Lecture, Bhagavad-gita 5.7
Denver, Colorado USA - 18 January 2005
Barometer for Our Krishna Consciousness
A Barometer for Our Krishna Consciousness
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
Reading from Srimad Bhagavad-Gita Chapter 5, text 7.
yoga-yuktah -- engaged in devotional service; visuddha-atma -- a purified soul; vijita-atma -- self-controlled; jita-indriyah -- having conquered the senses; sarva-bhuta -- to all living entities; atma-bhuta-atma -- compassionate; kurvan api -- although engaged in work; na -- never; lipyate -- is entangled.
Purport by His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada.
One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and
who controls his mind and senses is dear to everyone, and everyone is
dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.
One who is on the
path of liberation by Krishna consciousness is very dear to every living
being, and every living being is dear to him. This is due to his Krishna
consciousness. Such a person cannot think of any living being as
separate from Krishna, just as the leaves and branches of a tree are not
separate from the tree. He knows very well that by pouring water on the
root of the tree, the water will be distributed to all the leaves and
branches, or by supplying food to the stomach, the energy is
automatically distributed throughout the body. Because one who works in
Krishna consciousness is servant to all, he is very dear to everyone.
And because everyone is satisfied by his work, he is pure in
consciousness. Because he is pure in consciousness, his mind is
completely controlled. And because his mind is controlled, his senses
are also controlled. Because his mind is always fixed on Krishna, there
is no chance of his being deviated from Krishna. Nor is there a chance
that he will engage his senses in matters other than the service of the
Lord. He does not like to hear anything except topics relating to
Krishna; he does not like to eat anything which is not offered to
Krishna; and he does not wish to go anywhere if Krishna is not involved.
Therefore, his senses are controlled. A man of controlled senses cannot
be offensive to anyone. One may ask, "Why then was Arjuna offensive (in
battle) to others? Wasn't he in Krishna consciousness?" Arjuna was only
superficially offensive because (as has already been explained in the
Second Chapter) all the assembled persons on the battlefield would
continue to live individually, as the soul cannot be slain. So,
spiritually, no one was killed on the Battlefield of Kurukshetra. Only
their dresses were changed by the order of Krishna, who was personally
present. Therefore Arjuna, while fighting on the Battlefield of
Kurukshetra, was not really fighting at all; he was simply carrying out
the orders of Krishna in full Krishna consciousness. Such a person is
never entangled in the reactions of work. [end
[end of purport]
One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.
If someone actually loves everyone, then generally people love him also. That's a fact. Prabhupada had so much affection for the devotees, therefore, the devotees had so much affection for him. Even the little children, who didn't really know anything about philosophy, the way Prabhupada treated them, they were just super attracted to him. The way little children would say Prabhupada! The little children were very much attracted by Prabhupada.
Just hearing the little children say Prabhupada's name actually attracted me to Prabhupada. If a child can feel that much affection, then maybe I can also feel some affection for Prabhupada, like a child. Prabhupada just attracted because he had so much love and affection for us. We can actually, never repay that love and affection. How could you properly reciprocate the love of Prabhupada? It was so pure and so selfless. All you can do is do the best you can to somehow reciprocate Prabhupada's love. Then, when you did that, he would shower even more love. There was a transcendental competition of who could give more love. Prabhupada would always win because you could never give Prabhupada as much love as he was giving to you. There was no way you could ever do that. The feelings when you're with Prabhupada were so powerful.
I remember when he was in Atlanta, I was just standing there. It was packed temple room. I wanted to be a little close to him, so I was standing right behind the vyasasana, and I was just thinking, if anybody came, I was looking out the window. At that time there was a growing anti-cult movement in America. I was thinking that if somebody came to Prabhupada, I would be willing to take the bullet or whatever. If I could die to protect him it would be ecstatic. I was thinking like that.
Prabhupada gave so much love to us. He totally gave himself to us. We felt as if we could do anything for him. We were willing to die for Prabhupada on the spot if it was necessary in his service. Such a pure devotee is described in this verse. He really does become very dear to the people in general. Dhiradhira-jana-priyau This is stated about the six gosvamis. They were very dear to both the gentle, and to the ruffians. In Vrindavana, everyone looked after the gosvamis, especially Sanatana Gosvami.
