Pure Devotional Services -Part 1
vande 'ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-pada-kamalam
sri-gurun vaisnavams ca
So some one may question why a seminar on Pure devotional service. Actually I am giving these seminars all over the world on ‘Pure devotional service’. Someone may ask “why are you doing seminars on pure devotional service? I am doing these all over the world and devotees are appreciating it. Actually just now I got an email. They want me to do one in Europe now. I have already done one in Europe. They want me to do another one in Europe now. I got the original inspiration to do these seminars on pure devotional service when I noticed that in our society devotes were having hard time following the regulative principles. We may have so many big projects going on all over the world. Big, big construction projects, big, big food distribution, book distribution, so many projects, gurukulas, so many things going on, but if we are not following the regulative principles enough, the foundation is like a building with a rotten foundation and it will collapse. So I realized that the most important thing for our society is that we always remain fixed in this mood for pure devotional service. In all the things that we do, big, big projects, all the things going on, if we forget this essence of pure devotional service then all of our activities, practically they are Shrama eva hi kevalam, they are a waste of time. So the most important thing is pure devotional service. So when I first proposed to the leaders of North America, who organize a big festival called the Festival of Inspiration every year in our New Vrindavan, that I would like to do a seminar on pure devotional service, they said “No, we don’t want it.” But I am known for my success in Internet preaching. I have 12,000 readers on my Internet site, the Ultimate Self-Realization Course, 12,000 enrolled devotees. “So you can do a seminar on Internet preaching, that will be very good. But we don’t want pure devotional service.” I was shocked actually. So I made a deal with them. I said, “I will do an Internet seminar if you will let me do one on Pure Devotional Service.” They said, “Oh, ok. You can do Pure Devotional Service if you are willing to do Internet.” So I gave two seminars on the same day, there at New Vrindavan. Which seminar attracted the devotee’s, Internet orPpure Devotional Service? Pure Devotional Service was more attractive than the Internet. That was very good. I told the leaders of the organization of this seminar that, “Actually my Pure Devotional Service seminar was more popular than my Internet seminar.” They said, “Then you can do next year too.” So in this way I began my seminar on Pure Devotional Service after a little politics, a little negotiation and actually there is nothing more important than this because why do we join this movement? Did we join to learn how to use the Internet? Did we come to ISKCON to learn how to use Internet? No. You can learn how to use Internet… Any anybody can go on the Internet and play around and learn how to use the Internet just by playing around with the keyboard a little bit. Not that big of a deal. Anyone can learn how to surf the Internet and do things on the Internet. But where can you find pure devotional service? Is it available in every church, every synagogue, and every temple and in every mosque? No. Is every Hindu temple is teaching shuddha bhakti, every Christian church, Muslim mosque? No. They are not teaching.
Then in the spiritual life there are two pathways nivritti marga and pravritti marga. So nivritti marga means the pathway of decreasing material sense gratification and increasing bhakti and the pravrtti marga is the pathway of approaching God to fulfill your material desires. So practically all over the world in every church, in every spiritual organization every where, they are teaching pravritti marga, they approach to God for one of two reasons: either to get your material desires fulfilled or to become God. That is their agenda practically everywhere, but we have seen that only Srila Prabhupada is presenting, he is giving the complete total package in its pure pristine form as was presented by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Only Srila Prabhupada is actually presenting pure devotional service, completely pure devotional service without any tinge of sahajiyanism or sense gratification, or impersonalism. Prabhupada is the one who is doing it in the society, the International society for Krishna consciousness. That is Prabhupada’s baby, his child, his offspring. He has produced this society of the International society for Krishna Consciousness as a place where anyone can come, in any part of the world, and learn how to understand what is pure devotional service and how to practice pure devotional service. You cannot attain pure devotional service simply by pious activities, it is not possible. Someone may say, “I have done so much pious work therefore I am a great devotee,” but it is not true. You cannot become a pure devotee just by pious activities, opening hospitals, feeding the poor. You cannot. It is described in Caitanya-caritamrita, Madhya Lila Chapter 8 text 70 that pure devotional service in Krishna consciousness cannot be attained even after undergoing, executing pious activities for hundreds and millions of life times. Pure devotional service can be attained only by paying one price and what is that? The intense greed to obtain it. Tatva laulyam api.. That laulyam, that intense greed, which is the only way you can achieve pure devotional service. You have to be greedy to attain it, greedier than the business man who is after money, greedier than sex monger who wants to enjoy woman, you have to be greedier. That is the sastric statement. By intense greed to obtain it, and then it is stated if it is available somewhere, you must purchase it immediately without delay. So that pure devotional service that is made available by Srila Prabhupada before he... before he started, our movement he was a householder. He was a pharmacist. So many pharmaceutical medicines he was making it available. So actually in a transcendental way Srila Prabhupada is still a pharmacist. He is giving one medicine... one medicine only:
premanjana churita bhakti vilocanena santa sadaiva
So what is that medicine Prabhupada is giving? Premanjana. Anjana, that is a Sanskrit word that means ‘ointment’. There is another English word for it ‘unguent’ and in a sense there is a similarity between Sanskrit word anjana and English word ‘unguent’, very similar words. So we can see how English is coming from Sanskrit. So this is the medicine now given by Srila Prabhupada. So ISKCON is the ultimate pharmacy; it is dispensing one drug and one drug only, premanjana. Now normally if you have some ointment for eyes you will take like this: you put some drop here, you blink and it spreads throughout your eyes. That’s the normal way of applying the ointment to the eye. So this ointment it is a slightly different ointment. This ointment goes through the ears. We have to hear from the pure devotee, the one who is dispensing the premanjana. We have to hear from the pure devotee and we take that transcendental premanjana in to the heart, deep in to our heart. Then it has a clarifying, purifying effect on our transcendental vision. In other words, it transforms our mundane vision into transcendental vision where one can actually see Krishna everywhere, within and without. This is the result of pure devotional service.
So one may say, “well, am I a pure devotee or not?” Well, are you seeing Krishna at every minute within and without? What do you see? Do you see Krishna within and without at every minute or you are seeing Delhi? You can judge what your own advancement in Krishna consciousness is by how much you are serving Krishna. So how do you capture that premanjana? That is the most important thing. When we become intensely greedy, we say, “Yes, I must have pure devotional service. Now I am greedy. Now how will I take it?” As I mentioned, it is through the hearing process. That is how, through the hearing process. One must be very eager to hear. We see this example in our Srila Prabhupada. In those days he was a house holder. He was not yet an initiated disciple, although, of course, he accepted Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakuar as his spiritual master from the very moment of his first meeting. Immediately he knew that, “He is my spiritual master.” Immediately at that first meeting in Calcutta, “This is my spiritual master.” As soon as he heard Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati and as he was defeated in his argument, he immediately knew that, “This is my spiritual master.” So he was very much engrossed in household duties but he got some time free to go to the Vrindavana Vrajamandal Prarikrama being done by Gaudiya Math, Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura. So every evening there would be a pravachan, a lecture given by Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura and also you know in Vrindavan that is a very nice time for darshan also. It is nice and cool. The heat of the day is gone. It is a nice time for darshan in the temples, very popular. It’s like that especially during kartika and during our evening time at Krishna Balram Mandira, it is so crowded, it is unbelievable. It is packed with people. The evening time is very popular time for the darshan. So in the evening time, you could go for darshan or you could go for pravachan, the lecture. So Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura would speak in a very erudite English, “The materialist autocrat demeanor cannot possibly stretch to the transcendentalist activities for inviting the fallen conditioned souls…” in this way. Even we native speakers, we have to get our own dictionary to follow Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura’s erudite English. So you can imagine all these Bengali religionists, what they would do in the evening lecture. They would all go for darshan, but so only a few sannyasis would stay for the lecture. But along with sannyasis there was one grhasta, a businessman from Allahabad, Abhay Charan De. He was also sitting there. Prabhupada said, “I would understand or not understand, but I would go on hearing.” So this is the key to how to get that premanjana. You have to have that intense greed. Prabhupada had that or Abhay Charan had it. He had that intense greed. “Guru Maharaja is speaking; I must hear, I must hear, I must hear. I may understand or I may not understand that is alright but I must hear Guru Maharaja speak.” That intense eagerness to hear the spiritual master speaking, that is the price to pay for pure bhakti. That is the purchasing price. So sometimes after that, the devotees, just like in ISKCON, the local authorities would recommend to the spiritual master that, “So and so is ready for initiation”, so the leading Gaudiya math preachers and all of them they recommend to Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati Thakura this Abhay Charan De for initiation . Bhaktisidhanta Sarsvati said, “Yes, the others go away but he stays and he hears. I will accept him as my disciple.” So he was noted by Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati for that eagerness to hear. He was very eager to hear. So Prabhupada then told us, “Because I was very eager to hear, because I heard nicely, now I can speak nicely.” So if you have a desire to become a powerful preacher of Krishna Consciousness there is only one way to achieve that and that is you have to be a very good listener. Those who have not heard very nicely they cannot speak nicely. They will be mental speculators. When they preach, they speculate this thing, that thing. There will be no shakti in their preaching not much shakti. But those who hear very nicely, intensely hear, they become empowered to speak very, very nicely as messengers of the previous acharyas. We are not bringing our own words. If I had to give my own words to this six hour seminar, what can I say? I can’t talk for six hours about anything. Who am I, what do I know? But because I am coming to you as a messenger of Srila Prabhupada and the previous acharyas with what they have said about pure devotional service, packaging into such a way that it will be appealing to you, therefore I can do something. I am simply Prabhupada’s DHL man, that’s all, coming to give you this great gift, prema bhakti,that Prabhupada has given to me.
