Lecture: Srimad Bhagavatam 7.3.17
Denver, Colorado - 15 January 2005
- 15 January 2005
Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto Seven, Chapter 3, Hiranyakasipu's Plan to Become Immortal, Text number 17.
uttishthottishtha bhadram te
tapah-siddho 'si kasyapa
varado 'ham anuprapto
vriyatam ipsito varah
uttishthottishtha bhadram te
tapah-siddho 'si kasyapa
varado 'ham anuprapto
vriyatam ipsito varah
sri-brahma uvaca -- Lord Brahma said; uttishtha -- please get up; uttishtha -- get up; bhadram -- good fortune; te -- unto you; tapah-siddhah -- perfect in executing austerities; asi -- you are; kasyapa -- O son of Kasyapa; vara-dah -- the giver of benediction; aham -- I; anupraptah -- arrived; vriyatam -- let it be submitted; ipsitah -- desired; varah -- benediction.
purport by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Tridandi Goswami Maharaja
Prabhupada. Jaya Srila
Prabhupada, savior of the fallen souls.
Lord Brahma said: O son of Kasyapa Muni, please get up, please get up. All good fortune unto you. You are now perfect in the performance of your austerities, and therefore I may give you a benediction. You may now ask from me whatever you desire, and I shall try to fulfill your wish.
Srila Madhvacarya quotes from the Skanda Purana, which says that Hiranyakasipu, having become a devotee of Lord Brahma, who is known as Hiranyagarbha, and having undergone a severe austerity to please him, is also known as Hiranyaka. Rakshasas and demons worship various demigods, such as Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, just to take the post of these demigods. This we have already explained in previous verses. [end of purport]
There is that one pastime. That one demon was worshiping Lord Siva. Such austerities he was doing. He was cutting off his flesh and throwing it in the fire. He wanted to invoke the presence of Siva to receive a boon from Lord Siva. Can you imagine? Tapasa brahmacaryena. You want to be a brahmacari and perform some austerities? Now cut off your flesh and throw it in the fire. Just imagine what austerities he was doing! Cutting his own flesh, putting it in the fire.
Still Lord Siva was not coming. He was so frustrated. Why is Siva not coming? Why is he not coming. Finally, I'll just cut off my head and put it in the fire. Finally, Siva came and said, you nonsense. You fool. Why don't you just offer some water? Alright, what do you want? He was thinking, Siva has such a beautiful wife, this Parvati is so beautiful. So beautiful. Let me kill Lord Siva, so I can enjoy his wife. You just give me the blessing that whoever's head I will touch, his skull will crack immediately. Siva said granted.
Immediately, he wanted to occupy the post of Siva, by killing him. So, he could take Parvati as his consort. Siva has to go running running running because he has given the boon. He cannot withdraw it. He goes running running for his life. All over the universe, this demon is chasing him. Finally, they come to the Vaikuntha. Lord Visnu takes from the sky the form a little boy.
Come on. Do you think that Siva really has the power to give you such a boon? Are you a fool? Do you think Siva really has the power to give you a boon that anyone's head you touch, their skull will crack? Are you dreaming? The demon got very bewildered. The Lord as a little child said, you have to test it to see if its really for real. Siva's actually misleading you. Try it. Touch your head. So, pkeew! Finished. These are the sort of characters that worship the demigods. Simply rascals.
Hiranyakasipu, and this fellow who was worshiping Siva, they just want to take over the position Hiranyakasipu simply wanted to become the lord of the universe. That was his motive. A flatterer is your worst enemy. They're flattering the demigod because they are actually envious. They want that position. Prabhupada also said that too much devoted, there is motive.
I remember, I was in my brahamacari days. We had one temple commander. Madan Mohan prabhu, in Gainesville. Some of the devotees came up to him and started glorifying him and he knew they had some motives. He said, ok. What do you want. He knew their was something up their sleeves. They weren't just glorifying him for the sake of glorifying him.
