Sunday Feast Lecture
given at Riga, Latvia
on April 17th, 2005
Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya,
singing 3 times and devotees repeat],
So today we are
diving ever deeper in to that sweet nectarean ocean of
Chapter number 5 of Bhagavad Gita, text number 23:
yuktasa sukhi narah
Before giving up this present body, if one is
able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of
desire and anger, he is well situated and is happy in this world.
by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada:
If one wants to
make steady progress on the path of self-realization, he must try to
control the forces of the material senses. There are the forces of talk,
forces of anger, forces of mind, forces of the stomach, forces of the
genitals, and forces of the tongue. One who is able to control the
forces of all these different senses, and the mind, is called
gosvāmīs live strictly
controlled lives, and forgo altogether the forces of the senses.
Material desires, when unsatiated, generate anger, and thus the mind,
eyes and chest become agitated. Therefore, one must practice to control
them before one gives up this material body. One who can do this is
understood to be self-realized and is thus happy in the state of self-
realization. It is the duty of the transcendentalist to try strenuously
to control desire and anger.
[End of purport]
Mataji and I are very happy
to be back with you all here in Riga. We feel like we are back home,
being with all of you. And I will discuss this wonderful verse and
purport of Krishna and Srila Prabhupada.
emphasizing the importance of sense control. Specifically He is
referring to desire and anger. Desire and anger are connected with each
other. If you have a desire and your desire is not fulfilled, than you
get angry. If you don’t have a desire, than there is nothing to get
angry about. But you may say: “Well how can I stop desiring, I mean –
desire is my nature”. The answer is that we have to desire for Krishna.
If you have the desire to satisfy Krishna, that is called desirelessness.
philosophy is that you should become desire-less. And they take all
types of strenuous means to kill that rascal demon called desire. But
they have one problem - they desire to kill desire, and that is a
desire. So they are caught in a trap.
But the devotees
of Krishna easily become desire-less, by taking all their desires and
offering them to Krishna. If you desire to sing - than you sing for
Krishna, if you desire to play the flute - you play the flute for
Krishna, if you desire to eat, does anyone here desire to eat? Then you
If you desire sex
- you get married and you raise Krishna Conscious children.
desire you have if you offer that to Krishna, then you become
desire-less because those desires are not for any type of material sense
So in such a mood
of desirelessness, of offering everything to Krishna’s service, you will
never get angry. Your mind will always be peaceful. So this is the
requirement for those who want to become happy in this world. Of course
if you prefer to be miserable, then you don’t have to take note of what
we are explaining today. But if you desire actual happiness, then we
would advise you to listen very, very carefully. Hear the instructions,
understand the instructions and then apply the instructions.
We want to make
you all into disciples of this Krishna Consciousness Movement because
that will give you unlimited happiness. That will give you complete
peace of mind. That will make you completely satisfied. A disciple means
someone who disciplines their activities in the service of Krishna. All
of their desires are connected with Krishna. They don’t have any
How to do that?
One may ask: “Well how do I do that?” Is anybody here interested to know
how they can become a disciple of this Krishna Consciousness Movement
and give up all forms of misery and anger? Anyone who would like to do
this? Let’s see any hands? Anyone who would like to do this?
There’s one two
three four, five. Oh very
good! Six. Yes, we guess
the rest of you are just here for eating then, I guess.
But that’s nice -
five or six are interested to actually make spiritual progress. I’m sure
you are all here for spiritual progress but you are just shy to raise
your hand. Because you can eat at so many places, but here you eat
Because you were
all chanting Hare Krishna with such enthusiasm, I can understand that
actually you are all interested in spiritual advancement. You are just
shy, that’s all, to raise your hand.
So how do we
actually make spiritual advancement? That is a very, very important
thing to understand. Rupa Goswami explains that it begins with a tongue.
You have to take Krishna-prasadam
and you have to chant. And what do you chant?
You have to chant
the holy names of God. Of course there are thousands and millions of
names for God. You can chant any of these names. We do not say that you
have to chant Hare Krishna, because there are millions of names for God.
But of all the millions of names given for God, this is specially
recommended in the Kali Santarana
Upanishad, that these specific names have great power and potency.
