His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Evening Darshan

Tartu, Estonia (12 April 2006)


om namo bhagavate vasudevaya . . .

We’re very pleased that you have come tonight to attend this program.  As we explained yesterday on the university campus, by this process of Krishna consciousness one can become free of all anxieties.  This process is not some artificial imposition on the mind.  Rather, it is the awakening of the natural, original consciousness that is already there within you.  If you are eager to taste actual happiness, then we encourage you to take very seriously this process of Krishna consciousness, because it will bestow upon you the topmost happiness.  We say ‘the topmost happiness,’ but actually the only happiness in this world is to develop our love for God.  Just as a match has fire within it, and when you strike that match the fire comes out, similarly, when you chant this Hare Krishna mantra, the original, pure love of God that is within your heart becomes manifest.  So we would simply like to request all of you nice ladies and gentlemen to join this Krishna consciousness movement by regularly chanting

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

because this will make you the happiest person you could possibly be.

We don’t charge you any money for this mantra.  We’re giving it to you free of charge.  Some gurus charge money for a mantra, but that is a cheating thing.  If the spiritual master is actually merciful, he will never charge money for the mantra, but will instead give it away free of charge. 

There is one story of a devotee whose guru gave him a mantra.  His guru told him, “You must not share this mantra with anyone because it will lose potency if you do.  My order is that you must keep this as a secret mantra; but by chanting this mantra you will become liberated.”  So the disciple thought, “If the whole world is suffering and this mantra will liberate them, then I will give this mantra to them, even at the risk of disobeying my spiritual master’s order, for the sake of delivering all the people of the world.”

So he went to the public marketplace and announced to everyone, “You should chant this mantra!”  And then his Guru Maharaja heard about it.  He said to the disciple, “You are a rascal!  You disobeyed my order.  You will go to hell!”  To this the disciple said, “I don’t mind if I go to hell.  As long as all these people can be saved, it’s okay.”  Upon hearing this, the spiritual master came to a realization and he said to the disciple, “You are a better devotee than I am.”  He realized what a mistake he had made.

So actually these gurus who charge money for the mantra, and say that you must keep it a secret mantra - that only those who pay money can get the mantra – they are simply cheaters and bluffers.  They are simply businessmen coming in the garb of gurus for the sake of cheating the innocent people.  So in this Krishna consciousness movement we do not charge for the mantra.  We give it to you freely to help you realize who you really are and to actually be who you really are.  You may think you’re an Estonian; you may think that you’re a male; you may think that you’re a female; you may be get all caught up in your body . . . instead of nicely hearing the class we may sometimes get totally absorbed in bodily consciousness.  That’s the problem.  Even though we have the opportunity to come to the transcendental platform by totally absorbing ourselves in hearing, our mind keeps dragging us back down to the bodily platform.  This is why we have to hear, with full attention, from the mouth of the spiritual master.  This will actually liberate us.  The sound vibrations emanating from the mouth of the spiritual master have the potency to deliver us from the cycle of birth and death.  So whenever we have an opportunity to be in the presence of a bona fide spiritual master to hear him speak, to ask him questions and to render him service, we should do so with great enthusiasm and with great devotion.  That will actually enable us to come to the transcendental platform, beyond all anxieties of material existence.

So we can ask now if there are any questions.  Does anyone have questions?  Some people say that Estonians are very shy, and that’s why they don’t have questions.  But I see the Estonians ask many questions.

Q1 –

Is it okay if I read the books by other ISKCON devotees or should I only read Srila Prabhupada’s books?

A1 –

The primary curriculum is the books of Srila Prabhupada.  That should be the main focus of your reading.  You may sometimes read other books, but the standard of whether those books are proper or not is Prabhupada’s books.  If you are a new devotee and you haven’t read Prabhupada’s books and you start reading other books, you may find something wrong in those books that will misguide you.  I’ve seen that even some of our ISKCON mail order houses will sell books that have misinformation in them for the sake of making money.  When I complained to a devotee who was running a mail-order house he said, “Well, I’m a businessman first and a brahmana second.”  It’s rather shocking to hear an ISKCON devotee say that.

