His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Transcendental Engineering Seminar - Part II

The System of Gaining Knowledge

Srimad Bhagavatam 2-1-10

Vrindavana, India - April 14, 2013

So now we are continuing on with our Transcendental Engineering seminar, 2nd canto, chapter 1 text number 10. Everybody can repeat after me

Om namo Bhagavate vasudevaye
(Devotees repeat after him three times)

tad aham te 'bhidhasyami
maha-paurusiko bhavan
yasya sraddadhatam asu
syan mukunde matih sati


That very Srimad-Bhagavatam I shall recite before you because you are the most sincere devotee of Lord Krishna. One who gives full attention and respect to hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam achieves unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord, the giver of salvation.


Srimad-Bhagavatam is recognized Vedic wisdom, and the system of receiving Vedic knowledge is called avaroha-pantha, or the process of receiving transcendental knowledge through bona fide disciplic succession. For advancement of material knowledge there is a need for personal ability and researching aptitude, but in the case of spiritual knowledge, all progress depends more or less on the mercy of the spiritual master. The spiritual master must be satisfied with the disciple; only then is knowledge automatically manifest before the student of spiritual science. The process should not, however, be misunderstood to be something like magical feats whereby the spiritual master acts like a magician and injects spiritual knowledge into his disciple, as if surcharging him with an electrical current. The bona fide spiritual master reasonably explains everything to the disciple on the authorities of Vedic wisdom. The disciple can receive such teachings not exactly intellectually, but by submissive inquiries and a service attitude. The idea is that both the spiritual master and the disciple must be bona fide. In this case, the spiritual master, Sukadeva Gosvami, is ready to recite exactly what he has learned from his great father Srila Vyasadeva, and the disciple, Maharaja Pariksit, is a great devotee of Lord Krishna. A devotee of Lord Krishna is he who believes sincerely that by becoming a devotee of the Lord one becomes fully equipped with everything spiritual. This teaching is imparted by the Lord Himself in the pages of the Bhagavad-gita, in which it is clearly described that the Lord (Sri Krishna) is everything, and that to surrender unto Him solely and wholly makes one the most perfectly pious man. This unflinching faith in Lord Krishna prepares one to become a student of Srimad-Bhagavatam, and one who hears Srimad-Bhagavatam from a devotee like Sukadeva Gosvami is sure to attain salvation at the end, as Maharaja Pariksit did. The professional reciter of Srimad-Bhagavatam and the pseudodevotees whose faith is based on one week's hearing are different from Sukadeva Gosvami and Maharaja Pariksit. Srila Vyasadeva explained Srimad-Bhagavatam unto Sukadeva Gosvami from the very beginning of the janmady asya [SB 1.1.1] verse, and so Sukadeva Gosvami also explained it to the king. Lord Krishna is described as the Mahapurusa in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (Canto Eleven) in His devotional feature as Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is Lord Krishna Himself in His devotional attitude, descended on earth to bestow special favors upon the fallen souls of this age of Kali. There are two verses particularly suitable to offer as prayers to this Mahapurusa feature of Lord Krishna.

dhyeyam sada paribhava-ghnam abhista-doham
tirthaspadam siva-virinci-nutam saranyam
bhrtyarti-ham pranata-pala bhavabdhi-potam
vande maha-purusa te caranaravindam

(SB 11.5.33)

tyaktva su-dustyaja-surepsita-rajya-laksmim
dharmistha arya-vacasa yad agad aranyam
maya-mrgam dayitayepsitam anvadhavad
vande maha-purusa te caranaravindam

(SB 11.5.34)

In other words, purusa means the enjoyer, and mahapurusa means the supreme enjoyer, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Krishna. One who deserves to approach the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna is called the maha-paurusika. Anyone who hears Srimad-Bhagavatam attentively from its bona fide reciter is sure to become a sincere devotee of the Lord, who is able to award liberation.

Sankarshan Das Adhikari: Wow! That’s an amazing statement. I am going to read that again. Of course they are all amazing, but this one really jumped out of the page at me. “Anyone who hears Srimad-Bhagavatam attentively from its bona fide reciter is sure to become a sincere devotee of the Lord, who is able to award liberation.”

Prabhupada continues:

There was none so attentive as Maharaja Pariksit in the matter of hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, and there was none so qualified as Sukadeva Gosvami to recite the text of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore, anyone who follows in the footsteps of either the ideal reciter or the ideal hearer, Sukadeva Gosvami and Maharaja Pariksit respectively, will undoubtedly attain salvation like them. Maharaja Pariksit attained salvation by hearing only, and Sukadeva Gosvami attained salvation only by reciting. Recitation and hearing are two processes out of nine devotional activities, and by strenuously following the principles, either in all or by parts, one can attain the absolute plane. So the complete text of Srimad-Bhagavatam, beginning with the janmady asya [SB 1.1.1] verse up to the last one in the Twelfth Canto [SB 12.13.23], was spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami for the attainment of salvation by Maharaja Pariksit. In the Padma Purana, it is mentioned that Gautama Muni advised Maharaja Ambarisa to hear regularly Srimad-Bhagavatam as it was recited by Sukadeva Gosvami, and herein it is confirmed that Maharaja Ambarisa heard Srimad-Bhagavatam from the very beginning to the end, as it was spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami. One who is actually interested in the Bhagavatam, therefore, must not play with it by reading or hearing a portion from here and a portion from there; one must follow in the footsteps of great kings like Maharaja Ambarisa or Maharaja Pariksit and hear it from a bona fide representative of Sukadeva Gosvami. [End of Purport]

vande 'ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-pada-kamalam sri-gurun vaisnavams ca
sri-rupam sagrajatam saha-gana-raghunathanvitam tam sa-jivam
sadvaitam savadhutam parijana-sahitam krsna-caitanya-devam
sri-radha-krsna-padan saha-gana-lalita-sri-visakhanvitams ca

nama om vishnu-padaya
krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta
swamin iti namine

namaste saraswate deve

So how important is this Bhagavatam? Well, what book did Prabhupada bring on the ship? There are so many Vedic texts, why was this particular text was chosen? So from this we can understand this Bhagavatam is very, very important.

