Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.8
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto, Chapter number 2 "Divinity and Devotional Service" Text number 8:
dharmah svanusthitah pumsam
“The occupational duties a man performs according to his own position are only so much useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead”.
There are different occupational activities in terms of man's different conceptions of life. To the gross materialist who cannot see anything beyond the gross material body, there is nothing beyond the senses. Therefore his occupational activities are limited to concentrated and extended selfishness. Concentrated selfishness centers around the personal body — this is generally seen amongst the lower animals. Extended selfishness is manifested in human society and centers around the family, society, community, nation and world with a view to gross bodily comfort. Above these gross materialists are the mental speculators who hover aloft in the mental spheres, and their occupational duties involve making poetry and philosophy or propagating some ism with the same aim of selfishness limited to the body and the mind. But above the body and mind is the dormant spirit soul whose absence from the body makes the whole range of bodily and mental selfishness completely null and void. But less intelligent people have no information of the needs of the spirit soul.
Because foolish people have no information of the soul and how it is beyond the purview of the body and mind, they are not satisfied in the performance of their occupational duties. The question of the satisfaction of the self is raised herein. The self is beyond the gross body and subtle mind. He is the potent active principle of the body and mind. Without knowing the need of the dormant soul, one cannot be happy simply with emolument [emolument means sense gratification] of the body and mind. The body and the mind are but superfluous outer coverings of the spirit soul. The spirit soul's needs must be fulfilled. Simply by cleansing the cage of the bird, one does not satisfy the bird. One must actually know the needs of the bird himself.
The need of the spirit soul is that he wants to get out of the limited sphere of material bondage and fulfill his desire for complete freedom. He wants to get out of the covered walls of the greater universe. He wants to see the free light and the spirit. That complete freedom is achieved when he meets the complete spirit, the Personality of Godhead. There is a dormant affection for God within everyone; spiritual existence is manifested through the gross body and mind in the form of perverted affection for gross and subtle matter. Therefore we have to engage ourselves in occupational engagements that will evoke our divine consciousness. This is possible only by hearing and chanting the divine activities of the Supreme Lord, and any occupational duty which does not help one to achieve attachment for hearing and chanting the transcendental message of Godhead is said herein to be simply a waste of time. This is because other occupational duties (whatever ism they may belong to) cannot give liberation to the soul. Even the activities of the salvationists [mayavadis who only want to merge, the monists] are considered to be useless because of their failure to pick up the fountainhead of all liberties. [Fountainhead means the original source for all types of liberation] The gross materialist can practically see that his material gain is limited only to time and space, either in this world or in the other. Even if he goes up to the Svargaloka, he will find no permanent abode for his hankering soul. The hankering soul must be satisfied by the perfect scientific process of perfect devotional service. [End of purport]
sri-caitanya-mano-bhishtam sthapitam yena bhu-tale
Sankarshan Das Adhikari: So, this is very, very wonderful knowledge to free us from all varieties of anxieties. Is it not a fact that we are suffering from so many anxieties? There are many different varieties of anxieties. Just like there is pain in the body and there is an agitated mind, these sorts of miseries are called adhyatmik miseries. And then there are miseries caused by other living entities just like some mosquito, he may come to bite me "zzzzzzzzzzz" [imitates mosquito]. Or like some terrorist, he may come and cut my throat. So these are called adhibhautik miseries. And then the third type of misery it is called adhidaivik miseries. These are miseries caused by the demigods in the heavenly planets who control nature. Just like here in Tartu, you have a very, very cold winter. That is called adhidaivik misery. In Texas we have very, very hot summer. So that is also adhidaivik misery. So we are being tortured by all these miseries in the material existence. And the only way to get out of these miseries is to take to the path of Krishna bhakti. Here in this world we find that we have so many activities we are doing. You might be a college student, studying hard to make good grades. Or you might be a worker in some company, working hard to keep your job, so you can have some money to pay your bills. Or you may be a retired person and have so many problems with your health because your body is now old. Actually the whole thing is a plot of the material society. They send you off to school cracking the whip, "Go to school". And in school they teach you how to become a very good worker. And they work you very hard cracking the whip, [Imitates lashing of whip]. They work you year after year after year after year until finally you are so worn out that you cannot work anymore. And practically you are going to die very soon. And then they say, "Ok, now you can retire". And that is our whole life. What kind