Program at the Home of Jagadananda Das
Chicago,Illinois, May 20th, 2005
SDA: This Hare Krishna mantra is a very special thing. It is not of this world. Actually, we are not of this world. We are eternal spiritual beings, but somehow, we have got entangled in this dream of material existence, “I am this body.”. Just like if you have a very nice house, but you’re locked out, you’re in trouble. But, if you have the key, then there’s no problem. So, this Hare Krishna mantra is the key that unlocks the door to your eternal identity as a spiritual being.
There’s something very wonderful waiting for you behind the door, and this is the key that unlocks the door. So, by all means, take advantage of this key, not only now, but all the time. kirtaniya sada harih, or if you can’t chant 24 hours a day, at least chant for 23 and ½ hours a day. If you can’t do that, at least chant 16 rounds.
(chants panca-tattva mantra and Hare Krishna maha mantra with audience for 10 minutes.)
om namo bhagavate
Such a sweet sound vibration, that mantra. Tonight we’re reading from Bhagavad-gita, chapter 9, the most confidential knowledge, text 14
Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.
Purport by Srila Prabhupada:
One who is attached to the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord, the is not described as in the He is described in a different way in the next verse. The is always engaged in different activities of devotional service, as described in the hearing and chanting about Vi u, not a demigod or human being. That is devotion: and remembering Him. Such a has ﬁrm determination to achieve at the ultimate end the association of the Supreme Lord in any one of the ﬁve transcendental To achieve that success, he engages all activities – mental, bodily and vocal, everything – in the service of the Supreme Lord, r K a. That is called full K a consciousness.
In devotional service there are certain activities which are called determined, such as fasting on certain days, like the eleventh day of the moon, Ekda , and on the appearance day of the Lord. All these rules and regulations are offered by the great for those who are actually interested in getting admission into the association of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the transcendental world.”
So, did you realize that ekadasi and janmastami are your admission tickets? By observing these items of bhakti, these are the tickets that will give you admission into the spiritual world. Nowadays, everybody’s interested in lottery tickets. They’re thinking “I will win the lottery”, but what will you win? Simply headaches.
I read there was one man who won the lottery, some huge prize, and now he’s become a drunkard. They arrested him and, with so many problems and anxieties, ever since he won the lottery, his life went to complete chaos. We are not interested in that ticket.
The more we get together in these bhakti-vriksa’s, come to the temple programs, the more we can observe the items of bhakti, chanting on malas, offering our food, we’re simply getting an accumulation of all these nice admission tickets into the association of God. So, Prabhupada continues, here:
“The great souls, strictly observe all these rules and regulations, and therefore they are sure to achieve the desired result.
As described in the second verse of this chapter, not only is this devotional service easy, but it can be performed in a happy mood. One does not need to undergo any severe penance and austerity. He can live this life in devotional service, guided by an expert spiritual master, and in any position, either as a householder or a or a in any position and anywhere in the world, he can perform this devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus become actually a great soul.”
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my beloved spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada who is so kindly forcing my eyes open with this torchlight of knowledge, Srimad Bhagavad-gita.
Sometimes we see that as devotees we have this bad attitude. Instead of a mahatma attitude, we have a duratma attitude. That’s the opposite of a mahatma. If something is dur, it’s the opposite. Instead of having a mahatma attitude, we have a duratma attitude. We think, “Well, it’s not really possible to become a pure devotee, so why should I even try that hard? I’ll just try to enjoy this world, piously. In a Krishna conscious way I’ll enjoy this material world.”
That’s an oxymoron. There’s no such thing as a Krishna conscious way of enjoying the material world. Of course, you could argue that the demigods are Krishna conscious and they’re enjoying the material world. America’s kind of like the svarga-loka of this planet, so you could argue it, but I will bring counterarguments to defeat such an argument.
Prabhupada said “Krishna consciousness means nothing to purchase except Krishna.” You have nothing else desired to purchase. No other thing. Nothing else but Krishna, you won’t settle for anything else. maya devi can offer you so many things. She can offer you power, prestige, money. All kinds of things, maya devi may offer you to allure your mind, but you say no. “No. I just want Krishna.”
Look at Haridasa Thakura. He was allured by that prostitute. It wasn’t like these sleazy whores nowadays, but this was a very woman, actually in coming to him in the dead of night. He was just playing with her to make her a pure devotee. “Yes, yes. I will satisfy you, my dear lady. You sit here nicely. I will finish my mala.”
She became so purified by the pure chanting of Haridasa, she became a pure devotee, just like him. She shaved her head and stayed there. He moved on and gave her the hut. She stayed there chanting 300,000 names just like he had been chanting in the same place.
He was offered such a powerful allurement in this material world, but he simply played with that alluremtn offer it to Krishna. He laughed at this. He must have been laughing, “How foolish they are to think I would want to do such a thing, but I will be kind upon her, and make her a devotee.” This is what we are meant to be. It doesn’t matter what allurement we are offered in this material world, we are more interested in becoming Krishna conscious than anything else.
That doesn’t mean we neglect the needs of the body. Whatever is required, to keep body and soul together, that we accept. I may have a wife. I have to make sure that she’s healthy and happy. I have children. We take care of all the material necessities, but they’re on the back burner. A devotee becomes so expert, that he can expertly take care of all the material things so it’s done very properly, better than any materialist. He can take care of all the material arrangments, at the same time, it’s just on the back burner. He has Krishna-bhakti on the front burner.
