Bhakta Kliment Home Program
vande ‘ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-pada-kamalam sri-gurun vaishnavams ca
Sankarshan Das Adhikari: We have achieved this rare human form after undergoing many, many species of life in the cycle of birth and death. Therefore the Vedanta sutra has given us a very good instruction. Athato brahma jijñasa, “Now that you have this human form, you must utilize it for self-realization”. The tendency in this materialistic society is to run after all varieties of sense enjoyment, categorized into four different classifications, eating, sleeping, mating and defending. I make my little arrangement for eating, sleeping and mating, and if someone tries to mess with my arrangement, then I fight. In this way we become completely entangled in the animal propensities. In other types of yoga system, if one wants to become a transcendentalist, one has to completely give up all contacts with the material society. There is no question of having a wife, having a house, having children, having a job. There is no question of doing these things. You simply go to the Himalayan Mountains and you find one cave and you move in with the snakes. Then you sit there and you do yoga - deep breathing. You find some yogi who would teach you how to become a master in the yoga system. You cannot send any postcards back to Sofia. “I am having a great time in the Himalayas, I wish you were here”. You have to completely cut off all your relations. You can’t call your mother on your cell phone. You can’t even have a cell phone. You have to just completely forget all of the material world, only just sit there and do your yoga. So this is not very practical system in this age.
In Austin, Texas there was one boy who was coming to our center. He had just graduated from the university and he wanted to be a yogi. So he went to the Rocky Mountains outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. And he went high up in the mountain. He thought, “Now I will become a yogi.” He took off all of his clothes and he sat there naked in cold weather. They found him dead a few days later. He had frozen to death. And his brother came and told us what had happened. He was very much crying that his brother had died. So these rigid austerities of the yogis are not to be imitated by an ordinary person. If we try to imitate their austerities we will die. So what is the hope for us to get out of sense gratification in which we are so much entangled? That system is known as bhakti yoga. In this bhakti marga, if we simply take shelter of Lord Sri Krishna, or His bona fide representative, the spiritual master, the authorized Vedic literatures and the association of the Vaisnavas, then we can quickly and easily achieve complete total spiritual perfection. Even if we are still living with wife and family, even if we have job, even if we have children, all these things which normally entangle a materialistic person, they will not be an impediment for a Vaisnava. In fact all of these things can help the Vaisnava to advance in Krishna consciousness. If he will engage his wife in Krishna consciousness, if he will engage his children in Krishna consciousness, and if he will spend the money that he earns from his job in a completely Krishna conscious way, then all of his activities will liberate him from this material existence.
So today we want to bring auspiciousness to this home of one of our members. The home can either be andhakupa, a dark well, or it can be a center of Krishna consciousness. So, on the invitation of Bhakta Kliment and his very nice wife, they want that this home blessed to be a Krishna consciousness center, an ashrama. It is called grihastha ashrama. Ashrama means a place of spiritual cultivation, not a place of sense enjoyment. So, we have come today that we can give our well wishes and our blessings that this home shall be a place of spiritual cultivation, not a place of sense gratification. In this way, by making Krishna the center, this will be your last birth in this material world. Otherwise again in another mother’s womb, again the pain of being packed up in that tight bag for 9 months, being bitten by worms, not being able to move, a very hellish condition. Therefore, we must make this human life very successful by minimizing sense gratification to the standard given in the scriptures. It’s not that sense gratification is completely given up. Sense gratification is compared by Srila Prabhupada to salt. When you take your meal would you enjoy the taste if there is no salt? No, some salt is required but if we put too much salt, it spoils the taste. So if you have too much salt or not enough salt, in either case the food is not palatable. Therefore, as long as we have material bodies, a certain amount of sense enjoyment is necessary. But don’t take too much, because then it will spoil the taste. So in this way we want to encourage you all to regulate your senses very nicely under the direction of guru, sadhus and sastra. If you do this, we can guarantee that you will have a very, very happy home. It will be a home, completely free from any anxiety. Whenever you come to your home, you will be in a state of bliss.
Devotee: What do you mean by sufficient sense gratification?
SDA: Yes, you have to eat something, otherwise you will starve and you have to have a place to sleep otherwise your health will not be good. And if you want some children, you have to have sex also. So everything you take according to the standard given in the scriptures. In this way your mind will become peaceful then you can keep your mind fixed on Krishna.
Devotee: Should one take immediately the standard given in the scriptures?
