om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
[Gurudeva sings three times and devotees repeat]
Srimad Bhagavad-gita “Divisions of Faith", Chapter number 17 Text number 18.
sat-kara — respect; mana — honor; puja — and worship; artham — for the sake of; tapah — austerity; dambhena — with pride; ca — also; eva — certainly; yat — which; kriyate — is performed; tat — that; iha — in this world; proktam — is said; rajasam — in the mode of passion; calam — flickering; adhruvam — temporary.
Penance performed out of pride and for the sake of gaining respect, honor and worship is said to be in the mode of passion. It is neither stable nor permanent.
Sometimes penance and austerity are executed to attract people and receive honor, respect and worship from others. Persons in the mode of passion arrange to be worshiped by subordinates and let them wash their feet and offer riches. Such arrangements artificially made by the performance of penances are considered to be in the mode of passion. The results are temporary; they can be continued for some time, but they are not permanent. [End of purport]
Sankarshan Das Adhikari: In the fifth chapter of the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says,
Krishna is explaining that the purpose of all penances and austerities is to satisfy Krishna. So if we engage in penances and austerities for the sake of being honored and worshipped that is not for the pleasure of Krishna. That is for our own sense gratification. So, we have to be very, very careful why we undergo penances and austerities. If we undergo penances and austerities with the wrong mentality, then we will get bad result. They have to be done for the pleasure of Krishna. Look at Mahatma Gandhi. He underwent great penances and austerities to drive the British out of India. But at the end he was totally frustrated. And he was assassinated by a Hindu, Indian. So, what was the result of all his penances and austerities? He died miserable man. Therefore if you are going to do penances and austerities, we should do them for the satisfaction of Krishna. And then we will get a permanent lasting result. In this world everyone does penances and austerities. But what is the result of their penances and austerities? As far as penance and austerities, they go to school for so many years, and at the end they get one piece of paper. And what does that piece of paper say? This person is a qualified dog. They have learned how to be obedient to the master. I don't know about in Latvia, but in the USA the universities are funded by big endowments from major corporations because the university is a very good training ground for corporate employees. Universities do not teach you how to think independently. They teach the students how to be a cog in a machine. So, such penances and austerities may get you a job, if you are lucky, and in that job you will work very hard throughout your whole life. And what is the result of your working hard throughout the entire life? A grave six feet under, that is the result. You get a nice comfortable coffin. So, these are the penances and austerities to get a piece of paper that qualifies that you are a good dog and then you will get a nice comfortable coffin buried six feet under the ground. These are the rewards for penances done in the mode of passion. So why should we do penances in the mode of passion?
Why not do transcendental penance? Chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Give up illicit sex, give up meat eating, give up intoxication, and give up gambling. These penances will give great results, punar janma na vidyate, “you will never take birth again”. So this is intelligence. The human life is meant for intelligence. The Vedanta Sutra states, "athatho brahma jijnasa," now that you have a human form, utilize it for self-realization. And the Bhagavatam says, “My dear boys, this human form of life is indeed very rare and one should not waste it by imitating the ways the dogs and hogs that eats stool. Rather you should use this valuable human form to perform the devotional service of the Lord”. By such devotional service you will achieve, "brahma saukhyam tv anantam," you will achieve spiritual happiness that goes on increasing unlimitedly forever. This is how the human life should be utilized and not for throwing it away in frivolous sense gratification.
Why are we so much wasting our lives? Because the educational system is very, very bad; the teachers are rascals; the government leaders are rascals; the poets are rascals; the artists are rascals; the musicians are rascals; the athletes are rascals; people who do sports like football stars and baseball stars and soccer stars, they are all rascals. All the celebrated people of the society, they are all rascals.
