Srimad Bhagavatam 8.12.38
[Lecture translated into Latvian by a devotee]
Srimad Bhagavatam, Eighth Canto, Chapter number 12 Text number 38.
sri-bhagavan uvaca - the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; distya - all auspiciousness; tvam - unto you; vibudha-sreshtha - O best of all the demigods; svam - in your own; nistham - fixed situation; atmana - of your own self; sthitah - you are situated; yat - as; me - Mine; stri-rupaya - appearance like a woman; svairam - sufficiently; mohitah - enchanted; api - in spite of; anga - O Lord Siva; mayaya - by My potency.
Since Lord Siva is the best of the demigods, he is the best of all devotees (vaihnavanam yatha sambhuh). His exemplary character was therefore praised by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gave His benediction by saying, "May all good fortune be upon you." When a devotee becomes a little proud, the Supreme Lord sometimes exhibits His supreme power to dissipate the devotee's misunderstanding. After being amply harassed by Lord Vishnu's potency, Lord Siva resumed his normal, unagitated condition. This is the position of a devotee. A devotee should not be agitated under any circumstances, even in the worst reverses. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (6.22), yasmin sthito na duhkhena gurunapi vicalyate: because of his full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a devotee is never agitated, even in the greatest trials. This pridelessness is possible only for the first-class devotees, of whom Lord Sambhu is one. [End of purport]
Sankarshan das Adhikari: This is one of those very, very special purports and Srila Prabhupada really opens up the door and gives a very, very hot tip. A hot tip means a very confidential secret of how one can come to the topmost platform of Krishna consciousness very quickly. This is actually why we joined this movement. We wanted to be ecstatic. We wanted to be enlivened through the science of Krishna consciousness. We realized that no matter how much money we may have, no matter how much prestige we may have, no matter how many things we have in this world we cannot be satisfied. So we came to this movement because we wanted spiritual enlightenment. We wanted to enter into that divine state of consciousness completely beyond the modes of nature. And now here we are struggling every day, battling it up with the three modes of nature. Wondering how we are going to get out of the influence of these modes and taste that full nectar for which we are always anxious. Well, the good news is we don't have to look any more. Srila Prabhupada has made it crystal clear in today's purport: How to come to the platform of a first class devotee. So, do we want to be first class, second class, third class, tenth class? If you are taking to Krishna consciousness, do you want to become a first class devotee or not? Do you want to be mediocre or do you want to be top class? The choice is ours. If you want to be a mediocre devotee, you can remain a mediocre devotee. If we want to become first class devotees, we can become first class devotees. Prabhupada is telling us how to do that right here in today's purport.
So let us look a little deeper into this purport and see how to become a first class devotee. The answer is the example of Lord Siva. Now, Prabhupada points out “when a devotee becomes a little proud, the Supreme Lord sometimes exhibits His supreme power to dissipate the devotee's misunderstanding”. In other words we are already engaged in Krishna consciousness. We are doing devotional service. We are sincerely trying to become pure. But there is some little rascal mentality that comes sneaking in. I think that was your question last night. So now here is the real answer for your question. This thing called pride can get in there and just really mess us up. It is a fact. Pride will make a real mess out of you. If we don't know how to conquer over pride, it becomes a humungous obstacle or a very big obstacle in our path of bhakti. So, let us see now how we can conquer over this enemy known as pride. Actually Krishna helps us just as He helped Lord Siva by bewildering him in the form of Mohini Murti and showing him what a fool he actually is. Krishna will do the same thing to us. He may not come to you as Mohini Murti, but when you become proud, Krishna will make an arrangement to smash your pride. That is a fact. When it first happens we may feel, “This isn't fair, I don't deserve this. I am doing such nice devotional service. Why is this happening to me?” That will be our first reaction. But we have to be a little introspective and realize actually how fallen we really are. And when those trials come, we have to remember there is a very nice saying. That saying is "Purified by the fire of ordeal". Ordeal means difficulty or some difficult situation. ‘Purified by the fire’, Is it translated wrong? It is through some difficult situation. Just like a burning fire that we have to go through. And by going through that difficulty and remaining faithful to Guru and Krishna, that purifies us all of our pride. So this is the special mercy of Krishna. Now Prabhupada points out here, he says “a devotee should not be agitated under any circumstances even in the worst reverses”. [Aside: Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya! Sri Sri Radha Damodara ki jaya!] So, we have to see how much a devotee we actually are. If some extremely difficult situation comes to us and we become very agitated, then guess what? We are not devotees. We are thinking like non-devotees. When the worst possible difficulty comes to us, if we are actually devotees, we will keep a cool head. We won't lose our intelligence. So how do we do that? That is stated in Bhagavad-gita (6.22) yasmin sthito na duhkhena gurunapi vicalyate: “Because of his full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead a devotee is never agitated even in greatest trials”.
