Lecture in Stoquay, UK
"Pull in the
(Invocatory prayers played with kartalas. Approx.15 minute kirtana.)
SDA: We are very happy to be here tonight with you all. It's a very nice gathering of people. Its a very serene atmosphere being here with you all here tonight. This is not an ordinary gathering. There are so many gatherings in this material world. In the stock market, they have their gathering. The market places they have their gatherings. This is a different kind of marketplace. There's a song written by a great saint in India. Its called the marketplace of the Holy Name: Nama-hatta.
So, here we are meditating on a transcendental vibration. This is called the Holy Name. It is a very powerful type of yoga. There are many yoga systems, and they are all very good, but there is one yoga system, it is based on the Holy Names. So, it is a very powerful yoga system. One great songwriter many centuries ago, a Bengali songwriter, he has sung very nicely in the Bengali language:
golokera prema-dhana hari-nama-sankirtana.
It means that there is one very special vibration. It is not manufactured in this world. That vibration is imported. If something is imported it always has an exotic quality, isn't it so? Especially in India, they like something that's imported. In the old days in India, if something was from Britain, then “Oh, very good.” Just like Nehru, he would wear a rosary, it had to be from London. If something was imported from Britain, it was very good. Or, even now, if something's imported from India, that's considered a very exotic thing. In America, probably here too. So, there's one import which is coming from beyond this dimension of time and space. There is one abode which is beyond time and space, it is called Goloka. Goloka Vrindavana, that is the abode of the Supreme. From that supreme abode comes a transcendental sound vibration: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.
Of course, there are many transcendental vibrations. As God is unlimited, He has unlimited names. You cannot limit God to one or two names. You may have one or two names. Your mother calls you one thing, your friends call you something else, your spouse calls you something else, your kids call you something else. If even ordinary folks like us can have more than one name, then how many names must God have? He must have unlimited Names. In India there is a book, it is called Vishnu-Sahasranama. It means The Thousand Names of Lord Vishnu. But what is a thousand names for the Supreme? It's nothing. It's just a little infinitesimal fragment of the unlimited names of God. So, you can choose any of those transcendental names. They are imported from Goloka, and they're all very very potent. They're very very powerful.
You can feel the transformation. We don't have to take someone's word for it. If I'm hungry, and you give me a plate of nice food, and I eat that plate, you don't have to tell me “now you are filled up.” Just like Venisha; she gave me this big fruit salad this morning, with clotted cream and yogurt. No one had to tell me I was full when I finished that bowl of fruit salad, I was very full. So, when you become surcharged with spiritual bliss, when you actually feel your consciousness transcending the wheel of birth and death, and entering into that dimension beyond time and space, no one has to tell you, "Oh you are now advanced spiritually." No one needs to tell you, you will feel it. You will know, "Oh, this is something I've never tasted before that I'm experiencing now." You will know. So, this is the actual meaning of religion. Now we have made religion into some sort of institutional hype program. But that is not the original meaning of religion. Religion, is an English word that comes from the Latin word religio. Religio, like a ligament or link. To relink with God. So, actually, yoga has the same meaning. The word yoga means 'link' or 'yoke', so yoga and religion are actually the same thing. To reconnect oneself or to yoke oneself with that Supreme consciousness. Each one of us are an individual consciousness, . You can feel the pains and pleasures of your body. Within a certain perimeter of your body, you are conscious. So, there's a Supreme consciousness also that is absolutely, totally aware of everything in all times, all places and all circumstances. We can immediately understand that we are not the Supreme consciousness, because we are limited in our abilities. But, there is a science called yoga, or religion by which the individual consciousness can dovetail himself or herself with the Supreme consciousness.
There are many different ages in the cosmic time cycle. Just like we have four seasons. We have spring we have summer we have fall we have winter. There are four cosmic time cycles also, satya-yuga, treta-yuga, dvapara-yuga and kali-yuga. They are compared to the seasons of the Earth. In each yuga or age, there are different systems of self-realization that are most potent and powerful. In the satya-yuga the yogis would sit doing their deep-breathing, and their asanas. They would sit for a very long time. For many years they would sit. Actually, you may be surprised to hear, but they lived to be 100,000 years old. There was no bad weather, you could sit outside all the time. You didn't have to have a house. The food, it was like the Garden of Eden on this planet. There was no worry about having to grow some food. Everything was there by God's arrangement. That was called the satya-yuga, there were no nasty politicians running around, there were no terrorists running around. Everything was very serene, everyone was a great saint. So, in those days they would sit and do this yoga. For thousands of years they would sit and just absorb themselves. Make the mind very steady, and then fix it on Vishnu, or God.
And then, the next yuga was called treta-yuga. A little bit of irreligion gradually seeped in. Spring is the nicest time of the year. Then, some discomfort starts to be introduced, especially in Texas, the summer becomes very uncomfortable. Spring is very nice. Summer: "Oh, its a little uncomfortable in the summer." So, the treta-yuga, of course that's a rough analogy, but in the treta-yuga a little bit of irreligion comes in. So in the treta-yuga they would perform great..., there were great qualified brahmanas or priests. They would perform these sacrificial ceremonies. By chanting a mantra God Himself would actually descend from His transcendental abode, manifesting in that sacrificial ceremony. The mantras were very expertly chanted in those days. In fact, the Sanskrit mantras had to be absolutely precisely chanted. So necessary was the absolutely perfect chanting of the mantras, that they would have referee brahmanas also who would just listen to the brahmanas who were chanting, if they could catch some discrepancy, (snaps fingers) they would immediately correct it.
Now, we are also chanting mantras, but we can not chant so expertly. We have many people in China, and Hong Kong, and they chant Hare Krishna, but they can't say that R sound very well. They go Hale Lama Hale Lama Lama Lama Hale Hale. Like that. We also have a mantra, Jaya Jagannatha and we have heard our devotees from Mexico, they go Yaya Yagannatha. They don't know how to say J, it's not part of their language. The point is that our mantra chanting is not very expert. But, in spite of that fact, this age has a special dispensation. Because, let's face it, it's a very materialistic age. Because this age is seventy-five percent materialistic, anyone who takes spiritual life very seriously gets special mercy. In this age it's very much easier to become enlightened spiritually. We have so many things working against us. Just covering our maintenance for many of us, is a big stressful thing. And there are so many diseases that formerly were not a problem. We have to worry about this ailment and that ailment. Just one anxiety after another and another. So, in this age, by the arrangement of God, it is much easier to become spiritually enlightened.
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
In this materialistic age of kali, if you will simply chant the holy name, chant the holy name, chant the holy name, you can quickly and easily transcend this material existence, and enter into that sublime state, Krishna consciousness, or call it Christ consciousness, Buddha consciousness, that enlightened state of consciousness where you're a perfect lover of God. A pure lover of God.
There's actually only one path. We have made all these divisions. But actually there's only one path: To love God. If you can love that Supreme conscious Being, that is perfect, whether you get it by following the Bible, or Bhagavad-gita, or the Koran, it doesn't matter. If you reach that point of pure love for God, you are perfect. This knowledge which you have received comes from a great spiritual teacher, His Divine Grace, om visnu-pada paramahamsa parivrajakacarya astottara-sata sri srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta tridandi Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada. He has asked us that we should go all over the world and give this knowledge, so we are here tonight to share this sublime knowledge.
pavitram idam uttamam
su-sukham kartum avyayam
pavitram idam uttamam
su-sukham kartum avyayam
It is not my word. It is the word of God, Krishna. In the Bhagavad-gita He says this knowledge is the king of education: raja-vidya. And it is the most secret of all secrets: raja-guhyam. Why is that? We are making it openly available, putting fliers everywhere. I have my website www.backtohome.com, where I'm inviting everyone in the world to join in my e-course the Ultimate Self-Realization course. Now, we have some seven or eight thousand people enrolled, and it's growing all the time. If you'd like to enroll, just go to back to home, B, A, C, K, T, O, H, O, M, E, very simple. www.backtohome.com. So, we are making this knowledge available, and more and more people now are coming to learn this very ancient science. We say ancient, but it's interesting, from a historical viewpoint, 5000 years ago when Krishna revealed this science to Arjuna, He called it an ancient science. It was ancient, in antiquity it was ancient. So, how old is this science? He told Arjuna,
"That very ancient science of the relationship with the Supreme is today told by Me to you because you are My devotee and My friend, and therefore you can understand the transcendental mystery of this science."
So, you have to be in a friendly mood with the spiritual master. Just like tonight I have been received in a very friendly spirit here. So you are fit candidates to receive this knowledge. If someone is inimical, “Who are you?, Where's your passport? What are you doing here?” . They are not a fit candidate to receive the knowledge, but one who can in a friendly spirit receive the teacher, , they are a fit candidate to have transcendental realization. It is not an academic process. Like in Oxford or Cambridge, or Harvard, or wherever.
You actually have divine consciousness there within you already. Just like the match already has the fire, you just have to strike it in the proper surface. Not a wet surface, but a dry surface. Then, that fire comes, psheew, bursting out. So, you have divine consciousness, you have pure spiritual enlightenment within you already. You've to simply come in contact with the proper striking surface. A bona fide guru. And, you're dry, you're not wet at the time; You're in a favorable mood. Then, psheew, you can become awakened by that contact.
sadhu-sanga sadhu-sanga sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
Even by one moment's association, this is declared in all scripture, it is not some concocted idea. This is the translation for that verse. It says sarva-sastre kaya, meaning that in all the revealed scriptures it is stated by associating with a saintly person, a guru, for even one eleventh of a second, in the proper mood, you can achieve sarva-siddhi haya. Siddhi - you may have heard that word -is yogic perfection or mystic perfection. Just by sarva-siddhi haya, all perfection you can achieve. So, this is the secret of success, to find a saintly teacher, and submissively hear. It's a very simple thing. You don't have to stand on your head, or become like a pretzel. Some people can't do that, they're not agile. They may have arthritis or something, maybe too old, or they may have their legs amputated from a car accident. Not everyone can do these asanas. But, here is something which is universal. Even if they're deaf, we can put it in braille for them. If they are deaf and blind like Helen Keller, we can put it in braille language for them and they can pick up the vibration by the braille. This is transcendental, it is called sabda-brahman. Transcendental sound vibration. It is from a dimension beyond this present dimension, and it has unlimited power to transform our consciousness from matter to spirit. Somehow or other, come in contact with that transcendental sound vibration. That's the key. And let it carry you. You will feel just like an airplane. There's one nice verse from the Srimad-Bhagavatam. It states there how the great clear-minded sages are carried on the wings of the Vedas. The Vedas are the ancient scriptures of India. They are carried on the wings of the Vedas. As soon as you get on the the Vedic airplane, immediately you penetrate through the clouds of illusion, and you find that actually there is a dimension where it is always blissful and full of knowledge. Just like you find that here it's nasty and gray, but as soon as you get on the airplane, immediately, "oh it's a sunny day." It's a sunny day all over the UK but we couldn't see the sunny day because of the clouds. So, during the day the sun is always shining. Over the whole northern Europe, UK, everywhere. We don't see it sometimes, because the clouds have covered it. So, right now we are covered by clouds, but that pure enlightened state of consciousness is there awaiting us. And this transcendental airplane sabda-brahma, spiritual sound vibration, if we take shelter of it we will feel ourselves penetrating through the clouds of illusion. Entering into that dimension, we will actually have our divine consciousness awakened.