Just like the ladies know, when you’re cooking, what do you put on the front burner? When you’re cooking pakora, that goes on the front burner, the rice goes on the back burner. Not that you put the rice up front and the pakoras in the back. What requires the most attention, that goes on the front burner, and what requires the least attention, like the rice, that goes on the back burner. So, our material things, even though we spend a lot of time on them, our job our family duties, the deovtee becomes so expert he can just back-burner all those things, and keep Krishna consciousness on the forefront. Even if he’s spending eight or nine hours a day at the office. He’s able to do it so expertly, he’s doing it better than anyone else at the office, but at the same time, he’s seeing Krishna within everything, and everything within Krishna. That is a mahatma.
Prahupada gives the example of some dancers in South India. You know these professional dancers. Its just amazing how they can twirl and spin and so many things, but these dancers are very interesting because while they’re doing it, they can keep a clay pot balanced on their head the whole time. They’re so expert, they can do all these incredible dance movements, and at the same time, keep a clay pot balanced on their head the entire time.
That is Krishna consciousness. If you become very expert, you may be a computer engineer, running a high-tech company, a big corporation. You may be doing so many things that take so much expertise and intelligence, but a Krishna conscious devotee, while he’s doing all those things, he can keep that clay pot always balanced on the head. He can keep that Krishna consciousness fixed, where he’s fixed in Krishna consciousness at every minute. This is a mahatma. This is the position we want to come to: mahatma, being constantly immersed in Krishna consciousness.
This is actually the real nectar that we’re always hankering for at every minute. We may not realize it, but the real nectar we’re hankering for at every minute is Krishna consciousness. That’s what we want. That’s what we’re really looking for in everything in this material world that we may go after. What we really want to find is Krishna, the greatest pleasure. Prabhupada says “Krishna means the greatest pleasure” actually. So, we’re always looking for the greatest pleasure That’s actually Krishna.
We simply have to learn the art of how to extract Krishna from everything in all times, all places and all circumstances. We have to master that art, because then we will taste the sweetest nectar at every minute. The most inconceivable, indescribable, ever increasing nectar will be relished by us as the most delicious love feast. That means you’re really connected. That’s the real meaning of a mahatma, someone who has connected with Krishna, with every thought, with every word, with every activity, in every time, in every place, in every situation. That is mahatma, so the purpose of this Krishna consciousness movement is that we are an organization meant to train up a whole society of mahatmas.
We want to make you all into mahatmas. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a sannyasi, a grhastha, a little baby, whatever you may be: Baby mahatma. We want to train everyone how to become a mahatma. That is our Krishna consciousness movement, by Prabhupada’s mercy. Prabhupada is a mahatma, not this Mahatma© rice. He is the real mahatma, absorbed 24 hours a day in krishna-bhakti, that is real mahatma. So, that is Prabhupada’s mission. He is training us directly through his books and through his disciples and grand-disciples also. Prabhupada is training us all how to become mahatmas. That is his mission. We are learning how to become mahatmas so we can actually taste the sweetest nectar at every minute.
This is actually going to emerge as the world religion. What Prabhupada has introduced will gradually emerge as the world religion. We all have the experience that in the old days no one thought about purified water, many people will now insist on drinking only purified bottled water, because they don’t want the chlorine in my intestinal system killing the friendly bacteria. I never dreamt that people would be buying drinking water when you can get it free out of the tap. But now we see it everywhere. I travel all over the world. Even when I go to remote Indian villages, of course that’s for the toursits, but bottled water’s everywhere. It’s very common.
Now the next thing coming in is bottled air. They have bottled oxygen now. Just like there are hair salons, they have air salons, now in Tokyo where you can go and they put you inside a little tube for 40 minutes so you can get charged up with pure oxygen. That’s the next thing that’s coming in. They have also portable cartrages called O-Pure for oxygen. You can get a little canister of oxygen if you’re tired getting all the exhaust fumes and peripheral cigarette smoke. If you just want a breath of really good, pure oxygen, they have it in a little can, so that’s the next thing coming in, bottled air. Air salons, oxygen bars they call them in L.A., Hamburg and Bangkok. That’s the next thing coming in that people more and more will be turning to bottled air. Bottle of water, bottle of air, but the next thing that’s coming after that, pure water, pure air, the next thing will be pure consciousness. That is provided by one organization, called the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. We have the monopoly on this pure consciousness actually. We have some imitators out there, but they don’t have the real thing, the purest extent that Prabhupada has given it. Prabhupada has given the absolute pure form. All the competitors have certain degrees of impurity mixed in, but Prabhuipada has given the absolute highest level of purity. Pure consciousness.
Gradually, people will realize that the impurities of the water, the impurities of the air are simply external manifestations of the impurities of the consciousness. As within, so without. Because we are contaminated within, therefore externally we see that the world is becoming more dirty, dirty, dirty, because the hearts are becoming more dirty. Lusty, angry, greedy. this process of chanting Hare Krishna, taking the pathway of the great mahatmas, becoming Krishna conscious, this purifies the consciousness of dirt accumulated for millions of lifetimes. That’s the next thing, that’s the next phase. After pure water, pure air that’s the next thing that will come, pure consciousness. We should get ready now.
We should all become very fixed up mahatmas, so that when the thousands of millions of people come forward wanting to know how I can also become mahatma, that we’ll be qualified to train them. We can have thousands of millions of bhakti-vrksa groups all over the world, in every town and village. Now is the early pioneering days. A little pocket here, a little pocket there. We want that each and every one of you should take this very seriously, this Krishna consciousness process. Become actually mahatma.
