Lecture: Bhagavad-gita 10.10
Bangalore, 13 November 2005
tesam – unto them; satata-yuktanam – always engaged; bhajatam – in rendering devotional service; priti-purvakam – in ecstasy; dadami – I give; buddhi-yogam – real intelligence; tam – that; yena – by which; mam – unto Me; upayanti – come; te – they.
Translation and purport by Srila Prabhupada:
To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
So Prabhupada is forcing our eyes open with the torchlight of knowledge. We are in the darkness of this Kali-yuga. Everywhere is darkness, but the pure devotee is shining that torchlight of knowledge to enlighten us, to awaken us, so that we can actually see things as they are. One who is actually fixed in Krishna consciousness can see Krishna within everything and everything within Krishna, wherever he goes. Raso ‘ham apsu kaunteya prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh. [Bg 7.8]
The first time I met Prabhupada face to face – of course, I had already met him in the heart - but the first time I met him face to face the very first word that came out of his mouth was “Jagannatha.” He said, “Jagannatha swami nayana-patha-gami bhavatu me.” Of course, in this prayer we are begging Lord Jagannatha that He please come to our vision. So Prabhupada told the audience - who were mostly nondevotees actually (this was at the Ratha-Yatra festival) - “Every one of you has seen God because Krishna says, prabhasmi sasi-suryayoh: ‘I am the light of the sun and the moon.’ You have all seen the sunlight; you have all seen the moonlight; you have all seen God.” He said, “Every day you are drinking water – once, twice, thrice or more than that. If every time you drink water you remember that Krishna is the taste of the water, then immediately you become Krishna conscious.” . . . He was sitting on a car when he told us that, but it wasn’t a Maruti. It was called a “Subhadra Car” – Subhadra’s cart. And he was telling us like that: every time you drink water, you simply remember that Krishna is the taste of the water.
So Prabhupada said that to become Krishna conscious is not a difficult job; it simply requires practice. If you desire to become Krishna conscious, and you hear from a bona fide spiritual master and the Vaisnavas how to become Krishna conscious, and you just do it, that’s all it takes. It’s not difficult. If you want to become unlimitedly happy and be free of all anxiety; if you want to achieve immortality; if you’re tired of being caught up in this rotten cycle of birth and death - then hear the spiritual master, hear the Vaisnavas, hear Krishna’s words in the Bhagavad-gita, and simply do it. It’s not that difficult! It’s much easier than getting a degree in computer science (in one sense) because you’re not going to be rejected if you don’t make a certain mark on the exam. Krishna is very merciful if you’re sincerely trying; that’s all that counts. Sincerely try to remember Krishna. When you see the light of the sun, think, “Ah, here is Krishna;” when you taste the water, “Ah, here is Krishna.” Prabhupada said that if even the Bowery bums, when they’re drinking the wine, simply remember that Krishna is the taste of the wine, they can become the greatest yogi! So just see how merciful Krishna is. Any liquid thing – coconut water, regular water, juice; any liquid thing – “Ah, it’s feeling so good; it’s quenching my thirst.” That quenching power is Krishna.
So we can absorb ourselves nicely in Krishna consciousness – and what does ‘nicely’ mean? With love. Not grudgingly – “Ugh, I have to do this service for Krishna.” No. There are two types of Krishna consciousness: anakula and patikula. Patikula is the Krishna consciousness of Kamsa. Do not be Krishna conscious like that, wanting to kill Krishna. We have to be anakulavadis, thinking of Krishna favorably with love. And what is the advantage of doing that? That is described in this verse. Krishna will give personal guidance to you. If you serve Krishna with love, He will personally guide you. Just imagine if Krishna were with you at every step, telling you what to do, and you follow Him. You will easily achieve perfection.
One time I wrote Prabhupada and asked him some questions. He wrote me back and said that if you simply engage in the service of Krishna twenty-four hours a day with full sincerity, then Krishna come to you and answer all of your questions personally. Now was that some make-believe thing, concocted so that I wouldn’t write Prabhupada so many letters? No. It’s a fact. If one becomes completely absorbed in serving Krishna twenty-four hours a day, Krishna will personally come and answer all of his questions.
