Lecture: Bhagavad Gita 7.19
Program at Hare Krishna Mani's home
Ottawa, Canada (1 June, 2005)
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
[Gurudeva is singing 3 times and devotees repeat]
bahunam janmanam ante
jnanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma su-durlabah
bahunam - many; janmanam - repeated births and deaths; ante - after; jnana-van - one who is in full knowledge; mam - unto Me; prapadyate - surrenders; vasudevah - the Personality of Godhead, Krishna; sarvam – everything; iti - thus; sah - that; maha-atma - great soul; su-durlabah - very rare to see.
“After many, many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.”
The living entity, while executing devotional service or transcendental rituals after many, many births, may actually become situated in transcendental pure knowledge that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate goal of spiritual realization. In the beginning of spiritual realization, while one is trying to give up one's attachment to materialism, there is some leaning towards impersonalism, but when one is further advanced he can understand that there are activities in the spiritual life and that these activities constitute devotional service. Realizing this, he becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrenders to Him. At such a time one can understand that Lord Sri Krishna’s mercy is everything, that He is the cause of all causes and that this material manifestation is not independent from Him. He realizes the material world to be a perverted reflection of spiritual variegatedness and realizes that in everything there is a relationship with the Supreme Lord Krishna. Thus he thinks of everything in relation to Vasudeva or Sri Krishna. Such a universal vision of Vasudeva precipitates one's full surrender to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna as the highest goal. Such surrendered great souls are very rare.
This verse is very nicely explained in the Third Chapter (verses 14 and 15) of the Svetasvatara Upanisad:
sa bhumim visvato vrtva-
yad bhutam yac ca bhavyam
sa bhumim visvato vrtva-
yad bhutam yac ca bhavyam
In the Chandogya Upanisad (5.1.15) it is said, na vai vaco na caksumsi na srotrani na manamsity acaksate prana iti evacaksate prano hy evaitani sarvani bhavanti: "In the body of a living being neither the power to speak, nor the power to see, nor the power to hear, nor the power to think is the prime factor; it is life which is the centre of all activities." Similarly Lord Vasudeva, or the Personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krishna, is the prime entity in everything. In this body there are powers of speaking, of seeing, of hearing, of mental activities, etc. But these are not important if not related to the Supreme Lord. And because Vasudeva is all pervading and everything is Vasudeva, the devotee surrenders in full knowledge (cf. Bhagavad-gita 7.17 and 11.40). [End of Purport]
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah
This is actually the greatest blessing to come in contact with these words of Lord Sri Krishna. We see practically this material world is a very nasty place. It is a world where everyone is trying to compete to be the Lord. There is so much exploitation, politics, jockeying for position. It’s a very unpleasant situation in this material world. Everybody wants to put forward their own agenda and make it the supreme agenda.
If there is a pond and you throw your rock in the pond, some ripples will come out from that rock. If I throw my rock in the pond, then ripples will come out from my rock also. So what happens, there are waves of ripples, they clash with each other. In Sanskrit it is said klesha, in English it is called clash. It is the same word clash, klesha.
So everybody is throwing their rocks in the pond, you are throwing your rock, I am throwing, she is throwing her rock, everybody is throwing their rock and there is all this clashing going on like crazy. The parents are clashing, the children are clashing with each other, the neighbors are clashing. How much clashing is there in traffic? When somebody gets so angry, they shoot somebody dead, they call it road rage. And now there is air rage, sometimes a passenger will go crazy and start fighting on the airplane. That happened on one flight; they had to subdue him and he actually died. They tied him up, the other passengers subdued this crazy passenger and he ended up dying. So these things are going on. So, this is just a crazy place where everybody is clashing. So what is the solution?
The Mayavadi says just merge into nothingness. If I don’t exist and you don’t exist, then there is no more clashing. Just make it all one. That’s the Mayavadi solution you don’t exist. You are fighting with your friends, so the solution is you just have to not exist anymore. Then that solves the problem. The only difficulty is it is just a mental concoction, described in the Bhagavatam, vimukti maninas. It is simply liberation of the mind only. There is no actual liberation there; it is just a mental concoction. You imagine that you have become the one and everything is one.