So the best thing is first of all to become very learned in Srila Prabhupada’s books.  Whatever is translated into the Russian language, your language, get everything you can – every possible book of Prabhupada’s in Russian language – and read is very thoroughly and carefully.  Once you have a very thorough understanding of Prabhupada’s teachings, then you can read some books by Prabhupada’s followers.  That way you can make sure that the books are proper.  Sometimes someone may deviate – a follower may go off on his own track, away from Prabhupada.  It’s called apasampradaya – when one breaks from the disciplic succession.  There are books even being sold in temple bookstores, I’m sad to say, by disciples of Prabhupada who left ISKCON and who are against ISKCON.  I don’t know how a temple can sell such books, but such things are going on in our Society.  Therefore, you should stick to Prabhupada’s books.  If you have a specific question about a specific book, then you can ask your spiritual master or the Regional Secretary or the GBC.  But to be safe, you should only read Prabhupada’s books right now – especially you, who are still trying to understand properly and get fixed up.  You’re still a struggling devotee.  You’re not equipped to deal with philosophical controversies.  You need to stick to Prabhupada’s books completely, solely and wholly, and take permission before reading anything else. 

Thank you.  Hare Krishna.

Questions more? 

Q2 –

I have a question that occurred to me this morning.  Perhaps it’s a specific one.  Why does Srila Prabhupada, when he talks about souls, refer to them as ‘he’ when he knows that souls are feminine by nature?

A2 –

You will also see that generally he talks about ‘sons of God’ to apply to the living entity.  In general he will call the living entities ‘sons of God.’  Generally ‘he’ is used as a literary convention when, in the highest philosophical sense, it would be more correct to say ‘she,’ and refer to all living entities as ‘she.’  It’s a very interesting question, actually.

So the question is, why has Prabhupada done that?  One way you can find out is, when you go back to Godhead, to ask Prabhupada.  That’s one way to find out.  I don’t know if anyone asked Prabhupada that question.  It’s an interesting question.  Another way to find out is to become a completely pure devotee, and then Prabhupada can answer you from within your heart as to why ‘he’ has been used.

If you look in the Vedabase and find how much the word ‘he’ has been used, you’ll find that it’s very common that that gender is used.  We also talk about ‘mankind.’  People have a problem with that now, how we say ‘man’ when we’re referring to men and women sometimes.  The masculine is used and people find an objection to that.   But actually, if we look back in the language itself, we find that the word ‘man’ was originally not gender-specific.  It comes from the word ‘manusa,’ which means ‘descendent of Manu,’ the Sanskrit ‘Manu.’  So ‘man’ doesn’t mean male, necessarily.  There are actually two kinds of ‘men’: the male ‘man’ and the female ‘man’ – humanity; humankind.  So there are different things going on in language.  But the word ‘man’ means ‘mankind’ and it also means ‘descendent of Manu.’  So everyone is a ‘man’ in the sense that we’re all descendents of Manu. 

[others’ comments] In Estonia we don’t have this word.

My mother told me that a ‘woman’ is a man with a womb.  “Womb-man.’  I don’t know where she learned that, but she taught me that as a little child.  Then I found that it is actually correct, according to what Prabhupada has taught us – that ‘man’ means descendent of Manu.  ‘Mankind.’  Nowadays in the English language they object.  You can’t say ‘the chairman;’ you have to say ‘the chairperson.’  You can’t say ‘the salesman;’ you have to say the ‘salesperson.’  They’re saying that if we use ‘man’ then we’re discriminating against women.  But their argument shows that they don’t understand what the proper meaning of the word ‘man’ is.  It shows their ignorance, actually.  They haven’t studied the word origins properly to know what they really mean.  ‘Salesman’ is not a gender-specific term.  There are male salesmen and female salesmen . . .

So there may be some etymological reason why ‘he’ is used, or ‘son’ is used.  But we understand that whatever the reason was that Prabhupada talked about us all being the ‘sons’ of God – well, it’s on different levels.  On one level, in the spiritual world, even though we’re all female, there are devotees who take male forms and devotees who take female forms.  So that’s a whole other level on which to deal with it.  It gets rather murky when you deal with all these different things.  But actually it’s an interesting question intellectually.  Spiritually, I don’t know how much value it has.  But also, there’s no harm if we can, in a submissive mood, intellectually analyze all aspects of Krishna consciousness.  And if one is really sincere about that as means of worshiping Krishna – which it is; studying Bhagavad-gita is a means of worshiping Krishna with one’s intelligence – then Krishna will bless that person.  I have actually wondered the same thing.  But it seems like a literary convention more than anything else.  It’s not denoting the jivas as being purusas, if that’s what you’re wondering.  It seems like a literary convention, just like we say ‘mankind.’  Plus another thing I have found is that, as a writer, sometimes if you try to say ‘he or she’ in a sentence and all the way the through a piece, it becomes very laborious and it doesn’t flow very well for reading.  If I’m writing to a general audience, I will say ‘he’ because it’s a literary convention.  Now, if I’m writing a specific letter to a female disciple, I will say ‘she’ with the philosophical point.  For instance, “Krishna bestows causeless mercy on the living entity, being very kind to her.”  But in general lecture I will say ‘he’ as a literary convention – and that opens up whole other topic.

