Srimad Bhagavatam 1-6-37
Ottawa, Canada- 6-1-2005
Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya,
[Gurudeva is singing 3 times and the devotees repeat],
Today we’re reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, first Canto, Chapter number 6, ‘The conversation between Narada and Vyasadeva,’ text number 37:
evam sambhasya bhagavan
amantrya vinam ranayan
yayau yadrcchiko nunih
evam sambhasya bhagavan
amantrya vinam ranayan
yayau yadrcchiko nunih
sutah—Suta Gosvami; uvaca—said; evam—thus; sambhasya—addressing; bhagavan—transcendentally powerful; naradah—Narada Muni; vasavi—named Vasavi (Satyavati); sutam—son; amantrya—inviting; vinam—instrument; ranayan—vibrating; yayau—went; yadrcchikah—wherever willing; munih—the sage.
Suta Goswami said: Thus addressing Vyasadeva, Srila Narada Muni took leave of him and vibrating on his vina instrument, he left to wander at his free will.
Every living being is anxious for full freedom because that is his transcendental nature. And this freedom is obtained only through the transcendental service of the Lord. Illusioned by the external energy, everyone thinks that he is free, but actually he is bound up by the laws of nature. A conditioned soul cannot freely move from one point to another even on this earth.
SDA: We found that experience the other day. Our driver didn’t have his ID he was delayed, so he couldn’t cross the border; he had to wait. So, we cannot move freely even between Canada and US.
So, a conditioned soul cannot freely move from one place to another even on this earth and what to speak of one planet to another. But a full-fledged free soul like Narada, always engaged in chanting the Lord's glory, is free to move not only on earth but also in any part of the universe, as well as in any part of the spiritual sky.
SDA: Actually Prabhupada mentions how this Krishna Conscious Movement will spread throughout the universe. So you can just imagine, inter-planetary sankirtana parties travelling all over the universe spread Prabhupada’s Movement everywhere. There will be ISKCON in Brahmaloka, just imagine that.
Prabhupada Purport continues:
We can just imagine the extent and unlimitedness of his freedom, which is as good as that of the Supreme Lord. There is no reason or obligation for his traveling, and no one can stop him from his free movement. Similarly, the transcendental system of devotional service is also free. It may or may not develop in a particular person even after he undergoes all the detailed formulas.
SDA: This is amazing. A person might be chanting 16 rounds, he might be following the four regulative principles, doing everything he’s supposed to do, strictly according to the rules and still he may not attain it. Devotional service is free to act as whom it chooses to bless. So it’s actually a mercy to become a pure devotee of Krishna. It’s not mechanical, “Well, I did my 16 rounds, followed the regulative principles, why I have not become a pure devotee?” It’s actually a special mercy to become a pure devotee of Krishna because devotional service is free to manifest or not manifest.
Prabhupada Purport continues:
Similarly, the association of the devotee is also free. One may be fortunate to have it, or one may not have it even after thousands of endeavors. Therefore, in all spheres of devotional service, freedom is the main pivot. Without freedom there is no execution of devotional service. The freedom surrendered to the Lord does not mean that the devotee becomes dependent in every respect. To surrender unto the Lord through the transparent medium of the spiritual master is to attain complete freedom of life. [End of Purport]
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah
caksur unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah
SDA: So, here we are in the most auspicious place in the entire universe. We’re here at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Gaura-Nitai and Srila Prabhupada. This is the most auspicious place in the universe. Right here! It is the most auspicious time and also it’s the Bhagawatam class. So, we are here at the most auspicious place at the most auspicious time. So we should take full advantage and just fully absorb ourselves. Somehow or the other, even though the association of the devotee is free, in other words the devotee is not under any obligation. He’s free to give his association, wherever he sees fit. So, somehow we’ve gotten the association. Somehow I’ve gotten your association. I’ve been blessed.
Devotee: You are the most auspicious association.
SDA: It’s all Prabhupada’s mercy. We’re all getting Prabhupada’s association. He has brought us together. If one finds oneself at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada or lotus feet of Gaur-Nitai and the Srimad Bhagawatam is being spoken then there is absolutely no greater fortune, right place at the right time.