The difficulty is that I am thinking that I am the one and you are thinking that you are the one. That’s the problem. The clash is still going on. You think, “Yes, now I have realized that I am God and everybody is part of me, so everyone has to serve me.” We got into this material world to begin with because we were thinking that we are God and now they think they will get out of this material world by again thinking that they are God. Is that logical? We came to this world under the false conception that ‘I am God’ and now we will get out of here by again thinking ‘I am God.’
This Mayavadi philosophy is very attractive because people are struggling to make it to school, they don’t make good grades in school then they think, “Well, I will try to make it as a rock musician.” They get out there and their band does not make it, they fail there and they think, “Well, I will go back to college.” “I will try politics, and when they don’t make it there. I will try to go in a business,” when they don’t make it there, they go bankrupt. So they try to make it in this way and that way, so many ways they try to make it but they can never make it. They are always way down there in the rat race, the bottom of the heap somewhere and then they meet some Mayavadi guru and he says that actually you are God. And they go, “Wow, now I made it.” They are just trying to get ahead in the material world, that’s all it is. The Mayavadi philosophy is another way of trying to get ahead that, “I am God.”
One lady used to come to our temple. I ran a preaching center for a while in Norman, Oklahoma. She would come when I was cooking the feast. I always told her not to do this but she would come to the kitchen door and she would go- (action of smelling the food). While I was cooking before it was offered, she would say “what is Krishna going to enjoy today?” In other words, “I am Krishna.”
So this rascal Mayavadi philosophy does not really solve the problem because everyone is just thinking that, yes, “I am God.” And still there is all of a sudden, so many “I am God” walking around clashing with each other. So the actual solution is we have to throw our rocks into the same spot within the pond. If you throw your rock and I throw my rock and all goes exactly at the same place in pond then there is no conflict any more. Then there is perfect harmony. There is just one nice series of ripples coming out of this one spot, that everybody throws their rock to exactly the same spot. So what is that spot? That’s God, that’s Krishna.
isavasyam idam sarvam
yat kinca jagatyam jagat
yat kinca jagatyam jagat
“If we put Krishna in the center and understand that I am not the proprietor, I only take what is necessary set aside as my quota and engage everything else in the service of Krishna or either I leave my hand off of it.”
If we simply do that, then all the problems are solved. We have so much problems getting along with each other because we are not putting Krishna in the center. As soon as we put Krishna in center and depend on Krishna for everything then we have no anxiety. We are thinking of by my schemes, by my plans, “I can solve the problem. I am such a great intelligent person. I can solve all the problems by my schemes. I am the best friend of all living entities.”
But sorry it is Krishna who is the best friend of all living entities, who can solve all the problems of everyone. What can we do? We have to let Krishna take charge of everything. We serve Krishna to our best capacity with. Ultimately we have to leave everything up to Krishna. We may try to think, “I will be a devotee and I have this plan, that plan, this plan, that plan,” but ultimately it’s all in the hands of Krishna. We have to leave it up to him ultimately. We simply endeavor to serve Krishna to our fullest capacity in whatever situation He places us in. That’s all. Whatever circumstances He places us in, we serve to our best capacity. We cannot control what’s happening in this world. That is Krishna’s decision.
There is one nice principle. It’s very good principle to help us, to be peaceful in the mind. This requires that you develop the power of judgment, the power of discrimination to know the difference. There are certain things we can control and there are certain things over which we have no control. So the way to become successful in Krishna consciousness is to learn to tell the difference. Those things I do have control over, mainly my mind and my senses, take full control of them, absolute total, complete control. Whatever you have control over, you take control full control and over that which you have no control, you just leave it to Krishna, whatever Krishna arranges.
The difficulty is we want to try to control those things that we will never be able to control and we don’t control those things that we can control, namely our senses. We want to control other people for example. We want to control so many things over which we have no control actually. If we would just say ok, let me just control my senses, become goswami.
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
Let me simply bring my own senses under control. But instead, we think, “Well, I am not really ready to control my senses but I want to control other things. I want to control other people. I want to control what’s happening around me.” But that’s a big mistake. We should simply try to control our own senses, our mind, that we can control- goswamis.
