October 8, 2005
vande ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-pada-kamalam sri-gurun vaisnavams ca
Sankarshan Das Adhikari: This Ratha Yatra festival, for those who are interested in understanding the inner meaning of this Ratha Yatra festival, it is the process of bringing Lord Sri Krishna back to Vrindavana. So now Krishna has come to this place right now is actually Vrindavana. By the mercy of Jagannatha Swami, we are situated in Vrindavana right now with Lord Sri Krishna. Lord Krishna is very grateful, Lord Jagannatha is very grateful that all you devotees have given Him such a nice escort back to Vrindavana. So, what is the significance of this Vrindavana? This Vrindavana is the special home of God. Every rich man has his favorite place to enjoy. So who can be more rich than God? He owns everything. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita. Krishna says,
He says, "I am the Enjoyer of everything and I am the proprietor of everything". So Krishna has one place that is very, very special to Him. That is Sri Vrindavana Dhama. So that place is the residence of not only of Krishna, but is the place of residence of the dear most devotees of Krishna. And for those who follow this process of Krishna consciousness, they are allowed to enter into that Sri Vrindavana Dhama. So, one may ask why should I be interested in going back to the abode of the Lord. Many people think it is some kind of mythology. That’s all. The only thing they believe is material science- test tubes and laboratories and microscopes. But the fact is that there is a reality beyond this gross matter. And those who are advanced in Krishna consciousness, they actually experience the reality beyond this gross matter. As long as we base our happiness on this gross material matter, sense gratification, we must be disappointed, because this body is subject to four kinds of defects. Isn't it? Everyone is born, everybody gets sick sometimes. And I see many people with grey hair here. My hair is also getting grey. We are also getting old. And then what happens after you get old? Well, nobody likes to talk about it but we all ‘check out of the hotel’. Sooner or later we have to ‘check out of the hotel’. That is called death. But nobody wants to die, nobody wants to get old, nobody wants to get sick. But these things are forced upon us by this material nature. So there is a process of getting yourself free from the laws of this material nature. And that is the process that the great spiritual masters of India have passed on to us for thousands and thousands of years. This is the process known as bhakti-yoga. It is a process of reconnecting yourself with the Supreme Self.
The atheist would argue that there is no God, there is no Supreme Self. But then we have to ask, a simple example, everyone has some wealth, isn't it? Someone has a little bit of money, someone has a little bit more money, someone has a lot of money, someone has a big lot of money. No one has the same amount of wealth. So somewhere there is somebody who has more wealth than anyone else. And I will give you an insider secret. There is somebody who has more wealth than Bill Gates. And that person is the Supreme Person. So you cannot argue that everyone has the same amount of wealth. Nor can you argue that everyone has the same amount of strength. Nor can you argue that everyone has the same amount of beauty. Nor can you argue that everyone has the same amount of renunciation. Nor can you argue that everyone has the same amount of knowledge or fame. Somewhere there is somebody who has more power, more beauty, more renunciation, more knowledge, more wealth and more fame than anybody else. That is God. So, the relationship that we have with that Supreme Person is the most important thing because that Supreme Person is the origin of everything. That Supreme Person is the controller of everything. So if we can have a perfect relationship with that Supreme Person, we will achieve perfect knowledge, perfect happiness and we will regain our original, eternal identity as spiritual beings. So, we are teaching in this Krishna consciousness movement how to reestablish that relationship with that Supreme Person. This festival today, this joyous celebration, Ratha Yatra, is only one of the many great festivals we have. In fact in the Krishna consciousness process, every day is a festival. We don't have to wait for one year for some big festival. We have a festival every morning. It is called mangala arati. So if you would like to celebrate, then you simply take up this process of Krishna consciousness. We will teach you how to celebrate the greatest joy, the greatest happiness at every minute of your life, whether you are at home, whether you are at the office, whether you are stuck in a traffic jam or whether you are waiting in line at the grocery store. We will teach you how to experience unlimited bliss, how to taste unlimited nectar at every second. It is actually very simple. We will give you one magic mantra. Some yogis they come and they want to give you a mantra but they want to charge you $500. But we are giving you this mantra absolutely free. Please do not misunderstand that because we are giving it to you free, that it has no value. According to a great scriptural writing called Kali Santarana Upanisad, this mantra I am giving you it is the most valuable mantra. My spiritual master, His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada gave us this mantra. He didn't ask any money. This is his love for us. He wanted to free us of all our suffering. And he told us that we should come to Sofia, Bulgaria and share it with you all. (Cheerful applause - Devotees shout 'Haribol').
