Lecture: Srimad Bhagavatam 8.12.34
Riga, Latvia (19 September 2005)
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya . . .
Today we are reading from Srimad Bhagavatam, Eighth Canto, Chapter Number Twelve, “Mohini-murti Incarnation Bewilders Lord Siva,” Text Number Thirty-Four.
sarit – near the shores of the rivers; sarahsu – and near the lakes; sailesu – near the mountains; vanesu – in the forests; upavanesu – in the gardens or small forests; ca – also; yatra – wherever; kva – anywhere; ca – also; asan – were existing; rsayah – great sages; tatra – there; sannihitah – was present; harah – Lord Siva.
Translation and purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada:
Following Mohini, Lord Siva went everywhere – near the shores of the rivers and lakes, near the mountains, near the forests, near the gardens, and wherever there lived great sages.
Purport by Srila Prabhupada:
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks that Mohini-murti dragged Lord Siva to so many places, especially to where the great sages lived, to instruct the sages that their Lord Siva had become mad for a beautiful woman. Thus although they were all great sages and saintly persons, they should not think themselves free, but should remain extremely cautious about beautiful women. No one should think himself liberated in the presence of a beautiful woman. The sastras enjoin:
matra svasra duhitra va
“One should not stay in a solitary place with a woman, even if she be his mother, sister or daughter, for the senses are so uncontrollably powerful that in the presence of a woman one may become agitated, even if he is very learned and advanced.” (Bhag. 9.9.17)
In this connection, someone may question: “Why are you making such a big deal about all of this? Actually our philosophy is that we are not this body. The fact is that we are not men and we are not women. We are pure spirit souls, part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So why do we get this very stringent warning against being alone with a member of the opposite sex?”
The fact is, however, that we are now covered by material consciousness. We are thinking, “I am a man” or “I am a woman,” and we base our sense of happiness on the gratification of our male or female senses. This is a false conception of happiness. And by nature’s way, the enjoyment that is experienced in sex is, as Srila Prabhupada explains, “a celestial pleasure.” It is so problematic to have children and raise them; at every step there is trouble. Were it not for that celestial pleasure experienced at the time of conception, no one would dream of having children. So the pleasure of sex is made very, very enjoyable by nature’s way.
For one who is in material consciousness, it is a great temptation to enjoy sex pleasure. An intelligent person realizes not to give in to that temptation, because to do so is very troublesome. Even licit (or legal) sex is troublesome, what to speak of illicit sex, which brings all kinds of very, very severe sinful reactions. So only someone who has completely lost his or her intelligence would engage in illicit sex. It is amazing to note, however, what is stated here in this verse quoted from the Srimad Bhagavatam. Bhagavatam says that even one who is highly learned and spiritually advanced may become agitated if he’s alone with a beautiful woman. Even if the woman isn’t beautiful - even if she’s your mother, even if she’s your sister, even if she’s your daughter, and again, even if you’re learned or advanced – the temptation to taste that sex pleasure may overwhelm the intelligence. One may completely throw away one’s spiritual life for the sake of five seconds of pleasure.
This pastime of Lord Siva and Mohini-murti is showing that even Lord Siva, who is very highly advanced and the topmost of all Vaisnavas, went crazy and completely lost his brains running after a beautiful woman. So what is any one of us compared to Lord Siva? If Siva fell down, then what’s our position? See how careful we have to be. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was once speaking in a public setting with one young female disciple. She was a very young girl at the time; the difference of age was just like that of a grandfather and granddaughter. She said to him, “Guru Maharaja, I would like to speak about something with you.” He replied, “Yes, you can speak.” And she said, “But Guru Maharaja, I want to speak with you privately.” He said, “You can speak in front of everyone here, but I cannot speak with you privately.” So this is Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, a highly advanced and pure devotee. He is showing a perfect example.
Sometimes we see that in our movement, devotees think that they can ignore this injunction - that they can meet privately with a member of the opposite sex. And we see that they sometimes fall down. So this principle is a very important principle. This illicit sex connection is the greatest impediment for spiritual progress. Plus, it’s just plain stupid. This sex pleasure is actually very insignificant compared to the pleasure of Krishna consciousness. Bhagavatam says, yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham hi tuccham: that happiness which is considered the topmost pleasure by materialistic people is actually tenth-class pleasure – insignificant pleasure. That sex pleasure is tenth class at best.