Do you think goswamis is only for sanyasis? The grahsthas are not supposed to be sannyasis or brahmacaris and brahmacarinis, they are not supposed to be goswamis. No, everyone is meant to be a goswami. Prabhupada explains like that. He gave lecture in Vrindavana. He is talking these points that everyone in this movement should become goswamis. This is the position. We have to bring our senses under control.
Prabhupada said that we should be such clean, nice Vaishnavas, that people will naturally offer us respect and he said by offering respect to the Vaishnavas then they make advancement. So we should be such well controlled Vaishnavas ladies and gentleman that anyone who knows us will respect us very much because we have the qualities of Vaishnava.
And just by that feeling of respect they have towards a devotee, they make spiritual advancement. dhir adhira jana priyo, the Goswamis were like that. They were so dear to the people in Vrindavana, the Brijvasis. Prabhupada explains that the ordinary householders who were living in Vrindavana at that time, they were not sadhus, they were not saintly persons, but they had all respect for the goswamis, especially Sanatana Goswami.
The householders would approach him with their family quarrel. The husband would have his side of the story, the wife would have her side of story, and Sanatana Goswami, he would hear about the family quarrel between husband and wife and he would make judgment. Whatever judgment he gave they would accept. He would tell the wife that she was wrong and they would accept or he would tell the husband that he was wrong and they would accept. Whatever Sanatana Goswami said they would accept. He was so dear to everyone, the devotees, the non-devotees; everyone respected Sanatana Goswami.
So we should develop that kind of character that kind of personality, Prabhupada is explaining so that people will respect us and make advancement even without knowing it, they make spiritual advancement just by their respect they have for the Vaishnavas. Prabhupada said, “Don’t demand respect, command it.”
Demanding means “Ok, you have to respect me, I am initiated brahmana, and you have to respect me, otherwise I will curse you.” That is called demanding respect but commanding respect means, “I am not asking for any respect. In fact I am giving you all respect seeing you as part and parcel of Krishna, seeing that Krishna is within your heart giving you all respect.” And then because I am dealing with you as a gentleman, then you naturally want to respect me. So in this way Prabhupada is instructing us how to come to the position where we actually control our senses and can very successfully spread Krishna Consciousness to those who are not yet in the wonderful world of Krishna Consciousness.
Prabhupada has indeed given us a house in which the whole world can live peacefully. So the difficulty is right now within the house, we are not living peacefully. That’s the problem. We are creating chaos in the Prabhupada’s house fighting with each other, quarreling over petty things, disagreeing, getting agitated with each other. That’s the problem. If we can’t make the house peaceful right now, then how can we expect the whole world to live peacefully in the house.
So, within our ISKCON movement, we have to become expert, living very peacefully and nicely together in this wonderful house of Prabhupada’s- ISKCON to where we are tolerant. Prabhupada says, “ksama, forgiveness means that you forgive the offenses of others.” We have to learn how to forgive the offenses of others. I always say, “Don’t hold grudges, it will fill your heart with smudges.” Who wants to have a smudge ridden heart, full of so many grudges, and grievances, this devotee that, this devotee this, this devotee and that devotee?
Why don’t we realize that anything that’s happening to us is simply our karma? So we cannot blame that devotee who is simply the agent of our karma. Something may have happened to me and I did not like, but actually it is my karma. That’s all, I cannot blame that devotee who is simply the agent of my karma rather I should try to see everything in relation to Krishna and simply try to control that which over I can in fact control, that’s my mind and my senses. Simply do that.
Bring our own mind, our own senses under control, and then we will become peaceful and happy. And then what will happen is, automatically the devotees will have more and more respect. If we actually do that, then the devotee community will naturally respect us- dhira and adhira everyone will respect us. The more we develop saintly qualities by controlling our mind and senses, we will naturally be respected & loved by the Vaishnavas and even the outside people will respect and love us if we become very, very sense controlled, clean and nice Vaishnavas.