When I joined ISKCON there was no systematic Bhagavatam class like we have it now, certain things like Jaya Radha Madhava, chanting the verse. There was nothing established at that time. And at that time, this was in the early ‘70s, in America, devotees were joining every day, people moving into the ashramas. The movement was expanding like wildfire. In fact one politician said that, "This Hare Krishna movement is growing so rapidly that if we don’t do something to stop it, it will take over the government.” We were seeing all these devotees and so it was expanding like anything just out of nowhere - boom - in every city. You go to any major American city and there they are, all day long dancing and chanting up and down the streets. They were everywhere, ‘ubiquitous’ is the word in English, it means everywhere present. The harinama parties were ubiquitous in every major North American city.

But then Prabhupada was noting that our devotees were not that well trained. We had so many people joining but there was no good training program. So then he established this morning program with the Bhagavatam class, Jaya Radha Madava, in the beginning we didn’t know the tune. Prabhupada said this should be sung and no one knew the melody. In India they had learned because Prabhupada was doing it. In America we didn’t know the tune. So sometimes one devotee, they made up a tune in Los Angeles, it was a horrible tune. They made.

jaya radha-madhava kuñja-vihari
gopi-jana-vallabha gir-vara-dhari

It wasn’t a very good tune. We knew what we were supposed to do but when Prabhupada came then we learned the melody.

jaya-radha-madhava kuñja-vihari

It is such a sweet tune. So we learned this is how you do Bhagavatam: You chant jaya-radha-madhava then everyone can chant the verse. You go and let many devotees chant the verse so we can learn the Sanskrit. In the early days of ISKCON nobody quoted Sanskrit except for Prabhupada. He was the only one who would quote Sanskrit when he was preaching in the early days of ISKCON. Now so many devotees can chant slokas. We have so many sloka experts especially, our Dravida Prabhu. Maybe you have heard him chant the slokas? So these things were all being introduced. They were brand new.

If you keep adding more milk to the pot, it will never get thick, just like when you make burfy you cook down the milk.

So Prabhupada said, “Boil the milk until it becomes thick and sweet.”

He said, “It’s more important to train the devotees we have than to make new devotees.”

So the training was the Bhagavatam class especially. Prabhupada said we could take every day one verse. In this way one generation, how many years will it take to go through 18,000 verses? 365. You can do the math. And every generation can go through it again. Just keep going through the Bhagavatam again and again. This is the basic foundation for our study of the philosophy of Krishna consciousness, the morning Bhagavatam class, every day another verse, inching our way through the Bhagavatam, in this way. It is extremely important.

nashta-prayeshv abhadreshu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naishthiki

“By regularly attending classes on the Srimad Bhagavatam and by rendering service to that person who is a living embodiment, who is Bhagavatam personified, the spiritual master, all that is inauspicious within the heart becomes destroyed practically to nil, and thus the loving service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is praised with transcendental hymns, becomes established as an irrevocable fact.”

So we serve the spiritual master and we study the Bhagavatam. This is what it means bhagavat-sevaya. There is book bhagavat and the person bhagavat. Both are very, very important. From the book bhagavat we learn how to recognize who is the person bhagavat and from the person bhagavat we know what is the bona fide book bhagavat. So from one we learn of the other and by these two, the person bhagavat and the book Bhagavatam we can become perfect. We become liberated souls.

So the verse again:

“That very Srimad Bhagavatam I shall recite before you because you are the most sincere devotee of Lord Krishna. One who gives full attention and respect to hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam achieves unflinching faith in the Supreme Lord, the giver of salvation.”

How important is this unflinching faith? This question is answered in the Svetasvatara Upanisad chapter 6 text number 23.

yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathita hy arthah prakasante mahatmanah

"Only unto those great souls who have unflinching faith in the words of the Supreme Lord and in the words of the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge revealed."

So you don’t have to be a big, big Sanskrit scholar. You just have to have faith and then you can become perfectly realized in the Vedic wisdom. I took one semester of Sanskrit. I joined the movement in Austin, Texas in 1971 and then around I think it was 1992, I was invited to come back by some devotees who were preaching there. “Oh! This is great! I always wanted to go back, because Prabhupada had told me in my initiation letter, ‘make our Austin center a grand success’.” So my authorities had transferred me here and there. It was like being in the military. I was brahmacari for 14 years. Being a brahmacari is like being in the military, “Go here, and go there.” You follow your authorities like a soldier in the military. So I had been transferred here, transferred there. I got married. My wife is here, Vishnu Priya devi dasi, right over there and my constant companion. Now we are traveling and preaching all over the world. I am very indebted to her for her association.

So we were invited to come to Austin. I took it as a great opportunity to go back to Austin. Because Prabhupada had said, “Make our Austin center a grand success.” By connecting with the order of the spiritual master, this is the secret: to have unflinching faith that “my spiritual master has ordered me to do this so now let me do it. Somehow or other let me carry out the order I have received from my spiritual master.” This is the secret of success in spiritual life. Prabhupada said, “I personally have not done anything. This movement is simply the mercy of my spiritual master, Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Whatever has been accomplished or achieved or attained by this movement, it is only by his mercy. And if I have any credit at all it is that I have undeviatingly always obeyed the orders I have received from my spiritual master.” So this is the secret of being successful in Krishna consciousness. We follow Prabhupada’s instruction to take it...