So now we will share the mantra. For those who don't know, we will repeat. We have a special way of teaching you the mantra. First we would do one word at a time, then two words, three words, four words like that. So everyone repeat after me with great enthusiasm as loud as possible so it bounces off of all the buildings. [Gurudeva chants one name at a time and devotees repeat] Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Now we will do two words at a time. [Gurudeva chants two names at a time and devotees repeat]. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. That is very good. Now we will do four words at a time. [Gurudeva chants four names at a time and devotees repeat]. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Now we will go to eight words. [Gurudeva chants eight names at a time and devotees repeat]. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. You have almost got it. Now we will do all sixteen words and you will have the whole mantra. [Gurudeva chants all the sixteen names of the mantra together and devotees repeat]. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
So, all of you who came here for the first time to chant, everyone has memorized it? It is written here also, if you forget it, then come over here and write it down on a piece of paper and take it home with you. Because this Hare Krishna mantra is the most valuable thing you will ever find in this entire world. It is more valuable than all the money owned by everyone in every bank, in very country of the whole world. It is more valuable than all the gold you will find throughout the entire world. You take all the platinum, all the diamonds, all the rubies, all the corals, all the emeralds, everything valuables in this world and you put it on one side of a scale and on the other side you put Hare Krishna then it will outweigh all the wealth of this world. So we have no objection if you earn some money to make livelihood to pay your bills. That is alright. But if all you do is make money and you don't develop your dormant Krishna consciousness, the Srimad Bhagavatam says you are simply foolishly wasting your life, srama eva hi kevalam - “it is a useless labor”. You may maintain your body very nicely, you may sit very comfortably in some hotel but still your body will die. The only thing you can carry with you beyond this temporary body is how much you have developed your love for God. So the process of developing your love for God is to chant His Holy Names. Isn't that how we develop love for someone? We associate with them, isn't it? Did you ever fall in love with somebody whom you never met? No, we develop love by association. So Krishna is so kind, He has appeared in the form of His Name. So we can chant His Name and develop our love for Him more and more and more. And by celebrating these wonderful festivals like Ratha Yatra, the natural feelings of love which are there very deep within our heart become awakened. And we regain our original spiritual nature which is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. So kindly participate in this Hare Krishna movement. We have a very nice center here in Sofia, Bulgaria. We have regular programs like chanting and dancing and feasting. If you approach any of the members of our center here and ask the address, they will tell you the address, phone number and everything. I think there is one card they are passing out which gives all that information. So, please take up this process of Krishna consciousness very seriously. We guarantee that you will become the happiest person if you do this. If you try this process very seriously for six months, and if you do not find that you have become the happiest person you can ever imagine that you could be, we will give you ten thousand dollars cash. So you have nothing to lose. Ten thousand dollars is a lot of money in Bulgaria, isn't it? Ten thousand U.S. dollars, that's big money, isn't it? You've got nothing to lose. Just seriously take up Krishna consciousness for six months. We would trust your honesty that you are not trying to cheat us. Just sincerely practice this process of Krishna consciousness for six months and see the result. I have been making this offer for the last ten years and nobody has ever come forward for the money yet. [Applause] Because they have realized there is nothing greater than this Krishna consciousness.
So if any of you have some questions, I can try to answer them. There is a question. You have to help me here. I already have a question coming here. [To a devotee] You are next. You are number 2. So what is the question?
Devotee: How long have you been participating in this Krishna conscious movement?
