Sādhu means, mahātmā means, who is pure devotee. That is the explanation in the Bhagavad-gītā:
- api cet su-durācāro
- bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
- sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ
- (BG 9.30)
He is sādhu, even he is su-durācāraḥ. Just like sometimes we find these American, European boys, from our angle of vision, they are deviating little. But Kṛṣṇa confirms, "Even if he's deviating, still, he's sādhu." Why? Bhajate mām ananya-bhāk: "Because he does not know except Me, Kṛṣṇa." This is the certificate given by Kṛṣṇa. Sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ (BG 9.30). Samyak . . . "Oh, he may be sādhu, but not complete." No. Samyag vyavasito hi saḥ. He's complete sādhu. So what is the qualification? Now, bhajate mām ananya-bhāk. The example you can see, how they are making bhajana by the Deity worship. You'll never find in Calcutta such nice Deity worship. Bhajate mām ananya-bhāk. They do not know. All these boys and girls, they do not know anything but Kṛṣṇa. So this is the qualification, sādhu.
So we have to associate with such sādhus who has got unflinching faith in Kṛṣṇa and fully engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service. He is sādhu. Bhajate mām ananya-bhāk. Mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ, bhajanty ananya-manasaḥ (BG 9.13). That is mahātmā. We are after mahātmā. Who is mahātmā? Sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ. Vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā sudurlabhaḥ (BG 7.19). One who's accepted Kṛṣṇa as everything, such mahātmā is very rarely to be seen. Otherwise, so-called mahātmās, they are loitering in the street, "You are God, I am God, everyone is God." Not that kind of mahātmā. Mahātmā means bhajanti, "He worships Me, Kṛṣṇa." Kṛṣṇa is bhajanīya, and we are servant. One who is convinced on this platform, he is mahātmā, he is sādhu. So we have to associate with such sādhus.
Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ (CC Madhya 23.14-15). Pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa. They have no other desire. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (Brs. 1.1.11). They have no other desire. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam: uncovered by the mental speculation or fruitive activities, karma-kāṇḍa. Jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam (CC Madhya 19.167). Not covered. If you mix up karma with bhakti, if you mix up jñāna with bhakti, or if you mix up yoga, it is contaminated. It is not pure. Pure devotional service is given by Rūpa Gosvāmī, anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam (CC Madhya 19.167). No desire for fruitive activities or philosophical speculation or yogic . . . mystic yogic magic. No. Simply how to satisfy Kṛṣṇa. That is bhakti. Ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam. Ānukūlyena. Ānukūlyena means what is favorable, what Kṛṣṇa desires. Just like Arjuna. He did not like to fight. He wanted to be a very nice, nonviolent gentleman. But Kṛṣṇa was inducing him, "You fight." Then later on, he agreed: "Yes, kariṣye vacanaṁ tava (BG 18.73)." This is ānukūlyena. "Kṛṣṇa wants it. Doesn't matter whether it is violent or nonviolent, Kṛṣṇa wants it. I must do it." This is called ānukūlyena: not against the desire of Kṛṣṇa, but in favor of Kṛṣṇa. This is called anukūla, anukūla-sevā. So ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā (CC Madhya 19.167). That is first-class bhakti. Not that "If I like it, then I shall do it." That is not anukūla. That is pratikūla. You like or not like, that doesn't matter. Kṛṣṇa likes it; you must do it. That is ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam.
So if we associate with sādhu . . . sādhu means, mahātmā means, who are fully engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service. That is sādhu. That is mahātmā. Therefore it is recommended, ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgaḥ (CC Madhya 23.14-15). And if you associate with sādhu, then bhajana-kriyā. If we . . . just like so many thousands of Europeans, Americans, they have joined us on account of sādhu-saṅga. First of all they come in the temple and hear for some days. Then all of a sudden he becomes shaven-headed. We haven't to request. He takes a bead and bead bag, although he's not initiated. Then, after some days, he approaches, "Please get me initiated." The bhajana-kriyā. This is called bhajana-kriyā. So we initiate. "Yes, now you are interested, we initiate." We give him hari-nāma: "Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa" This is the first initiation. "And chant sixteen rounds and observe these rules and regulation." Then, when I see, six months or one year, he's doing very nicely, then we accept him as my disciple, the second initiation. So this is bhajana-kriyā. Then he's admitted to worship the Deity or cook for the Deity, so many things. Bhajana-kriyā.
Ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgo 'tha bhajana-kriyā tato 'nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.4.15). If there is bhajana, then he'll be freed from all anarthas. Anartha means unwanted things. Just like one man is smoking. Smoking is not essential for living. If you don't smoke . . . just like we don't smoke. That does not mean we are dying. It is an anartha. But anyone who has learned this smoking, he cannot stop it. Anartha. The result of bhajana will be substantiated when anartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt, he's no more interested with some unwanted things. We have practiced so many unwanted things. The first of all, illicit sex, making so-called lusty affairs without any married bondage. Illicit sex. This is anartha. Why? If you want sex, get yourself married according to śāstra. Then there is no hindrance. According to Vedic civilization, the . . . a girl must be married. But in every country I see the female population is more than the male population. Then how every girl should be married? Therefore in India more than one wife was allowed. Now it is not allowed. That is the Vedic injunction, kanyā-dāna. The father must get . . . find out a husband for his daughter. There are many history, the Kulīna . . . (indistinct)