The process of Krishna consciousness is not actually difficult. We make it difficult. But actually it is a very simple process. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy. Remember Krishna, don’t forget Him. This is simple thing. Always remember Krishna and never forget Him for a minute. The International Society for Krishna consciousness means that at every minute the members are meant to be Krishna conscious, when you get up in the morning, Hare Krishna, when you brush your teeth, Hare Krishna, when you go to the shower, Hare Krishna, when you take your meals, Hare Krishna, when you chant your japa, Hare Krishna, when you take rest at night, Hare Krishna, when you see the devotees, Hare Krishna.
Sometimes I see so many people say, Hari Bol instead of Hare Krishna nowadays. I wonder if they have changed the movement, it’s now the Hari Bol movement. Sometimes we go to some festival; everybody goes Hari Bol, Hari Bol, Hari Bol. Now hardly anyone is saying, “Hare Krishna.” Everyone is going “Hari Bol.” If you listen to all the Prabhupada’s tapes, Prabhupada would always say, “Hare Krishna.” I have never heard Prabhupada say, “Hari Bol” to anybody. He would say, “Hare Krishna.” But somehow in our movement we have got into this thing ‘Hari Bol’ prabhu, Hari Bol. I just called you to say, “Hari Bol” instead of saying, “I just called you to offer you my respectful obesiences,” I just called you to say, “Hari Bol.”
So, yes, we have to remember that Prabhupada always said, Hare Krishna and at least we should sometimes say Hare Krishna, every now and then in the middle of all the Hari Bols, every now and then we should at least say, “Hare Krishna.” So, remember what is the name of our movement? It is the Hare Krishna movement, not the Hari Bol movement. Of course Hari Bol is also nice but Prabhupada rarely said Hari Bol.
VPM: The committee might bring up something else instead of Hare Krishna.
SDA: Maybe some committee will come up with something but I am going to stick with the old Hare Krishna formula. There are so many committees now wanting to figure out how we are going to brand ourselves, but I know what Prabhupada’s formula was. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy.
So are there any questions?
Devotee: Controlling our mind is within our capacity but it is still very, very difficult.
SDA: Let me put my hearing aids that will make it easier. It takes 8 seconds to kick in. The left one is on, now the right one will come in. Okay what’s the question?
Devotee: You said controlling the mind is within our capacity but still it is very, very difficult.
SDA: Yes, more difficult than raging wind and the devastating tsunami. Just imagine trying to stand there and hold it back that tsunami that hit Lanka. You would never be able to do it. Mind is more difficult, then how is it possible- only by taking shelter of Krishna.
What is that song?
bhajahu re man sri-nanda nandana
abhaya charanaravinda re
abhaya charanaravinda re
By taking shelter of that divine son of Nanda Maharaja, then the mind can easily be conquered otherwise we can never conquer.
The yogis they try to conquer mind. We all know the story of Viswamitra muni. He was very powerful yogi; he had come all the way to the samadhi stage of the eight-fold yoga system. He had gone all the way, yama, niyama, asana, pratyahara, dharana. He had gone all the way to samadhi. But Indra got so scared, “Oh, he may take my post, Menaka you go and seduce him,” so that was it. She didn’t even have to touch him; all he did was that he heard the woman’s ankle bell, “Oh a woman has come.” That was it, finished.
To control the mind by mechanical process even if you are an advanced powerful yogi, who can scare Indra dev by your yogic power, even still the mind is uncontrollable. But for the bhaktas, just look at Haridas Thakura, how controlled he was. Visvamrita was finished by simply the tinkling of the ankle bell.
But Haridas Thakura, here the woman was dancing naked in front of him and spending the whole night along with him in his hut, three nights in a row. It didn’t even faze him. He was just having fun with the whole thing. “I will make her a devotee. Yes, you sit here, I will satisfy you. Just let me finish my mala. Yes, yes I understand you are disturbed, just be patient, I will satisfy you completely.” This way he was playing with her, completely detached, and out of love and kindness let me save this poor woman, she has been sent here to make me fall down. Instead of cursing her or something, no, let me save this poor unfortunate girl who has come here to try to seduce me. So in this way the devotees are very, very kind and because of that loving kindness they are empowered by Krishna to do that which the yogis cannot do i.e. to bring their minds completely under control.