So is pure devotional service an option? I can take the pure devotional service or I cannot take to it. In one sense, yes, it is an option. Krishna gave Arjuna a choice, “Now I have told you these things; you do what you like.” Then in another sense, it is not an option. Prabhupada ordered me to become a pure devotee; a direct order from Srila Prabhupada to me. He said, “Now you just qualify yourself to see Krishna face to face.” So if I accept the order of my spiritual master who is my guiding principle in life, I have no choice. I have to become a pure devotee. If I don’t become a pure devotee, I am disobeying my spiritual master. So if I am choosing to be actually a disciple of a bona fide spiritual master, I have no option but to become a pure devotee; and if I don’t become a pure devotee, I am disobeying my spiritual master. So how many of you are initiated? Let’s see, raise your hand, initiated disciple? Ok. You have no option. If you don’t become a pure devotee you are disobeying your spiritual master. Of course one may say, “Well maybe then I won’t take a guru, just remain a free thinker.” But it is sometimes said that ‘free thinker’ means ‘free sinker’. ‘Free thinker’ means ‘free sinker’. What can we do with our mental speculation, with our tiny little brains? Our brains are so tiny what we can speculate with our brains?
Dr. Frog, with his little frog brain, he thought that he could understand everything. Everyone knows about Dr. Frog PhD C (frog’s croaking). “My body of water, my well is the biggest well in the whole world. This well is the biggest body of water in the whole world. Everyone should come and appreciate my well.” Dr. Frog ribit ribit. One of the students of Dr Frog PhD, little Freddy the frog, he heard some rumor about the big body of water called the Atlantic Ocean. So he is a very curious young student, so he thought he could check it out. So he went hopping. He heard it is on eastern side so he went hopping, hop, hop, hop and after a long, long hopping excursion, he finally came to this huge body of water, the Atlantic Ocean, and he was absolutely dumbfounded because he had always been told that Dr. Frog’s well is the biggest body of water in the whole world, and when he saw this Atlantic Ocean, the ocean disappeared in the horizon. He couldn’t see the other side of it. So he was so excited, he went hopping back to Dr. Frog with great enthusiasm. Hop, hop, hop, ho,p hop , little Freddy was hopping along until finally he got back to Dr. Frog.
“Dr. Frog! Dr. Frog! There is some most amazing good news that I have for you. There is a body of water much bigger than your well, Dr. Frog!”
Dr. Frog said, “What are you talking? Ribit ribit. Don’t you know, fool, that my body of water, my well, is the biggest body of water in the whole existence? You are crazy.”
He said, “No, Dr. Frog. There are big ships sailing on this ocean. I saw huge ships; there is a huge beach that goes on for miles and miles. You can’t even see the opposite side. Dr. Frog you must come with me. I will show you. It is a huge body of water.”
“What, that’s not possible.”
“No Dr. Frog it is true.”
“Well, ribit, ribit, is it this much bigger than my well?” ( you know how toads they blow up their chest).
“No, Dr. Frog. It’s much bigger than that.”
“Well, is it this much bigger?”
“No, Dr. Frog. Its much much bigger than that Dr. Frog. You are never going to get it. Don’t even try Dr. Frog. You can’t get your chest big enough to match that ocean.”
“Is it this much bigger?”
So we may try to speculate what is pure devotional service. But you are not going to get anywhere by doing that. Don’t try to speculate what is pure devotional service. Otherwise you are following the non-illustrious footsteps of Dr. Frog. If you want to know actually what is pure devotional service you must submissively hear from the pure devotee, from the spiritual master. You must submissively hear.
But then you may say, “But I have no taste for hearing. Every time I sit down to hear, I fall a sleep. My mind goes wandering here, wandering there. I can’t even focus. I have no taste for hearing so what hope is there for me? If hearing from the pure devotee means achieving a pure bhakti and if I can’t even hear because my mind goes wandering here and goes over there, this way, goes to my house, it goes here, there, it goes everywhere, what am I suppose to do then? How will I ever become a pure devotee if I cannot focus on hearing the message of the spiritual master? Well, the Bhagavatam has good news for you, prabhus and matajis because, śuśrūsoh śraddadhānasya vāsudeva-kathā-rucih (SB 1.2.16), by serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service one gains an affinity, a taste for hearing vasudeva katha, the messages of Krishna. So even if you are not able to hear very nicely, when after a few minutes of sitting your mind goes here, the mind goes there, you fall asleep, even if you can’t focus very nicely to hear, just serve the pure devotee. Find some way to serve the pure devotee. It can be a big service or it can be a little service, it doesn’t matter. Just like we all know the story of that little spider in Rama lila. Hanuman and his monkeys were bringing huge boulders to build that bridge from India to Sri Lanka and the spider thought, “I want to serve Rama.” He is putting dust in his little legs, pushing the dust in. Hanuman says, “You get out of the way, spider. We doing the important work here. Who are you? Who do think you are? Get out of our way! But Lord Ramachandra says to Hanuman, “He is doing his service; his service is as good as yours.” So even if you can’t do big, big, big, big services, you would like to do a little service. “If I can distribute one book, I can tell one person about Krishna. I can distribute one piece of Krishna prasadam, can clean, sweep the temple room floor.” Something, any service, it doesn’t matter. Somehow or other, do some service for Srila Prabhupada. Srila Prabhupada’s mission gives everybody an opportunity to serve the pure devotee and there are so many great devotees in our movement also who are very, very pure devotees. We can serve them also. So by serving Prabhupada and by serving the wonderful pure devotees in this society, ISKCON, we can develop that taste for hearing about Krishna and if we actually have a taste then we can go on hearing 24 hours a day. Look at Parikshit Maharaja; look at the sages of Naimisaranya. Why did they assemble at Naimisaranya? They assembled to perform a thousand year sacrifice. Now imagine if the temple leaders said, “Ok, come over to the temple, we’re going to do a yajna for 1000 yrs.” By the time you go home, your house won’t be there. Whatever was there in the material world won’t be there. Whatever was there in the material world, you go back a thousand years later, all will be gone: your job, the company you were working for will be long gone; the government; it may not even be India. Just imagine 1000 years of sacrifice. So just imagine having so much taste for hearing Krishna katha that you would sit down and hear for one thousand years. I was asked to do a seminar on six hours of bhakti. What if I was asked to do… ok, now for one thousand years? “Sankarashan Prabhu, you should sit at this Noida temple for one thousand years and give discourse on bhakti for one thousand years. Now do you think I would run out of things to say? It may get boring after a while or do you think that there would be unlimited, ever-increasing nectar in a one thousand year of discourse on prema bhakti? The fact is that by hearing about Krishna you realize more about Krishna and by speaking about Krishna you realize more about Krishna. Every word that you hear or every word that you speak about Krishna increases your realization of Krishna.
