So, today we are reading from Srimad Bhagavad-gita As It Is translated and purported by His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada Paramahamsa Parivrajakacharya 108 Sri Sriman A.C. Bhaktivedanta Tridandi Goswami Maharaja Prabhupada, Chapter 9, text number 34.
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
Sankarshan das Adhikari: Krishna has made it pretty clear. He is talking about Himself: Me, Me, Me, Me. In Sanskrit mat, mad these are relevant forms of My: mat, mat, mat. In the ending you see when the mat comes up against the “m” sound it is turned into “n” but it is the same word, mat. mad is transformed into the man when it comes with the end sound of mana. It becomes mad against the “d” sound of bhakta. These are the rules of Sanskrit. It is the same word mat, again and again and again. Mat, mat, mat, mat: Me, Me, Me, Me, even though the ending changes according to the Sanskrit rules of combining two words against each other. This is the same word, Me, Me, Me, Me, again and again and again.
SDA: There is one famous commentator Dr. Radhakrishnan, he explains in his commentary to this verse, "It is not to Krsna that you should surrender but to the unborn, the unmanifest that is within everything, in other words, impersonal Brahman. So he says, ‘not to Krsna’. Even though Krsna is saying Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, Me, to Krsna, to Krsna, to Krsna, to Krsna, this person says not to Krsna, not to Krsna. This is called an unscrupulous commentator. He has no scruples, no honesty, he has no principles. He doesn't care; he doesn't give a damn about what Krishna is saying. He just wants to put forward his own bogus agenda without any respect for the actual speaker, for what the speaker is saying. This is called unscrupulous commentator, Prabhupada is explaining.
SDA: It is amazing if we really take our time and just read what Prabhupada is saying, not just kind of gliding through it, thinking "O I have read this before". If you just try to go deeply into it, deeper than you have ever gone before, it is amazing what you can find in these purports. It is really amazing. It is absolutely amazing. Do you ever think that Krishna was an award? Just like you can win some award, like in a swimming competition where they give you an award, or in some contest you win an award. Did you ever think that Krishna was an award? Prabhupada is saying it right here. By practicing Krishna consciousness you receive the supreme award - Krsna. He is a prize. It is amazing. Prabhupada explains his philosophy from so many different visions, each one of them is just absolutely amazing. Krsna is an award. He is a prize. If you win the prize, you win Krsna. Just like when you go to the fair, where you throw the darts, you can hit the bull's eye and you win a doll to take home, like a child he gets a little teddybear to take home, it is the award, for hitting the target. Just imagine if you can take home Krsna, the Supreme award of Krsna! This is what one qualifies to do by practicing Krsna consciousness. You actually get Krsna as your personal property. Prabhupada explains like that. When you become the property of Krsna, then Krsna becomes your property.
In this material world, everyone is trying to put themselves forward as the proprietor and what does proprietorship include? Proprietorship means enjoyment also. Whatever I own that is for my enjoyment also. The concept of ownership and proprietorship go hand in hand. If I own something it is for my enjoyment and nobody else's. That is the material mentality. It is for my enjoyment and not yours. So in this material world everyone tries to put forward the theory of being the proprietor, as much of the property of God that they can possibly claim and lord it over for the sake of enjoying it. But how much can they actually claim? Even the wealthiest man on this planet, Bill Gates, what percentage of the world's wealth does he actually own? It is minuscule percentage, infinitesimal, very tiny little fraction, even the wealthiest person. So, he can’t really claim very much enjoyment of this material world. His proprietorship even the greatest materialist, Bill Gates, he doesn't have much percentage of the enjoyment. If you actually get the award of Krsna, Who owns and controls everything, and if He is your personal property, then there is nothing that is not enjoyable by the devotee. There is nothing that is not enjoyable by the devotee because his enjoyment is to engage things in the service of Krsna. He doesn't desire or need any personal enjoyment. His enjoyment is to engage everything in Krsna's service. And the devotee, he can engage the entire world in Krsna's service. He sees every person as a candidate for receiving one of Prabhupada's books. It doesn't matter if he is the President or a bum on the streets. He can engage everyone in the world in Krsna's service. Every house, every building, every university, every school, every bulb, every airplane, every train, every car, every bus, every bicycle, everything is for Krsna's enjoyment and service. The devotee, therefore, his enjoyment is unlimited.