Dedicate yourself right now that I am going to become a pure devotee as soon as possible. I’m going to completely purify my consciousness as soon as possible. Somebody would say “I can’t really aspire to become a pure devotee. That’s for the sannyasis. It’s not really for me. I can’t really think about becoming a pure devotee, that would be a silly thing.” But no. It’s silly not to think that I must become a pure devotee because that’s our duty. Krishna wants us to become His pure devotees completely surrendered souls at His lotus feet.
We have to think “Let me strive at every minute to achieve pure devotion.” Pure devotion will come. there will be one moment in our life that finally we get free from all impurities and we will become pure devotees. If we stick to this pathway, that day will come when we actually do become completely free from all the dirt and actually become a pure devotee. So, would you like to have it come sooner or later? That’s my question. Do you want it sooner, or later? We should think, “The sooner the better, because I’m suffering unneccesarily with all these impurities. I’m just torturing myself by hanging on to my anarthas. Why should I be masochistic, and hang on to all my anarthas which are causing me so much anxiety? Why not just become a pure devotee as soon as possible by at every minute, striving to become absolutely pure in every thought, every word and every deed, in every time, every place and every situation? And what does purity mean? It simply means to think of Krishna with love. That’s what it means, to lovingly think of Krishna. “How can I satisfy Krishna? How can I satisfy guru? How can the spiritual master be pleased with me? If my guru could see this thought that’s in my mind, would he be happy with me for thinking like this, right now?” We have to honestly be introspective. “If my guru-maharaja could see what’s in my brain right now, would he be smiling or would he be frowning?” This is how we have to train ourselves. Guru, through the medium of Krishna also becomes aware because the Supersoul is in the heart, and the spiritual master is connected to the Supersoul, so the spiritual master is also aware of the mentality of the disciple through the medium of the Supersoul. So, since we’re being observed by higher authorities, we should be very vigilant to keep our mind fixed nicely in Krishna consciousness. Then the words will naturally be Krishna conscious, that come out of our mouth, then our activities will be Krishna conscious and we’ll achieve happiness.
Why don’t we have questions now? Of course, you all know everything already. You don’t have any questions, right? You’re great mahatmas. You’ve already realized everything so you don’t have any questions. There are no obstacles in the heart to overcome, you’ve already overcome the obstacles. So, there’s no question.
Q: As you said, most people understand mahatma as a relative word, Someone says one thing, another says something else. Its like a rubber stamp.
A: The mahatma word is misused. The actual word is quoted in the previous verse: mahatmanas tu mam partha, and then Krishna just goes on to describe them. “O son of Prtha, those who are not deluded, the great souls are under the protection of the divine nature, they are fully engaged in devotional service because they know me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.” Then, Krishna continues to say, “Always chanting my glories, endeavoring with great determination bowing down before me, these great souls perpetually worship me with devotion.” So, the word mahatma is defined by Krishna, actually. These other uses of the word mahatma are not valid. They’re misusing the word. they’re abusing the word.
Now there are so many types of abuse. This abuse, that abuse. this is called word abuse. They’re misusing the word mahatma, so we object to this misuse of the word mahatma. A mahatma is someone who’s surrendered to the lotus feet of Krishna. Someone who has not done that, they are called duratma, cripple minded.
Q: So many say that he is to be considered a mahatma who serves humanity or people in general because they’ve become a social reformer, serving for the common cause of the people on a materialistic basis, so we don’t give them the title of mahatma.
A: People take someone who’s serving on the material level to be a mahatma because that’s their highest conception on the material platform. They will call Gandhi mahatma because he dedicated his entire life to serve his nation. The difference between that type of service and the service of Krishna is that one of Gandhi’s own countrymen, Hindu even, killed him. So, even when you render that service, there will be people who hate you or want to kill you. Trying to be a mahatma on the material level will always have imperfection in spite of your best intentions. But if we take mahatma on the spiritual level, then it becomes perfect because Krishna will in fact become completely satisfied with you and because everything which is connected with Krishna, there’s nothing which is disconnected, then everything, the whole cosmos will favor you actually. Everything will favor you. dhiradhira jana priyau priya karo, the six gosvamis were pleasing to everyone. They were dear to everyone. Of course, in the beginning when someone first takes to Krishna consciousness, their family members may obect and become very disturbed, but after some time, when the saintly qualities of that devotee manifest more and more and more, then everyone appreciates the devotee. Everyone appreciates the saintly qualities of the devotee. When you become an actual mahatma on the spiritual platform, then you’re appreciated more than anyone else. The greatest most memorable persons in history are the great spiritual reformers. Lord Jesus, Mohammad, all the great enlightened spiritual teachers, they are the most celebrated in history. In the long run they will always get the most recognition. Others come and go, the Napoleon’s the Churchill’s, they have a big name for some while, then they’re forgotten about, but these great spiritual leaders, they always remain.
Q: When we consider those who do social welfare activities as mahatmas, then we get a bad result, but in the life of great mahatmas like Jesus, Prahlada and Haridas Thakura, how do we see their position?
A: Sometimes the mahatma is persecuted, that also is there. You may say “Why does that allow that?”
Q: How do we see that?
A: This is a rhetorical question to answer your question. Why does God allow that? Krishna allows His pure devotees to go through various turmoils, tribulations and persecutions for the sake of them becoming even more recognized as a mahatma. The mahatma actually relishes everything as the sweetest bliss. He is never actually disturbed by anything.
He sees everything in relation to Krishna, even if he undergoes some torture or persecution. He sees Krishna behind everything and just accepts it in the Lord’s service. Because he pleases the Lord by that surrender, the devotee, even though he may appear to be in a suffering condition, he is actually in a position of great transcendental happiness, even while he’s being persecuted.
We have to see that that is Krishna’s arrangement that they can be even more recognized as mahatma. That’s how we have to see.