What are those
hare krishna hare
krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare
names of God, although not the only names, of all the names these are
the most powerful and the most potent for someone who wants to actually
conquer over desire and anger.
We see in this
Krishna Consciousness movement that there are thousands and thousands of
boys and girls, and men and women throughout the world, who have become
very advanced in spiritual life by chanting Hare Krishna. They are very
peaceful, they are very sense-controlled, they are very happy, they are
very knowledgeable. They are full of compassion for others.
These men and
women have all saintly qualities. And it is simply because Srila
Prabhupada has given us this wonderful mantra. In India there are many
types of yogis who have different sorts of mystic powers. Just like when
Prabhupada was a young man, he came in contact with one yogi who was
able to use one power called
prapti-siddhi is called the power of acquisition. One who has
prapti-siddhi he can reach
anywhere and bring something to where he is from even a far distant
So this yogi
actually demonstrated the power. While situated in one place in Kolkata,
he was able to reach all the way to Kashmir, which is in North-Western
India. He was able to bring one mango to Kolkata. So this is the power
So, someone asked
Prabhupada, they said: “Swamiji,
what is your magic?”
pointed out, his magic was: He has made all of these boys and girls in
to pure devotees of God.
So this is
actually the greatest thing. By the power of this mantra:
hare krishna hare
krishna krishna krishna hare hare
hare rama hare rama rama rama hare
one can achieve
all perfection, all happiness, and all knowledge.
So kindly take up
this chanting of Krishna’s name with great seriousness. Once you have
heard this Hare Krishna Mantra from the lips of the devotees, the pure
devotees of the Lord, then the seed of
bhakti is actually planted in
And what you do
with that seed will make you or break you spiritually. You may plant a
seed in your garden. If you neglect that seed what will happen? Sorry,
it will die. But if you take very good care of that seed – you water it,
you nicely weed the garden, and you build a strong fence so no elephants
can get in, then what will happen? That little seedling will become a
nice little devotional creeper and then will become a very big plant.
So now you have
all heard from the lips of the devotees, who are purely following Srila
Prabhupada. You have received… the seed of
bhakti is then planted in
your heart, entering through the ears.
Now how will you
water that seed? That is described by Bhakta Prahlad –Prahlad Maharaj –shravanam
kirtanam vishnu. By hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord
that seed becomes watered. And one also has to take very good care that
no weeds are growing in the garden. So what are those weeds? Illicit
sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling. And one has to build a
very, very strong fence around that little garden to keep that
hatimata, that mad elephant
from coming in. And what is that mad elephant?
aparadha. We had to be very,
very careful to always love and respect all the devotees of the Lord,
because if we disrespect the Lord’s devotees, that mad elephant or
hatimata will come and he
will destroy our devotional creeper.
always pray to lotus feet of the
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
vaisnavebhyo namo namah
That will protect
us if we are always praying, we always bow down at the lotus feet of the
devotees and we are praying to them, taking shelter of their feet. Than
we will never… our devotional creeper will become very, very strong,
very, very strong and powerful.
So if we take this
very, very simple system given by our merciful Founder
Acharya His Divine Grace
Srila Prabhupada, then you can all become great yogis, great devotees,
who become desireless, desiring only Krishna’s pleasure, completely free
from all desires for material sense gratification and in this way become
completely peaceful. You’ll
have nothing to get angry about because all your desires will be
If you desire only
to satisfy Krishna than you can easily have all of your desires
fulfilled. But if you desire sense gratification you will be lucky to
get 0.00001 % of your desires fulfilled. Therefore only a fool will
desire material sense gratification.
There is an old
saying: “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread “. So please do not be
a fool. You be an angel.
Q: If you try to
control the senses it becomes more and more difficult to continue doing
so, why is that, what to do?
A: If you are
acting under proper guidance it becomes easier and easier. If it becomes
more and more difficult for you, you are doing something wrong. You need
to find a teacher who can train you how to practice
bhakti yoga properly.