Now, the actual perfection of this process is when you are able to directly perceive God, face to face. That day will come for anyone who seriously follows this. In the beginning, you are feeling how your anxieties are just falling off: One after another. You become less stressful, less anxiety, more knowledgeable, everything increases, gradually, gradually, gradually, then finally you reach that point, where you see God directly. The self-realized soul actually places himself at the lotus feet of the Lord as His fully surrendered servant. Christ is a perfect example, "Father not my will but Thy will be done." That is perfection. Not that he was trying to take over the position of his father. No. He wanted to be the humble servant. So, the beauty of that is that the Lord is very much into loving reciprocation. After all, where does love come from? It originates in God. So, God must be loving, the ultimate loving person. Because everything originates in God, therefore, love exists in God, therefore God, in order to love, must be a person. And when one fully gives oneself in love to the Supreme, what will the Supreme Person do? That Person gives Himself in love to us. That is the remarkable feature.
In Sanskrit language, there is a word ajita. Jita,and ajita. Jita means conquered, or conquerable, and ajita means unconquerable So, God, being all-powerful is ajita, He's unconquerable; however, one who fully surrenders himself, or herself to the lotus feet of the Lord, God subordinates Himself to that person. God, becomes the servant of that person. So, just think about it, if you're working for some company, and you want to be well situated, everybody's trying to jockey for positions in the corporation, but just imagine if you were the dearmost intimate friend of the owner of the company, you don't have to even worry about all the office politics. You just laugh at it because you're totally beyond it. You're the dearmost intimate friend of the owner of the company. You've got it made. We become the dearmost intimate friend of the Supreme Being Who actually controls everything that's going on in the whole universe, what do you have to worry about? You're a dear, intimate friend. You're an insider with the one who controls everything. So, we don't have to aspire to become God. Not necessary. Some people think, well when I become self-realized I'll become God, but they don't realize that there's a position, higher than God, and that's to become a devotee of the Lord, because God agrees to be conquered by His devotee. So, that's even a higher position. In the Bhagavad-gita we see that Krishna Himself, God Himself is acting as the chariot driver, as we call that nowadays, chauffeur. He's acting as the chauffeur for Arjuna. A chariot driver. He's taking the humble position for His devotee. And we see also, when Krishna was a little boy, He agreed to play the role of a little boy and let one of His dearmost devotees play the role of His mother, and she was actually scolding Him and tying Him up and so many things.
We may say that, well I thought God was the almighty, how could He do such things? But, actually, there's a nice example here in Great Britain, during Queen Victoria's rule, there was one Prime Minister, I think there were many Prime Ministers, I think Victoria lived through many of them, but there was Prime Minister Gladstone. I don't know so much British history, but my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada, he went to Scottish Churches College in Calcutta, so he learned a lot about British history in his college days. So, I learned from my guru about British history, a little. We grew up with Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, and all that. And in Texas we got indoctrinated in the Alamo, and that kind of stuff, (chuckling) But this Prime Minister Gladstone, at that time, when he was Prime Minister, the British were very powerful. They were a true Juggernaut among nations at that time, politically speaking. And, some important person came to meet Prime Minister Gladstone, and he was waiting, waiting, waiting, they didn't have wrist-watches, he pulled out his pocket-watch, "What's going on here?" It's way beyond the appointment time, he's sitting there in the waiting room, wondering "What's going on? Why is the Prime Minister not seeing me? What's happening here? Finally, his curiosity got the best of him, he had to peek through the keyhole. What's going on behind that door anyway?
So, there he saw Prime Minister Gladstone down on his hands and knees with his grandson on his back. The grandson was going 'Giddeup! Giddeup!' He was playing horse for his grandson, while this big important dignitary had to wait outside. So, even though God is there, the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Controller. Actually, He likes to let His devotees take charge of Him and tell Him what to do. It's a pleasure for Him. Like Prime Minister Gladstone. So, actually, instead of trying to become God, try to become a completely surrendered servant of God. Then, you'll find that you have a better position actually. God will subordinate Himself to you. That is actually the best, that is the highest position. Why try to become God? Become greater than God. That is our philosophy.
There is a very nice verse here to help us gain some understanding of how we can rise beyond this material existence. It is a very important verse, it is one of the key, key verses of the Bhagavad-Gita.
dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
Now this verse is a very important prerequisite. We're talking about transcending this material existence through the power of mantra. But there's one thing we must do in order to be able to take off into that transcendental dimension, we have to pull in the anchor. If we leave the anchor stuck in this material existence, then we will not be able to... the mantra will not be able to take us into the transcendental dimension. So this verse is telling, giving us some hint of how to pull in the anchor. That's important, the other side of the equation. How to pull in the anchor.
"As the embodied soul continually passes in this body from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The sober person is not bewildered by such a change."
So, this is the whole concept. That, we are not actually this body, very important concept. As long as we are identifying, I am male, I am female, I'm American, I am British, I am Indian, then we will not be able to chant, and elevate, and get liberated by the power of mantra. It will not happen. Because we're doing everything we can to transcend this material existence, but we're keeping our anchor there at the same time.
That does not mean that an enlightened person becomes a material 'basket case'. We're not saying that they can't function anymore. They get in the car and think let God drive the car. No. This is not to say that a spiritually enlightened being becomes a 'space cadet' when it comes to dealing with everyday affairs, because ultimately everything is spiritual. This material world is also an energy of God, so it is also spiritual. So, a spiritually enlightened being becomes very expert. Such a person utilizes absolutely everything in the service of God, and therefore becomes expert in dealing with everything, seeing it for what it actually is. Instead of thinking, "let's see that material thing, how can I exploit that for my pleasure." It's called the 'lording it over' mentality. How can I exploit this thing for my enjoyment. Nature will allow us to do that. But there's always some limit, how far we can get away with that sort of enjoyment, and we end up hurting other people too by doing that. So, you could say, it's a method of enjoyment that's pretty standard in the modern-day world, but it doesn't lead to harmony and peace throughout the world, nor even within our own hearts. But if we can actually find a way to enjoy which is totally free from any exploitative mentality, then our enjoyment becomes pure enjoyment, unadulterated enjoyment, which can not be interrupted by any circumstance. In any time, any place and situation, , that is the enlightened position. So Krishna gives us a hint in the Bhagavad-Gita, He says:
jnatva mam santim rcchati
jnatva mam santim rcchati
He said, "One who knows Me as the Supreme Enjoyer, the Supreme Proprietor, and the Supreme Friend, that person can achieve the highest peace." Jnatva means one who knows. Santim means peace. Rcchati, he achieves. That person, he or she, achieves the supreme peace. So, one can actually see everything as the energy of God, and do the yoga of reconnecting everything that you do with God, on the mental platform, the vocal platform and the physical platform, and learn to relish the pleasure of engaging everything in God's service. All your senses your tongue, your eyes, your ears, even the genital, every single sense organ can be utilized in this way, and you actually achieve the supreme peace, and you become totally beyond the platform of any slight tinge of exploitation of the energy of God, or of the lives of other people. You become a pure servant of God, a pure servant of every single living entity in the world. Even the grasshopper. So, this is the science known as bhakti-yoga. It is not a sectarian dogma. It is not some cult, actually. This is the universal reawakening of the living entity in his or her relationship with the Supreme. We have to be free of bodily consciousness.
We will give a short story here in this connection and then we'll open it up for questions. There's a very nice example given by my param-guru, or you would say, you have your father and your grandfather, so my guru, he is my spiritual father, and his guru is my spiritual grandfather. So, that is called a param-guru. My param-guru, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, in the early 20th Century - he departed in 1936. So, in the early 1900's he was creating a big spiritual movement all over India, and he gave a very nice example. In India, a wedding party is a very big thing. The whole village goes for a wedding. If a villager marries, they like to marry from another village. Because everyone grows up playing together, they marry a boy and girl from two different villages. There was a huge body of water to cross from one village to the next, where the wedding ceremony would be held. So, all the villagers from the one village were going across this body of water. Some came late. They got to the water. There's no bridge, so there's just the boatmen. And the boatmen, they were asleep in the boats, and the sun had set, it was totally dark. Of course they knew how to get across the lake in the dark. They were expert.
So, they woke them up, "Oh! The wedding is happening in the morning, you'll have to take us just now, otherwise we'll be late, please wake up, wake up!"
They said, "Alright, alright, we'll take you, no problem. Get in the boat."
So, they got in the boat, the boat went rowing, rowing, rowing, rowing, rowing, all night, rowing, rowing, and the sun comes up in the morning, and the wedding party people wake up thinking, "Oh! This is so nice, we got on the boat, we can just have a good sleep and we wake up in the village where the wedding is going to happen. It's so nice."
But they woke up and they were still where they had gotten on the boat.
"What's going on here? Boatman, boatman, what's happening? We haven't gone anywhere!"
And the boatman exclaims, "Oh my God, I'm sorry, I forgot to pull in the anchor."
So, if we continue to think, "I am this body" ," I am male", "I am female", "I am British" or "I am an American", then we'll never go anywhere, no matter how hard we may endeavor. Through different types of yoga, or meditation, we won't go anywhere.
So, the first thing is you have to be absolutely convinced that you are not your body. Otherwise, you will go nowhere. There are ways we can logically understand it. It's not like a blind faith thing, "OK. You must now believe that you are not your body." No. We can logically analyze as thoughtful, philosophically integritous, if that's the correct word, as persons with philosophical integrity we can scientifically analyze that when I was a little child, the atoms, the molecules, the chemicals that make up my body were a different set than what I have now, but yet I remember experiences I had in that little body. The chemicals that make it up are totally gone. So, there's some constant factor there which has remained in spite of so many physical changes that are happening to the body.
In America, we have the Mississippi River, and if I pointed to that water and asked what kind of water is that, you would say that is Mississippi River water.
But I ask, "Is that always Mississippi River water?"
You would have to say, "Well, last week it was Missouri River, or Ohio River water. It has all fed into the Mississippi, and next week it will be Gulf of Mexico water."
So, what we think is myself, right now, at this minute, if I think these chemicals are me, they are no more me, than that water can be eternally labeled Mississippi River water. Because, look at it from a scientific viewpoint; here we are sitting in this room. We're all exuding chemicals. Molecules are coming out of us as we exhale, and we're inhaling. That means we're actually switching bodies with each other, sitting in this room, to a certain extent. We're trading out part of our bodies with each other. (laughs) Actually we're doing that, right now. So, the body we have now, is not the same body we had when we walked in the door. We walk out of the door with a different body, yet, we're the same person. So, in these ways we can understand that we're not the body. It's a covering.
So, now that we've shown you how to pull in the anchor, and we've shown you how to take off into that transcendental dimension, perhaps you might have some questions about how to perfect this science: How you yourself can perfect and achieve it.
(Questioner begins quietly)
SDA: My hearing is really bad.
Guest (1): Sometimes I've had an experience which is not an out of body experience, but where, not consciously, not very often, and without a conscious effort to get there. And if I try...
SDA: Sometimes one may be blessed with some transcendental experience. God is blessing you to encourage you. Just like someone may get an honorary degree also from the university. You can sit in your house and wait for Oxford to give you that honorary degree. But if you actually want the degree, if you want it, then you work for it. Then you will surely get it. Sometimes people do become enlightened, just by grace. There are examples, in India, there was a realized saint, but he did not want to take any disciples because he was very humble. He thought, if I take a disciple I may become proud that somebody is worshiping me as their guru, and I will lose my enlightened consciousness if I take any disciples. But, he was advised by enlightened persons that you must do this for the sake of others. So, he said alright, whoever I first see tomorrow, I will enlighten them. So he went down to take his bath in the Ganges, and then a corpse came by, and by his divine power, as a spiritual master, he was actually able to bring that person back to life as a spiritually enlightened being. So, that corpse, you could say, really got the special mercy that day. Someone had died, and been thrown in the river, and all of a sudden they wake up as an enlightened being. But we should not say, "Just let me die and throw me in the Thames, and wait for some guru who will bring be back to life. I'll become enlightened." No, if you really want it, you should work for it.