So where will one get the proper guidance? The child growing up sees all the great heroes. But they are all rascals. Where are the genuine heroes in the world today? The child he is attracted to put a poster of such and such a person on his wall in his room. But that person is a rascal. So how will the child get a proper idea to mold his character in the proper way? This is why this Krishna conscious movement is so very important. It is building men and women of character who can serve as role models for the human society. So, therefore it is our duty to become an ideal character, to be pure in our serving mood. Prabhupada explains that a devotee does not need anything to be happy except for a place to lie down, some prasadam and a lot of service. All that a devotee needs to be happy is lots of service to do, a place to lie down and some prasadam. That is all. He doesn't need some big powerful position, some big prestige; he just needs some humble position of service. That is all that is required. But the difficulty is our minds are uncontrolled, they are fickle or cancala, manas cancalam, flickering mind. The mind is always going, “I like this”, “I don't like that”, “I like this”, “I don't like that”. This is called manoratha, the chariot of the mind. Just like we have Ratha Yatra, there is manoratha. Just like we have a chariot for Jagannatha, there is also a chariot for the mind. It just goes roaming all over the universe. So we have to put a stop to the mental Ratha Yatra festival and simply do only Jagannatha Ratha Yatra. No more mental Ratha Yatra. Our mind just keeps going here and there, “I like this”, “I don't like that”, “I like this”, “I don't like that”. We have to come to the higher platform that whatever Krishna arranges for me that’s alright.
There is one story in this connection. Maybe some of you have heard this story but some of you have not heard. There was one king and he had a prime minister. And the prime minister was Krishna conscious. He would always tell the king, "Whatever Krishna does is alright". So, one day the king cut off his finger. The prime minister said, "Don't worry your Majesty, whatever Krishna does is alright". This made the king very angry. [In angry tone] "I have lost my finger and you are saying it is alright, in the dungeon". He threw him in the dungeon. In the Vedic culture the ksatriyas they would go to the forest for hunting. It was not for sense gratification. But it was for the purpose of practicing the killing art. The ksatriyas they would not sit comfortably in the palace when the enemy came. The king would lead the soldiers into battle. So he had to be very expert at the art of killing. So they would go to the forest and they would kill some wild animals that harassed the sages who were meditating. So, the king he was in the forest hunting and a band of dacoits captured him. They were worshippers of Goddess Kali. They wanted to make a human sacrifice to Goddess Kali. So they gave him a nice bath. They put him in some fresh nice clothes and fed him a very nice dinner. Then they were going to cut off his head and offer him to Goddess Kali. But then they became rather disturbed. They took a second look at his hand and they saw that he is missing a finger. "We can't offer him to Goddess Kali, he is missing a finger. Goddess Kali would be very angry at us. What to do? Let him go".
So, the king, he went back to the palace. He felt very bad about what he had done to the prime minister. So, he went straight to the dungeon. He unlocked the door. And said, "I am very, very sorry for what I have done, you were right. Krishna has protected my life. Now you please come out of this dungeon". But he was amazed when he looked at the face of the prime minister. He did not detect the slightest anger on the face of the prime minister. In fact the prime minister was looking quite ecstatic. And the king was amazed. “How is this possible, he was thrown in the dungeon, for all he knew that he would be there for the rest of his life? And yet when I looked through the door, even before I opened the door I saw that his face was ecstatic”. So he asked the prime minister. He said, "My dear prime minister, you are not angry with me how is that?” The prime minister said, "Your Majesty, whenever you go on those hunting trips you know I always go with you. And I had all my fingers. Whatever Krishna does is alright".