His enjoyment is on the same level with Krsna, Prabhupada explains. Actually it is even explained that the devotee enjoys more than Krsna. That is why we explained previously, Krsna is seeing Radharani. Krsna is the Supreme Enjoyer and He is seeing how Radharani is actually enjoying more being His servant than He is being served by Her. So, He is thinking "What is this? I am the Supreme Enjoyer but somebody is enjoying more than Me. I don't want to miss out on this". So, He becomes Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Krsna decides to become a Hare Krishna. He sees "The Hare Krishnas are getting more enjoyment than Me. So I think I will become a Hare Krishna”. He becomes Caitanya Mahaprabhu and joins the Hare Krishna movement. He shaves up and joins the Hare Krishnas. Of course, He was a householder also with hair. But then for the sake of preaching, He took up sannyasa, so He would not have any fetters on His preaching. For the sake of preaching... He had a very nice wife but He gave that up for the sake of spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world. Actually, He spread it only within India overtly. But of course, covertly He delivered the entire universe. But the full blown manifestation of that is now being carried out by His followers. Lord Caitanya had actually delivered the whole universe. This is Krsna, Who had killed all the enemy soldiers on the battlefield and Arjuna was engaged as an instrument to get the credit for what Krsna had already done. So Lord Caitanya also He had already delivered the entire universe, but He is engaging us and giving us credit even though all the credit really goes to Him, but He is giving us the credit, engaging us in this glorious activity of the sankirtana revolution, the "Krishnaization" of planet earth. So, there are so many wonderful points in this purport.
Another point is that as Prabhupada explains “the intelligent person should take directly to the process of Krsna consciousness and happily live in this material world”. What is so revolutionary or exciting about this concept? This is indeed revolutionary and indeed extremely exciting point because this material world is miserable. But if one is Krsna conscious, they can happily live here. They can be ecstatic every day. They can be ecstatic at every moment by taking seriously the pathway of Krishna bhakti. Of course, if you want to mix your bhakti with sense enjoyment, you won't get that spiritual enjoyment. That bhakti, in order to actually become fully relishable has to become pure. We cannot mix it with karma, "karma misra bhakti" or jñana, "jñana misra bhakti". We have to make that bhakti pure. without any tinge of material desire that “every thought, every word, every deed, that I think, speak or perform in all times, in all places, in all circumstances is completely pleasing to Guru, to acaryas, to Prabhupada, to the Vaisnavas and to Krishna”. We have to be very sincere. Just imagine if there was some special webcam that could see all your thoughts and it was broadcasted to all of ISKCON at every minute. It is on big screen, all the devotees of ISKCON can see the thoughts that are going through your head, the GBC's can see it, the sannyasis, the Gurus, the temple presidents, the general devotees everyone can see all the thoughts in your mind at every minute. Would you be ashamed to come out of your asrama? You would hide inside your bed or you could actually face honestly, openly face all the devotees and your integrity will be solid. So, that we have to learn to give up those nasty sinful thoughts that we keep hanging on to. You can only make a show for so long of being a devotee. If you are not actually doing it on the inside, sooner or later Maya will drag you away from the society and you become a truck driver or something like that.
So, if you seriously cultivate this Krishna bhakti that every thought must become very pure, that is Krishna's instruction, "man mana"-always thinking of Me. In Sanskrit, everything is shortcut, very compact language. Literally it is just saying the word mind and Me. It says “Me, mind, bhava become My devotee, Me worship, Me offer obeisances”. It is very compact language; Krsna just really packs it in. The first thing He says “engage your mind in always thinking of Me.” That is an art and that thinking, as pointed out here by Srila Prabhupada, should not be like that of Uncle Kamsa. His thinking was pratikula. It wasn't pretty cool, it was pratikula. [Laughs]. He was very bad. He was thinking “When will I kill this Krsna. I must kill Him". He was absolutely paranoid. He was always afraid that Krsna at every second was coming to kill him. He was so Krsna conscious in a very, very bad way. So, we have to become "anukula. "Anu" means following, we have to become always in the mood of serving Krsna, loving Krsna. So, this is how we have to learn. There is a person Krsna, I am His servant and I must learn how to love Him and do everything for His pleasure. This is called Krsna consciousness. [Aside: Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya!]
