His Grace Sankarshan Das Adhikari

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Uttama Bhakti Part I

Radhadesh, Belgium

March 25, 2010 

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

The word uttama means beyond darkness. It is also manifested in English in the word ultimate.  The ultimate bhakti is that bhakti which is completely beyond darkness.  

How can there be bhakti in darkness?  That doesnít make sense in one sense. How this can be is established by the description of a class of bhaktas called kanista bhaktas. They are materialistic devotees. They have bhakti but that bhakti is mixed with material consciousness. Of course thatís where we all start.  Pure bhakti is not just a snap of the finger.  And yet, of course there are examples of this as well. 

One example is given in the Bhagavatam.  A great king, the forefather of Lord Rama- Khatvanga Maharaja achieved pure bhakti in one second.  It is very interesting surely.  We may think that the heavenly planets would be a nice place to live, having such facilities, wonderful beautiful people, so many nice mangoes, so much wealth, opulence, everything being very wonderful.  But even in such a place there is anxiety that demons may come and attack and take over. The terrorists may come to take over this place and sometimes it happens; the demons come.  

So it happened that the demigods were in great difficulty when the demons came.  They had taken the heavenly kingdom.  Even though they are powerful demigods they could not repel them.  The demigods asked an earthly king for help.  

Can you imagine the demigods taking help from earthly king?  How powerful was that Khatvanga!  They took help from the earthly king Khatvanga by requesting him in this way: 

ĎMy dear Khatvanga Maharaja, we are now being overrun by demons. Kindly come and repel these demonsí.  So, out of kindness, Khatvanga Maharaja went to the heavenly region and fought on behalf of demigods against the demons very valiantly for many, many long years and the result was successful.  He got the demons out of the heavenly kingdom.  

The demigods were so pleased.  They said: 

í Oh Katvanga Maharaja! you have saved us, simply tell us and we will give you whatever boon you wantí.  Khatvanga Maharaja was very intelligent.  These Maharajas are not ordinary kings. They were rajarsis, saintly kings.  Raja and rsi combine to form rajarsi.  

He requested them: 

íThe only boon I ask is, tell me how much longer I will liveí. He wanted to prepare himself for inevitable death.  They said:  

ĎOh! Your death is coming momentarilyí. He said:  

íThank you very muchí. Immediately he took shelter of Krishna and became a pure devotee.   

Srila Prabhupada gives this history as an example that one can achieve uttama-bhakti within a second.  If you analyze it, you will understand that, for any sincere devotee on this pathway who is very determined to achieve the perfection of Krishna consciousness, there will be some moment in his history when he or she will indeed achieve pure bhakti. It will happen at some moment.   

For everybody there will be a grand moment when he finally graduates from the material world then actually achieves pure bhakti. It will happen to every sincere devotee, so why not try to make it happen sooner?  Better sooner than later.  That is one of the goals of this course.   

By understanding what pure bhakti is and also how to enter into that mood, armed with knowledge, inspiration and encouragement, one can as soon as possible achieve pure bhakti. Prabhupada has written The Nectar of Devotion, which is simply treatise to tell us how to become a pure devotee and how nectarean it is to become a pure devotee. 

Itís actually Rupa Goswamiís book bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. But our most beloved Founder-Acarya, His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Tridandi Swami Maharaja Prabhupada has given us this wonderful summary study. In that book, we find that there are six characteristics of pure devotional service. The first one is that pure devotional service brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress.  

This is very practical.  Who among us is not distressed. We are being tortured by three-fold miseries , adhyatmika, adhibhautika  adhidaivika. If the adhyatmikas are not torturing you then the adhibhautikas will be torturing you, and if the adhibhautikas arenít torturing us, then the adhidaivikas will be torturing us. At every minute, at least one of these miseries will be torturing us.  Thatís the reality of this material existence.  

Pure devotional service relives us from this material distress.  One may ask: 

ĎDoes that mean that I donít have to die?í 

Actually it is true, you donít have to die.  

ĎBut I see my body is getting old and sick, I even see that Prabhupada got sick, Prabhupada died.í 

Wait a minute.  Prabhupada didnít get sick.  Prabhupada didnít die.  It was just Prabhupadaís body.  

The body of one who achieves pure devotional service will definitely get sick in time.  That is sure for everyone by natureís law, but one who achieves pure devotional service is one hundred percent detached from identification with that gross lump called the material body. In other words, those miseries are just something out there in the material nature. 

Just imagine you are an aquatic living being in the ocean, and there is a horrible hurricane on the surface of that ocean.  If you go deep, deeper and even deeper still within that ocean, having gone deep enough, you will see that there is not even the slightest tinge of an influence of that hurricane. Itís just something happening there on the surface of the ocean. So also, for one who achieves pure bhakti all the material miseries cease to exist. 

I was reading recently Prabhupadaís writings about a pure devotee who didnít even notice when he left his body.  Can you imagine?  He was so absorbed in bhakti that he left the body and didnít even realize it.  He just went on with his devotional activities in whatever plane he was engaged on.  Itís like being absorbed in kirtana, hearing and chanting, and feeling: 

ĎOh wow! This is so sweet,  

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

Itís going deeper, deeper and deeper, until you wake up and realize that about five hours ago I left my body.  

ĎI didnít even realize it.  Oh! There is my body.  They are cremating it right now, but hey I am going on, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna.í 

When you become completely fixed in that pure bhakti platform, you become so detached that when you leave your body itís not even a big deal, itís like you sneezed. It is a pretty ecstatic platform to be on.  