So this means if I am properly speaking and you are properly hearing that during the course of this seminar on pure devotional service, at every step of the way we are going to experience ever increasing realization of Krishna. Et every minute you will get deeper and deeper realization of Krishna. That means actually that all the speaker has to say is one thing about Krishna and by saying that one thing about Krishna in the proper mood of devotion he will get another realization about Krishna and when he says that, he will get another realization. So in this way one can get one thousand years of fresh realization of Krishna that he is getting as he is explaining. Not “Oh my God! I have to give one thousand years of discourse! I have to sit down and write down all my realizations, put down the list of one thousand realizations of Krishna and then sit here and read them of to you.” No, it is not like that. One can simply give one realization about Krishna about pure devotional service and then another will come and then another will come, provided one is in the mood of being a humble messenger. If one thinks, “Oh well, now I will show them how much I know about pure devotional service.” Then I would run out of things to say. But if there is pride entering in to it, then the whole thing is spoiled. But if one simply acts humbly as the messenger of the previous acharyas- Srila Prabhupada, etc, then those previous acharyas can supply unlimited realization about the science of pure bhakti. So in this way I can assure you there is unlimited nectar available in this seminar. Now you just have to tune yourself in because I am not giving my message, I am giving the message of previous acharyas.
mahā-jano yena gatah sa panthāh
I am bringing the mercy, the blessings and the knowledge coming from the previous acharyas. So what we are doing really here today is that we are all together tuning in to them. I am just like you. I am a student of these previous acharyas. We are all students of previous acharyas, so we are all tuning in together. This seminar means we all are tuning in together to these acharyas and when we tune in to them, the realization, the mercy, the blessings will then come to us unlimitedly. We become realized to the extent that we become free from lust, anger, greed, madness, illusion, and the worst of all the biggest enemy of all of them is envy... Kama, krodha… kama, krodha, lobha, madya, moha, matsarya. That envy is the worst thing. We have to be free of envy. Envy is the worst enemy. It is envy that brought us into this material world to begin with. It is envy that will keep us here in this material world, and the pure devotee is described as the non-envious well-wisher of all living entities. So if you want to achieve that rarest gift of pure bhakti then you need to be always vigilant to see that your heart is becoming free of envy. You are rooting out the envy from your heart so that you are not envious toward devotees. You are not envious of Krishna. That is very important thing. You could note down in your book, ‘become free from envy’. It is very important thing. I had a problem… Of course I don’t say that I am completely free from that, but I when I was a young devotee it was very big problem for me, a very big problem. I was so envious of those devotees who got to be with Prabhupada, his entourage. Prabhupada’s entourage would travel with Prabhupada all over the world, be in his quarter with him doing everything for him and I was in a remote temple in Austin, Texas. Prabhupada never even came to Austin, Texas and we would hear devotees tell, “ I was with prabhupada in his room and he handed me this; he gave a gift.” So I just wanted to know, “When am I going to get some of this nectar? All I can do is hear other devotes tell about being with Prabhupada, how he looked at him in a certain way and said something to them … It was eating my heart out, this envy. I couldn’t stand it. I actually wrote to Prabhupada and asked him what to do about it. “Prabhupada, I have this problem. I am envious of my Godbrothers who are getting all this nectar of being in your association,” and I was very surprised by Prabhupada’s answer. I thought he would say, “Yes, then get rid of your envy. This is what you must do.” But he didn’t do that. Here is what Prabhupada told me. He said, “Transcendental envy means that when you see that others are becoming more recognized by Krishna than you are, then you should try harder, more than them so that Krishna recognizes you also.” So Prabhupada didn’t tell me to give up my envies. He said, “You are getting envious of them being recognized, now you work harder so you also become recognized.” That’s how he told me. But still I had this problem sitting in the heart and it really came to a head when I was there in Atlanta in 1975 when Prabhupada was there. There were about 300 of us there with Prabhupada and you know only the chosen few get to go to his room to serve: the servants, sannyasis, temple presidents, not the rank and file devotees. We couldn’t even go for a walk with him. Only the chosen devotees get to go on the walk. Most of us stayed back in the temple. “Oh! There goes Prabhupada with the chosen few and we are back here at the temple.” You get envious naturally. “I wish I could be on the walk with Prabhupada but they told me I couldn’t go. I had to stay back at the temple. Everybody wanted to be on the walk with prabhupada so these envious feelings are there in my heart. So anyway, there was one Godbrother, Sruti Kirti. You may have heard of Sruti Kirti. Every one has heard of Sruti Kirti. He was Prabhupada’s personal servant. So he was my number one object of envy, Sruti Kirti (laugh). Anyway Prabhupada was there on his Vyasasana. It is in the back of the temple room and I got as close to Prabhupada as I could because I couldn’t go into his room, I couldn’t go on the walk, during the class I was right there by the Vyasasana. I was right there on Prabhupada’s right side, just right next to him, as close as I can get and there, right across from Prabhupada’s left, there was Sruti Kirti, the object of my envy and I was looking over at Sruti Kirti and I was amazed that Sruti Kirti Prabhu looked back at me with the most loving smile, the most warm, friendly, loving smile. He gave me, the most… he just looked straight at me with the warmest loving smile you could ever imagine. It just melted my heart completely and I was realizing this all when Prabhupada was right there between us. Prabhupada is very close. Sruti Kirti, I realized, even though he is Prabhupada’s personal servant and he is getting all this nectar association, he is not proud. He just wants to share the nectar with me. He is getting all this environment, all this juice from being close with Prabhupada and he doesn’t want to keep it to himself. He wants to give it all to me and I realized that it was like Sruti Kirti was like a mirror. Prabhupada was like the sun god beaming out unlimited oceans of nectar and mercy and Sruti Kirti is a mirror and he is just bouncing Prabhupada. Prabhupada’s mercy is bouncing off him and blessing me. So it was a really a good realization I had, not to be envious. I saw this devotee actually he is purely giving me the mercy of Prabhupada. So how can I be envious I am fortunate to get his association. So in this way I had some very good realization about envy and how to get over envy and this is confirmed by what Krishna says in Adi Purana to Arjuna.
me bhakta-janāh pārtha
Krishna says, “My devotee, na me bhaktas, he is not my devotee. Ye me bhakta janah partha, that janah, that person who is my devotee, Oh son of pritha, na me bhakta, he is not My devotee.” so what does it mean when Krishna says that His devotee is not His devotee? What is he talking about? Then He says, “But the devotee of My devotee, he is My devotee.” So if you want to be a devotee of Krishna, if you want to achieve pure prema, pure bhakti, which is the goal of this seminar to teach you how to do that, well, Prabhus and Matajis, you have to be the devotee of the devotees. “Well, for my Guru Maharaja certainly, not anybody else.” No. Krishna doesn’t say that “One who is My devotee is not My devotee and one who is the disciple of Guru is My devotee.” No. He doesn’t say that. He doesn’t say ‘Guru’. He says ‘devotees’. “The one who is the devotee of My devotees, he is My devotee.” So how much are you devoted to the devotees? Do you want pure bhakti? Do you want Krishna prema? Alright, now you analyze how much you are a devotee of the devotees. Honestly analyze yourself… I am asking all of you become psychiatrist today. I want you to be your own psychiatrist. Analyze your own heart, “How much am I a devotee of a devotee? Not only in your words and action but in your thoughts also. Now there may be some devotee I don’t get along with very well. I may disagree with a devotee. He might be right or I might be wrong and he might be right, but somehow we disagree with each other. Does that mean I should hate that devotee because I disagree with him? No. One devotee says, “Dress the Deity in this way”. Another one says, “No, Prabhu. We should dress the Deities in this way.” So is this difference of opinion material or spiritual? It is spiritual because they both want to serve Krishna. If we are disagreeing over how to serve Krishna, how to serve Srila Prabhupada, then that disagreement is spiritual. Then there is no animosity in such disagreements; no animosity, no envy. So in this way we should cultivate pure devotional consciousness, appreciating all the devotees and now that is the best thing.