Even if there was some family quarrel between husband and wife. He would hear the husbands side. He would hear the wife's side. He would say You are right, and she is wrong, or you are right, and he is wrong. They would accept whatever Sanatana Gosvami said. That's how dear he was to the village people there. He was an authority like God for them. They just accepted whatever he said to resolve their family quarrel with his help.
This is the beauty of a Krishna conscious person. He has so much love for everyone. He just naturally attracts our love. Prabhupada actually wanted us to all be like this. As the gosvamis were very attractive to the people in general, he wanted all of us to become gosvamis also. Whether you're a householder, brahmacari, sannyasi, or whatever. But he wanted us to be gosvamis also to bring the senses under control.
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
One who controls mind, words, anger, tongue, belly and genitals can make disciples all over the world. The ritviks argue about the word can, saying that that means they're able to, but they're not authorized to. This is silly because Prabhupada says right there in the Nectar of Devotion that one who controls his senses in that way is permitted to make disciples.
The ritviks just juggle words around. They bring the karmi dictionary and the definition of "can". When Lord Caitanya says that one who knows the science of Krishna can become guru, they say they have the ability to, but not permission, unless the ritviks give him permission. He's not authorized. The ritviks will not give permission. Its silly because Prabhupada says permitted right there in Nectar of Devotion, the word is that such a person is permitted.
Anyway, that's a side point because we brought that verse up. Prabhupada wanted that every devotee in our movement should be such a nice clean pure Vaisnava that wherever he goes, he commands respect. Not that he or she demands respect. Do you know the difference between commanding and demanding respect. Demanding says, you have to respect me. If I say, ok, you have to respect me, or you're going to be in big trouble. I'm not going to let you have any prasadam today if you don't respect me. That's called demanding respect, and that's not really respect. But, if I treat you in such a nice way, and if I do things in such a pure and nice way, that you naturally respect me, that's called commanding respect. Prabhupada wants us to command respect by being gosvamis. Each one of us should be a master of our senses.
He said, when they offer you respect, automatically they make advancement. Did you know that? He said, like in Vrindavana, they will say Hare Krishna, they'll say Jaya Radhe! When they see a devotee, if they do that, that is a way of offering respect. They will make advancement by doing that. If we, in our dealings with the general public, are openly a devotee of Krishna, and they know that, and they respect us, especially if we can get people to say Hare Krishna to us, the whole point is that if they can respect the devotees of Krishna, that's supposed to be us, if they can respect us they are making advancement by doing that. We should always act in such a way that people respect us. That's why Prabhupada was making that point in this text. That will help our movement to be very very effective.
Everyone should very much love and respect the devotees. We really have to be exemplary, and very very nice Vaisnavas in all times all places and all circumstances. Another nice point here is though always working, such a man is never entangled. We were asked in the Sunday feast lecture, is Bhagavad-Gita violence or is it non-violence? Actually, it is a book of non-violence. Arjuna was non-violent. If Arjuna had refused to fight the battle, that would have been an act of violence in the highest sense of the term. Because he would not have surrendered to Krishna. But, when he surrendered to Krishna, that is true non violence. Whatever Krishna wants, just be the instrument in Krishna's hands.
How is it violence if he disobeyed the order of Krishna? He's committing violence first of all against himself, by not acting according to his constitutional position as a servant of Krishna. He's committing violence on his own spiritual nature. And, if he's committing violence on himself, automatically he's committing violence to everyone else who's all around him. In other words, if you think that you're your body then, you're committing violence on yourself. If you walk around in a state of mind that you're your body, and that everyone else is their body, all of your dealings will also be violence upon them. So, Arjuna was actually non-violent when he agreed to fight the battle. As Prabhupada is confirming here. He was not entangled with any reaction of having killed someone, or hurt someone. Do you find this surprising?
Devotee 1: Being non-violent in war is pretty surprising.
SDA: Prabhupada didn't have an easy job of convincing. You have to remember that when Prabhupada came to 26 2nd Avenue, it was the height of the anti-war movement. All of the young dropout hippies were going on peace marches to protest the Vietnam war. They were shutting down college campuses, protesting the war. Columbia University was taken over by the anti-war students. University of Texas was shut down by the anti-war students. They shot dead some anti-war students at a campus in Ohio. Two were shot dead on campus for protesting the war. Kent State University.