SDA: Yes. I began first chanting the Hare Krishna mahamantra in 1968 and I began to take it very seriously in 1971 when I became a disciple of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. So I have been seriously following this pathway for 34 years. Are you also practicing? Kindly dedicate your whole life to this pathway. I guarantee you will become so happy that you won't believe that so much happiness could even exist.
Alright, there is another question.
Devotee: Where will you be after six months?
SDA: Where will I be? I am coming back to Sofia. I am coming back in six months. You give me your report. [Laughter]. You have to take up the full process, for six months with all seriousness, I trust your honesty.
SDA: He has asked a very nice question. He has asked “How do we measure happiness”? There are different types of happiness. One is called material happiness. The other is called spiritual happiness and the other is called devotional happiness. The topmost type of devotional happiness is described in the Srimad Bhagavatam, "Brahma saukyam tv anantam". That devotional happiness means it goes on increasing unlimitedly forever, there is nothing that can interrupt it. Material happiness is always interrupted. You may have a beautiful girlfriend and feel that you are the happiest guy in the world. But then she goes with some other guy and you are miserable. You may win a lottery and become a millionaire then all your friends start to steal your money. And then again you become miserable. You may be very strong and healthy and enjoy your strong healthy body but then you get cancer, so any happiness that is temporary, is material happiness. And there is also a spiritual happiness of merging into what is called Brahman. But that happiness is also temporary. But when you come to the platform of devotional happiness, loving relationship with God, that happiness cannot be interrupted by any material situation. That is real happiness. Real happiness means it cannot be interrupted by any form of anxiety. Nothing can even touch it even slightly. That is genuine happiness. And that we can give you if you are prepared to take it. You have to want it. We cannot force it on you. In this world everyone is running after that temporary material happiness, because it gives some immediate cheap thrill. This devotional happiness is very subtle. Unless you are trained to actually see it and understand it, it will escape you. You require training from a bona fide spiritual master on how to actually enter into that dimension beyond time and space where happiness is unlimited.
Devotee: Does the soul live forever?
SDA: Yes, the soul in Sanskrit is called "atma". The actual self or the atma never dies. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, na jayate mriyate va kadacin - "For the soul there is never birth and death." So, actually you are not born nor do you die. Your body is born and your body dies. But you do not die. Just like now you are wearing a blue jean jacket. That blue jean jacket, some time ago it did not exist. But they took some cotton and they made some thread and then they took some dye and they wove it and they made into a blue jean jacket. Then after sometime it will deteriorate and will be no more. But you the wearer of that jacket is still there. So your body is just like that jacket. You are an eternal spiritual being. That body comes and that body goes but you always remain. Would you like to reawaken your dormant, enlightened consciousness? Would you like to fully realize your own spiritual nature which is full of bliss and full of knowledge? Very good, we will teach you how to do that.
Devotee: How to fully engage our mind only in Krishna consciousness and nothing else?
SDA: This is a very, very nice question you have asked, “How to fully engage our minds in Krishna consciousness and nothing else”. The real key is you have to try to develop your love for Krishna. If you love someone you could do nothing but think of them 24 hours, isn't it? Just like a mother, she loves her child very much. So she naturally always thinks of her child. So if you will develop your love for Krishna, then you will do nothing but think of Him 24 hours. So the question is how to develop love for Krishna? This is actually very easy. Because you already love Him, it is just buried deep within you now. That is all. So whatever service you are asked to do by your spiritual master or by the devotees, try to do it with love. Everything you do for Krishna, try to do it with genuine feelings of love. Just imagine if Krishna was coming to your house tonight and you were cooking a dinner for Him and you were preparing a place for Him to sit. How nicely you would do it to receive Him, "Oh Krishna is coming to my house tonight, let me make a very nice dinner, my best preparation, so He will enjoy the dinner. Let me make everything very clean and attractive. So in this way do everything with the feeling of love for Krishna. When you sing, sing with love. When you chant your japa, chant with love. Do everything in a loving way for Lord Krishna. And those feelings of love will begin to become more and more manifest within your heart. Then it will be very, very easy to always remain in Krishna consciousness.
Devotee: What is the easiest process to suppress the false ego?