Q: But can they say about the other side, the same way?
A: That Gandhi was? Because the activity was on the bodily platform, making distinction between this type of body and that type of body, because it was not on the spiritual platform, therefore, we understand that it was limited by the material nature. The true mahatma sees everyone as the eternal servant of God. He does not distinguish that “Here is an Indian, here is a British. The British have to get away from the Indians.” Politically, it may have been a very good move, but that philosophy of political independence does not liberate anyone from the cycle of birth and death.
The true mahatma liberates from the cycle of birth and death. That’s a mahatma. One who has an agenda which does not liberate one from the cycle of birth and death cannot be described as a mahatma according to the Bhagavad-gita. They may be called as Mahatma in the media, by the people in general, but they are not actually mahatmas unless they can liberate, by their activities the persons they are leading. Then, they are mahatmas.
Q: Mahatma Gandhi remembered the name of the Lord at the time of death. Bhagavad-gita says that whoever remembers the Lord at the time of death is a pure devotee and goes back to Godhead. How can we say that Gandhi was not a pure devotee? Maybe the political activities were just a back burner thing, and the front burner was God consciousness. So, how can we interperate it?
A: Chanting the Lord’s name at the time of death means that he may have actually achieved perfection. Depending on the quality of the chanting is also there. But what he was doing before that was not on the platform of mahatma, distinguishing between British and Indian. He wasn’t preaching the philosophy of Bhagavad-gita. A mahatma preaches Bhagavad-gita. Prabhupada explains that he even said there was no person Krishna who ever existed historically. He denied Krishna’s historical identity, as being a real person. He may have had a transformation, at the last minute, somehow, by God’s grace, he may have gotten that special mercy.
Just like Ajamila was engaged in so many nonsense activities, but he called the name of his son and he got special mercy at the last minute. But what he was doing before that was not mahatma’s activity. To say that there was no historical person Krishna that existed, this is not a mahatma’s activity. Certainly, chanting the name of God at the time of death, like Ajamila, even though he lived a sinful life, that special mercy he must have gotten by chanting the names of God at the time of death, certainly.
In Ajamila’s case, he did not immediately become a pure devotee, but he got an opportunity to take up pure devotion. He went to Haridvara. He got an extension. It’s not that even if one is not Krishna conscious, but still chants and utters the name of God at the time of death, it’s a great blessing, but in the case of Ajamila, he didn’t immediately go back to Godhead, but we can understand that soon thereafter, he did, because he uttered the name of God at the time of death, he got a special opportunity to take it up, seriously. He did that and achieved perfection.
That may have happened in Gandhi’s case. We don’t know. Krishna knows, but certainly, he’s one of the fortunate people in history who got to chant the name of God at the time of death. In that sense, he is a mahatma. But not for what he was doing before, denying Krishna’s historical reality, just taking about politics only and not really preaching the philosophy of the gita. By chanting the name at the time of death, that may have made him the actual mahatma, but before that, he wasn’t actually acting as mahatma.
Of course, externally, he was doing other things. He was sometimes establishing temples. And, certainly, his vision for India in terms of going back to the cottage industries, and not industrializing India, that was very proper. In that, he had a very great vision of what India needed to be very strong economically, etc. Gandhi had a very very very excellent vision of what India needed, but unfortunately, his followers did not carry that out. They immediately wanted to industrialize. He was completely against big industries coming in. He wanted India to go back to the simple village life, the cottage industries. The simple village life based on the land and simple industries. That’s what he wanted and it was not followed. His followers completely went against what he was pushing.
He wanted Hindu Muslim unity. He didn’t preach the actual means of bringing Hindu Muslime unity. He was thinking, we’ll make Jinna the leader, that way we can have peace amoung the Hindus and Muslims. That was his solution. Make Jinna the Prime Minister. Make the Muslim man in charge. Give him the leading post. That was Gandhi’s solution.
He was thinking to make Jinna in charge. Keep it one India by putting Jinna in charge. “All right, if they’re not happy with the Hindu in charge, let the Muslim rule. IN that way, we can have unity.” But these are artificial solutions based on a material conception. Here we have a Muslim, here we have a Hindu. Here we have an Indian, here we have British. It’s not on the spiritual platform.
A mahatma sees things on the spiritual platform. If he had chanted more the name of Rama earlier on, he may have preached in a different way, instead of waiting till the end to call out to Rama. If he had chanted Rama with more intensity earlier on, then when he saw this Hindu Muslim strife, he would have preached, “But you’re all spirit souls! The Hindu Muslim designation is artificial. Come together on the platform of Krishna consciousness.” Then, he would have been a mahatma earlier in his career.
He may have become mahatma at that last minute, I will grant you that, when he called the name of Rama, but before that he was still seeing things on the bodily level, “This will make them happy, let a Muslim rule over them, then everybody’ll be happy.” That’s probably why they shot him. “This is too cooky. He’s done a great service, but he’s got some cooky ideas. For the Hindus this will just not work, we have to shoot him. Sorry. What can we do?”
VPM: Now in Krishna consciousness, we see that Muslims are taking to chanting.
SDA: We may say that the Muslims will never become Krishna conscious, so what can we do?
Comment: Very few.
SDA: That’s true, but I just came from Turkey, and I engaged a whole hall full of Muslims in chanting Hare Krishna. A whole hall, filled up with Muslim people, and they were chanting Hare Krishna in ecstasy. You should see the DVD I made of it.
VPM: I’ve also heard that in Kazakhastan, there are Muslims making the temple.