One problem we have is laziness. Sometimes we are very stubbornly lazy. One person he told me, “I cannot chant because the beads won’t move.” Actually the problem is, our tongue does not move. Our tongue is lazy. Laziness is a problem. Now, how do we overcome the problem of laziness? I am not picking on anyone. We all have the problem of laziness, every one of us.
So one time I asked one devotee in the Bhagavatam class because I knew that this is one of my faults, laziness, especially in my younger days, so I asked, “how does one overcome laziness?” Now, I was thinking that the devotee would say, by hard work and I did not want to hear that because I just was dreading to hear that answer but he answered very nicely. He said, “By love.” I went, “Wow, that’s really right.” Because if you love someone then there is no question, “Oh I have to work so hard.” How hard the mother works for the child, taking care of the child, in the middle of the night but the mother takes it as the sweetness because she loves the child so much. So, if you love the person you are doing it for then there is no question of work.
It’s simply a matter of love. If we can learn how to love Krishna, then we can chant His name 24 hours; it will just flow naturally from our lips. If we can love His representative, the spiritual master who is before us then because we love our Guru, then we want to chant to please our spiritual master then gradually that love for Krishna would also come.
That is the actual means of conquering over the mind, by love, not mechanically like yogi. By love, because I love my Guru, I love Krishna, I love Prabhupada. I want to please them. I want them to be happy with me. I love my fellow Vaisnavas here, my Vaisnava family, my Vaisnavas associates, I love them because they love me and I want to please them. I want to be Krishna conscious to please them also, not to disappoint them that I am having difficulty. So it all really boils down to that priti purvakama- that loving. The principle of love, bhakti yoga, is based on loving relationships.
Devotee: This question was actually posted before I left. It was not controlling the senses. Say for example a man was castrated but he still cannot be considered to be controlling his senses or is that by artificial means of controlling the senses.
SDA: A man may think, “WelI, I can’t control my sex impulse, so I just become castrated. In that way I will become a goswami.” No, that is artificial because ghost he is not only castrated, he is devoid of all material senses. But yet he still has those lusty desires and he will enter into a person’s gross body and try to possess it to enjoy vicariously through them. Ghosts they attack people at night when they are sleeping, they try to enter into their body or somebody who is mentally unbalanced. The ghost will enter into that person and then manipulate them to do so many things, so the ghosts will get some sensation of enjoying that bodily pleasure through their body, so simply castrating or anything that is not the way.
It’s not that, “oh, I will put my eyes out so I will not look at any beautiful woman,” but then in your mind you will be remembering all the beautiful women you saw. So, what’s the use, simply cutting off the genitals or putting out the eyes or cutting out the tongue? “Well, I always overeat so I just cut my tongue out and be fed intravenously from now on.” But in your mind you will still be agitated, O cauliflower pakoras, gulabjamuns or even worse hamburgers, fried chicken or something. Of course, hankering prasadam is very nice. But we have to hanker to become Krishna conscious. We have to learn, how to be hankering after the pleasure of Krishna. That’s the way. Simply artificially removing one of my senses, that will not work. That will not be effective. It is simply artificial.
VPM: Someone may say that Bilva mangalaThakura plucked his eyes?
SDA: Yes, there is an example of someone who did put out his eyes so he would not fall down from brahmacarya. But Prabhupada told us not to imitate the great personalities. So we don’t recommend some brahmacaris agitated to go to brahmacari ashram and put out his eyes. Of course, Prabhupada did one time say that, sometimes the brahmacaris were complaining, “We don’t like to have women chanting in the temple room during japa period because we are agitated.” Prabhupada said, “The temple room is for everyone, men and women both. If those brahmacaris are so agitated, then they should just go to the forest.” The women were on one side and the men were on the other side chanting japa. If you are chanting and you keep looking on the other side then you might as well just go to the forest if you are that agitated.
But the actual principle is that we do not imitate such personalities- Bilva mangala. For him that was a divine pastime to establish his greatness, his renunciation. But if we put out the eyes, we would still be meditating in our mind’s eyes, we will be seeing woman. So for us it’s not practical. It was a pastime of a great devotee. He lived for 700 years in Vrindavana and Krishna would come and associate with him. He is a great personality. But we cannot imitate that putting out the eyes like Bilva Mangala Thakura.