I see you have paper and pens very good. Please, as I am speaking, write down your questions. Any questions you have, as soon as you get a question immediately write it down on the paper because at certain point, I am going to say, “Ok, send the papers forward, and I will answer your questions.” So any question any of you have write it down on piece of paper because I know we are going to have good long detailed question-and-answer session and in this part of the seminar we are actually going to do at least once or twice more today. Lets see… we have an hour and half more… we’ll have one good question-and-answer session today after I finish covering the basics of session number one. We will have a question-and-answer session, so write down your questions.
So in this process of pure devotional service, we have to learn how to appreciate the devotees. Krishna appreciates the devotees and He bestows special mercy upon those who appreciate the devotees. The more you become the devotee of the devotee, the more you make advancement in Krishna consciousness. So now we are going to look into this wonderful book The Nectar of Devotion. We are going to study in this seminar the six characteristics of pure devotional service. These characteristics are very sublime. They are very wonderful. By understanding and appreciating these characteristics, we can get great encouragement to take up the path of pure devotional service.
Then one may say, “Well for somebody who lives in the temple, I can understand that, but you know, I have so many material duties. How can I possibly be Krishna Consciousness if I have to go to a job and be with all mundane association? How can I?” No. Bhaktivinoda Thakura was a great acharya and he was working a job, you understand. He was working a job. He was working for British government. At the same time, he was an acharya. Prabhupada confirms this. He was an acharya and at the same time he was an employee of the British government. That doesn’t mean because I am an employee at Reliance Corporation, or Reliance Limited, or whatever companies you have that you can’t be a pure devotee, that you can’t be an acharya. Whatever you are doing, whatever your occupation, whether you are brahmacari, grihasta, vanaprasta or sanyasi, whatever you may be, brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, sudra, whatever you may be, this pure devotional service is for you. If you will take the proper instruction from the bonafide spiritual master, you will become qualified as a realized brahmana pure devotee, even though externally you may be brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya or sudra. That is external only. You become a brahmana vaishnava pure devotee if you follow this bhakti marga according to the instructions given by the great acharyas:
mahā-jano yena gatah sa panthāh
These great acharyas are there, so if you count the acharyas… You may say “Well, I am not really convinced that I can be a grihasta and become a pure devotee. I am not really convinced yet, Prabhu. What evidence can you give me?” Here is the evidence. Look at the great mahajanas. Count how many were saffron men and how many were grihastas. Out of 12 mahajanas you see there are more grihastas than saffron men among the 12 mahajanas. So don’t tell me grihastas cannot become a pure devotee. The majority of the twelve mahajanas were grihastas, so you must be convinced of this point. I am giving the proof from the Vedas. You must be convinced that your household life is no impediment to your becoming a pure devotee. It is no impediment. You simply have to have the proper training from a bona fide spiritual master, then everything will be a doorway to pure bhakti. It will open up your eyes. So here are the six characteristics of the pure devotional service.
So lets look at the first one now in detail. Let’s make an in-depth study of the first characteristic of pure devotional service. It brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress. Well, one may ask, how does it do that? What is the science behind it? Is it simply a belief that we have or is it scientific? Does it actually do that? If it does actually do that, there must be a scientific explanation of how it does that. How does pure devotional service bring immediate relief from all kinds of material distress? So let us understand first of all this point. The sufferings of material existence…
Janma mrtyu jara vyadhi
Birth, death, old age and disease are unnatural impositions upon the jivas. They are unnatural impositions upon the jivas. The jiva is described as “for the soul there is never birth,”
Na jayate mriyate va kadacin
“For the soul there is neither birth, nor death at any time. He has not come into being, does not come into being and will not come in to being. He is unborn, eternal, ever existence and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.”
So that’s the actual position of the jiva. He has nothing to do with this material misery. Just like in a dream, a tiger may be coming to eat you. Is that tiger really coming to eat you? No. Is the suffering real? Yes. Because you are identifying with that dream, taking it as a reality, therefore you are suffering like anything, but do you need to suffer? No.
Someone will say, “Wake up! Wake up, Prabhu! What’s happening?”
“Oh! I just had a nightmare. This tiger was about to devour me. I was running as fast as I could! It’s like I had lead in my feet and I couldn’t even lift my legs and he was about to jump up and eat me, and devour me! You woke me up. Thank you. “
Our suffering is just like that in a dream. The suffering is real but it is due to false identification with matter. It is simply due to false identification with matter. That’s why you are suffering. That’s the only reason. You are falsely identifying with that material body and the false ego that is sitting inside of it. It is simply due to false identification that we are suffering like anything. So pure devotional service relieves us from all sufferings because it brings us out from that false identification, by doing what? By bringing us to our true identification, not just theoretically but practically. You actually become situated in your transcendental existence. When does that happen to you? When you leave your body and you go back to Godhead? Is that when it happens? Yes or no? No, it happens the very moment of diksha. Prabhupada explains when: the very moment of the very day of initiation, one’s immortality begins at that point. So getting ready for initiation means you are getting ready to become immortal. Because diksha means now you are immortal. You have fully reentered into your eternal existence with Krishna by the mercy of your spiritual master. As soon as you do that, even getting ready to do that, if you have accepted the principle, “Yes, I must submit to the bona fide spiritual master,” then you are already into it. Immortality has already begun if you have accepted. Just like Prabhupada, he accepted Bhaktisidhanta Sarasvati from the very first meeting with him: “This is my spiritual master.” From the very first meeting, he accepted him. But it becomes formalized and solidified at the time of initiation. So it is bringing us out of this false identification with this dream that I am this body, I am Indian, I am American, I am male, I am female, so many things. I am the husband of such and such, I am the wife of such and such, I am the child of such and such. I am the parents of such and such. This is my house, this is my car… No. Everything belongs to Krishna. We are thinking mine: “These are my parents, this is my son…” This is maya. It is simply a drama for the actors on the stage. But our actual identity is off the stage. That’s our actual identity. As long as we continue to misidentify our self with these various roles we are playing within the drama of material existence, we must suffer. But when we realize our identity beyond this material existence as Krishna’s eternal servant, then our suffering is finished.
Krishna says that such a liberated soul is not attracted to material sense enjoyment. Why? Because he is relishing the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized soul enjoys unlimited happiness, sukham akshayam ashnute. He enjoys unlimited happiness. Why? Sa brahma yoga yuktatma, because he concentrates on the supreme. So pure devotional service means you are 24 hours a day, 7days a week concentrating on the supreme in everything you do. Krishna is the supreme. You concentrate completely on Krishna twenty four hours a day, whether you are at home, you are at the temple, you are at work, you are on a horrible Delhi commute. Wherever you may be, whatever you are doing, you are concentrating on Krishna. Therefore you are beyond this material existence, tasting unlimited pleasure, sukham aksayam ashnute. He is relishing unlimited pleasure. So as we have many times heard before, Krishna is the reservoir of unlimited pleasure. So this process of devotional service is tapping into that reservoir. You may be in the desert with no water, but there is water if you will drill deep beneath the surface of the desert. If you go deep enough, you will find unlimited water beneath the surface of that desert. So bhakti-yoga, the process of Krishna consciousness, is the drilling process. Right now we are in the desert of material existence. So by this process, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama, Rama, Hare, Hare, you are drilling deeper with every mantra.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare,
With every repetition of mantra you are going deeper and deeper through that soil, through that rock of lust, anger, greed, madness, illusion and envy and finally you break through the coverings and you will hit that reservoir of unlimited pleasure and that’s when you achieve pure bhakti, suddha bhakti.
So what if we are not tasting it yet?
