His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Srimad Bhagavatam 2.3.17

 

North Sutton, New Hampshire 06/08/2005

 

ayur harati vai pumsam
udyann astam ca yann asau
tasyarte yat-ksano nīta
uttama-sloka-vartaya 

TRANSLATION

Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by discussing topics of the all-good Personality of Godhead.

PURPORT

This verse indirectly confirms the greater importance of utilizing the human form of life to realize our lost relationship with the Supreme Lord by acceleration of devotional service.

SDA: That is a nice concept, acceleration of devotional service. It is just like you get into your car and you can accelerate by putting your foot on the pedal. So here we are talking about accelerating devotional service or speeding it up. So there is such a thing as accelerating your devotional service. If you are late for an appointment, what do you do? You accelerate the thing so you try to make it on time. Of course you have to be careful not to get a ticket or have an accident. When it comes to Krishna consciousness also we can try to accelerate our progress if we are a careful driver, astute. You can do that, it is sometimes necessary. 

Prabhupada continues:  

Time and tide wait for no man. So the time indicated by the sunrise and the sunset will be uselessly wasted if such time is not properly utilized for realizing identification of spiritual values. Even a fraction of the duration of life wasted cannot be compensated by any amount of gold. Human life is simply awarded to a living entity (jiva) so that he can realize his spiritual identity and his permanent source of happiness. A living being, especially the human being, is seeking happiness because happiness is the natural situation of the living entity. But he is vainly seeking happiness in the material atmosphere. A living being is constitutionally a spiritual spark of the complete whole, and his happiness can be perfectly perceived in spiritual activities. The Lord is the complete spirit whole, and His name, form, quality, pastimes, entourage and personality are all identical with Him. Once a person comes into contact with any one of the above-mentioned energies of the Lord through the proper channel of devotional service, the door to perfection is immediately opened. In the Bhagavad-gita (2.40) the Lord has explained such contact in the following words: "Endeavors in devotional service are never baffled nor is there failure. A slight beginning of such activities is sufficient even to deliver a person from the great ocean of material fears." As a highly potent drug injected intravenously acts at once on the whole body, the transcendental topics of the Lord injected through the ear of the pure devotee of the Lord can act very efficiently.

SDA: we have to come to the position of being pure ourselves strictly following the principles, chanting our rounds, rising early and taking bath etc. because it is very efficient if one is a pure devotee.

Prabhupada continues:  

Aural realization of the transcendental messages implies total realization, just as fructification of one part of a tree implies fructification of all other parts. This realization for a moment in the association of pure devotees like Sukadeva Gosvami prepares one's complete life for eternity. And thus the sun fails to rob the pure devotee of his duration of life, inasmuch as he is constantly busy in the devotional service of the Lord, purifying his existence. 

SDA: So it is interesting he talks about the pure devotee and also talks about purifying his existence as if he has more purification to do. So anyway even the pure devotee is purifying his existence. Interesting! 

Prabhupada is saying: 

Death is a symptom of the material imperfection of the eternal living being; only due to material infection is the eternal living entity subjected to the law of birth, death, old age and disease.

The materialistic way of pious activities like charity is recommended in the smrti-sastras as quoted by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. 

SDA: I wonder if he is recommending the United Way. Let us see.  

Money given in charity to a suitable person is guaranteed bank balance in the next life. Such charity is recommended to be given to a brahmana. If the money is given in charity to a non-brahmana (without brahminical qualification) the money is returned in the next life in the same proportion. If it is given in charity to a half-educated brahmana, even then the money is returned double. If the money is given in charity to a learned and fully qualified brahmana, the money is returned a hundred and a thousand times, and if the money is given to a veda-paraga (one who has factually realized the path of the Vedas), it is returned by unlimited multiplication. The ultimate end of Vedic knowledge is realization of the Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, as stated in the Bhagavad-gita (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah [Bg. 15.15]). There is a guarantee of money's being returned if given in charity, regardless of the proportion. Similarly, a moment passed in the association of a pure devotee by hearing and chanting the transcendental messages of the Lord is a perfect guarantee for eternal life, for returning home, back to Godhead. Mad-dhama gatva punar janma na vidyate. In other words, a devotee of the Lord is guaranteed eternal life. A devotee's old age or disease in the present life is but an impetus to such guaranteed eternal life. [End of Purport] 

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

Krishna consciousness is so nice that even if you have to face some disease or old age which we all have to undergo sooner or later, these things are not taken in a discouraged way or a disheartened way. They are actually taken as a spring-board just like a diver when he uses a diving board to get more push in his dive. He dives with more energy because of the diving board. Old age and disease for a person absorbed in Krishna Consciousness are just like a diving board. He uses that to give more impetus to engage himself in Krishna consciousness. It does not discourage you from your Krishna consciousness but encourages you to become even more Krishna conscious when you have some disease or you are becoming old. How is it then one could ask? How is it that the rising and setting of the sun which is indeed robbing the duration of life of everybody throughout the entire universe, how is it that it does not rob the devotee’s life? Because the devotee is also getting sick, he is getting old and dying. How you can say that the rising and setting of the sun is not robbing devotee’s life? 

