His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Bhagavad-gita 9.18

Sofia, Bulgaria

October 8, 2005

Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
[Gurudeva sings three times and devotees repeat]

Srimad Bhagavat-gita chapter 9, “The most confidential knowledge”, text no 18

gatir bharta prabhuh saksi
nivasah saranam suhrt
prabhavah pralayah sthanam
nidhanam bijam avyayam


gatih —goal; bharta —sustainer; prabhuh —Lord; saksi —witness; nivasah —abode; saranam —refuge; su-hrt—most intimate friend; prabhavah —creation; pralayah—dissolution; sthanam—ground; nidhanam —resting place; bijam —seed; avyayam—imperishable.


I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed.


Gati means the destination where we want to go. But the ultimate goal is Krishna, although people do not know it. One who does not know Krishna is misled, and his so-called progressive march is either partial or hallucinatory. There are many who make as their destination different demigods, and by rigid performance of the strict respective methods they reach different planets known as Candraloka, Suryaloka, Indraloka, Maharloka, etc. But all such lokas, or planets, being creations of Krishna, are simultaneously Krishna and not Krishna. Such planets, being manifestations of Krishna’s energy, are also Krishna, but actually they serve only as a step forward for realization of Krishna. To approach the different energies of Krsna is to approach Krishna indirectly. One should directly approach Krishna, for that will save time and energy. For example, if there is a possibility of going to the top of a building by the help of an elevator, why should one go by the staircase, step by step? Everything is resting on Krishna’s energy; therefore without Krishna’s shelter nothing can exist. Krishna is the supreme ruler because everything belongs to Him and everything exists on His energy. Krishna, being situated in everyone's heart, is the supreme witness. The residences, countries or planets on which we live are also Krishna. Krishna is the ultimate goal of shelter, and therefore one should take shelter of Krishna either for protection or for annihilation of his distress. And whenever we have to take protection, we should know that our protection must be a living force. Krishna is the supreme living entity. And since Krishna is the source of our generation, or the supreme father, no one can be a better friend than Krishna, nor can anyone be a better well-wisher. Krishna is the original source of creation and the ultimate rest after annihilation. Krishna is therefore the eternal cause of all causes. [End of Purport]

Sankarshan das Adhikari: So why have we come to Krishna consciousness? What are we doing here? We could be going to a movie tonight, watching television, having sex, going to McDonald’s and eating meat. Why are we here? We are here because we weren’t satisfied. We were miserable in the material world. And we thought that Krishna consciousness will make us happy. But you know what? We haven’t fully realized it yet. We are still going up and down. Sometimes we are happy, sometimes we are miserable. Sometimes our mind is peaceful, sometimes we are agitated. So why haven’t we gotten together yet? What’s our problem? Is Krishna consciousness not good enough? Or are we not good enough?

Mataji pointed to herself back here. Visnupriya Mataji, my wife, she is traveling with me. She pointed herself out.