[Aside: don’t put in the mouth, the mouth is dirty.]

We take the instruction of Srila Prabhupada to accept the bona fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession and we take the order of our spiritual master as our life and soul. Prabhupada got the order to spread this Krishna consciousness to the English speaking world. He had no idea how he could do it. “I am a householder. How I can possibly do this? I have to take care of my family. I have a business.” But still he knew, “I must do this. This is the order I have received from my spiritual master. Somehow I must do this.” And he was dedicated, always kept that order in his heart: ”Somehow, I don’t know how, but somehow or other I have to spread this message to the English speaking world.” Therefore he started Back to Godhead magazine around the year 1944, then in 50’s he took the sannyasa order and then in 1965 Krishna finally arranged that he could come to America to preach in the Western world in the English language and start the Krishna consciousness movement. So if we keep this faith in Prabhupada, in the order of our spiritual master, then we will gain all realization of Krishna consciousness.

When I went back to Austin in 1992 I thought, “Here is an opportunity. There is a Sanskrit department here, let me take a semester of Sanskrit. I may be able to use it to help me understand the books a little better.” It was interesting to study Sanskrit. It helped me to reconfirm the legitimacy of the Prabhupada’s translation. But I could see how ridiculous the scholars were. My Sanskrit teachers said all these descriptions are simply mythology. I was thinking what nonsense is this? They claim to be open-minded intellectuals in the universities. We are open-minded intellectuals yet they had a bias.

“This is mythology.”

“What’s your proof?”

“Well, we have never experienced a King with so many servants. We have never experienced what is described in these Sanskrit verses. So obviously it has to be mythology.”

“Just because you haven’t experienced it, does that mean it is mythology?”

This is the pride, the arrogance of these academics, the scholars, because they haven’t experienced what is described in the Vedic literatures, they say, “Oh mythology.” But this is gross ignorance. The descriptions of Vedic literatures are factual historical records.

Someone says, “What’s the proof that Krishna ever existed?”

I say, “Bhagavad-gita.”

They say, “How is that proof?”

“I mean, how do you know even Gandhi existed?”

“Well, we have historical records; there were newspaper articles about his different things.”

How many of you have met Gandhi? Actually I had one man I knew who had met Gandhi. He used to preach here, Mr. Sharma. He was chanting 16 rounds. He had met Gandhi. He is very proud of having met Gandhi.

“But how do you know Gandhi existed?”

“Well, it says in the history book. There is some documented evidence. Gandhi did this, Gandhi said that.”

“We have the same thing for Krishna.”

Historical documents are used by historians to understand what is history. Some document from 300 to 400 years ago, they describe what is going on. They take that as historical evidence. So why the document called Bhagavad-gita is rejected as not being valid historical evidence. Bhagavad-gita is a valid historical document giving historical evidence of a person named Krishna, who is able to reveal the universal form, everything past, present, and future. These are historical things.

So one who has no faith in guru and Krishna cannot understand the Vedic literatures. They think, “What is this? - Stories.” But one who has faith, even if he is not a great scholar, he can fully realize the import of the Vedic literature. You know that pastime in Caitanya lila? A very nice pastime. There was one brahmana in South India, the Ranganatha temple - Rangaksetra. So there was one brahmana there in that temple and he was completely illiterate. He couldn’t read a word. But his spiritual master told him, “My dear disciple every day you must read 18 chapters of Bhagavad-gita.” So he would sit there - of course, he didn’t have BBT edition in those days - he had some hand-copied edition and there was also someone had made some painting as an illustration that went along with the manuscript. So he was looking in the manuscript, he was looking at the painting and he would turn through all the pages dutifully, he would look over the whole manuscript, he would eye every single word of the whole Bhagavad-gita, every day he would do that and people would make fun. “Yeah, look at that brahmana over there is reading. Ha, ha! Reading Bhagavad-gita! He is completely illiterate. This is nonsense. He is reading Bhagavad-gita and he can’t read.” He was the butt of the jokes. People would make fun of that illiterate brahmana. “Ha, ha, ha.” So Lord Caitanya was touring South India and He came to that Ranganatha temple and He heard the buzz about the illiterate brahmana reading Bhagavad-gita.

Lord Caitanya said, “Let me check out this illiterate brahmana who is ridiculed.” So Lord Caitanya approached him. He said, “Brahmana, I have heard that you are reading Bhagavad-gita but yet you are illiterate, how is that?”

This brahmana he could understand. Just imagine what that would be like to have Lord Caitanya walk up to you. That beautiful effulgent lord who is the source of the whole existence is now approaching you while you are sitting there in the temple and trying to read the Bhagavad-gita. So he could understand that this person has not come to criticize me.

So he said, “Yes. What can I do? My spiritual master has ordered me that I must read every day 18 chapters, so what can I do? I am simply looking over this manuscript here on the order of my guru maharaja.”

So Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “ But brahmana, I see you are not only reading Bhagavad-gita, I see you are crying also. How is this, you are crying?”

He said, “Yes, I see this illustration here and I see how Krishna is so kind, He is acting as a charioteer for His disciple Arjuna, and I feel how kind is Krishna, then I cry.”

So you know what Lord Caitanya did? He embraced him, “Ah! You are the real scholar of Bhagavad-gita.”

So all these other proud scholars, “yes, I know Sanskrit backwards and forwards. I have mastered all the rules and regulations of Sanskrit grammar. This rascal over here thinks he is studying Bhagavad-gita.”