This was the crew that Prabhupada was selling on this concept that Arjuna was engaged in pure bhakti when he was fighting a war. Prabhupada was so powerful that he convinced us even though we were all the peace and love crew. With our peace symbols and everything. We were convinced because Prabhupada gave us what nobody else could give us. In those days we had the saying, don't trust anybody over 30. That was the slogan of the '60s. Don't trust anybody over 30. Their part of the establishment. They're not part of the new peace and love movement. We're the real people. We had this philosophy don't trust anybody over thirty, but yet, we didn't have any leadership. We wanted peace everywhere, we wanted love everywhere, but we didn't have any idea how to do it.
We were being misdirected by people like Dr. Timothy Leary who said everybody should take LSD and this will solve our problems. Just put LSD in the drinking water so when people turn on their tap, they'll get an LSD trip when they drink their water, then the whole world will become peaceful and happy. This was the kind of bogus propaganda that was going on in the '60s. They were actually fearful that some hippies may come to the city water supply and dump some LSD in the water supply. What would we do? How to protect ourselves? There was some anxiety about that in those days.
There was no proper leadership, guidance, but in the middle of that, you had all these young people, thousands and thousands and thousands of young people who were rejecting the philosophy and lifestyle of their parents, who wanted to find something positive, beautiful and wonderful that could make their lives perfect, and the world perfect. That's when Prabhupada appeared on the scene.
By Krishna's arrangement, Prabhupada had no idea that there's a hippy movement going on. All these dropouts. Let me go to America now because of the hippies, no. It was all orchestrated by Krishna. Prabhupada had no idea, all he knew was he'd been trying for years how to get out of India. Krishna, just arranged at just the right time, at the right place. The lower east side of Manhattan, where all these young dropouts were living, and looking for meditating and reading books on eastern philosophy, and looking for gurus. People were looking for gurus in the 1960s. That was the big thing. Everyone was looking for a guru. Most people got misled. Those who were very fortunate got Prabhupada.
Prabhupada is still here with us actually. Just like, it is said vrindavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati. We can also say iskcon parityajya padam ekam na gacchati. Prabhupada never sets one foot outside of iskcon, just like Krishna never leaves Vrindavana, Prabhupada never left iskcon. The gopis kept Krishna captured in their hearts so He could never leave Vrindavana. So we are keeping Prabhupada in our hearts by every day reading his books and trying to follow his orders. Prabhupada will never leave iskcon. We've captured him, by the devotees love.
By the mercy of his divine presence, we're able to penetrate into the sublime, transcendental understanding. This is not intellectual. This requires the potency of a realized soul actually. For the realization to come to us, we need to have that contact with a realized soul. Prabhupada is a realized soul, and those who have fully dedicated their lives to Prabhupada also have realization that is powerful and potent. Because they've fully given their lives to Srila Prabhupada, those persons also have realization. Anyone in this movement who's completely surrendered to Prabhupada's instructions, those persons have realizations. If we hear from them, that realization can impact us and pull us out of our bewildered position in the modes of nature.
This is a very sweet verse, especially the whole concept of the devotee being dear to everyone and everyone being dear to him. This is one barometer that we can use to analyze our own Krishna consciousness or lack thereof. How much do I actually feel love for all living beings? Do I have grudges, well this devotee did this to me, that devotee did that to me. So and so did this to me. (Growls) How much do we hold grudges in our heart?
We can see Prabhupada's example. He had some trouble with his Godbrothers. There's no doubt. He had one Godbrother who was preaching against him. I think it was Bon Maharaja. He came to Toronto, saying things against iskcon, making propaganda. You know what Prabhupada told him? He said, I'll be in Hawaii. Why don't you come and spend a few days with me? Prabhupada invited him. We can be together, associate, talk krishna-katha. That was Prabhupada's way of dealing with someone who was inimical to him and to his movement. A Godbrother who was very disrespectful and offensive. In a very loving spirit, he invited him to come and associate together as Godbrothers.
Just see the example of Prabhupada. He also instructed his disciples, don't let him speak in any temple. They wanted him to come and speak. Prabhupada did not want the other Gaudiya Matha people who were trying to do something separate, against his movement to speak in our temples. On the one hand his disciples were instructed don't let him speak in the temple, but, on the other hand he invited him to Hawaii so that we can spend some days together. Prabhupada wasn't a fool to let somebody mess up his preaching, but at the same time he didn't have any enmity. He was willing to have loving reciprocation with that person, and open his heart to him on a person to person basis.