In this way we have to understand that “not a blade of grass moves without the will of the Supreme”. Sometimes we hear people complaining. "Oh, this devotee did that, this devotee did this, the temple said this and this and that and this and that”. But you have to understand that absolutely everything is happening within the entire cosmic manifestation is going on under the sanction of Krishna for a reason. Do you have any idea what that reason is? To purify you of your rascal mentality, to bring you back to the point of total submission to the lotus feet of Guru and Krishna. Krishna is acting perfectly through the agency of this material energy and His spiritual energy to bring you back to the point of complete surrender at His lotus feet. A person who is properly fixed in Krishna consciousness perceives everything that happens to him at every minute as the sweet loving mercy of Krishna upon him. That is a fact. So, we have to become very, very sober. And learn the art of seeing Krishna within everything and everything within Krishna. The problem is we don't see Krishna. We see instead the rascal mentality, “I am the lord”. This is the problem. We came into this world thinking, "I am God". And we are still thinking. "I am God". How many times do we have to hear that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and I am His eternal servant before we will become completely convinced? That depends on the quality of our hearing.
If you want to increase the quality of your hearing, then increase the quality of your service. The more love and devotion you put into your service the more you will be able to hear with submissive aural reception. And the full potency of Krishna katha will act on your heart to free you from the misery, which you are suffering like anything right now. You may say “how you can say I am miserable?” But when compared to pure Krishna prema, we are really in a suffering state of consciousness right now. We are conditioned because we have been suffering like this for so many millions of lifetimes. We are thinking “that this suffering condition is actually enjoyment”. But that illusion is simply due to a poor fund of knowledge. We do not actually realize how conditioned we are. We are conditioned to being conditioned since time immemorial. Therefore there is nothing more important than contact with three things, Guru, Sadhus and Shastra. We need to come in contact with a bona fide spiritual master, we need to come in contact with the devotees of the Lord and we need to be in contact with the scriptures. By these three contacts, Guru, sadhus and shastra, if we receive them in the proper way then we will actually reawaken the sleeping enlightened consciousness which is right now there within us. So we can actually taste the true happiness of Krishna bhakti. This is the real purpose of penance and austerity, to awaken the pure Krishna bhakti within the heart.
Devotee: We know that bhakti is totally independent of the material conditions, then what is wrong if we are getting material education cultivated in this world?
SDA: There is nothing wrong. The Sri Isopanishad says:
vidyam cavidyam ca yas
The Sri Isopanishad says ,“one who can cultivate both transcendental knowledge and mundane knowledge side by side, can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and achieve the full blessings of immortality”.
The train track has two rails. So as long as you have a material body then you require vidya and avidya. One has to take care of the avidya side also. Even though the material body is full of ignorance still we have to take care of it. So we recommend that there be proper arrangements for everyone's material needs. It depends on each individual disciple. For some disciples we will tell them "You should finish your college degree". For some we would give another instruction. There has to be some arrangement for everyone's material well-being. Just like the varnashrama system. The ashrama refers to spiritual cultivation and varna refers to material occupation. So varna and ashrama, both are there, but of the two,ashrama is more important, spiritual cultivation. If somehow or the other you have spiritual cultivation then your life will be successful. But if all you have is material arrangement but no spiritual cultivation then your life would be a guaranteed failure. So we want to have both. But of the two, the spiritual cultivation is more important. So if you can't have both and you can only have one then it is better to have spiritual cultivation even at the expense of material well-being. But actually Krishna will take very good care. Krishna says “that those who fully surrender unto Me, worship Me with exclusive devotion, I preserve whatever they have and provide whatever they lack”. That is the position. We should focus on being exclusively devoted to Krishna. What does exclusion mean? That means I am only devoted to Krishna and nobody else. Not devoted to Siva, not devoted to Indra. I have no objects of love and devotion except for Lord Sri Krishna. By that love for Krishna then you become the best lover of all living beings. When you water the root of the tree all the leaves and branches are nourished. When you feed your belly, then all the parts of your body become nourished. So if you will simply give your love to Krishna then your love will go everywhere and Krishna will take perfect care of you at every minute.
Devotee: If we call everybody but devotees as rascals, how can we expect that they would become devotees in the future? Is it fair to call everybody rascal?