There's a whole system given in Bhagavad-Gita, and we are giving in our course www.backtohome.com. You can study. We will give you all guidance and direction, how you can make some endeavor, instead of just waiting for special mercy. There are special mercy cases that are called Krpa-siddha. This means that one becomes perfect, just by mercy. But the normal road is sadhana-siddha. You take up regulated activities according to the great teachers, and become perfect by following that pathway. That is how we teach our students. You take up sadhana, and then you will achieve it. Of course, for one who takes up sadhana a lot of krpa, or mercy does come, that's a fact. Once you're willing to make some sacrifices in your own life for achieving the Supreme state of consciousness - if you show your sincerity that is - God reciprocates with that.
Guest (1): That won't disturb me, but in the state of the world, as it is, and horrific reality that we are faced with, it's all very well doing it in here and in churches, and in various places I've tried to seek, but when I'm faced with the hostility, in just talking, or the television, with all this, I despair with sustaining this enlightenment because all the wars that I've seen have to do with religion.
SDA: Well that's religion with a small 'r'. They have taken the original pure substance of relinking the individual consciousness with the supreme consciousness, and they have politicized it and institutionalized it. They have bastardized the word Religion, and used it as some means of controlling people, like now the Muslim clerics are using the name of "religion", to instill violence in people's minds. They have totally, absolutely perverted the thing.
Guest (1): How do you, can I ask?
SDA: How do you deal with the hostility?
Guest (1): How do you, I mean you have a lot of love inside you. How do you learn this love? Spiritual love's different, isn't it, than 'lovey dovey love'.
SDA: It's totally beyond any tinge of selfishness or lusty tendency. It's totally in the mood of giving, without any thought of return; that is actual love. "As with the microcosm, so with the macrocosm". If on the microcosmic level, namely yourself, you can create an enlightened state of consciousness, that has an influence on the macrocosm.
Guest (1): Yes, I agree with that.
SDA: So, it is not a hopeless situation at all. It's not at all hopeless. The more that you can purify your own consciousness, that will have an impact on the whole of the world consciousness. Don't feel that it's hopeless, "why not just kill myself or something?" It's not at all hopeless. If we ourselves can become spiritually enlightened beings, totally surrendered servants of God, that will absolutely have an impact. My spiritual master affirms that. We chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, for that is our yogic system. We have what are called 10 offenses, which are ten different ways of getting distracted away from the pure absorption in the names. Prabhupada said if you can chant these names and avoid all of these distractive mentalities, you will become so potent that you will be considered the guru of the whole universe, and by your influence the whole world will become enlightened. If one can actually study under a bona-fide spiritual master how to become purely fixed in divine consciousness, then you will also become a great powerful spiritual master, and you'll be able to affect the entire universe. Don't despair. Just dive into the self-realization process with full enthusiasm and sincerity, and you'll be amazed at the impact, first of all you'll be amazed the impact the process has on your own heart. Then, you see how it spreads to those people that you deal with, and how it spreads even beyond your own circle to a wider circle. Now I'm absolutely amazed I have, I think the latest count is 8,000 people taking my course all over the world. They're begging me to come, please, we want to meet you. I used to just sit there in Austin, Texas, now I get to go traveling all over the world, becoming a frequent flier now, I'm now called Silver Leaf status (Laughs) because I'm flying so much.
Guest (1): You categorized the four ages. Is Kali-yuga finished?
SDA: Kali-yuga, we would like it to be finished, wouldn't we? It would be very nice. But, no. Kali-yuga actually has a fixed time span. Just like winter does. Kali-yuga, according to the authorized descriptions in Vedas began 5000 years ago, and it will extend for another 427,000 years. So, its a very bleak time ahead; however, there is good news. (Audience laughing) There is a Golden Era within the Kali-yuga, when the whole world will become like the Satya-yuga. There's a term for it in America, Indian Summer. The winter comes in, but all of a sudden, there's this unusual warm spell, just like heaven, in the middle of winter. There's predicted to be an Indian Summer in this Kali-yuga age. In this most hellish, demoniac, horrible, age there will be a beautiful spiritual age of enlightenment that will take place in the middle of the Kali-yuga. Its a 10,000 year period, and its just beginning right now.
So, we have two influences, two energies working right now. We have the Kali-yuga energy, and we also have the Caitanya Era, because God Himself incarnated 500 years ago in the form of His own devotee to spread this powerful mantra yoga system: Chanting the names of God. 500 years ago, there began a period of spiritual awakening, and we say, "Oh, why doesn't it just hurry up?" Well, its up to us. That age doesn't happen automatically. It happens to the degree that persons who want to promote it take it seriously. That enlightened Caitanya Era will happen to the degree that people actually take up this powerful system of chanting the names of God.
Guest (1): So, your system is chanting the names of God? Is that your whole system?
SDA: Yes, that is the foundational system in this age of Kali. That is the foundational system according to Brhad-naradiya Purana. It is stated directly, it emphasizes: harer nama harer nama harer nama. It means chant the names of God, chant the names of God, chant the names of God. That is called yuga-dharma, or the prescribed method of spiritual enlightenment in this age of Kali. Yes. There are other systems, but they are not so potent as chanting the names of God in this age.
Guest (1): So, you think that's the best thing, for now?
SDA: It is not my thinking. I may think anything, but the authorized Vedic wisdom states that the chanting of the names of God is the most potent means in this age.
Guest (1): But the Vedas are several thousand years old. The Vedas they're several thousand years old.
SDA: Yes, yes.
Guest (1): So, is that still appropriate?
SDA: This Vedic mantra says kalau nasty eva. Kalau means the age of Kali. In the age of, the Vedas, see they are called tri-kala-jna. That means, the Vedic, the great sages who compiled the Vedic wisdom, they have divine vision. They have perfect knowledge of past, present and future, they could see ahead, the Kali-yuga was coming. Even before this age began they gave us the formula; what is the means of enlightenment in this age? The verse says, in the age of Kali, the chanting of the names is the most powerful and recommended. We cannot say, well, it was written down before the Kali-yuga so it was the system for that time and place. No. It said, kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha. In the age of Kali, the most powerful means is chanting the Holy Name. So, one may be skeptical, and that's alright.
VPM: Even the Bible says chanting is...
SDA: The Bible, especially the book of Psalms recommends chanting the names of God. The Buddhist teachings also recommend, every scripture has verses recommending this. Yes, sir?
Guest (2): Even if someone chants the names of God, we have to live in the world. And, to chant the names of God, to understand it fully, you need to be doing it almost all the time. Is that true?
SDA: One does as much as possible, yes. But, obviously if you do it at your job, they may say, "Hey what, have you gone crazy? I think its time for you to be laid off. You're a little weird, you're coming into the office going Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna..." (Laughing)
I have a disciple in Austin, he works for IBM Corporation. He's a contractor for them, very hard-working, very prized, they keep giving him one contract after another because he's so expert. When he's at work he focuses on his job, completely. But he knows why he's doing that. He actually is doing it for Krishna. Because he earns a good income, he lives comfortably with his wife and children, but he also gives some, he's a valued employee so he has some extra money to help my preaching work. He contributes every month. And at the same time we have a prescribed minimum which is to chant on the prayer beads for one or two hours, 16 times around every day. It takes one and a half, two hours every day. One who becomes an initiated disciple, to seriously adopt this process, will spend roughly one and a half to two hours every day chanting on the beads, and , of course, what you're saying is true. In fact, in the Bhagavad-Gita it says that one should constantly chant. But, we also have material bodies that require some shelter and some food, and we have wife and children. Their bodies require shelter and food, and education so they can eventually earn shelter and food. So, those things cannot be neglected.
Its just like you have a railroad track, how many rails? You have two rails. The nice thing is the material energy is not acting independently. That material energy which you have to deal with, your job and all the bodily maintenance you have to go through is actually an inferior energy, the external manifestation of the internal energy. The internal energy, and the external energy. Just like wherever your hand moves, the shadow moves with it. So, if you are spiritually together, then your material side will automatically fall into place. If one takes up seriously this process of chanting the names of God, one will tangibly experience how the material side becomes easier to deal with. Even though I'm doing this full-time, most of our members do not. I'm an exception. Mostly, they have businesses, they're attorneys, they're computer programmers, farmers, school teachers, all varieties of occupations.
VPM: Out of 24 hours, you work for seven hours, then you have so many hours to chant also.
SDA: Yes. You work what eight or ten hours at your job? So, there's 24 hours in a day. One learns how to utilize one's leisure time in a way that gives you the ultimate leisure. In the beginning it takes adjustment because we're used to certain types of leisure. And we have to actually, gradually, spiritualize our leisure time. That's what it is. Your work time is your work time, you keep that as it is. Just like eating. I think everyone likes to eat. So, a Krishna conscious person, they eat very nicely. But, they don't eat any meat. Why should I cause this poor cow, who has given me her milk so kindly, I have enjoyed her clotted cream very nicely this morning, how can I think, "Her breast milk has dried up so, let's kill her and eat her flesh?"
How can I be so cruel. Would I do that to my mother when her breast milk dried up, and she stopped feeding me milk from her breast? I would think, "Oh, she has stopped giving me her breast milk, I should just kill her and eat her." I would never dream of doing that to my first mother, so why I should do it to my mother the cow, who has given me her breast milk for ice cream, yogurt, clotted cream? How can I be so cruel? Give her a cushy retirement. Just let her graze peacefully in the pasture until she naturally leaves her body without the anxiety of being dragged into the slaughterhouse. This is called compassion. So, a devotee of Krishna, or a person who wants to actually elevate their consciousness beyond the material nature will become very kind toward all creatures, and will take those foods allotted by nature's way for one's consumption. By nature's arrangement, you can study the herb-eating animals, and the carnivorous animals and study your own anatomy, side-by-side, and you will see that your body is an herbivorous type of body. The mouth, the digestive juices, the stomach, the length of the intestinal system: We are obviously meant by nature's way not to be meat-eaters. To violate the laws of nature actually inhibits our spiritual progress. So, a devotee of Krishna, or one who is serious about spiritual enlightenment will give up eating meat, and as enjoined in the Vedas. We see everything as the gift of God and we see God as a person who is actually present. God is omnipresent. So, if God is present with me, then whatever I eat, I will first feed Him. So, we do that. It is called sacramental eating. Before we eat, we first offer to Krishna. Krishna says that food which is offered to Me before being eaten is transformed from matter into spirit. So, we are sometimes known as 'The Kitchen Religion', because we really eat nicely. I think we eat better than anyone in the world. Our cuisine is second to none. We cook that and we offer it to Krishna before we eat, and therefore we eat also very nicely. We enjoy the best food. Yes?
Guest (3): I have a question. Eskimos eat seal blubber, and they lived on meat, as their survival. (Indistinct) ...other beings on this planet that may not have a choice.
SDA: That's true.
Guest (3): ...in God's creation, if their eating this meat for their survival.
SDA: The Eskimo may be another thing, but we cannot say , "Its OK for the Eskimo so it must be OK for me." We are not Eskimos. For an Eskimo it may be OK. What can he do? He has no choice.
Guest (3): Yeah, exactly.
SDA: He has no choice. Even our Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada, told us many years ago during the Communist era. He sent some disciples to Russia to preach. He said, "Even if you have to eat meat, just go ahead and stay in Russia and spread Krishna Consciousness because you may not be able to survive if you don't eat meat."