Prabhupada is the perfect example. That's a great advantage of actually having a spiritual master physically present. You can see him, associate with him, ask him questions. You can understand a lot about the nature of a person who has realized Krishna consciousness when you have the chance to associate with such a person. We had that with Srila Prabhupada, and now its up to his disciples to do their level best to manifest those similar qualities in their personalities, as much as they can, begging Prabhupada for his mercy. They can do so.
The younger devotees need to see living examples of what we had the chance to see. We had the living example of Prabhupada. Now, those devotees who have joined this movement after Prabhupada's departure, they need to be able to also see persons who are very advanced and fixed in Krishna consciousness. They are living embodiments of the scriptures. Prabhupada is person Bhagavatam. The older devotees in our movement, its up to them to just beg Prabhupada's mercy and just try their level best to also come to that standard of behavior, that standard of speech, and that standard of attitude, so all the devotees can see an example of someone who's highly advanced in Krishna consciousness, so they can become inspired also to become highly advanced in Krishna consciousness.
We'll stop here, are there any questions? Yes.
VPM: You were mentioning about commanding and not demanding respect. Don't we also have to train people how to respect. They may not know the proper way of dealing with devotees, so you have to train them in this way.
SDA: There is such a thing as telling someone, well, this is the proper etiquette This person is a senior devotee and this person is sannyasi, this person is a spiritual master, so according to scripture, there's certain mesquites that you must observe in dealing with this person. That's a fact. But, at the same time, those persons have to be acting in such a way to command respect. Otherwise, it won't be effective.
VPM: In Lord Caitanya's pastimes, He took sannyasa because he wanted people to accept His teachings. They simply respected the dress of a sannyasi.
SDA: Yes, but you have to understand that in those days the sannyasi was very renounced. They did command respect, because of their renunciation. It wasn't just the name of sannyasa, those people, in those days in India, who took sannyasa, were very renounced people, and they did command respect due to their renunciation and characteristics.
VPM: I'm not saying that the sannyasis were demanding respect.
SDA: What's the point?
VPM: Lord Caitanya was manifesting all good qualities, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but still He was forced to take sannyasa for people to appreciate.
SDA: Oh, yes. That's the other side. There are persons who are loathe to respect Him. There are demons. We read in Bhagavad-Gita, O Hrsikesa, the whole world becomes joyful on hearing the recitation of Your names, except for the demons, who run here and there. There are always going to be those demoniac persons who are not going to love the advanced devotees, who will want to kill them. Lord Jesus Christ is an example, Haridasa Thakura is an example. There will be in the world, demoniac elements, who will want to kill the devotees. That's a fact. But, the innocent people in general will be very attracted and appreciative of highly advanced devotees of the Lord. That's a fact also, and its confirmed by this verse.
We have to depend on Krishna to protect us sometimes. Haven't devotees who go on sankirtana faced danger. I know I had a gun pointed at my head one time, while going out on book distribution. I had to look down the barrel of a six shooter pointed right at my head. Sometimes devotees are arrested. I spent 36 hours in jail for handing someone a Back to Godhead magazine. These things happen.
VPM: Also, when we are doing service to the devotees, we receive so much love in return. We may then become casual in that relationship.
SDA: This is why its stated in Caitanya Caritamrta that one shouldn't get too close to the spiritual master. Familiarity breeds contempt. That's also stated. I'll give you an example. When Kirtananda was a sannyasi at New Vrindavan, Prabhupada told him to live separately A little bit of physical aloofness is good for the respect. Even in the material world they do that. In the military, the officers and the enlisted men have two separate camps. This is a natural thing. They will have two different dining facilities, different living facilities. There is a whole thing of how officers have to be respected in a certain way. There are certain mesquites, like saluting when you see them coming and stand at attention.
There are certain etiquettes to reinforce that so one doesn't just take it that familiarity breeds contempt. It is described in the Bhagavatam how the husband and wife relationship is. Intimacy and great respect. Both things. There's the intimate relationship, but also there has to be great respect. That actually applies to all of our relationships. This is why I prefer the word prabhu over guy. How you guys doin'? It sounds familiar. Prabhu is the word that Prabhupada gave, not guy, for how we should approach the devotees. (in an obnoxious tone) How you guys doin'? That's pretty common now.
