His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Questions/Answers

Tartu, Estonia (16 September 2005)

Okay, so what questions do we have?  Do you want to go first?

No . . .

All right, we’ll let Elise go first.  What is your question?

Q1 -

I spoke with Mataji a little bit, and she said that I had to conquer my mind.  So now I ask, what is that process of conquering my mind?

A1 –

The process of conquering the mind is a very important process.  This is given by the poet Govinda das.  He has written a very nice song, “How to Conquer the Mind.”

bhajahu re mana sri-nanda-nandana
abhaya-caranaravinda re
durlabha manava-janama sat-sange
taroho e bhava-sindhu re

Here he has given the idea of how to conquer the mind.

The mind is either your best friend or your worst enemy.  In the beginning, the mind is our worst enemy.  This is why Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura instructs us that in the morning when we get up, we should take a pair of shoes and beat our minds 100 times.  And in the evening time – we’re speaking allegorically here, not literally – in the evening you should take one broomstick and beat your mind again 100 times.  Your mind is a rascal.  It’s like a naughty child who’s running wild all over the house.  He’s drooling on the couch, drawing with crayons all over the walls, breaking the lamps, spilling food all over the carpet – that’s your mind.  If the child is under proper care of a very good mother, she teaches that child how to be very obedient – how to do what he’s supposed to do and how not to do what he’s not supposed to do.

So you have to master the art of controlling your mind.  You have to study the books of Srila Prabhupada and you have to know what kinds of thoughts are pleasing to Krishna.  And you have to always watch your mind to see if you are thinking in such a way as is pleasing to Krishna.  If your mind is thinking in a way that is not pleasing to Krishna, then you have to be firm.  You have to say, “Stop it!”  And then you have to give the mind something better to do.  That part is given by Govinda das in his song.  He says:

sravana kirtana smarana vandana
pada-sevana dasya re
pujana sakhi-jana atma-nivedana
govinda-dasa-abhilasa re

He is giving his mind nine different types of engagements.  “My dear mind, I am stopping you from all nonsense.”  But the mind may object.  The mind may say, “But Bhaktin Elise, you’re taking away all of my enjoyment.  So what will I do now?”  And Govinda das gives the answer.  You can tell your mind, “My dear mind, there are the ninefold practices of bhakti-yoga, beginning with hearing and chanting.  So all you have to do is hear about Krishna, chant Krishna’s name, remember Krishna . . .” Sravana kirtana smarana vandana: in this way you engage your mind in nine different activities of bhakti-yoga, and then the mind is completely brought under control.  Then you will no longer be the slave of your mind.  You will become the perfect master of your mind.  You are meant to become a gosvami, one who is the actual master over your mind.  You’re not meant to be a godasa, one who serves the senses and the mind.  You must bring your mind under control.

vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhira
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat

[Nectar of Instruction 1]

One has to learn how to control the mind, words, anger, tongue, belly and genitals.  You have to bring these six pushers under control: your talking (vaco vegam), your mind (manasah), your anger, your tongue, your belly, and your genitals.  You have to bring all of these strictly under control, so that they are only used in Krishna’s service – not otherwise.  If you use those for sense enjoyment, then you remain an animal and you suffer.  An animal can be an animal; he has no choice.  But if in the human birth you think, speak and act like an animal, it is the greatest misfortune.  So do not be like that.  You become an actual human being by bringing your mind under control.  Is that all right?  Okay.

Questions more?

Q2 –

But how do you take control over your mind?

A2 –

There are many items given in the scripture.  But Krishna says adau-gurvasrayam.  The first principle is that you have to take shelter of Guru.  So we take shelter of Guru, and then under his guidance we take up this chanting of the Hare Krishna mahamantra and we do everything for his pleasure, to please him and satisfy him.  In this way, then, we become Krishna conscious.  We do this to please our spiritual master.  This is how Prabhupada captured us.  We wanted to please Prabhupada. 

This is the system: you become Krishna conscious by having a spiritual master whom you want to please.   More than anything else, you want to please him.  Because you don’t want to displease him in any way, your regulate yourself.  It’s love.  Because you feel the love the spiritual master has for you, you want to love him in return.  Therefore you discipline yourself for his satisfaction.  Because we loved Prabhupada so much, we were willing to anything for him.  Because we could see that Prabhupada had done everything for us, we wanted to do something for him, to please him and make him happy.  So that’s the real key.  This is why Krishna emphasizes gurv-asrayam.  The first principle is to take shelter of guru, because that feeling of love for the spiritual master empowers you to conquer everything, all your material desires.  That’s what has kept me going all these years: my love for Srila Prabhupada. 

Any other questions?

Q3 –

I feel that I have no respect towards Srila Prabhupada.  I know that everything he says is right, but I don’t . . .