Guest (3): OK
SDA: He told them they can eat meat.
Guest (3): OK
SDA: Under some circumstance, let's say you're on an airplane, and you crash somewhere out in the wilderness, you may have to eat some of the other passengers also who died to survive. You may have to eat human flesh. Under some circumstance, you can eat anything to survive. That is alright, even if you have to eat a human being, not a live one of course but, (laughs) according to circumstance, you can eat anything. But when that circumstance is not there, then you should not.
Guest (3): Right, OK, OK
Guest (1): After the flood destroyed the vegetation, to Noah, that is when he made a promise. He said now you can eat meat for the time being until the vegetation has recovered. So it was an interim period that was given to us. (indistinct) the children of Israel, to be used for that time. Not forever. Due to the circumstance.
Guest (2): You talk about God, and you talk about Krishna, and you seem to talk about Krishna as God. And there are many other gods in India. OK? But is Krishna, what am I trying to say, like a divine incarnation?
SDA: Of? Divine incarnation of what?
Guest (2): I find it puzzling because, you talk about God always as being outside of us. As if God's somewhere else.
SDA: Yes. God is within, and without, both.
Guest (2): Right.
SDA: He's in your heart also.
Guest (2): Yes and I would say that everything about God is within us.
SDA: Absolutely. God is omnipresent. He's within and without. He has His transcendental abode beyond this world of birth and death, but He's also here through His expanded form known as Paramatma. He is situated within every atom. He's in the rug. He's within every atom. You cannot go anywhere where God is not present, that's right. But there is also an original source from which everything is emanating. Every, you can take any cause and any effect, you can see what was the cause of that effect, and you can see there was another cause for that, another cause for that. If you trace them back, you'll finally come to an original source from which everything is emanating. That is God's original feature.
Guest (2): So, why do you chant Hare Krishna? Why not just chant God?
SDA: Yes, one can chant God. As we are saying. You can chant "God, God, God, God, God, God, God, God, God, God, God, God, God". You can chant that. There is nothing wrong. Just like in the Christian church: " Hallelujah Hallelujah". It's beautiful!
Guest (2): But, would you say it doesn't matter?
Guest (2): But, would you say it doesn't matter?
SDA: You can chant any name of God. It doesn't matter what name you chant. So why do we chant Hare Krishna? That would be the question. Well, if any name is good, then certainly Hare Krishna is also good. Its not that because all the names are good, that means that Hare Krishna is bad. Maybe nowadays, because of the media we may think Hare Krishna is bad, but, we are talking about an ancient science here. We're not talking about some organization in the material world. We're talking about an ancient science. So, if all the names of God are good, then Hare Krishna is also good. So, one can certainly chant Hare Krishna. So, why would one chant Hare Krishna as opposed to some other name? What kind of car do you drive?
Guest (2): Volvo.
SDA: You drive a particular kind of car.
Guest (2): Yes. Yes.
SDA: I could say, there are so cars, why do you drive that kind of car? Don't you know there are so many different cars? Why do you drive that kind of car? Well it suits you.
Guest (2): OK, that's fair enough. I was just...
SDA: Hare Krishna suits us. But then you may say, you won some contest, and you can drive any car in the world that you wanted, and the car is given free, all the maintenance, the fuel, everything that you need, all the money you need to maintain that car for the rest of your life is all paid, what car would you choose? Would you take something like a Rolls?
Guest (2): Not necessarily.
SDA: A Mercedes?
Guest (2): (laughing, indistinct)
SDA: It's a mundane example, but, anyway.
Guest (2): Well, I think the reason I'm asking, in a way, is because I know quite a few people who chant om namah sivaya.
SDA: Mm hm. OK
Guest (2): And they say this is the great mantra, and all this that and the other. And then I hear people say chant Hare Krishna.
SDA: OK, so you're wondering...
Guest (2): It seems to me...
SDA: Why chant Hare Krishna?
Guest (2): It's almost like splitting off into little sects and groups, you see what I mean? Where there's like a universal, kind of...
Guest (3): You get that with all religions don't you?
Guest (2): You do. Yeah. Yeah. That's why I'm asking you, why Hare Krishna?
SDA: Every group will say, you make our mantra the universal mantra. Every group will say, "We have the way to make everything all one big happy family. You take our mantra as the universal mantra." That's what everybody will say, isn't it? And then someone else will say, we're fed up, we'll start a new one and make this the universal mantra. So everybody will come along and say, "You make this the universal mantra." So, how do we settle up this?
Actually, you don't have to make a universal mantra. That's the first point. There's a universal science. We don't have to make one mantra that everyone chants. It's not necessary to do that. God has unlimited names, therefore there are unlimited mantras. It is not required that you have to chant a particular one. But, just because there's so many of them that, "I will not chant any of them". That's like the saying, "Be a jack of all trades, but master of none". Some say "There are so many paths so how can I follow any of them?" No. You follow Buddha, you follow Christ, or you follow Krishna, but do it perfectly. Pick a path, a bona fide authorized path and then follow it perfectly. That's what we're saying. We're not saying that you have to chant Hare Krishna, become a devotee of Krishna. If you want to be a devotee of Christ, that is alright. But actually follow that science. Find the pure original science. Don't take some adulterated version of it. Just like Hinduism is adulterated. Christianity is adulterated. Buddhism is, they're all adulterated now. You have to find the original pure science before all the adulteration, especially in this kali-yuga. Its an age of adulteration. Find the original pure science of God. Follow it, either as a Christian, as a Hare Krishna, or as a Buddhist, whatever. But find that original pure science, that's what we are saying.
Guest (2): The other thing I thought to ask you is about the chanting. (indistinct) Can you chant, do you ever chant silently?
SDA: Yes, yes. One can chant silently. Absolutely.
Guest (2): Would you say that's effective, as effective as chanting out loud?
SDA: One can silently meditate on Krishna, or God, but the material nature is so distracting that its much more difficult to do it. Just like here we chanted audibly. Engage your various sense organs, just like I had my hands going with the cymbal. My ears were hearing. My tongue was vibrating. So, the more you can engage all of your sense organs in that meditation, the mind just gets cornered, and can't get away. If you don't put any external sensory organs into the meditation and you just do it, you may be able to hold it for a little while, but not as long as if you actually engage different external objects. The tongue, the ears, the hands you may clap. You can take a photograph of Krishna, put it there, as Venisha brought Krishna's picture. You can offer some incense to Krishna, so you have sanctified aroma, saturating, meditative. If you offer some incense to a picture of Krishna, that incense becomes transcendentalized, it becomes spiritual energy. And inhaling that, while you're doing your meditation will make it even more powerful. If you do it with a group it becomes even more powerful. So, the idea is you just take whatever can facilitate, whatever you can do to make it more powerful, take advantage of that. Now, right now I'm staying at Jim's house, I chant early in the morning, but I know that he doesn't get up as early as I do. So, I don't chant as loudly as I do at home. I will chant very softly. At the home I'll go, (in a normal speaking volume) "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna..." but Jim will be going "What's going on, I'm going to sleep and I hear this 'Hare Krishna Hare Krishna'" So, when I'm at his house, I just go (whispering) "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare" out of consideration for my host. According to time, place and circumstance, if you're at the office, and you want to chant Hare Krishna at the job, you might do it silently, or practically silently: (very softly)" Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare." (chuckles) Now, as far as Shiva and Krishna goes, actually Shiva states about himself, that he is subordinate to Krishna. That's what Shiva directly states. He puts himself as subordinate servant of Krishna. So, if we want to decide which is better, both are good because Shiva is described in the Vedas as the topmost of all the devotees of Krishna or Vishnu. Shiva is the greatest of those devotees. Actually there is a line of Krishna devotees called the Rudra-sampradaya or the disciplic succession coming from Lord Shiva. There's a whole line of Krishna devotees who are followers of Shiva. So, they worship Shiva, not as the Supreme Being, but as the greatest of Krishna's devotees. So, why a few gods? There are 33,000,000 gods described in the Vedic scriptures. According to the authorized description in the Vedas, Krishna is the God of all the gods. They are all subordinate to Him and He is supreme.
VPM: Prabhupada gives the example of the corporate world, the boss is there, and there are so many supervisors.
SDA: Yes. Now, followers of Lord Shiva will argue, "No, Shiva is Supreme." But the authoritative reference points are the Vedic scriptures themselves. If you actually read, that's where the information about the different gods is coming from. It wasn't made up. Its actually there in the Vedas. If you carefully study the Vedic literatures, then it's very clear. Lord Brahma also is one of the chief gods, and he says Isvarah paramah krsnah. He says, "the Supreme God is Krishna."
Guest (2): Huh, I saw Krishna as an incarnation of Vishnu.
SDA: That is a common philosophy among the Hindus, common understanding. Yes. But that is not the actual version of the Vedic scriptures themselves. The Vedic scriptures very clearly describe, Lord Krishna directly states in the Bhagavad-gita - which is considered in India by everyone as the greatest holy book - Krishna directly states
aham sarvasya prabhavo
He says, "I am the source of everything." He directly states it, and how Vishnu's a four-armed form. If you know anything about the Vedic description of the four-armed God. He has the club. He has the disc. He has the conch shell, and He has the lotus flower in each of the four arms. So, it is described that Krishna expands from Himself a form known as Balarama, and then from Balarama comes the four-armed form, the Vishnu form, and in the Bhagavad-Gita itself, if you study it carefully, you will see that Krishna is standing in a two-armed form on the battlefield of Kuruksetra, on the chariot of Arjuna, and then He reveals His four-armed form to Arjuna, then He reveals His unlimited, His million-armed form to Arjuna. It is called virat-rupa, with unlimited, billions of arms, billions of heads. He reveals to Arjuna a form in which everything past present and future becomes visible all at one time and Arjuna is absolutely terrified.
VPM: He sees Lord Shiva in that form.
SDA: He sees everything in that form of Krishna: Shiva, Brahma. He sees all the gods within Krishna, in that virat-rupa, the universal form, and he's absolutely terrified. Its compared to a little child whose father is a policeman, and one day he comes home in his riot-gear, the helmet, and the baton and the shield, the heavy riot-gear. His father comes home and the little kid runs upstairs and hides under his bed. His mother says: "No, son, that's your father, its alright. He's in his SWAT gear, don't worry." So, Arjuna was like that. He was like,"Oh my God!" He can't handle it. He said, "Krishna, let me see Your human-like form again." Its described in the authorized Vedic literatures how that Vishnu form was actually an expansion of that original two-armed form. Vishnu engages in activities of maintaining the universes. But that is some kind of job. Someone has to go and maintain the factory. But the guy who's really rich, he just stays at home and enjoys or goes vacationing. The really rich guy doesn't have to bother going to the factory to maintain the factory. God in His original feature is simply the enjoyer. You won't see Him having to worry about maintaining the universes. His expanded millions of Vishnu forms do that, and God in His original feature simply enjoys. Krishna is known as the flute-player. He frolics in the forests of Vrindavana playing His flute. He's playing His flute and enjoying the fruit. (Laughter) He has many cowherd boyfriends and cowherd girlfriends.
Krishna is like the original Beatle. Here in UK years ago, everyone was mad after the Beatles. We saw a documentary on the airplane coming over it was "The Beatles: 1963-1966." It was all footage. These kids were going wild over The Beatles. It was funny. It was filmed back in that time and it talked about these brave policemen that helped The Beatles get into their car, fighting off the hoards. (Laughing) So, Beatlemania is simply a manifestation of the original mania, in Goloka Vrindavana where Krishna is a flute-player. He's simply a charming boy, like The Beatles were charming young lads. He's simply a charming boy. He doesn't have to worry about making the sun rise in the morning or set on time at night or anything like that. The Vishnus take care of all the details. Krishna expands Himself as the Vishnus to do the universal maintenance, but in His original feature, He's just like the Supreme Beatle. John, Paul, Ringo and George, all rolled into one, multiplied unlimitedly. The Supreme Beatle.