Back in 1972 in the Radha-Damodara templeís courtyard, Prabhupada gave a wonderful series of lectures on The Nectar of Devotion.  They are available in mp3 series.  You can hear them all yourselves, right from Prabhupadaís lotus mouth.  I remember when they were actually picking out devotes to go to be in India with Prabhupada.  That was really special.  We were at the  ratha-yatra in 1971 in San Francisco. 

It was said every center should send one devotee to go to India.  I didnít get picked, one of the other brahmacaris was picked to be from my center to go to India.  All those devotees got to be there in the Radha-Damodara courtyard with Prabhupada hearing The Nectar of Devotion series lectures.  

Prabhupada, on the 3rd of November, further elaborated on these six characteristics.  We are going to take advantage of these wonderful further elaborations by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada as we go through this supreme nectar, the nectar of devotional service: Uttama-bhakti. We will read a little bit from those lectures and discuss. 

Prabhupada explained that pure devotional service brings immediate relief from all kinds of distress.  Then he quoted a song by Bhaktivinoda Thakura: 

Manasa deho geho yo kichu mor
arpilun tuwa pade nanda kisora.

The purport of this song is that when we surrender to Krishna, pranair arthair dhiya vaca, we get relief from all kinds of anxieties. Itís very simple to understand.  Everyone in the material world is full of anxieties.  That is the nature of material existence.  One after another, problems come; so, just imagine if some ordinary man says to a friend  

ĎI shall take care of all your fears, donít worryí 

We may doubt an ordinary man, because we know the capacity of an ordinary man, but when Krishna says I take charge of you, then how much relief we should feel.  Krishna is not an ordinary man.  Krishna is all powerful, being the Supreme Personality of Godhead.  He is yogesvara.  He is the Absolute Truth.  So, when He assures you that I will take charge of you (aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami), then we can know it will happen.  

When I was a struggling youth trying to realize the Absolute Truth, it took me about four and half years of bitter struggle to finally come to the point of Prabhupadaís lotus feet.  I was searching here and searching there miserably.  I remember one summer in 1968 one couple who were folk singers came to our apartment and sang a song called Pack Up Your Sorrows. It went like this-  

ĎI will take charge of all of your sorrows
if some how you could pack your sorrows
and give them all to me
I could use them
you would lose them,

give them all to me.í  

They were moving from Texas where I was living at the time, up to Denver, so they invited me saying, Ďso why donít you come with us?í  I was thinking that if I go with these people, they would really take away all my sorrow.  I was in.   

They were singing this song, ĎPack up all your sorrows and give them to meí. So I packed it up, I went and moved with those people Janet and Daryl Vasalinden. I moved in with them in Denver, but guess what, I still had my sorrows.  It didnít work.  I packed it up and moved in with them and still had sorrows. 

Prabhupada is making the point that nobody in this world can relieve us from all anxieties.  The politicians are experts at razzle-dazzling the voters with all kinds of promises.  But what do the citizens end up with? In the end, itís simply misery. 

Janma mrtyu jara vyadhi, on and on. But when Krishna says sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami, He can deliver on that promise. There are so many psychologists and psychiatrists who are saying, 

ĎCome here and I will relieve you of all your anxietiesí  

But did you know that the there is a tremendously high suicide rate among psychiatrists?  If they can relieve all your anxieties then why are so many of them committing suicide?  It is common sense.  The fact is that with the process of Krishna consciousness we are completely liberated from all anxieties.   

We can get some insight into how this process of Krishna consciousness works by studying the song Kabe Haíbe Bolo. What is the means by which we will become liberated from anxiety? 

kabe ha'be bolo se-dina amar
aparadha ghuci',  suddha name ruci,
krpa-bale ha'be hrdoye sancar

When my offenses ceasing
Taste for the name increasing
When in my heart will your mercy shine?

kabe ha'be bolo se-dina amar, When, oh when will that day be mine? 

This is the key.  To the degree that we are free from aparadha, to that degree we are free of anxieties, and conversely to the degree we are still aparadhis, to that degree we are suffering from anxiety. In material life, we tend to think that our anxiety is our material situation.   

If I am diseased, I must be in anxiety, and if I can get free from disease I will be free from anxiety.   

If I am out of money, I am in anxiety, and if I have pocket full of money then I will be out of anxiety.  

This is the way that we think materially. But actually thatís an illusion, not a fact.  

Our happiness or lack of happiness is directly proportionate to how much we have purified our consciousness.  Therefore Bhaktivinoda Thakura, instead of praying  

When, oh when will I get some money,
when will I get a beautiful girl
when will I get the beautiful boy
when will I get this or that, 

He is simply praying When will I become free from all the offenses? This is an important point.  Of course, we have our four rules- no illicit sex, no meat eating, no intoxication and no gambling.  We make that vow when we take diksa or initiation from the spiritual master, but then along with that, the spiritual master hands us the japa mala and he also tells us that we have to become free from these nama-aparadhas.   

By following the four regulative principles we come to the platform of sattva-guna, but to go from sattva-guna to suddha-satva, we must avoid the ten nama-aparadhas.  