Did you catch the key words? "Full faith," that is the bottom line. That is the secret of success in Krishna consciousness. You must have full faith in Krishna. One time one of my Godbrothers, told Srila Prabhupada, "Srila Prabhupada, you are the only person I can trust". Prabhupada said, "Don't trust me. You should only trust Krishna". So, we have to have that full faith in Krishna.
So, how do we develop that faith in Krishna? That would be the most important thing to understand. Right now my faith is somewhat there and somewhat not there. Let's be honest about it. As I have many times given the example, In Los Angeles Srila Prabhupada told us, "Krishna lifted Govardhana Hill and you are thinking, 'Maybe'". So, Prabhupada knew that our faith is incomplete. He knew that we were not even totally convinced that Krishna lifted the Govardhana Hill. So we have that skepticism, sitting in our heart. That skepticism is our worst enemy. How do we root it out? By blind faith? No, by intelligent understanding and sincere practice you can eradicate that little demon known as skepticism.
In this skepticism philosophy they want to not put faith in anything. For the skeptic nothing is sacred. Everything is negated. In India it is called "neti, neti" “Not this, not that, not this, not that.” Negate, negate, negate, negate. But if you really want to be a true skeptic then you must negate everything including skepticism. So, once you negate skepticism then what is left? Then you have to go to the transcendental platform and find something that you can accept. When you come to that stage of complete sincerity, Krishna will bring you into contact with a bona fide spiritual master. He will bring you in contact with authorized scriptures. He will bring you in contact with the bona fide devotees of the Lord. And they will help you come to the transcendental platform. And if you are very, very fortunate you will feel some faith in Guru, Vaisnavas and scripture.
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
After wandering throughout this universe, through so many species, 8,400,000 types of different species "kona bhagyavan jiva”, one jiva, one living entity, who is very, very, very fortunate, he comes in contact with a bona fide spiritual master and by his grace he gets the seed of bhakti planted in the heart. And if he waters that seed of bhakti and if he keeps the weeds from growing around that creeper and if he builds a very strong fence also around that little creeper so no mad elephant of vaisnava-aparadha can trample it to death. Then that faith will grow and become very, very strong.
So, if we are feeling any faith whatsoever, we should follow the standard process known as sadhana bhakti. We should faithfully chant the Hare Krishna mantra, we should follow the regulative principles nicely, we should take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, we should study the authorized scriptures, we should enter into the spiritual family of Lord Krishna and His devotees. And in this way we will see how that faith becomes stronger and stronger and stronger and how that tendency towards skepticism becomes less and less and less. And gradually, gradually, gradually, if we remain steady every day in our practice of Krishna consciousness, we will wake up from the sleep of material consciousness. We will gradually come from the third-class platform to the second-class platform to the first-class platform as exemplified by Lord Sambhu or Lord Shiva. And then we will be, just like Prabhupada said about one disciple, "He can face fire". So that day will come when we will become very, very strong and nothing will agitate us ever again. So we must strive day by day, moment by moment struggling with the six senses which includes the mind, to bring those little rascals under control. To be an actual gosvami:
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
We are all meant to become powerful gosvamis, who can go anywhere in the world and attract people to Srila Prabhupada's movement. To that day we have to work for very diligently. And we can become first-class.
So are there any questions?
Devotee: Like with an open eye when I read or see somewhere, I see a fortunate soul. What does it mean by fortunate soul and how to become this fortunate soul?
SDA: Hmm! Yes. 'bhagyavan'. In Sanskrit it is called 'kona bhagyavan jiva’, one fortunate soul. Actually the great acaryas like Prahlada Maharaja are constantly praying that all good fortune may be bestowed upon us. So these great personalities are always blessing us just like Prabhupada signed his name "Your ever well-wisher". Well-wisher means Prabhupada is always wishing good fortune upon you. So, what is that good fortune? That good fortune means that you may come out of your suffering condition in material existence and become absolutely totally absorbed in pure Krishna bhakti 24 hours a day. That is good fortune. At every moment with every thought with every word and every deed, everything is purely pleasing to Krishna and Guru. It doesn't matter if you are at the temple, doesn't matter if you are sitting in traffic, doesn't matter if you are at home, it doesn't matter if you are at the office, wherever you are, you are carefully making sure that every thought, every word and every deed is absolutely pure and perfect to please Guru and Krishna. That is the ultimate good fortune, to be always absorbed in ahaituki bhakti. And in that state of mind you will see Krishna within everything and everything within Krishna, you will feel the presence of all the great acaryas, you will feel the connection with all the devotees in a wonderful loving relationship. You will taste such a sweet happiness beyond anything you could have ever conceived in your wildest dreams. That is what is called happiness of love of God.