SDA: As soon as possible. I would recommend at least within next 30 seconds. Why do I say that? I am raising the question, “Why am I saying that?” Because we do not know how much longer we will live. We can die at any minute. It is now 1:22, by 3:22 we can all be dead. Some terrorist may have come and put some bomb in the building. So we may all die by 3:22. We all may be dead. Therefore you must take up religious principles immediately, if not sooner.
Do you have any question? This is your house. Do you have any question? You can have a private darshana with me if you like or you can put it in writing in email.
Any other question? Everyone knows all the answers now?
Devotee: Sometimes I catch myself, I don’t know if it is true, but it seems that I am attracted to household life because the mode of goodness prevails in that ashrama.
Sankarshan Das Adhikari: because mode of goodness prevails, well, it’s supposed to prevail. So what is the question?
Devotee: Is it right or wrong to think of this ashrama since I love the mode of goodness?
Sankarshan Das Adhikari: For a woman if she thinks she would like to be married, it is very nice. In Vedic culture every woman is married. So if you are attracted to marriage that means you are attracted to Vedic culture.
Devotee: Sometimes in Bulgaria it is even hard to maintain family with proper standard. Is this sufficient as you say just to use our work in Krishna conscious way, is that enough to have spiritual progress?
Sankarshan Das Adhikari:
yat karosi yad asnasi
If you do everything in a way that is pleasing to Guru, Krishna and Vaisnavas, then your ashrama doesn’t matter. You can be a brahmacari, you can be a grihastha, you can be a vanaprastha, you can be a sannyasi. Because the program is just the same, no matter what your ashrama is. How many Bhagavad-gitas do we have? We have one Bhagavad-gita. Not that we have Bhagavad-gita for brahmacaris, a Bhagavad-gita for householders, a Bhagavad-gita for vanaprastha, a Bhagavad-gita for the sannyasis, we all follow the same book. yat karosi yad asnasi - is the same instruction for everyone. Whatever you have, you engage that in Krishna’s service. If you are a brahmacari, you engage whatever you have in Krishna’s service. If you are a householder that means you have more possessions than a brahmacari, so you must engage all your possessions in Krishna’s service - wife, children, home, money. If you have one leva, you can use that in Krishna conscious way. You have a million levas, you use that in Krishna conscious way. It doesn’t matter if you are poor, or you are wealthy. Whatever you have, use that completely in Krishna’s service. It is a fact that taking up a household life has its good side, but its difficult side also, because you take a very big burden. But on the other side is we have to have some engagement, don’t we? So to have a very heavy burden is actually very good. They say, “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop.” So if you are running here, running there - I have to make money, I have to get my kids to the doctor, I have this, that - Then you have no time for maya. - Somehow get my rounds done, I have to somehow read - squeeze it all in. You have to work really hard to get it all done in 24 hours. You have to become very expert like Bhaktivinoda Thakura. You must become paramahamsa grihastha.
Devotee: It’s obvious that Srila Prabhupada’s movement is a preaching movement and we are meant to preach to people in general but sometimes it’s difficult for householder to keep minimum auspicious standard. This is putting me in pressure. And it is difficult to preach constantly.
SDA: Householder has to preach by his example. What percentage of the non-devotee people in Sofia are householders? - They are practically all householders. The householders have the best preaching position of anyone. Because you are showing by your practical activity how you can work a job, how you can have a wife, how you can have children, how you can maintain your apartment and at the same time become a pure devotee of Krishna. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura sent a sannyasi to England to establish the Gaudiya Math. All that sannyasi did is he posed for some photographs with lords and ladies. Do you realize how insignificant or puny the Indian rupee is, compared to the British pound? So you can just imagine. Bhaktisiddhanta was supporting him in England with Indian rupees. It was very, very expensive to maintain that sannyasi in England. And that sannyasi was a complete failure in his preaching. But then Srila Prabhupada sent 3 householder couples and one had a baby girl also. He sent 3 householder couples to England and they created a spiritual revolution. They attracted the Beatles, had the number one song in Europe on the radio everywhere. They created a huge success for Prabhupada, Lord Caitanya’s mission. The householders were able to do what the sannyasi could not do. So the householder he set the example that the sannyasi is not able to set. If he practices properly, he sets the example that 90% of the population of Sofia can also follow that model.
