His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Sunday Feast Lecture: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.17 

Austin, Texas, USA 7/3/2004


SDA:  Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.17.   

Sri Krishna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted. 


Messages of the Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna are non-different from Him. Whenever, therefore, offenseless hearing and glorification of God are undertaken, it is to be understood that Lord Krishna is present there in the form of transcendental sound, which is as powerful as the Lord personally. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, in His Siksastaka, declares clearly that the holy name of the Lord has all the potencies of the Lord and that He has endowed His innumerable names with the same potency. There is no rigid fixture of time, and anyone can chant the holy name with attention and reverence at his convenience. The Lord is so kind to us that He can be present before us personally in the form of transcendental sound, but unfortunately we have no taste for hearing and glorifying the Lord's name and activities. We have already discussed developing a taste for hearing and chanting the holy sound. It is done through the medium of service to the pure devotee of the Lord.

The Lord is reciprocally respondent to His devotees. When He sees that a devotee is completely sincere in getting admittance to the transcendental service of the Lord and has thus become eager to hear about Him, the Lord acts from within the devotee in such a way that the devotee may easily go back to Him. The Lord is more anxious to take us back into His kingdom than we can desire. Most of us do not desire at all to go back to Godhead. Only a very few men want to go back to Godhead. But anyone who desires to go back to Godhead, Sri Krishna helps in all respects.

One cannot enter into the kingdom of God unless one is perfectly cleared of all sins. The material sins are products of our desires to lord it over material nature. It is very difficult to get rid of such desires. Women and wealth are very difficult problems for the devotee making progress on the path back to Godhead. Many stalwarts in the devotional line fell victim to these allurements and thus retreated from the path of liberation. But when one is helped by the Lord Himself, the whole process becomes as easy as anything by the divine grace of the Lord.

To become restless in the contact of women and wealth is not an astonishment, because every living being is associated with such things from remote time, practically immemorial, and it takes time to recover from this foreign nature. But if one is engaged in hearing the glories of the Lord, gradually he realizes his real position. By the grace of God such a devotee gets sufficient strength to defend himself from the state of disturbances, and gradually all disturbing elements are eliminated from his mind. 

om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
caksur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah 

Hare Krishna.  So, this is very very significant information here.  For those of us who are in need of liberation from the anxieties of material existence, this information is indeed pertinent information.  What is the first point?  The first point is that Sri Krishna is the Paramatma, seated in our heart.  That's the first point.  The second point is He is the benefactor of the truthful devotee.  So, if one is Krishna's devotee, and is very honest with oneself, and with others, then Krishna blesses you.  So, what is that blessing?  He cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.  So, now do you see why its so important that we have these classes on the teachings of Krishna?  It is absolutely essential.  If we can develop a taste to hear these messages, why did our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada give so many classes?  You may say, well, there's so much work to do in the temple.  We have to clean.  We have to collect money, new construction projects, we have to print books, so many things.  So why are we sitting down and just hearing philosophy?  Why did our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada give so many classes, so many lectures?  Every day, there was a lecture.  Every morning Bhagavatam class, and in the evening there would be a lecture, and when guests would come to see him, again, talking talking talking talking talking.  For hours and hours, he would go on talking about Krishna.  So, why all this talk going on, someone could say, why not practical activities?  Well, the answer is given right here.   

The devotee who's developed the urge, or the taste for hearing the topics of Krishna, Krishna reciprocates with that devotee by cleansing from his heart, all material desires.  In other words that devotee becomes liberated from all anxiety.  He's liberated.  So, our present position is we have so many anxieties.  We all suffer so many anxieties about money, anxieties about social relationships, anxiety about health, anxiety about terrorists.  So many anxieties.  Anxieties when we're driving a car and we get hit.  We get killed in a car accident.  So many anxieties are there in material life.  Where's the peace of mind in today's culture?  But actually, if we can become free from all material enjoyment desires, and simply desire to serve Krishna, then we can become totally happy.  So, the way to become totally happy is to develop a taste.  Now, we have the Fourth of July weekend.  We're thinking, we will celebrate our independence.  After all, if it hadn't been for the forefathers, they are thinking, we would be British subjects right now.  We'd be singing, all glories to the Queen.  Now we are independent.  But what are they independent of?    Whether you have one set of politicians telling you what to do, or another set of politicians telling you what to do, what is the difference?  Is there any difference really, between this set of politicians, and that set of politicians?  We've been to England, and we see they're going on just like we are.  So, what's the big hoopla about anyway?  A big fireworks display.  Hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Millions of dollars being spent of fireworks displays, all across America.  What's the big hoopla?  What's the big noise?  The big commotion. 