In this world people speak of love of God but it is bogus. They want to take from God. Just like in this material world, the boy says to the girl, "My dear sweetheart, I love you". And then he exploits her for his sense gratification. And when he becomes bored, he dumps her for another girl. He throws her away. So, that is the so-called love of this material world. And they also approach God in the same way, "What can I get out of this God for my sense gratification"? They come flattering to God. By flattering God, "You give me this, you give me that. Give me, give me, give me, give me". Just like they say "Dear God, please give us our daily bread". That is not love of God. That is love of bread. A devotee says, "My dear Lord, You can handle me roughly, You can leave me broken-hearted by not being present before me, whatever You want to do with me that is Your business. No matter what You may do with me, I remain a soul surrendered unto Your lotus feet. Simply give me one blessing and one blessing only. That I can never forget You”. That is love of God. That is the greatest good fortune, if you can love God, Just like Narottama Dasa Thakura, he says:
gauranga bolite habe pulaka-sarira
He is simply praying for that day when by chanting Gauranga, his body will shiver in ecstasy and by chanting Hare Krishna the tears will come flowing down his face. These are symptoms of love of God. The great Vaisnavas like Narottama, they are hankering for that good fortune, when their body will tremble chanting Gauranga's name; when tears will come flowing from their eyes chanting Hare Krishna. From these great acaryas we can learn what is actually good fortune and that is to awaken the feeling of love of God within the heart. We have been suffering for millions of lifetimes having forgotten that feeling. We have tried to enjoy by being a controller in this material world. And we are suffering like anything in that dirty mentality. So we have to purify our hearts by this wonderful process that Prabhupada has mercifully bestowed upon us. Our good fortune is Prabhupada. We have to take advantage of him. By fully surrendering to each and every word in his books and then the full blessings of immortality will become your personal possession. Then you will be fabulously rich, 'bhagyavan".
Devotee: Is it possible to achieve pure, not selfish love, between husband and wife in the material world?
SDA: No. But if you enter the spiritual world by becoming Krishna conscious then you can do it. If you make Krishna the center of your marriage, if you fully surrender to Krishna and take your marriage as one of the services you are doing for Krishna then you can have a perfect marriage. It has to be 100% for Krishna. Then it will be ecstatic. It doesn't matter if we are a grhastha, brahmacari or a sannyasi. If we are fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness, we can all come to the ultimate perfectional stage in every relationship we have, it will become perfect. Why only with your wife? “With all the devotees in the temple, I have a perfect relationship”. Actually this is one of the ways we become perfect, by working very hard to have a perfect relationship with every devotee, with our wife, with our husband, with our children, with our parents, with our Godbrothers, Godsisters, Guru, everyone. We work very hard to have perfect relationships with everyone, with the temple president, the vice-president, the departmental leaders, the general public, everyone. You can offend a devotee; that is called vaisnava-aparadha. But there is also, Bhaktivinoda Thakura explains, something called jiva-aparadha, being offensive towards a living entity. If you are a Vaisnava you will have a perfect relationship with a little ant crawling down on the street. You will see that Lord Vishnu is in his heart. “He is a very special being. I must give him all respect.”
You know the story of Mrgrari the hunter? He had been trained by his father. He was a hunter living in the forest, living only by hunting. His father was somewhat a rascal because his father taught him, "When you kill the animals you should kill them half-dead. You can watch them flapping in agony and enjoy their pain." So Narada Muni came upon the scene and he was shocked to see this hunter killing the animals half-dead. So his first instruction was “You must kill them completely, don't torture them”. And the hunter surrendered to that instruction. Then after bringing him to that level, Narada said, “Actually, break your bow, give up this hunting business". And Mrgrari was shocked. “How would I live?” And Naradaji said, "Don't worry, I will send you all your food. You and your wife simply live in one hut and worship Tulasi Devi. Krishna will provide everything. You don't have to worry.” So with full faith in Guru, he broke his bow and he became a Vaisnava. And when all the people heard that this hunter who was killing the animals half-dead has now become a Vaisnava, they all came to see the great saint. In India it is the system, when you go to a saintly person, you bring some rice, you bring some flour, you bring some fruit and vegetables. Their home was filling up with so much bhoga, so much foodstuff and they could not eat it all. So they had to start ‘food for life’ program. After some time, sage Narada Muni, he wanted to see how that Mrgrari was doing. So he came to visit him. But Narada Muni, he doesn't have to fly in KLM, just by his own desire he can fly through space. He also has a traveling companion, a sidekick, his name is Parvata Muni. A side kick, means a close friend who travels with him. So, they both are coming now to see Mrgrari. Of course, a disciple when you see your guru maharaja, you must immediately bow down. That is the etiquette. Mrgrari, he is going to bow down immediately because he sees his guru maharaja. But he is noticing some ants on the ground. Before he offers his dandavat, he first of all very carefully was moving all those ants very gently aside so they are not hurt when he bows down. So in this way he is cultivating very nice relationship with the ants that he and the ants can live together peacefully on the earth. So the Vaisnava who cultivates a nice peaceful relationship with the ants, he would certainly cultivate a nice peaceful relationship with his wife also, who is far more important than an ant.