There are many
advanced teachers here in the Riga temple. If you will find and talk to
one of those teachers here, just like here we have one of our
brahmacharis, senior man and
Indranuja is also, see we have many… If you take guidance from one of
these teachers here, then it will become very easy for you to control
your senses. Simply it requires a proper teacher and if you follow the
instructions then there is no problem.
Q: If you explain
that to become disciple means to become completely happy, why then are
there many disciples who are not completely happy?
A: Translate into
Russian. …So she is saying: “Well there are some disciples who are not
happy. “, but I say this: because Prabhupada one time said that:
“Somebody who does not follow me is not actually my disciple. “ So I say
this: disciple means happy. Someone who is not happy they are not really
a disciple they are just merely dressed like one, but they are not
really a disciple. Prabhupada personally wrote me one letter and he
said: “Disciple means discipline. “ So if someone is not happy it means
that they are not disciplining their senses in the service of Guru and
Therefore I say:
“Disciple means happy. “ Miserable means miser, miserable means he is
not really a disciple. So if you find that you are feeling miserable
then you should know that you are a miser and you are not a disciple.
So stop punishing
yourself. You become a real disciple. And then you will taste unlimited
nectar at every minute. Just like a
gulabjamun with unlimited
juice. You can squeeze it and squeeze it and squeeze it and unlimited
oceans of juice will come out. That is Krishna Consciousness. That is
disciple. Not one of these rascal morose sense-enjoyers.
Q: If someone
sincerely tries to follow the instructions of his spiritual master, but
he is not perfect yet, to some extent, does that mean that he is not a
Consciousness is a process of gradual perfection. If I am feeling
miserable that means that to that extent I am not fully Krishna
conscious. However if I am sincerely trying to progress myself along the
path, I will feel on a steady basis how that misery is gradually going
away. And that is very enlivening. Just like when you are sick you feel
really bad. But when you start to get well, even though you are still
sick and you still don’t feel good, the fact that you are feeling better
is very enlivening. Because you know: “I am improving.” So even if you
feeling…you don’t have to be perfect yet, but as long as you are
improving and you are moving towards perfection, than you can be very
Q: If I see that
my working colleagues are more happy and peaceful than devotees, does it
mean I have no hope?
A: Well the
question is: if he sees that his colleagues at work are more happy and
peaceful than devotees, does he have no hope? Maybe they are undercover
devotees - you just do not know it. Maybe your coworkers are devotees
who are just undercover and you don’t even know they are devotees. But I
will warn you. I will give you this warning: there are two types of
sukha - happiness. And there
is maya-sukha - an illusory
happiness. So it is very easy to be misguided into thinking that
maya-sukha is actual
sukha. Your coworkers may be
enjoying the results of past pious activities. And feel very happy and
enlivened in enjoying all that sense gratification. And the devotees
understand the temporary flickering nature
of maya-sukha, and
voluntarily accept all sorts of penances and austerities to purify their
So when you see
those who are performing penances and austerities on the one hand, and
you compare them with the people who are enjoying the results of their
past pious activities on the other hand, it may appear, if you don’t
have deep spiritual realization, that the
maya-sukha people are getting
more nectar than the devotees. But what I would suggest is this: find
some devotees who are highly advanced in Krishna Consciousness and try
to understand how much bliss they are tasting. Compare those persons
with your colleagues. And see whose bliss you think is better.
Next question? His
hand went up first.
Q: In order to
properly practice Krishna Consciousness we should find aspiritual
master. By what characteristic can I understand that this person is
actually my spiritual master?
A: How you can
recognize who your spiritual master is? I would suggest that you humbly
submit yourself at the lotus… we all know that Prabhupada is our guru,
because he is our shiksha-guru.
And we know that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Lord Nityananda, they are also
our gurus. So I would advise that you submit yourself, every day you
come and you bow down in the feet of Shri Shri Gaura-Nitai and the lotus
feet of Shrila Prabhupada, and you beg Them to bless you with the proper
understanding as to how you should advance yourself in Krishna
spiritual master is a very important step. In fact Krishna says in the
Adau means in the
So, we already
know we have these three gurus- Prabhupada and Gaura-Nitai. This three
gurus they can bless you with an actual living guru who can be your
initiating spiritual master. They can do that. Prabhupada can reveal to
you, Gaura-Nitai can reveal to you. In our society for Krishna
consciousness we have many, many gurus. I think we have about eighty so
it is like going to … how each one will be a guru. It is very difficult
to decide. But you know that Prabhupada is guru and Gaura-Nitai are guru
for you. They are guru for all of us. So you fully submit yourself at
their lotus feet and beg them to reveal to you who is your actual guru,
your initiating guru.