SDA: Muslims are building a Hare Krishna temple in a Muslim country. Our B.B. Govinda Maharaja’s engaged hundreds and thousands of Muslims in building a Hare Krishna temple, in a Muslim country, so we have to be prepared. There are Muslims out there, I’ve met them, who really think there’s something wrong with the Koran because it advocates all this violence. There are sensitive Muslims who understand there’s something wrong with the Koran. It’s not a very high level scripture.
They’re looking for knowledge. They want God. One man said, what’s the nature of God? That was the question he asked me. There are Muslim people out there who are looking for higher knowledge. They’re looking for guidance. The governments and they’re culture are making it very hard for the message to come through in some of the countries, of course. But, we have to be prepared to lead the whole world, because this knowledge on the level of a true mahatma, who sees on the spiritual platform, this knowledge will save everyone. It will save the whole world.
Q: You said that Gandhiji was against industrialization, right? He wanted the village life.
SDA: Yes. He was for village life, that’s right.
Q: If industrialization is not there, what makes America the most prosperous country in the whole world?
SDA: What makes America the most prosperous nation in the world is because its exploiting everyone.
Argument: I don’t think. America is called the land of the free. I’m talking on a material level.
SDA: Economically, this country somehow got a headstart on a technologically, the automobile, the telephone, the television. By karma, by good karma, this country got a head start on the technology. What country is Microsoft situated in? It’s America. Because of karma, America got a head start technologically, and they’re using it to their advantage, everywhere. Exploiting everyone else to the hilt to make money from everyone through their technology. That is a result of good karma, but its not a formula. The American formula of peace and prosperity, if you’ve seen the statistics of how much consumption an American does, vs. an Indian, and how much garbage they’re putting out there in the garbage can, filling the garbage dumps. In America, we think, “If we make everyone else like America, that’ll make the world happy.” But the fact is, we’re gobbling up consumer goods at a rate that if everybody did this, the world would become a desert, very quickly. The amount of things is at least 40 times the amount of waste and things you process is at least 40 times the amount that an Indian man does. The average American man will consume and throw away 40 times as much material goods as an Indian. If we bring everyone to the American standard, then where are you going to put all the garbage? We’re in a very artificial standard, here. Our program is not to get rid of the industrial technology, however. Just in case you’re worried.
Guest: Because we are engineers.
SDA: Yes. There’s a good side to each thing. Simple village life, we all know has a good side. The clean water, clean air, open spaces, living on the land. There’s a good side to that. There’s also a good side to the Western technology. They both have a good side and a bad side: Let’s face it. Right? So, what is Prabhupada’s philosophy? The lame man and the blind man. India is the lame man. Materially, India is backwards, but very good vision. In the Western world, we’re very strong materially, strong legs but spiritually blind.
Either we think that there is no God, God is dead, or if there is God, He’s the order supplier to give me all of my sense gratification. These are the two concepts in America. Either God is dead, or God is my chappati supplier. Give me give me give me give me give me, God. Give me this. Give me that. Give me give me give me give me. That’s the way they approach God in this country. Actually, all over the world now, everyone’s approaching God, “Give me this, give me that, give me give me give me.”
♫Give me a Cadillac, a brand new Cadillac.
Replete with Michelin tires.
Give my wife a new silk sari.
Give my kids a Harvard education.
Give me a house by the sea.
Om Jay Jagadisha, Hari. ♫
Everyone is doing it. All over the world now. Not only Indians. I’m making fun, but Americans, Christians, Muslims. Everyone is saying give me give me give me. But the mahatma, he says, “My Lord. What can I give to You? How can I serve You?” That is his prayer. The real vision of India is the mahatma vision. Our philosophy is you take the spiritual vision of the mahatma, which every Indian person has, from the culture and philosophy. It’s actually there in every Indian person’s blood, of pure bhakti. Its just covered now by the politicians and the television, movies and cinema. Every Indian has this in their blood, that’s why they’ve taken birth in India.
Everyone in India has a natural tendency to become mahatma, if they’re properly guided by the leaders. That’s why they were born there. It’s not an ordinary land. Its bharata-bhumi, the holy land of Krishna. We take that Indian culture, with that spiritual vision, combine it with the technological advancement of the West.
You Indian engineers are the perfect examples. You have both of them in the same body. You have the Indian culture, and you have the Western expertise. Both, in the same body. You put the lame man with good vision on the shoulder of the blind man with good legs, and together they can do good work. So, our philosophy is not that throw away modern technology, Western advancement, and combine it with the vision of India, then you can bring peace and prosperity to every single man, woman and child on the face of this planet. That’s what this bhakti-vrksa program is. We’re combining the lame man and the blind man.
We’re creating a movement, we creating a system by which every single man, woman and child on the face of the planet can live a happy peaceful life and go back to Godhead. That is our program.
A village life is nice. Keep that conception. At the same time, balance it by using all this modern technology in the service of Krishna. Instead of cutting down all the trees for pornography, cut down more and more trees to print more and more scriptures and distribute it to everyone. We’re not against cutting down the trees to print paper, but just do it only for scripture. Don’t use it for Playboy magazine and so many nonsense publications.
There are so many cinema houses. We want to see the day when Hollywood will take up producing Mahabharata and Ramayana under the direction of a spiritual master who actually knows how to do it properly. Not make a mockery of it, or just try to make money off of it. We don’t want to shut down Bollywood and Hollywood. We want to purify it by Krishna katha, Rama katha. We’re not against anything of this world, we just want to add Krishna.