Mamaivamso jiva loke jiva bhutah sanatanah
The living entities in this material world are my eternal fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind. (Bg.15. 7)
What if that is still our position, even after putting tilak and chanting japa and getting initiated? So many things we are still struggling with. Does that mean it is hopeless? No. it means that you have to keep drilling. Prabhupada gave the example of a woman when she gets married. She tells her husband, “my dear husband, we have been married for fifteen hours. Where is my baby? What’s wrong with you? Why don’t I have a child yet? We are married for 15 hours and I don’t have a baby yet? What is going on? You have no potency. No. Prabhupada explains that she should know, “Now I have a husband, so a child will come in due course. I have to be patient. A child will come.” So in this way the child is Krishna bhakti. That is the child, and taking the pathway of Krishna consciousness that is marriage. Now we are married to Krishna. Well, not literally. We are married to the process of Krishna consciousness. We are married to this process. “Yes, I will follow Prabhupada’s instructions. So I dedicate myself and I follow the instructions of Srila Prabhupada.” Now we are married to the process of Krishna consciousness by accepting Srila Prabhupada’s authority over all our lives. But still we have to be patient. We have to be patient and wait. Because how long have we been entangled in serving our senses, indriya seva? How many millions and billions of lifetimes we cannot even begin to calculate how many millions and billions of life time have we been engaged in this stupid, ridiculous, sensuous process of indriya seva? We can’t even begin to calculate it. We are addicted to these senses, so to come out immediately is not an easy thing. It does happen after some time.
There are cases of instant liberation. There is a story in the Caitanya lila. One devotee thought, “Well, I would like to make a pure devotee. I would like to liberate the next person I see. I want to give that person Krishna prema.” You you can imagine what a powerful devotee he must have been, just by his desire, he can bestow Krishna prema on somebody. He made that choice, “I will bestow Krishna prema on the first person that I see. So the next morning, he went to take a bath in the Ganga and the first person he saw was a corpse floating in the Ganga. It wasn’t a person really, just a corpse, but you know what, that corpse came to life and became a pure devotee! Hari Bol! Just imagine how he instantly got the mercy of that pure devotee. He became instantly a pure devotee. So it does happen sometimes, such a thing as instant pure bhakti. I think one out of a million. Oh, why couldn’t it be me that I could becomes a pure devotee instantly by the mercy of pure devotee? Well, if we hanker for that, what is that verse I quoted in the beginning? Laulyam, intense greed. If you have intense greed? “I want nothing but Krishna bhakti. I want Krishna and nothing but Krishna from this moment on. From now and all eternity, I want nothing but to please Krishna with my every thought, my every word, my every duty. I don’t want anymore illusion, delusion and confusion. I am sick of it. I have suffered enough. I want pure bhakti right now. Krishna, please bestow pure bhakti on me. I know I am not deserving, but please bless me, Lord, with pure bhakti and therefore I am praying to you intensely from the core of my heart:
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare,
What is that saying? ‘the duck that quacks the loudest gets the most crumbs” So how intensely are you begging Krishna for pure devotional service? Do we chant our japa “Well, I’ve got to get them done…”
Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare
“When am I going to get it done so I go to sleep?” Is that how we chant? Or do we chant, begging Krishna, “My dear Lord, I am so miserable in this material existence and so many anxieties. I’ve had enough of it. Krishna, please, please save me from this…”
Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare, Hare
That chanting should be the chanting of someone who is intensely greedy. That’s the way we should chant the Hare Krishna mantra. That is the purchasing price for pure bhakti. We have to call out to Krishna with intense greed to achieve pure devotional service. This particular quality described here, the word ‘immediate’ is really a wonderful word. Pure devotional service brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress. Now someone may say, “But Sankarshan Prabhu, this contradicts what you just told us. You told us that you have to be patient and gradually come out of the suffering condition but here Prabhupada is saying that it brings immediate relief from all kinds of material distress. If I have to be patient then how can it be said to be immediate. If it is immediate, I don’t have to wait. Well I can get the whole thing right now?” Well, no. We get relief to the extent our devotional service is pure. So actually there is no contradiction. So how much do you want to be relieved from the misery? A little bit of relief? How about 1% relief is that enough? Or maybe you’ll be happy with 2% relief? When you go to the doctor, do you say, “My dear doctor, please give me 50% relief from my disease.” No. You say, “Doctor, I want 100% relief. I am tired of suffering from this disease. Please give me 100% relief.” So that is why we have to strive for purity. So that’s why I am happy to present this seminar because I want to impress upon you again and again and again the importance of your being very keen on achieving pure devotional service. Isn’t it a fact? We have to be very, very keen to achieve pure devotional service.
Now the second item in pure devotional service…. Is everybody writing down their questions or not? Is anybody is writing down the questions? Raise your hand if you have written questions. Only 3 or 4 people have written questions. Come on, 5 people… that’s not enough. I need at least 10 or 15 or 20 questions. Write down your questions please.
The second characteristic of pure devotional service is ‘the beginning of all auspiciousness’. What does that mean, all auspiciousness? All auspiciousness means that which is beneficial for all living entities throughout this entire existence. So does that include us? Of course, weare part of the total number of living entities. so that means it is not only beneficial for everyone else but it benefits us also. There is a nice prayer given in the 5th canto of the Bhagavatam, svasty astu viśvasya khalah prasīdatām. The devotee is praying, “May there be auspiciousness through out the entire universe. May all the envious persons become pacified.” So this is another wonderful benefit of pure devotional service because the more we become pure in our hearts, the more we can have an auspicious impact on the society in which we live, Dehli, India, the whole planet, the whole universe, the whole material existence. The more you become awakened in pure devotional service, the more you become the lighthouse in the dark night to help the poor people of their suffering conditions. And the more you can help to bring others out, the more you become empowered too bring others out of their suffering, the more you come out of your suffering. So this is a very important point. A devotee is not satisfied simply with his own Krishna consciousness.
Prahlada Maharaja said, “I have no problem personally, but my problem is that all these people in this material world are suffering. That is my problem.” So this is one of the symptoms of a pure devotee. He doesn’t want to be delivered until everybody becomes delivered. He wants to stay in this material world until everyone can become Krishna conscious. This is one symptom of the pure devotee. He is a well-wisher. He wants to see that everyone becomes safe. So the more we become advanced in this Krishna conscious process, the more we become empowered to help others to come out of the darkness of ignorance. Many people write to me letters telling me that they have difficulty with their non-devotee family members. Some of you may be in the same boat. I am seeing some smiles here, telling me “yes” (laugh). Well the more you become pure in bhakti, you will have the shakti to attract them also to become devotees. So not only for your own benefit, but it will also help your family members, your friends, your countrymen to become Krishna conscious. The more you become awakened, you will have shakti which will have a power on them also. You will get power, bhakti Shakti. The more you become awakened you will have bhakti shakti and this is confirmed by Srila Prabhupada in his purport in the Caitanya Caritramrita where he states that when a devotee of the Lord chants the holy name without any offence… That means pure bhakti. Right now we are chanting the nama, but we are nama aparadhi. We are chanting with offences. When we come to the point of suddha nama, completely free from all offences, that is called pure chanting, suddha nama. So Prabhupada explains that when a devotee chants the holy name of the Lord without any offences, he becomes Jagad Guru, the spiritual master of the universe and under his influence the whole world will take up Krishna consciousness. Can you imagine everybody in Delhi taking to Krishna consciousness, everybody in India becoming a pure devotee, not only Hindu but even the Muslims becoming pure devotees? And who is our namacarya? Haridas Thakur. He was a Muslim. Is this movement for Muslims only? I mean Hindus only? No. Our number one chanter, he is aMuslim. We glorify him, a Muslim, everyday in our prema dhvani prayers: “Namacarya Srila Haridas Thakura, ki jaya!” Everyday we glorify a Muslim saint in our prayers. So this movement is for everyone: Muslims, Christians, atheist, agnostics, everyone. This is not just a Hindu movement. This is a universal movement. Pure bhakti is not limited to any sect. Pure bhakti is meant for everyone throughout the entire existence. So that is an amazing potency. Every devotee can become a powerful empowered living… an empowered manifestation of Lord Caitanya’s mercy. Every devotee can become so simply by taking the chanting process very seriously, giving up the ten offences. What is the most deadly offence of them all? Vaishnava aparadha. That’s why I do emphasize them earlier in our lecture today, the importance of becoming a devotee of a devotee because if you are a devotee of a devotee then there will be no offences. When I stop being a devotee of a devotee then I automatically commit offences. If I am not a devotee of the devotee then I am an offender of the devotees. Either you are a devotee or an offender; there is no in between. If I am not devoted to you then I am exploiting you. Srila Prabhupada told us in Vrindavana that the spiritual master considers himself to be the disciple of his disciples, “Krishna has sent me so many spiritual masters.” The spiritual master considers, “I have to serve… This is my prabhu, my master. I have to serve him by seeing that he can get out of this material existence in this lifetime.” Just like here is one of my disciples, Madhusudana dasa from Australia. So I have to think that, “He is my master so I have to serve him by seeing that he doesn’t take birth again in this material existence.” So the more we can become fixed in that chanting process, chanting very nicely the holy names of the Lord, then that mood of pure devotional service will awaken in our heart. The pure devotional service is already there. It is not something artificially imposed upon you. You have it already. You are already a pure devotee. All you have to do to be a pure devotee is just be who you are. Stop! Stop being something other than what you actually are. That’s what we are really saying. Stop being someone or something that you are not. Stop being someone other than yourself. You have been unhappy in this material existence for millions of lifetimes because you have tried 8,400,000 different ways to be what you are not. You understand?