VPM:  Big hoopla, and big accidents also.   

SDA:  Yes.  So, why not become actually independent?  Independence Day, they say.  Fourth of July, Independence Day.  But, they are not independent.  They are still under the laws of birth death old age and disease.  They are still suffering from adhyatmika, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika miseries.  Miseries caused by the mind and body.  Miseries caused by other living beings, and miseries caused by the demigods, that is to say, natural disasters.  So, where is the independence?  If you want actual independence, then develop a taste for hearing the topics of God.  If one can develop a taste for hearing the topics of the Lord, then one becomes actually independent.  Then you can become free from all the material desires which are keeping you in the anxiety position.  We don't say become desireless.  We say develop spiritual desires. Let all your desires be spiritual desires, and then there will be no anxiety.  Sometimes they will say, Gurudeva, how do I become free from desire?  But that is not our program, to become free from all desire.  Our program is to purify our desires, because when the desires are pure, there's no anxiety.  When the desires are impure, there are so many anxieties.  But pure desire means no anxiety.  So, then, one may ask how is it that developing a taste for the topics of the Lord will free me from all anxiety?  That answer is given that the topic of the Lord and the Lord Himself are non-different.  Krishna appears in the form of those topics describing Him.  Just like now we are speaking of Krishna.  This room is filled with the vibrations about Lord Sri Krishna. So, Krishna is actually present here.  Just like He was present before Arjuna, on the chariot here today.  Lord Sri Krishna, Himself is present in the form of this narration about Him.  The qualification for this to happen is, as Prabhupada explains, offenseless hearing and glorification of God.  So, what does it mean to be offenseless?  It means we cannot speculate, well I think Krishna is this, I think Krishna is that.  That's considered offensive.  Who are we to know who is Krishna, we're not self-realized souls.  We're conditioned souls in the material nature.  But, by hearing from the Bhagavad-Gita, by hearing from the Srimad-Bhagavatam, we can get pure information as to who is Krishna, what is Krishna.  That is called offenseless hearing and chanting.  By taking it from the authorities.   

mahajano yena gatah sa panthah 

One must traverse that golden highway laid down by the great acaryas.  That golden road of unlimited devotion from the great acaryas.  If one goes on that highway, then there's no difficulty.  On that highway, Krishna becomes fully manifest.  And it is confirmed by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also.  He says that the Holy Name has all the potencies of the Lord.  He confirms this in the second verse of the Siksastakam. 

namnamakari bahudha nija-sarva-saktis
tatrarpita niyamitah smarane na kalah
etadrsi tava krpa bhagavan mamapi
durdaivamidrsamihajani nanuragah

So, this chanting of God's Holy Name is so wonderful, that even if its the middle of the week, you're at your job, you're far away from the temple, still, you can chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.  And Krishna will be present if you will chant His Names.  He will be present with you.  So, there's never any reason to be in anxiety or to be fearful, because wherever God is present, there is no difficulty.  This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-Gita, it was Sanjaya.  He said 

yatra yogesvarah krsno
yatra partho dhanur-dharah
tatra srir vijayo bhutir

In this way, he says that wherever there is Krishna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will certainly be victory, extraordinary power, opulence, and morality. So, all we have to do is invoke the presence of Krishna.  All we have to do is be Krishna conscious.  Chant Hare Krishna.  Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.  And then Lord Sri Krishna becomes present.  And then wherever Krishna is present, there is victory.  There is morality.  There is extraordinary power.  There is opulence.  Everything is present.  So, all we have to do is be Krishna conscious.  That is the real declaration of independence.  Become Krishna conscious. And then you become free from this material nature.  Declare your independence from this material nature.  Chant Hare Krishna.  This is our declaration of independence.  Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.  I will not be a dancing dog any longer in the hands of Srimati Mayadevi.   I will no longer dance to Mayadevi's drum.  I will dance to Krishna's drum.  As long as we are dancing under the drum of maya then we are subject to so many anxieties, lifetime after lifetime after lifetime.  Birth, death, old-age and disease.  Again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again.  But, when we come under the influence of Krishna, the spiritual nature, that is liberation.  That is mukti, that is moksa, that is liberation from all distress.   