It appears that it’s a literary convention . . . this is not exactly what you asked, but it is something that has some relevancy.  In general philosophical terms we talk about the living entity; we could say ‘he’ or ‘she.’  So why are we saying ‘he’ instead of ‘she’?  It’s a literary convention going back who knows how long in history?  Why?  Well, the women’s libbers will claim that it’s because it’s a male chauvinist society, a male-dominated society.  [To translator] Do I need to speak shorter sentences?

[Translator] No.  I can’t translate it because we don’t have different words for ‘he’ and ‘she’.

Oh.  Well, at least he’ll get this one [referring to the devotee who asked the question in English]. [Discussion with others regarding the difficulty with translating]

[To inquirer] We can just talk about it personally, in the car or something, because it’s not translatable.  It’s just fine points of English grammar; it’s not really so devotional.  It’s interesting, but it’s not really the essence.  Since it’s there in the books, it’s an interesting thing that you can study intellectually.  But since this is not so easily translatable into the Estonian language, it’s better that we just focus on philosophical points. 

[Back to group]

So, does anybody have any question about how they can get free of all anxiety and achieve the supreme perfection?  Let me ask you:  Are you completely happy?  You’re not completely happy.  Why are you in anxiety?  You don’t know.  Well, I know why you’re in anxiety.  It’s because you think that you’re that body.  You are thinking that you are that body when in fact you, the living being, are eternal.  You never get sick, you never get old, and you never die.  Right now, you are thinking that you’re that body - but that body is forced to get sick, forced to get old, and forced to die.  So that’s automatically a point of anxiety, right there.   The root cause of all anxiety is bodily identification.  If you’re on the bodily platform, then you must be in anxiety.  If you want to get out of anxiety, the first step is to realize, “I am not this body.”

So how will you realize that you’re not your body?  There are a number of ways.  We will do a little experiment now.  Everybody in this room, point to your nose.  Come on, everyone point to your nose.  Very good.  Now point to your ear.  Good.  Now point to your forehead.  Okay.  Now point to yourself.  Everyone point to yourself.  Where will you point?  You see?  It’s not clear.  “Point to myself?”  Why is it not clear?  Because actually you’re not the body.  What do you point at?  Do you point to the body?  No one immediately point at their ‘self,’ because there is nowhere to point – because we are not the body. 

You have a question?

I can’t point to my thoughts my dreams, but I have them. 

So, are you your thoughts? 

But I can’t point to them, either.

 . . . So you consider that you are your thoughts, then.  That also is not you.  So the question is, then, where is the real you?  Do you have any idea what the real ‘you’ is?  You don’t know.  What about you . . . ?  Do you know what the real ‘you’ is? 

Yes, I know.

You already know, then?  From Prabhupada’s books?

I am a spirit soul.

Well, that’s good.  You’re trained in our philosophy.  That is who you actually are.  You are called the atma, the spirit soul.  So how will one realize the atma, the spirit soul?  That is the process that is taught by the bona fide spiritual master.  The spiritual master has realized his actual spiritual identity and he travels all over the world for the sake of awakening the spiritual identity within the hearts of everyone.

When you awaken your actual spiritual identity, it’s more wonderful than the springtime.  Here in Estonia, I understand, the winter is very bad.  It’s horrible.  And in Latvia also, I understand, it’s very bad.  But when the springtime comes and the flowers are blooming and the sun is shining, then it becomes very joyful, doesn’t it?  In the same way, when you awaken the Krishna consciousness within your heart it is like the beautiful spring season.  The beautiful spring arises within your heart.  And what do you realize?  Does anyone here know what you realize when you awaken your Krishna consciousness?  Can anyone say? 

We realize our selves.

And what is that self?

It is the soul.

And what is the nature of the soul?

Spiritual nature.

And what is the nature of that spirit?

[Mataji] It is the eternal servant of Krishna.