Prabhupada is speaking from his practical experience. The pure devotee can never make a mistake, because he acts under the direction of Krishna at every step. He never acts independently of Krishna. Everything he does is under the direction of Krishna; therefore he never makes a mistake. The conditioned soul is subject to four defects. First, his senses are imperfect. You may hear an explosion outside and think it was a firecracker when actually somebody just shot somebody with a gun. You thought it was a firecracker, because the senses are imperfect. And because the senses are imperfect we have a tendency to be illusioned. And because we have that tendency to be illusioned, then what happens? We make mistakes. But in spite of making so many mistakes, we think, “Yes, I am very intelligent.” That’s called cheating. We cheat, posing ourselves as learned experts when actually we make so many mistakes all the time. But the pure devotee, because he is taking direction from Krishna at every step, is beyond these defects.
Of course, we’re not supposed to become pure devotees, right? We’re supposed to just remain in our fallen, conditioned state, aren’t we? No. Prabhupada wants us all to become pure devotees. We’re all meant to come to this platform of being constantly absorbed in pure bhakti at every second, with every thought, every word and every deed. We’re all meant to come to that platform. Especially I feel that pressure, because now with the blessings of Prabhupada and the GBC I am initiating disciples. Prabhupada explains in Upadesamrta that if the spiritual master is not on the highest platform, uttama-adhikari, then his disciples suffer under his insufficient guidance. So I feel a tremendous pressure at every minute that I have disciples and I have to become an uttama-adhikari; otherwise I’m hurting them by my improper example. So I especially feel that pressure as diksa guru. Prabhupada is pushing me to become uttama-adhikari.
Also in one letter he said, “Now you just qualify yourself to see Krishna face to face.” Previously I’d been a songwriter, and I was thinking, “Oh, it would be very nice to write songs for Krishna.” So Prabhupada was giving me some tips on how to write songs on the highest level, like those of Narottama das Thakura and Bhaktivinode. He said, “You just qualify yourself to see Krishna face to face. Then you can write songs like Bhaktivinode Thakura.” So Prabhupada was not saying, “Well, for pure devotion, you go back to Godhead and become a pure devotee” – no. He was saying, “You become a pure devotee now.” That’s what he was telling me.
So that pressure is there. Krishna is encouraging and Prabhupada is encouraging that we should come to the highest possible standard. First, to become kanistha-adhikari, then madhyama, and then we keep pushing ourselves to become uttama-adhikaris – completely free from any dirt in the heart; completely competent to present Krishna consciousness according to sastra and to logic also, so that we can convince anyone to take to Krishna consciousness. So this is a very poignant instruction from Krishna, a very potent and helpful instruction: that if we are constantly devoted we will get that guidance so that we don’t have to be confused about what to do! If we’re totally absorbed in bhakti twenty-four hours a day we will know what to do at every step.
So we just wanted to give some brief words on these sublime points being made by Lord Krishna. Does anyone have any questions?
For us, is it possible that if a devotee is not in bhakti twenty-four hours that he can also get guidance from Krishna, or is this only for those who are in twenty-four hours?
So, if someone is not in bhakti twenty-four hours a day will he get the same guidance? Well, not like this. Constantly, He says. “Inasmuch as you surrender to me, I reward you.” So you can’t expect to get the same level of guidance from Krishna if you’re not fully absorbed in serving Him twenty-four hours a day.
What I’m saying –
According to your degree of surrender He rewards you. You don’t expect a bigger reward than your degree of surrender. Of course, in one sense there always is a bigger degree, because with every one step you take towards Krishna He takes ten steps towards you. So it’s a fact that you will get a much bigger reward than you put in [due to] Krishna’s kindness. But still, the more you put in, the more you get. If you want the full, pure bhakti you have to be twenty-four hours absorbed in Krishna bhakti. You have to learn how to do that in every activity, whether you’re a student, a worker, a businessman, etc. Those activities, under the guidance of an expert spiritual master, can all be perfectly dovetailed into bhakti-yoga. It’s not that you’re just Krishna conscious at the temple. This is why I’m campaigning against this term, “part-time devotee.” I’m on a campaign against this term. If you’re a devotee, you’re a devotee; you’re always a devotee. It’s not that you’re a devotee when you go to the temple, but when you go to work you’re not a devotee anymore. If you’re a devotee, then you’re twenty-four hours a devotee – if you’re actually a devotee. That means you are always thinking of Krishna. You’re seeing everything in relation to Krishna.
Do you work or go to school, or what?
So if you’re actually a devotee, when you go to your job - do you have your own business or are you working for somebody else?
I’m working at . . .