Everyone is mad after Krishna. In that abode, just like Prime Minister Gladstone didn't want to be recognized as Prime Minister for a while, he just wanted to be a horse, in that abode, Krishna hides His identity as the Supreme God. He doesn't advertise it. In fact, all of His most elevated, enlightened servants who are allowed special admittance into that abode, they forget that He's God. They think He's one of us. He's just one of the boys. But everyone, He's a very special person for them. All they can do is think about Krishna, talk about Krishna, "Do you know what Krishna did today? Wow, what did He do? Do you know what He did over here?" Everyone's just totally mad after Krishna . Every word that He speaks, every gesture of His hand, every note that comes from His flute. Not only the human beings, but the animals, or even the rocks become stunned. The rocks will melt in ecstasy, and that very place of divine lila or pastimes, Krishna manifests it in this world, in India, in a place known as Vrindavana. He will come, once in a day of Brahma, every 4,300,000,000 years to this world to show us what it is like, and He willbring His associates from that topmost abode of the spiritual world here to the planet Earth, in India, to reenact, His divine pastimes on this plane. One time I was in the Houston airport, and we were walking around, all of a sudden it sounded like we were in Hawaii. What's going on here? It was ukeleles. (imitates ukelele music) there were some girls over there with grass skirts, going "hula hula". What's going on here? I looked over there, and it was Hawaiian Airlines, there doing a promotion. "Come on, buy your tickets to Hawaii!" So, Krishna does that. He promotes the spiritual world here in this material world. He'll come here and bring the hula girls and ukelele guys, allegorically speaking. He'll bring all those residents from the topmost planet, and He'll bring them all here and show those divine pastimes, right here. 5,000 years ago in India, He did. It's recorded in the Srimad-Bhagavatam exactly what happened. It was written, and you can study what Krishna, God Himself was doing on this planet 5,000 years ago. I actually saw a rock where Krishna... I went to the top of a mountain, where Krishna actually stood there, and the rock melted in ecstasy. His footprint got melted in the rock. I saw that rock myself. So, some people call this Hindu mythology, but that rock was not mythology. That mountain was not mythological. Otherwise what was I standing on? Yes?
Guest (1): Can you tell us something about 2012, which is written in the pyramids as the time when a huge shift is going to happen?
SDA: About what? 2012. Well, there's been so many predictions, 1984 was supposed to be big. So many predictions, so I cannot say. But, they say that there's three kinds of people; there's those who make things happen, those who watch things that happen, and those who wonder, "what happened?" So, I prefer to be in the first category of people who make things happen, I'm not waiting around for 2012. I may not live that long. I want to make a spiritual renaissance on this planet right now. I'm not waiting around to see if some prediction comes true or not. I want to make it happen right now: Tonight. As they say: 'Be Here Now', right? Let's make it happen right now. That's my modus operandi. I'm not waiting around for any prediction. I'm going to make it happen now. I'm putting all of my energy at every minute into making that spiritual renaissance explode on this planet right now. It can happen. That was another interesting aspect of the Beatlemania, how four guys, just playing in some club in Liverpool, can all of a sudden just create a cultural revolution. I was amazed by Putin. He was a Beatles fan. He revealed it. Paul McCartney came and sang in the U.S.S.R. in Moscow, and he said, "I'm a Beatles fan." So, it's amazing what kind of cultural revolution one can make. It was certainly a very big cultural revolution, the Beatles, but just consider that there can be a revolution that's a million times more powerful and more expansive than that cultural revolution of The Beatles. So, my life is dedicated to serving that cause. I'm not waiting around for 2012. I want to do it now.
Jane: Can you tell me what to do about emotions?
SDA: Emotions are not denied. We are intellectual beings and emotional beings both. We have both sides to us. Some spiritualists want to deny all the emotions. They want to say emotions are false. The ego, the identity, the individuality is false, the emotions are false, just merge into impersonal, emotionless void, or oneness. That is one path. Its called the path of Brahman realization. It is described in the Vedas. They deny the very nature of the self out of frustration with hurt emotions, just like that old Simon and Garfunkel song: "Don't sing of love, I've heard that word before. It's sleeping in my memory. Don't sing of love." Paul Simon said. So this is the mode of one who want's to follow the path of Brahman realization. They've been so hurt by broken love in this world, they just say, "I don't love anymore, I don't want to hear it anymore, it's just a four-letter word", like Dylan said. "I don't want to hear that."
But the path of bhakti, that we are teaching. We reaffirm emotions on a liberated platform, beyond the pain of hurt, and that means beyond exploitation. There is such a thing as non-exploitative emotions. When one is purely in the mood of giving, where one experiences love on a pure platform without any thought of exploitation. So, that is actually our process. I know, specifically I remember my spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada in San Francisco, we had a big festival in Golden Gate Park there. He said, "I am traveling all over the world, and wherever I go, I'm seeing that they're imitating your country, by building skyscraper buildings." This is one of those American, obnoxious innovations, the skyscraper, at least in modern times. Of course they made ancient skyscrapers too, but he said, "I see that they're imitating your country by building the skyscrapers but, now if you will immerse yourself in singing and dancing in emotional love of God, then the whole world will follow you, and there will be no more trouble anywhere in the world." Prabhupada was encouraging us with emotional love of God.
Emotion is not denied, but we purify emotion. By channeling those emotions towards the Supreme Person we will find that our love now becomes unlimited. I may want to love, and everyone tries to love, because that's the natural, healthy state of consciousness, but we find we are frustrated in love in a world which is so cruel in many ways. It takes advantage of love, loving sentiments in our hearts. Just like in America now there's this "Will Work For Food" I don't know if they have that here. People with signs saying "Will work for food". Does that happen in Britain? I guess you don't have it here, but it's something that we never had in America: Beggars standing out in the road with signs that read "Will work for food". It started happening about fifteen years ago in America. We'd never seen it. The first time, we felt so sorry. "Oh my goodness, here's a guy with a sign, 'Will work for food', standing on the roadway. So we stopped and said we'll take you back to our temple and feed you, he said, "No, no. I just want money." We realized this is just hype. So, here we were trying to give our love to this guy whom we were taking as being an honest person saying, "I'm so hungry, I just need some food." But actually he was just standing there wanting to collect money, and he was lying. We actually started giving some of the people food, and they threw it away. You try to give love to people and they're abusing your sincere attempt to love them, then you become a little bit withdrawn, and a little callous. How do you actually come to a position where your love can freely flow to all living beings, and without being exploited, and you can actually manifest a loving reciprocation? So, that comes when you water the root. (Pointing to a plant) When you water the root of this plant, then all the leaves and branches are nourished, automatically. So, when you give your love to God, to that Supreme Being, then automatically that love flows. It flows back to you, so you don't miss out, and it flows to everyone. Not only to human beings, but animals, to plants, to even the little microbial germs, floating, they get your love also even the ones you can't see, or even know about. They also receive your love, when you channel you love through the Supreme. So that is called bhakti. That is the science of bhakti, and this channeling process is most potently manifest through chanting the names. There's actually a process of channeling your love to the Supreme, through the singing of His names. So, that's why Prabhupada said to sing in emotional love of God. You put your heart and soul into the singing, and it actually connects. Even in this world isn't love expressed through singing? The old example of the guy with the ukelele in the canoe on the lake with his girlfriend singing love songs. The Beatles were singing love songs. Singing love songs is a natural thing. You express your love through music, through song. So, we take that same tendency, and we repose it in the Supreme, the root of the entire creation, so that love goes to everyone and everything. No one is neglected.
When you give your love to Krishna, it's not that now you don't love yourself anymore, you don't love your spouse or your family or your friends. No. You'll find that your love for yourself is perfect, and your love for your spouse is perfect. Your love for your children is perfect. Your tendency to love now becomes fully satisfied, and you can purely and uninhibitedly love everyone, and everything. So the desire to love becomes fully gratified when you give your love to God. That's the practical result that I've experienced in 33 years of doing this bhakti-yoga system. The yoga of love. I'm moving with such enthusiasm, gesturing, that I'm gradually moving off the chair here. At least my cushion's going to come crashing down here.
Jane: What do you do with difficult emotions?
SDA: The more you advance in Krishna consciousness, or spiritual enlightenment, the less you will find you have difficult emotions. They just go away. Its like when you put a glass of water in a room and the water gradually evaporates. If you don't add any more fuel to the fire of negative emotions, then you will conquer them. Yes, we have problems, like anger is a very notable example. Look what so many good people did under the influence of anger. They did something very bad under the influence of anger. This is described in the Vedas, krodha-vegam, the pushing of anger. Just like if you have to go to the bathroom, sometimes if you wait too long you have to practically run to the bathroom. So, there is another pushing, it is known as anger. So we have to learn how to control that pushing of anger.
The more that you ignite that fire of love of God, in your heart, you'll find that that fire will actually burn away the negative emotions the more that one advances. That's a way one can measure one's progress: The less you're tormented by difficult emotions. If you're tormented by difficult emotions, you haven't gone very far spiritually yet. The more you are free of negative emotions, you are advancing. It's a fact that the more one advances, the more they become very tolerant, like Christ says, "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth." A person who is very tolerant, who can tolerate all sorts of abuse upon himself without getting disturbed by it, that's an advanced person. Our Lord Caitanya, He has a very nice prayer. He said, "One should chant the holy names of God in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street, devoid of all sense of false prestige, being more tolerant than a tree. Being willing to offer all respect to others without expecting any respect for oneself. In such a state of mind what can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." Just imagine that state where you're willing to offer all respect to everyone else without having to get any respect for yourself. That's a very advanced stage. One who can come to that stage can peacefully chant the Hare Krishna mantra, any name of God. One can just peacefully sit and chant that 24 hours a day and never get tired, and just feel oneself getting higher and higher and higher and higher and higher. For millions of years, one could sit and chant. That's a person who has achieved that consciousness. So, let's face it; we're far from it. But we're very fortunate these teachings are actually there to guide us, to show us what the goal is so we can focus our energy in the proper direction.
VPM: Many times negative emotion comes because we have reposed our love and energy in something temporary.
SDA: Yes. We put our love into temporary objects. In other words if we come down to the bodily platform again, thinking, "Well, I am this body, and she is her body, and he is his body", and we try to engage our emotional loving tendency on the bodily platform, there's bound to be negative emotions, because we're misapplying that. We're trying to take a spiritual thing and plug it into something material. Its an artificial thing and we're taught to do that in our modern society. That's our whole training. We're supposed to take our spiritual beings, and be totally happy, becoming 100% absorbed in gross matter, and subtle matter also; there's gross matter's the material elements, the subtle element are the mind, the intelligence, the false ego. The subtle elements. But we are beyond this. We are beyond even the subtle elements. We are spiritual beings.
VPM: Acting as a fish out of the water.
SDA: You can take a fish out of the water. He got washed ashore in L.A. and he was flapping in agony, and so someone said, "Oh, this poor fish looks so miserable, let's make him happy. Let's give him a cigar, or give him a car bring a beautiful movie star down from Hollywood, and have a wedding ceremony out here on the beach. Give him a Beverly Hills mansion." No matter what they gave him, he was still flapping in agony. Just throw him back in the water! We are fish out of water here in this material world, trying to be happy within material nature when actually it is not our habitat. Just like bringing an animal out of the wild and sticking him in a zoo. Again, there was an old song, at the zoo, in the sixties. We're in an artificial habitat. You really can't be fully happy here. We can never be happy.