Some people think that liberation means that you become God.  One man just wrote me like that in our e-course.  Have you seen in the Thought for the Day?  He is describing that, “How can you promote bhakti? We are Krishna.”  You can imagine that you're the servant of God, but when you become liberated, then you become Krishna.  He said, don't you realize that the advaita philosophy is that you become God?  So, I explained to him that we don't care for any particular designation.  This philosophy, that philosophy.  Well, advaita philosophy says this, so we have to accept it.  No.  We don't care for any designation or label.  We are interested in truth.  We are lovers of truth.  If any philosophical principle is sound, then we can accept it.  No problem.  But if the principle is unsound, then we cannot accept it.  So, I pointed out to the gentleman that God knows past present and future.  Do we know past present and future?  If I asked you what city was I born in, could you answer that question?  You are not God then.  If I asked you what is the date of my birth, or what was the street I lived on when I grew up, there were two houses, first we lived in a converted cottage, which was a former dressing room for a swimming pool, very humble dwelling, what street was that on?  Who can say?  That means none of you are God.  God knows absolutely everything.  Krishna knows everything.  He has perfect knowledge of everything.  So, I pointed out to the gentleman, that since God knows everything, and we don't therefore, we cannot be God.  But in one sense we are one with God, because God is eternal, full of knowledge and bliss, we are also eternal full of knowledge and bliss.  So, there's one philosophy advaita where everything is one, and there is another philosophy, dvaita where everything is two.  But actually both philosophies are incomplete because there is oneness and there is twoness simultaneously.  So, we explain it this way: acintya-bhedabheda-tattva.   The Absolute Truth is simultaneously, inconceivably, one and different.  They say that, well, I want to become one with God, but do you become one with the government, by trying to take over the government?  That's called envy.  Actual oneness is called a state of harmony.  That is oneness.  What is the oneness between husband and wife.  When they are working together in harmony.  That's called the oneness between husband and wife, when they work together in harmony.  If there's disharmony, is that oneness?  No.  So, if one is envious of God's position, and wants to take over that position, which is the advaita philosophy, you become God, how is that oneness?  That is disharmony.  That is actual twoness.  So, the one who remains separate from God, just as in this material world, we know, that without love its hell.  Life without love is hell, I told the gentleman.  Life without love is hell.  So, if you say that there's no two, and everything is one, then there's no love anymore.  There's no one to give the love and to receive the love.  It all just merges into one.  So, in this way we spoke to the gentleman.  We hope it will make some sense to him.  Because this advaita idea, that everything is one, kills the ability to have loving reciprocation with the Lord.   

Actually, the false conception that  I am God is what got us into the material world in the first place.  If I continue to think that I am God, then how can I get moksa?  Now, it is a fact that there is a type of liberation, sayujya-mukti where one can undergo great penances and austerity,and temporarily float as a spiritual particle in the spiritual world in a sense of being God.  That's a fact.  There is such a liberation.  But 

aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah
patanty adho 'nadrta-yusmad-anghrayah

Bhagavatam says you come down from that position, because its an artificial position.  You may jump off a mountain with your hang-glider and go flying around, floating in the sky, but eventually, by the law of gravity, you'll come down.  You cannot remain floating in the sky.  So, you cannot remain floating in sky brahman as a spiritual particle, thinking that you're God.  You cannot remain there.  If you're qualified, you can actually enter into the abode of the Lord, and be His eternal servitor, krishna-loka.  And if you're not qualified, you can come down here to martya-loka once again.  Welcome home boy.  Birth death old-age and disease.  We're glad you came.  Here's your cubicle.  Work work work until you drop.  Welcome home boy.  This material world is like that.  Everyone's welcoming you.  Misery enjoys company.  The state of misery.  That is this material world.  So, if we want to get out of this place, we have to take Krishna's grace.   

Another nice point here that Prabhupada is making, is that the Lord is reciprocally respondent to his devotees.  That means that according to your degree of surrender, Krishna rewards you.  So, how much reward, how much blessing do we want from the Lord.  Each one of us can decide that.  How much mercy would I like?  Do I want just a little bit of mercy, or do I want unlimited mercy?  Actually, each one of us is making that choice.  Unfortunately, many people don't want any mercy.  By their action, they don't qualify for any mercy, except the slaps of maya, the school of hard knocks.  That's also a mercy of God.  Alright, suffer here, until you come to your senses.  So, Prabhupada says, when He sees a devotee is completely sincere in getting admittance into the transcendental service of the Lord, now let me ask you, how many of you are completely sincere in getting admittance into the transcendental service of the Lord?  You really want that.  Let me see a show of hands.  Anybody sincerely want to get pure devotional service?  Anyone sincerely desires pure devotional service?  No hands went up.  There's two.  Three.  Three hands went up, only.  I also sincerely desire pure devotional service.  So, if we sincerely want pure devotional service, the Lord acts from within us and gives us guidance in such a way that we can easily come to Him.   