I hate to say this, dear Vaisnavas, but we are not practicing it well enough. We don’t take Krishna Consciousness seriously enough. That’s why we are having problems. If we just take it with seriousness and with total complete dedication, then we will finally get out of these horrible modes known as tamo guna, rajo guna. We will taste that sweet pleasure of sattva guna which gradually transforms as we practice sadhana bhakti into suddha sattva. This is called thevasudeva stage. Just as Vasudeva gives birth to Vasudeva or Krishna, the vasudeva stage or the mode of pure goodness gives birth to pure Krishna consciousness. So we have to learn how to get out of these rascal lower modes – tamo guna, rajo guna. Therefore we have regulated activities in devotional service. We are meant to be very clean, we shouldn’t live like pigs. We are meant to be very regulated, rising early in the morning every day; not that we sleep until after the sun comes up like an animal. We are meant to rise early in the morning before the sunrise, take our morning bath, put on some devotional clothing so you feel like you are a devotee and sit peacefully and chant: Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. If you can come to the temple that is the ideal thing, but if you are not able to, then you must have a temple at your home. The same atmosphere that is there in the temple either you have to come here or you have to duplicate it at home. In this way by doing puja at home, being very clean and regulated, you will start tasting the sweetest, ever-increasingly wonderful nectar. All your material desires will gradually evaporate and you will be totally satisfied by Krishna’s name. What did Bhaktivinoda Thakura say? He said, “There is nothing but the name to be had in all the fourteen worlds.” There is nothing else even worth hankering for in this material world. If you have the name of Krishna, you have everything, there is nothing more to go after. You have the greatest treasure. Now you simply have to learn how to fully appreciate the name, that’s all. There are three stages of chanting: there is the offensive stage; the clearing stage; and the offenseless stage. We all start on the offensive platform and if we sincerely take shelter of guru and Vaisnavas and Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, then we move very nicely into the clearing stage. But don’t think that once you have reached the clearing stage that now your business is finished. If you do that you will glide back down to the offensive stage, because clearing stage means you become 1% clear, and then 2% clear, 3% clear, 5%, 10%, in this way gradually, gradually, gradually, gradually you become more and more clear. You can’t stop it at any point along the way. If a river becomes motionless, it becomes stagnant. That which is static is not ecstatic. If you want the nectar you have to keep moving forward. Each and every one of you must put pressure on yourself to advance spiritually every day, 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, like that. If you are steady, if you are determined, if you are enthusiastic and you are patient, and you take shelter of those who are more advanced than you, then you will easily and quickly make progress on that pathway. And that wonderful day will come when you reach 100%. That is called the offenseless stage. And guess what happens when you reach the offenseless stage. You receive a special vision from a very special person. He has a big title actually. He is called the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Krishna is very pleased to reveal Himself to those persons who become absolutely pure in their heart. Would you like to meet Krishna personally face to face?

Devotee: Yes.

SDA: Prabhupada wrote me in one letter. He gave me an order. “Now you just qualify yourself to see Krishna face to face”. That’s what Prabhupada told me. So I am also trying to get to hundred percent because Prabhupada ordered me to do that. So we have to become very, very serious to make progress. We have our external activities. We are cooking, we are cleaning, we are doing puja, we are distributing books, we are raising families, we are earning incomes; so many things we are doing externally. But while are we doing all these external activities simultaneously we must be cultivating pure bhakti. If you are sincerely trying to make progress in Krishna consciousness, you will always be happy, you will always be enlivened. If one is very serious for making advancement in Krishna consciousness, there is no such thing as a reverse condition. It doesn’t exist for such a person because such a person utilizes absolutely everything to advance in Krishna consciousness. There is one wonderful female devotee who is a perfect example of this. This female devotee is actually our siksa guru. She is the siksa guru of each and every one of us. She gave a very nice instruction. This is the prayer she offered to Lord Krishna:

vipadah santu tah sasvat
tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darsanam yat syad
apunar bhava-darsanam

If you don’t know who this is, I will tell you. She is Queen Kunti. She is one of the best of all our mothers because she is nurturing us with Krishna bhakti. Just like our material mother she nurtures our bodies by giving us the milk from her breast. So Queen Kunti is nurturing us with the milk of Vedic wisdom. She is giving us a very nice instruction, that if we see every obstacle as an opportunity to remember Krishna, then it will no longer be an obstacle. It will be a blessing. So just imagine if you can feel that you are being blessed at every minute, no matter what happens to you, you will feel, ‘How I am being blessed, how I am being blessed, how I am being blessed.’ Your life is simply feeling, ‘How I am getting one blessing after another blessing after another blessing.’ Do you think you would be enlivened if you felt that you are being blessed by Krishna at every minute and everything that happened to you? What do you think? Do you feel you would be enlivened, if every second you feel how much Krishna is blessing, how much Krishna is blessing? Would that enliven any of you? Would you feel like that ‘I am being blessed at every minute’? Yes. Only one person said yes, now two. Ok

Actually you are being blessed at every minute by Krishna. We just don’t realize it. That’s all. We are covered by the curtain of Maya. We cannot see things as they are. We are thinking, ‘Oh, why God is so cruel to me. Doesn’t He realize what a good devotee I am?’ We want to blame God. Instead of blaming ourselves for being rascals, we think God is a rascal. So that is our ignorance. That is our foolishness. We have to realize that whatever Krishna does is alright. Do you know that story, ‘Whatever Krishna does is alright’? Do you know that story? You know that story? ... She knows that story. Does anybody not know the story, whatever Krishna does is alright? – She doesn’t know, alright.