Who was really the true scholar? That illiterate brahmana. He was more realized in the Vedic literature than all the big, big scholar in the Ranganatha temple as certified by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

So, it doesn’t mean, “I shouldn’t learn how to read.” We teach our children how to read. Don’t misunderstand the point. Some little kid here may say, “Well, I heard about this story, so Mommy and Daddy, I am not going to school. I am just going to look at the manuscript and Lord Caitanya will hug me.” Don’t artificially imitate. We should learn how to read. Don’t use this as an excuse.

But the point is we have to have faith in Krishna. How wonderful is Krishna. That’s the point. You can approach Prabhupada’s books with an eye to criticize. Some people do that. We heard that here in Vrindavana they gave the books to some scholar and he was finding faults with all the books. He was finding all these corrections of all the things that were wrong in Prabhupada’s books. Actually they didn’t sell the books. They gave the books to him. Prabhupada was very displeased. They gave the books. You shouldn’t give the books away like that. So one may approach the books to see what’s wrong with them. That’s not the proper way. That’s not submissive study. What is wrong is us? We have the rebellious attitude of the defiance of the Supreme authority. The problem is with us. We have to understand the defect is with us.

If you want to be a successful transcendental engineer, the first step is to realize the miseries I am going through are 100% my fault. I can’t blame anybody else. I have to take full responsibility for the predicament I find myself in right now. It is completely my own fault due to my past sinful activities and my original stupid envy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So if we are willing to take the responsibility, if we are willing to own up to the fact that actually all our problems, all our difficulties are simply due to our own foolishness, then we become submissive to find out what is the highest truth, what is the Absolute Truth.

Now some people say, “There is no Absolute Truth.”

But we have to ask them, “Are you absolutely sure?”

Then they say, “Oh, yes. I am absolutely sure that there is no Absolute Truth.”

What is that called? Mudha - ass. He has contradicted himself. You can’t be absolutely sure there is no Absolute Truth because that’s an absolute. You cannot negate the Absolute. It is logically absurd to say that there is no Absolute Truth because that is an absolute statement. Since the negation of the Absolute Truth is philosophically impossible therefore by the process of elimination of the absurd there has to be an Absolute Truth.

Athato brahma jijñasa: according to Vedic teachings, the human life is meant to find out what is that Absolute Truth. That’s human life. My dear ladies and gentlemen, if you are trying to find out what is the Absolute truth, you are a true human being. But if we are not trying to find the Absolute truth but just trying to find money, money, ‘money is sweeter than honey,’ we are animals. We are not human beings. So do you think a human being can be happy if he is living like an animal, like a pig?

 samstutah purusah pasuh

Is that possible, living like a village hog who eats stool? Sva-vid-varahostra, a camel, khara, an ass, sva-vid-varahostra, it’s not possible. A human being cannot be happy if he lives like an animal. He is meant for higher consciousness. So if we follow this pathway of the great acaryas, the acarya marga, if we take their teachings seriously that we must find out, ‘who am I? What is the purpose of my existence? What is the meaning of life? How can I realize it?’ If we dedicate ourselves in this way, then guess who will help us out: Caitya guru. Prabhupada said we have two gurus; there is a guru within - caitya guru - and a guru without. Prabhupada said Krishna is the guru within and externally we have diksa and siksa guru. They are the external guru, so two gurus within and without. So if you are very sincere to find out the Absolute Truth, the guru within your heart who knows very well whether you are sincere or not. If you are genuinely sincere, the guru within your heart will connect you externally with the bona fide spiritual master.

There were two boys, their names were Howard and Keith - two hippies in New York City. They were thinking they wanted to find a guru. So they went to India. They got free passes on the ship called Jaladuta by working on the ship. They went to India and were looking for a guru but they couldn’t find one. They came back to New York City and then Howard was walking down the street on Houston Street on the lower east side of Manhattan and then there he saw Swamiji, A.C. Bhaktivendanta Swami walking down the street. He went seeking a guru in India and he could not find one, that means Howard and Keith weren’t ready yet to really surrender. But they came back.
Prabhupada said, “When you are sincere to find a bona fide spiritual master you don’t have to go look for him, but he will find you,” and that’s exactly what happened. He was walking down the street and there was Prabhupada a great acarya, a transcendental personality. Howard Wheeler was absolutely amazed to see Prabhupada walking down the street. He said, "He was emanating a cool tranquility in spite of the metropolis that roared all around us." Being in New York City is like being inside the mouth of roaring lion but yet being with Prabhupada it was very cool and tranquil to be in his association. Also you can say like that of being in the mouth of Aghasura.

Being in this material world is like being in the Aghasura’s mouth. But the cowherd boys they had no fear. They were out and about having their normal playful activities, right here in this neighborhood. We are in Raman Reti, which means ‘pleasing sands’. That’s why it is so sandy here. Krishna with the cowherd boys loved to play in this neighborhood, right here where we are sitting. Actually where we are sitting right now, Krishna and Balarama and the cowherd boys were having lilas right here in this exact place. So one day they were having their wonderful childhood cowherd boy pastimes in this big huge snake, his mouth went all the way to the clouds. If you can imagine how big the demon had expanded his body, his mouth hit the clouds. How high is that? My God! That is really high, and the boys were thinking , "It is some big cave. We have been playing here in Vrindavana forest."

I know, I was a kid. We would stay in one camp. And I used to love to go and explore the woods. Children, little kids love to explore the woods, find this nook, this creek, this waterfall. When I was a little boy I loved to do that, wandering in the woods finding out the different parts of the woods. So the cowherd boys thought, “We haven’t found this yet. This is an amazing cave here.” But then they thought “This looks like a snake. But it doesn’t matter, we have no fear, Krishna can knock out any demon He wants. It’s all right.” So they explored the mouth of the cave, they went marching in great delight. In transcendental ecstasy they went marching into the mouth of the Aghasura.