This is the demoniac mentality. I have some motive, so I'm worshiping. In the material world someone gets a position in a corporation, they're always flattering their supervisor. They don't really like the person. Its just some game to move up corporate ladders. They might even hate his guts, but still, they play the game, to move up. This is demoniac mentality. Its all based on the desire for prominence. This desire for prominence is the greatest defect actually. It is this desire which brought us here, to begin with.
We were there in the spiritual world, serving Krishna in Goloka, and in the Vaikuntha world, every world, Krishna or Lord Visnu is prominent In Goloka Vrindavana, everyone's talking about Krishna. The cowherd boys come home, all wide-eyed, they say Mata Mata! You know what happened today in the forest? This big demon came, and Krishna killed him! Krishna did it. Krishna Krishna. Everything is Krishna Krishna Krishna. Everyone's talking about Krishna. Everyone's thinking, when will I see Krishna. Everything is Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna.
If someone becomes infected with this, thinking well, why is Krishna prominent, why not me? Then, immediately they find they find themselves here in this place. This is the place for people who want to be the prominent center of everything. That is our disease. We have to understand what is our disease. We have the desire for prominence. We have to be careful when we enter even into a spiritual society like this wonderful iskcon that Prabhupada has founded, that we don't bring that desire for prominence with us.
I didn't make it in the material world, so, now I'll become prominent in the spiritual movement. If you want prominence, then here's the real way to become prominent. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Factually, for preaching, we want to be prominent, but it has to be a pure desire. Prabhupada after all, told us that we have to be so prominent that we manage the whole world. One tape I play every morning when I shave, Prabhupada is saying like this. He says the whole world is being managed by rogues and demons, now you make your life successful and you take the management. We manage the society. Iskcon is meant to be the prominent guiding institution on this planet.
We're meant for prominence, but if we have the desire for personal prominence, for self-aggrandizement, then, we're simply following the footsteps of Hiranyakasipu, which we must not do. We simply have to become humble servant of the servant of the servant of the servant. The more that we are in that position, then naturally we become prominent.
It never ceases to amaze me, one statement given by Srila Prabhupada, in the Caitanya-Caritamrta. It constantly amazes me. Prabhupada says in that purport that if a devotee can chant the holy name of the Lord without offense, completely free of all offenses, that devotee becomes jagat-guru. Spiritual master of the universe. Under his influence, the entire world takes up chanting Hare Krishna. He didn't say it had to be a sannyasi, it had to be a GBC. He just said, if any devotee can purely chant the holy names of the Lord, that devotee will become jagat-guru and influence the entire planet to take up Krishna consciousness. So, just see how important it is when we chant our japa, to chant without offense, because just by pure chanting we can actually have an impact on the entire planet. Pure chanting even one iskcon member, out of all of our devotees on the planet, if even one iskcon member can purely chant the holy name, that one devotee can have the potency to completely push back the whole kali-yuga.
Pariksit Maharaja gave some place for Kali to reside. Didn't he? But this Lord Caitanya's movement can take away all of Kali's hiding places. He has nowhere to go, nothing to do except shave up and put on tilak.
We have to make sure that we don't have this mentality of Hiranyakasipu, a desire for prominence. We simply want to make Srila Prabhupada prominent, and make Krishna prominent. That should be our desire. The more that we have that mentality, then we naturally become prominent. We become influential to the extent that we want to see the Krishna consciousness shall become the guiding principle on this planet. All these other nonsense rascal things happening here, will be put to an end. The slaughterhouses, the brothels, the abortion clinics, the liquor shops, the porno websites, all this garbage, which is just destroying whatever tinge of decency is still left in the human society. These things have to be eradicated. We cant do it by brute force. We're not powerful enough to do that. We're not like Pariksit Maharaja that we can go out with a sword and say you close down this slaughterhouse or your finished. We donít have the powerful prominence to do that. We're not a military operation. We shouldn't artificially try to do that.
This iskcon is actually the leading educational institution on the planet. That's what its meant to be, and that's what it is. To the extent that we actually fulfill the purposes of the society, in the way that we conduct ourselves as iskcon members, that will be our prominence. To be a preacher of Krishna consciousness is the position of brahmana. Prabhupada explains in his purport that brahmana means that he is the spiritual master of human society. To actually be a brahmana we give our second initiation ceremony to men and women both to live up to the real name of a brahmana.