Ok, I will tell you a very nice story. There was one king and he had a prime minister and this prime minister was very Krishna consciousness. He always gave the same advice to the King. He would say, “Your Majesty, whatever Krishna does is alright.” So one day, the king had some accident, he lost his finger. So the minister said, “Your majesty, don’t worry, whatever Krishna does is alright”. He said, “How dare you say that, Krishna cut off my finger. Into the dungeon, you rascal!” So now the prime minister, he is in the dungeon. In the Vedic culture, the ksatriyas would go to the forest for killing the wild animals. They would practice the killing art, because they were not cowards who would sit in the capital buildings and send the young boys to fight. These ksatriyas they would lead the fight. So they had to be very expert at killing. So the sages they are meditating in the forest and the wild tigers they would come and harass the sages. So the king, he goes and kills those animals that are harassing the sages. In that way he keeps his killing skills in very good condition. So the king he went on a hunting trip to the forest and there were some dacoits, devotees of Goddess Kali. And their practice was rather grotesque. They would take human beings and kill them and offer them to Goddess Kali. So they saw, ‘Here is a very nice human being, very handsome.’ So they kidnapped the king. They gave him a nice bath. They put on him fresh silk clothing. They gave him a nice dinner of opulent foodstuffs. They got the axe ready to cut off his head. Just imagine being in that position. That wouldn’t be very fun, would it? So they prepared to cut off his head. But then they noticed something which somehow they had not noticed before, there was a finger missing.

“We can’t offer him to Goddess Kali, she will be angry at us.”

“Why are you offering an imperfect body to me, you have to offer me a perfect body with all ten fingers.”

What to do? Let him go.

So he was thinking, “My prime minister said, ‘Whatever Krishna does is alright’. These are very wise words of my prime minister”. He was feeling very guilty. He had been so harsh and cruel to his prime minister. So he rushed back to his kingdom. He went straight down to the dungeon and personally he got the keys from the prison keeper and opened the door for his prime minister. And he saw the prime minister was looking so happy and blissful. He was just sitting there with a big smile on his face - Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare /Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. He said, “My dear Prime minister, you gave me a very good advice but I put you in the prison. Why are you not angry with me?” He said, “Your Majesty, whenever you go hunting, I always go on those hunting trips with you and I have all my fingers. Whatever Krishna does is alright.”

In this way we have to realize that Krishna is controlling everything and whatever He does is for our good. That doesn’t mean that whatever we do is for our good. We are always doing things that are bad for us. But whatever Krishna arranges for us that is always for our good. So we just have to learn how to appreciate Krishna’s kindness, as confirmed in Chapter Nine Text Eighteen, which is tonight’s verse. The word is suhrt. If you study Sanskrit grammar, you know “hrt” means heart, so someone who is very, very close to your heart, he is called suhrt. In Sanskrit language there are different words for friend. There is mitra, there is bandhu and there is suhrt. So this word suhrt, it means the most intimate, the most dear friend. So just consider this, my dear prabhus, my dear matajis, that Person who controls absolutely everything, that Person who owns absolutely everything, that Person who is present absolutely everywhere is your best friend. That means you have no problems. You have absolutely no problems. All you have to do is not forget your friend. If you don’t forget your friend, you will never have difficulty. We absolutely guarantee it. You will never ever, ever experience any difficulty in your life at all. All you have to do is constantly remember your best friend. He is with you right now within your heart. He is within every atom. He is in between every atom. There is nowhere where Krishna is not present. You can connect with Him everywhere, in His holy name, in the Ratha yatra, in the Deity, in the trees, in the sky, in the water, in the sun, at your job, when you are stuck in a traffic jam, there is nowhere you can go where Krishna is not present. There is nowhere you can go where He is not immediately available for you to connect with Him perfectly. The only problem is we keep forgetting Him. Therefore Krishna has kindly given us one very nice movement. That is called the Krishna consciousness movement. This movement is a special mercy of Prabhupada, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Narottama dasa Thakura, Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura, Sanatana Gosvami, Rupa Gosvami, Jiva Gosvami etc. etc. etc. This is the special mercy of our great acaryas that we have this sanga, known as ISKCON where we can come together and remember our best friend. We can bow down to our best friend. We can cook for our best friend. We can offer our best friend something to eat. We can fan our best friend. We can talk about our best friend. We can tell the whole world about our best friend. Just like tonight I was on national television talking about our best friend, Krishna. So there is a great opportunity to revive our lost relationship with our best friend, our most dear suhrt. This word suhrt also appears in the Fifth Chapter, suhrdam sarvabhutanam, “I am the best friend of all living entities”. So Krishna has said it twice.