Mataji knew.  You realize, “I am the eternal servant of Krishna.”  When you can come to the realization, “I am not this body; I am the eternal servant of Krishna” - that is when your spiritual enlightenment begins.  That will be the moment when the beautiful spring of Krishna bhakti begins to come into your heart, and the deep, dark, hellish winter of material consciousness will go away.

So, are there any questions?

Q3 –

If a disciple, to follow his guru, follows the four regulative principles and chants sixteen rounds, does it mean that this is the whole purpose of his life?

A3 –

The actual purpose of your life is to reawaken your dormant love for Krishna.  The mala (the vow of chanting at least sixteen rounds) and following the four regulative principles are there to assist you in developing your Krishna consciousness.  This movement is not called the International Society for Rules and Regulations.  This is called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.  The rules of bhakti yoga are not the center of our lives.  They are tools that we use to achieve the central point of our lives, which is to love Krishna.

In the occupation of being a farmer, what is the essence?  To have crops for feeding the people.  The tools are necessary, but they are not the purpose.  Having the hoe is not the purpose of being a farmer.  The purpose of being a farmer is to have the crops to feed the people.  Likewise, the rules and regulations of bhakti yoga are not the goal of bhakti yoga.  They are tools to assist you in realizing the goal.  The farmer requires the hoe and the different farming implements to do his work, but they are different from the result, which is the food.

In bhakti yoga, the end result is that you must develop love for Krishna.  If you’ve not developed love for Krishna then that means you’re not practicing Krishna consciousness properly.  So you have to see that you are actually developing love for God.  If not, that means you are committing nama-aparadha.  Do you know what the ten offenses against chanting the holy name are?  If you are not at all having a taste for chanting, you have to see, “What offenses am I committing against the name?”  Then you have to pray to Krishna to find how to get over those offenses. 

Questions more?  [To devotee] You have a question.  I can see it on your face.

Q4 –

My question is very open.  It’s about why there is a body; why is there a mind; why is there thought.  Why can’t I just be a spirit . . . 

A4 –

Actually you are.  That is your actual position.  But because you are under the influence of the material energy, you’re foolishly thinking, “I am this body; I am this mind.”  That is the influence of maya, the illusory energy.  Actually you’re not the mind or the body.  You simply have to get free of the false dream of thinking that you’re the body and that you’re the mind.  You have to wake up from that sleep of illusion.  This is why the chanting is very, very important.  This chanting is the alarm clock that will wake you up from the sleep of illusion. 

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

I want you to become a devotee.  I want you to become a pure devotee and go back to Godhead.  That is my request for you.  Take up this process with all seriousness. Are you chanting the japa mala?


No?  Well, then get the japa mala from these devotees and start chanting.  Follow our regulative principles: no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication and no gambling.  By chanting and following these principles, you will awaken from the sleep of bodily and mental consciousness.  You will come to the liberated platform – Krishna consciousness.  So I want you do that.  Will you agree to do that?

I may try it.

‘May’ means you may or may not.  So what are the odds that you may try it and the odds that you may not? . . . What odds do you estimate?  Fifty-fifty?  . . . What percentage is on the ‘may’ side and what percentage is on the ‘may not’ side?  What is your estimate?

It depends on how good the coffee tastes . . . it depends on how much I like coffee.  It is very difficult to give up coffee. 

Coffee?  Coffee??  Oh my goodness!  Coffee!  You would be willing to stay in the cycle of birth and death just so that you get your cup of coffee?  You would give up an eternal life full of bliss and knowledge in the spiritual world, and take instead birth, death, old age and disease, lifetime after lifetime after lifetime – just so you could drink a damned cup of coffee?  Oh, Krishna!  Please help this poor girl!  Hare Krishna! 

Actually when I was a boy I saw all the adults drink coffee, and I tried it.  It was so horrible I said, “I will never drink that!”  It tastes bad; it tastes really bad.  It’s so horrible-tasting that you have to force yourself to drink it in the beginning.  I don’t see how anybody could enjoy a cup of coffee.  But I have something to offer you.  Why do you drink the coffee? 

So that I won’t fall asleep.