SDA: So, she wants to know how to suppress the false ego? That is also very easy. All you have to do is revive your real ego. Your false ego is “I am this body.” “I am a Bulgarian woman”. “I am the enjoyer”. That is called false ego. But real ego is jivera ‘svarupa' haya -- krsnera ‘nitya-dasa'. “I am the eternal servant of Krishna”. So by identifying yourself as Krishna's devotee, putting tilaka, wearing sari, bowing down before the Deities, all the items of being a devotee that will revive your real ego that ‘I am the devotee of Krishna’. And because it is more enjoyable to be the real ego, the false ego will be naturally wiped out or destroyed. Do you realize how much your false ego is making you miserable? Do you realize it? Yes. So, get rid of that damn thing. Revive your original Krishna consciousness. Don't think, speak or act on the platform of false ego. You should always think, speak and act on the platform of real ego that I am the eternal servant of Krishna.
Any more questions? So, everybody already knows all the answers now? There is a question?
Devotee: What do we think of suffering?
SDA: So, the question is "What do we think of suffering?" Because some people say, “you have to suffer; it is part of life.” That is called the fool's philosophy. Anyone who thinks you have to suffer is a fool. They don't realize that there is a state of consciousness of unlimited bliss. You may have heard the story of the ‘fox and the grapes’. The fox, he saw the grapes up there. He wanted to have them and he said “they look really enjoyable”. So, he made one jump. He didn't quite reach the grapes. He said, "Well, I will try harder and get the grapes this time". He jumped as high as he could. He still didn't reach the grapes. So he jumped even harder with all his might, one more time, to reach those grapes. He jumped as high as he could. But he still didn't reach the grapes. And he said, "Oh, the grapes are sour". So these people who say that you have to suffer, this is called ‘sour grapes philosophy’. Because they tried to enjoy in this world and they could not do so. They say 'Oh, we have to suffer". But if they had come in contact with a bona fide spiritual master, if they had come in contact with Vedic wisdom, had they come in contact with a devotee of the Lord, then they would have known that there is a way you can actually get those sweet grapes. They would have known that there is actually a way you could enjoy your life unlimitedly at every second. That is why we have the Ratha Yatra festival. So everybody up and down the street would have the opportunity to know how to enjoy unlimited happiness at every minute.
SDA: Do you mean, ‘Can a Krishna conscious person live in the material world and function as a part of the society?’Is that what you are saying?
SDA: Detach? Actually you do not have to detach yourself from anything. You simply attach yourself to Krishna. Do I look like I am detached from this cushion? Do I look like I am detached from this microphone? The devotee of the Lord sees everything as Krishna's energy. He sees everything in this material world as the property of the Lord. Therefore he uses everything in the service of God. He is not detached from anything. He uses everything for Krishna. So in that sense he is simultaneously attached and detached from everything. Because he does not use anything for his personal sense enjoyment, he uses everything for Krishna. If you know how to play violin, you play violin for Krishna. You don't have to be detached from your violin; you play your violin for Krishna.
So, everybody else knows all the answers? You are all fully realized in Krishna consciousness? You have overcome all the obstacles, gone through all the stages- sraddha, sadhu-sanga, bhajana kriya? Yes?
SDA: How does one get to the state of being connected with Krishna? You have to attend the Ratha Yatra. Are you not connected with Krishna right now? You are hearing about Krishna; you are inquiring about Krishna; then you are connected with Krishna. Now you always stay connected with Krishna. That is all. You are connected, now you stay connected.