If one can maintain oneís vow and not fall down by breaking the regulative principles then he has a very solid position on which to base his spiritual progress, sattva-guna.  He is solidly situated there and the next step is to perfect that chanting.  In other words the key to your spiritual perfection is right there in your bead bag. Your relationship with those beads, which means your relationship with the name of Krishna is the deciding factor for achieving relief from all miseries or remaining wrapped up in miseries. So, it is to our advantage to become very serious to get free from these nama-aparadhas.  

The first one is to blaspheme or criticize the devotes who have dedicated their lives for propagating the Krishna consciousness movement.  We have also read that to engage in committing this offense it is called hati mata the mad elephant.  Why is it called the mad elephant?  You can plant a garden, but if some mad elephant comes tromping in thundering, he will ruin all of your plants.  Your devotional creeper will be finished if the mad elephant gets into your garden.  

There is a very nice sloka in Caitanya Caritramrta.  

brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija

We are wandering you see throughout the entire brahmanda.  Sometimes we go to the higher planets like Brahmaloka or Indraloka.  We become demigods, or when you see we come to the middle region we become human beings or animals on this planet, and sometimes we enter the lower planets. We are going up and down, around and around.  It is a not-soómerry-go-round, of this material existence.  In the middle this incredible and entangling quagmire, if one somehow comes in contact with a pure devotee you see who is giving that bhakti-lata-bija, the seed of bhakti, then one is given the greatest good fortune.  

Now, what he does with that good fortune is up to him is up to him. One can capitalize on oneís good fortune or one can waste it.  If one intelligently thinks that I have been blessed with this seed of uttama-bhakti, and is an intelligent gardener then he will find suitable soil in which to place that seed.  He will water that seed and weed the surrounding soil.  That watering process is sravanam kirtanam visno.  

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

The weeding process is no illicit sex, no meat eating, no intoxication, no gambling and donít let the mad elephant get near your garden.  

Prabhupada gives the example that you build a strong fence around your garden so that even if an elephant comes charging to try to break in to your garden then that fence will keep him out you see.  On the path of bhakti this is a very big enemy of our progress.  If we allow hati mata into our garden, it doesnít matter how many years we have been chanting that creeper gets squashed.  Therefore, it is said whatever you do prabhu, donít offend a vaisnava.  

One may think, I am such an offensive person.  Iíll just go live in the forest.  I donít want to offend any vaisnava; I may just look at him in the wrong way and say something in the wrong tone of voice. I am just going to go hide. Is that the way? No, because we are instructed to live in the company of vaisnavas, so one cannot avoid committing offenses by avoiding the vaisnavas. That is another offense actually because Prabhupada has ordered us to remain packed up tightly with vaisnavas, and the third offense is disobeying the orders of guru.  

If you want to avoid vaisnava-aparadha here is the easy way to do that; we have to worship the vaisnavas. You may say, worship is for my guru, not for the devotees in general.  Who wants to worship the devotees? Wait a minute. What did Narottama Dasa Thakura say in his wonderful song nama-sambandha?  

These songs of the vaisnavas are so full of nectar so full of wisdom even in simple Bengali poetry they are representing the highest level of Vedic wisdom.  This is the great beauty of these songs, especially those of Narottama Dasa Thakura and Bhaktivinoda Thakura.  It is wonderful that although these are just Bengali folk songs, still they are so full of deep meaning. 

anande bala hari, bhaja vrndavana,
sri-guru-vaisnava-pade majaiya mana

Anande bala hari, ecstatically chant Hare Krsna.  In great ecstasy utter the holy names.  

Bhaja Vrndavana, worship the holy place, Sri Vrndavana Dhama, and now Prabhupada has expanded that Vrndavana Dhama.  This wonderful dhama here Radhadesh and others are all manifestations of Vrndavana Dhama.  Worship that original Vrndavana Dhama, and all these expansions of Vrndavana Dhama. These are holy tirthas Prabhupada and his followers have established. 

There is another aspect, sri-guru-vaisnava-pade majaiya mana: Always absorb your mana, or mind in worshiping the lotus feet of guru and vaisnavas. How much do you love the vaisnavas?  Do you hate the vaisnavas?  

Some devotees do hate many devotees.  I get lots of correspondence from students.  Some of them really hate devotees.  They canít stand them.  That means that they have a hardcore kanista mentality.  We have to learn how to love the vaisnavas even if we donít always agree with the vaisnavas. 

Take a little inside secret in this connection.  Letís say somebody plays a really good mrdanga drum.  They can really make that drum talk. They get all those kinds of subtle woo woos and ting tings.  They can really make that mrdanga come alive.  Prabhupada was like that.  I remember I had a great opportunity to sit at Prabhupadaís lotus feet in Atlanta.  We had a song class.  It was really special.    

Prabhupada was going to teach us a song we didnít know, parama karuna.   

parama karuna, pahu dui jana

It was wonderful.  A few of us we were recording it, myself included.  Prabhupada had a pair of kartalas. He sang it, then he said,  

Ok, now play it back.   

 I thought, I am going to just keep recording so that somebody else will rewind their recording and play it back. 

Then Prabhupada took a drum and played the mrdanga along with his recordings.  That was when I was in my singing career, and I was amazed.  Prabhupada was sitting there on the vyasasana, and it was like a whole symphony orchestra was there in that drum.  Prabhupada got so many subtle varieties of sound out of that drum.   

So, letís say somebody plays a really good drum, and I canít play worth the darn.  I can hardly keep the beat on the drum, then I think, 

Yeah, they must be really puffed up. 