So, sometimes devotees ask me how we can do that. How do we actually make that deep relationship with Krsna? We have Krsna's representatives also. We have our great acaryas, we have Srila Prabhupada, we have spiritual masters, we have sannyasis, we have temple presidents, we have each other. We have to learn how to love the devotees, how to love our Guru, how to love Srila Prabhupada, how to love the leaders of our society. In this way, by developing feelings of love and serving with love to the devotees then that love for Krsna will automatically be there because Krsna is still far, far away for us right now. He is still far away, we are covered, our eyes are blinded by lust, by anger, by greed. kama esa krodha esa. Right now, we are not able to see Krsna. Even though He is present, Krsna is within everything and everything is within Krsna. Krsna is everywhere, He is omnipresent. But still we are not seeing Krsna, because we are covered by lust, anger and greed. But we can see Krsna's devotees. We can see our spiritual master. Even though Prabhupada is physically gone, we can still see so many wonderful videos, we can hear his lectures, we can hear from devotees who were with Prabhupada etc. We can still get a very strong feeling of his physical presence and that helps us.
So we should take advantage of whatever way we can to develop loving feelings for those things in relationship with Krsna. Because Krsna doesn't mean Krsna alone, it means Krsna along with His devotees. So, by developing love for Krsna's devotee, then that will naturally transfer into love for Krsna. As Prabhupada always used to say, the English proverb referring to the spiritual master, he said, "If you love me, love my dog". So he said “the spiritual master, he is the dog of God”. So if you love the dog, then the master will accept. To attract the master is not an easy thing. He is a very big man. Just imagine here in the park, in Helsinki, Mr. Bill Gates comes to visit your city. You are thinking “Well, why don't we make friends with him, then we can get a nice donation to buy a temple”. That would certainly be a nice transcendental goal to get some five million dollars in donation. So you make friends with him. You are out on book distribution and you know Mr. Bill Gates is in the park. “Wow! maybe I can go up to him. I got a good day on sankirtana. I feel fairly potent, let me go up and talk to Bill Gates”. But he is surrounded by his body guards, he is always afraid of being kidnapped. He has bodyguards all around him and he is not really approachable. But he is walking his dog and he is actually letting his dog run free. He throws a frisbee or something and the dog runs after it. He comes back and the dog is running loose and he is not surrounded by any bodyguards. And it just so happened that the frisbee happens to land at your feet and the dog runs up and he looks up at you and he likes you. And you pat him on the head thinking "Well, this is Bill Gates’s dog and let me give it a try. Nice doggie, nice doggie". And the doggie likes you, he is wagging his tail. And thinking “oh he really likes you” and then now Bill Gates comes up and his dog likes you. So, he has to like you also. You say “We have a wonderful buffet, we have a nice wonderful vegetarian lunch, it is very healthy, very delicious. Why don't you come over, it’s just three blocks away”. He says, "Alright". You say, “We will even feed all your bodyguards. Just bring the whole crew. We will feed the dog also”. So Bill Gates comes and he sees the temple, he goes, "This is wonderful what you are doing here, let me give you five million dollars, so instead of renting you can own your own building.”