Actually it is interesting to note, Prabhupada says Krishna saw this happening and became momentarily aggrieved. Krishna actually became bewildered for just a minute. How can Krishna become bewildered? Actually it is a pastime. Krishna enjoyed becoming bewildered like an ordinary person for the fun of it. He became bewildered for His own pleasure pastime for a minute and then He came out of it and said, “Ah, I know what to do.” So Krishna went in, where we all know the story. Krishna went in and expanded. They had already been swallowed by the snake but Krishna went in and expanded Himself and - boom! - the snake was finished and everybody came marching out and everyone was liberated from that snake.

So now we are prisoners of this gigantic snake Kali-yuga, the Kali snake who has swallowed us up in so many ways. We are actually on the inside being swallowed by the snake of Kali. But Krishna has come marching in the form of the sankirtana movement to blow the snake to bits completely apart, to free us from our entanglement here within the snake of Kali-yuga.

[Aside: If there is any question you should be writing them down and start passing them up.]

Prabhupada mentioned in this purport here, avaroha pantha, the process of receiving transcendental knowledge through bona fide disciplic succession. Does any one of you know the opposite of that? That’s called aroha pantha. There is aroha pantha and avaroha pantha. Our process is avaroha pantha, knowledge descending through disciplic succession. That is also called the deductive method in logic. The opposite is aroha pantha. That is the process of mental speculation where you try to figure out by your own intellectual power. That’s the pastimes of the jñanis. This is described in Brahma-samhita:

panthas tu koti-sata-vatsara-sampragamyo
vayor athapi manaso muni-pungavanam
so'py asti yat-prapada-simny avicintya-tattve
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

“I worship Govinda the primeval Lord only the tips of the toes of whose lotus feet are approached by the yogis who aspire after the transcendental and betake themselves to pranayama by drilling the respiration or by the jñanis to try to find out the non-differentiated Brahman by the process of the elimination of the mundane extending over thousands of millions of years.” [BS 5-34]

So the jñanis, what is that process called? Neti neti - cut, cut, cut. the Absolute truth is not this, it’s not that, it’s not this, it’s not that. The jñanis think they can realize the Absolute truth by cutting away everything that is not the Absolute truth. But do you know why they can never realize the Absolute Truth in that way? It is because the cutting process itself is mundane.

Actually, when I was a spiritual seeker, I was going through that process, denying this, denying that, denying, denying, denying. But one evening I had a profound realization. Actually I was on my way to India. I decided to give up Western culture and just become a sadhu in India. That was my determination. I was on my way to New York City to get a job on freighter and then come to India and just become a sadhu for the rest of my life. But one evening I was having my last visit home with my parents. That was it. I came to visit one last time and just be an Indian sadhu for the rest of my life, a holy mendicant. That was my decision. So one night, I had this realization, and it was so profound that I wrote it down on a piece of paper. I denied and I denied until I could deny no longer and then I had to start accepting. In other words neti, neti, neti, neti, neti - you have cut away everything. Now what is there left to cut away? Neti itself. If you take neti to its final conclusion, the last thing you can cut away is the process of neti. So, I realized I denied, denied, denied. Now what is left to deny? There is only one thing left to deny and that is denial itself. So, now what to do? Now I have to accept something, but it has to be something beyond this world. It has to be something transcendental and then Krishna within said, “You should go to San Francisco. Forget India, go to San Francisco.” I was going to India, and be like a Mayavadi sadhu. That was my idea. But then the Supersoul said, “No, you should go to San Francisco” and I hitchhiked out to San Francisco - this was December of 1968 - all the way up to Height Ashbury where all the hippies were hanging out. And I went to the Golden gate park were all the hippies use to spend their afternoon on hippie hill and you could guess what I saw when I walked into the Golden gate park, the harinama party. I was going, wow! There was a movie called Lawrence of Arabia, everybody was wearing robes.

I said, “Wow! This is just like out of Lawrence of Arabia. Here I am in an American park in San Francisco. All these men and women in flowing robes, singing and dancing.”

So this process of jñana is very dry. We have to actually kiss it goodbye, jñana. Deny, deny, neti, neti, neti.

As Brahmaji says, “The process of elimination of the mundane extending over thousands of millions of years.”

Who wants to go to neti, neti, neti, neti for thousands of millions of years? I mean, it is so dry neti, neti, neti. If I give you the mantra neti, can you chant for thousands of millions of years? For the jñanis that’s what they do, negate, negate, negate, negate, negate, negate for thousands of millions of years. But the process of elimination of the mundane is itself a mundane thing. By Krishna’s grace I had that realization when I met the devotees and the seed of bhakti got planted into the heart. It took a while but gradually it became fructified and here I am at Prabhupada’s lotus feet. So this is the sublime system. If we put our faith then we are rewarded. So put your faith in the right place.

Okay now the questions-

Q1. What is the number of the verse in Srimad Bhagavatam you chanted first?

A1.The one I chanted first is this one here. You mean for the first session this morning. Who asked the question? This morning, the 'Art of Dying' session of our transcendental Engineering seminar, the first verse I chanted was SB 2-1-15. Today we chanted 2-1-10. They should write. For session three I am asking my disciples to write on the board the verse number. Yes, 2-1-10 is this session. 'The System of Gaining Knowledge" is SB 2-1-10.

Q2. What shall we do when we are facing difficulty in following the spiritual master?

A2. You should contact him and say, “Guru Maharaja, I am having difficulty following you, please save me.” Just like Prabhupada prayed to Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. Do you know that wonderful prayer?