One very famous materialist, who became the world’s richest man, gave one piece of advice from his experience. He said that if you find yourself at the right place at the right time you should take massive action. That was Bill Gates. He was a Harvard dropout and just happened to get a contract to write the operating system for the IBM PC and he said, “Wow! I’m at the right place, at the right time and I’m going to take massive action” and he became tremendously wealthy man.
So, that applies also in Krishna Consciousness. Here we are at the right place, at the right time. So what does it mean to take “massive action”? For us, in the transcendental sense, that means that we must intensely absorb ourselves in achieving pure devotional service. With every ounce of our intelligence, our energy, our life, our words, our money, everything should be intensely absorbed in achieving pure bhakti and making a revolution on this planet. Revolutionizing the whole planet earth, at least for now, may be in the future other planets. At least for now let’s make the entire earth planet Krishna Conscious; that is called massive action. Let us make a revolution within, and a revolution without, bahir Nrsimha hrydaye Nrsimha within and without.
What is the freedom of a Vaishnava? This is actually a very, very amazing thing. We sometimes hear that we are either controlled by the material nature or the spiritual nature, but that control of the spiritual nature is complete freedom actually. To be under the control of the spiritual nature is complete freedom. And the proof is that when one achieves that position of being completely under the control of the spiritual nature, that devotee can actually bring God under His control.
Krishna or God is called ajita. He is not conquerable. But that person who fully surrenders himself to Krishna, he actually becomes the controller of Krishna like Yashoda Mai or Arjuna, “Drive my chariot here, drive my chariot there.” He’s controlling Krishna. What is the freedom of someone who controls that person who controls everything? That is an incredible freedom.
In this material world, people are struggling. “I got to get money. I got to get prestige so I can enjoy,” they are struggling so hard to become successful in this world. But, they don’t realize, if you simply surrender to Krishna then you actually control that person who controls and owns everything.
As the Isopanisad says, “What is there illusion or anxiety for such a person?” There is no illusion and there is no anxiety. Acit is illusion and nirananda is anxiety, but his position is cit ananda which means he is full of knowledge and full of bliss. This is actually quite amazing.
Prabhupada is saying, “the devotee doesn’t become dependent in every respect”, that means, he still has independence. Even though he’s fully surrendered to Krishna in that loving relationship, he still possesses independence. He’s not just a robot. Of course, in one sense, that independence is always there, that we can choose to serve Krishna or not choose Krishna. But even in the position of one who has chosen that, “I will simply dedicate every thought, every word and every deed for the pleasure of the Lord in all times, in all places, in all circumstances, for all of eternity,” even such a person who has fully dedicated himself to remain under Krishna’s control he actually has still independence. “To please Krishna and serve Krishna,” his desires are non-different from Krishna’s.
He simply wants to please Krishna in every way and Krishna reciprocates with the devotee’s desire to serve Him in a particular way. That’s why you have different rasas in the spiritual world. It’s not just everybody is a roboton in the goloka vrindavana. You have unlimited varieties of rasas.
Of course there are five primary rasas and they are the manifestation of devotee’s independence. He has a desire to serve Krishna in a particular way. The flute is thinking, “It is much better deal being a flute for Krishna because the Gopis they only get Krishna’s lips every now and then. I get Krishna’s lips all the time.” Certain living entities who would rather be a flute than be a gopi, because they think that it is a much better deal to be a flute than to be a gopi. They get the lotus lips of the Lord all the time, for hours and hours and hours. The gopis don’t get that much of Krishna’s lips.
So, even within each of those primary rasas, there are so many varieties. There are unlimited different ways of being a gopi or a gopa, be in a parental mood, be in a servitude mood, friendship mood. All of these rasas have unlimited varieties which are all simply manifestations of the devotee’s freedom, their desire to serve Krishna either in this way or that way. Krishna loves that because that way He never gets bored because He has all these thousands and millions of devotees who have the freedom to serve Him according to their desire and they all have individual personalities and they all have different ways that they’d like to serve Krishna and relate with Him. So Krishna never gets bored there in the spiritual world.