VPM: You want me to answer?  Are you asking us the question? 

SDA: You can answer that.  

VPM: I thought you were asking me. 

SDA: No, it is rhetorical question. If you are inspired to answer then go ahead.  

VPM: No. 

SDA: The answer is that the devotee is existing on another plane even though he is carrying on his bodily activities. He is existing on that plane of Krishna consciousness. As we described in Montreal at the initiation ceremony quoting from Srila Prabhupada “Deathlessness begins at initiation.” Because when you take initiation, it is the beginning point of entering into your eternal identity as Krishna’s servant and that identity is never robbed. In fact simply with every rising and setting of the sun that identity becomes more firmly established.  

So the devotee instead of regressing like everybody else in the material world eventually has to do, he comes into a situation where he is constantly progressing so there is no discouragement or depression for a devotee. Once he gets situated on that path, he can progress very nicely especially after being initiated. Of course even before that if one is very dedicatedly preparing himself for initiation then that is practically as good. 

Prabhupada said that when he first heard Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura in Uttardanga, Calcutta, he said that “he practically initiated me” because Prabhupada was always thinking “Oh! I have met such a nice saintly person!” So for those eleven years before he actually got initiated in 1933, he was constantly remembering Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati “What a great saintly person!” So that is called practical initiation even before the formal ceremony is there. If one is preparing oneself very seriously to become initiated just waiting for the opportunity when it will come then one is also situated transcendentally, practically initiated and getting the benefits of transcendental existence beyond the rising and setting of the sun.  

So now we can open it up for questions. 

VPM: Why Prabhupada waited for eleven years? 

SDA: Prabhupada waited for eleven years because he had no contact. It is not that he was wanting to postpone his initiation. He actually had no contact at all with Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and his disciples because of his occupation. For livelihood he started his own business. He gave up his position as the manager of Dr. Bose’s chemical factory and started his own business in Allahabad which is north from Calcutta, quite some distance. There were no devotees there. He was there in a remote place in terms of where the devotees were located. Finally when he got their contact they had come to Allahabad to open a center. And he received them with great happiness and joy and became very supportive and worked with them in a very nice way to help them establish a Krishna conscious movement in Allahabad. At that time when he got the opportunity to again re-connect with Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati and his disciples which led him shortly  to be recommended for initiation or however they did it. Actually Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati had noted him that he was hearing very nicely. The others would come and go but Prabhupada would hear nicely. “This boy hears very nicely,” he said. There was some preaching of Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura in Vrindavana and in Vrindavana there are so many temples. That’s the night life in Vrindavana. You go to this temple and that temple for darshan. Instead of going to some night bar hopping, you go to the temples. You go temple hopping to this temple and that temple instead of bar hopping.  

Anyway Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura he spoke in a very, very erudite way in big, big, big English words that you have to pull out a big dictionary to keep up with him: “The materialistic demeanor cannot possibly stretch to the transcendental autocrat, who is forever inviting the fallen conditioned souls to associate with Him.” In this way he would talk in different talks like one called ontological morphology, very big, big terms. So a lot of times you would not know what he was talking about. Prabhupada said “I would understand or not understand, but still I would go on hearing”. Guru Maharaja noted that this boy here is very nicely hearing so I will accept him as my disciple. So we have to hear very nicely and as Prabhupada points out here,"Fructification of any part of the tree means the whole tree is fructified".  

So if you can engage any one of your senses very nicely in Krishna consciousness then that implies that everything becomes purified in Krishna consciousness. In other words if you can hear very nicely the words from the spiritual master’s mouth, your ears become nicely  absorbed in Krishna consciousness then everything becomes purified: your eyes, your nose, your tongue, your sense of touch, everything becomes sanctified and purified, just if you can get the hearing sense nicely absorbed in Krishna consciousness. This is actually the easiest way as we point out in our little exam for the first lesson in our course, “What is the best means of self-realization”?    Prabhupada explains to hear from a person who has realized Krishna. That is the easiest way to advance.  

VPM: It says one who has realized Krishna, is it by knowledge or one has to realize and one has to come to the platform of pure devotion? 

SDA: There are two types of realization.  There is theoretical realization and practical realization. Anyone can have a theoretical realization. Their intelligence can understand that they are not their body. They are Krishna’s eternal servant. That is a sort of realization. That is theoretical. But if one can fully immerse oneself in Krishna’s service 24 hours a day under the guidance of guru and Vaishnavas who can verify that you are indeed properly engaged, then that is called practical realization. That practical realization will give some people who are philosophically inclined philosophical realizations also on the theoretical side of the spectrum. For those who are automatically growing and expanding unlimitedly the more that they become engaged in Krishna conscious activities, so this is sometimes called buddhi yoga or the yoga of intelligence, but actually that means action in Krishna consciousness. The more we become active in Krishna’s service then we become more and more intelligent and realized.  