And then Prabhupada says that the Lord is more anxious to take us back than we can desire.  In other words, He wants us back more than we desire to go back, actually.  We're like the worm in stool.  You pull him out of the stool, the poor little thing, then you let go of him and he crawls back.  That's us.  That's our position.  Most of us don't desire at all to go back to Godhead.  We're thinking, why should I go back?  I'm happy.  This material world is very nice.  I'll just keep enjoying here, make money, spend it on myself and my family members, and in this way, I will be happy lifetime after lifetime.  Most people think that way.  Why are you serious about spiritual life?  I can just make money, have a nice retirement, enjoy life with my family members, and be happy.  But people don't realize, who is your family?  We're forgetting that we're all children of God.  That actually, the whole planet, we're all one family.  That is our actual family.  We keep thinking that this is my family.  My wife, my kids, my parents, my aunties, my uncles, my cousins.  This is my family.  We lose sight that the tree is my brother also.  All living entities, we are all one family, because God is the Father of all living beings, and therefore we are all one family.  So, Krishna consciousness means that you expand your conception of family life.  Stop neglecting your family members.  Krishna consciousness means don't neglect your family members any longer.  Now, you have to actually be a good family man.  That's Krishna consciousness.  Becoming Krishna conscious means you see who is my family, and by serving Krishna, automatically you render the greatest service to all your family members.  Another point is one cannot enter the kingdom of God unless one is perfectly cleared of all sins. 

This is a modern conception that is going on all over the world.  So and so went back to heaven, but the person was sinful!  Many times we give the example, someone thinks, well, because I go to church every Sunday, and pray, therefore, I'm going to heaven.  Its guaranteed  But every Sunday, after church, they go to McDonald's and have a Double Cheeseburger.  They say because I go to church, I've accepted Jesus, therefore I'm definitely going to heaven.  But one thing they don't realize is there's no Double Arches in the heavenly kingdom.  Actually, secretly, what they enjoyed more on Sunday morning was that trip to the Double Arches.  While they were sitting in the service, they were just meditating on the trip to McDonald's after the service.  When's this going to be over?  My Mac Attack is getting pretty heavy.  So, even if somehow, they got into the kingdom of God, as we've many times pointed out, they wouldn't be happy there, because there's no McDonald's there.  They have to come back down to Austin Texas to get there McDonald's hamburger, you see?  So, the fact is, unless you have a heart which is completely cleansed of all material desires, you cannot enter into the kingdom of God, because you would not be happy there.  Do you think God is going to torture you?  Your loving Father?  You think He will torture you by putting you into a situation where you're not happy?  No.  Of course not.  If we have any material desires, the Lord will oblige us.  He will allow us to take birth again in this material world, to satisfy those desires.  That's why it behooves us to become completely free from all material desires, because only in that consciousness can we, in fact, enter into that state beyond all miseries, the spiritual existence  The spiritual world.     

Prabhupada concedes here, it is very difficult to get rid of such desires.  We are running after the opposite sex and money lifetime after lifetime after lifetime.  We're looking for a nice marriage relationship.  Or, nowadays, they don't even want that.  They just want so-called free love.  And as much money as they can possibly get.  So, this is binding us in this material existence  Even, Prabhupada points out, we've seen our our society, many stalwart leaders in our movement, but they fell down.  They fell prey to this allurement of women, and money.  Even in ISKCON we've seen.  So, Prabhupada says, many stalwarts in the devotional line fell victim to these allurements.  How prophetic are these words?  Even in our own society we've seen it.  So, we should not blindly follow anyone, even if they may appear to be a stalwart in the devotional line.  We should not blindly follow anyone.  We should strive to become free from all material desires.  Become very very dedicated to becoming free from all material desires.  If we can simply develop a taste for hearing these subject matters, then Krishna will help us.  When Krishna helps us it becomes as easy as pie.  As easy as anything.  Its a very easy thing.  We simply have to develop a taste for hearing.  When someone is purely describing the philosophy of Krishna consciousness, without any ulterior motives, simply for the sake of blessing the audience with the subject matter of krishna-katha, then we should be very eager to hear that.  We should develop a taste to hear that, because that taste for hearing that message will enable Krishna to easily take us out of this material existence  If we want to go there.  We only saw three hands of people who are serious about going.  Why are we not serious about going?  Because we've been in contact with these things, women and wealth, since time immemorial.  So, we're still bewildered by it.  It takes some time, Prabhupada said, to recover from this foreign nature.  We've been suffering in the disease material consciousness for so long, that we're just completely addicted to this material disease: Women and wealth.  Completely addicted.  So, to get free from it does take some time. 