In one sense, Krishna could never get bored because he’s atmaram. He is the self-enjoyer. So, sometimes people say, “Well, if He is a self-enjoyer then why does He create all these living entities? What’s the need? If He can be happy all by Himself then why does He have all these living entities?” Well, it’s a fact Krishna is atmaram, He can enjoy on His own, but, since He can enjoy in any way He chooses, it’s His desire to increase His enjoyment.
What does Chanakya Pandit say? ‘A home without children is a desert.’ So, Krishna doesn’t want the spiritual world like a desert. Maybe, He was reading the Chanakya’s shlokas. (Laughs) So He fills up the spiritual world with unlimited millions and billions and trillions and quadrillions and quintillions of living entities that all have been given independence to serve Krishna according to their own desire, their own free choice, about how they would like to serve the Lord. So, the spiritual world is just an incredible place.
Here, this material world is such a dull. Why is it so dull and uninteresting? Because nobody has freedom here; people are just being manipulated by their modes, we are just seeing bunch of puppets. The word ‘guna’ also means rope. So, they are being pulled like a puppeteer. Mayadevi is the puppeteer. It showed like that on one Back to godhead magazine cover many years ago. It shows Mayadevi up there manipulating these karmi puppets, just pulling up their strings.
So they are just little puppets being pulled up on the street. They may think, “Oh, I’m free, I am going on a bicycle or I am free I am going on my roller blades; just see how free I am. I get to go to school the way I want.” But actually they are all just being manipulated by the modes. No one has any freedom whatsoever. The only freedom they have is, “Will I remain in illusion or will I come out?” But how will they get that freedom. Right now they don’t have it. They have to actually be fortunate to come in contact with a devotee. So this is the necessity
One devotee asked Srila Prabhupada, “What does that mean by ‘good fortune’ that one can be blessed with devotional service? Does it mean roll of a dice which if the dice comes up the right way then you get devotional service otherwise you don’t? By good fortune one has the blessing of the devotional service.” Prabhupada’s answer was, “We are their good fortune.” So, this devotee then realized that means I have to preach.
So, the fact is, devotee has the freedom just like when you are distributing books you can approach this person or that person. It is your own free choice who he is going to bless with this opportunity to get a book and whichever person was chosen by that devotee has just received the greatest good fortune. “The devotee approached me to give me a book” and they do have the choice to take advantage of it or not.
When that opportunity comes to receive the mercy of the Lord, what does the living entity do? He has that free choice, Krishna or Maya, spirit or matter. When a devotee approaches him with that book he now has the opportunity to actually come out of the cycle of birth and death and enter into immortality. It’s not that we have to go back to Godhead to attain immortality.
Prabhupada, in one of his lecture said, “Deathlessness begins at initiation.” Someone may ask, “What does initiation mean?” That means that if one is taking the vows with full sincerity, complete dedication and determination then at that moment of initiation one enters into immortality and one achieves one’s eternal identity. Of course, it’s still in the immature stage just like you buy a green mango at the grocery store and you’ve to let it sit for some time to ripen but you have the mango. As soon as one becomes initiated disciple of a bona fide spiritual master he has made that commitment that, “I will serve Guru Maharaja all of eternity” then that person attains an eternal identity. It will take some time to fully ripen but they’ve achieved it at that very moment. So, this is such a wonderful movement with the Krishna Consciousness process. We can take it with all sincerity, with all seriousness then we will taste that sweetest happiness at every minute. This is Krishna Consciousness.
If we’re Krishna Conscious in the real sense of the term then we will taste indescribable nectar at every minute and if we are not tasting that indescribable nectar at every minute then we’re not really Krishna Conscious yet. We’re just aspiring to become Krishna Conscious. But the real Krishna Consciousness means nirvana vilambitani, that happiness which minimizes the value of liberation. The Buddhists take nirvana as considered by many to be the ultimate bliss. “Nirvana, Oh, I want to attain nirvana.” They go to some mountain top and sit there and chant ‘Om’. “Oh, I want to achieve nirvana.” But, they don’t realize that this Krishna Consciousness is nirvana vilambitani, that which minimizes the value of nirvana. Because whatever happiness is there by nirvana, which means freedom from birth and death, that happiness is multiplied by unlimited quadrillions of times of one who has actually learned to relish the taste of Krishna’s name.