I remember when I received my brahmana initiation in 1975. Satsvarupa Maharaja told me that now you have to actually be a brahmana. I took that seriously as a very poignant instruction. Its not just a ceremony that you know, here's your thread and mantra. Now you're a brahmana. No. Now you have to actually become a brahmana. Someone who knows the scripture, and lives the scripture, in all times all places and all circumstances in every thought every word and every deed, and teaches others the same thing. That is brahman. We're all meant to be professors of Vedic wisdom: Brahmanas who can establish Krishna consciousness in every town and village throughout the world.
Prabhupada said, I do not want sit-down Vaisnavas. I want fighting Vaisnavas like Hanuman and Arjuna. We're meant, actually, to create a revolution. That is the sloka. This Bhagavatam is meant for bringing about a revolution in the misdirected lives of this material civilization. We are meant to be revolutionaries. Just like Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja talks always in his Spiritual Warrior series. We are meant to be Spiritual Warriors who fight against the ignorance of this kali-yuga by preaching, by giving these wonderful books of Srila Prabhupada, by giving them the chance to hear the holy name, by giving them prasadam, by giving them loving kindness. Here's someone who's not trying to exploit me. Here is a devotee of the Lord who simply loves me. He's not trying to cheat me or take something from me. He's trying to give me the most precious thing that exists in all of reality. What is that? Krishna consciousness.
Krishna consciousness is the greatest treasure. There is no opulence possessed even by Kuvera, the treasurer of the demigods, which can come even close to an infinitesimal, insignificant fraction of the unparalleled, unfathomable unlimited opulence of Krishna consciousness. One pure utterance of Hare Krishna can bring so much nectar that you cannot measure it. Its immeasurable nectar.
If we're not tasting unlimited nectar when we say Hare Krishna, then that means nama-aparadha. We're chanting with offense. We have to really strive. Its very nice that everyday that you read from Sri Namamrta. This is a first-class program we have here in iskcon Denver, under Sriman Makatma prabhu . Your very blessed to have such nice Krishna conscious leadership here. Take advantage of this leadership. Don't take it for granted.
Take the instruction, the inspiration, the blessings you're receiving here and make your life perfect. Make your determination not to take birth again in this material world. Haven't we suffered enough in this material world? Haven't we had enough of this nonsense? Birth death old age and disease. Sometimes a demigod, sometimes Indra, sometimes indragopa, sometimes an elephant, sometimes an orangutan How about a baboon? Can you imagine that you were a baboon? You were a baboon! Why should we stay in this embarrassing position?
We have the greatest opportunity now, in this human form of life. Let us not blow it by running after the opposite sex. You want to be married, that's alright, you still cannot run after the opposite sex. You simply have to run after guru and Krishna. That's what where are meant to run, not after the opposite sex. That running after the opposite sex keeps us here birth after birth after birth.
The Christians have the bumper sticker Yes. Born again and again and again and again Christian. We laugh, but we have to make sure we're not born again and again and again Hare Krishnas also. Its easy to throw stones, but there's an old saying, those who live in glass houses don't throw stones. We're actually meant to point out the fallacies, but we have to make sure that we're pure. We're meant to point out the fallacies. Prabhupada wants us to expose the nonsense, but we have to be very pure ourselves. Otherwise, we're hypocrites and we wont be successful.
If we want to be successful in pulling off this world revolution that Prabhupada wants to pull off, then we have to be spotlessly pure. Spotlessly pure. Nothing sense gratification hidden in the corners of our life. I make a very good show, and when no one is looking, I go to the internet and check out a porn site. Nothing like that. We have to be spotlessly pure.
Everything we do is being witnessed. There are higher authorities who are seeing absolutely everything that we're doing. Everything that we're thinking also. You can't hide anything from the higher authorities. We really have to become absolutely totally completely pure and just beg guru and Krishna to please drive all the impurities out of my heart, so I can become completely totally dedicated to your service. That is revolutionary. If there can be such persons on this planet, that will turn history upside down. Let us be such pure devotees. Let us make that our determination.