If we will continue to engage ourselves in hearing, and chanting Hare Krishna, and the Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam, then gradually, gradually, the spell, the psychotic mental state of being out of touch with reality, that will gradually go away.  We will get strength, gradually more and more, we will become strong, we will be able to eliminate all these disturbing elements from our minds.  So, we can ask now if there's any questions.  Yes. 

Guest:  Is simply having the desire itself good enough?  Because we might desire, but we might not endeavor so much.   

SDA:  So, the question is if I simply have the desire, is that sufficient, or does the endeavor have to also be there.  Well, if you really have the desire, endeavor will automatically be there.  Thinking feeling willing and acting.  That's how it works.  If you're thinking, I should become a pure devotee.  First of all thinking, pure devotional service is very nice.  That's called thinking.  Then, you're thinking, well I could become a pure devotee of Krishna, if I wanted to.  You're thinking about it.  And then the second stage is feeling.  That would be really nice if I became a pure devotee of Krishna.  The third stage is willing.  I'd like to do that.  I'm going to do that.  I would like to become a pure devotee, and I'm going to do it.  I'm going to figure out how to do it, and I'm going to do it.  And the fourth stage is you do it.  So, if the desire is genuine, then the endeavor is automatically there.  If the endeavor is not actually manifest, it means the desire is not actually there.  You're just kicking the idea around in your brain, that's all.  You don't really desire it.  You're just entertaining the idea.  Well, I could be a devotee.  I could be a pure devotee of Krishna.  I could do that, if I wanted to.  I have the ability to do that if I wanted to.  I could become a pure devotee.  I'm competent  I'm qualified.  I am intelligent.  If I wanted to be, I could be a pure devotee.  It remains theoretical.  The fire of desire has not been lit in the heart at that point.  One is just proudly thinking, yes I could be, if I wanted to be.  I could be a very advanced devotee, if I wanted to be.  One's flattering oneself still.  That I am great.  So, simply entertaining the idea is not enough.  One has to make the desire, that I must become.  I will become.  Just like we say, please come to our temple.  Some people say, well, I'll try.  That means the desire is not there.  Well, if somehow or other my car breaks down in front of your temple while I'm driving, then maybe I'll be there.  I'll try.  Now, if you really want to come, then, I'll be there.  If I say, please eat.  Oh, I'll try.  No, because you get hungry, you will eat.  If I say, will you eat this week?  You say, oh, I'll try.  No.  Of course I'll eat.  So, will you come to the temple?  Oh, I'll try.  No.  If you really want to come, you will come.  If you want to come, you'll say yes!  I will come!  If you don't want to come, and you want to be polite about it, you'll say I'll try.   

VPM:  Some say that because they want to be polite.  They don't want to say anything to deny.   

SDA:  Its better just to be honest and say I appreciate very much your invitation, its very nice, but I really don't want to come, because I think other things are more important than worshiping God.  God is alright, but I don't want to get too serious about God.  There's other things more important than God, but I appreciate your invitation.  No, thank you.  Its better to just say no, thank you.    You say, I'll try.  No.  If you don't want to come to the temple, just say no, I'd rather not come.  I have other things that are more important than worshiping God today, on Sunday afternoon.  Other things are more important than worshiping God.  Questions more? 

Guest 2:  Its mentioned that if we really have a desire, Krishna will actually help us from within. 

SDA:  Yes.  Oh, yes.   

Guest 2:  So, I can be waiting for that help to come up.   