Q: Your Grace, You
have described about desire and anger, often times we can see that
materialists try to satisfy their desires and they become greedy, and
try to improve and develop all material opulence but their greed is not
satisfied. But on other side the devotees try to control their desires,
like Your Grace, and they become angry, often times, like Durvasa muni
and other devotees. So how to go about it?
A: So by
controlling desire one may… by not gratifying the desire that one has,
understanding that this is a material desire and should not be
gratified, this may make one frustrated and angry. So how to overcome
that? Param drishtva nivartate.
It is a matter of getting a higher taste. Just like our famous
acharya Yamunacharya says
nava-nava-rasa-dhamany udyatam rantum asit
tad-avadhi bata nari-sangame smaryamane
bhavati mukha-vikarah susthu
“Ever since I’ve
been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Sri Sri Radha and
Krishna, deriving navanava rasa
- ever newer and newer taste in that
seva, that service, whenever
I think of satisfying my material desires, I have my lips curl in
distaste and I just spit at the thought.
You may be
frustrated in the beginning, but if you actually develop
ruchi or taste,
navanava rasa, not just a
little taste, but oceans of taste-
navanava rasa. If you can
come to that point of ever increasing nectar when you chant Hare
Krishna, ever increasing nectar when you see the devotees, ever
increasing nectar when you see Sri Sri Gaura Nitai, ever increasing
nectar just when you touch Prabhupad’s books. Ever increasing nectar.
Then you can easily walk away from all material desires, as Yamunacharya
He was formerly a
king, he had so much sex enjoyment but he walked away from it. Not
artificially. See artificial repression will not help. That’s what you
are talking about – artificial repression. But a devotee, he gets
pleasure which is millions and billions of times greater. Take all the
pleasure of this material world, take all the pleasure that people have
having sex, all the pleasure that people have being rich, all the
pleasure that people have being famous, every single material pleasure
that anyone, even the demigods, experience throughout the whole history
of the universe through the last
hundred and fifty five trillion years, and you put that on one
side of the scale. On the other side you put one pure utterance of Hare
Krishna. Boom![sound imitating a scale that hits the ground on the Hare
Krishna side]. So you simply have to chant with purity and you can laugh
in the face of maya, you see.
came, that prostitute actually, came to Haridasa Thakura, he was
thinking: “Let me be kind to this poor woman. I will trick her in to
becoming a pure devotee.’’ You see. So in this way he remained very
staunch brahmachari –sannyasi.
You see. He didn’t
think: ’’If she actually surrenders-well I’ll have a nice Krishna
conscious wife now”. No. He gave her the hut and he left. He made her
devotee. He was very keen to make this woman a devotee. He made her into
a pure devotee and he renounced the hut and went off, chanting
Harinama all over India.
So, in this way,
you see, if you simply engage everything in Krishna’s service, just like
Prabhupada said: “One can satisfy one’s desire for women, to enjoy
women, by engaging them in Krishna’s service. The man naturally has a
desire to enjoy a beautiful woman. It is built, you know, it’s wired
into a male body - to enjoy women. But if you engage women in Krishna’s
service, then you are satisfied. Just like Haridasa. He engaged her in
Krishna’s service - he is completely happy, so totally enlivened by
making her into a devotee, without being entangled in any way.
So this is the
mood. If we engage everyone - every rich man, every beautiful woman,
give them books, give them the Holy Name, teach them how to be devotees
and just remain renounced, offering everything in Krishna’s service,
then we’ll get so much mercy from guru, we’ll get so much mercy from
Srila Prabhupada, we’ll get so much mercy from Caitanya Mahaprabhu that
we’ll just be swimming in nectar at every minute. Absolute ocean of
nectar, just diving, like surfing on the waves of Lord Caitanya’s mercy,
at every minute.