Prabhupada, when he gave some instruction, I remember, we got a letter when we were at the gurukula in the early days in Dallas, Prabhupada was saying that we should be revolutionary clean. That not only means external cleanliness, it means internal cleanliness also. We have to be revolutionary clean within and without. So clean that... Its revolutionary.
Guest 1: Its stated in the Bhagavad-Gita that those who worship the demigods are in the mode of goodness.
SDA: Very interesting question. The we could ask the question, when the raksasas are worshiping the demigods, are they doing that in the mode of goodness? It doesn't seem like that. There are different modes of activity in all spheres. That's one thing we can understand. Every single sphere of activity can be done in goodness in passion or in ignorance. One could worship a demigod as the verse in the Gita says, one could worship in the mode of goodness, or mode of passion or mode of ignorance. That of course, would affect the sort of result you get also. One could even worship the demigods in transcendental goodness, suddha sattva like the gopis worshiped goddess katyayani to have Krishna as a husband.
Any activity demigod worship, making money, eating, every single activity can be done in a different mode. One of the different modes. Even sex, you could say you could have sex in pure goodness by following the Vedic injunctions producing a Krishna conscious child. Or you could have sex in the mode of ignorance like rape. Every single activity can be analyzed according to the modes.
As devotees, we want to come to the position that every activity has to be done is pure goodness. That is our standard. If we cant come to pure goodness, at least we should do it in goodness. Sometimes, when preaching to Indian families, who are very attached to worshiping demigods, because that's their tradition, instead of saying, ok, you want to be a devotee, let me come in and expunge your altar, (makes slurping sound), we might tell them, put Krishna high. You offer to Krishna, then after its offered, you can give the demigod the prasada of Krishna. That way, since you've already been worshiping Lord Siva, or goddess Kali, you don't have to just throw them in the trashcan. You worship Krishna, then give the prasada of Krishna to that demigod.
In this way, they can gradually become purified. Its not completely disorienting them They're able to remain in their present situation, and purify it.
Any other questions?
Devotee 1: Krishna also says in the Bhagavad-Gita that those who worship the demigods are less intelligent
Devotee 1: Yes, the knowledge has been stolen , but it also says alpa-medhasa.
SDA: Yes, alpa-medhasa.
Devotee 1: Even though he may be in the mode of goodness, that's ok. But he's still not very intelligent. And the fruits are temporary.
SDA: Its interesting. "Alpa" is also the name of a dog food. They have dog food intelligence. That's right.
VPM: Isn't it so that worshiping anyone, even demigods for sense gratification is demoniac?
SDA: Its certainly demoniac. There's no doubt about it. From that perspective, you could say the mode of ignorance is the most demoniac, the mode of passion is a little bit less demoniac, the mode of goodness a little bit less demoniac. Certainly.
VPM: Somewhere in Bhagavad-Gita it is said that if its not to satisfy Krishna, but oneself, it is demoniac.
SDA: Yes. Any program for satisfying yourself instead of satisfying Krishna is absolutely demoniac because Krishna is the center. It is not only demoniac, its plain stupid. Its just plain foolish, because how do you nourish your body? You put the food in the mouth. Somebody may say, this is a very nice gulabjamun. I'm just going to squash it and ingest it through my fingers. They may say, my hand needs nourishment. Alright rascal, then put it in your belly and you get the nourishment. Why do you think you're going to put my hand in a bowl of dal and let it soak for a while. It doesn't work. You have to follow the system. The system is Krishna is the center of everything. Everything comes from Him. This is called spiritual recycling.
Nowadays recycling is a big buzz word. You've got to recycle so that the environment doesn't get any more polluted, but this is the real recycling that puts a stop to pollution. If all the energy is coming from Krishna, therefore, it all has to be offered back to Him. There has to be a cycle like that. If you try to take the energy, and just keep it, then its called pollution. That's why we have so much pollution, because we haven't learn to recycle on the spiritual level yet. All these recyclers are so proud of putting their beer bottles out there in the little plastic container. They need to be educated about what is the real recycling that everyone should be doing.