It’s very simple, Prabhu. All you have to do is become an acarya. Here is how you can become an acarya - every thought should be pure for Krishna’s pleasure, every word that comes out of your mouth should be pure for Krishna’s pleasure and every activity you perform with your body should be pure for Krishna’s pleasure in all times, in all places and in all circumstances. One problem I have noticed in ISKCON which I am trying to correct now. Devotees would say, “Are you a full time devotee or you are a part time devotee?” In other words if you are living in temple you must be a full time devotee. If you are living outside of the temple you must be a part time devotee. My question is when a householder man gets up in the morning is he a devotee? He chants on his mala, he does a little puja, he reads some Prabhupada’s books, and so he is a devotee. And when he goes to office, does he become a non-devotee now? As soon as he gets to the office, he starts smoking cigarettes, he eats some meat, he has an affair with his secretary, he drinks some liquor? No! He maintains his Vaisnava principles also when he is working his job. So the Krishna conscious householder even though he is living outside, even though he has job, he has family, he is also full time devotee, just as much as a devotee living in the temple. In fact he could even be more Krishna conscious than the devotee living in the temple.
It’s simply a matter of what do you have in your heart. Are you praying at every moment to Srila Prabhupada, to your guru and Lord Krishna to make you a pure devotee? Or are you thinking how to make permanent settlement in this material world. It’s up to you. How are you cultivating yourself within the heart?
Devotee: When she prays to Lord Narasimhadeva…., what should be the proper desire that Narasimhadeva immediately tears us apart and cleans us?
SDA: I will tell you my personal prayer to Lord Narasimhadeva. This is from Prabhupada’s Bhagavatam purport. This is how I always pray to Lord Narasimhadeva. It’s a very simple prayer. In Sanskrit language it’s four words only. It comes right out of the prayer that we sing every day. “bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimho.” That prayer is sufficient. Those four words-“bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimho,” so what is the meaning? The literal meaning is – bahir means externally Narasimha, hrdaye means within the heart. That means within Narasimha and without Narasimha. So you are praying that Lord Narasimha can be everywhere. You are praying to Narasimhadeva to fully manifest Himself within your heart that He will drive away all the inauspiciousness - all the lust, all the anger, all the greed, all the laziness, all the stupidity, other things that are inauspicious and dirty within your heart, you pray very intensely that Narasimhadeva will drive it out of your heart. That’s the first half of the prayer. And the second half is bahir nrsimha. Actually in the translation, Prabhupada reverses it because the first prayer is to purify our heart. And then the second prayer is, we pray that we can bring peace to the entire world. The devotee is begging that there can be all auspiciousness throughout the entire world that every man, woman and child on the face of this planet become a devotee of Krishna. So that is the best prayer to pray to Narasimhadeva. You beg Him with great intensity that you can become His pure devotee and beg Him that you can make the whole world Krishna conscious- bahir nrsimho hrdaye nrsimho.
Devotee: She is reading Kapiladeva’s instructions this morning and she came to some instruction that says one should not differentiate between himself and others. So what is the practical way to deal with it?
SDA: Yes that’s right. That’s the duty of a grihastha. When you eat you can’t just think your own belly. You have to think about the belly of everyone when you eat. The grihastha must go to the doorway before taking any meals and he must announce, “If anyone is hungry please come and eat.” Three times you must loudly call. So that’s what it means - not to differentiate between yourself and others, that their belly is just as important as your belly. That is called grihastha.
Devotee: He has a strong request that you tell something about Srila Prabhupada?
SDA: Srila Prabhupada is right here right now. That’s what I can tell you about Prabhupada. Prabhupada is here right now. That is called vani. Prabhupada’s vapu, we know was buried in Vrindavana. It is there in front of the temple. But more important than vapu, the physical form that is buried in front of the temple, is his vani. Srila Prabhupada is present wherever his disciples, grand disciples, wherever his followers are sincerely trying to follow his instructions. He is present in that place and he is observing our activities. Prabhupada does not want to see when we are breaking the religious principles. When we are serving him very nicely then he is observing with great delight our activities. So therefore, we have to always serve Prabhupada with love and devotion at all times, places and circumstances. We should always think what will be pleasing to Srila Prabhupada, not what is pleasing to me or what is pleasing to you. We have to think, “What will please Srila Prabhupada?” and that we should do. And in that way we will feel how Prabhupada is with us. The fact is there is nothing more enlivening than being with Srila Prabhupada. To see Srila Prabhupada walking through the door, to offer your dandavats, to have Prabhupada come in and sit down nicely and smile. That was the greatest feeling. To be able to do some service for Srila Prabhupada, it was the most happy and joyful thing. I was in Pittsburg and Prabhupada was coming to the airport that afternoon and we were getting ready to greet Srila Prabhupada. So one devotee, he was making a special fruit salad for Prabhupada. This devotee has already departed; he is no longer in this world. His name is Rasamrita Das Brahmacari. So he was making the salad that was going to the offered to Srila Prabhupada at the airport. And somehow I was the lucky brahmacari he asked to help him make that salad. He was very creative, this Rasamrita Das Brahmacari. He took one watermelon and he cut it into half. Then he made sharp tooth edges on the top cutting around the top of the watermelon and he dug in and made it hollow. He made it like a tub.