of life is that? You simply work hard so you can get old and die. What is the point? You study hard to learn how to work hard for the purpose of getting sick, getting old and dying. Is that a very happy life? Is it a very happy life? No, it is a very miserable life. My question is who would like to have a miserable life? Would anybody in this room want to have a miserable life? So, why are you taking a miserable life? You could be unlimitedly happy. So why are you thinking “I have to work hard, I have to study hard so I can work hard to die.” Why are you doing that your entire life? Why are you not thinking of spiritual enlightenment, waking up from the sleep of material consciousness, coming to the liberated platform of Krishna consciousness? This is the challenge of our great acaryas to us. So in this particular verse of the Srimad Bhagavatam, it is being very nicely explained that whatever duties we may be doing, if we are not doing them in such a way that we are awakening the love of God within our hearts then it is simply a waste of time, srama eva hi kevalam. The occupational duties we perform are useless labor if they do not provoke attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead. So that means that whatever occupational duty you are doing now you have to do it in such a way that your Krishna consciousness is being awakened. Otherwise it is simply a waste of time whether you are going to school, whether you are working, or whether you are simply keeping house. These activities must be done in such a way that your Krishna consciousness is being awakened. Otherwise you are simply cutting your own throat. Would anyone want to cut their own throat? Only a crazy fool would want to commit suicide. Therefore we can understand the entire modern day society are simply crazy fools because they are all committing suicide, by not taking to this pathway to develop an attraction for the message of the Personality of Godhead. So the question is how we will awaken that attraction within our hearts for the message of Krishna. That is very, very important. How will we do that? We will do that by taking to the pathway of Krishna consciousness, according to the teachings of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada is teaching us how to live our lives in such a way that everything will become perfect and we will develop a taste for hearing and chanting the glories of Krishna.
One may ask, "Well, why should I want to develop an attraction for hearing about Krishna"? I can be attracted to so many subject matters, just like I am very attracted when someone glorifies me. Why not be attracted to hearing my own glories? If someone tells me "Oh! you are very beautiful, you are very intelligent. You have so many wonderful qualities." I am very attracted to hear their glorification of me. Why should I want to hear the glorification of Krishna? Who is Krishna that I should be interested to hear His glories? Why not the glories of some rock star or some politician or some movie star? Why not hear their glories? Why are you bringing this person, Krishna? So people may object, “I don't want to hear about your Krishna. I want to hear about who is going to win the ball game today. That is all I care about. So the question is then why do we want to hear about Krishna? Did Prabhupada trick us into hearing about some mythological figure?
People may wonder why we are doing this. Well, actually we have very good reasons for doing this. The fact is that Krishna can be scientifically understood as the Original Source of all that exists. As we were discussing yesterday at the lecture at the University, we can in fact scientifically understand how Krishna is the Supreme Lord and how it is by His mercy that everything is coming. And we can understand why it is that we exist at all. Why Krishna is manifesting us from Himself at this very instant. Krishna is manifesting us simply for one purpose and one purpose only. He wants our love. Each and every one of you has a unique quality or a unique characteristic with which you can satisfy Krishna in a certain way that only you can do. That is why you exist as an individual. There is nobody else like you. You are a totally unique living being. So Krishna wants to have a particular type of loving relationship that only you can give Him. That is why you exist. Just as the fish cannot be satisfied unless he is in the water, similarly you, the living being, will not be happy unless you give Krishna your love that He desires. Sometimes we may feel that, I am chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare but I don't feel the love in my heart. I don't feel the taste for chanting His name. So we may wonder what is wrong. Is there something wrong with me or is there something wrong with the process? What is going wrong here? The answer is that there is nothing wrong with the process. Simply it takes time, we have to be patient. We have been in a diseased condition for millions of lifetimes. Therefore to become cured overnight is practically speaking impossible. Of course, in rare cases it can happen. There is a general rule: we have to expect that we will invest an entire lifetime in this process of awakening our dormant Krishna consciousness, to get the desired result.
So we can open up the discussion now, if there are some questions we will try to answer them. Does anyone have any questions?
Devotee: I have a question. Should we take any service in the temple as equal or is it natural that we like one service more than the others?
SDA: Hmm. This is a very nice question. We will let Ranga devi translate this. This is a very nice question. She asked this question if all services are equal in a temple or can we like some more than the others? Is it all right?