As we’ve been explaining many times in our North American Krishna Consciousness tour, is that this word Krishna has actually so much nectar in one pure utterance of the name Krish-naa that the entire universe cannot contain that nectar. That’s how much nectar is there in one pure utterance of Krishna.
So when we’re actually Krishna Conscious, in the pure sense of the term, we will be tasting so much nectar that it’ll overflow and that’s why Prabhupada explains in the Chaitanya Charitamrita and it’s really amazing that it blows my mind and everyone’s mind whenever I repeat this. It is right there in Prabhupada’s books. He says, “Any person who purely chants the holy names of the Lord, without any offense, he becomes Jagad guru and under his influence the whole universe will take up the chanting of Hare Krishna.”
So, do you think Prahupada wants us to become pure chanters or to remain impure chanters? Prabhupada actually is saying that he wants us all to become Jagad gurus, means so potent in our chanting of Krishna Consciousness, that we can inspire the whole world to chant Hare Krishna. So just imagine if we can actually do that. We had one such person, Srila Prabhupada, and he wants us all to come to that level and become so pure that any one of us can influence the whole universe to become Krishna Conscious. And just imagine if we have the whole movement composed of such persons, how quickly, within 18 days, we can conquer the whole planet.
There’s one lecture I played some time when I was shaving in the morning and I’ve heard it many times and I love this quote. Prabhupada says that the world is currently being managed by rogues and demons and now you take the management, and make your life successful. So we’re actually engaged in the process of trying to take the management of this planet, not that we want to be Kshatriyas, although we want to train a class of Kshatriyas.
But we’re meant to be in the brahmana class. We’re meant to be among those persons who are so pure, and so saintly, and so merciful, and so blissful, and so ecstatic that the leaders will actually come to us. The Prime Minister will come to you and he will say, “You are a brahmana, please guide me on how to run this country, Canada. I submit myself to you”. This is how pure each one of our member should become. We can go to any country in the world and simply by our saintly behavior, wisdom, compassion, Krishna Consciousness, people will become inspired to take shelter of us and ask for guidance on how this country should be run in the way that will please Srila Prabhupada.
This is the purity that we should be trying to cultivate when we chant our rounds, study the books, when we go out for preaching work. We should be diligently struggling and striving to get rid of those rascal anarthas- lust, anger, greed, laziness, moodiness, moroseness, lamentation, self-pity they are just horrible things; simply excess baggage.
If you try to travel in an airplane and you are way overweight and you have the excess baggage, it becomes a big problem, plus you’re taking the whole series of flights travelling here and there and every time you go to check-in, they want to charge you some huge overage fee for your excess baggage.
So, we are going through great difficulty with our excess baggage here-lust, anger, greed, excess baggage problem. If we want freedom of our movement then we have to streamline our baggage; get down within the required limit.
So, we have our luggage allowance, jivera 'svarupa' haya — kṛṣṇera 'nitya-dasa'. We are not without identity like the Buddhists, or the impersonalists; we have identity. “I am the servant of Krishna.” We have our relationship with our spiritual master. We have a relationship with our fellow devotees. This is our allotted luggage allowance, this we can have. We’re allowed to possess Krishna; that is our one possession, and that Krishna manifests in so many ways. This Krishna Conscious movement is Krishna; this ISKCON is Krishna.
It’s not that we’re trying to merge into the void or the Brahman; we have very nice possession, we have this wonderful sangat of the Vaishnavas, we have our spiritual master’s lotus feet, we have Srila Prabhupada, we have so many wonderful possessions which are all simply the manifestations of Krishna. So that is our allotted luggage allowance for free movement. But if we try to take on so many other things -lust, anger, greed-then we will not have free movement and that will restrict our movement.