So if one is actually tasting the sweet nectar of Krishna consciousness, then, as we mentioned yesterday, it is like Yamunacarya of South India said: “Ever since I’ve been tasting this sweet nectar of Krishna bhakti, whenever I think of sex pleasure, my lips curl with distaste and I spit at the thought.” But at the same, if a householder couple is duly married and have the blessings of their Guru Maharaja, and they want to have children, that is very nice. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that he was prepared to have sex one hundred times for producing Krishna-conscious children. So we have to understand this issue in a very balanced and not fanatical way. If we understand this principle in a fanatic way it can lead to our eventual falldown. But if we understand it and practice it in a very balanced way, then we can remain strong and steady in Krishna consciousness.
The fact is that by chanting the holy names of the Lord - Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare – one can experience a pleasure which is millions and billions and trillions and quadrillions of times greater than all the sex life that has ever been enjoyed in the history of the entire universe. So who would be such a fool to want to come down off the spiritual platform to have something which is on the level of passing stool? I remember when I was a brahmacari I was speaking with one householder devotee who told me that he and his wife were trying to have children. Our regulative principle is that the householder couple must chant fifty rounds one time a month, on the most fertile day of the lady, before they have sex. This devotee explained that after he and his wife chanted fifty rounds they were so high on the chanting that they didn’t feel like coming down to the bodily platform. He said, “Let’s wait until next month.” So that is the actual nectar, you see. The real nectar is
Hare Krishna Hare
Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
So if anyone ever asks you, “How could you possibly give up sex?” just tell them: “You don’t know how much pleasure there is in chanting Hare Krishna!” This is not a philosophy of artificial renunciation. This is a philosophy of how to enjoy unlimitedly, at every minute. How to taste unlimited nectar at every second: that is Krishna consciousness.
Hare Krishna Hare
Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
We are not blind fools who have simply been captured by some brainwashing cult. Srila Prabhupada describes in his Srimad Bhagavatam purport that the Srimad Bhagavatam’s other name is Paramahamsa Samhita. The paramahamsa, Prabhupada defines, is the most highly intelligent of persons. So this is a paramahamsa movement. This movement is meant for the most intelligent class of people on this planet. And it is actually a fact that ISKCON, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, is the topmost educational institution on this planet. There are so many big-name universities – Harvard University, Yale, Oxford, Cambridge - so many big-name universities are there. But the leading educational institution is ISKCON. Yale, Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge cannot be very high-quality educational institutions. Why? Because they don’t teach you that you cannot be alone with a woman or a man. They don’t teach that. Therefore they are low class, very low class. A high class educational institution will teach this principle of keeping men and women separate. ‘Fire and butter’ - Prabhupada always gives this example that the woman is like fire and the man is like butter. If the butter gets too close to the fire, what will happen? The butter will melt. So the butter should always be kept in a cool place so that it does not melt. So that is an actual educational institution: one which keeps the butter in a cool place. But the modern-day universities’ program is to melt the butter as much as possible; therefore they can give no real education.
So, are there any questions?
You mentioned that no one would have children in the material world unless they had sex pleasure . . . that the species would be extinct . . .
That’s right. If there were no sex pleasure, nobody would bother having children, and the human race would be extinct. That’s why the pleasure of sex is like something from the heavenly planets. But it doesn’t last very long; it lasts only for a second. As they say, “King for a minute and slave for a lifetime.” Is it worth it? If you can raise Krishna-conscious children, then it is worth it. But if you just want to enjoy, forget it. If you want to enjoy, just chant Hare Krishna and be happy. That is a superior position.
You spoke about modern education, how they put men and women together. So are the schools with men and women separate giving a higher education?
It’s a step in the right direction. Actually there are a few universities like that left. There was some small girls’ university in the U.S. that wanted to be kept for girls only, but there was some pressure to allow boys in. There was a big fight – “No, we don’t want any boys here; only girls.” There were also some boys’ universities that were fighting to keep the girls out, and remain boys-only schools. But the modern-day tendency is to make everything co-educational. We’ve seen in California that universities even have the same dormitory for boys and girls – they’re living in the same building. At night the students have illicit sex - they just go across the hall and have illicit sex. It’s a very sad situation, how their brains are being spoiled. The specific fact is that Prabhupada said that if the boys and girls are married, then they can have co-education. But other than that, they should be separate – they shouldn’t be educated together, at the same university. Of course at ISKCON we have married and unmarried. But we have strict separation – brahmacari asrama, brahamacarini asrama – in this way, we have very strict separation.
But the universities are not teaching the science of the soul, so how can they be better?