So I will give you this benediction.  If you chant Hare Krishna in the morning with great determination and fixity of consciousness, you will get more energy from the Hare Krishna mantra than you can get from ten thousand cups of coffee.  I’d also like to point out to you that from a medical standpoint, by drinking coffee you are ruining the adrenal gland in your body.  The caffeine stimulates your adrenal gland to produce adrenaline.  That’s what gives you the energy.  The caffeine does not give you the energy, but it stimulates the adrenal gland to generate adrenaline.  That’s what happens.  Now, adrenaline is necessary if ever you’re in a dangerous situation, like being in a fire or having to face a murderer or a wild animal.  Adrenaline is held in reserve in your body for a big boost of energy in times of emergency.  By drinking coffee you’re depleting your adrenal gland and wearing it out, so that when you need a strong burst of energy in an emergency, your adrenal gland will fail.  So it’s better to get your energy by chanting Hare Krishna, because that gives energy to everything.  Coffee is actually bleeding the energy from your body.  Just go to the Internet and type in ‘caffeine’ and see all the bad reports you can find on the Internet about caffeine.  It’s very bad for the health, actually.

So right now you’re addicted to it.  How many cups a day do you drink?  Four?  You  need to start winding it down.  Go down to three; go down to two; go down to one.  What you can do is get some kind of herbal tea – I don’t know if they have this in Estonia, but you can go to the health food store and get what’s called chicory.  It has no caffeine but it tastes like coffee.  It’s a coffee substitute.  It’s caffeine-free.  You can also get decaffeinated coffee.  Do they sell that here? . . . But you really need to give it up and chant Hare Krishna instead, because coffee-drinking is really not good for you.  And you’ll get so much energy from Hare Krishna.  Get the chanting beads and chant every morning, and you’ll be energized on Krishna’s name all day long. 

Are there any other questions?  So no one is experiencing any obstacles on the pathway?  Everyone is sailing smoothly down the golden road of unlimited devotion?  [To devotee] You shook your head no.  So what is the difficulty?

Q5 –

Just to name one – to go to bed on time and rise on time.  It’s not a piece of cake to do it properly and regularly.  If one can’t do even that – I can’t do even that – then what to speak of other things?  So the point is - like you mentioned starting to drink less coffee – it’s not . . .

A5 –

Well, someone who works a job for a living has to regulate his activity.  Isn’t that true?  If you can’t get to work on time, you won’t make it.  If you’re an employer and you have some employee who is chronically late for work, do you retain him or do you ask him to move on to greener pastures?  So, to be regulated is necessary even for material success.  If a student can’t make it to class on time – if he’s missing classes, and he doesn’t show up for the final exam - he will fail in his studies; he will not be successful.  So if even in some material endeavor discipline is required, do you think that in spiritual life no discipline is required?  Why do you think like that?

I don’t think like that.  The difference is that in material life, all effects are instant, so you have –

No, that’s not true.  The college student doesn’t get any instant effects.  He’s going to college so that he can get a higher-paying job in the future.  He has to spend years with no instant effect.  So if a college student is working, without any instant effects, with the promise of future effects, then why can’t the sadhaka do the same?  Why can’t one who is executing sadhana bhakti do the same?  Even in this one city of Tartu, how many students are at this one university . . ?

Six thousand.

Six thousand.  In one city, six thousand students are undergoing all kinds of austerities with no immediate result – 

[Mataji] They are also paying money.

and they are even paying money to do the austerities!  And they don’t know for sure what the result will be.  They don’t even have the promise of a job when they graduate.  Some of them actually won’t even be able to take advantage of their degrees.  That’s the reality.  Some PhD’s end up working as garbage men.  So just in the hope that in the future they will have some better life, they are paying money to do all these austerities, day in and day out.

We are giving something that is much easier than that university student life.  We are not charging anything, first off.  And second, we give prasadam.  What do these students get to eat?  They get some dog food in the cafeteria.  Right?  You must eat in the cafeteria because you are laughing.  Do you eat in the cafeteria? 

Not very often.

But you know what I meant when I said ‘dog food.’  So this Krishna consciousness gives much more instant results than what the students are getting.  The students are going through all kinds of anxieties - how to pass the exam, how to please the professor – but we are getting instant samadhi.  We are tasting transcendental bliss chanting 

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama
Rama Rama, Hare Hare

Why do you think we are not tasting it?  Do you think we are not tasting it?

I don’t know.  I never objected.  I didn’t object to chanting Hare Krishna.  I just said that if I can’t get past one obstacle, or if I have difficulties doing something, why should I ask about other things that are more difficult?