When we joined, these are prabhus. These are prabhus. Actually, everyone was prabhu. Ladies are prabhus. Of course, technically speaking, prabhu is a masculine Sanskrit word, and the feminine is prabhvi. But Prabhupada actually used prabhu for both. But he was making it simple to get the movement started. But, actually could be called prabhvi. Its a little bit harder to pronounce. But, the idea is that everyone is our prabhu, our master. Whether we say the masculine prabhu or the feminine prabhvi, every devotee is our master. We have to have that great respect. If we become too familiar and stop being respectful, seeing every devotee as my prabhu or my master, that I'm the servant of every devotee in this movement, then what will happen is that familiarity will lead to contempt. We'll start to find fault. We'll become inimical towards the devotees. We'll become offensive to the devotees, and our chanting will become spoiled. That's why I recommend prabhus instead of guys for our devotees in iskcon. I don't know how much it will be heeded, but that's my recommendation. (chuckles) These are prabhus, they're not guys. They're prabhus.
Devotee 1: What if you're attached to a senior devotee, but you don't want to get too familiar with them.
SDA: Whenever you see him, offer your obeisances. Always offer to render service. Always be in that mood of offering service instead of being buddy buddy. Always be in the mood of rendering service. I have one very nice disciple, Abhaya Caran dasa. Whenever he comes, he's always just spontaneous. He doesn't have to be told that you should do this, you should do that. He's just looking for service. If I'm doing something, he's saying why should the spiritual master be doing this service? He will come and take it over. We have a small preaching center. Since its just the two of us, mataji and I, so I'm doing a lot of things. Washing Deity plates, regular services. I'm doing so many services every day, but when he comes, if he sees me drying the Deity plates, he immediately comes and takes the towel. He takes over the service. My spiritual master shouldn't be doing this. The servant should be doing this, not the master.
You can be with that senior devotee, but always be in the mood of serving him. Can I wash your clothes, can I iron your dhoti. Then it is ok. It will not lead to familiarity breeding contempt. Prabhupada had personal servants with him all the time. Because they were always in the mood of serving him, it was fine. Two especially were very good at doing that. Sruta Kirti prabhu, and Hari Sauri prabhu. They both spent a lot of time with Prabhupada, totally in the mood of servant.
They were able to remain with Prabhupada, without familiarity breeds contempt. They were always very enthusiastic. They expertly associated with Prabhupada. If there's a senior devotee, and you like to associate with him, always be in the mood of serving him. Whenever you see him, always offer obeisances to him. Again and again. Always offer your service to him. Always inquire submissively about transcendental subject matters. In this way, you'll be able to have the advantage of being close without the familiarity breeds contempt syndrome.
Any other questions? Yes.
Devotee 2: You were speaking about non violence. If we detect some neophyte behavior on the part of a junior devotee, should we take measures to correct, or should we not push them.
SDA: As we have explained previously, there are three different types of devotees in relationship to you. There are those who are more advanced than you, those who are equally advanced as you, and those who are less advanced than you. You're duty and responsibility how to reciprocate lovingly with all three of these categories is as follows. Those who are more advanced, you should serve them. You should be very eager to learn from them. Those who are on an equal level, you should be very friendly sharing realizations, doing things together, and those who are less advanced, you should be very kind, to help them come up.
If you can effectively instruct someone, and you have a positive impact, then do that. But, if it leads to conflict, and they can't take it from you, then point them to talk to an older devotee who they have more respect for, and let them give the instruction. But, the fact is, the more that you can become a living embodiment of Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter 5 text number 7, the more you'll be able to instruct, yourself. Because, it boils down to the more love you can feel for that person, the more they're going to listen. They can feel that its not a lording it over thing that's happening, its a loving thing that's happening. That's the key.
A brand new bhakta leader who hasn't really learned to show his love for the new bhaktas might get punched in the face sometimes when he instructs a new bhakta. Those things happen sometimes. You know what I mean? You might get punched in the face by a new bhakta, pow! But, if the bhakta leader has advanced very nicely in Krishna consciousness, then he can deal with that new bhakta in such a way, the new bhakta feels, this person loves me so much. He really loves and cares about me. Then, he'll do anything to reciprocate that love coming from the senior devotee.
Although we have the concept of surrendering like in military discipline, at the same time, we have the concept of a spiritual family. Family means a network of loving relationships. Both concepts are there, given by Prabhupada. They both work together, hand in hand. We have our authority. Our spiritual master is there. We're meant to be completely subservient to him, and follow his instructions. He's part of a chain of command going all the way up to Krishna. We're meant to be subservient to that chain of command, just like in the military. At the same time, its not just some impersonal military organization, its a loving family.