Guest (2): Why have we reincarnated?
Guest (3): Why are we here?
Guest (2): Yeah.
SDA: Why? That's a very good question, and we have a very good answer for that. Why are we here in this world to begin with? Why are we not in that original spiritual atmosphere? Actually the Lord, in His desire to enjoy unlimitedly is expanding from Himself unlimited numbers of living beings to have a loving relationship with us, and each one of us is the dearmost child of God actually. He has a specific plan to enjoy a loving relationship with each and every one of us in a very personal and intimate way. Each and every one of us. So, why are we here, and not there? Actually, the vast majority of living beings in that transcendental kingdom would never dream of coming to this place, even to go to the bathroom. Of course, they don't have to go to the bathroom like we do. They would never dream of coming here. So, why are we here, in this place which is in so many ways not suitable for us? Of course, the Lord, He wants to enjoy loving reciprocation, so is love voluntary, or is it forced? Obviously love is a voluntary thing. If I pointed a gun at your head and said, "OK, Jim, you love me or I'll blow your brains out." "I love you, I love you Gurudeva, but just don't pull the trigger!... you rascal." You can't love someone who's forcing you to love. You can only love someone who's freely giving their love to you without any strings attached. If someone is freely giving their love to you with no strings that will inspire you to love them back, but you may not do that because there is no strings attached. They give the love, so God gives His love with no strings attached. He freely gives us love, and gives us the option to love or not to love. If He forced us to love, then we could not actually love. So, the option is there. That is called in theology free will. The option exists to love God or not to love God. To love or leave. That option is there.
Guest (2): So, if you were suffering emotionally, would it be OK to ask God to love you, to take away that suffering?
SDA: God is already loving you. If one is asking, "God, please love me", they don't know God, obviously. They should be praying, "Dear God, please bless me that I can love You, because that is what is separating me from Your love. Because You're always giving me Your love without any restriction, but I have ceased to love You, and that is what's separated me from You." The intelligent person says, "My dear Lord, I know You're unlimitedly bestowing Your mercy on me at every moment, but I am not taking advantage of that mercy. I am holding back my love for You. So please, my Lord, bless me that I can open up my heart now, and fully love You." So, those who do not want to fully love the Lord, who become envious, who want to imitate His position, they are given a place where they can strut around as if they are indeed the Supreme, and that's why there's so much clashing going on, everyone walks around like 'I am the Supreme'.
Guest (2): It seems to me that you still haven't fully answered the question of why did we choose to incarnate here. If you say its so unsuitable to us, spiritual beings to be... and we have choice of love or not loving, why do we incarnate here? Why should..
SDA: Instead of loving the Lord, and serving Him, we wanted to take His position. That is a fact. We were envious of His position as the Supreme, we wanted that post for ourself. Instead of wanting to love Him, we were envious of Him. Thinking, "Why should You be the Supreme? Why should I not be the Supreme?" In the kingdom, if someone wants to take the thrown, then where do they end up? They end up in the dungeon. "You wanted a coup d'etat? Alright. You're in the dungeon." So, we had a coup d'etat sort of mentality. That's what got us here, but we got the cure also. The forbidden apple is wanting to be God, that's actually what it is. The Biblical forbidden apple is the desire to be God, actually.
Guest (3): There's an irony there, isn't there?
SDA: Tell me.
Guest (3): Because we are God in a sense. In one sense. That's the irony.
SDA: Qualitatively. There is qualitative Godness and quantitative Godness.
Guest (3): I mean there's the possibility for us to be God.
SDA: Well, I don't think He's had any recent plans to abdicate the thrown or the position, as of late.
Guest (3): Well, we do have the power of God within us.
SDA: Does an emanation from the Supreme have the potential to be the emanator? There are two things. There's the original source from which everything is emanating, and there is that which is emanating from that original source. So, the question would be then, can something which has emanated from the original source, flip it around and become the source of everything? The answer is no. But, qualitatively because the energetic source and the energy are non different, qualitatively you are God. God has simply expanded Himself as everything, and you are part of that everything. (Aside: Hare Krishna, thank you for coming.) So, qualitatively you are already God. Because isn't everything that exists the energy of God? A good example: the sun and the sunshine. The sun enters our room, in the morning, the sunshine, and we say, the sun has now entered my room. That is the sun. The sun and the sunshine are non different. So in that sense you are God, you are Godshine. You are the energy of God. So, in that sense you are God. But to say that you are the original source from which all the energy is coming, that you are not. You are an emanation from the original energetic source, you are not that source.
Guest(3): Like it's said, 'God is the Father, and we are the sons'.
SDA: Hm. That's right. But they are the son or the daughter, and when they become immersed in love of the father they become as good as the father. In fact, we don't have to be envious of God. To be envious of God is foolish because doesn't the servant of the king enjoy equally with the king, if the king is a nice king? He enjoys the same festivals, the same palace, the same food, everything. In fact, it is stated in the Vedic teachings that the servant of the Lord enjoys greater than the Lord Himself.
That's an amazing thing. Why become God? You can become greater than God, back to what we were saying earlier. This is a very interesting point. Krishna is described as the original supreme source of everything that exists. He has His energy, His hladini-sakti, that is Srimati Radharani. She is the topmost devotee of the Lord. There is no one who can love Krishna with more feeling and perfect dealings than Srimati Radharani. She is the topmost devotee of Krishna. Krishna, being the Supreme Enjoyer, everyone serves Him, you would think He'd be happier than anyone else, He's getting more enjoyment than anyone, but you know what? He looks at Radharani and sees how She is serving Him, and He says to Himself, "You know what? I can see that actually Radharani is getting more pleasure in serving Me, than I am by being served by Her. What is this!? I'm the Supreme Enjoyer, and She's enjoying more than Me!"
So, that Supreme Lord Krishna, He says, "Alright, I'm going to become a devotee also. If a devotee of Krishna can enjoy more that Krishna can, then I will also be a devotee." So, Krishna Himself came 500 years ago, as Caitanya Mahaprabhu to spread this Hare Krishna movement. So this Hare Krishna movement was started by God Himself, wanting to play the role of being a devotee because He was seeing that actually devotees enjoy more than God does. " Let Me be a devotee." So, our philosophy is why try to be God? As a devotee you will actually enjoy on a higher level than God. You enjoy on so high a level that God Himself wants to be a devotee also. So, there's no reason to be envious of God, or to think "I have to be in His position. Let me be just be the subordinate servant, and I will enjoy equally, and sometimes it is even said better than God." God, has to also become devotee to taste the greatest pleasure of being a devotee.
So, anyway, I don't want to hold you all too long. Everyone has to go home eventually. Work. Let's see, what's today, Friday? Tomorrow you might want to get up early and head out somewhere. Of course, I am in no rush to leave, but I don't want to keep you here that way next time we have a gathering you don't want to show up. "He keeps me there too long." (laughter) So if anyone wants to..
Guest (3): I find it interesting that India has so many people like yourself, I mean, you're American, you're not Indian, but world wide, well I don't know about Africa, but..
SDA: Why's it so spiritual?
SDA: India's so spiritual because it's the land of Krishna. Then, of course, then again you could say, why does Krishna want to go there? Well, India has some very powerful places. Govardhana Hill is one, the Yamuna river is another. India has some very powerful places, physical places which attract incarnations of God to appear in India, and attract spiritually minded persons to take birth in India also. India is very sacred ground, just like there's some sacred ground here also, in some sense like Stonehenge, but the most sacred grounds on the planet are in India. The most powerfully sacred ground, it attracts God. It attracts many incarnations of God to appear throughout history and They always go to India. India now is smaller than it used to be. Modern-day political India is much reduced. Afghanistan used to be part of India, in previous times. You read, the wife of king Dhrtarastra, she was named Gandhari, and she was from Gandahar. What do they call it now? Is it still called Gandahar? Formerly Afghanistan was part of India. India has shrunk. In the kali-yuga, India shrinks. Before the kali-yuga, actually the kings of India ruled the entire planet.
Guest (3): Well, I find it interesting that the first Prime Minister was a woman in India. Although we look at the East as backward.
SDA: The first Prime Minister what? Oh, the first lady Prime Minister in the world was in India?
Guest (3): And yet the West regards the East as backward. And its something, isn't it, that the Americans want to impose their belief system on Afghanistan and whatever because we believe in the West that we're superior in some way. I don't know. I don't. I think we're absolutely bereft at the moment. (Indistinct) And yet, the spiritual state has got so much poverty that, and I was brought up to believe that wherever you find Roman Catholicism, it is in poor countries, like Spain, Ireland, Portugal, various places like those. And then recently, I've been watching a film on the history of English religion, and the wars, and the terrible, terrible confusion of going from Catholic to Anglican, to Protestant. That was forced like this, and each time everyone had to adapt to it, and its just when people really believe something it's just so difficult for other people, isn't it? Because unless they've got this enlightenment, and great love through the devotional whatever, and what you're saying is..
SDA: See, people, they have lost the essence. They've gotten caught up in the external trappings.
Guest (3): Yeah, I know.
SDA: They've lost the essence. That's the problem.
Guest (3): I was at a prayer meeting at Walden yesterday. And it was the same as you're saying. Exactly the same, except you're saying it differently. It was that you pray. You pray all night, and you pray and you pray, and in the Alcoholics Anonymous thing, they say, that if you have a problem with somebody, you pray more for that person, but its flipping difficult, when you've got these really difficult people, as Jane said, difficult emotions which is what we're dealing with, isn't it, with these leaders. People like Bush, who are actually recovering alcoholics, who are bombing poorer countries in the guise of religion. Because, see, he comes out with this Christian stuff, doesn't he, and everything, but he's actually actively aggressive to a country that's got nothing, and I can't understand that. I find that absolutely unconscionable.
SDA: This tendency is described in the Vedic literatures, very expertly. The materialistic psychology is minutely analyzed. It is simply called the lording-it-over-propensity. There's one person only who has the right to lord it over, and that's the Supreme Lord. But we try to imitate by ourselves lording it over His property.
Guest (3): That's what everyone's doing, isn't it?
SDA: Just like the American Indians were there, and the Europeans came. I'm a descendent of those Europeans who came, and told the Indians, "OK, get off your land. We're taking over. You go to some reservation." So much cruelty was inflicted on the American Indians by my forefathers who had come from Europe. I think I had someone from Scotland, or wherever, but anyway, this is lording-it-over-propensity. Actually, this is all God's land. It doesn't belong to anyone. It doesn't belong to the Americans, it doesn't belong to the British. This is God's property. In the middle, we've come and claimed, "It is my property," and we fight over it. It's all God's property.
VPM: (indistinct) what's your prayer, in your mind.
SDA: Oh yeah. (laughter) After 9/11, America became very religious right after the thing, but it was all nationalistic thing. It would say God Bless America, . Billboards. All of a sudden, God's everywhere, but it was always this nationalistic thing. God, I was thinking, well what about the other countries? Why not God Bless India, God Bless Britain. If we're going to invoke God's name, why just America? It's so ridiculous. I would just laugh at all these billboards.
Guest (3): It's such an immaturity.
SDA: Its again bodily consciousness. 'I'm an American, I'm a Britisher, I'm a male, I'm a female.' There's so much exploitation. In fact, all the exploitation in the world is going on on this false platform of 'I am this body.' All the exploitation.
VPM: Prayers are also there.