This material world is full of so many zeroes that have no value. IBM: Zero. Motorola: Zero. Ford: Zero. Mercedez: Zero. World Trade Center, that is zero now. So many zeroes. Zero zero zero zero zero. But, you know mathematically, if you have a row of zeroes, you have six zeroes and you put a one in front of it, you have a million. Nine zeroes, a billion. Twelve zeroes, a trillion. It just goes on. You have thousands and millions of zeroes lined up and its nothing. A million zeroes lined up side by side is still zero. But, we put a little one out at the end and it becomes an inconceivably huge, valuable number. Our philosophy is we bring a little one out there, and what is that one, Krishna.
We stick a little one out there in front of all those zeroes, then all of the sudden, this material world which is valueless ultimately for the soul who’s entrapped in it, now becomes a paradise on earth.
VPM: Why do we give up the 1 for the zeroes. In India there’s a one already, but we are interested in zeroes.
SDA: We’re more interested in the zeroes. We want to scratch out the one and go after the zeroes. You know what Prabhupada said about this? It’s funny. Americans have been here so long, it’s boring. Just like, I grew up here. For us, its no big deal. To us, this is what the world is. Shopping centers, freeways. It’s no big deal for us. All the material opulence, central air, so many things. It’s blasé. Its just like nothing for us.
At the garbage heap, the crows who’ve been going there for a long time, they’re not very excited about it. They’ve been going to the garbage heap for thirty or forty years, picking through the garbage. Its no big deal, but when some new crow discovers the garbage heap, he’s so excited. He’s hopping around. So, Prabhupada said that when Indians come here, its like new crow. They’re so excited hopping around the garbage heap. “Wow, central air conditioning, freeways! Wow, wow wow!” The Americans are bored. Nothing happening.
When Prabhupada came, we got excited. We got very excited. We were bored with America. We were bored with all this material opulence and sense gratification. Totally boring. Our parents couldn’t allure us. One devotee, who’s parents were millionaires. They said dear son just give up this Hare Krishna and we’ll give you a million dollars. He said no thanks. Our Giriraja Maharaja, his father was a wealthy lawyer who tried to bribe him to give up this movement, and he said no, I will stay here. He was more attracted to being a penniless sannyasi than to being a rich millionaire.
We grew up here with all this opulence. It’s no big deal. What’s the big deal? But, some Indian swami Prabhupada comes and he tells us “You chant Hare Krishna, you give up your sinful life and you’ll become happy.” Just think about it. It’s amazing what Prabhupada did. It’s absolutely amazing if you think about it.
If you went to downtown Chicago today with a clipboard, I’m doing a survey. My dear sir, do you believe in God. Many people will say yes. Then My dear sir, I have a question here. If I told you that God is a little blue cowherd boy, and He wears a peacock feather in His hair and He runs around the bushes at night in the full moon night of the sarada season playing on His flute, what would you say?
They’d say I’m calling the cops. Somebody has escaped from a mental institution. They’re out here on the street. Call 911 on my mobile phone right now. I’m getting you off the street, right now. How is it that Prabhupada convinced us?
We were college educated boys and girls. We were trained to use our brains. How is it that Prabhupada convinced us? Yes, God is a little blue cowherd boy. He plays His flute in the full moon of sarada season running around the bushes with a bunch of girls. How did Prabhupada convince us? Do you have any idea how he pulled that off? Did he give us some drug? What did he do to convince us? Yes. He did give us a drug: Krishna prema.
Rupa gosvami says that Krishna-prema is the ultimate drug, actually. Prabhuada drugged us with Krishna-prema. That’s a fact. How did he do that? He introduced the chanting and prasadam and most importantly is Prabhupada’s love. His personal loving kindness for us touched our hearts. The loving affection that the devotees felt for Prabhupada in the beginning, nobody knew what was going on.
One professor came to visit the temple and nobody knew what the philosophy was. Noone had any idea really what was going on. They just knew Swamiji. Everyone loved Prabhupada because he was so kind. Have you ever seen those early pictures how big, how full his smile was? It was just incredible. When Janaki was trying to steal the ticket out of his hands so he couldn’t leave the San Fransisco on the airflight, she reached over and stole the ticket. “Swamiji, you’re not going anywhere.” And she stole the ticket from his hand.
Instead of getting angry, Prabhupada just laughed and smiled. Have you seen that picture. Janaki had stolen a ticket out of Prabhupada’s hand so he can’t get on the airplane and leave San Francisco. He’s just smiling and laughing. Big, huge smile. This is Prabhupada’s affectionate dealing he had with the disciples. It was this affectionate dealing that Prabhupada had with us that captured our hearts and then he explained to us this philosophy which satisfied our intelligence also. He satisfied our hearts and he satisfied our intelligence and we were just totally captured by him in that way.
bhakti and Vedanta both. bhakti, the love and the knowledge both. Both things. That’s how our movement will grow. When we give people the knowledge, but we do it with great love and affection, that is the winning combination of how to spread this movement. Bhakti and Vedanta.
Q: Is there any reference as to why India was always a special land? Why was there always a localization of devotees or the coming of Lord only why was it restricted to that part? It would be like if a person got restricted and at it was spread out, probably, it would have been easier.
SDA: Formerly, the whole world was India. Do you know that? That was the capital. Hastinapur was the capital of the entire earth, back then. Actually, formerly the whole universe was ruled by Indian kings. They ruled the whole universe, but gradually, it came down to this one planet. Then gradually it came down to keep shrinking more and more.
I have one e-course by the way. Anybody wants to be in my e-course, you can just give your name and email address. This question has been asked on my e-course also. They say, “Isn’t Krishna being unfair to the other people by always coming to India and He’s always blessing in India?” Actually, Krishna has come all over the world. I see He’s standing here, right now in the form of Nitai Gauranga. You cannot say that Krishna is giving mercy to the Indians and no one else.