SDA:  Yes.  That help will come to the extent that your desire becomes strong.  The Lord is reciprocally respondent to His devotees.  So, that help will be there according to the intensity of your desire, to be Krishna's devotee.  That means you have to become very very intense at every minute.  At every second, of every day.  With every thought, every word, and every deed.  In all times, in all places, and in all circumstances.  You must be calling out to Krishna, please my lord.  Engage me in Your pure devotional service.  Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.  Don't forget the internal prayer.  That mood has to constantly be there.  Don't get so caught up in the externals that you forget what the real business of human life is.  We get caught up in the externals, whether its earning a living, or temple management, so many things.  We can get caught up in so many external things.  Of course, there's nothing external if its used in Krishna's service, in one sense, but still there's the internal calling out to Krishna, and begging Him for pure devotional service.  That is the quintessence  The finest essence of what we're doing here.  We're calling out to Krishna and begging for pure devotional service.  

We forget that, and we get caught up in the externals, well I should do this project, and that project, working, cooking some puris for the temple, so many things.  And that's good, but we have to remember what is the purpose of all these activities.  I'm trying to develop pure love for God.  I'm trying to come out of the tabernacle of material existence  I'm trying to come into pure bhakti.  We have to intensely petition the Lord for pure devotional service.   It is rarely achieved.  Pure devotional service is rarely rarely achieved.  Its not easily given.  The Lord can easily give money.  He can easily give fame.  He can easily give a beautiful wife, nice kids.  The Lord can easily give all these things, but to give bhakti, Krishna's very stingy.  Because when He gives bhakti, then Krishna becomes your property.  You become the controller of God, by your love for Him.  He becomes under your control, like Yasoda, she is controlling Damodara.  You rascal Boy, come here I'll tie you up!  You become the controller of God, when you achieve bhakti, so bhakti is very rarely achieved.  Krishna wants to give it.  But He doesn't give it to any Tom, Dick or Harry or comes in off of I-35.  Begging for bhakti.  You have to show that you're really sincere, that you have no material desires.  You have to show it, practically!  Then Krishna will give.  So, that degree of purity we must develop, and then Krishna will be ours.   

If we're not feeling the reciprocation from the Lord, then we have to look at what I'm doing wrong.  We could say, what is Krishna doing wrong?  No.  If you're not feeling the Lord's reciprocation with you for your activities, then you have to see, what I am I doing wrong?  Why am I not getting that direct reciprocation of the Lord, at every minute, in everything that I do?  What miserly mentality am I holding onto, foolishly?  Why am I torturing myself by holding onto this miserliness?  These questions we must ask.  Questions more?   

VPM:  I think I have asked this question many times... 

SDA:  It must be a good one.  (laughing) 

VPM:  (Indistinct) Many times we see, just like you said, temple management, or service, one time another devotee also brought up, Bible, there was one person was hearing, and another was doing service so Jesus said that that was the best.  So, if everybody was to just sit and hear, then how will the service be done?   

SDA:  Alright.  This question we have answered many times.  Just like, a nice example, our Godbrother, Dina Bandhu prabhu, there was a big festival going on in the Portland temple, and everybody was just relishing the nectar of sitting there with Prabhupada, and there was nobody to cook the feast.  So, he realized this, and he personally went into the kitchen and cooked a huge feast, hearing over the speaker system, but not being able to sit there with Prabhupada, and just focus on hearing.  He was actively engaged in working very hard with great energy and intelligence.  I have to make a big feast for all the devotees.  He was also cooking Prabhupada's meal at the same time.  Actually, he got a very special reward.  Prabhupada relished that prasadam that he had cooked.  Actually, this has brought out another verse in this very chapter.  In fact, its the previous sloka.   

susrusoh sraddadhanasya
syan mahat-sevaya viprah

“O twice-born sages, by serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service, one gains affinity for hearing the messages of Vasudeva.” 

So, the fact is, that we are not so pure that we can just sit and hear.  That is the perfectional stage.  We're not so pure, we need to be engaged practically in service for the pure devotee.  That's because service to the pure devotee, that will enable us to develop a taste for hearing.  So, we require that.  The goal is to actually develop a taste for hearing.  That's the goal of what we're doing.  We want to be able to fully absorb ourselves in hearing.  That's the goal, but we're not pure enough to do that, therefore, so much service is there.  The sankirtana-yajna is going on.  Sankirtana means to hear and chant the glories of the Lord, but the yajna has so many services to do also.  Cleaning, cooking, collecting money, shopping, yard work, gardening, decorating the altar, cleaning the altar, building an altar, attracting and educating people so that more people will come and hear.  So, there's so many services to do.  Those services are actually, ultimately to help us come to the point of pure hearing.  Because at the time of death, your body won't be able to do any service.  All you can do is absorb yourself in hearing and chanting.  There's nothing else at the time of death.  You can't say, well, I'm going to cook an offering.  You can't even get out of bed.  The ultimate goal is to be able to purely absorb yourself in hearing and chanting.  That is the ultimate goal.  Because we're not on that level, so much service is required to do.  We have to work very hard because that service to Prabhupada, the pure devotee of the Lord, and to those pure devotees that are following Srila Prabhupada, that service we render to the pure devotees will enable us to develop a taste for hearing.  The goal is actually hearing, and service is the means of coming to that position of pure hearing.   