You know who else is also our best friend? Krishna’s devotee. Why? Because Krishna’s devotee gives Krishna to us. If you become a preacher of Krishna consciousness, you become the best friend of all living entities, because you are delivering the best friend to everyone. By taking the Ratha Yatra to the streets of Sofia, you become the best friend. By giving someone Prabhupada’s books you become their best friend. So how much do you think your best friend Krishna will be pleased when you propagate His glories to those who have forgotten Him? Krishna says, “There is no one more dear to Me than one who propagates that I am the best friend”. You may say, but how is that possible. I thought “there was nobody more dear than Radharani”. How can I possibly become the most dear? But Krishna says that. He says “Whoever preaches My glories, he is My most dear devotee”. So how could there be more than one most dear. It doesn’t make sense. Does it make sense than there could be more than one who is most dear? Think about this.

In Dvaraka, how many queens did Krishna have? 16,108. He was one pretty busy husband, don’t you think? But Krishna was not an ordinary man like us. He expanded Himself into 16,108 forms. He would sit in the central palace as a King during the day to do His kingly work, and when it was time to go home for dinner, He would divide into 16,108 forms and He would go to each queen separately. And each queen was amazed. She was thinking, “Krishna has so many queens. He has 16,108 queens, but I am the most favorite, because every night He comes to my palace. Those poor other queens they must be crying their hearts out every night, because every night I have Krishna all to myself”. So in this way Krishna is treating each and every queen as if she were the only queen. So, just as He can treat each of the queens as if she were the only queen, similarly any devotee, who takes up preaching Krishna consciousness, is treated by Krishna as the most dear of all of His devotee. And He can do that same thing with millions and billions of preachers. Why? He has absolutely unlimited potency. This is the amazing quality of Krishna, our best friend. Don’t you love having such a good best friend? He is so rich, He is so famous, He is so powerful, He is so intelligent, and He is so renounced also.

You know Bhismadeva, grandfather Bhisma? He is famous for being the most renounced brahmacari. He is famous for that. But you know what he said? He said, “Krishna is the real brahmacari, not me, because He had all those beautiful girlfriends in Vrindavana and He is never overwhelmed by sex desire.” So Bhisma has certified that Krishna is the topmost of all those brahmacaris. Just imagine a beautiful, handsome young man dancing in the moonlit night of the sarad season, surrounded by the most beautiful women in the entire universe, and He just walked away like it was nothing. This is renounced. So Krishna is an amazing person. And we are so fortunate that He has become our best friend. And we are so fortunate that today He let us bring Him back, back to Vrindavana in the Ratha Yatra festival.

As we were explaining earlier today at the festival site, I attended Ratha Yatra with Prabhupada in 1972 and he told us this: Advanced devotees celebrate Ratha Yatra in the mood of the gopis bringing Krishna back to Vrindavana. Because you know when Krishna went to Dvaraka, the Vrajavasis were feeling pain worse than death in Krishna’s separation. So one time on the occasion of a solar eclipse, everyone went to Kurukshetra to perform some yajña. So now for the first time the Dwarkavasis and the Vrajavasis, they have all gotten together. And the gopis they were seeing Krishna for the first time after He had left Vrindavana. They were so happy to see Him but when they looked at Him, they said, “This isn’t the Krishna we knew” Because He was a prince, He was no longer the cowherd boy they knew. So it was very frustrating thing because they were seeing Krishna, but they weren’t satisfied. So the gopis in their hearts, they are bringing Krishna back to Vrindavana because outside of Vrindavana He is not their Krishna. Actually Krishna never leaves Vrindavana - vrindavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati - only the Vasudeva expansion leaves from Vrindavana. So they were actually seeing Vasudeva at Kuruksetra. That’s why they weren’t satisfied. They said “We don’t want Vasudeva, we want Krishna”. So bringing Krishna back to Vrindavana, this is the mood of the Ratha Yatra. So by pulling the rope on the Ratha Yatra cart, you are giving the greatest pleasure to Srimati Radharani, because you are bringing Her Krishna back to Her. That’s why this Ratha Yatra is the most wonderful festival that can ever be done. Because it relieves Radharani of the horrible pain that She has been going through since Krishna left Vrindavana. So are there any questions about our suhrt? Or how we can develop love for our suhrt?