So the point is that by making a loving relationship with the dog, then you are able to contact the master. So, the Guru, he is the dog of God. So through our spiritual master actually, by developing that wonderful loving relationship with our Guru Maharaja, or Gurudeva, then Krsna takes notice of this person. "He is loving My dog. So yes, I will give him special mercy. He is very much faithful servant of My devotee, so I will give him all mercy." So this is the insider secret of how to actually come to the platform of Krsna bhakti through the medium of Guru, and not only Guru, Vaisnavas also because they are also Krsna's representative. Prabhupada always wanted to see how much we work lovingly with each other. He said, “Your love for me will be seen by how much you co-operate together”. So it doesn't mean we just love our spiritual master. No, it means we love all the devotees because they are all representatives of Krsna. We have to learn how to love all of the devotees and serve them with love in our heart.
We have our six loving exchanges given by Srila Rupa Gosvami. To give gifts to the devotees, to accept gifts from the devotees, to distribute prasadam to the devotees, to accept prasadam from the hands of the devotees, to reveal your minds to the devotees and then when the devotee wants to reveal his mind to you to hear very nicely what he has to say. So in this way by loving exchange, the feelings of love develop amongst the devotees. And to the extent we love the devotees and we love our spiritual master, to that extent our love for Krsna becomes more and more and more manifest. Just like the sun rising in the eastern horizon in the morning it comes gradually, gradually, gradually, slowly, slowly. You cannot see it moving even. Of course if you took one camera, and filmed it and sped it up then you would see it is moving. But just with your eye, you cannot even see that it is moving. It is so subtle and slow it is coming. But you know that it is happening, because it was dark and now it is light. So, our Krsna consciousness, it is like that. It is a gradual process. It is practically imperceptible how we are advancing in Krsna consciousness. But if you just think back where you were five years ago and where you are now, you will see a big difference in your consciousness. Isn't it? Huge difference. So, we have to be patient. This process does work, it takes time. We have to be steady in our endeavor; we don't want to reverse the process by deviating from the principle. We want to stick to chanting our 16 rounds every day at least, following the four rules -no illicit sex, no meat eating, no intoxication, no gambling - and being a wonderful cooperative member of the family of the Vaisnavas. These things will make us very, very, very strong. If we do these things conscientiously, if we do them seriously, if we do them steadily on a regular daily basis, we will in fact live very, very, very happily in this world. That is a fact. Would you like to be happy? Or do you prefer misery? You would much rather be happy, isn't it? So this is how we do that.
We follow this system of Krsna bhakti in the family of Vaisnavas. In this way we are protected. If we stick to it very rigidly, very seriously following all the rules and regulations then this will in fact be our last lifetime in this rotten Hell-sinki. Actually to me Helsinki is not hell. When I come here, to me, Helsinki is home. Today when I came, I said “Back to home, back to Helsinki”. Because I find you all to be the most wonderful devotees than anywhere I go in the world. This is the most wonderful sanga. I always feel for some reason there is something very, very special about Helsinki devotees.
So, both Mataji and I are very, very happy to be here with all of you wonderful brilliant suns in the lands of the Finns, for illuminating this dark place by your effulgent Krishna consciousness. So we are just praying that you might possibly allow us in some way to serve you while we are here even though we are not qualified to be even in your presence. We just beg that you will allow us to serve you in any way we can to help you in your Krsna consciousness.
So, that being said we can have some questions. Let me get these hearing aids in and see if there are any questions that you might have. Ok, here is the first one, Gopinath?
Devotee: Speaking about big donations, we know the story of Syamasundara asking George Harrison big donation for Prabhupada for Krishna book publication. Are there any other such stories or techniques?