SDA: So, is this the only way to become a pure lover of God in ISKCON? Philosophically speaking anyone can become a pure lover of God if they fully surrender to Him. It doesn't matter if they are a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Sikh, a Jain, anyone can develop pure love for God. It simply requires complete surrender at the lotus feet of the Lord. But as Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, “sangat sanjayate kamah”- we develop our consciousness according to our association. So if you want to develop pure love of God, you have to find someone who has pure love for God and associate with that person. When I was a young man, I wanted to develop pure love for God. When I was growing up as a Christian, I did not find any proper association in the Christian Church to give me that pure love for God. I was thinking “I was born 2000 years too late”. I was thinking “If I would have been one of the disciples of Jesus, living with him and traveling all over Israel, but he was no longer present. So, where would I get that sanga, that association to develop pure love of God?” But then I found out there was such a pure devotee on the planet, His Divine Grace, Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Asttotara Sata Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Tridandi Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada. So I have never found anyone who has that caliber of bhakti as Prabhupada. If you can find any sanga better than Prabhupada then you can take that sanga. But I have seen all the sanga and no one has that quality of sanga as Prabhupada. So, if your goal of life is to develop pure love of Godhead as soon as possible, by being a member of ISKCON you are glued tightly to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. There is no better place to be. Srila Prabhupada is the most empowered spiritual master in the history of the world. Even Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is Krishna Himself did not distribute Krishna consciousness all over the world. That special sakti, to distribute Krishna bhakti in every city throughout the world was given to Srila Prabhupada and his followers. No one else has that sakti.
prthivite ache yata nagaradi grama
It is predicted in the Caitanya Bhagavata, that this Krishna conscious movement will spread to every town and village throughout this entire world. And it is only His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami and his followers who have that sakti to make that prediction come true. So if you want to develop pure love of God, in this age the method for developing that pure love of God, is to follow Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's order:
yare dekha, tare kaha krsna-upadesa,
The method in this age is to spread this Krishna conscious movement. So the greatest power for spreading Krishna consciousness is possessed by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and those who strictly follow him. How long will we live? Can anyone guarantee that they will live for another five minutes? We do not know when we will leave this body. Therefore we require the strongest bhakti sakti. And that is available at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada. So if you want to become a pure lover of God, I recommend you stick with this ISKCON movement. You should always be thinking ISKCON. You should always be breathing ISKCON. You should always be speaking ISKCON, always acting ISKCON, everything ISKCON, ISKCON, ISKCON. Srila Prabhupada said “ISKCON is the incarnation of Krishna”. Prabhupada also said “there will be another ISKCON in the spiritual world”. In fact they have already started it up there. They have opened a center up there. Many of our ISKCON devotees have already gone back to Godhead. They have already started an ISKCON center in Goloka Vrindavana. So when you retire from ISKCON Bulgaria, you can be transferred to ISKCON Goloka Vrindavana.
SDA: Next question? So everyone has all the answers now?
Devotee: How to learn to ask questions?
SDA: Yes. He has asked a very nice question. He has asked what is the method of learning of how to ask questions? This question is answered by Lord Sri Krishna. Who can answer better than Krishna? He was the best student of Sandipani Muni. Because He was the best student of Sandipani Muni, He was also the best teacher. So, He has given very nice instruction, how to ask questions.
tad viddhi pranipatena
“Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively. Render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.”
In a mood of humble inquiry and in a mood of rendering service, not in the mood of challenging, in the mood of learning, one should inquire from the proper person who is speaking on behalf of Krishna. In this way, the seed of bhakti will be planted in your heart. And if you nurture that seed carefully, daily by chanting:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
And you avoid sinful habits like illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling then that pure love of God will become fully awakened within your heart in due course of time. So, submissive inquiry is a very, very important thing. You have to find that proper person who is speaking on behalf of Krishna without adding or subtracting anything. From that person or persons you must inquire submissively. The mercy of Krishna flows through those persons. By hearing from them Krishna's blessings will fall upon your head like torrents of rain in the monsoon seasons of India.
Questions more? Anyone in the back there has some questions?
SDA: Maybe we should change the mood to something else. What are we having now? Oh, that is nice. Maybe we should wrap it up. Maybe have some kirtana.
Ok, we thank you all very much for so nicely participating. Now we have many wonderful activities coming as we celebrate more and more of this wonderful mercy of Lord Jagannatha, Baladeva and Subhadra. We will have a little chanting and then we have some Bharatanatyam dancing. So everyone stay tuned. We have an exciting evening awaiting everyone who sticks here for the nectar.
[Transcribed by Her Grace Bhaktin Priya]