Devotee: Ganges is steadily going towards the ocean, in the same way how to become steady in our devotional service?

SDA: How to become steady in our service? The easy way is you have to develop taste. If you have taste for Krishna consciousness you will naturally be steady. So, how to develop that ruci, that taste? That’s a very important thing. If you have no taste then you are just doing it by force. So how long you can go on forcing yourself to practice Krishna consciousness if there is no taste? If I give you a meal, you will like to eat it because there is taste. But if there is no taste in the food how long can you go on eating? You will not like to eat if there is no taste by force, like keeping a gun and say “Chew, swallow, chew, swallow or else I will shoot.” You would not like to do that but if there is taste then you will be very happy. “Yes, bring more, bring more.” So, how to get taste for Krishna consciousness? That’s the most important thing. Wherever there is taste, steadiness follows like a shadow. So the most important question is how do I develop taste? And that answer is given in the Srimad Bhagavatam.

susrusoh sraddadhanasya
syan mahat-sevaya viprah
[Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.16]

“By serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service one develops a taste for hearing the messages of Vasudeva, Krishna katha”

By such taste great service is done. So you have to find devotees who are completely free from all vice and by serving those devotees you will develop taste. That’s the answer. Find devotees who have no ulterior motives, who are purely practicing and preaching Krishna consciousness, and serve them with love. Then you will develop taste and you will naturally become very, very steady. Steadiness is nistha. And ruci is taste. So wherever there is ruci, nistha or steadiness is automatically there. So serve those who are pure in Krishna consciousness and you will naturally develop everything.

Questions more? Everyone knows all the answers now? No more obstacles on the path of bhakti?

Devotee: I heard in a lecture that we are advancing together, nobody can individually jump.[inaudible] While thinking in this way, sometimes I develop the attitude of controlling others, how can I free myself of that mentality?

SDA: So that tendency of controlling others, that’s why we came here. That is called material power. Sometimes we execute devotional service and in exchange for that devotional service we want some material power. You know what Krishna will do if you keep thinking that way? He will take away your position. So don’t think that way. You have to be a servant, that’s all. As soon as you become carried away by some idea of material power in exchange for the service you are doing, you are setting yourself up for a big disappointment. So don’t do that. You have to be a servant. Your idea that we are advancing at the same pace is not true.

Translator: She said we are advancing together and not at the same pace.

SDA: Oh! Also you can’t say necessarily that we are advancing together either because some people are falling down. Some people are going up and some people are going down. We see that in our movement. You have to fly your own airplane. Everyone is their own pilot. You are being trained but the ultimate bottom line is your advancement or lack of advancement is up to you. It’s not some group thing. You have to bring your own senses under control. That is called gosvami.

Devotee: Is there such a stage where at that point we ourselves going up and advancing, we help also others?

SDA: The more you help others, the more you advance. That devotees who make the most sacrifices to help other people, they are the most advanced actually. They are called gostyanandi. Someone who thinks of his own advancement is called bhajananandi. The gostyanandi is one who thinks about helping others. He is the most advanced.

Visnupriya Mataji: If someone is given the position to train someone and in the position of trainer, one has to speak strongly is that a controlling attitude or how is it?

SDA: Let’s say I am training one of you. And I am very heavy with you. Now is that a controlling mood or it is not a controlling mood? The answer is it depends on my motive. If I am actually in the mood of lording it over you, then that is sinful. But if I am sincerely in the mood of serving you, then that is pious. It depends on the motive within the heart of the preacher.

VPM: Please define what is lording over and what is helping?

SDA: It simply depends on the mood. You can’t say, “Well, if he speaks strongly to me, that means he is lording it over, and if he always speaks very sweetly and nicely, ‘Oh, you are such a nice devotee’ then he is helping, No it’s not like that because the spiritual master can be strict as a thunderbolt or as soft as a rose, either way. You cannot base on anything external. It completely depends upon the heart of the trainer.

VPM: Is it other way also, like how one perceives it?

SDA: No.

VPM: Someone may be speaking strongly and they don’t have any motive but other may perceive that way.