Working a job? So if you’re actually Krishna conscious, when you approach your place of employment you should see, “Ah, bhumir apo ‘nalo vayuh kham mano buddhir eva ca. [Bg 7.4] This is the energy of Krishna, XYZ Corporation.” . . . When you go into your office – “Ah, this computer screen, this desk – it is all the energy of Krishna.” You see the boss is the energy of Krishna. Everything is the energy of Krishna. So, since it’s all Krishna’s energy, that means it should be engaged in Krishna’s service.
And what is the result of your work? Money. So you have to spend every paisa in a Krishna conscious way. If you just spend every paisa in a purely Krishna conscious way, then your work is translated into bhakti-yoga. If you spend it foolishly, for sense enjoyment, then you’re not going to get the same result. Sorry; it won’t happen. You have to spend every paisa in a Krishna conscious way. Don’t frivolously misspend your money. Spend your money wisely to create a lifestyle for yourself which is purely Krishna conscious.
Sometimes people complain, “Well, at my job I have to work so many hours; I have so little time for chanting, reading and hearing.” But the insider’s secret is, whatever free time you do have, absorb that fully in Krishna’s service. And you know what will happen? Krishna will give you more free time. He sees, “Oh, whatever free time I’m giving him, he spends wisely in my service. So let me give him more.” Who do you think is controlling everything? Krishna. Not Bill Gates. Krishna is the ultimate controller of everything. So if He sees that whatever free time you have you are using wisely in His service, He will give you more free time.
That’s what happened to me. I’m speaking from experience. I was a brahmacari living in the temple, full-time bhakti; then I got married and I took some computer programming training. Then I was working a full-time job for some years, and I was thinking, “There are so many computer programmers, but how many preachers are there in the world? Preachers are more needed than computer programmers.” So then there was a Back to Godhead marathon and we took off from work. My wife and I went traveling to sign up subscribers for BTG and we won the worldwide marathon. We were #1 and #2 in the whole world. [cheers from group] And then we got an offer from BTG that we could work for them; and then they didn’t need that after some time, and then we went to open a center in Austin. I was working a part-time job and preaching the other half of the time. And then I thought, “Why should I work for someone else?” So then I started my own little business out of the temple. Our house was the temple. So then we just stopped doing that and went to full-time preaching. We’re vanaprastha. We don’t work any job. We have all the money we need. We’re flying all over the world. You know that’s not cheap, flying around the world. The round-the-world ticket, Krishna is providing – because we are using everything in His service. It’s practical. I don’t work a job. There’s no temple that’s maintaining me. It’s just that people are contributing – just like you all are contributing some laksmi today to help our preaching. It’s just from contributions coming in. We’re traveling and preaching all over the world, full time.
So the point is that whatever free time you have, if you use that for Krishna, then Krishna can do anything. He’s not limited by the government of India or anything. There’s not limit to what Krishna can do. Krishna could turn the whole world upside-down within a minute if He wanted to. There’s no limit to what He can do. He has unlimited power.
You know what Prabhupada told Tamal Krishna Maharaja when he was a brahmacari? He said, “Krishna can give you all of America within one minute - but what you will do with it??” Prabhupada actually told us in Bombay that we should take the management of the world! Do you understand what kind of responsibility Prabhupada has given us? He wants us to lead the entire planet! So we have to become competent. We have to become pure devotees – then Krishna will give us the whole planet! That’s a fact. We’re not after political posts; we want to guide the political leaders. We are brahmanas; we are not ksatriyas. We want to guide the political leaders. We want to give them guidance on how to run their countries in a way that will deliver the citizens from birth and death. But we’re not qualified to do that if we can’t even control our own senses. We have to become gosvamis – each and every one of us has to perfectly control our own senses. And then Krishna will give us the whole world to guide.
So let that day come when there will be such a demand for brahmanas that we all have to do full-time preaching work, and everybody will support us. So just become pure now - become very, very pure. Become qualified to lead the human society out of chaos. That’s what Prabhupada wants. We have brahminical initiation – we make brahmanas in our Society. Brahmana means one who is the spiritual master of the human society. Every brahminically initiated man and woman in our Society should be so fixed in Krishna consciousness that they can lead the entire world by spiritual guidance. So we have to become pure, completely pure. We see in ISKCON how so many of our godbrothers got big positions – power, prestige – and they were carried away and lost everything. That sort of “become a big leader today and maya tomorrow” – that doesn’t work. Any leaders can never be tempted by material nature, never be tempted, because they are so fixed in love of Krishna. That’s the caliber of leaders that we need in our Society.
Any more questions?
In preaching and practice, there’s always a gap involved. How can one practice and preach . . .