SDA: We don't call anyone a rascal actually Krishna does. It is Krishna Who calls them rascal. I had a long discussion this morning on this subject with another person. The real fact is that Krishna says:
na mam duskrtino mudhah
He says: “that those people who do not surrender unto Me are rascals”. If that was a wrong thing to be said then Krishna is a rascal. But since Krishna is the Supreme authority, morality is defined by what pleases Him. Therefore by definition, He cannot be a rascal. Krishna has made a division between those who surrender to Him and those who do not. From our side we see everyone as the child of Krishna.
(Aside: Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya! Sri Sri Radha Damodara ki jaya!)
From our side we see that everyone is a devotee of Krishna, some know it and some don’t. We offer everyone all respect. Even we offer our respect to the ant. Because we understand that the Paramatma is there in the heart of every living entity panditah samadarsinah. That is described in the Bhagavad-gita: "those who are learned see all living beings equally". So devotee's vision is to see everyone equally. Whether they are a devotee or whether they are a non-devotee. But Krishna, He has made a clear distinction between those who have surrendered to Him and those who have not surrendered to Him. So the devotee he will repeat that judgment of Krishna. Just like in the newspaper, the reporter, he will make one article, so and so is a murderer and he will be hanged. The reporter did not make that judgment. That judgment was made by the authorized judge. In the Bible, in The Old Testament, it is stated, "Judgment is Mine, sayeth the Lord". So, the devotee does not make judgment. That is not his position. Because he is in the humble mood of service, he offers respect to everyone. Just like in Vrindavana, when the six Gosvamis were there, they were very dear to everyone, both to the devotees and non-devotees. Srinivasa Acarya has written a very nice song describing the six Gosvamis. And he says, "Dhiradhiro jana priyo" that means the six Gosvamis, they were dear to both the devotees and non-devotees. They were dear to everyone because they had genuine love for everyone. A devotee of the Lord can be compared to a healthy person. And a non-devotee is compared to a sick person. Does a doctor love only healthy people? Actually he especially loves the sick people because that is how he makes his living. So the doctor actually loves everyone. And he gives special attention to those who are sick because that is his duty. But he does make a distinction. To be a doctor, he has to be able distinguish between a healthy person and a sick person. Otherwise he cannot be a doctor. So, sometimes we make a distinction between a devotee and a non-devotee. Not out of a sense of pride or superiority. Not out of a sense of contempt but as they say, FYI -'for your information'. One has to be able to distinguish between a devotee and a non-devotee. Someone who is properly situated and someone who is in a rascal state of mentality, defying God. A doctor cannot be a proper doctor unless he can distinguish between a healthy person and a sick person.
A devotee of the Lord is a soul doctor. He has to be able to distinguish between someone who has a proper mentality and someone who has a rascal mentality. So he can properly serve those persons who have a rascal mentality, to help them get over that rascal mentality. Sometimes a neophyte devotee may very proudly say "Oh a rascal, rascal rascal". But he forgets to point at himself also that “I am a rascal”. But someone who is of the caliber of Srila Prabhupada points out the rascal mentality of the materialistic society, there is not even a slight tinge of pride. It is simply being said in the mood of service. Just as a doctor has to distinguish between who has cancer and who doesn't. Is that clear?
Devotee: It is clear from the point of devotees. But shouldn't the choice be given first because these people. We don't remember our past lives and we don't know our real situation. And before it is explained, it is very difficult to accept if there is no choice. If the choice is not given to choose between them, to hear that ‘rascal’ it becomes very difficult and then people begin to expect from these religions compassion and things like that. And when one is called a rascal, he feels guilty, but he doesn't know why.
SDA: Alright, we will tell why you are a rascal.
Devotee: I understand it. I accept it being sitting here but ...