Devotee: Is it natural that we like some more than the others or should we...?
SDA: Is it natural that we like some more than others or should we feel that they are all the same?
SDA: Actually, every single service is equal but it is natural, because we all have certain talents and abilities and inclinations, it is quite natural that you will like some services more than you do the others. But with intelligence based on proper philosophical understanding you should not allow yourself to be blinded by your likes and your dislikes. In fact, you should be very happy in doing things you don't like to do. Because by learning how to like to do things that you don't like in Krishna's service, this will very quickly advance you on the path of pure bhakti. If I only agree to do things that I like to do for Krishna, I will never attain pure devotional service. I will remain in material consciousness and I will have to take birth again also. But if I am willing to do anything and everything to please my spiritual master, to please the Vaisnavas, to obey the instructions given in the scriptures, even if I don't like it, Krishna will bestow all blessings upon me for my very, very rapid advancement back to home, back to Godhead. Therefore even though we have our likes and dislikes, and that is natural, you have to train yourself how to do anything for Krishna with great enthusiasm. In fact, Srila Prabhupada said "Do the needful". In other words you should be willing to do whatever needs to be done. That is what you should see. What needs to be done, so let me do that. Not that "Oh, I don't like that, I won't do that because I don't like it." No that is material consciousness.
Devotee: What if no one wants to clean the toilet?
SDA: There is a golden opportunity for you. You can do it. Let's say the toilet is dirty and no one wants to clean the toilet. And you can see, "Oh, this is a great opportunity. I also do not like to clean the toilet. But now Krishna has blessed me and no one else is cleaning the toilet so now I get the great opportunity to clean the toilet.
Devotee: But maybe I do not have time.
SDA: Then you have to sleep less. Sleep even less.
Devotee: I can cook with myself.
SDA: What is she saying?
Vishnupriya Mataji: She said she can cook. [Talks to the devotee]
SDA: How long does it?
VPM: How long does it take? What did you say?
Devotee: It is not possible to sleep less because you cannot maintain the body anymore.
SDA: Well, then skip a meal and eat less. When I was a young brahmacari I was very keen to study Prabhupada's tapes so I could be a better preacher. But I did not have enough time because my day was very busy. So I decided, "Okay, I won't eat lunch. I will just study during lunch time every day and I survived. So if there is not enough time to clean the toilet you just skip one meal and you clean the toilet during the meal time. Then you can eat more prasadam at the next meal.
Devotee: I already don't eat in the morning.
VPM: She hardly eats anyway.
SDA: So, whose duty is it to clean the toilet? So, do you have any other duties that you are doing very nicely?
VPM: Are you taking turns or just one person has to clean the toilets?
Devotee: No, it is like divided separate in different parts. Everybody have one part.
[Inaudible conversation between VPM and devotees]
VPM: Everyone should clean the toilets since everyone uses it.
Devotee: Like you said, we should sleep less and sleep less and sleep less. But how long will we survive like this if we just sleep less and do everything. Then there is great danger if we fall asleep during the day.
SDA: Well, the point is we can't neglect the service. That has to be seen by the practical management. If someone is saying “Well, I am not going to do that service because I am very busy then." Actually the service can be done, that is the point. We see the tendency of somebody who does not want to do something then they dream up so many excuses of why they can’t do it. The fact is that if we work very hard we can have plenty of time to sleep and to get all the services done. That is a fact. The key is one has to be in a service mood not in an enjoying mood. We don't want you to neglect your sleep and fall asleep while you are driving or something like that. We want that you should have sufficient rest but you must give up the enjoying spirit and always be in the mood of giving service. Then everything will be proper. You will be well rested, you will be happy, you will be enlivened. But if you are in the mood of trying to be the enjoyer, that is an artificial position for the jiva. And it will be a great struggle on how to maintain an artificial position. It will lead to so many interpersonal conflicts. So give up the spirit of being the enjoyer. And always being in the mood of giving service, giving, giving, giving service. If I am in the mood of taking, taking, taking, I must face so many anxieties. But one who is in the mood of giving, giving, giving, giving, they taste unlimited bliss. So you have to decide. Do you want unlimited bliss or you want one anxiety after another anxiety after another anxiety. The choice is yours. You can follow the pathway of your choice. "Pravritti marg" or "nivritti marg", it is your choice.