One should take all the energy, which is coming from Krishna and offer it back to Him. Then Krishna will give more and more and more. Actually, if we become pure, Krishna can give us the whole world. Remember that letter that Prabhupada wrote to Tamal Krishna Goswami when he was a brahamacari. He said Krishna can give you all of America within one minute, but what will you do with it? As long as we're tinged with a desire for sense gratification, Krishna's not going to give us so much success, because it will be our ruination, if we're not completely purified.
If we, as devotees, can come to the highest possible standard of purity on every level, then Krishna can give the whole world to us to engage in His service.
Devotee 2: Sometimes devotees feel they could benefit from some additional chanting. So how do we know whether we should do that. Sometimes Prabhupada said there's no need for additional chanting, and sometimes he encouraged it. Sometimes it seems like 16 rounds is just a start.
SDA: You should chant as much as possible, but Prabhupada also said that everything is kirtana except for sleeping. Everything that we're doing in this sankirtana movement is kirtana. Reading is chanting, writing books is chanting even taking prasadam is kirtana. He said everything except sleeping, that is waste. So, its not that if I don't get more time to sit down with my beads, then I will not advance in my chanting. You can advance yourself by doing your service with love. With love, as we discussed last night.
The main problem is, we have begrudging mentality. We don't do things with love in our Krishna consciousness movement. Well, I have to do it. Just like, sometimes there's a situation when the temple leaders will give you a list, do this do this. Everyone says ok, if I do this, I'm a good devotee. But thatís not first class. There are four different servants of the spiritual master. The fourth class position is that the spiritual master gives the instruction, but he doesn't do it. The third class is given an instruction and he does it, but he doesn't do it very well. The second class one does whatever he's asked to do remarkably well, but first class, even without being told, he knows what needs to be done and does it. This is how in our movement, our devotees should be trained. Not that they simply do what they're told. Here's your list of assignments, here's your duties. The actually mood we in our society we have to train our devotees in is to be greedy for service, is there something more I can do? They're begging. They're always bugging their authorities for some service to do. They're scheming like a business man who is trying to make more money. Where is more service I can do. They don't need to be told to do everything. They think, I think this will be nice to do. They just get permission to make sure they're not doing the wrong thing. They are always looking.
That is the mood that will make our chanting, very very pure. If we're actually, looking for how to go above and beyond the call of duty, as the old saying goes, not simply what I'm asked to do. One has to understand what is the mission of Prabhupada. Try to have a vision of what we can do to make Prabhupada's mission a grand success, as soon as possible, all over the planet.
Here in Denver, what can we do to make this iskcon movement the talk of everybody in Denver Everyone is coming here, wanting to get knowledge, blessings and nectar. What can we do to take this community and just turn it into a powerful magnet that draws the whole state of Colorado.
Devotee 1: It requires a sense of urgency. Not that I need some profit for my service.
SDA: That is not service. If I think I need some profit for my service, I'm sorry to say, that is not service, that is business. Devotional service is so sweet that you should be willing to pay money to do service. That should be our real attitude. I should be willing to pay money for the privilege to do devotional service. That's actually the real mood we should have. If I had a million dollars, I should be willing to pay a million dollars to scrub the pots for Krishna. That is not even an insignificant fraction of how valuable the opportunity to scrub Krishna's pots is.
I'm thinking I have to get some material remuneration for scrubbing the pots at all. That's just business. I will never forget this letter where Prabhupada said all a devotee needs is a little place to lie down, a little prasadam and tons of service. He doesn't need anything else, not that he needs some money. He has no demand for money, for prestige, he just needs a place to lie down, some prasadam, and tons of service. If he has any other desire, he's in a contaminated state of mind, and he won't taste the bliss of Krishna consciousness.
Devotee 1: Why is it that sometimes when living outside one doesn't have that business mentality, but as soon as one gets closer to Krishna consciousness, or moves into the temple, one develops this business mentality.