I said it was a step in the right direction, that they have the separation. I didn’t say that they were giving proper knowledge. Actually, unless they teach the knowledge of the soul, they are improper. When Srila Prabhupada went to MIT he asked the question, “Where is the department at this university that can teach the difference between a living body and a dead body?” Nobody could name such a department. So this is the important knowledge. We have to teach the knowledge of the spirit soul. On the spiritual platform there is perfect unity and harmony and we’re perfectly together as a spiritual family. That is the focus of our Krishna consciousness movement. Our focus is on the positive aspect: how we are all the children of Krishna, how He is our Father. And as a spiritual family we come together to love and serve Krishna together.
What is the Krishna-conscious philosophy about subtle sex?
Subtle sex is just like the submarines used in warfare. They are very dangerous because you can’t see them very easily. Similarly, subtle sex is very dangerous. Subtle sex is the desire for profit, adoration and distinction. One can do everything possible to avoid gross sex, but one may also become proud, thinking, “I am a great renunciate.” Then guess what: he just fell down into subtle sex. Subtle sex is very, very sneaky. It’s been the downfall of many a great transcendentalist.
So one has to be very, very humble: that’s the protection against subtle sex. One should never be proud. One should always feel, “I am most contaminated, wretched and fallen. I don’t deserve to even be allowed in this temple. But somehow the Vaisnavas are so kind upon me that they have given me shelter at their feet. So therefore I must lovingly serve them, with sincere gratitude in my heart.” If you have this spirit, you will not be carried away by subtle sex. Srila Prabhupada explains that sometimes a person wants to have material power in exchange for rendering devotional service. Such is person is trying to be a devotee, but they have this subtle sexual desire for material power. Prabhupada states in a purport in the First Canto of the Bhagavatam that Krishna will then take away everything from this person - their friends and relatives will reject them, and they’ll have no more shelter in this world. They’ll have nothing to do except take complete shelter of Krishna. So in this way, Krishna is very kind to take away all of one’s material attachments – to free one from subtle sex.
Here we have the example of Lord Siva, a highly advance Vaisnava, wanting Mohini-murti, and then we come to hear about Haridasa Thakura engaged in devotional service . . .
And the question is?
The question is, can you explain what is -
Explain why Haridasa did not fall down and Lord Siva did?
Haridasa is an extraordinary example of a topmost pure devotee, namacarya. Actually, he violated this instruction of the Bhagavatam. He was powerful enough to do that. We cannot imitate him. He was able to allow this woman to be alone with him all night, for three nights, and trick her into becoming purified by the power of the Holy Name. Even though Lord Siva is counted as the topmost Vaisnava, he’s also counted as a demigod. Haridasa is in the pastime of the personal associate of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Here we can see the power of somebody who is fully absorbed in the power of Lord Caitanya’s movement - what extraordinary power he has.
. . . previous classes on Srimad Bhagavatam covering this subject matter disclose that Siva was attracted by the internal potency, not by material potency.
Yes, that’s true. Actually, Siva is attracted by Krishna Himself, so it’s actually transcendental. But the whole pastime is there as a warning. Lord Siva was taken around on this little chase so that all the sages could see that even Lord Siva could fall down – the message being, don’t think you’re so free if even Siva can become bewildered. This pastime does firmly establish the principle that Krishna is Supreme and Siva is subordinate to Krishna, but it gives us warning at the same time.
In a family, when the husband is peaceful he doesn’t have sexual desires, and also when the wife is peaceful . . . but when the husband has internal struggle, and he has some desires that she is fighting; and the woman, if she changes her attitude, also may make for desire. What should we do in such a situation?
The husband doesn’t want children and the wife does? I don’t understand the question.
In this situation, the husband has subtle desires that he is fighting internally and the woman can see that, and she expects that sex life will happen, in the sense that . . . he is having this struggle within himself, and then he still fights against that. He says to himself, “I am not going to do, that she’s not satisfied.” There is a struggle going on at the subtle level . . . one may see, and expect something to happen . . . there is a struggle with happiness in the family . . .
Actually, the purpose of Krishna consciousness is to give up this sex. Every asrama is meant for giving up sex. Brahmacari asrama is meant for giving up sex; sannyasa asrama is meant for giving up sex; vanaprastha asrama is meant for giving up sex; and grhastha asrama is meant for giving up sex. Brahmacari gives it up immediately; vanaprastha gives it up immediately; sannyasa gives it up immediately; and grhastha gives it up gradually. The whole point is to give it up. There is a struggle to give it up - of that there is no doubt. Brahmacaris struggle, sannyasis struggle, vanaprasthas struggle, and grhasthas are also meant to struggle – not to take grhastha life as an unrestricted license for sense enjoyment. That’s called grhamedhi. So the more you can give it up, the better; and the quicker you can give it up, the better. The husband is meant to be more renounced than the wife, according to Vedic culture. If the wife desires children, he has the duty to satisfy her desire, even if he is transcendentally situated and can completely renounce sex.