So there is no
question of frustration. You’ve just got to practice the science
properly and then you will be so full of nectar, you can turn the whole
world on to Krishna.
One back there Madhavilata devi dasi. That’s you?
Q: If we feel that
we are making some improvement, and we can feel happy, what is the
guarantee that we’ll achieve perfection when we leave our present body?
A: What is the
guarantee you’ll achieve perfection? Well, you may not. There is no
automatic guarantee. That if you put on…you know, you say: “Well I’m a
devotee of Krishna, I put some
tilaka on, so now, I may become a spiritually enlightened being.”
ye yatha mam
tams tathaiva bajami aham
“In as much as
they surrender to Me, I reward them accordingly.”
So if you want
that reward, if you want perfection, then you have to surrender! There
is no other way to get it. If you do not surrender, then you don’t get
it - that’s all. The only guarantee is that Krishna will reward you
according to your degree of surrender. Whether you are surrendered or
not-that is up to you. It’s not an automatic process. It requires your
Q: How to develop
a skill to see our own imperfections and perfections.
A: How to develop
a skill to see the imperfection in others? No -in your own heart? Yes,
this is very important skill. One has to learn how to see the
imperfections within one’s own heart. That is not an easy skill. But the
easy thing is this: You find a qualified teacher, who can point out the
defects in your heart. And you learn from him. That’s the easy way to do
It is very
difficult to be objective about our own faults. because we are infected
with the disease known as false pride. So the easiest way is to find a
qualified teacher and submit ourselves to him for rectification. “My
dear Prabhu, my dear Maharaja, I submit myself to you. Kindly rectify me
from all of my faults. Point out all of my faults, and teach me how to
get over them.” Then it becomes very easy - you just do what he says.
You find a teacher and do what he tells you to do. Then you will become
faultless. And in that surrendering mood you will develop the ability to
see your own faults also.
But as long as you
think that you can do it on your own, you will remain blind. You have to
have a teacher. That’s the system given by Krishna.
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
“Just try to learn
the truth by approaching teacher, bona fide guru.” Krishna’s order.
Q: You have told
that there are 80 gurus in ISKCON and we can choose any of them, but it
can be that we are just choosing someone by trying to satisfy our
senses. One may sing nicely, one may know something or some ability of
this guru just to choose him in order to satisfy our senses?
A: Hmm… Well, the
guru wouldn’t let you do that. If you try to do that he will chop up
your sense desire…. Yes?
Q: How to be aloof
from some bad association, some bad qualities we have may come to us,
due to our bad karma? How to be aloof not to touch bad association,
which we are getting due to our bad karma?
A: Bad association
is bad association however you get it. And Lord Chaitanya’s first
instruction is that you recognize a devotee as someone who gives up
asatsanga tyaga. Asat means
materialistic, sanga means
association and tyaga means
you give it up. Asatsanga tyaga.
That is the first principle for someone who wants to advance in Krishna
You must give up
all bad association and take shelter of the society of the devotees. If
by social obligation or by work obligation you still have to associate
with them, within your heart you must be aloof, although externally you
may appear not aloof, in order to keep that relationship going in a
suitable way. But within your heart you must be aloof.
Q: The question
was a little different, I will say it another way; Only the Lord is
perfect, and in our association, no matter whom with, because our heart
is not pure, this impurity may come in resonance with the imperfections
of the other person. How do we learn to not be attracted to the other
person’s imperfections, and also learn to not identify the person with
his imperfections? How to remain aloof from other person’s
A: First see your
own imperfections. That’s the first thing you have to do. Don’t think
first about others, you first think about yourself. You find out your
own faults and get rid of them. That’s the first thing. “Physician, heal
thyself.” If you can conquer your own imperfections by taking proper
guidance of the Vaishnavas,
then you will be able to help others do the same thing. But if you are
simply thinking: “Well, I’m seeing so many imperfections.” –What about
We’ll stop here.
Thank you very much. Hare Krishna! Shrila Prabhupada
Transcribed by His Grace Iksvaku dasa