SDA: So if there is someone who doesn't understand you bring them here and I will explain to them why they are rascal. I would be happy to take the time and trouble to explain them understand and explain why Krishna says they are a rascal. I would be happy to spend the whole evening if I need to, to make them understand why they are a rascal and how they can get over being a rascal. I would be very happy to do that. I am glad you raised the point. Because Prabhupada is often times misunderstood on this point. So, all of our devotees should know very well what is the proper understanding of Prabhupada calling so many people rascals. Why he is doing that and what is the purpose. Prabhupada is not acting whimsically or out of some egotism. He is actually guided by Krishna within the heart. He is a perfect acarya. So there has to be some reason that Prabhupada does that. In fact he is famous for calling people rascal, rascal, rascal [Chuckles]. So there is a shock value in doing that. Sometimes in the art of education there is a technique called ‘shock value’. You present something in such a way that it is shocking. It grabs your attention and makes you really open your mind up.
Vishnupriya Mataji: You were saying about the doctor discriminating between the sick person and the healthy person. If the doctor recognizes the sickness of the person and does not reveal it to the patient then he is not a proper doctor.
SDA: Yes. That is right. The doctor has to inform the patient that he is diseased. It is shocking. If I tell you, “you are a rascal,” you will be shocked. Because everybody you work with, you are the boss of your company. You are like a demigod for them. They just glorify you. And if the spiritual master says, "You are a rascal". It is shocking. You know who else was also called a rascal by His guru? Lord Caitanya. His spiritual master, Isvarapuri said "You are such a rascal, you cannot study Vedanta. You better chant Hare Krishna". So, if even God Himself was called a rascal by His spiritual master ,there has to be of some value in being called a rascal. Otherwise, why would Isvarapuri set that example?
Devotee: I have heard that there is one aspect when we talk about saying the truth four principles should be followed. You should tell the truth and this truth should be based on the sastras, this truth should not make trouble to the person’s mind and truth should encourage. In this case how?
SDA: Yes. One has to be expert that you can call them a rascal and they will accept and become very happy. Prabhupada had that art. If you watch the videos of Prabhupada you can see that he can call people 'rascal' and they would love it. I will give you an example. One devotee, he is now my God-brother, Mahabhut Prabhu. He was not yet a devotee. He came to hear Prabhupada. Actually he came to challenge Prabhupada. He was thinking that “if this person is a real Guru then he has to be able to read the future”. He had a whole list of things. He wanted to test Prabhupada and see if he was really a Guru. He had this test and he was going to apply it on Prabhupada and see if he was a real Guru or not. This Mahabuddhi, he was a football player. He had a big body. And he was very proud. He came in and he sat down in the darsana room. Prabhupada could understand his mentality just by seeing him. And you know what the first thing that Prabhupada said to him was? He said "Why are you a krpana"? "Krpana" means miser. He immediately said "Why are you a krpana"? And all the sannyasis moved aside and got out of the way. Because Prabhupada's divine anger was so heavy, it was like a lightning bolt traveling across the room. And they got out of the way and Prabhupada just blasted him. Prabhupada just totally smashed him. And actually in the course of the conversation Prabhupada satisfied every single test that he had come up with without even Mahabuddhi saying a word. His name was Randy. Without Randy even saying one word, Prabhupada answered all four of the challenges. So Randy got up in a very angry mood. He had been totally smashed and defeated by Prabhupada. He bolted out of the door. He got into his car and turned the ignition. Pshhhhhhhh [imitates car starting]. He started driving out very angrily. "Oh, he smashed me, he defeated me". He was really angry and started driving and then he started thinking that "I have been defeated, so now I have to surrender". He lived two hours away from the temple. The next day he drove all the way back to Los Angeles and he brought a check for $1,000 which was a lot of money back in the Sixties. It was lot of money, big money. He gave it to one of the devotees and said "Here give this to your spiritual master". They said, "Don't you want to see him'? He said, "No. No." [laughs] He was afraid to see Prabhupada. Actually Prabhupada saw him. Anyway he became a devotee. Prabhupada not only called him a rascal, he called him a krpana to his face. He smashed him and smashed him and smashed him. There is a reason that Prabhupada calls people rascal. An advanced preacher of Krishna consciousness is called a sadhu. A sadhu means a saintly person. But the word sadhu also has another meaning. It means "one who cuts". The sadhu just like the surgeon can cut the cancer away from your body. By sharp words the sadhu can cut all the illusion out of your heart. So when you take shelter of the bona fide spiritual master you must be prepared for open heart surgery. Otherwise you are not ready to surrender yet. Do you understand?