Just like Ranga devi. She is always in the service mood. Serving, serving, serving that is why she is so blissful. She is always serving. She is thinking, "What can I do to make this center a very nice success”.
Devotee: The question is that you said we have to give up enjoying spirit.
SDA: That’s right, give up enjoying spirit. That’s right.
Devotee: But, for example, when I am chanting Hare Krishna or taking prasadam or associating with devotees, in one sense I understand it is a service but at the same time I am also enjoying. Is that also enjoying spirit?
SDA: No, that is not enjoying spirit. To enjoy Krishna consciousness that is not enjoying spirit. Enjoying spirit means you want sense gratification. Instead of hearing Krishna's glories, you want to hear your glories. Instead of feeding Krishna nice prasadam, you want to eat some meat that is called enjoying spirit, when you break the regulative principles, or also, if you simply become very lazy. Even in Krishna consciousness if you simply want to enjoy but you don't want to do what is necessary for the sake of the movement that is also not a good thing. We have to see what the service needs to be done and we have to do that service to make this center very nice. You should come here thinking, “What service can I do at the temple?” Not, “How can I enjoy this temple?” By doing that, your enjoyment will increase one thousand times. Don't you feel most happy when you are in the mood of giving service? Just like coming all the way to Tallinn to pick up Mataji and me at the boat. That is a service. Do you enjoy that? Do you like doing that? The reason you enjoy it is because you are in the mood of service. Enjoyment is not bad as long as you are the secondary enjoyer. Krishna is the primary enjoyer and you are the secondary enjoyer. If you are enjoying giving service to Krishna then that is very good. But if you are enjoying something which is not pleasing to Krishna that is not good, that is very bad. So enjoyment is a good thing as long as you are a secondary enjoyer and Krishna is pleased with you, then your enjoyment is very nice. What did Srila Prabhupada say? He said, "Chant and be happy". Srila Prabhupada is ordering you to chant Hare Krishna, take prasadam and be happy. Srila Prabhupada is ordering you to enjoy and not to be morose. But you have to understand what is the method of enjoyment, not that you try to enjoy some sense gratification.
Devotee: The question is they come to the same point actually. If for a person, it is not possible to go to the temple so often, then there can be different reasons because they are very old and they are very sick. It is a long way to the temple and it is too much endeavor sometimes to go to the temple every day, then what can they do at home?
SDA: You make a temple at home. You have a nice altar. You make a nice area that is only for Krishna. You make sure that the kitchen has no meat, no fish and no eggs. And whatever you eat you first offer to Krishna. You may have a special plate which is only Krishna's plate and whenever you cook you put a nice serving of every dish for Lord Krishna on that plate. And then you bring that plate and you set it on the altar. And you bow down and you offer the food to Krishna. You give Him some time to enjoy His meal and then you can take whatever is left over and merge it back into the cooking pots. And only then after offering it to Krishna then the whole family can eat. In this way, your home will become a temple and your kitchen will become a spiritual kitchen and you will be happy at every minute of your day. And you also chant on the japa mala, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. And you invite the devotees to your home; they can sometimes come and do kirtana. Everyone can come to your home and do one kirtana and that will sanctify the atmosphere in your home.
Devotee: I understand that the human form of life is for coming back to Krishna, but if it happens somehow that due to some fall down, the human gets next birth as an animal. Is it possible to come back from this animal form again?
SDA: Yes. If you are seriously chanting Hare Krishna now and you are trying to achieve perfection. If you follow our four regulative principles nicely i.e. you don't eat meat, you don't have illicit sex, you do not take intoxication, you don't gamble, you chant sixteen rounds daily on the japa mala and you take shelter of a bona fide guru, this means you are seriously practicing Krishna consciousness. If you do so in a steady way then you will be guaranteed not take birth as an animal. But even if you somehow become an animal, you would quickly return to the human form. The key is you have to seriously try to become a pure devotee right now in this lifetime. That is the key.
Devotee: This material life, it forces us to act. It is not so easy to act in the way that you are saying, all these principles because, for example, he is sometimes working sixteen hours and he only has few hours for sleeping and he really do not have time for chanting and other things to do.
SDA: Sixteen hours! Why are you working so many hours?
Devotee: He really feels that this society is making a slave out of him. He is not serving Krishna but he is just serving his boss.