What does what does that mean?  I will never learn to play the mrdanga because I am envious of a devotee, being an expert drum player.  Thatís an example of vaisnava-aparadha.  I am maintaining an envious attitude towards that vaisnava.  But, on the other hand, if I think, 

Oh! He played so wonderfully. He must really have feelings of love, and he is expressing it in his drum playing.  

Then what will be the result?  Krishna will bless me that I can also be a drum player.  This is a very important thing which applies to every single relationship we have with every single devotee.  See the good qualities in that vaisnava.   

You know we have bad qualities, but every devotee has good qualities also, and thatís more important.  If you want uttama-bhakti then you have to always look for the wonderful good qualities in every devotee.  If you are appreciating the good qualities in all the devotees, guess what will happen to you?  Those wonderful good qualities that you are meditating on and appreciating will come pouring like torrents of rain filling up your heart.  

So, you could say, Iíve got to be careful not to commit any offenses. I am not going to see anything.  I am not going to hear anything, all so that I wonít be committing any offenses.  But, thatís negative.  Thatís mayavada: neti neti.  That is not our method for avoiding vaisnava- aparadha.  Our position is to appreciate the vaisnavas.  

ye me bhakta-janah partha
ne me bhaktas ca te janah
mad bhaktanam ca ye bhaktas
te me bhaktatama matah 

These are Krishnaís words.  He is saying, My dear Arjuna, the one who is my devotee is not my devotee, but the devotee of my devotee, he is my devotee.  What does that mean?  I have to be your devotee.   

Prabhupada stated that the spiritual master does not consider that he is a spiritual master.  He thinks my disciple is the spiritual master and I am his servant, because I have to deliver him from this material existence.  We have this title prabhu.  All the devotees are our prabhus.  Mataji is another type of prabhu because father is my prabhu and mother is my prabhu.  Whether we say mataji or prabhu, they are all my prabhus. I must serve my prabhus. I must be devoted to my prabhus. They must become genuine objects of devotion within my heart.  

I can assure you that if you master this one point becoming the devotee of the devotee, everything else will be easy.  All the other offenses are easily avoided if you can simply learn how to become a devotee of each and every devotee.  You may say, 

Well, what about the karmis? We donít have to be devoted to them do we?  

Bhaktivinoda Thakura describes that there is not only vaisnava-aparadha but there is jiva-aparadha.  Itís not that we have a license now to vent my anger on the non-devotees. No. It is stated in Bhagavad-gita, 18.68 that one who explains this supreme secret to the devotees, pure devotional service is guaranteed and in the end he will certainly come back to Me.      

Prabhupada has sent us to preach to everybody.  That means that every single living entity throughout the total existence is actually devotee.  They have simply forgotten it.  How many devotees are there on this planet?  Whatís the worldís population?  Therefore, we go out and distribute these books.  We approach the people on the street,  

My dear sir, please take this book.  

We also take them as our prabhus. we want to serve them by giving this knowledge to help them awaken their Krishna consciousness.  A devotee therefore takes everyone as his master.  He serves everyone.  This mood makes pure devotional service become manifest immediately and very easily.   

The more you give Krishna more you get Krishna.  A devotee is very greedy; he wants as much Krishna as possible.  Therefore the devotee dedicates himself to make the whole world Krishna conscious. Prabhupada ordered us in LA saying: 

Now I am ordering you all to you become gurus and deliver the whole world.  

Prabhupada ordered his disciples to become guru and deliver the world.  That means everyone is my master.  I have to save them; itís my service.  I have to save those people who are suffering in illusion, all the way from the politicians to down to the toilet room cleaners.  Itís my duty, my mission given by my spiritual master.  I have to save all of these people by giving them Krishna consciousness. This is our family business given by Prabhupada to save the world. 

There are different kinds of family business. In Vrindavanís Loi Bazaar, many devotees go to get their clothes and deity paraphernalia.  The kurta Iím wearing for example came from Ganga Prasad. They took the measurements and made this supposedly custom fitted kurta. Thatís the family business of Ganga Prasad and sons.   

You can see the photographs there of his father, grandfather, the predecessor passed on the cloth merchant business to the sons.  I would guess that his name was Ganga Prasad.  There is a living bridge passed down from generations for this Ganga Prasad cloth business. Just as they have cloth business we have our business which is to deliver the world.  Itís been handed down from the great acaryas: Lord Caitanya, the Six Gosvamis, Narottama, Vishvanath, Jagannath das, Bhaktivinoda, Bhaktisiddhanta, etc.  Now Srila Prabhupada has given the order to us.  We are meant to serve all living beings by delivering them.  

To what extent can we be successful in doing that?  Thatís why this uttama-bhakti is very important.  You can only be successful in giving Krishna to the extent that you have Krishna.  If you donít have Krishna consciousness, how you can spread it?  If we want to serve the predecessor acaryas, to do our duty as Prabhupadanugas, to save the world by pushing forward this movement, then we must be very serious to cultivate pure bhakti.  

Pure bhakti is very essential because thatís our ticket back to Godhead.  How serious should I be about entering one hundred percent into the mood of pure bhakti today?   

Well I am only 23 years old.  I donít have to worry about it now. 

I am only 62.   Wait a minute.  What guarantee do we have that we are going to live for another 24 hours?  