SDA: Oh, big donations. Well, it depends on the individual. If you want to be expert in the art of getting big donations, then first of all you make yourself a big donation to Krsna. In other word you fully donate yourself to Krsna. Because you can't really ask someone else to do something that you haven't done. You have to be totally sold out to Krsna and then He will empower you. In fact Prabhupada explains in the Caitanya-caritamrita, that for one who is purely chanting Krsna's name without any offense, they become totally absolutely pure then they become jagad guru, the spiritual master of the universe”. It is amazing what Prabhupada says in Caitanya-caritamrita. They become the spiritual master of the universe. Then under their influence, the whole world takes up Krsna consciousness. So that is somebody who can really get a big donation. The point that Prabhupada is making is that you have the potency to engage others according to your own degree of purity. So it is not so much the technique as it is the purity. Techniques are also there, but they are not nearly as important as the purity. Prabhupada emphasized the purity. “Purity is the force”. Of course, there are other different techniques – like when Prabhupada got that building in Detroit. He got it for a very, very cheap price. First he asked for a donation. The real estate agent actually fell off the chair because he was dreaming of a very big commission. Then Prabhupada said “We are like mendicants, we ask you to donate this." That is one way. You ask for a donation. If you want a donation, you ask for it. Don't be afraid to ask for a donation. If you want technique then this is the first technique. You have to ask. You can't just go [hums a tune] "Hmmmmmm" and hope that they will volunteer. You have to be aggressive and say, "My dear sir, I would like you to donate ten million dollars for our project. Can you do that?" You have to do it with complete conviction. You have to be confident that it is a wonderful thing that you should do this. That is one technique.
Of course, George, you probably know this story. Everyone was asking George for money, so when he was asked to donate for the Krsna book, his first reaction was very sour. You know the story. "Oh, another one of these groups after my money. I thought the Hare Krsnas were nice but now I see that they are just another one of these groups after the money". He was about ready to say it and then the lights went out and the lightning hit that very building. Syamasundara was wondering how I can ask, then Prabhupada said, "Don't worry, Krsna will help you". Syamasundara didn't want to personally say, he wanted to say, “Prabhupada said.” He didn't want to spoil his personal relationship with George. So he said, “Prabhupada asked me to ask you”. He didn't want to be the one to be actually asking George. So, Krsna can also help and He certainly did in that case. After it was over, George was actually smiling, "What can I say,” with a big grin. He realized there were higher powers out there telling him, "You must do this. Yes, you better do this". So, if you are very pure, Krsna is within the heart of everyone and He can influence that person.
Devotee: Prabhu, every year you come here and visit us…How can we always stay enlivened when no advanced devotee is present?
SDA: How you can always stay enlivened?
Devotee: Yes, without association of advanced devotees.
SDA: Ah. It is very simple Prabhu. You have to become an advanced devotee. That is the simple thing. You must become advanced. And then everyone will be enlivened by your association. And since you stay here practically all the time except maybe going for some festivals, you are a resident here. So everyone should think, let me become very advanced, let me do my share to keep everyone enlivened. Everyone should feel, the more that I can become advanced, that will enliven other devotees. So let me become more advanced for not only my sake but for the sake of others. So, how do you become advanced? You have to desire pure devotional service. We just did a program yesterday in Aachen. I am not a German speaker. All I can do is speak some Texas American English. [Laughs]. But a very nice householder, he runs a namahatta program out of his apartment. He has a nice group of devotees there. Every week they get together, the whole apartment full of people. And we did harinama there yesterday.
The last thing he asked me is "How can I serve you"? I had mentioned how by doing service to devotees, we develop taste. So he thought “I am going to ask Sankarshan Prabhu how I can serve him”, he was thinking like that. So I said, "You just become a pure devotee". That is the best service. So that is the key. You have to focus on pure devotional service. While you are doing your activities, book distribution, preaching whatever you are doing. Whatever department you are in, each and every one of you, whether you are doing Tulasi worship, pujari work, cooking, cleaning, preaching, prasadam distribution, it doesn't matter what the service is, it is all on the absolute platform. Every service in this sankirtana movement is glorious. Some services are very much glorified like book distribution. Every service is very, very, very important service. And whatever service Krsna has arranged for us, if we strive to do that with purity, pure thoughts, pure speech and pure activities in all times, all places and all circumstances, the result will be that we become exceedingly enlivened. And that enlivenment is contagious. Just like Avaduta Candra's kirtana tonight. He was so enlivened; he was practically jumping out of his skin. And everybody was in ecstasy. In this way you strive for pure devotional service, because at the end there is really nothing else. Whether you go back to Godhead that depends on whether you have that mood of pure devotional service, it all boils down to that. It doesn’t matter how many books you did, how many big donations you got, how many pots you washed, those things add up, it helps you to achieve pure devotional service. But the real bottom line is, did you achieve pure devotional service or not? Were you free of all material desires? That is the real bottom line. Was your heart clean when you left your body or did you still hanker for something material? So that Krsna would have to give you another birth and get that desire fulfilled? We have to make our heart completely, totally pure. We have to beg Krsna for pure devotional service and how do we beg Krsna?
Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna, Krsna Hare Hare
And so many other wonderful prayers are there in our books. We can study the mood of the acaryas. There are so many beautiful prayers and verses. We should learn this philosophy like a lawyer, knowing the law books so we can defeat our own mind no matter what kind of nonsense it may throw on our face. We can defeat our mind and we can defeat the arguments of the materialists also, and make them devotees. When you are attacked by Maya, you should have a million and one different ways. Just like a warrior, just like a book distributor, you have one line for this kind of person; another line for that kind of person, isn't it? Then, Krsna will give you new lines too, according to new situations. I remember I had read one report of a book distributor. He was in contact with one Satanist, and he said “you should know your enemy. If Krsna is your enemy, and if you want to defeat your enemy, you should know your enemy”. “Yes, that is right”, and he bought the Bhagavad-gita. [Laughs]. So, just like a book distributor, he has million and one ways to distribute a book, also we should have million and one different ways to defeat Maya when she attacks our mind. We should become very, very expert, this kind of Maya, that kind of Maya. Yes, I have this way to defeat.
Prabhupada told Vishnujana Maharaja… Vishnujana had the great opportunity to be with Prabhupada in his room in L.A. many years ago. And Prabhupada said, "See, I have my harmonium". He said, "No gaps for Maya. When I am free, I sit and sing some bhajana". You have a way to keep yourself always engaged in Krsna consciousness 24 hours a day at all times, and all places and all circumstances, always connected with Krsna, constantly. Learn the art, practice that and develop it. That is the real thing. "man-mana bhava mad bhakto” “Engage your mind in always thinking of Me”. Become very, very expert in keeping your mind always engaged in Krsna. Then you will be always very enlivened and everybody will be inspired by your association. The advanced devotees that you feel inspired by, they have struggled year after year after year to develop their Krsna consciousness. It didn't come easily for them either. They struggled; they worked hard, day after day, minute by minute to bring that rascal mind back to Krsna every time it went away. So all you have to do, mahajano yena gatah sa panthah you have to see the great devotees of ISKCON and understand how they became great. And you do the same thing yourself. Follow their footsteps. No matter how far your mind goes away keep bringing it back, bringing it back. Finally the mind will get the idea that it is supposed to be Krsna conscious.
Devotee: Prabhu, on developing some small desire to try to chant Hare Krsna mahamantra properly but...
SDA: Small desire to do what?
Devotee: To try to chant.
SDA: To try to chant. That is very good.
Devotee: I can see that most of the time still I am spacing out. I am trying but I can see that maybe my prayer is done at 4'o clock. So can you please give me some method to fix my brain on the words?
SDA: You drink hot milk every night?
SDA: You must drink hot milk every night. Do they have hot milk every night here?
SDA: That will help your brain to become strong. You must drink hot milk every night except during the milk fast. Eleven months out the year you must drink hot milk every evening. That is very good for developing the brain tissue. So you do that, it will help your brain. Prabhupada introduced that program. We got that from Prabhupada, hot milk at night and Krsna book used to be the program. So that hot milk at night is very good for developing brain. Prabhupada would take regularly. So, we learned that from Prabhupada. Take that hot milk every evening.
Devotee: Prabhu, Krsna is a Person. And He is very merciful to His devotees. Because He is a person does He differentiate between one person and the others?
SDA: Krsna is a Person. Then what were you saying?
Devotee: And He is very merciful to His devotees.
Devotee: So, does He give all the devotees the same mercy?
SDA: Oh, Krsna's mercy is equally there for everyone. Just like when the rain falls, it falls everywhere.
[Transcribed by Her Grace Bhaktin Priya]