SDA: That’s their mistake. If they misperceive it, it’s their mistake. Their misperception does not change the heart of the teacher. I will give you a graphic example. In the early days of ISKCON, Prabhupada went to MIT, that big technical institute in Boston. He was debating with an Indian Mayavadi. He said “it’s all one”. Prabhupada became so angry he grabbed his shirt and said, “Why you don’t wear a cotton ball if it’s all one.” And devotees became so worried “Oh, Swamiji has lost his temper, call the taxi, call the taxi, we have to get him out of here, he has lost his temper”. They had no understanding of what is the divine anger of the spiritual master. Actually in Mexico City, Prabhupada told Citsukhananda, “I never get angry actually. I never get angry. It’s simply for teaching you.” What happened was, the day before there was a late night preaching program and at mangala arati the temple room was empty. So at Bhagavatam class Prabhupada was very heavy. Devotees were shaking. Prabhupada was so heavy because they had not come to mangala arati. Just after the lecture, Prabhupada walked outside, and Citsukhananda prabhu, he was the temple president, and he walked out of the door with Prabhupada. Mexico is a tropical country, so there were beautiful flowers growing everywhere. So there were some very nice fragrant flowers growing right outside the door. So he grabbed one flower and he handed to Prabhupada. And Prabhupada, so much appreciated the flower that was given to him. He was like a gentle lamb and Citsukhananda was amazed. He said, “Prabhupada you were roaring like a lion, you were so angry at us, and now you are so calm and peaceful. How is that, Srila Prabhupada? Your mood can change so quickly”. He said, “Actually I am never angry with you, my beloved disciples. I am simply trying to train you, that’s all” So the spiritual master, the senior devotees who are expert in how to train and guide others they have no frustration in their heart that they have to take it out on someone. They don’t have such a thing. Whatever they are telling you, it is simply their love.

Devotee: We are living in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, that’s another city in Bulgaria and there are not many devotees there and we are not coming together regularly, and it’s very difficult to maintain the taste, so what can we do?

SDA: You have to make a spiritual revolution in that town, that’s all. You develop a bigger community there than here in Sofia. You can compete with Sofia and see who can have bigger community of devotes.

SDA: Am I going to their place or somewhere else? Maybe next time I will come and visit you all.

Devotee: Please come.

SDA: So tell someone, maybe you will be arranging my next trip.

Devotee: We can arrange.

SDA: I will be happy to come. Can many devotees come there? We can all visit you. We can take big caravan and we will have a big program in your town.

Devotee: Jaya!

SDA: We want you to be happy, mataji.

Devotee: What you said we do it already. There was a big temple in that town, Plovdiv, it is second biggest city and the temple was bigger about eight years ago and we were distributing books all over the country but somehow things deteriorated and there is nothing there at this time. So what is the reason? Because at that time with a small temple we were third place in Sankirtana so what is the reason?

SDA: ISKCON has gone through its ups and downs. But the overall thing is up. Just like in a war sometimes you may lose a battle. The army that ultimately wins the war, they don’t win every battle. Sometimes they lose some battles also. But in spite of losing some battles, they win the war. So, sometimes ISKCON does lose some battles. But I can guarantee you one thing; we are not going to lose the war.

Devotees: Jaya!

SDA: One more question then we are going to call it quit so everybody can get up for mangala arati tomorrow. By the way, as many as possible please come for mangala arati tomorrow morning.

Devotees: Jaya!

Devotee: We should not ask for material things from Krishna and we should not struggle for that. For some desires we have.

SDA: We shouldn’t bother Krishna for those things.

Devotee: It is also said that whatever comes to us that is good, we should pray Krishna for devotional service and we should accept whatever comes to us.

SDA: Whatever favorable comes to us?

Devotee: Whatever comes to us?

SDA: Yes, because sometimes we get unfavorable things also. Just like a prostitute came to Haridasa Thakura. But he didn’t say: “Oh this woman has come to me so I will”. No. You said “what is favorable you accept”. No whatever comes we accept.

Devotee: Sometimes we have some desire that may be favorable. One should not hanker for material things not today not ever. In Nectar of devotion it’s said that whatever is favorable we should accept it and whatever is unfavorable we should reject it. So should we desire for something or should we wait for Krishna to give us whatever we need?