I was meditating on that as I was walking down the hall.  I was thinking about how it would be if I fell off the cliff and had about sixty seconds left to live before I splattered all over the rocks at the bottom of the canyon.  What would I do in those last sixty seconds?  

Sixty seconds, and I am out of here.  

I just fell off the cliff.  I am going over edge what would I be doing?  Would I be going arrrrrrrrrr!?  Would I think oh! Krsna has blessed me with an opportunity like that given to Pariksit Maharaja of knowing that I have certain amount of time to live.  Now I can prepare myself and get to the point.  I am going over the cliff.  I should be calling out to Krishna, calling His name, praying to Him, somehow or other fully putting myself in His shelter.  Chanting Hare Krishna and chanting my favorite Brahma-Samhita verse. Put myself in the mood of pure bhakti. 

Whatís the guarantee that itís not going to happen to any of us today? 

One of my Godbrothers from Orissa, a very advanced devotee, His Holiness Gaura Govinda Maharaja was giving a pravacana in Mayapur and he collapsed then and there and died shortly after that.  It could happen to me too.  It would be a  fantastic way to go, in the middle of giving the uttama-bhakti course.  It would be a practical demonstration of how to manifest the purport of this course.  I would hope that I could do that only by Prabhupadaís grace.  Obviously, I think I am such a godasa, but it might be by possible the mercy of the spiritual master.   

The point is that this could be the last day for any one of us here in this class.  I hate to sound pessimistic but actually this is not; it is the supreme optimism to actually detach ourselves from this material body, from our particular material situation which is only temporary.  

This mood of pure bhakti is not is not as difficult as it seems.  Itís holding on to the material attachment thatís the tough thing.  We are keeping ourselves in a difficult position because we are holding onto our material attachments.   

There is an example given in this connection. There is a river flowing through a landscape.  On one side of the river is a horrible desert, with skeletons everywhere and poisonous creatures, a horrible and hellish existence.  On the other side of the river is a wonderful beautiful paradise with fruit  trees, flowers, beautiful people in beautiful clothing, singing and dancing the holy names of God, wonderful feasts going on, dramas, discourses, beautiful temples, everything is absolutely sublime.  

So, one man has struggled through the desert and come to the bank of the river. He is practically dead but has a little bit of life left in him. He looks across the river, intensely hankering to be on the other side. The people on the paradise side look at him and say

 Come on in.  You can easily float across, just jump in.   

But he has a rock which he is really attached to.  He says that he canít float across with this rock. They tell him to just forget the rock, but his mind is really torn.  He is so attached to the rock. Itís his pet rock.  

He looks at the people, he looks at the rock. He just canít break free of his attachment to that rock.  But the rock is keeping him from jumping into the river and go to the other side.  We all have a pet rock.  We all have those pet attachments, subtle and gross.  They are holding us back from uttama-bhakti.  So, drop the rock. Thatís intelligent.    

Prabhupada continued in this discussion, saying that we suffer due to our sinful activities.  In this material world, either we enjoy or suffer, but the common factor is suffering.  Suppose that for my pious activities I get a good birth janmaisvarya-sruta-sribhir.  By pious activities we get birth in a good family, sufficient riches, good education and beauty.   

These are the results of pious activities, but even taking birth in a family a very rich man, we still experience the suffering of taking birth.  As the poor man suffers within the womb of his mother, similarly the rich man also suffers within the womb of his mother. The suffering of taking his birth is equal to the poor man and the rich man.  There is no difference.  When there is a fever, it is not less painful to the rich man and very painful to the poor man. The pain is the same.  

As long as there is material existence, the so called suffering and enjoying are on the same level.  There is no difference.  But if we take to Krishna consciousness, as Krishna assures 

aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah

I shall get you released from all kinds of sinful activities.  That is real auspiciousness.  When Krishna takes charge, He gradually educates the devotee (buddhi-yoga) in devotional service so that he may go back home, back to Godhead, Krishna.  That is real auspiciousness.  

In the material world so called auspiciousness, to become very rich, educated, beautiful, highly born are adulterated with so many sufferings.  There are three-fold miseries adhyatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika. So, actually such positions are not auspicious.  Real auspiciousness is to go back home, back to Godhead.  

Therefore, it is said that pure devotional service is without any material motive.   


There is an interesting point to be derived from these wonderful descriptions.  Notice the connection between sin and suffering. Prabhupada is speaking about how pure devotional services relieves one from all material distress.  But he quotes from Bhagavad-gita sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami, which means to be relieved from all sinful reactions.  Our suffering is simply due to sinful reactions. 

 The more one is sinful, the more he suffers.  Then Prabhupada points out that, even pious activities do not relieve one from suffering.  A poor man in the hospital and a rich man in the hospital with the same disease, suffer the same way.  Death is painful for rich man or a poor man.  

These sufferings janma mrtyu jara vyadhi apply equally to the pious and the impious. You cannot become free from sufferings by piety. Itís not possible.  You may become more highly appreciated in the material society by the piety of being a good person, by engaging in welfare activities, humanitarian activities, feeding the poor, building hospitals, digging wells.  We may become celebrated and appreciated by being big, big philanthropists, but the bottom line is that you are going to suffer just like the sinful person.  

The only way to get free from that suffering condition is by surrendering to Krishna. That process of surrendering to Krishna is called pure devotional service.  