Questions more.   

Guest:  Explain offenseless hearing. 

SDA:  Offenseless hearing means submissive hearing.   

tad viddhi pranipatena
pariprasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam
jnaninas tattva-darsinah

Just try to approaching the spiritual master with all respectful obeisances. Render service unto him, and inquire submissively. Such self-realized persons can deliver you from the darkness of ignorance, because they have seen the truth.   

Submissive hearing means that you offer all respect.  You bow down before the spiritual master.  You render service to him.  You make submissive inquiries, not that you challenge him.  That oh, you are wrong, Gurudeva!  Actually, one disciple, he did that.  He told Prabhupada that he was wrong on some technical point.  He was crossing the English Channel, and he said I'm going from this city, and Prabhupada said, no, you are going from the other city.  But, the boat, was going from this city.  He said no, Prabhupada, you're wrong.  Prabhupada was teaching him a lesson, and then Prabhupada said no, you're going from this city.  He told him.  Prabhupada said you're actually not going to go from that city.  You're boat will go from this other city, and he was telling Prabhupada he was wrong.  He thought, what am I doing telling my spiritual master that he's wrong?    He felt kind of funny about that, but then, they went to the boatman and he said that because of bad weather, today the boat will is going from this other city.  The boat actually went from the other city.  Prabhupada had perfect knowledge of past, present and future.  He was teaching his disciple a lesson.  Don't be proud.  You must put full faith in the words of your spiritual master.  So, that is submissive hearing.  You have full faith in the words of your spiritual master.  He does not misguide me.  He knows the truth as it is, and he preaches it as it is.  That is called faith, sraddha.   

yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah
prakasante mahatmanah

Only unto those souls who have unflinching faith in the words of Sri Guru, and the words of Sri Krishna, are all the imports of Vedic knowledge revealed.   

Unflinching faith.  Just like I have unflinching faith.  Whatever Prabhupada says, I accept it as true.  I don't speculate.  Prabhupada has said some things about the moon, for example, that are very controversial.  Many devotees don't accept it.  This is the modern nouveau ISKCON, to question Prabhupada.  But such persons, I don't consider them devotees in the real sense of the term, because they're not devoted to the words of the founder acarya.  Actual devotee means that you have complete faith in the words of the spiritual master.  Whatever he has said about the arrangement of solar system, even though he is not a material scientist, he is not an astronomer, we accept his knowledge over the astronomer's.  We will take the version of the spiritual master, over the version of the astronomer.  That is called unflinching faith.  If there's any difference between the spiritual master and the astronomers, we will take the spiritual master's word instead of the astronomer's word.  That is full faith.  So, did Prabhupada make it up?  No, he's simply speaking what Sukadeva Gosvami has told to Pariksit Maharaja.  That's all.  Its based on that.  So do the astronomers know better than Sukadeva?  Well Sukadeva was in the ancient times, and the ancients didn't really know anything about the universe.  That's the modern-day opinion.  It may have been fine and dandy then, but, what do they know?  What did Sukadeva actually know about the planetary systems?  So, we will take the modern-day astronomers, we won't take version of Sukadeva, and Prabhupada simply repeated Sukadeva's version.  He didn't invent anything new.  Sukadeva was enlightened within the womb, from Vedavyasadeva, the literary incarnation of God.  Therefore, we accept their version of the cosmology.  We don't care what the scientists may say.  They may rant and rave, whatever they want.  They may jump up and down, yell and scream.  We don't care, because everything is based on their imperfect senses.  That's called full faith.  Whatever my spiritual master says, I accept.   

Questions more? 

So, we thank you all very much for so kindly coming here today.  Especially our new guests, we're very happy you've come.   


Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Dasa

Index of Transcribed Lectures

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