He is come in the form of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and is going to every town and village. I saw what happened in Turkey during my visit there. I couldn’t believe what happened. It was so amazing to me how Krishna’s mercy had descended that evening in Istanbul. I forgot where I was.
I was so intoxicated after engaging all these Muslims in chanting. I came out of the hall and I walked out on the street and went, “Wow. I’m in Istanbul, Turkey. I forgot where I was.” Why He always comes to India, don’t you have in your house, some room that you like the best? Krishna’s a person. Just like when you go shopping, don’t you have a certain color you look for. You’re a person. You have things you like more. You could also say, “Why is Krishna blue? Why is He prejudiced against pink?” Krishna is the Supreme Enjoyer. He does what He enjoys. He enjoys. He thinks blue is really cool, so that’s the complexion He manifests, that bluish black complexion is really cool looking. It will attract the gopis.
Krishna does everything for pleasure. Everyone has a favorite place they go on vacation. For Krishna, India is His spot. It’s the coolest place for Him. He likes India, so that’s where He comes. But it’s not that He’s neglecting the other places. He’s sending His devotees all over the world. He’s spreading the holy name all over the world. He’s not neglecting anyone. Prabhupada says this Krishna consciousness movement will spread over the whole universe, so no one is neglected. Krishna goes where His devotees are also.
One old woman in Los Angeles complained, “Prabhupada, why did you come so late?” She was thinking, if you’d come when I was young girl, I could have easily taken it up, but now I can not. She was trying to find fault with Prabhupada. Why did you do this? It’s your fault. Prabhupada said, because you were not ready.
The fact is that Krishna goes where those persons are anxious for Krishna. Their hearts are burning for that sanga. That’s where He goes. He will appear anywhere his devotees are strongly desiring His presence. Krishna will come to you also, if you desire strongly. Prabhupada personally told me this. It still amazes me every time I remember this. He said Now you just qualify yourself to see Krishna, face to face. That means that anyone who qualifies themselves, that develops pure bhakti, Krishna will personally manifest before that devotee. Prabhupada told me that Krishna will answer all of your questions, personally.
Sometimes we have so many questions, how I will advance in Krishna consciousness. But if you simply become a pure devotee, Prabhupada told me Krishna will personally come and answer all of your questions personally. This is not a difficult process. We just make it difficult, therefore we have to beat our minds with shoes and broomsticks 100 times, morning and evening.
VPM: When the cow-killing is happening, why will He come?
SDA: Cow-killing does not attract Krishna.
Q: You mentioned the point that the pure devotee is one who always lovingly of Krishna?
Q: Is it just thinking, or is some actions behind it. Can you elaborate. Its said there’s sentimentalism, devotees may think that they love Krishna but actually, there’s nothing too substantial about it.
SDA: Yes. Sometimes people think, “I’m very advanced in Krishna consciousness. I have love of Krishna, therefore I don’t do any sadhana because I’m very very advanced. This is called sahajiya. One who is actually advanced in Krishna consciousness, who’s mind is immersed in thoughts of Krishna purely, they work harder than anyone. Prabhupada said, “I am the biggest karmi. No one works harder than I do. I’m only sleeping 3 and a half hours a day. An 80 year old man constantly travelling.” That’s an example. Prabhupada worked very very very hard, harder than we could work.
In the middle of the night, he was translating in Hawaii. He called in Guru Krpa, one of his disciples and temple president there. He chastised him and said, “Why are you sleeping?” He said “Prabhupada I’m working hard.” He was sleeping 6 hours a day. The exact words I don’t remember, but Prabhupada said why can’t you do like I’m doing? “Because I’m not a pure devotee.” Prabhupada said, “Why are you not a pure devotee?” He chastised him for not being a pure devotee. (laughter)
“You should be able to do what I’m doing also. Sit up all night and translate and just take a little rest.” One who is actually a pure devotee, they minimize every material activity and they work very very hard to spread Krishna consciousness to everyone. That is pure devotee. Not some so-called “Oh, I’m very advanced. I’m meditating on Krishna kissing the gopis.” Someone who’s actually advanced in Krishna consciousness sacrifices their whole life for saving others. They’re very dedicated to preach and spread Krishna consciousness to everyone. Prabhupada is the most advanced of Bhaktisiddhanta’s disciples and was the only one who was willing to come out and risk everything for pushing forward Krishna consciousness. Everyone else was staying comfortably situated in their matha.
Only Prabhupada was willing to come out and sacrifice everything to stay with the drug-addicted sex-monger hippies. To live those class of people, a 70 year old man. Just see, Prabhupada sacrificed everything. No other Godbrother had that degree of surrender to Krishna. Only Prabhupada had that. He’s the only one. Therefore, we’re simply interested to hear from Prabhupada. I’ve seen so many situations of people going to hear this guru that guru. Even Gaudiya Matha gurus. I had no desire because I’m situated at the lotus feet of the most advanced spiritual master in the history of the world, His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Even though physically Prabhupada is removed, ever since I took shelter of Prabhuapda in 1971, I’m always feeling him present with me. I’m always feeling Prabhupada’s presence. I never thought I should go hear from someone else now that Prabhupada’s gone, because for me Prabhupada is not gone. He’s here right now, guiding blessing and inspiring me at every minute. I don’t need to go. I’m getting Prabhupada’s mercy at every minute. I have no need to go somewhere else to get someone else’s mercy who’s not on as high a level as Prabhupada.