When you go to work for a company, when you’re not so expert, they give you some base pay.  And then when you become more competent to perform more difficult activities, they give you more money.  And as you become more and more competent, they give you more and more money.  Similarly, in the beginning on the pathway of Krishna consciousness, we may find it hard to fully surrender to Krishna and get the full result.  But just as the new employee gets some base pay, Krishna gives some immediate results – at the very instant we begin Krishna consciousness.  And as we mature along that pathway, the results and the experience become sweeter and sweeter and sweeter.  It’s not that a devotee at any level is actually lacking.  Krishna is giving him everything necessary at every step of the way to help him go further and further and further and further.  Do you know that?  That’s a fact.  He’s giving all facility.  The problem is that we are blind.  We do not see how Krishna is giving.  Do you what the second problem we have is, along with blindness?  We don’t have faith.  That’s the second problem.  So we are blind and we are faithless.  Therefore, we are experiencing difficulty.

So the question is, how do you get out of your blindness and faithlessness?  The answer is very simple.  You have to associate with persons who have vision and who have faith.  As we studied this morning in the Srimad Bhagavatam, by serving the mahatmas, you inherit their qualities.  A mahatma is that devotee who is not in illusion and not suffering from that disease called asraddha, faithlessness.  He has full faith that Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that he is the eternal servant of Krishna.  By serving him, you will develop the same consciousness.  Therefore we humble ourselves before the Vaisnavas:

vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
patitanam pavanebhyo
vaisnavebhyo namo namah

The greatest enemy of our progress is that which inhibits or prevents us from offering full respect to the Vaisnavas.  Do you know what that is - that which inhibits us from offering full respects to the Vaisnavas?  Do you have any idea what that is? 

[Mataji]  Pride.

[To inquirer]  I’m asking you.


[Mataji]  Pride.

Yes; selfishness, pride – they are similar words – selfishness, pride – they are describing the same thing.  Pride, selfishness –

[Mataji]  False ego.

False ego, yes.  Therefore, we have to humble ourselves if we want to taste the nectar.  If we are proud, we are puffed up.  We think, “I don’t bow down to anybody” - like the boy who came here the other night.  He said, “I don’t want a sweet because I don’t want to bow down.”  Remember that boy?  He said, “Everyone else is bowing down when they get the sweet, so I’m not even going to take the sweet.  I don’t want to bow down.”  I told him, “It’s okay; you don’t have to bow down.”  But after I thought about it I realized that I should have told him, “Come here and take this sweet.  Now bow down.”  I should have forced him to bow down.  He would have gotten great advancement if I had done that.  I thought I was being merciful by telling him he didn’t have to bow down.  Then I realized that I was actually being cruel to him by telling him that he didn’t have to bow down.  If I had actually been merciful to him I would have tricked him into bowing down.  I could have said, “That’s okay, just come and take the sweet – now bow down.”  That would have been more merciful than my saying he didn’t have to bow down.  So the spiritual master finds the ways and means to force the disciples to bow down, by hook or by crook.  Because the more the disciples bow down and offer respects to the spiritual master the more they learn humility.  That’s how they learn to give up selfishness; that’s how they learn to give up pride.  And that’s how they advance on the pathway back to home, back to Godhead - and taste the nectar.

We have many times told the story of our godbrother Garga Muni Prabhu, who, at 26 Second Avenue (back in the days when Prabhupada was known as Swamiji), raised his hand during the question and answer session.  He said, “Swamiji, everyone else bows down to you when you walk into the room.  But I do not bow down, because it does not feel natural to me.  Is that all right, Swamiji?”  And Prabhupada said to him, “You should bow down.”  He said that because by doing that, the natural feeling and natural desire to bow down will awaken in your heart.  So in this way the spiritual master trains the disciples, even though they are not always feeling inclined to act in a devotional way.  He lovingly and patiently guides them in how to act in a devotional way – with the spiritual master, with other senior devotees, with the devotees in general and with the general population also. 

Any questions?  Yes.

Q6 –

Yesterday at the lecture you taught that chanting the Hare Krishna mantra takes one to another dimension of consciousness.  But I have one friend who says that using some drugs takes him to another dimension of consciousness also. 

A6 –

All right – we can talk about that.  Now, you can take some LSD or some other hallucinogenic drugs and you can in fact alter your consciousness – of that there is no doubt.  But because you are using a material object to alter your consciousness – namely that LSD tablet – that alteration remains within the material energy.  Therefore you cannot achieve spiritual liberation because you are using a material pill.  If you want to actually achieve spiritual enlightenment, then you require something which is not material.