SDA: Just like, how many women are being abused by men on the basis of bodily consciousness? Its all because the man is thinking he's male, he's seeing that she's female, "Let me abuse this person for my sense gratification." It's all based on bodily consciousness. "I'm born in a Muslim family, so I'm a Muslim, and I hate anyone that's not a Muslim." I grew up as a Protestant, and I remember as a little child, I could just imagine my parents, how they must have trained me, because we had a little Catholic girl my age, Jonie, little girl Jonie, she lived next door So, she was a Catholic. So, I remember, I can remember as a little boy, I told her Jesus doesn't love you, because that's how my parents were training me. What a horrible thing for me to tell her. So horrible. I must have upset her so much, I can't imagine.
Guest (3): But that's what you were being told.
SDA: That's how I was being trained: "Catholics are going to hell." We would drive by a Catholic church, my parents would make some comment. This is all within Christianity! How absurd, how ridiculous all of this is.
VPM: Christians (indistinct).
VPM: Christians are saying that "If you don't love Jesus, you are going to hell."
SDA: Pshewww. I just laugh at all of it now. It's so silly.
Guest (3): How were you drawn to India and Vedic science?
SDA: Ah, now that's a very interesting question.
Guest (3): As an American, its quite unusual.
SDA: Its very simple. As a young boy, I went to high school, and my father said, "Son your college days will be the happiest days of your life." So I said, "OK, I'll just buckle down, and study hard and get into college, and everything will be great." Dad taught me, and I had faith in dear old Dad. But I got to college and, now all of a sudden I'm on my own. I'm no longer in a nest. I have to make my own livelihood, my own future, my own living separately and I was frankly bewildered by it. I wasn't happy at all, it was a very depressing and scary time for me, and if this was my happiest days of my life, then what would the rest of my life be like? I just put two and two together, and realized that this is not very good.
At our college - it was an interesting school - a small liberal arts school. They had a course called basic studies, which is basically four semesters. It was an inter-departmental curriculum where we would meet in a big auditorium, and there would be professors that would come from each department and give lectures. A very nicely designed course on Western Civilization. Of course, that's what everyone called it. It was Basic Studies 101 Course. That's B.S. 101. But anyway, we had a chance to be exposed to all the great thinkers, all the great cultures, all the aspects of Western civilization. So, I was looking, "OK, what's the answer? What's the purpose of life?" We went through all the different things, the Tigris and the Euphrates, the Greeks, the Romans, the Existentialists, the Renaissance, so many different philosophers and thinkers, and ideas. For two years we studied this stuff. Plus, I took a course on Philosophy to boot, and we were exposed to all this stuff, but nobody could say what is the purpose of life, so I was bewildered.
I couldn't even pick a major, because to me a major is irrelevant. "First I want to know what's the meaning of life. First tell me what the purpose of life is, then ask me what I want to major in." That was my mood. I was reading books, inquiring from my friends in the dorm, trying to find out what is the purpose of life. Finally, I transferred out of there because I wanted to be a drama major, I hadn't decided a major. I said, "I can't handle reality, it's too depressing, so let me just enter into unreality: The world of make-believe, the world of drama. At least I can forget the pain of reality, and enter into some, dream-world, and make that my livelihood." I was thinking, "I'll be an actor." My grandmother had a dramatic flair. She was very good at dramatic storytelling, so I had a little, picked that up from my Grandma. So, I thought I'd go to drama school, but I got down there, and then once somebody came back. It was a very major drama school in U.S.: The University of Texas Drama School, one of the top ten at the time. So some successful graduates came back to tell us what it was really like to be an actor. "Oh no, I can't handle this!"
That was the Sixties. That was when the counter-culture revolution was taking place; we're talking 1967. Spiritual enlightenment, Indian philosophy, Austin just happened to be the 'new age' or the 'hippy mecca' for Texas. Everywhere else was just completely strait-laced, but Austin was the place for alternative culture, and I just happened to be there when there were hundreds of people reading books on, Eastern philosophy. So, I fell into that circle, and I found out that there are great yogis who became enlightened, and had actually achieved a state of consciousness beyond all misery. I said, "OK, that's it." I thought I'd become enlightened, so I was just reading books, gurus would come to town, so I tried so many things for years.
So I went from one, I got initiated in this, I tried that. Nothing worked. Nothing, nothing at all liberated my consciousness. Finally, I ended up going to San Francisco I felt that a divine voice was calling me to go to San Francisco. I met the Hare Krishnas at that time, but actually, I got sidetracked into being a musician, became a locally popular musician at the time. The material energy will sometimes distract us, when we try to take up the spiritual path. The Christians call that Satan, the Vedic scriptures call that Maya; she's actually a pure person, but she does that as a service for the Lord, to test us. So, Maya offered me popularity as a songwriter and a singer, in the Bay Area of San Francisco, Haight-Ashberry, and I fell for it for a while. But after a while, I realized that this isn't really what I wanted. Its just singing and music, and I really want spiritual enlightenment. That's what I really have to have. So, I went back to my Bible. I'd been raised as a Christian, and by this time I was back in Austin. Some bad scene had began to manifest. Somebody got murdered at a Rolling Stones concert in California. Some bad things were starting to happen, the so-called love and peace scene was falling apart. I headed back to Austin, which was a little more mellow, and I started reading the Bible, and tried to figure out, "OK, Christ was an enlightened being. Now, that's what I want. I want to be an enlightened being like Christ was. How can I achieve it? Pure spiritual enlightenment. Totally liberated person. That's what I want. How can I get it?" I was just reading it, trying to figure out, "OK, what made this guy Jesus tick? What was his secret for enlightenment?" And, finally one day, there it was. Eureka! I found it! "Father not my will, but Thy will be done." That's it. I knew that was it. But, the only problem was that I didn't know what God's will was for me to do.
I was thinking, I'm just like Saul on the way to Damascus. They call it the Damascus experience, I think the modern Christians call it that now. You've got your divine voice from the sky saying, "OK, this is who you are and this is your mission." I was waiting, but it wasn't coming. What to do? So I was still doing my music thing at the time. There was a vegetarian co-op where I used to go and play my music. People buy their vegetables. I'd be out there serenading the vegetarians, with my music, and one day, everyone was more interested in vegetables than they were in my music, so I was a little depressed, but one very nice little girl, she was my only audience that day. She saw that I was not very happy. She was an emotionally sensitive person who could see that I was depressed. She was the only one listening, and she said, "Don't worry." She sayd, "God can hear you." I went, "Wow, there's something really profound there. Here I am waiting so that God can speak to me, and I'm not hearing anything, and I'm discouraged and depressed, feeling lost, without the guidance coming, but He can hear me. So, I guess I'll start begging Him."
So, just as Christ was the perfect servant, now all of my energy must be 100% channeled into that one thing, and that one thing only. "My dear God, guide me how to be Your perfect servant". I was fortunate, I wasn't working a job. In the hippy era. you could just sing and strum your way around. Hippies would put me up because they like my music. If they got tired of me, I would just go to somebody else's house. I would go to another town, I was just hitchhiking around, playing music. I didn't have to worry about money. I would just sing. That's all I had to do to earn a living was sing. I didn't have to worry about getting a gig, in a club, or something. Just sing for people. Sing on college campuses. Sing in people's houses. Sing at vegetarian co-ops. Sing at vegetarian restaurants, for my lunch, or whatever. I didn't worry about money. I just sang my music, and God took care of me, so I didn't have to worry about going to a job, and putting my energy into working. It was special mercy I had gotten from the Lord. I could just put all my energy into my spiritual search, and nothing else did I think about.
So, I just put all my energy, "Dear God, please guide me how to be Your perfect servant." I had nothing else to even think about. I had no family, I wasn't going to school, I wasn't working. My family was there. I was one of these hippy run-away types. "Who cares what they think about me? We're the counter culture, they can say whatever they want." I was just doing my thing. I didn't have a wife, or any children. I didn't have any school. I didn't have any work. I could put all my energy into my spiritual realization. "God guide me how to be Your perfect servant." And one day, there was a knock on the door. (knocking on wood) I was staying with a guy named Mike, and Mike's friend Margaret came over.
She said, "There's a Hare Krishna Swami in town. He'll be at my apartment in an hour or so."
I was there because I used to chant with them. Actually, I had discovered the mantra right before I had gone to San Francisco. A friend of mine had taught me the mantra. I had been chanting Hare Krishna on my own even before I knew there was a movement, so you can't say I was brainwashed by the cult, because I'd been chanting Hare Krishna on my own before I even knew there was a movement. I settle in an apartment in Denver Colorado in 1968, chanting Hare Krishna, because a friend of mine, a hippy friend, he taught it to me, and I'd also gotten a Gita in the library, not this one, but one that some of the verses were accurately translated at least. But anyway, I had experienced how, by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, I could take off like on a magic carpet and enter into other dimensions of reality, on a mantra. I had practically experienced that. I didn't even know there was a movement. I just knew this mantra worked.
So, at that time, when I was on the West Coast I used to sometimes go with the Hare Krishnas and chant. Oh, I thought they were really weird. I could never do that. That time, as a musician, I had many girlfriends and all that. The life of being a celibate monk seemed a bit strange to me. But, by the time I got back to Austin, and had tried the freewheeling life of a popular singer, and all the things that went with that, and realizing I wasn't fulfilled spiritually, I was willing to do anything. And so, when I again met up with the Hare Krishna's, this time I met a monk who didn't seem weird to me, like the other ones had seemed weird to me.
I met this monk who was on a very high spiritual platform. His voice was filled with emotion, loving emotion that just soothed your heart. He lived a way that was - as I was living - a renounced life without any thought of money, he also was doing that, and I was amazed to see his lifestyle. He would just live in different homes where people would put him up, and he would have not a penny to his name. He had some magazines, Hare Krishna magazine, Back to Godhead. He would take them to the university campus. He would sell them through the day. He would take every penny he had collected, and he would go to the grocery store and buy vegetables and rice and milk, and he would cook a wonderful feast and feed everyone, have a program at a home. Every night he would say, he would go to the campus during the day and chant hand out the magazine and say, "Invite me to your home and I will turn your home into a temple."
So you have to go to the campus to find out where the swami would be tonight. So, anyway, this one was different than the other monks I had met. He didn't seem weird, just 'gung-ho' sort of. The others seemed to me kind of like a military boot-camp mentality that did not appeal to me honestly speaking. It was like this 'gung-ho', 'Join the Army' sort of mentality I met, the first devotees I met. I liked them, they were nice, but they didn't attract me to join them. It just didn't appeal to me, but this one was very different. He was very different, Visnujana Maharaja. He was so powerful and potent. Every word that he spoke just reverberated with deep significance. At that time we were the LSD-Marijuana crowds , higher consciousness, Timothy Leary, 'Tune-in, Turn-on and Drop-out'.
So, we were thinking, if you could just somehow stay intoxicated all the time, that's perfection. But, I went into the kitchen to get a drink of water at one evening program, and he came into the kitchen. It was just the two of us alone there, and he looked at me right in the eye and said, you have to become sober. I went, "wow". This guy is high. He's on a very high platform of spiritual enlightenment, he's really up there, tasting the very sublime nectar of spiritual enlightenment. He's looking down at me mercifully, giving me an inside tip, and I knew that I had to become sober, and I did. I walked away from all the bad habits, so at least I'll try it for six months. So, I'll become celibate, tell all my girlfriends to forget it. No more nonsense. No more drugs, just chant Hare Krishna, practice celibacy, as a monk. I actually moved in the temple, and shaved my head. It was an experiment. I wasn't going to give my whole life to it, by any means. I wasn't ready for that. I wanted to make an experiment. I heard that there was one poet, Gary Snyder, he had gone to live in a Zen monastery. So, I can go live in a Hare Krishna monastery to see what I can learn, . Keep my independence, like a sociologist studying the natives. Right? So, I came in like that. Just to live there as an observer, to see what I can learn. "When in Rome, do as a Roman." I'll do everything. So, I'll just see what I can learn from it, and I told Venisha this story last night. That was the final thing that actually flipped me into a lifetime of dedication.