And then he had little chunks of watermelon, he had cantaloupe, banana, then he also had 'simply wonderfuls' inside the tub. So I helped Rasamrita Das Brahmacari make this very creative fruit salad for Srila Prabhupada. Then the big moment came. It was time to go to the airport. There was no security then, you could go right in. So there was one waiting area, the Vyasasana was set up and we were all waiting for Srila Prabhupada. So the waiting area was right here and then there was an escalator coming up like this. (gesture) So I remember, I was standing here looking over at the escalator and I saw one very beautiful gentleman who was shining like a sun god. I was seeing the back of his beautiful head. And I was seeing him coming up the escalator. It was so nice, my Guru Maharaja, Srila Prabhupada was coming up the escalator. It was so beautiful just from the back I was seeing Prabhupada coming up, very nicely - zuuu (sound imitation). And then Prabhupada, he walks around and we all offer our obeisances. Then he sits down and gives a nice discourse. And finally there came the time when fruit salad was offered to him. Of course, as a young brahmacari we liked to eat a lot. So we were interested to see what would Prabhupada eat. He took a tiny pinch of a 'simply wonderful' and that was it. Then the devotees went wild because the rest of the fruit salad, “maha maha” So that was one little pastime I had with Prabhupada. I got to make his fruit salad; I got to watch him take the 'simply wonderful', and seeing him coming up the escalator. So in this way that wonderful feeling we had to be with Prabhupada, inspired us to want to serve him, to do anything and everything for him.
When he was in Atlanta in 1975, I was there standing by the Vyasasana. At that time, there were deprogrammers kidnapping devotees, some negative things against our movement. So I was thinking that if some demons come to attack Prabhupada, I will be very happy to die to protect him. Prabhupada, by his giving us so much love, he was able to extract those kinds of loving feelings from our heart that we would gladly die, if necessary, to protect our spiritual master from any demons. We were taking it as the most glorious thing to die for Srila Prabhupada. So this is the great qualities of such a pure exalted devotee as Srila Prabhupada. He can inspire the whole world to take up Krishna consciousness. But now that he is physically absent, he wants to use you as his instrument in doing that. Each and every one of us has to become an instrument in the hands of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada. We have to become completely pure instrument in his hands, so that Srila Prabhupada through us can make the entire planet Krishna conscious.
Devotee: This morning you spoke about everything that Krishna does is good for us, is beneficial for us, but at the same time one devotee said that it is Krishna’s arrangement so how to differentiate between the things we do and Krishna’s arrangement.
SDA: As I said in the lecture, what you do and what Krishna does are two different things. One time in the Los Angeles temple Srila Prabhupada went to take the caranamrita. So who takes the caranamrita first? - That’s Prabhupada. So when Prabhupada took the caranamrita, he became very disgusted. He said, “It is salt.” Some brahmacarini put salt instead of sugar in caranamrita. They brought that brahmacarini and she was giggling. She was saying, “It was Krishna’s arrangement.” That’s bogus. When you do something wrong, it is not Krishna’s arrangement, it is your nonsense. We take as Krishna’s arrangement those things that happen to us externally. When we do something right, we take it as Krishna’s special mercy upon us that in spite of our disqualifications, “I am somehow been able to do something right for a change”. And if you do something wrong, you should understand it’s your nonsense, that’s all. What happens to you from the outside that you take it as Krishna’s arrangement. And whenever you do right, you can take that as Krishna’s arrangement, His mercy. But for all those stupid thoughts you have going through your mind, all those stupid things that you say, and all those stupid things that you do, you have to take full blame for all of them. Don’t try to blame Krishna for your nonsense.
Srila Prabhupada ki Jaya!
[Transcribed by Her Grace Lila Manjari devi dasi]