Adore, adore ye all the happy day,
Blessed in heaven,
Sweeter than May,
When you appeared at Puri, the holy place
My Lord and master, His Divine Grace.

In that beautiful poetry Prabhupada says, “Save me a fallen, Your Divine Grace”. So Prabhupada is teaching you how to approach your spiritual master. “Save me, a fallen, Your Divine Grace.” So say, “Guru Maharaja, I am very fallen and having difficulty please guide me how I can get out of maya.”

Q3. How to make road to attachment barren to turn to Krishna completely?

A3. Yes, it is very simple. The more you get attached to Krishna, the more you will naturally be detached from everything mundane. It is really just to become more and more and more attached to Krishna. That’s the secret. We all have some attachment to Krishna, that’s why we are here. Ok, so try to find ways so that you can always become more attached to Krishna. That means everything related to Krishna. There may be some verse that you really like, that really turns you on spiritually. So memorize it and recite it often. Do everything you can to increase your attachment just like that verse that I quoted earlier. That first verse from Jagannathastaka. It is such an enlivening thrilling verse. Lord Jagannatha is actually Krishna Himself making a concert with His flute in the groves of the bank of the Yamuna. That’s pretty ecstatic. Can you imagine if you could actually go in the groves on the bank of the Yamuna and hear Lord Jagannatha, Krishna Himself, making a concert with His flute? I mean that would be really, really something. Wouldn’t it? Actually hear and be there and see everyone swooning in ecstasy: Ah! When you hear that flute and everybody is just swooning and going in complete bliss just by hearing the flute: the cows become stunned, the deer’s eyes open very wide, and everybody is just completely blown away by the ecstasy of hearing Krishna’s flute. So that verse is very wonderful and especially here, just walking around Vrindavana, you can chant that verse and just think, “Wow! That was happening right here! Krishna was right here like the bumble bee relishing the beautiful lotus-like faces of the cowherd damsels.” Can you imagine how beautiful those girls must be? I mean talk about good-looking girls! I mean wow! Those gopis! We can’t even imagine how beautiful they are. Krishna is just relishing. He loves to look at their faces. So these things are very enlivening and just find things about Krishna consciousness that will enliven you, a particular verse, a particular bhajan, a particular kirtan, a particular Holy place like Vrindavana or Mayapura, something that you feel attached to. Turn to that experience and become more and more and more attached to that thing. If you are attached to your Guru Maharaja, think about how can you become more attached. Or if you are attached to a particular devotee in a transcendental way, try to become even more attached, because that will completely burn away all of your material attachments. That’s the secret.

Q4. We want to know more about the Kali-yuga snake which is swallowing us now. How to come out of it?

A4. The other day His Holiness Bhakti Prabhupada-vrata Damodara Maharaja gave a wonderful class and in that purport Prabhupada is saying, “The great liberated devotees, they make no distinction between the spiritual world and the material world.” So what does that mean for us? That means we simply have to purify our vision of how we see everything. Krishna is actually present...

eko'py asau racayitum jagad-anda-kotim
yac-chaktir asti jagad-anda-caya yad-antah
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami

“He is an undifferentiated entity as there is no distinction between potency and the possessor thereof. In His work of creation of millions of worlds, His potency remains inseparable. All the universes exist in Him and He is present in His fullness in every one of the atoms that are scattered throughout the universe, at one and the same time. Such is the primeval Lord whom I adore.” [BS 5-35]

Krishna is fully present both in the material world and the spiritual world. He is fully present within every atom, so you just have to connect. We just have to connect with Krishna and then you will see that you are already in the spiritual world. That’s the key.

Q5. What is your opinion of devotees going back to college for getting some education that can be used for preaching?

A5. I tried that one semester in Sanskrit. I didn’t want to go any further. I had enough. I also signed up at that time for Hinduism and it was so bad, I dropped it immediately. The professor talked about the god-myth just like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. It’s just automatically understood that God is a myth. No, it’s not really necessary to do that. I tried it for one semester, just one course, to pick up a little Sanskrit. If I had gone to get it from the devotees that would have been better but we didn’t have any Sanskrit academy at that time in ISKCON. There was nowhere in ISKCON you could go to study Sanskrit at that time. It’s not very important to actually to go back to college. Now there are certain things that you may want to learn: how to design web pages. You could take a course somewhere on web pages, those things could be done. But actually the most important thing is whatever you already know, use that for Krishna.

Just like one devotee, he knew how to play guitar and he thought, “Well, I would like to learn to play sitar.”

Prabhupada said, “You don’t need to learn to play sitar. You already know guitar, so you just play guitar, so you don’t need to learn sitar.”

So Prabhupada, his mood was whatever you already know how to do, use that for Krishna. He wasn’t really in favor of devotees going back and getting educated in this and that. Now if you need it for your livelihood, if you are a householder and you need to study a subject for your livelihood that you have to do. It is an austerity of going to some college somewhere. It is an austerity. It is very austere to be trained by non-devotees, meat eaters, woman mongers, wine drinkers. It is very austere to go and take training from them. A very, very difficult austerity. But if you are a householder and you need a livelihood, if you need a college degree to get a job, you may have to do that. Therefore we recommend brahmacari life. If you can do it, then it’s better to remain as a brahmacari and not get entangled with all of this stuff. Brahmacari life is the best life, if you can do it. If you can do it, remain a brahmacari. That is the ideal life.

Q6. How if the instruction of the spiritual master doesn’t match with our mood of devotional service?

A6. That means there is something wrong with your mood. “Well, something is wrong with my guru!” No, that means something is wrong with you. If your mood doesn’t match your guru that means you have to change your mood that’s all.