In the second verse of Kabe haíbe bolo, Bhaktivinoda Thakura nicely describes that: 

trnadhika hina, kabe nije mani',
sahisnuta-guna hrdoyete ani'
sakale manada, apani amani,
ho'ye aswadibo nama-rasa-sar

ďLower than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, when will my mind will attain this quality, respectful to all not expecting their honor when will I taste the nameís nectar sublime when will I when will that day be mineĒ.  (This sweet poetic translation is by Acyutananda Maharaja) 

Lord Caitanya has given us this very practical system for surrender; become very humble, lower than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree.  One may inquire that Bhaktivinoda Thakura is a devotee, so why is he singing, When will I achieve pure bhakti?  Of course, one could say that he is doing that for us, and thatís a fact.  But another point is that the pure devotees relish the mood of vipralambha, feeling separation.  They actually relish putting themselves in this mood of feeling that I am a demon. When will I achieve pure bhakti?  

Itís a very sweet mood.  In the same way, Lord Caitanya has a two-fold purpose for his advent.   

vande sri-krsna-caitanya-
nityanandau sahoditau
gaudodaye puspavantau
citrau sandau tamo-nudau

ďI offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Sri Krishna Caitanya and Prabhu Nityananda, who are just like the sun and moon.  They have arisen simultaneously in the horizon of Gauda to dissipate the dense darkness of ignorance of this age of Kali and thus wonderfully bestow benediction upon all.Ē  


That is one aspect, and the other aspect is to taste the mood of Radharaniís love.  Krishna is not one to be outdone by anybody. After all, He is the Supreme enjoyer. When He sees that Radharani is enjoying more than Him, Krishna thinks, I will take that mood of that beautiful golden limbed girl Gaurangi.  I will take Gaurangiís mood of loving Me because that mood of loving Me contains more nectar than my mood of being the supreme enjoyer.  I will become Gauranga and taste the mood of Radharaniís love for Me.   

Bhaktivinoda Thakura is teaching us how we should pray, but he is also relishing that mood of hankering for pure bhakti.  This is good news for us who are struggling right now.  This is a very nice song for those of us who are absorbed in indriya-seva.  We can pray we can put our heart and soul into this song  

kabe ha'be bolo se-dina amar
 aparadha ghuci', suddha name ruci,
krpa-bale ha'be hrdoye sancar

When, oh when will that day be mine? 

We can feelingly call out and beg for that pure bhakti.  You may ask, where is the time to sit around and sing Kabe Haíbe bolo?  Iíve got so much service to do.  The good news is that itís right there in the maha-mantra.  In the maha-mantra we are begging for pure devotional service. My dear mother, Srimati Radharani, my dear Krishna, please bless me with pure bhakti. 

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

We have to learn how to cry for Krishna in the mood of a small child, begging please save me.  You may say that I donít have that crying mood, I am just trying to enjoy.  What is my hope?  Well prabhu or mataji, if you canít cry to Krishna then you should try to cry for Krishna.  Cry to be able to cry for Krishna.  If you say that I canít do that, then cry to cry for Krishna, and if you canít do that, you should cry to be able to cry, to cry, to cry for Krishna.  If you canít do that, then cry to cry to cry to cry to cry for Krishna.  In this way, you can make your life perfect.  

Q1. What if we donít want to cry, just enjoy our life?  

A1. Isnít that a hard dilemma? Why should I cry for Krishna? I say where is the maha-prasada?  Thatís why I am saying you should cry to be able to cry.  If you canít cry on any level, you know that the answer is given by Queen Kunti   

vipadah santu tah sasvat
tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darsanam yat syad
apunar bhava-darsanam

ďKrishna, please put me into that situation where I will definitely be going to cry.  Donít put me into a comfortable position where I am feeling contentĒ.  

She was living in the forest.  It was horrible, there were man eating raksasas. There were all kinds of horrible things.  The palace of shellac was put on fire, they tried to burn the Pandavas. Kunti devi went through so many ordeals, and now itís all over. 

She was crying Krishna beyond imagination in those days.  Krishna save me!  But now all the difficulties are over.  It's comfortable in her nice palace life with beautiful silk, nice jewels, nice food, nice entertainment, the palace.  She wondered, how can I cry for Krishna in this situation?  

Actually, Krishna was there, but then He was heading back to Dvaraka and she knew He would be gone.  Now this dilemma:   

When I was in danger, I was crying to You with great intensity of love.  I was feeling your  presence by crying out to You.  But now everything is so comfortable here in this palace life.  There is nice prasadam every morning at 9 O Ďclock.   

It's like the way we are living in this wonderful chateau.  There is nice prasadam everyday, so many facilities, central heating, comfortable clothing and beds.  She was begging My dear Lord, please put me in  difficulty so I can cry out for You feelingly.   

Please Krishna put me into that situation where I will be forced to cry to You.  She was begging for that.  If I am in the kinds of situations where I am forced to cry out to You, then I am seeing You every minute within my heart, and by seeing You, I am absolutely sure that I will not be seeing the repetition of birth and death.  So, there is the easy answer.   

Of course, you can say thatís not easy.  Itís hard for us to imitate Kunti devi.  We canít really artificially put ourselves in Kuntiís mood, but, by the force of the material nature we will all be in a situation where we will really want to cry out for Krishna.  The time of death is coming pretty soon for each and everyone of us.  That will be the time when we can really cry out to Krishna with great intensity. 

Krishna! Krishna!   