When we’re travelling and preaching just like here we’re in this North-American tour, we get some little taste of how ecstatic it is to travel and preach Krishna Consciousness. So we can just imagine what it must be like for Narada Muni to be able to travel anywhere at will and go anywhere for preaching. Wherever he wants to manifest, he can just show up. He knows what’s happening. He has the power to know where he should go, where is the opportune moment just now where I can go for the preaching work and he shows up at will. Just imagine if we had that much power, that we could be sitting here in Ottawa and being able to tune in to a person on this street who is just now wondering about the purpose and meaning of existence and we just Boom! Show up in the living room with Prabhupada’s books.
Just imagine if we have that power of freedom of Narada Muni, how ecstatic and enlivening the preaching would be. We would know the right moment and by mystic power we would just show up there with the books and we could keep doing that unlimitedly, one person after another person. So, this freedom of movement that Narada Muni has is very nice. If we become absolutely pure devotees there’s no telling how and in what way Krishna would empower us in the future, we don’t know. But it is possible that one can have the similar empowerment as Narada Muni has. It’s not necessarily that he’s the only one who has the ability to do that. It’s possible that anyone could be given that special freedom of movement what Narada had, if they become as pure as Narada Muni. So, we should strive for absolute purity. We should make that the number one goal of our life. “I want to become absolutely pure devotee and I want it now; I don’t want to wait.” Every day and at every minute we should strive to come to absolute purity in our Krishna Consciousness.
Prabhupada actually encouraged me in one letter to come to that standard, he said, “Now you just qualify yourself to see Krishna face to face.” It just amazes me that he told me actually to do that because I’ve been a song writer before I joined the movement. And, I was wondering, “well what about song writing in Krishna Consciousness.” I asked about that to Prabhupada in one letter. And he gave me a hint on how I could write songs on the same level as Bhaktivinoda. He said, “You just qualify yourself to see Krishna face to face then you can write songs like that but that’s Narottam, Bilva mangal” Prabhupada mentions like that. He wasn’t talking about going back to Godhead to see Krishna. I was asking about writing songs now in this body and Prabhupada said, “Now just qualify yourself to see Krishna face to face and then you can write songs.” They would be like scriptures; they would be like Vedas just like Narrotama, Bhaktivinoda. So, this is actually what Prabhupada wants. He wants us to become completely pure devotees, absolutely pure Vaishnavas.
So, while we go through our external motions of distributing books like anything, or by putting on festivals, running restaurants, running temples, managing households, whatever we’re doing in our service to Guru and Krishna. While we are doing all those external activities, at the same time within the heart, we should be constantly pushing ourselves to come to the platform of pure devotional service and everything that we do we should understand why am I doing this? I’m doing it for two reasons- to become a pure devotee of Krishna and to give the same opportunity to everyone else in the world. This is why we’re doing everything at every minute just to become a pure devotee. “That’s why I’m getting up for Mangala Aarti, that’s why I’m putting on a dhoti or a saree, that’s why I’m putting on my tilak, that’s why I’ shaving my head, that’s why I’m wearing my neck beads, that’s why I’m offering an arati.” We’re doing everything for the purpose of becoming a pure devotee and to give everyone else that opportunity as well.
So, I thank you very much for your kind attention. Your enlivened hearing has enlivened me to speak. Just seeing your enlivenment for hearing from this croaking toad I am very enlivened even though I am not very qualified.
So anyone have any question? Yes?
Question: In the purport, it is stated that devotional service chooses who he wants to bless. Does that mean someone who doesn’t chant their rounds, doesn’t follow the regulative principles, doesn’t practice still has the opportunity that devotional service chooses him to bless. And if so, why do we strive to do all this stuff?
Answer: Yeah, it is possible. There is that indication in the Chaitanya Charitamrita that one corpse was floating down the Ganges and the pure devotee had this desire, “I want to liberate the first person I see” and the first person he saw was not actually a person but was a dead corpse. So, he glanced upon that corpse, the corpse came back to life, and became a pure devotee. He wasn’t chanting japa, only his corpse was floating down the Ganges. He must have been on his way to Yamaloka or something like that or maybe he was already in the Yamaloka. But he was able to come back to the body and become a pure devotee immediately by the mercy of that Vaishnava.