Jalaja nava-laksani sthavara laksa-vimsati
You know that sloka from the Vishnu Purana? jalaja nava-laksani, there are 900,000 aquatics; sthavara laksa-vimsati, trees and plants, 2,000,000; krmayo rudra-sankhyakah, 1,100,000 of types of reptiles; pakshina dasa-laksanam, 1,000,000 types of birds; pancha lakshani parvasah, 3,000,000 beasts and chatur-laksani manusah, 400,000 different types of human being .
So each one of us has experimented with 8,400,000 different ways of trying to be who we are not. We are trying to get some pleasure and we failed each and every time, each and every species that we appeared in, engaging in those activities that are srama eva hi kevalam . We have been demigods. We have been Brahmaji. We have been Indra. We have been demigods, even Chandra. We have been in every position in this material world from the ant all the way to Brahmaji and we have never been satisfied in any position because they are all artificial impositions on the self. They are not the self. The actual self is the pure devotee of Krishna.
Jivera svarupa haya - Krsnera ‘nitya dasa’
The actual self is a pure devotee of Krishna. So stop being a rascal. That’s all we are saying. Stop being a stupid rascal. Just be yourself, a pure devotee. You are a pure devotee by nature. Now be natural, don’t be unnatural. We have identified with the material nature and we think that it is natural, but no, the material nature is unnatural for us because we are spiritual beings. We are not material beings. Get back to your real nature. The spiritual master helps us to get back to our real nature. He empowers us to go to the window that separates the material nature and the spiritual nature. He takes us through to the window. Therefore, there is no greater good fortune than when you come in contact with a bona fide spiritual master and to accept the seed of pure bhakti which he plants within the heart.
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
After wandering throughout these 8.4 million species of life, a living entity who is very, very fortunate, kona bhagyavan jiva, receives the seed of bhakti from a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krishna, and if he takes that seed and he cultivates it within the heart by regularly chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, and by keeping the weeds out - no illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication, gambling - and by building a very strong fence to protect against vaishnava aparadha, and by being always devoted to the devotee, then that seed of pure bhakti which is planted within the heart by the mercy of the spiritual master, that seed of pure bhakti will pernetrate through all the coverings of this material existence, the millions and billions of coverings of this material existence and enter in to the spiritual sky, the paravyoma. You will pass by all the Vaikuntha planets and go straight to the topmost planet, Goloka Vrindavana, entwine yourself around the lotus feet Sri Sri Radha and Krishna and then that devotional creeper entwined around the lotus feet of the most beloved personality Sri Sri Radha Krishna, then the prema bhava, the fruit of love of the Godhead becomes manifest. So that is the purpose of this seminar. It is to teach you how to take that seed of bhakti that your spiritual master planted in your heart, how to take proper care of it; how to nurture it; how to guard it and protect it so that the natural growing process that any seed will go through will happen with that bhakti seed and you will cover your tracks through all the coverings of material existence and come back to your original svarupa in the pastimes of Krishna. One pure devotee can purify the whole universe. So the more you become pure, the more you will purify your family, your friends and your society.
Are there any more questions? I only have three. Any more questions? Send me questions now.
So now we will do a question and answer session. We have fifty minutes left on part I of our seminar. Now we will get into the questions and answers.
Ok. Here is first one..
Question 1: When we get some material engagement we feel more enthusiastic to do it.
Answer: That enthusiasm is rajasic.
Question 2: How to get the firm conviction that if we do our spiritual duties perfectly, we can be happy and protected?
Answer. This is a very excellent question. Thank you very much for this question. This is very good question. What we are dealing with here is different types of happiness as stated in the ch 18 Bhagavad-gita 18.38:
Yat tad agre'mrtopamam
That which in the beginning may be just like a poison but in the end becomes the sweetest nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.
So the neophyte person who is taking up the path of pure bhakti, he is starting to get happiness in the mode of goodness which is very, very sweet, but in the beginning it is austere. If someone hears, “Well, you just won the lottery; go down and pick up your one crores of rupees at the Lottery office.” That is rajasic happiness. “Wow! One crore rupees! Where is that lottery office? I’ll get in there right now. I’ll get in the cab and go right away to pick up my ten million of rupees! Wow! One crore rupees!” That happiness is in the mode of passion. Actually, it is a true story. There is a story about one gentleman, how he won a huge lottery in the US, and he became the most miserable person. He became the most miserable person by wining the lottery. He was much happier before he won the lottery because happiness in the mode of passion is nectar in the beginning and poison in the end. So the material engagement, rajasic happiness… “Yeah, great! Go for it!” but bhakti yoga… What is the happiness in sweeping the floor for Krishna? It is more subtle. You have to learn how to tune in. In other words, bhakti is meditative. You have to do it in a meditative mood. This is not japa mantra chanting. This is mantra meditation. You have to take your consciousness and go deep within the realm of bhakti. So it takes a while. We don’t know how to meditate. Our mind just flies here and there. We have to become like a yogi who can take the mind and fix it on one thing, Krishna, one person, Krishna. Because by bringing the mind in and focusing it, then we can begin to taste. Because bhakti is actually a loving relationship with the person Krishna. That’s how you really get bhakti. It’s you and the person named Krishna. You develop feelings for that person named Krishna. You develop love and attraction for that person named Krishna. That’s when the bliss really starts to come. It is a personal relationship with God. So if you love someone, any opportunity to serve them brings the greatest happiness. It doesn’t matter what that activity it is. It can be a pleasant activity or an unpleasant activity. It doesn’t matter because by love, everything becomes wonderful. Just like the mother, she loves her baby. Now, changing the stool diapers, is that a pleasant activity? “Oh wonderful! I get to change the stool diapers!” Actually, the mother finds it to be wonderful because she loves the child. That affection makes it a wonderful activity. If you ask me to change the stool diapers, I would find it disgusting because I am not the mother. As a crude example, of course. The devotees, they cleaned Prabhupada’s stool in his final days with the greatest love, even though it is something disgusting. With great love and affection, they served Prabhupada by taking the stool out of his bed in the final days in the Vrindavana. So by that loving relationship with that person Krishna or the spiritual master who is the representative of Krishna, or the devotees who are also the representatives of Krishna, by that loving relationship then that activity becomes nectarine. that becomes a very enthusiastic thing, that, “I can serve this great personality, the spiritual master this great personality the devotee.”
Question 3: Unfortunately we are not in the time of Bhaktivinoda Thakura and the times have changed drastically. How to match?