Golokera prema-dhana hari-nama-sankirtana: this Hare Krishna mantra is not a sound vibration of this material universe.  This Hare Krishna mantra has been imported from the spiritual world.  Your LSD tablet or Ecstacy tablet is simply a material object, that’s all.  It is material chemicals.  The Hare Krishna mantra, however, is purely spiritual.  So you can tell your friend, if he thinks that LSD is a very nice thing, that this Hare Krishna mantra is like a whole room full of LSD. 

[Mataji]  These drugs take you into another dimension by damaging your brain; the Hare Krishna mantra doesn’t damage your brain.All it’s doing [the drug] is altering the chemistry of your brain.  That’s all it’s doing.  Krishna consciousness takes you completely out of your body and your mind.  There is no drug that can do that. 

Questions more?

Q7 –

I have a comment.  When I came into the movement, I ate meat and I didn’t have faith.  But when I started chanting the mantra, I didn’t want meat anymore – I just didn’t like it anymore. 

A7 –

Yes.  That is called ‘higher taste.’  This Krishna consciousness is real.

So are there any questions?

Q8 –

I have a short comment.  I haven’t seen any drug addict who has achieved another dimension and remained there.  They always return and suffer even more than before.

A8 –

Yes, that is a fact.  They may go into some so-called high state, but they come down again.  But Hare Krishna means that you stay high forever.  No more coming down.  That is Hare Krishna.  This is the ultimate LSD trip.  No more coming back.

Questions more?

Q9 –

I am told at work that I seem like I’m drunk.  How can I control myself? 

A9 –

If you are actually advancing in Krishna consciousness, you will become a very expert person in everything you do.  That is a sign of your actually advancing in Krishna consciousness.  For instance, Bhaktivinode Thakura was on the highest level of Krishna consciousness.  Yet he was such a valuable employee of the British government.  He outperformed all his coworkers.  So it’s not that the devotee is some person who cannot function in society.  He is very expert.  Whatever he is doing, he can be the best in that field - just like Arjuna, who was a professional warrior.  It’s not that when he accepted Krishna’s order he became so intoxicated that he couldn’t shoot his arrows anymore.  When he shot his arrows, they were right on target.  So the devotee is expert at everything.  If you are not able to perform expertly at your job, it means that you are not very much advanced in Krishna consciousness. 

Questions more?

Q10 –

Krishna says to Arjuna that he has to fight because it is his obligation – that it’s right to fight for the kingdom.  But before that, it was said that his father was taking the kingdom away from his brother.  How, then, could it be right to fight for the kingdom at that time?  It wasn’t his.  It was his father’s, but his father had already taken it away.  Why does Krishna say that it is okay to fight?

A10 –

Arjuna’s father, Pandu, was the king. 

Yes, but he became King by pushing away his older brother.

Not Pandu.  Pandu was the rightful king.  You are mixing it up.  I’ll explain it to you.

Pandu was the rightful king, but he died untimely.  Because he died, his eldest son Yudhisthira was then meant to inherit the throne.  But Yudhisthira was only a young boy at the time.  Therefore the brother of Pandu was given the position of King on a temporary basis.  Actually the uncle, the brother of Pandu (the uncle of Yudhisthira) was disqualified for being the king because he was a blind man.  His name was Dhrtarastra.  Dhrtarastra, being the elder brother, would have been the king instead of Pandu; but because he was blind, his younger brother Pandu was given the throne.

But now, when Pandu died untimely and Dhrtarastra was given the temporary monarchy (until Yudhisthira became old enough to take the throne), Dhrtarastra’s wicked son named Duryodhana thought, “Now that my father is acting as King, let me take advantage and steal all the power, so Yudhisthira never becomes the king.”  So Pandu had rightfully gotten the throne by the normal system.  He was no power-grabber.  The power grab that you have heard about was not from Pandu; the power grab was from the blind king Dhrtarastra and his son Duryodhana.

Yudhisthira had four brothers:  Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva.  So they were five young princes growing up in the palace, and the temporary king was Dhrtarastra.  But everyone knew that when Yudhisthira and his brothers got old enough, they would be in charge, and the king would have to step aside.  So Duryodhana made schemes and plots to kill those five young boys.  Duryodhana and his brothers tried poisoning them – Dhrtarastra’s sons did so many things to try to murder the young princes.  They were all within the family.  They were cousins.  But because of greed for power, Duryodhana and his brothers were very eager to kill their own cousins so that they could keep the power.