Devotee: How to associate with those people who are filled with skepticism and not to become influenced by their skepticism because the more we speak with them they become more skeptical and if we speak with them about devotional service they feel that we are senseless to their feelings.
SDA: Yes. Lord Caitanya has given an instruction in this regard, asat sanga tyaga, “give up the association of non-devotees”. There is only one reason we have any desire to associate with non-devotees and that is we want to make them into devotees. But if by your attempt to make him into a devotee, they become disturbed then it is better to find someone else to try to make a devotee. Because there are so many nice people, we can find those people who are actually interested in becoming devotees and we focus our attention on them. I am seeing when I come here, many people are hungry and begging for guidance, “How I can advance in Krishna consciousness?” So you find those people who are actually eager for advancing in Krishna consciousness. You give your instruction to them. There is one saying, "Do not cast your pearls before swine". Of course for the general public we can give them prasadam, we let them hear the holy names. I think it is illegal here to do harinama. We like to go out in the street and chant, we like to let them have prasadam, offer them a book or somehow get them purified. But if someone is becoming blasphemous, why should we waste our time with them? But if it happens to be a family member, just be diplomatic and just keep a nice cordial relationship and at the same time remain aloof. If that person who you are trying to cultivate is a family member that you are stuck with, then just keep some nice cordial relationship, give them prasadam, keep everything on a friendly basis. Whatever level of dealing they can handle in a friendly way, keep them on that level. So that they think nicely of you and it will be good for them.
SDA: "I am doing some devotional service and somebody is disturbed by what I am doing." The first thing we should see is maybe I am not doing devotional service properly and therefore they are disturbed. Just like when you are serving your spiritual master, you may put some salt instead of some sugar in the preparation and he will be disturbed, in the halava there is salt instead of sugar. So you have to see if your devotional service is disturbing someone then maybe you are doing it wrong. That is the first thing you should do. You should look at yourself and see what am I doing wrong? And now if you do look very deeply within your heart and you do consult other Vaisnavas and you can determine that actually you weren’t doing anything wrong, and the other devotee should not have been disturbed then you just have to be tolerant.
Devotee: Sometimes Srila Prabhupada was misunderstood by his Godbrothers for what he was doing.
SDA: He was what?
Devotee: He was not understood or appreciated for what he was doing in the beginning.
SDA: Was not?
Devotee: Yes. When he was trying to…
SDA: Yes. Yes. That is right. One Godbrother even criticized him for wearing a watch. That he was not spiritual because he was wearing a watch.
Devotee: So sometimes he also had to protect himself and sometimes it seems like he is also critical of his Godbrothers. And where is this border between Vaisnava aparadha and constructive criticism.
SDA: It is very simple. It is called sincerity.
[To the translator]: Yes. Yes. Translate.
SDA: The key is if you are sincere,
If you are very, very sincere and do everything for the pleasure of Guru and Krishna with every thought, word and deed in all times, places and circumstances without even the slightest tinge of false pride then Krishna will give you the intelligence to understand when you are being rightly criticized and wrongly criticized. When you are being rightly criticized you must fully take the rectification. Not regrettingly, regretting means with an ungrateful attitude. But you must accept that chastisement you are getting with a very strong feeling of sincere gratitude within your heart. Thinking, “How much you are blessing me to show me what a rascal I am”. And when the criticism is invalid then you have to become callous. When you first start working with the gardening tools in the garden, you will get blisters on your hands. A blister is the swelling of the skin like a bubble. It is a blister. It is very painful. But if you keep working in the garden, those blisters will turn into callouses. And then you can work with those tools with no problem. Your hands will never be hurt. So in the beginning when you are unjustly criticized, you may get so many blisters. But by experience you will become tough. You will be able to handle it without being disturbed. One time one of my Godbrothers wrote to Srila Prabhupada. He said, "Srila Prabhupada, my Godbrothers are always criticizing me." Prabhupada wrote him back. He said, “Mine, they criticize me too". He said you have to become callous to their criticism. So, when you are rightly being chastised you must accept it with humility. And if you are being wrongly criticized you should simply laugh at their foolishness. But you have to be sincere. Otherwise you won't know the difference. And if you don't know the difference, then the best thing is to accept it all as rightful chastisement just to be on the safe side. But the fact is that if you sincerely walk this pathway of bhakti, Krishna will give you the intelligence to discriminate between rightful and wrongful chastisement.
So, we are going a bit over time here. So, we will stop here. Thank you very much for your kind attention.
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Devotees: Srila Sankarshan Das Prabhu ki jaya!
[Transcribed by Her Grace Bhaktin Priya]