You’re saying that there’s a credibility gap between practice and preaching?
Yes, when neophyte devotees come . . .
Yes. The answer is given by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. When you get up in the morning, you take shoes and beat your mind one hundred times. In the evening, you beat your mind with a broomstick one hundred times. And we need to find devotees – associates – from whom we can take chastisement. Everybody should have someone who can chastise them and from whom they can take it, where they really try to rectify themselves. Everyone should really have someone by whom they can be corrected on a regular, daily basis. We need to have that. Because we all have our faults; let’s face it. So you need to have someone from whom you can take instruction and be chastised and corrected and not argue with them about it. We need to find that kind of association, because there is a gap. We do have our impurities, but at the same time we’re meant to preach pure bhakti. So we have to understand that, and we have to constantly be bringing ourselves under control.
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
[Nectar of Instruction 1]
We can’t let up our guard. At all times, in all situations and in all places, we have to push ourselves to be gosvamis, understanding “I’m not, but I must become.”
Do you have a question?
What are the main obstacles to remembering Krishna twenty-four hours?
Envy. “Why should I think about Krishna – why not just think about myself and how great I am?” We’re envious of Krishna; that’s why we’re here. “Why should Krishna get all this attention? Why not me?” That’s the main thing.
We have to understand intelligently that it’s in our higher self-interest to be Krishna conscious. By design we are prakriti. Prakriti cannot independently enjoy. The prakriti can only enjoy by giving satisfaction to purusa. We are all prakriti. If we try to enjoy independently, we will simply go through sukha, dukha, sukha, dukha, sukha, dukha. If you want pure sukha, then you have to do everything for the pleasure of Krishna. Then you will always enjoy.
Q4 – [from a written note]
“Hare Krishna, Prabhuji. I find that I lack determination. I have all these good intentions but lack the focus and follow-up with action.”
Who asked this? . . .
Mataji, I want you to remember the example given by Prabhupada in the Bhagavad-gita of the little sparrow. Do you know the story of the little sparrow? The ocean took the eggs of the little sparrow. The sparrow said, “Give me my eggs back!” – to which the ocean replied, “No way – ha ha ha ha!!” So it was a devasting thing; the ocean took away the eggs of the little sparrow and would not return them. Yet the sparrow was determined: “I’ll teach you a lesson - I will dry you up!!” So she starts running down to the shore, and with her little beak she takes two or three drops of water and she runs back to deposit it on the land. She keeps running down in her determination to dry up the ocean – she is going to run herself to death! And everyone is laughing. “Oh, just see the foolish little bird – aha-ha-ha! She’s just going to kill herself. She’ll never get her eggs back.” But then, she has a big brother. What is her big brother’s name? Garuda. And he has all mystic powers. So when he saw how everyone was making fun of his little sister, the sparrow, he became very angry. He came rushing down to the ocean, and he said, “You give back those eggs or you are dead. I will dry you up with my mystic powers!” “Yes, Garuda, yes!” the ocean said.
So you must have determination – determination that you would rather die than give up Krishna consciousness. Be determined to do anything and everything to become a pure devotee – whatever it takes. There is no obstacle so great that you won’t do everything to overcome that obstacle. What is that verse?
mukam karoti vacalam
By the mercy of Guru, a dumb man can give eloquent speeches, the lame man can cross over the mountain - they also say that a dog can swim across the ocean – by the mercy of Sri Guru! So, by taking shelter of the bona fide spiritual master, you will become empowered. That’s a fact. You may not have the determination, but the bona fide spiritual master is a powerhouse of determination! If you will connect with that powerhouse then naturally that determination will also manifest in you.
Questions more? We’ll take one last question.
When you said we should beat the mind – how do we do that?
What, you don’t have any shoes?
You simply have to remind yourself that you’re a rascal in so many ways. You have to defeat your own false pride. That’s what it means, practically speaking. You have to do everything you possibly can at every minute to remind yourself that you’re a fool and a rascal, that you’re not as great as you think you are. Constantly subdue the false pride. That’s the meaning.
So we thank you all very much for you wonderful participation in this Krishna consciousness movement. It’s been a very delightful thing being here in Bangalore with all you wonderful devotees. We hope that you will allow us someday to come back and be in your presence again. It’s very nice that Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai have come into this home. So if the family members here can worship Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai with love, as described in this verse, then they will have, by the mercy of Sri-Sri Gaura-Nitai, all understanding of how to become perfectly situated in Krishna consciousness. Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Transcribed by Her Grace Labangalatika devi dasi