SDA: Yes, the modern day society is very demoniac. What sort of work do you do?
Devotee: I do everything. Generally I am the driver but there are many things which I have to do.
SDA: I see. You are a driver? Like father, like son. You drive a taxi or a limousine or what do you drive a truck?
Devotee: Truck and some small cars, different.
SDA: Do you watch television?
Devotee: Even if I would like but I just don't have time.
SDA: No time for television. Well, that is good [chuckles]. Here is the key. Whatever little time you can find, by very, very seriously praying to Krishna, "My dear Krishna, please bless me that I can find some time to chant Your name". You must intensely beg Krishna to help you find some time to chant His name. And when Krishna does give you some time, you should chant with great devotion. And if you do that, whenever Krishna gives you the free time, Krishna will take note and He will give you more free time for chanting. And gradually in this way, Krishna will reshape your daily life so you will have enough time to chant sixteen rounds. Krishna is the Supreme Controller. He can easily maintain you even without you having to work a job. The only thing that is required is that you have to become very strongly fixed in the mood of devotion. If He gave you complete free time right now, you would just try to enjoy your senses. So, therefore, He is making you work hard to help you stay sober. But, if you will take whatever little time you have available and you seriously chant Krishna's names, He will give you more and more free time for chanting. Do you understand what I am saying? Okay.
Devotee: So it means He is just saving me from all this bad things that I would do if I had free time?
SDA: Yes. That is true. You have no time for sinful life because you are working so hard. You have no time for sinful life. That is good. You should become so pure that if Krishna gives you 24 hours a day of free time, you can use all those 24 hours strictly in the service of Krishna. If you come to that level of purity, Krishna will give you all the time. It is simply a matter of your intense desire to please Krishna.
Translator: She says she has only one room flat and if she makes as you said, the altar in this one room in one corner.
SDA: One corner, yes. That is good.
Translator: But in the same room she has a TV. So that means she can't watch TV at all.
SDA: Don't watch TV. There is no need to watch TV. You can sell it. [Devotees laugh.] Instead of watching TV you chant mala and read books.
Translator: It becomes boring if she does that.
SDA: Ah! That means you have to learn how to relish the taste of Krishna's name. Krishna's name is so sweet that you can chant Hare Krishna 24 hours a day and it becomes more and more sweet. I will tell you the truth. Your rascal television is boring. [Laughter]. When I was a small boy I grew up watching television. Maybe you and I are around of the same age. I was born in 1947 and the first television came to the US when I was just a little baby in the crib. My parents put a television set by the baby crib. So I was watching the TV even when I was a little baby in the baby crib. I must have watched television for 20 years but I can tell you that it is simply boring, nonsense. In Austin we have a TV show the ‘Hare Krishna TV show,’ that is very nice. Television is not a bad thing, but the programming is bad. If we can have Hare Krishna TV then there is no harm, you can watch TV 24 hours a day. But the problem is that the materialistic people, they run the TV shows and all they do is tell you to buy this, buy that, buy this, buy that. They are simply trying to pick your pocket and take all your money. So don't watch that stupid TV. You read these books. And you chant Hare Krishna.
Conversation between devotees and Gurudeva [Inaudible]
SDA: Ok, that is good. So, is there anything else? If there is nothing else, we will stop here. Any other burning questions that people need to ask? I will be happy to answer if someone has a burning question and they have to get an answer for it.
[Devotee is crying and asking a question in Estonian].
Translator: She is so nervous and she is already nervous always because her daughter got divorced and she has two children already and now the children stay without the father and now she is worrying so much about this. What to do in such a situation?
SDA: You have to make your daughter Krishna conscious. You have to make your grandchildren Krishna conscious, your daughter Krishna conscious. That will solve all the problems. All the problems will be solved. You give everyone Krishna consciousness. We are very, very sorry to hear that you daughter has divorced. The whole world is suffering.
Translator: The daughter is not worrying so much. But she is so much worried about the children and she cannot save the situation and now she cannot find any peace because she is already completely sick out of this nervousness now.
SDA: You have to engage the children. Do the children live with you?
Translator: They are not living in the same flat but same house, but different flat.
SDA: Alright then you just make the children in Krishna conscious. That is all. You become a devotee and make the children devotees and all the problems will be solved.
Okay, we will stop here. Thank you very much.
[Transcribed by Her Grace Bhaktin Priya]