In that sense, a devotee takes the time of death as a great blessing. I wanted to cry out to you like the acaryas, but I could never do that.  I was so happy and contented with my service.  I never felt that intensity, but now Krishna you have blessed me with this intensity.  I am here at the moment of death.  Now I can really cry out to You like I always wanted to, but never could my Lord.  Thank you for this mercy.  

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

Q2. What stops us in the process is the fear of losing something along the way. What are we afraid of losing? 

A2. Itís easy to talk about, but to actually do it is of course is not as easy as talking about it, but we have to talk about it.  That  gives us the tools with which we can do it within our own hearts.  We have the complete conviction that by having Krishna as my only possession,  I will not be lacking in any way. 

bhoktaram yajna-tapasam
suhrdam sarva-bhutanam
jnatva mam santim rcchati

That is Krishnaís position. He is the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor, and supreme friend.   

ananyas cintayanto mam
ye janah paryupasate
tesam nityabhiyuktanam
yoga-ksemam vahamy aham

ďFor one who worships Me with exclusive devotion, meditating on My transcendental form I preserve what they have and I carry what they lackĒ.  

Prabhupada elaborated on what that means.  He says Krishna delivers to your front door whatever you need.  What if I said, Mataji we are taking all of your possessions, everything. All you will have is one sari and a bead bag, thatís it.  How will you function?  Krishna, being your supplier, will personally come and immediately give you whatever you need. Would that be a good deal to you?  

It sure would be a good deal.  

You may take away my car, my house, my bank balance, everything that I have, but if you give me Krishna as my personal supplier who gives me everything that I need at every second, then do I have any problems?  No, I donít have any problems.  That is the actual solution. 

If we have faith in the principle that by fully surrendering ourselves to Krishna, He will personally give me whatever I need to go on with my service, then I donít have to worry about anything.  He can take everything away.  It doesnít matter, because that person who owns the control of everything can immediately replace everything he took away from me within a second.  One has no fear and no anxiety if one is completely dependent on Krishna for everything, because in that mood of total helplessness Krishna will give you everything.  

The difficulty is that we are like Draupadi was in the beginning part of the pastime.  We are surrendering to Krishna with one hand and holding on to material attachments to the other.  Draupadi realizes that this is futile let me just forget about it and put both hands up.  Thatís when Krishna gave unlimited sari.  

Krishna can also give us unlimited sari, so to speak.  We have to put up both hands.  Our problem is that I want to be surrendered on one hand, and on the other hand I want to keep this and that thing. Therefore, we are not tasting the nectar of pure devotional service.  

We are holding on to karma-misra-bhakti and jnana-misra-bhakti, our dear attachments.  Who are we cheating?  We are cheating ourselves. So letís be like Draupadi part 2 instead of Draupadi part 1.   

Krishna, everything is Yours. Now, just take it all and use it all as You wish.  Everything I have is Your property, nirmama, nothing is mine. Everything I have is Your property. Take it all away and use it in anyway You would like.  Whatever I have give it up.  Its all Yours: My body, mind, possessions, wife , kids, bank balance, profession, everything I have You can take immediately. Do whatever You want with it . Itís all Your property I give it up.  I walk away from it.  I just give it all to You.  But Krishna can give such a person the whole world to engage in His service.   

Prabhupada told Tamal Krishna Maharaja that Krishna can give you all of America within one minute, but what  would you do with it?  Our duty given by our acarya is to take the position of Brahmincal leaders of the world society.  But are we ready to handle that responsibility?  Would we take that and use it for sense gratification?  It happens too many times in our movement.   

We see people get a big position. They get carried away and try to enjoy sense gratification out of that position.  Therefore, we have to always be in that mood of seeing that everything is Krishnaís property using everything for Krishna.   If we do that, then Krishna will give us everything we need for the service.  Then we can fulfill the order that Prabhupada gave us to actually save the whole world. They will all come to us and become students. 

Everyone will come: The Prime ministers, the presidents, the scholars the philosophers the scientists.  Kindly tell us how we can please Prabhupada by our activities.  But we have to be completely pure.  We canít utilize some position of leadership for sense gratification. 

Q3. Sometimes we are afraid, due to being too attached to how other people think about us.  What can we do about it? 

A3 Actually, we want people to love us because that will be beneficial for them.  If they hate us, thatís not good for their spiritual department, so we want to act in such a way that people would love us.  Consider this practical example: 

Prabhu, I would like you to love me, to really think highly of me to respect me to really think, Sankarshan prabhu is a wonderful devotee. I like him.  So, what will I do if I want you to think highly of me?  Would I say that you better think very highly of me, or you are going to be in trouble?  No.   If I want you to think highly of me, then I should think highly of you.   

If I respect and love you as a fellow vaisnava and I am seeing your wonderful good qualities (yes you do have them) truly appreciating and trying to serve you in every way I possibly can to see that you are happy in Krishna conscious, then you will naturally want to reciprocate the same way with me.   

If we want people to appreciate us as a movement, it really boils down to the individuals. You cannot institutionalize this because we are nothing but a group of individuals and therefore they have to learn to appreciate the individuals.  Lumping individuals into a group is impersonal.   

The way to actually turn the tide of the public opinion in favor of our movement is to act in such a way that people will like you, and the way to do that is you have to like them.  Any book distributor knows if you want to be successful in distributing a book you have to really be warm and friendly.  You really have to show those people that you like them, you care about them and you're their friend. The book distributor has to show feelings by his or her actions, tone of voice, facial expressions, that I am your friend I really care about. 