VPM: Many times people think that unless we see Krishna we are not realized but here Prabhupada is saying that in the Bhagavad-gita Krishna says:

 sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham

That is also a realization that by ultimately through the Vedas one who realizes that Krishna is to be known. So if anybody knows and is fixed up in devotional service they are also considered realized. Isn’t it?  

SDA: I don’t follow the question. 

VPM: Many times I hear that one is realized only when that person has seen Krishna or he is seeing Krishna but this verse says that anyone who comes to the conclusion of Vedic knowledge that Krishna is the Supreme Person is also a realized person.   

SDA: Yes, Just like you have a mango fruit and that mango may or may not be ripe, but you have the mango.  Anyone who accepts that I am Krishna’s eternal servant, they have realized the highest truth. That realization will mature over time if they hang on to it. But anyone who understands that, “I am an eternal servant of Krishna,” they are realized soul. That’s a fact. 

VPM: it is not just that one has to see Krishna? 

SDA: It is not that until you see Krishna you don’t have any realization. That is not true at all. 

VPM: Also one is not a pure devotee if you don’t see Krishna face to face? 

SDA: No. Actually Prabhupada talks about a pure devotee here that someone who is still purifying his consciousness is also considered a pure devotee. As soon as you become totally absorbed 24 hours and following the orders of guru and Krishna then you are counted as a pure devotee. One time someone asked Prabhupada, “How many pure devotees are there on this planet?" He said, “How many devotees are there in the movement?” So anyone who joins this movement and strictly follows the regulative principles is considered a pure devotee. There are different degrees of pure devotees, no doubt. Prabhupada is on the highest level of pure devotees as Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati. But anyone who is sincerely following this process is considered a pure devotee. He maybe 50% pure or 80% pure but their purity is what we see. This person is sincerely trying. He may have some difficulties but that is overlooked. Even though the spiritual master may harp on the anartha that is not his actual vision, he is seeing the wonderful qualities of the disciple. But he harps on the impurity to help the disciple move forward to get over the obstacles so he can advance even quicker. 

Questions more? Now is your chance.  

Devotee: Yes. I am correlating my questions it has multiple facets to it. If I understand that correctly, the levels of purity, is there really an absolute purity that is attainable in this existence?  

SDA: Yes. 

Devotee: There is, but by that description, continuously you can continue to advance the qualities of that.  

SDA: There is a point when you become absolutely and completely pure but even then your Krishna consciousness continues to expand. Krishna is described that  Krishna is not fully Krishna conscious because even though with His unlimited powers of cognizance, He is able to fully grasp His glories, and just as He has done that, His glories which are ever expanding, they have now expanded again. So Krishna is always trying to catch up with His own realization, so even Krishna is not fully realized. Even though He is fully realized, He is not, because His glory has just expanded exponentially after He fully realized, now He has to again realize His glories. That makes it exciting because that means there is no end, just like a business man there is no end to how much money he can earn.  He can become a millionaire, a trillionaire, quadrillionaire, quintillionaire, on and on and on, no limit.  

Devotee: So similarly as we age in this body once we come to the realization that this is our path and this is our purpose with each passing day, instead of feeling more and more misery and depression about getting old and losing our youthfulness and we have all these problems, instead we will be feeling more bliss as each day passes that we are moving toward our ultimate goal.  

SDA: That is right. We will feel ever increasing ecstatic. Anyone who does not take to Krishna consciousness is a fool. They are just cutting their own throat. It is stupid not to become Krishna conscious because this Krishna conscious movement enables one to relish a delicious thrill at every moment of one’s existence. Who has that anywhere else? Nobody has anything close to Krishna consciousness. No church, no synagogue or no mosque they don’t have the science.  They are approaching God for material desires. They don’t get to experience this nectar of pure bhakti. Other Gaudiya sannyasis they don’t have the degree of Prabhupada’s realization, even amongst his Godbrothers. No one has this realization as Prabhupada. Prabhupada’s realization is on the highest level, there with Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Narottama Das Thakura and Vishvanatha Cakravarti Thakura. By taking shelter of Srila Prabhupada and his representatives, it enables us to enter into the highest levels of spiritual perfection. So anyone is a fool not to join this Krishna conscious movement.  

So we can stop here. Thank you very much and we appreciate the wonderful kindness and hospitality. This is a very pleasant stop on our second annual North American Krishna consciousness tour.  

Hare Krishna!

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Transcribed by Bhaktin Priya

Revision by Prema Bhakti dasa

 

Index of Transcribed Lectures