Just like in Caitanya Caritamrta, you can read all the wonderful activities, and how all these devotees deal with each other. You can read how one devotee was very humble and wanted to take his remnants. The devotee was hiding outside the bushes waiting to get his remnants, because he was a very pure devotee. He knew, if I can just get his remnants, then I'll become a pure devotee, but he won't let me have his remnants out of humility. So, he was hiding in the bushes just for a few crumbs of his remnants. If you study the Caitanya Caritamrta, and see the wonderful loving relationships of how the devotees reciprocate with each other, this is how our iskcon should become, just like in the Caitanya lila. The iskcon lila should be like Caitanya lila. As our devotees mature and become more advanced in Krishna consciousness, our society will become more and more like that.
Devotee 3: Prabhu, what is our responsibility toward the guests?
SDA: How should we treat the guests, when they come? We should treat the guests so nicely that he feels that he is in the spiritual world. He's no longer in the material world. When he comes to the Hare Krishna temple, he should feel that never in my life have I been treated with so much kindness and love. You should feel that this is the place where I must surrender. That's how we should be. We should see how Prabhupada was so kindly opening his heart up. We have to open our hearts up, like that.
Devotee 3: Whether its the devote in the gift shop, or washing the windows, every devotee, if they see someone walking by they should reach out to that person.
SDA: We discussed this in the morning class. The Indian Railways in the past they had a poster. It was distributed throughout the whole company. Every Employee Must See that the Wheel of the Train is Turning. Every devotee must feel that it is my responsibility to see that this Krishna consciousness movement is inundating the entire world. We discussed also that Prabhupada said that a Krishna conscious being is always thinking of how to deliver the suffering humanity.
Every devotee in the temple is supposed to be a Krishna conscious being, otherwise, why is he here? Every devotee who is living in the temple, or is a devotee of iskcon who is at the temple at the moment, not just the residents who are living there, but every iskcon member, if they're here at the temple, they have to act as an emissary of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They have to think, Krishna has sent this person via the telephone, or via walking in the door, and it is my responsibility to deal with this person in such a way that they will not take birth again in this material world. I can actually attract them to Krishna and engage them in devotional service. Not that it is a botheration.
The opportunity to act as the representative of Krishna is the greatest privilege To act as the representative of Krishna's pure devotee, Prabhupada, and Prabhupada's representatives. There is no greater opportunity. If we find ourselves in this opportunity, we should feel very blessed. We should feel very blessed.
Somebody is inquiring from us about Krishna consciousness What a great good fortune we've gotten.
VPM: Sometimes a devotee approaches some one very aggressively and it can push the guest away.
SDA: That requires intelligence, sensitivity. That's developed by studying the methods of those who are better at it then you are. Also, by our own experience. Sometimes you can overdo it also. Overkill. You have to find the balance, and every person is different. Someone is more rajasic, tamasic, or sattvic. The bottom line is you want to give everyone a positive experience. Just like Prabhupada with that villager in Europe. He was preaching to so many people. This man came. He was a very simple villager, and Prabhupada just sang him a bhajan. The man said thank you very much and went home. Prabhupada didn't say a word to him. He just came for darsana. Prabhupada knew he wasn't ready for philosophy but was a simply man who would appreciate a nice song.
In this way, the advanced preachers know the art called desa kala patra time place and circumstance. They become masters at the art of time place and circumstance. They can judge. You have to become like that.
Devotee 3: I have seen that because I have been coming here for years, I used to live here, I am one of the younger ISKCON emissaries, that, because I am a regular devotee, there is no need to preach to me.
SDA: No. There's no such thing that now these people are already here, so we don't make them feel welcome anymore, because they already know they're welcome. It should never be like that. That's like saying, I'm cultivate a disciple and once you're initiated I don't care for you anymore. We have to always reinforce that connection with the people. Again and again and again. It never stops.
VPM: desa kala patra again is important.
SDA: Of course, a new person will be dealt with in a different way then someone who's been coming for 25 years, but the point is that you don't ignore the 25 year person. You're not going to deal with them in the same way as the person who's walking in the door for the first time, obviously, but you're not going to neglect them also. That's my point. Do you understand?
VPM: The question was that the guest came in and someone approached them, then they came again and again someone else came, and they felt intimidated.
SDA: How were they intimidated?
VPM: Immature preaching.
SDA: You're really getting down to some practical examples, so its only theoretical, so you can imagine it in different ways, but I'll present one scenario, which would be one way it could be dealt with. First of all, are you talking about the same devotee approaching him again, or another devotee approaching him? The same one.