Q7. What do we have to do to remove our version to what kind of instruction that doesn’t suit us?

A7. Just do it. Many devotees didn’t want to go out on book distribution. I remember Sacinandana Swami, he told that he was sent out on book distribution. He said he was thinking, "Any service except this. Why are they giving me this? I will do anything but don’t send me on book distribution. I will do anything but this.” But he surrendered to it. Niranjana Swami also had a similar experience. He explained one time. Actually what you don’t want to do, that’s what you should do. That’s the secret. Something you don’t like to do, make that what you do, because by doing it, gradually you will learn how to love it and then you can do anything for Krishna and never have to be worried about being asked to do something which you don’t like. Learn how to do everything for Krishna. Just like my Godbrother Uttama Sloka Prabhu when he joined the temple in Detroit his service was to clean the toilet. Now in India, a toilet cleaner is what they call a bhangi, a very low class, the toilet cleaner. But he was asked to clean the toilet, this is your service, Bhakta whatever his name was, “you clean the toilet.” To make that toilet spotless and keep it spotless, cleaning it regularly, he took it as a great delight and he actually relished it. So whatever you don’t like to do, volunteer for that and Krishna will bless you.

We are getting so many questions coming in so the next session might be just questions and answers only. This is great, I am loving it.

Q8.How can one have unflinching faith always?

A8: Well, right now we have some faith but it is flinching faith, isn’t it? You know what flinching means like (action), that’s called flinching, just like they have the palace guard in the Buckingham palace. Have you ever tried to make them flinch? You go up there and go (clap hands) and they just unflinchingly standing there. You can go there and go (make noises). They just don’t flinch; their eyes are just like (sound effects) you can’t make them flinch. They divert their consciousness to somewhere else. So that’s unflinching. You can never be reverted even to the slightest inch away from Krishna’s lotus feet. So how do we become unflinching? Well, one instruction is given by Krishna Himself::

yato yato niscalati
manas cancalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
atmany eva vasam nayet

“From wherever the mind wanders due to its flinching and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self.”

So when you notice that your faith is going away you have to bring it back. You have to cut the demon of doubt with the sword of knowledge. You should read Prabhupada’s books, hear from advanced devotees, become fixed up in Krishna conscious knowledge and use that knowledge to bring your mind under control to cut out all the doubts that are causing your faith to flinch.

Q9. Was Krishna attracted to the gopis because they were beautiful?

A9. Oh yes, I guarantee you He was. There were no girls more beautiful than those gopi girls. None of the girls here can compete. Sorry ladies, but none of us, of course we were all women in previous lives, all men. None of us in this material world can compete with the beautiful gopi girls. They are the perfection of beauty and Krishna is connoisseur of beautiful things. So yes, he was attracted to them because they were beautiful. But what was that beauty? That beauty was their devotion to Him.

Q10. In Krishna consciousness also we practice negation, how is that not mundane?

A10. We see everything positively as the energy of Krishna. Yeah, we do say no illicit sex, no meat eating, no intoxication, no gambling. That’s a fact, we do negate those things. But we accept the positive side. Yes, you can have sex for producing Krishna conscious children and yes, you can get intoxicated on the supreme drug, what is it?

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

And yes, you can eat meat too- sweet meats. So even though we negate we have the positive way of relishing that thing.

Q11. How is the process of jñanis mundane? Can you elaborate please?

A11. Because they never accept the authority of Krishna, they only accept their mind as their authority and their mind is the mind of a conditioned soul. Therefore whatever thoughts they have must be within the realm of conditioning. In other words if your mind is mundane, anything you speculate with your mind must necessarily be mundane. The only way you can come to the transcendental platform is to take help from outside the mundane realm. But if you are so proud that you won’t do that, you must remain in the mundane sphere.

bahunam janmanam ante
jñanavan mam prapadyate
vasudevah sarvam iti
sa mahatma su-durlabhah

After many births and deaths, going on with their nonsense mental speculations, when these jñanis finally wise up, they surrender to Krishna, then they are liberated. As long as they go on as speculators, again and again birth after birth after birth, as confirmed by Brahmaji thousands and millions of years, they will go on speculating, they will never be liberated.

Q12. How to balance spiritual education and material education for kids?

A12: Actually one of our mothers, her son Ravi Gupta, she has written a book about it now. I forget the name of the book but you could order it on Krishna.com. I don’t know the name of it. But she had a wonderful experience raising her son, instead of sending him to karmi school. In America - I don’t know in India - in America, you can legally train your kid at home. She did homeschooling for her kid and of course the kid has to learn how to read, right? So, what was the book he used to learn how to read? Srimad Bhagavatam. She taught him how to read by reading Srimad Bhagavatam. This kid became so intelligent, as a small child he was a columnist for the city’s newspaper, a major city in US in Utah. (I think it was in Utah). He had a column. He was writing a column for the city’s newspaper and he also would write in Back to Godhead magazine too. He wrote a wonderful article about tea, “Why we don’t drink tea?” He is a small boy. He became so intelligent, at age 13 he entered the university younger than any karmi child. He graduated and he got a PhD. Now he is Sanskrit Professor in the US. He took initiation from Hanumatpresaka Maharaja. So his mother very perfectly, she gave him the mundane education based on Srimad Bhagavatam. How to read? How to understand history? So the point is you educate them reading, writing, arithmetic, history but you base all of it on the Srimad Bhagavatam and the best thing is homeschooling or gurukula. If you can’t do that then you have to train them well at home so they are not spoiled by the mundane association. That’s not easy to do, I will tell you. That’s why it is better to train him at home or send him to gurukula.