So Dhrtarastra and Duryodhana were very evil, wicked-minded people, actually.  And the sons of Pandu – Yudhisthira, Arjuna, Bhima, Nakula and Sahadeva – were very pious devotees of the Lord.  They had no desire for the power, but it was their duty to take the power because that was their position.  Actually, when it came down to the Battle of Kuruksetra, Krishna wanted the Pandavas to fight the battle to get the kingdom because the kingdom is meant to be ruled by devotees, not by demoniac people.  Imagine if al-Qaida wanted to run the government here in Estonia.  It wouldn’t be very nice if al-Qaida came in and said, “We want to run your country now, and our first policy will be to murder all the non-Muslims in Estonia.”  Do you think it would be very nice if al-Qaida came in and took over Estonia?  Similarly, Dhrtarastra and Duryodhana were very wicked and the way they dealt with things was very selfish and evil.  So Krishna did not want selfish and evil non-devotees to rule the world at the time.  He wanted his own devotees to rule the planet.  You see, at that time India actually ruled the entire world.  So being King at Hastinapura at that time meant that you actually ruled the entire Earth.  Hastinapura was the capital of the entire Earth, and Dhrtarastra and Duryodhana were usurping the entire Earth to engage for their own selfish purposes.  So Krishna wanted His devotees to fight this battle so that there would be pious, proper leadership on this planet.

But when the day of the battle came, Arjuna was thinking, “These are our own family members; we have always enjoyed family life.  If we kill our own family members then how will we enjoy family life anymore?  Who will we invite over to the palace on the weekend?”  In other words, there would no more social life with the family members.  So he said, “Okay – let them have it – it’s all right.”  He just dropped his arrow and said, “I’m not going to do this.  Let them have the kingdom.  Even if they want to kill me, it’s all right – just let them have the kingdom.”

Arjuna was such a saintly devotee.  So it appears to be very nice that Arjuna is a pacifist - he doesn’t want to fight in a war; he must be a great hero.  Arjuna was a great hero, but the problem was that the Supreme Lord Himself wanted this battle to be fought.  Arjuna was acting in a way which was displeasing to God, and that is not a good thing.  If you act in a way that is displeasing to God, it is a bad thing.  So the entire Bhagavad-gita was spoken by Krishna to convince Arjuna that one must act in a way that is pleasing to God.

So Arjuna heard the Bhagavad-gita very nicely; he fully surrendered himself to Sri Krishna as His pure devotee and he fought the battle and won.  So that’s the actual story.  It is not ‘story;’ it is history.  You can go to India and see the exact site where the battle took place.  It is not some mythology.  You can go to Delhi, get on the train and go to the Kuruksetra train station; and from there you can take a taxicab from the train station to the actual place where the Bhagavad-gita was spoken five thousand years ago.

So do not think that Pandu was an unscrupulous politician.  He was a pious devotee of the Lord who was simply doing his duty.  Do not hold any negative attitude against Maharaja Pandu and his sons, the Pandavas.  If you want to have a negative attitude, then you should think, “How wicked were Dhrtarastra and Duryodhana!”  For them you can have a negative attitude.  That’s all right.


I think our time is up.  If there are no questions, we can stop here.  We’ll have one more class tomorrow morning before we go on.  We’re touring all over Europe now.  We’ve done a tour of Germany; we’ve gone to Finland; we’ve come now to Estonia.  This is our third place – of course, we went to many places in Germany.  So now from here we continue on . . . to Tallin, to Riga, and then down to Bulgaria for an extended stay.  We’re also doing a tour in North America.  So we request that while we are gone that you take up Krishna bhakti very seriously.  Whatever you are doing now, if you can’t give it up, you must at least start chanting Hare Krishna.  Even if you cannot give up your coffee, you should get the chanting beads and start chanting.  And gradually, as you start to get more and more energy from the Hare Krishna mantra, your coffee-drinking will naturally go down.  What I’m saying is that you don’t have to artificially give up drinking coffee.  Simply add Hare Krishna to your life and that day will come when you can’t even stand a cup of coffee.  So all of you here, kindly come regularly to this Center.  Bhaktin Karolin is here; she is very fixed in our Krishna consciousness philosophy and practice.  You can take guidance and instructions from her on how to advance in Krishna consciousness.  And if you can communicate in English you can sign up for my free e-course.  Simply go the Internet: www.backtohome.com.

So that’s it.  What’s the next program?  Prasadam . . . ?

[end of lecture]


Transcribed by Her Grace Labangalatika devi dasi

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