If I was the temple manager, and whether I would even allow that devotee to approach him again would depend on how expert that devotee was. If he wasn't expert enough, I may tell him, don't you even approach him. Better someone else do it.
Oh, he's the only one. Then, you pray to Krishna to help you and you do your best. Oh, you're saying he shouldn't?
VPM: He's already said to leave him alone, so you just move on.
SDA: These things are so dependent on time place and circumstance. I don't see how you can make a hard and fast rule out of it. Its really dependent on the particulars of the situation. Let me understand your point. You're saying that sometimes it might be better to leave them alone, rather than agitate them.
VPM: Sometimes they want to sit and do their prayer.
SDA: They want to be left alone.
Devotee 3: Maybe coming up to them is not always needed, but just acknowledging their presence.
SDA: Well, you could just go like this (shows pranam mudra, devotees laugh) You could just show a namaskara. Who's going to mind that? An Indian person will never mind if somebody offers him respect.
VPM: She said Hare Krishna, and the person didn't respond.
SDA: She felt you were an imposition on her Krishna meditation. I saw people in the class. They weren't going to look at me for anything. There was no way. You could come over, grab their head and turn it. There's no way they were going to acknowledge that somebody is giving a lecture. I notice that. This is a challenge. If there was a series of Sunday feast lectures, I would really try. I only gave one, and I didn't expect that kind of reaction. In Austin, generally everyone tunes in for the speaker, except for one person. He always sits and looks at the Deities. So, we have one person in Austin like that, so I wasn't totally taken aback.
When I have a group of people refusing to tune into me, what I do is I take it as a challenge, to somehow grab them, and pull them in. If I was giving a series of Sunday feast lectures, I would definitely be working on it. During Sunday you get all those people who refuse to look at them and acknowledge the speaker is even there, just sitting like this. I would definitely be doing something to snap them out of it. I would take that as a challenge, how I can snap them out of it. That will help them advance.
If someone refuses to actually take instructions, they remain a cow and an ass according to the Bhagavatam. sa eva go kharah. You go to a holy place and you don't want to take any instructions, you're considered a cow or an ass by the Bhagavatam. The devotee, when he sees all the cows and asses sitting around, he thinks, how can I make them a human being by getting them to be respectful towards the teaching of this message? How to show respect to the ones who are presenting this knowledge? That's a very important thing. Not that they have to respect me, but they have to respect the tradition of teachers that I represent.
The spiritual master doesn't want any respect for himself. He feels that he's totally unworthy of any respect. He has a duty to accept the respect and the worship for the benefit of the persons. For their benefit. He takes that so they can be benefited What we're speaking, whether its you or me, what we're speaking, we're acting as a representative of the disciplic succession. If the persons can respect the speaker, then that respect goes all the way up through Prabhupada, through Bhaktisiddhanta. It goes all the way up the disciplic line, to Krishna Himself. That's what I would do. Somehow or other get them to pay more respect to the speaker. The whole thing is like this. The more the temple devotees can show respect to the speaker, then everyone will think, oh, the devotees are respecting, so we should also respect. Those things will help too. Here the devotees pay nice attention, but I'm just saying that the more devotees pay respect to the speaker, that will help the audience to get the idea to be respectful. Even though its their own scriptures, they don't even know their own scriptures. We know their own scriptures better than they do, so we have to be living embodiments. This is good example, thank you very much.
Devotee 2: Sometimes the person speaking doesn't even look at the crowd.
SDA: There are different scenarios in this regard. If you watch any of Prabhupada videos of him giving lectures, sometimes Prabhupada would just sit there with his eyes closed. Of course, in America, if you take public speaking, you are taught to have eye contact with your audience. Prabhupada was not trained in the American style of public speaking. He was trained in the Bhaktisiddhanta line of public speaking. I know one of our most powerful poignant public speakers, I have ever seen was His Holiness Sridhar Maharaja, and he would just sit there with his eyes closed. He would speak so powerfully, you just got drawn in like a magnet.
Even if you study public speaking techniques, you go to some of these iskcon communications seminars, they'll teach you to have eye contact with your audience, but that isn't necessarily something you have to do. I actually prefer to do it myself. I find it helpful, but its not something one absolutely has to do according to our parampara system, because I have seen it in Prabhupada, and also in His Holiness Sridhar Maharaja. Indeed, they were very powerful speakers who attracted everyone.