The idea of being a devotee of God, I could understand.
"Yes, yes. Alright, I'll be a devotee of Krishna. Yes, I can accept that Krishna is God. It makes sense."
It's described in authoritative Vedic literatures, and I had already felt that He was God when I chanted His name. In 1968 in Denver, and I felt that He seemed as God. He reveals Himself as God in the Gita. I'd accepted Him as God. I chanted His name, and I felt something I'd never felt in any other way, so alright. But, being a disciple of the spiritual master... wait a minute. That means obedience, submission. Forget it. Nope. Nope. Uh uh.
"I'll be a devotee of Krishna but I won't be a disciple of the spiritual master. That means you really gotta buckle down and really seriously submit yourself to some spiritual, some living spiritual authority and just say, this is good, this is not good. Huh uh, no way."
But the devotees pointed out, "Steve there's a verse in the Bhagavad-gita. You're saying you're a devotee of Krishna, but Krishna says, 'Just surrender to the spiritual master'. Wait a minute. You can't do that, you can't say you're a devotee of Krishna unless you're willing to surrender to the spiritual master."
So, I was philosophically defeated, because they were right, but still I wasn't going to do it. (Laughter) I was a hold out.
"Hmm. No way, I'm just gonna stay here and do my thing, like Gary Snyder in the Zen monastery, keep my independence."
I was thinking, "I'll be, I'll do it like George did, write songs about Krishna, and I'll stay here for a while, and after a while, I'll go out, and keep writing songs about Krishna, go around and sing songs like George does. George does it. So, he's doing a great service for Krishna. I can do the same thing."
But then, one day, I was vacuuming the rug, in the temple room, and I heard, actually, this was a recording that was produced by George, interestingly enough, the London devotees had gotten together with George, and he loved the chanting so much when he met devotees.
"Let's make a record."
George wanted to promote Hare Krishna. That was his idea. Devotees didn't ask him.
He said, "Let's do this!"
He wanted to do that. He was so inspired. He wanted to do it. So, anyway there was an album that was produced by George, with the London devotees, and they had one song on this album, it had just been released. I was living as a visitor in the Hare Krishna asrama in Austin, Texas, and we were on the street one day, and some radio station had gotten a promotional copy from Apple Records, and they didn't want it. They thought, "This is weird, Indian spirituality. Forget it."
But they just happened to see us on the street, and said, "Here, you guys have it. You might appreciate it." They didn't want to throw it away, so they handed it to the devotees. They just walked up and handed it to us on the street. So, we took that 33 1/3 rpm back to the temple, and stuck it on the record player. So, I was vacuuming the rug one morning, and I was hearing all the love, the emotions in the heart you could hear coming through in the music and the way they were singing the song to Prabhupada, the spiritual master:
It was just really touching. There was a whole group of them, and you could see they had intense love for Prabhupada, the spiritual master of the Hare Krishna movement. So I was vacuuming the rug, and I was listening to this intense emotion of love for the spiritual master, Krishna's representative on this planet, and I was swept away by it. It was so sweet, and so wonderful that all I could do was just think, "Wow, wouldn't it be beautiful if I gave my life to Prabhupada?" (chuckles)
That was it, I was finished. That was the beginning of my spiritual enlightenment. That was what totally brought me out of the material nature, into the spiritual nature. That moment. Wouldn't it be beautiful if I gave my life to Prabhupada? It was simply a theoretical thing at that moment. But the nectar, the pure love I experienced at that moment, I never tasted any love like that anywhere in the world. Not from my friends, not from my parents, not from girlfriends, from my good college buddies, or whatever. I never experienced that kind of a love, loving feeling anywhere, as when I thought, "Wouldn't it be beautiful if I gave my life to Srila Prabhupada, the spiritual master?" And I knew there was only one way I could continue to taste that feeling. I had to do it. There was no hesitation, I knew I was going to do it. There was not even any question of whether I would do it or not. I knew, when I tasted that sweetness of love for Prabhupada that I knew that that's what I would do, and I did it.
"Now I will give my life to the spiritual master," and that was how I became completely transformed into this line of consciousness. That's how it happened, in a nutshell. (Laughter) Pretty big nutshell! But, that's indeed how it happened.
The beautiful thing about the spiritual master is he's not limited to his body. Spiritual master has two types of presence; there is called vani, and vapuh in Sanskrit. Vani means vibrational presence, or his teachings. Vapuh is the physical body. So the spiritual master is present in both ways, but the vani presence, vibrational presence, his teachings, that is more important, because the body will be here for some time, then it will not.
Just like Prabhupada left the world in 1977. His body is finished. We buried it in Vrndavana, India. The body is now buried, packed in salt, to preserve, but still, its buried, and is no longer animated, but the vibrational presence of the spiritual master, that is eternal. So, even before having met my teacher, I learned, "I've connected with him on the vibrational platform."
So many of my fellow devotees, who were very much always with Prabhupada, when he left, they had difficulty and fell away from Krishna consciousness, but because my connection was always based on the vibrational platform, I have never wavered a moment from that day, and it has simply continued to strengthen, more and more. Of course, I got his physical too. He very kindly blessed me in various ways by his personal darsana, personal correspondence, but I am eternally connected with him, and he is watching over me at every moment, blessing me and even helping me to speak here to you all, because actually I was never a good speaker. I was always a shy nervous-type person who couldn't address a crowd, but because I'm simply acting as a channel for my own guru to speak through me, therefore I see, wherever I go, all over the world, people can go on hearing for a very long time what I'm saying, and become very inspired by it. I am seeing how so many people are being inspired. It is not my words. It is my guru speaking through me, Srila Prabhupada.
So, anyway, that's a little inside story there.
Guest (4): Where do you go on to when you die, then?
SDA: A soul who is totally immersed in Krishna consciousness will regain the spiritual world at the time of death, go back to live with Krishna. Now Krishna will, of course, sometimes send an enlightened soul to come to this material world also. Prabhupada was sent here by Krishna to spread Krishna consciousness in this world, but the normal rule is, the normal system at the time of death, an enlightened being will go back to rejoin Krishna in His eternal pastimes in the spiritual world. Or, if you're attracted to another form of God, Lord Vishnu for example, because some devotees are attracted to Lord Rama for example, or to Lord Vishnu, another form of Lord Vishnu, there are millions of planets in the spiritual world. The Krishna planet is just one of them. Someone who is more attracted to the four-armed form of Vishnu, they can go to that planet, where Lord Vishnu is worshiped, but the Krishna planet is very special planet, because there God is not at the office. There, God is at home, a more intimate setting.
Guest (4): So, do you think you'll reincarnate?
SDA: That is up to Krishna. I totally leave it up to Him, because I have a very strong desire to be a revolutionary, a spiritual revolutionary, so Krishna may send me back for another round, number two. My actual desire, and I constantly pray to Krishna for this is, "Please bless me that this whole world can become inundated in a spiritual renaissance before I leave my body." I'm always praying like that, constantly. Now, that may not happen, and because I'm thinking like that, Krishna may ask me to come back again in my next lifetime, to continue on, because I have a very strong desire to be a spiritual revolutionary. That's very much my nature, even before I found out about this movement, I was thinking like that.
Guest (4): Would you have to be enlightened again?
SDA: No, no no. Once you're enlightened, you're enlightened. Oh yeah, once you become spiritually enlightened, that's it. You take birth again, but not as an ordinary person. You may appear to be an ordinary person, but Prabhupada, for example, our teacher, he came into this world as an enlightened being. He did not come as a conditioned soul who was brought out of illusion like I am. There are two types of beings: there are enlightened beings and there are conditioned beings. Practically, this was the world of conditioned beings, and we all take birth here because of envy of God. Now, sometimes the Lord, He will personally come Himself, or He will send an enlightened being like Lord Jesus, or Prabhupada, or like Elijah Muhammad, he will send enlightened beings to this world to, as a blessing to us. So, but once you're enlightened, you're enlightened, that's it. Now, because we have free will, an enlightened person could blow it, and lose his enlightenment, and become envious of God again, because free will is there, and not that once you become enlightened, you become a robot with no independence. You always have you're independence. You never lose it, even after you're enlightened, you always have your independence, but the chances are that after having once stuck your hand in the fire and got it burned, you won't do that again. Once you've misused your independence, and gotten burned by so many sufferings of material existence, you won't want to do that again. An intelligent person will never make the mistake twice. That's why Krishna says, "Once you return to My abode, you'll never come back here again. You'll never return to this world of birth and death. You'll remain in My abode." But again, the exception is one can come back as an enlightened being to spread spiritual enlightenment amongst those who don't have it.
Guest (4): Thank you very much.
SDA: Yeah, let's call it quits, because everybody's going to fall asleep here on the couch. I don't want to have that happening. Now, who's the host, who's house? Thank you so much for hosting this program, and I want to thank each and every one of you, and those who also left early. I'm so happy you all came. You just made a wonderful evening for me, I can tell you. Each and every one of you, you've added energy to this event. Every one of your presences has been just as significant as mine, if not more so, by your very nice listening. The speaker's creating an energy, but the hearers are also creating an energy in the room by their hearing, so you all, you've all helped to make this a wonderful gathering and I thank you all very much. Hare Krishna.
I have my e-course. Its a free e-course, its not spam. It has a remove thing on it, so you can try it, and if you don't like it, you just go to remove, and you're off, but anybody who wants to join the e-course should give your name and email address. That way you have, if nothing else, at least you have my email and your own way of staying in touch with me.
Guest (4): I haven't got a computer yet.
SDA: Well, then I'm available... you can always write me as well. You can write me by 'snail' mail. I'm available by 'snail' mail too.
(guests laughing) 'Snail' mail.
SDA: They call it 'snail' mail.
Guest (4): Thank you.
SDA: Anybody who wants a card, I can give the card also, but if you give your,
VPM: Email and..
SDA: If you give the email address.. Anybody who wants a card is welcome to have it. I'm not handing them out profusely because I didn't bring enough for the trip. Honestly, I printed 1,000 of them. I only brought thirty. I figure after two and a half weeks... You should definitely keep, because you need my snail mail address, I've got to give them a little sparingly, just a little here, a little there. If I give out all the cards, to everybody in every gathering, by the time I leave here, before I get to Helsinki, I'll be totally out of cards, so, if you give your email address here, then you can easily contact me.
VPM: If you have any questions also, you can ask.
SDA: You can always inquire by email. Venisha knows how much time I spend writing my emails every day.
Venisha: I picked them up from the airport, what time did we get back from airport? All the way from America, having been delayed in Amsterdam, (indistinct) he got his computer out, and was responding to emails. (laughter)
SDA: With 7,000 plus signed-up, and some of them do ask me questions. Some of them are very serious, some are asking philosophical questions, some actually want to be disciples, and are asking for practical guidance also how to live there life in a way that they can actually become enlightened beings. So, I have to really meditate very deeply, because, to give them the perfect answer, I have to channel my own guru's wisdom into what I say to them so they can get the proper guidance. It's a very heavy, awesome responsibility. It's like being a father with many, many children that are all coming to you wanting guidance. Well, that's great.
Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Dasa