If you’re sick you take the most powerful medicine to get free. I’m very sick. I’m contaminated by lust anger and greed, so I want the most powerful medicine to get free of my disease. Prabhupada is the most powerful guru, so I stick with Prabhupada in all times all places and all circumstances. I don’t go anywhere else. I just stick with Srila Prabhupada. He’s the person who has the most powerful medicine and I’m so sick. I’m so diseased, so covered by lust anger and greed that I have to take the most powerful medicine.
I’m blessed with that most powerful medicine and I’m passing it out wherever I go to everyone. Prabhupada’s mercy is the most powerful medicine to save us from this material existence. There’s no other medicine. No other guru who has that much Krishna-sakti as Srila Prabhupada.
Comment: As neophyte practicing devotees, we have to apply that principle. Love has to be followed by action. I’ve heard this phrase that when you love somebody, then you have to show it.
SDA: That’s right. If I really love you, then I will serve you. I’ll give the example of a man who says his wife is sick, there’s three kids, the kids are also sick and he says “Honey I love you, by the way I’m going bowling tonight, and I’m leaving the dishes for you.” If you love someone, that means you sacrifice everything to serve them and make them happy. We have to show our love for the Vaisnavas. We have to show our love for our spiritual master. We have to show our love for Krishna by selfless service. That’s how we show our love. Otherwise, it’s just lip service.
I’ll say “I love you gurudeva.” “I love you vaisnavas”. and then you go off and do our own sense gratification. No. If you love someone you’re willing to sacrifice your sense gratification to please them. If you love your guru you’ll do anything he asks you to do. If you love your wife, you do anything you can to make sure she’s happy and peaceful. If you love your husband do anything you can to facilitate his spiritual life. If you love your kids you’ll do anything and everything possible to make sure they become pure devotees of Krishna.
Love means service. There’s no service, it’s not real love, it’s just a shadow of love. Its simply imitation. Love means service. If you really love, then you will serve. If the service attitude is not there, it’s simply sentiment only. Many people say I love Prabhupada but I can’t follow the rules and regulations anymore. Many Prabhupada disciples gave it up.
“Oh I love Prabhupada so much!” Well, how many rounds do you chant? “Well I don’t chant rounds anymore, because I find it troublesome.” Do you follow regulative principles? “Well, I follow three of them. I have a girlfriend or two, but I follow three of them and I try my best. We talk about Krishna.”
If you really love Prabhupada, then you’ll obey him. Love means obedience. If you really love your spiritual master, then you’ll obey his instructions. Otherwise, it’s not real love. It’s a sentiment. Of course sentiment is better than nothing, but real love means obedience. That’s the real symptom of love. Amongst devotees, the most important thing we can do in the family of devotees is develop strong loving relationships with eachother. That’s the most important thing. Active loving relationships as Rupa Gosvami describes in Upadesamrita, loving exchanges between devotees. This is how our love of Krishna will actually develop.
To the extent that we love Krishna’s devotees, it is only to that extent that we can love Krishna. We have to develop love for Krishna’s devotees. We have to find a way that we can reciprocate with devotees of Krishna on a regular ongoing basis because that is the basis of how our Krishna consciousness will actually awaken. That means serving the devotees with love and affection, not begrudgingly. “Oh, I have to serve you prasadam.”
I remember the most amazing memory I have of Giriraja Maharaja. I was young brahmacari visiting the Bombay temple many years ago. I was sitting in the prasadam room. Giriraja Maharaja came up to me and with a very sweet smiling face and said, “Is there anything else I can bring for you?” I couldn’t believe it. Here’s a big sannyasi, a big famous leader. Prabhupada was so fond of Giriraja, he said “Giriraja is Bombay and Bombay is Giriraja.” Here was this big big big devotee so humbly and sweetly saying “Is there anything else I can bring for you?” I couldn’t believe it. He was so humble, so sweet. That is Krishna consciousness.
Krishna consciousness is sweetness in all of our dealings. Loving sweetness, kindness. It’s not being rough with the devotees. Being rough and tough is not Krishna consciousness, that’s maya. But sweet loving relationships with devotees, when Krishna sees that, then He bestows krsna-prema within the heart. When He sees that we have sweet loving relationships amongst ourselves.
He says more important than loving Me is loving My devotees. He gives more stress to that.
Comment: In my personal experience, when it comes to devotees, I always manage to be. I’m not a very thoughtful person, but when I’m interacting with devotees, I see that I’m a little thoughtful, whereas when I see people that are not devotees it’s totally different. There’s a lot of strife. There’s a difference.
SDA: There’s definitely a difference. The devotees deserve a special type of worship that the non devotees do not deserve, that’s a fact. But at the same time, you have to realize that this non devotee is a devotee. They’re just covered. There’s vaisnava-aparadha, but there’s also something called jiva-aparadha. Actually, Prabhupada was very kind to everyone, not just devotees. He was very sweet kind and generous to everyone. Everyone could feel Prabhupada’s mercy even if they were some stranger. Prabhupada attracted everyone because he was special. Just like on one airplane, the pilot put it on autopilot, or the co pilot took charge or what ever, he came and sat down with Prabhupada and talked. He was just a pilot and was attracted by Prabhupada.
Why did Prabhupada attract everyone? Because he felt love for everyone, not just devotees. In the beginning there were no devotees, just Prabhupada. Everybody was a non-devotee, but Prabhupada gave his love to all those non devotees and they became devotees. So, don’t withhold your love for the non-devotees. Prabhupada didn’t do that. He gave his love freely to the non-devotees and he made them devotees. So, you must also learn how to give your love to the non-devotees. When you can do that without any holding back, then you will make them devotees. By your love, they will become devotees, so you do that now. You give your love to everyone and make everyone a devotee. That’s my instruction to you.
Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Das