Answer: Do you think that bhakti is dependent on a particular time and place in history? Who thinks that bhakti is dependent on a particular time and place in history? what does the Bhagavatam say? Ahaituki apratihita, unmotivated and uninterrupted. “Well, if I had been here at the time of Bhaktivinoda Thakura, when the atmosphere was much more spiritual, I would have been okay. But now, because Kali yuga is so much more intense, bhakti is interrupted by the personality of Kali because Kali has become more powerful now, become more nasty and mean than he was previously. That’s true Kali is getting worse. If you think Kali was bad 5000 years ago, Kali is getting more demoniac everyday. You say, “But you know, I can’t do pure bhakti because Kali Yuga is too heavy.” That means you are saying that bhakti is interrupted, pratihita, interrupted. it is interruptible. Bhagavatam says that pure bhakti is not interruptible by any material circumstances; ahaituki apratihita. It is not interruptible by any material situations. Look at the devotees in Russia. They were making japa beads out of bread. They were sqeezing the bread and making bread balls and chanting japa on bread balls. Some of them were even killed by the KGB. They were put into the concentration camps. They died because they were dedicated to Krishna. Did they let those material circumstances stop their Krishna consciousness? No. That increased their determination to be Krishna conscious. Those material obstacles increased their determination to be Krishna conscious and their determination became so strong that the Soviet Union collapsed simply by the determination of the devotees to become Krishna Consciousness. They brought down the USSR. So don’t tell me that is not the times of Bhaktivinoda Thakura. They brought down the Soviet Union by their intense desire to be pure devotees of Krishna. Ok.
Questions 4: We have read that committing suicide is sinful and the soul may not get another body. What happens when the devotee commits suicide remembering Krishna with the intention to go back to Godhead quickly?
Answer: He is a fool. Such a devotee is a fool because he won’t go back to Krishna. Sanatana Gosvami wanted to commit suicide. Do you know the story from Caitanya-caritamrta? His body became afflicted with sores. His whole body was afflicted by sores and he was oozing pus. It was very gross. He had a very, very horrible gross skin disease, but Lord Caitanya, whenever he would see Sanatana, He would embrace him tightly and Sanatan Gosvami felt so bad, “Well, this is horrible. I embraced Lord Caitanya and all this pus from my body is getting on all over Lord Caitanya’s body. I can’t tolerate this. I am going to commit suicide.” Lord Caitanya heard about this and he said, “What is this nonsense, committing suicide? That body is My property. It is not your property. I have so many things that I want to accomplish using your body.” So you kill your body because you want to go to Krishna quicker. It is not your body, it is Krishna’s body. If you work for the Indian government and they give some position, some ministry, they give you a car to drive, a government owned car, do you have the right to crash that car? No. That’s the government’s car. You cannot crash that car. “Well, I am the driver so I can crash that car.” No. Being the driver does not entitle you to crash that car. So being the driver of this body does not give you the entitlement to crash it to, kill it. It is Krishna’s body and you must use it in Krishna’s service. If you kill it, you are taking it out of Krishna’s service. It is not devotional service and if you want to go to Krishna quickly, you don’t need to kill your body. That is ignorance. You don’t need to kill your body to go to Krishna quickly. All you have to do is to take the instructions we are giving in this seminar and you can go to Krishna immediately. You don’t have to wait for death. Do you think Krishna is not here? Do you think Krishna is not present? Krishna is here. Krishna is present. You simply have to acknowledge His presence by fully surrendering unto Him and that’s all. Some devotees do it. One Godbrother, some foolish disturbed Godbrother, he went to Mathura and jumped in the train and went to Mathura. It is foolishness, simply foolishness. Will they go back to Krishna? They may have to become a ghost, a Krishna conscious ghost. I don’t need to become a Krishna conscious ghost.
Question 5: Does antakale smriti come in the picture in this situation?
Answer: No. It doesn’t. If you are truly remembering Krishna, you will do what pleases Krishna. You say, “Well, my dear Lord Krishna, I remember you while I am just pleasing you. There are two types of Krishna consciousness: there is anukula and pratikula. Anukula means to remember Krishna in his service, pleasing Him, and pratikula means the opposite, that is the Krishna consciousness of what Kamsa wants. So you want to follow Kamsa marga? Will I be Krishna conscious while I commit suicide? You are in the Kamsa marga that’s it, and you will get the result of Kamsa marga.
Question 6: Sometimes I feel that I am envious of Krishna although I know I am here because of this defect. How do I overcome this in a permanent way?
Answer: If someone is a brahmacari, he may think, “Why does He get so many girlfriends? I have to give up my girlfriends, but He gets to have so many girlfriends.” The brahmacari may be envious. This is actually not envy in one sense. It is very difficult to root out this deep-seated envy but if we go deep enough in our understanding of the science of bhakti, it becomes easy. Prabhupada told us in New York, “Why become one with God when you can become greater than God as a devotee.” These mayavadis want to become one with God but the bhakta becomes greater than God. How is that possible? Krishna is ajita, He is unconquerable. But that same unconquerable Krishna becomes jita or conquered. By what? By the devotee’s love. So if you fully give yourself to Krishna, Krishna will fully give Himself to you. He will become your personal property just as He did with Mother Yashoda, Arjuna. Krishna will become your personal property. In other words, the devotee becomes transcendentally more powerful than God. So what is the question of envy? You can become more powerful that Krishna, but you have to know the art of how to do that. That’s sweet pure bhakti, the subject matter of today’s seminar.
Question 7: Why not.. Why not feelings.. Why not feeling problems sufferings we have?
Answer: This question needs to be written in a more clear way. Whoever wrote the question can come up… well, I will leave it for later. I need to have that question made it clearer.
Question 8: Can devotional services be performed with greed for serving the spiritual master and Krishna? If so, how can I avoid enviousness?
Answer: The greed of the devotee is the greed to please Krishna and the greed to please the devotees of Krishna. It is not the greed for personal aggrandizement. Envy means there is the desire for personal aggrandizement but greed for devotional service, laulyam, means the greed to please Krishna. I want to please Srila Prabhupada. I want to please the devotees. I want to please Lord Caitanya. I want to please the six Goswamis. Then where is the envy? There is no envy there.
Question 9: I have heard in a lecture that only Krishna is 100% pure. We can never become 100% pure. How can we get 100% relief from miseries?
Answer: Well, if they said that in a lecture, they didn’t mean it in this way. I don’t want to negate what they said in the lecture. It is not true that only Krishna is 100% pure. They must have said that, but I am saying that you misunderstood what they said in the lecture. No bona fide preacher will ever say that, because how many pure devotes are there? That means there is no such thing as a pure devotee? That means that Prabhupada is not a pure devotee. No, it is not what you heard. You didn’t properly understand either that or whoever said that was bogus and he shouldn’t have been giving the lecture, one of the two. Because the fact is that Krishna is 100% pure, and those who become 100% Krishna conscious, they are also 100% pure. Now what you may have heard and may have misunderstood is that it is sometimes said that Krishna is not purely Krishna conscious or 100% Krishna conscious. This is probably what you heard and got confused, and I will explain. How could Krishna not be fully Krishna conscious? Is it Krishna sarvajna? Isn’t that what we read in the scriptures? Krishna knows everything. So how could someone have possibly said that Krishna is not sarvajna, that He’s not the knower of everything? Well, here is how. Just as Krishna’s consciousness is unlimited, His glories are also unlimited and they are expanding unlimitedly at every second. So Krishna grasps the full extent of his unlimited glories and just as He has done so, they have expanded an infinite amount beyond what He grasped with His consciousness. Krishna’s unlimited consciousness fully grasped His unlimited glories, but now just as He has grasped the full extent of His unlimited glories, His unlimited glories have expanded even further and His con consciousness has to catch up. What this means is that Krishna never gets bored. “Well, I am fully Krishna conscious now, what else is there to do?” No. Even Krishna is becoming more and more Krishna conscious at every minute. So in that sense, even Krishna is not 100% Krishna conscious. So in that sense, the pure devotees… “Well I am fully Krishna conscious now. I have nothing else, nowhere else to grow.” Just like a businessman. The government says, “Mr. Birla, we have put a cap on how much money you can have now, no matter how hard you work. We, the government, take the extra money. You cannot keep it in your bank accounts. We put cap on your wealth. Will that discourage him from working hard? Sure, it will discourage him. The businessman is enlivened to become a millionaire. “I will become a billionaire. Let me be the first trillionaire in the modern world.” He is inspired to become more wealthy, more wealthy, more wealthy, and more wealthy. So the pure devotee is now fully Krishna conscious. Now what else is there to do? No. He can continue growing and expanding his Krishna consciousness, just as Krishna is expanding and growing His Krishna consciousness for all of eternity. The devotee is also doing that. So in that sense, Krishna is not 100% Krishna conscious nor are we 100% Krishna conscious. Maybe that’s what they said in the lecture and you misunderstood it. Ok.