SDA: You should not. Yes that’s right. We shouldn’t bother Krishna for those things. It says whatever comes to us? Oh, whatever is favorable... Yes. It doesn’t say whatever comes to you, whatever is favorable. Unfavorable things will come to you also. Just like that prostitute came to Haridasa Thakura, he didn’t think, “This woman has come to me so I will...” No. You accept whatever is favorable. You don’t accept whatever comes, just whatever is favorable you accept.

Devotee: Sometimes you may have to adjust things.

SDA: There are two things. There are things that we have control over and there are things that we don’t have any control over. In that area where you have control, there you must exercise full control. And in those areas where you have no control, you have to accept the arrangement of Krishna. Just like, to a certain extent, you can control your health by eating the proper amount, by eating the proper food, by sleeping the proper amount, but sometimes because of your karma you may have some disease that there is nothing you can do about it. You just have to tolerate it. So in that area where you are able to control the situation, namely how much you eat, how much you sleep, how neat and clean you keep yourself - those things you can control. So in that area you should exercise full control. What if you have come down with some incurable disease and you have no control over. You go to every doctor, but they say there is nothing that can be done. Then you just have to accept the arrangement of Krishna. So the idea is whatever you have the ability to change or affect the outcome of the thing, you certainly can do that to the fullest extent. But in those areas where you really can’t control, you just have to accept it. There is one thing you always have complete control over, that’s your attitude. Srila Prabhupada told one devotee, “Actually if you are not happy in a particular situation, it is simply due to your lack of Krishna consciousness.” This devotee was thinking that by changing the external situation he could be happy. He was a brahmacari, he said, “Now I want to become grhastha, because when I have a wife then I will be happy” and then shortly after getting married he thought, “Now I think I will be a sannyasi.” Prabhupada did not appreciate his attitude because he could see this man was unsteady. So he told him, “The problem is your lack of Krishna consciousness, it’s not your asrama” So sometimes we do change asrama. A single woman may become married, a brahmacari may get married. Those things can be done. Those adjustments can be made for individual devotees. But, trust me, those will not solve all your problems. Because the real problem is the mind, that rascal mind. So you have to learn how to bring your mind under control, then you can always be happy. That’s why Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati said “You beat your mind in the morning with shoes one hundred times and before taking rest you take the broom stick in the corner and beat it one hundred more times”.

VPM: If a single woman, she has to get married, so is it proper that she should wait for Krishna to make for her some arrangement or she should go forward and [inaudible].

SDA: No. If a single woman or a single man feels that they need to be married, then they should bring it to the attention of their proper authority, their spiritual master, the temple president, the temple council, or whoever is the proper authority in that area, the GBC or whoever it is. If one has a desire to change asrama, then she should bring it to the attention of the proper authority. Because in the Vedic system there is an arranged marriage, it is not that you make your own arrangements. In the West, we shudder at the idea of an arranged marriage. But I have a disciple in Texas, he is from India. His name is Abhay Charan das. He is very, very happily married. He is from South India where they still practice arranged marriages. He was living in Austin, as a single man working for IBM Corporation. Then his parents from India said, “Come to India, we have your wife picked out for you.” So with great joy in his heart he went home to marry whoever girl his parents had picked out and surely thereafter he returned with this girl. And actually that marriage is working out as a perfect marriage. There was no romance, no dating, just the arrangement of his parents that’s all. He never saw the girl, he never talked to the girl before, just go home and get married that’s all. I am not saying we should introduce this in ISKCON right now, but the point is we should learn how to depend on Krishna’s arrangement more because generally that will work out better for us.

This boy didn’t arrange his own marriage, his parents did. We have to learn to take the arrangements of Krishna, higher authority. I remember one disciple, he was thinking, “I want to do this.” He had some desire to do a particular service but Prabhupada liked the disciples who were just surrendered to whatever they were asked to do. There was one disciple, his name was Gurudas, and he was sitting on the train with Prabhupada. Just imagine this scene. You know those first class compartments in the Indian trains? They have four people and a little private door. So he was sitting there inside the little compartment with Prabhupada. He was going to be traveling with Prabhupada all the way across India to Bombay. He was just relishing, “Here I am with Prabhupada. Prabhupada is talking to me. It’s just a wonderful thing. I am here with Prabhupada and I will be going all the way to Bombay and there will be nice association of Prabhupada there.” you know what happened? There was twenty minutes stop on the train in Delhi. [End of Recording]

[Transcribed by Her Grace Lila Manjari devi dasi]

Index of Transcribed Lectures