SDA: The question is why would someone who's outside have a mood of giving such as donations and service, but they move in and all of a sudden there's this paradigm shift in the heart. That's an interesting question, I have to think deeply on that one. That's a new question for me.
I would ask the question, did it really change? Did it really all of a sudden change? It doesn't seem likely that on moving in the temple, they got completely shifted around. That doesn't sound reasonable to me. What sounds reasonable to me is that the old adage, familiarity breeds contempt. When you're at a distance from something, and you're always hankering for it, then when you finally have it, you're just so much appreciating it. That sounds to me more like what's going on. The familiarity breeds contempt syndrome.
If you want something but you're separated from it, your appreciation actually grows. The gopis were blessed by Krishna by His leaving Vrindavan. Someone may think that Krishna cursed and tortured them, but actually, Krishna's leaving Vrindavan was the greatest blessing because the gopis love expanded exponentially. If it had not already hit the limits of the stratosphere, it went far beyond what it had been when Krishna was present. It just expanded more and more in separation That is something that we do observe. Someone is at a distance, they're surrounded by karmis, their appreciation for devotees is very very great when they do come to the temple. But, if they get in a situation where they're always with the devotees, they begin to take devotee association for granted, and they start to commit offenses.
We also know that the most beneficial thing is to be with the devotees 24 hours a day. So, we have to understand how to train our members so that they don't fall into the familiarity breeds contempt syndrome. A good example of this was Satsvarupa Maharaja when he was Prabhupada's personal servant. He knew there was a tendency when you're at a distance to see Prabhupada like a Deity in your mind. God's emissary on this planet. He's saving us. But he noticed that if you're in the entourage, with him constantly, there's a tendency to think he's an ordinary person. Satsvarupa Maharaja would walk away for sometime from Prabhupada's room and beat his mind with his shoes 100 times to remind himself who he was actually with, jagat-guru the spiritual master of the universe. The same principle applies to those of us living in iskcon communities. We have to realize that any person who has dedicated his life to Lord Caitanya's movement is a sadhu.
When Prabhupada would write a letter to an individual devotee. He could just be a rank and file member, just like I was a rank and file brahamacari. A letter from Prabhupada would say His Grace Sriman Sankarshan das brahamacari. Prabhupada gave so much respect to me even though, who am I? Practically just a dog off the streets. If Prabhupada gave us so much respect, how much respect should we give to every single member of this movement.
I feel that this will create a better attitude of service. We also have to recognize that there are those who are my superiors, those who are equal, and those who are less advanced. If we have this attitude that everyone is just the same, its not very good. I've seen situations where former members of our temple in Austin would consider everyone who comes in the door is prabhu. They're automatically prabhu. Prabhupada said that prabhu is for initiates So, this idea of Vedic culture that you have superiors who you offer obeisances to them, take instructions from them ,you always offer respect to them, those who are your equals you make friends with them, those who are your juniors, you always show kindness to them. These etiquette must be observed in our society.
I see nowadays, there is so much contamination of the kali yuga which has infiltrated iskcon. Men and women hugging each other To me, its unthinkable. How many times have I hugged my wife? I've never even hugged my own wife. Of course, I may be considered a fanatic. But, I'm just saying, I see a lot of problems in our society. We're just giving in. We're just trying to incorporate Western culture into our movement to blend in. That is not our Vedic culture at all. We have to bring the Vedic culture back in. That's how we can live together as a family in a very transcendental and pure way without becoming greedy and selfish.
You gave me a chance to reveal my hidden gripes. Thank you very much. I think that will help solve the problem that you're describing to a certain extent. The more that we actually have pure Vedic culture going on in our temples, it will purify everyone's consciousness. It will curb down the tendency to be greedy that we all know we have. We need a pure Vedic atmosphere in the temples, and that will cool us off and give us the higher taste for krishna-bhakti.
Any other questions?
Devotee 1: A person is very attracted to Krishna consciousness, then they move into the temple and develop a business attitude. I will do service if I get recognition, money, or some other personal conditions. (indistinct conversation)
SDA: Anything else? Srimad-Bhagavatam ki, Jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya! Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.
Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Dasa