What of the mother’s attitude toward a son, who is nine or ten years old, and is expecting this physical kind of . . .
The parents should be very, very affectionate to the children. You can see the example of Prabhupada’s father, Gour Mohan De, how affectionate he was to Srila Prabhupada when he was a little boy. When he was a little boy Srila Prabhupada saw a toy gun for sale, and he told his father that he wanted the toy gun. So his father bought it for him. Then he said, “I want one for the other hand too.” So Gour Mohan bought him two, so his son could have a gun for each hand.
We can see, then, that the parents are actually very affectionate to the children. If the parents aren’t affectionate to the children, how will they understand how to give and exchange love? In the same way, a spiritual master is very affectionate with his disciples. Whenever Prabhupada would write a letter to one of his disciples he would begin it with “My Dear” So-and-So - in a very affectionate way, you see – “My Dear” Such-and-Such. So just as the spiritual master is very affectionate to his sons and daughters, his disciples, you also are meant to be the guru of your son. You must be very affectionate - “Oh my dear son.” You must always bestow all your well-wishes upon him.
If Yamunacarya is a paramahamsa, why does he have to speak [as he does] about sex, when a paramahamsa is beyond the level of having a negative and positive attitude? If he is on the level of a paramahamsa, why does he have to speak like that?
The question is, why would he have a negative reaction to something if he’s transcendentally situated? We often say that attraction and repulsion are two aspects of the same, conditioned consciousness. So from that angle of vision it would appear that Yamunacarya is not really a paramahamsa – why is he on the platform of attraction and repulsion? Actually, however, we should look at it the other way. We should understand that a transcendental paramahamsa can feel repulsion against mundane sense enjoyment. It’s not that because he feels repulsion, he’s not a paramahamsa.
Prabhupada is a good example. When he on the beach with Svarupa Damodara, Svarupa Damodara, arguing on behalf of the material scientists, asked him, “Srila Prabhupada, if you’re against sex, then how are we to continue the species?” Actually, what Prabhupada had said was, “The position of sex that how nasty it is.” Prabhupada was describing sex as a very, very nasty thing. Does that mean he’s not a paramahamsa? Because he is describing sex as a nasty thing? What do you think? Is Prabhupada not a paramahamsa?
Prabhupada was an acarya; he was a teacher.
Ah. And Yamunacarya? His name was Yamunacarya; he was also a teacher.
So in the sense that acaryas show by example how we should be thinking . . .
That’s right. That’s a very good point. They teach by everything they do. They’re teaching us, because we are on that platform of being attracted. The fact is that Prabhupada said that he could walk into a whole room full of naked women and not be attracted. This is because he is transcendentally situated. It’s just like when Sukadeva went running by all the naked women. He didn’t close his eyes, thinking, “Oh, naked women!” The women didn’t cover themselves, either. They didn’t think, “Oh, here’s a brahmacari – and we’re standing here naked! We must cover ourselves immediately!” No, they didn’t, because he was paramahamsa and they could realize that. No one even bothered to worry about it. The naked women were there; the naked man came by; and it was not big deal. But then when Srila Vyasadeva came – one who, although on the platform of paramahamsa, was acting as grhastha – the women went running for cover! So yes, the fact is that these are pastimes of the great acaryas to teach us. That’s a very good point.
Any other questions?
You mentioned adoration. What are we to do when somebody says something good about us?
If somebody glorifies you, then you should think, “Actually it is all the mercy of my Guru Maharaja.” We have that prayer that says, “Gurudeva, your mercy is all that I am made of.” Prabhupada never took credit. He gave all credit to Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura for everything he accomplished. The only thing he said was, “If I have any credit at all, my credit is that I always faithfully carried out the orders of my spiritual master.” He took no other credit.
In the material world everything has two sides. Sometimes someone may truly glorify you, and sometimes they may falsely glorify you . . .
If someone very much glorifies us in a false or flattering way, then we should remember the saying, “Too much devoted, there is motive.” I remember our temple commander in the Gainesville temple. If anyone came to him and started glorifying him, he would say, “Okay, what do you want?” In other words, if someone is flattering you, you can be immediately suspicious of their motives. “What do they want to get out of me?” So be very careful. Bhaktisiddhanta said, “A flatterer is the worst enemy.”
All right. So we thank you very much for your nice, kind attention . . . Srimad Bhagavatam ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Transcribed by Her Grace Labangalatika devi dasi