Sridhar Maharaja's lectures are so enlivening. Very enlivening lectures. He would often just sit there with his eyes closed, but he was roaring like a lion. Have you heard Sridhar Swami's lectures. He would sit there and roar like a lion. He was so powerful. That is another school. You couldn't ignore him. You've got a roaring lion sitting on the vyasasana. You couldn't ignore him. Not all the time, but sometimes he would give a lecture like this. There's really not a hard and fast rule, but you just have to judge by the result.
The fact is that the more a person is advanced in Krishna consciousness, the more they're able to attract peoples attention. That's a fact. When Prabhupada spoke, that was it, and there was nothing else. When Prabhupada was speaking, we just wanted to hear Prabhupada. That's all. We felt as if the perfection of our existence is in sitting at his lotus feet, and hearing him speak. That was the perfection of our existence.
Questions more? Yes.
Devotee 4: In the verse it is talking about one who controls mind and senses is dear to everyone. But, a lot of our young people they don't like this. They don't like that we're trying to control our senses, they really like our festivals, but they don't like these things.
SDA: You mentioned that they like the festivals, so you can tell them like this. How would you like to be celebrating such a festival 24 hours a day? Would you like that? If they say yes yes yes, I would love to be able to celebrate like this 24 hours a day. Tell them that this is pretty esoteric stuff, I don't know if you're ready for this. Its secret high level knowledge. We don't tell it to everybody. [aside] Do you understand what I'm talking about? You're tuned in now right? You've got it. OK!
If you're really want to experience a festival 24 hours a day there is some secret high level knowledge that I'll turn you onto if you're ready for it. If he says yeah, that sounds really cool man, tell me!, Tell me, come on tell me! Its really esoteric, I don't know if you're ready for it. No, tell me! You've got to tell me!
I don't know, you've got to be pretty mature.
No! I'm really mature, you tell me!
You can get them practically on their knees begging. The more you advance Krishna will give you intelligence, how to preach in such a way that you can attract anybody to Krishna consciousness. Prabhupada wrote me a letter about book distribution. A lot of devotees were using all kinds of really far out tales to put it politely to sell books. My propensity was how to tell the truth in a very creative way that would have the same result. You can make a very amazing story. One devotee used to present a Caitanaya Caritamrta by saying this is about Christian Caitanya, a Christian missionary in India. He would sell a Caitanya Caritamrta in the deep south with that technique. Christian Caitanya. (Laughing)
My nature was that I wanted to tell the truth. I asked Prabhupada about this. He said yes, one can do that. One should learn the art of telling the truth in such a way that any person will take a book. That applies also in our preaching activities. If we really cultivate our own Krishna consciousness very nicely, and work on developing our own preaching abilities very nicely, then Krishna will give empower us so that we can explain it in such a way in their language. Not necessarily in their own words that they use, but we can explain our Vedic concepts to them in such a way that they're enlivened and turned on by it.
So, yes, it is possible to convince someone that bringing the mind and senses under control will be the most incredibly wonderful ecstatic thing they could ever do. There's a hindi saying, if you can control your mind, you can conquer the whole world. So, ask them. Would you like to conquer the world? Or do you just want to be a roboton, a cog in the machine? What would you prefer? Would you like to be a world conquer, or a cog in the machine? If you want to be a world conqurer, then you just conquer your own mind, then you can conquer the whole world. If you don't want to control your mind, then someone else will control you. If you can control your mind, then no one can control you. Material society will control you. This Krishna consciousness movement is not a brainwash society, or a society where we control peoples minds. This is a society where we teach you how to bring your mind under your control, so you can't be controlled by anyone's propaganda. This is what we're teaching. We're teaching you how to think critically. Analyze everything, and come to the highest possible conclusion. Transcendental realization. This is what we're teaching.
This is not a brainwash cult. If you're looking for a brainwash cult, they're all over the place, but the whole material world is a brainwash cult. If you're looking for a place where you can control your own mind perfectly, 24 hours a day, then you've come to the right place.
Would you rather control your own mind, or have somebody else control it for you? Its one or the other. Do you want to think for yourself, or have someone else do your thinking for you? We're teaching how to think for yourself. That's our Krishna consciousness movement.
Hare Krishna. Alright, we'll stop here. Thank you very much for your kind attention. Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya! Srimad Bhagavad-Gita ki Jaya! Hare Krishna.
Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Dasa