We have one policy i.e. if you don’t ask me questions, I ask you questions. It’s much easier to be one who asks then one who is asked. So be easy on yourself and ask me a question.
VPM: (not audible).
SDA: How many people would like to see whole hall full of Muslim people ecstatically chanting Hare Krishna. Anyone would like to see that? Alright! We will do that. We have a DVD player here, Hare Krishna Mani? It’s all ready to go.
Hare Krishna Mani: we have some technical difficulties.
SDA: Ok this is very recent, it hot of the press.
SDA: DVD. This was in April, the tail end of April, a little over a month ago. Mataji and I went to. This is Vishnupriya Devi Dasi, my constant companion, traveling companion, preaching companion, wife, for those who don’t know. She was doing the filming, that’s why you don’t see her because she was filming it.
VPM: (inaudible )
SDA: it came out pretty good. This is being shown right now on television in Austin, Texas. We have a TV show in Austin, Texas. It comes on every Saturday morning.
VPM: (inaudible )
SDA: you want me to turn it off.
SDA: turn it on Ok.
VPM; No no it wasn’t. it was okay it wasn’t falling.
SDA: Where are the engineers? How many engineers do we have here? All the engineers in the whole city of Ottawa can’t get it to work. What’s good of your engineering degrees? Where is the DVD player?
VPM: Most of them are software engineers not hardware engineers.
SDA: Just the bunch of softies.
VPM: well we will do something. We will make an announcement.
SDA: Where is the DVD player?
VPM: Let them figure it out if anybody have any question they can ask?
SDA: But I don’t know, everybody’s brain is gone to the tube now. Does anybody have a brain that is still able to hear the philosophy at this point? Or everybody’s brain has gone to the tube if there are any questions.
Any questions more?
Devotee: You were talking about mind as being a temple .
SDA: Okay some question has been asked, the question is mind being regarded as temple
If you will keep Krishna in your mind then your mind becomes a temple, that’s a fact. If you don’t think of Krishna then your mind becomes a brothel. So, instead of having your mind becomes as a brothel or a liquor shop, something like that, you make your mind as a temple by always keeping Krishna in your mind. And the easiest way to do that is chant ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare’.
VPM: You are chanting some japa? How many rounds do you chant?
Devotee: 16 rounds.
VPM: That’s good
SDA: 16, very good. You are offering all your food before you eat?
SDA: very good. You are following all the regulative principles. Now you have to get initiated. You pick one of our wonderful ISKCON gurus and you become disciple. That will give you extra potency.
[Aside]: Looks like we are making a little progress.
VPM: unusable signal
SDA: unusable signal at least we are getting some warning sign.
Devotee How to find a balance between chanting and temple service, going out for preaching between all the different devotional activities?
SDA: How do we find a balance between all the different devotional activities?
That’s a very good question. If this comes up we will save that question for later, but looks like it may be coming now.
VPM: you can answer that question .
SDA: I will begin answering it. How do we balance our chanting with everything else.
[Ok sound. No, keep, go ahead.]
[Many people are talking in the background.]
[DVD player recording starts]
Hare Krishna! Here we are in Istanbul, Turkey. We have come here to introduce the science of Krishna conscious here in the Muslim world. One may ask, why Krishna conscious in the Muslim world, why not the Hindu world. Actually Krishna conscious is not Muslim, it’s not Hindu, it’s not Jewish, it’s not Christian. Krishna conscious is the universal science of the soul. The soul is called atma in Sanskrit language. The soul is a spiritual particle, one ten thousandth of the tip of the hair, in quality one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss and the soul also is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. The soul never dies just as the Supreme Personality of Godhead never dies. So we have come here to introduce to the Muslim people this universal science of the soul because it is actually equally applicable to everyone, no matter what country you may come from, no matter what race you may belong to, no matter what your religion is, your sex. It doesn’t matter. Krishna consciousness is completely universal science because wherever we go in the world we see that people want to be happy. [End of recording]
Transcribed by Bhakta Harish
Revision by Prema Bhakti dasa