Q13: Is it necessary to read the Bhagavatam from the beginning to become self- realized or is it okay to just hear the Bhagavatam discourses from the devotees to become self-realized?

A13. Well you know Prabhupada said in a Caitanya-caritamrta purport? He said, “All of my disciples have to read all of my books so they won’t fall down.” One may say, “I am a grand-disciple I don’t have to worry about that.” Wait a minute, grand-disciples are also disciples. We are all Prabhupada’s disciples here, either disciples, grand-disciples, great-grand disciples and when you all take disciples then there will be great-grand disciples also. So we are all Prabhupada’s disciples at different levels and Prabhupada’s order is, “All of my disciples have to read all of my books or they will fall down.” So you can hear the Bhagavatam classes wherever they are given. It’s not that you have to hear a Bhagavatam class on each verse, when you come to Vrindavana, on the 4th canto and you say that you can’t hear it because you haven’t read that far yet. No, whatever verse is being spoken on, you hear the class but on your own reading, you should read the whole Bhagavatam chapter by chapter by chapter by chapter.

Q14. How to decide and stay firm in that decision which leads to bhakti?

A14. This is why a guru is very important thing. This is why Rupa Gosvami says:

Adau gurusvayam - the very first step on the pathway of bhakti is to take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master because that fixity that, "I am simply a servant of my Guru Maharaja, whatever he tells me to do, that’s it." That’s how you become strong. That made Prabhupada strong. That’s what will make us strong also, being dedicated to our spiritual master.

Q15. How did the cowherd boys have so much faith in Krishna although they don’t see Him as God? (Actually our time is up. But I will go ahead. This is pretty nectarean, then we will end the session) they see Him do so many supernatural things but still they don’t see Him as God.

A15. Actually Nanda Maharaja was saying like that. The cowherd men were saying, “Nanda Baba, your Krishna is very amazing. He does so many amazing things.” He says, “Yes. Maybe He is some demigod.” Yogamaya is so powerful, they can’t think that He is the Supreme, maybe some demigod. So why is Krishna doing that? Because Krishna is disgusted if He is too much glorified, Prabhupada says. Sometimes Krishna becomes so much glorified, He becomes disgusted. You may say how is that possible? I mean, I really enjoy being glorified. But actually even in the material world it happens. Prabhupada said, Gandhiji when he became so dear to the Hindus, all night long they were going “Mahatma Gandhi, ki jaya! Mahatma Gandhi ki jaya!” All night long, there was this mantra going on, 24hrs a day. Prabhupada said that gentleman could not sleep. And we see even like a movie star, sometimes they go in a public, they put on sunglasses or put on hats so no one will see. George used to do that, George Harrison, when there was a whole spiritual thing happening in London. People would get together and they would chant, just like hippies they had this thing where they would get together and do things like chant mantras. Yamuna used to go there and sing Hare Krishna and people really liked it. George would come there in disguise because he didn’t want people to know that the Beatle George Harrison has now arrived when everybody goes wild. He disguised himself and he would sit there and hear Yamuna’s kirtana and would really relish it. So even famous people they sometimes like not to be glorified and be recognized. They just want to blend in. So that same thing is there in Krishna. He liked to have a place where He is not worshiped as Supreme, a place where He can just blend in as an ordinary village boy, be chastised, scolded, whatever an ordinary kid may have to go through. He wants to experience that too. He is the supreme enjoyer. He can be worshiped and glorified and surrendered to, that’s all right. But He wants to taste the other side too. Not just a one-sided thing.

There is another example in this connection: the prime minister of England during the rule of Victoria. One of her prime ministers, perhaps you have heard the name Prime Minister Gladstone. So one day a big, big important man came to have an appointment with Prime Minister Gladstone. He is waiting in the outside office, “When will he come? When will he come? He is very late.” He pulled out his pocket watch. “Oh my God! it’s really late. What’s going on in there?” He is wondering what is holding up the Prime Minister. The appointment was half an hour ago. “Oh what’s going on?” He was waiting, waiting, waiting, finally he couldn’t contain himself. There was an old fashioned key hole; you can peak through the keyhole to see into the room. He finally went up and there was Prime Minister Gladstone down on his hands and knees crawling around with his grandson on his back. The grandson was going “giddy up, giddy up.” He was playing horse for his grandson. Now here is the big prime minister of the British. It was said, ‘The sun never sets on the British Empire.’ They had a huge powerful empire. He is the Prime Minister and that one would relish powerful position like that, but he liked to lay it aside and be a horse for his grandson.

So that same thing is there in Krishna. He likes to lay all this being the Supreme Controller aside and be controlled by His girlfriends or by His mother or His boyfriends. Krishna relishes that. It is for Krishna’s pleasure. He puts his dearmost elevated devotees under yogamaya’s spell so they forget that He is Krishna, the Supreme Lord. They just know, “Oh! This Krishna, He is so amazing!” They are completely mad after Krishna. But they have no idea that He is Supreme and that’s how Krishna does it for His own pleasure and so that they can enter into a certain relationship which they could not have with Him if they had thought that He was the Supreme. Otherwise it would be all awe and reverence. It’s for the pleasure of the devotees also. Those devotees have a natural propensity to reciprocate with Krishna in an intimate way as a friend, as a girlfriend, as a parent. They have that in their psyches - their svarupas - to associate with Krishna in that way, He also reciprocates with that by allowing them to be under the yogamaya potency.

So it’s been a delightful session #2 on transcendental engineering seminar. Now we will take a break again. We are going to start again at 1:40 which is in 15 minutes for our wrap up. Now you can make an announcement.

Thank you very much!

[Transcribed by Her Grace Sulakshana devi dasi
Revision by Prema Bhakti das ]

Index of Transcribed Lectures