A3 –

But you have your Niranjana Swami.  You see, you feel a strong connection with him.  So you can repose your love in him and do everything for his pleasure and satisfaction.  You must think, “I am taking shelter now of Niranjana Swami, my Guru Maharaja, so every thought that I have in my brain must be pleasing to Niranjana Swami.  Every word that comes out of my mouth must be pleasing to Niranjana Swami, and every activity performed by my body must be totally pleasing to Niranjana Swami.  You see?  In this way you will become strong in Krishna consciousness – by faith in and love for your spiritual master, His Holiness Niranjana Swami.  That’s how you do it.  Because he is fully surrendered to Srila Prabhupada, all that love you have for Niranjana Swami is then transferred to Prabhupada, then from Prabhupada to Bhaktisiddhanta, and thus goes all the way to Krishna.  That you must do.  You can’t act independently like an animal.  You have to do everything for the pleasure of Guru and Krishna.  Then you will be happy.  Otherwise you will be miserable.

Questions more?

Q4 –

When I get angry at someone, is it my fault?

A4 –

Not necessarily.  It depends on why you’re angry.  If you’re angry because your own sense gratification is being restricted, then it is your fault.  But if you’re angry because somebody is blaspheming Krishna, Guru or Vaisnavas, then it’s their fault.  There is divine anger and there is mundane anger.  Consider the anger of Hanuman and Arjuna.  That was divine anger.  Hanuman was so angry at Ravana that when he had his tail lit on fire he used it to light the whole city of Lanka on fire.  He was very angry at Ravana because Ravana had so much offended Rama.  That anger is very wonderful anger; that is spiritual anger.

Questions more?

Q5 –

I feel that I should give this to you, so that you will touch it.  I don’t know why, but I feel like this would be a blessing. 

A5 –

What is it?

This is [made of] ‘sea gold.’  [hands Gurudeva a string of beads]

It’s some mala – some beads - from what?  Some stones?

No; you know this thing that floats in from the sea . . . ?

I see.  You just wear this – you don’t use if for chanting? . . . Here, come back now [hands beads back to the man] 

It’s amber.

It’s called amber?  Hmm.

Any other questions?

Q6 –

I have one simple question.  May I train in martial arts if I am in Krishna consciousness?

A6 –

Yes.  That way if some demons come to attack, you can defend.  It sometimes happens that demons come to attack the temple, so if you’re here you can protect all the devotees.  That’s very good.  If you study martial arts you should become very, very expert, so that even if someone comes with a knife or a gun to kill the devotees, you can disarm them. 

Okay.  I understand.

Without getting hurt.  You have to become very expert.

In Krishna’s service.

In Krishna’s service, yes - that’s right.

Yes, Bhakta Igor?

Q7 - 

How should I act when my daughter insults Krishna, Krishna consciousness and everything connected to it?  Should I say, “Shut up!” or “Be quiet!”?  She doesn’t listen to my arguments, ever.

A7 –

Well, if the family members are too inimical, better just to close the door and practice on your own. 

For example, when I burn incense she says, “Again, the stupid stink of Krishna!”  When I wear these clothes she says “You look like a pumpkin!”

Does she smoke? 

Does she eat meat?

Do you eat meat?

[I have eaten meat] four times in four months.

You see, if you totally give up meat it will put you in a very strong position; but because you have recently eaten meat, it makes it difficult for you to say anything.  If you had remained strictly free from meat you could say, “Well, it’s not as bad as the stink of the meat on your breath.”

Some people don’t like incense.  You can tell them, “Maybe you would like a different type of incense – there are many different aromas; maybe you would like a different aroma.”  There are hundreds of varieties of incense.  You could ask her, “Well, maybe if I use a different variety you will like it.  Why don’t you come to the store with me when I buy incense and you could choose the aroma you like best.”

She totally blocks it out.  She says, “I don’t want to hear anything about Krishna.”

Well, ask her, “What would you like to hear about?”

She says, “I’m the most beautiful; I’m the most intelligent; I will study law at the university; I will become so rich; my health is good; I have enjoyments.  Why Krishna?  I don’t need Krishna.”

Hmm.  Yes.  Well, ask her, “How long will your enjoyment continue?”  Ask her, “How long do you think you will enjoy?  What is the maximum number of years that you think you can actually enjoy?”  Ask her that.  “How long will you stay young and healthy and vibrant and intelligent?”  Ask her, “How many years at the maximum do you think you can be healthy and enjoy life?”  See what number she gives you.  She says 60 years, 100 years, 80 years – whatever she says, Krishna consciousness goes millions of times greater than that.  So you say, “Your happiness is very nice right now – I agree, dear daughter.  But your happiness is temporary.  It will be here today and gone tomorrow.  I have a happiness which will never be taken away by anything.  Therefore my happiness is better than your happiness.”

She says, “Be happy – but be happy in your room.  Don’t come near us.”

Hmm.  Tell her, “All right.  If that’s your attitude, I’ll be much happier away from you.”  Why be attached to someone who’s so inimical?  There’s no point.  You should be detached from the rascal daughter.  Don’t be sentimental.  You have to be detached from that association.

I see that your wife, though, has some nice qualities.  She came to hear me tonight.  So there’s some hope for your family.  You have to be very tolerant and very forgiving and very loving in your dealings.  Don’t be cruel and hard.  You have to be soft, like a rose.  Your father and mother are very nice; your wife is very nice.  Your children can also be nice, but you have to show them how to be very nice by your wonderful qualities.

[end of recording]

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Transcribed by Her Grace Labangalatika devi dasi

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