How many people actually get that from someone nowadays?  It is so rare.  You may ride in the airplane  and the flight attendant may smile, but they are paid smilers.  When someone just does it because they really like you, they really love and care about you, that has an impact in the heart.  So the way to get the people to like this movement and to appreciate the devotees, we have to learn how to like and appreciate them.  Thatís the real bottom line here.  You've got to learn how to appreciate the good qualities.   

Prabhodhananda Sarasvati Thakura, the great- grandfather of Lord Caitanya said that you should approach the materialistic man, bow down at his feet and flatter him one hundred times, saying My dear sir, you are so magnanimous.  You are so full of all good qualities.  One hundred times, show your genuine appreciation for his greatness. Then he will say Alright, alright.  What can I do for you?  

My dear sir, whatever you have learned, kindly forget it and simply take this knowledge of Bhagavad-gita.  

So, we should really go out of our way to show people how much we appreciate them wherever we go, even if you are going through the customs where you have your visa stamped.  Wherever you go, show people how much you really care about them.  They mean something to you.  They are important to you.  People arenít doing that in this material world.   

Itís such a dry, drab, miserable, dull and impersonal society we live in. But, the devotee is connected with Krishna, and Krishna has unlimited love for all living entities.  So, the devotee can simply spread that mercy of Krishna wherever he goes, through his dealings with everyone.  If you are very kind and merciful to everyone you meet, that will stimulate them, so they will like to reciprocate.  People are looking for somebody they can reciprocate with.   

We used to have a song in the old days with Visnujana Maharaja and Radha Damodara's traveling rock opera.  The song went: 

Hey, you donít have to worry
You donít have to worry
All your problems, they will soon be gone.  

A point of this song was that you were suffering in this material existence, but you had nowhere you could give your love.  We try to give our love in this material world and people abuse us.  They take advantage of us.  We become frustrated, impersonal.  We embrace mayavadi philosophy.  Just like that popular song:  

I donít believe in love; I've heard that word before. 
Itís sleeping in my memory.  

People become very impersonal because they try to give love but they are cheated again and again.  They finally say, forget it.  I am just going into my little cocoon and live there.  I am God. 

But, if we as the servants of Krishna, servants of Prabhupada will share this wonderful loving mercy which is coming to us with everyone we meet, people will be amazed: 

yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa

amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa   

Jayananda use to go out begging things for the ratha-yatra.  People who werenít devotees were amazed.  Who is this person?  They called him Johnny Ananda.  

He use to go to Banana King Louie down at the boat dock, and get huge cases of bananas, just because he was overflowing with love.  I had a very little contact with him, but I am very indebted to my wonderful Godbrother Jayananda Prabhu, because it was by his mercy that I got my first darshan of Prabhupada. 

I was there at the ratha-yatra festival July or late June, 1971.  We were there a few days ahead of time, so Prabhupada was in India.  Prabhupada flew into LA, then he took a little domestic flight from LA up to San Francisco.  So, a bunch of us had been down at the ratha-yatra site, getting the cart ready for the festival.  Like everything in the ISKCON, it was a last minute thing.   

I had been sent down to volunteer for Jayanandaís work crew, to help get the cart ready.   Then, someone said Prabhupadaís arriving at the airport.  I had never seen Prabhupada yet.  They announced that in an hour, we're taking this van to the Airport.  Anybody want to come?  I volunteered to help Jayananda, and now they're announcing that this van is leaving for the Airport and Prabhupada will be there.  Oh, my God.  Talk about being torn in my heart; What a dilemma!   

But I knew what to do.  In a meek voice, I said, Jayananda Prabhu I have never seen Prabhupada before can I go to the Airport?  He looked around he made sure he had enough helpers.  He said yes, go ahead.  So, I hopped in that van by Jayanandaís mercy.  

I got to see Prabhupada arrive at the airport.  Wow.   That was such a  great and glorious thing to see His Divine Grace Om Visnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astotara Sata Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Tridandi Swami Maharaja Prabhupada, Jagadguru, the spiritual master of the whole universe, emerge from that flight tunnel.  Jayananda was a very kind-hearted soul.  He was always kind and therefore everybody respected him.  

He wasnít a sannyasi, but everybody would offer obeisances to Jayananda.  He would be sitting in temple hall, chanting japa, and people would just go there and offer obeisance to him.  They should love us.  Then all we have to do shower them with our kindness. I guarantee you, if we shower the general population with our kindness by going on harinama, making friends with them having programs in their homes, inviting them to our homes, feeding them prasadam, sharing with them this wonderful mercy, then that day will come when everyone will love us.  

There are three phases in the Krishna consciousness movement. The first phase, ignore.  They just ignore us we are not even noticed.  The second phase, abhor.  We hate those Hare Krishnaís.  They are a cult. And the third stage, adore. Ignore abhor and adore. 

We want them to adore, us not for our egos.  Itís for their benefit.  The more they can love the devotees, the more they will be inspired to join with us chanting and dancing in ecstasy to see the Lord Caitanyaís movement.  The way to do that is you have to give them your love.  If you have no love to give, give them Prabhupadaís love through his books, his prasadam.  Share the mercy with them.

Thank you very much.

Srila Prabhupada Ki Jaya! 


Transcribed by Her Grace Sulaksana devi dasi

Index of Transcribed Lectures