So, pure devotional service can manifest even without any prior qualification. But pure devotional service is inclined to bless that person who is sincerely trying to achieve it. So, we should make the endeavor and just pray for the mercy. The point is the mechanics of doing it don’t qualify you. It’s only by the mercy of Guru and Krishna that you can get it. Going through the mechanics of pronouncing Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, just mechanically doing that will not do it. You can train a parrot to chant Hare Krishna and he may not become a pure devotee. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna. But then Prabhupada said that when a cat catches him by the neck, what will he do? He would only say Kaa Kaa Kaa, no more Krishna.
VPM: Can there be also a free choice of devotional service, a person can take up chanting and do all these austerities?
Answer: Yes. It is a great mercy of Bhakti Devi, the devotional service personified. It is her great mercy upon you that you even have the opportunity to chant the Hare Krishna Mantra. Anyone who has even the mechanics available to them, they are blessed. They have already been blessed once, now they just have to go for more blessings. They have been blessed with the tool of sadhana Bhakti by which they can attain pure devotional service. As they sometimes say, I’m on a roll. Once you have so much mercy to have the system of achieving pure knowledge just go and plug-in to the system and then if you’re fortunate you will get more mercy, and if you take that more mercy and use that again to try to purify yourself, you will get more and if you’re fortunate you will get more mercy and more and more. It’s not a mechanical thing. It’s only by the mercy that one can move forward.
Bhaktivinoda is praying like that, he says, “If you’re not merciful upon me then I have no hope, Gurumaharaj or Gurudeva. It is your mercy”. So we are always dependent on the mercy; it’s not that now “I’m a big, staunch, tough devotee, I’m fixed and I don’t need the mercy anymore; I can get back by my own strength.” It’s ‘never’ like that. We’re always dependent on the mercy of Guru, Krishna and Vaishnavas for moving forward in Krishna Consciousness.
Therefore, we have to be very good beggars. You can’t purchase mercy. You can’t say, “Ok, here’s $50, now you have to give me mercy.” No. We have to beg the mercy. We have to attract the mercy of the Vaishnavas, of the spiritual master, of Krishna, of Lord Chaitanya. That’s why Prabhupada put himself as a begger, “I’m simply an insignificant beggar”. We have to be in that mood, just begging for the mercy.
We know beggars many times they are simply the cheaters, but sometimes they beg with so much feeling that it’s hard to refuse. They’re so good at begging. So we have to be best beggars. We can beg Guru, Krishna, Prabhupada, Vaishnavas. We can just beg for their mercy with so much feeling that they practically can’t refuse to give us the mercy. We should never be proud and puffed up.
The more we are advanced, the more we feel we are helpless and dependent on mercy. We are simply a mercy case. If I think that I’m advanced and I’m fixed up. Watch out! You’re on the verge of falling down. You should feel that “I’m so fallen and so neophyte that I need to beg for mercy that I won’t fall down.” You know what Prabhupada said in Boston? He said that, “I am always praying to Krishna that I will not fall down.” So, what is our position? We just have to beg our spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, “please protect me from falling down. Don’t let me give up from this Krishna consciousness process.
Any more questions, from the assembled Vaishnavas, the assembled sadhus. Maybe you have already realized everything so there’s no more question. You’re fully realized, you are now uttam adhikari, so there’s no question. No obstacles or anartha to overcome. You have already achieved the ultimate perfection so there’s no more question.
One devotee says: What do we need to do? The answer is to be always begging for mercy.
SDA: Yes, that mood for always begging for the mercy. That’s the meaning of Hare Krishna mantra. We are begging for mercy.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna
Krishna Hare Hare
Prabhupada says, like a child crying for the mother. The child is screaming for the mother’s mercy. Isn’t it Janaki? Little babies when they cry they are begging for their mother’s mercy. So, that’s how we have to be always begging like a little baby screaming for mother’s mercy.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna
Krishna Hare Hare
VPM: I am sure, Janaki would cry if her mother wasn’t there. She would collapse
SDA: Anything else? Now can we stop here?
Thank you very much!
Ganthraja Srimad Bhagawatam ki Jay!
Srila Prabhupada ki Jay! Hare Krishna!
Transcribed by Her Grace Bhaktin Shalabh
Revision by Prema Bhakti dasa