Devotee: He said that things in devotional service is chanting and serving the devotees. The acaryas do not recommend just chanting but if someone makes himself only through practical service and he doesn't have time for chanting.
SDA: He does only service but no chanting. Yes, sometimes we have seen devotees like that. They are passionate devotees. They like to work hard and accomplish things. But they don't like to chant because it is so sattvik. They get purified by their service. But because that service is being done in a passionate mode, they can't chant. That service can eventually come to an end. If one will cultivate the mode of goodness by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra every day at least 16 rounds then one will be able to continue doing service without end.
Devotee: How would it happen if someone achieves liberation, which the devotees usually practically won’t? But if someone completely merges in Brahman, what happens when someone falls from Brahman. What is happening in this condition?
SDA: When someone falls from Brahman?
Other devotees: Brahmajyoti when someone falls from Brahmajyoti.
SDA: Do you have some practical example of someone who attained the Brahmajyoti? Bhagavatam says:
aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah
"Even after undergoing great austerities and penances to achieve the Brahmajyoti, patanty adho they fall down because they have no regard for the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krishna.
(Aside: Shri Shri Gaura Nitai ki jaya!; Shri Shri Radha Damodara ki jaya!)
The living entity cannot be satisfied in any position save and except for pure bhakti, because the position of sayujya mukti is an artificial position. It does not satisfy the self except only temporarily, it gives a false sense of satisfaction. The Bhagavatam says, vimukti maninas that means it is a liberation of the mind only, not actual liberation. It is not really mukti, it is a shadow of mukti. The only real liberation is devotional service.
Devotee: What would you recommend us to say to persons who are among us and who on the verge does not follow the four regulative principles and he is saying it is not so important to follow the regulative principles. “I can disregard them and I can return back when I am ready again”.
SDA: So if somebody is not willing to strictly take up Krishna consciousness now, we would encourage them to do whatever they can do in Krishna consciousness. That will be for their benefit. We encourage them to read Prabhupada's books, chant Hare Krishna, come to the temple, take prasadam and join in the kirtana. For many people giving up these sinful activities is very, very difficult. So we have to be very, very kind upon them. Give them a lot of love and a lot of mercy. So they will get a higher taste beyond material sense gratification.
Devotee: it is said that the devotees usually do not ask anything from the Lord. It is not recommended to ask anything from the Lord for ourselves but if I am asking for some purpose, is it okay?
SDA: Getting what?
Translator: I am asking something to get from the Lord Nrsimha?
SDA: He wants to get something from Lord Nrsimha? Actually if you are approaching the Lord to give me this or give me that then you are asking the Lord to be your servant. And that mentality will keep you in this world. But if you are in a dangerous position and you are begging Lord Nrsimhadeva for His protection from danger, then you have to put yourself fully under His protection, "If You want to kill me that is alright, and if You want to save me that is alright. Whatever You want to do with me that is alright. But my dear Lord, please bless me that I will never forget You." That is how we should pray. "My dear Lord, bless me that I will never forget You." We should try to take Krishna smaranam, Nrsimha smaranam. we should be very greedy to take from the Lord. But for material things we leave that up to Krishna. “You can take it away or give, it is Your choice. I am simply Your property”. Otherwise what is your relationship with the Lord? Is it a business deal that you flatter God to get something out of Him?
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Devotees: Sri Sankarshan Prabhu ki jaya!
[Transcribed by Her Grace Bhaktin Priya]