is to reclaim the fallen souls. A godly person sees that 'Here is my brother. He is son of God. I am son of God. Without enlightenment, without knowledge of God, he is suffering. So let me give him some knowledge of God.' This is godly person's business. He has no other business. He has no business to find out where to eat, where to sleep. Oh, that God provides for him. If God can provide food and shelter for cats and dogs, do you think God will not provide food and shelter for His confidential devotee? Is God so blind or ingratitude or unable? If He is able to feed innumerable living entities within this universe, does it mean that one who has sacrificed his life for God's service, he will starve? No. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is said, kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ pranaśyati: (BG 9.31) 'My dear Kaunteya, Arjuna, you declare it to the world that My devotee will never be vanquished.' Never be vanquished. Another place it is said, teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham: (BG 9.31) 'Those who are constantly engaged in My service, for them, I personally carry all the necessities to his home.' So rest assured that if you become Krishna conscious, if you become God conscious, there will be no scarcity of happiness. Don't think that 'If I devote my life only for Krishna consciousness I will be starving.' No. So this enlightenment is given by godly persons."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Los Angeles, January 3, 1970)
"The whole material world is blazing fire. Saṁsāra dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam (Gurv-aṣṭaka 1). Now, this dāvānala... Just like in the forest, you cannot send your fire brigade. That is not possible. Neither you can go there to help the animals for extinguishing the fire by bucketful of waters. That is also not possible. Helpless. Similarly, this saṁsāra dāvānala, you cannot extinguish it. So how it will be extinguished? Saṁsāra dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam. You have to beg for the mercy of Krishna; then this blazing fire can be extinguished. Not by your arrangement. That is not possible. Trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam. That cloud is mercy cloud, not this ordinary cloud. Because dāvānala, the example, personal experience that on the hill of Nainital, some thousand feet high, how this fire will be extinguished? The extinguished it will be when there is cloud on the sky and there is rainfall. Otherwise it is not possible. Similarly, the mercy cloud, kāruṇya, kāruṇa ghanāghanatvam... So just like ordinary cloud is made possible by evaporating water from the sea, similarly, Krishna has the sea of mercy, kāruṇayamaya, kāruṇa-sāgara. Krishna's another name is Kāruṇa-sāgara. So as the air evaporate or the heat evaporate from the sea and the cloud is formed in the sky, similarly, one who has connection or the power to evaporate the mercy sea of Krishna, he can extinguish the saṁsāra dāvānala. And that is guru. Guru is the cloud, or he is the agent of drawing water from the ocean of mercy of Krishna and turn it into a mercy cloud and pour water on the saṁsāra dāvānala, and then it is extinguished. Saṁsāra dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam, prāptasya kalyāṇa (Gurv-aṣṭaka 1).
Therefore guru must be authorized person, not that bhūmi-phala-guru... No. 'I am guru,' no. You cannot become guru unless you are agent to draw out the mercy water from the ocean of mercy of Krishna. That is guru. So therefore, a guru is not an ordinary person. He is the representative, bona fide representative of Krishna. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has sung, kṛṣṇa se tomāra, kṛṣṇa dite pāra: 'Vaiṣṇava Ṭhākura, Krishna is your property. If you like, you can give.' Vedeṣu durlabhaṁ adurlabhaṁ ātma-bhaktau (BS 5.33). You cannot get Krishna by studying Vedas. That is not possible. There is Krishna in the Vedas, but you cannot pick up. It is not possible. But if you go to the Krishna's favorite person... Kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya. Krishna's very dear servant, confidential servant, is guru. Nobody can become guru unless he is in confidence of Krishna. Na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu kaścid me priya-kṛttamaḥ (BG 18.69). These things are there. Not that by magic one can become guru. No. He must be... Saṁsāra dāvānala-līḍha-loka-trāṇāya kāruṇya-ghanāghanatvam, prāptasya kalyāṇa."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, November 30, 1976)
"Why a Vaiṣṇava should be envious for anyone? Everyone is working according to his karma. He is trying to rectify him, that 'Be out of these clutches of karma. You come to bhakti.' Why he should be envious? Vāñchā-kalpatarubhyaś ca kṛpā-sindhubhya eva ca. A Vaiṣṇava should be like ocean of mercy to reclaim the fallen souls. That is Vaiṣṇava's qualification."
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Johannesburg, October 16, 1975)
"Just see. Jesus Christ, what fault he had? He was preaching about God, and he was crucified. Crucified. That is in your country a very good example. Simply his fault was he was talking of God, that's all, and he was crucified. So we have to meet. Our Nityānanda Prabhu, He also met that Jagāi-Mādhāi. Of course, He delivered them. Nityānanda Prabhu is so kind that in spite of being stroken and blood came out from His head, still, He continued to say, 'My dear friends, never mind you have injured Me. You chant Hare Krishna.' So the preaching is so difficult thing. Therefore Krishna said, na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu kaścid me priya kṛttamaḥ (BG 18.69). It is not very sitting idly, comfortably, and discuss Vedānta. No. It is not like that. Preaching practically. Practically meeting dangerous position because sympathetic. Saṁsāra dāvānala. The whole world is in blazing fire. Para-duḥkha-duḥkhī. Vaiṣṇava is para-duḥkha-duḥkhī. And that is his qualification. For him there is no difficulty. He's quite all right. He's under the protection of Krishna. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati (BG 9.31). So he has no danger personally. What danger there is? There is Krishna. He is confident, and Krishna protects him in all danger. But he is unhappy. He meets Jagāi-Mādhāi class and faces all kinds of danger. Therefore he is the powerful, authorized agent of Krishna."
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Vrindavan, November 30, 1976)
"Vaiṣṇava. Chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava sevā, nistār pāyeche... (Prema-bhakti-candrikā). Vaiṣṇava's kṛpā. Vaiṣṇava is already merciful. Vaiṣṇava means merciful. Kṛpā-sindhu, ocean of mercy. That is Vaiṣṇava."
(Srila Prabhupada Conversation, Vrindavan, October 27, 1977)
"The pure devotee is the pleasure-possessing cloud, and when he is filled with transcendental loving service, then he can bestow his mercy as a downpour of rain -- and the pleasure potency returns to the ocean of Krishna."
(Nectar of Devotion, Chapter 34)
"The Supreme Lord is unlimited; His favor is unlimited; His mercy is unlimited. Therefore the mercy of the Supreme Lord upon His pure devotees is unlimited."
(Bhagavad-gita As It Is 7.13, Purport)
"The real ocean of mercy is Krsna and it is the duty of the spiritual master to tell his disciple to come to the ocean and be happy. The spiritual master's duty is to lead the disciple to this ocean. I am trying my best and if you try to follow surely you will benefit.
Bhaktivinode Thakura has sung, 'Krsna sei tomara, krsna dite para, tomara sakati ache. Ami ta'kangala, krsna krsna boli, dhai tava pache pache.' 'Krsna is yours and you have the power to give Him to anyone you wish. I am poor and wretched and running behind you shouting Krsna, Krsna!'
Krsna is unlimited, no one can catch Him, but if someone follows the parampara, he agrees to be captured. Everyone is afraid of Krsna, but Krsna is afraid of Mother Yasoda. That is Krsna's special mercy."
(Srila Prabhupada Letter to "My dear Sons and Daughters," August 14, 1976)