Question 10: Hare Krishna, Maharaja. Dandavat Pranam. How to perform devotional service more effectively in our occupation area like we do have instructions in our scriptures to perform devotional service in home grhasta ashram in the same manner as can we that has occupation platform of devotional service?
Answer: Well, the grhasta needs to study the example of the great grhasta. See how Prabhupada engaged in his grhasta ashram. Look at Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Do you know at what time Bhaktivinoda Thakura would take rest at night? I just read a lecture by Prabhupada the other day. Bhaktivinoda Thakura would come home from the office at 5 pm. Of course, he has pretty good working hours. How many of you get off at 5? 9 to 5 used to be the standard in the US also. But it is now 8 in the morning until 9. It is becoming more hellish. Anyway, we can still see that Bhaktivinoda Thakura’s example. He would get off work at 5. He would go home. What time did he take rest? At 7 pm he would take rest. He would get five hours of sleep and get up at midnight. All those nice books he wrote, hundreds of books, and all those songs, where did they come from? At midnight, he would start writing. We may not be able to get off from work at 5 o’clock, and I am sure he had much mellower commute than most people here in Delhi. The same principles you apply according to your situations. Go to bed as early as possible and get up as early as possible. That’s the key. Many people write to me. They say, “Well I have to chant my japa on the commute and then here in the office.” What you really have to do if you want to taste the nectar of Krishna consciousness is to have meditative japa, not on the bus or while you are driving, one hand in the bead bag and one hand on the steering wheel: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Or the clicker thing. I can’t even just put hand in the bead bag any more. Prabhupada said, “chant around the beads” right there in the Bhagavad gita purport. That means around beads. I may not be very educated. I didn’t graduate from college. But even though I am not very educated, I know that around the beads means around the beads. It’s simple. Even a person who didn’t get a college degree can understand. Of course, I’ve got a much better degree. This is my degree. Prabhupada put this thread on me. This is my degree, much better than the University of Texas. So a householder should arrange his life in such a way he can go to bed early as early as possible and get up as early as possible. Prabhupada says ideally your rounds should be finished before sunrise, because the brahma muhurta is the time for meditation, in the early morning, before the sun rises. Once the day comes, there is the phone ringing. The mobile phones are going off. You are chanting your rounds and phone goes off. Some rascal solicitation call, all these distractions. One distraction after another distraction. But the brahma muhurta is the time when there are no distractions. So do yourself a favor. Go to bed as early as possible and get up as early as possible and have as many qualitative rounds as you possibly can before sunrise. And if you have qualitative japa there in the early morning, that means you are now connected with Krishna and that means when you head out into Delhi you will be connected to Krishna, that means when you get to the office you will be connected with Krishna, and that means when you come home from the office you will still be connected with Krishna. Would you leave your home without your mobile phone being charged? You make sure you charge your mobile phone everyday so that you don’t miss that important call in the middle of the afternoon. All I am saying is to give your consciousness as much respect as you are giving to your mobile phone. Do you understand? Give your consciousness as much respect as you give to your mobile phone. You charge your mobile phone so it doesn’t go dead. So now you make sure you give your consciousness a good charge every morning and what is the battery charger? Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. And what is the wire that plugs into the powerhouse? Your japa beads. Your japa beads are the electrical connection that connects you to the powerhouse. Do you know that those beads handed to you by your spiritual master have bhakti sakti in them and the more you chant on those beads the more they become empowered with bhakti sakti? So chant on those beads in the morning as much as you can. Go deep as much as you can into the ocean of the name, the nama sindhu, the nectarian ocean of the name. Go deep-sea diving everyday in the morning, then you will have perfect grhasta life, perfect brahmacari life, perfect vanaprastra life, perfect sannyasa life. Whatever ashram, whatever varna you may be in. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is how deeply you take shelter of the name, how much you connect with the name. If you connect with the name then you are mahatma. You become mahatma; you connect with that name. mahatmanas tu mam partha. This is the verse which follows the verse in which Krishna says satatam kirtayanto mam, “always chanting my glories.” So if you learn how to take shelter of the name, you become mahatma, and Krishna says that such mahatmas are under the protection of the divine nature. “They fully engage themselves in My devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead original and inexhaustible.” If you connect with supreme inexhaustible Personality of Godhead, your own devotion, your own bhakti will become inexhaustible. You can be plugged into Krishna 24 hours a day without any exhaustion. You will get more and more energy. So these are some of the ideas and tips for householder life.
Question 11: Why we cannot leave our indriya seva even after taking Krishna consciousness?
Answer: Well, Prabhus and Matajis, it’s like we are very, very addicted to indriya. That’s why we have to abstain from these sense gratification things. We have to get the taste for bhakti.
“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment though the taste for sense objects remains. But ceasing such engagement by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.”
So the answer to why you are not able to, is that you have not got the higher taste. If you are not able to give up sense gratification, you simply have not got the higher taste as I quoted earlier in this seminar. The way to get the higher taste is to serve the pure devotee. If you serve the pure devotee, vasudeva katha ruci, you will get the taste and when you get that higher taste, who cares for indriya seva? Yad-avadhi mama-citah Krishna padaravinde nava nava rasa… who knows that prayer? Does anyone know the author of that prayer? Can anyone say? Raise your hand, if you know the author of that prayer. No one knows. That’s Yamunacharya Alabandara of South India. He was formerly a great king and in the old days in India, the kingly men had lots of sense gratification, so many harems, so many things, money, wealth, power, harem, so many things. Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. But now this Yamunacharya, he has become a great acharya. He has completely given up that sinful life and he says, “ever since I have been engaged in loving service of Sri Sri Radha and Krishna tasting what? nava nava rasa. ever increasing pleasure in that service. Whenever the attraction for indriya seva, namely sex pleasure, enters into my consciousness what do I do? My lips curl with the distaste and I spit.” So you become expert at spitting. As soon as you notice some lusty, greedy, angry, illusioned, mad or envious thought enter your brain, immediately spit it out your brain, “Get out of here, rascal! I don’t want you around. I don’t need any. I don’t need any ofKali’s influence affecting my consciousness.” So in this way, you can repel these attacks of the desire for sense enjoyment by getting the taste of the sweet, sweet unlimitedly nectarian taste which is available in the utterance of the two syllables, ‘Krish - na’.
Question 12: Hare Krishna Maharaja, How can we avoid material contamination of going to school, college, office because the places are full of material things?
Answer: Well, you have to engage them in Krishna’s service. That’s all. The pure devotee wants to engage the whole material world in Krishna’s service. The Mayavadi wants to escape the material world out of fear of contamination but the pure devotee desires wants to engage the entire world in Krishna’s service. So you have to be in the mood of a spiritual revolutionary: “I want to revolutionize this place by engaging everyone in Krishna consciousness.” In this way you will not be contaminated.
Question 13: Hare Krishna, Maharaja. The more we hear about Krishna, the more we get realization about Krishna. I have been connected with the Krishna consciousness movement for more than twelve years. Still material engagements remain my priority.
Answer: Ok. Whoever you are, I am telling you that today is the day you turn your priorities upside down. Whoever it is, I appreciate your honesty. I cannot give the name. One nice devotee has written this wonderful question here, so my instruction to this devotee and to anybody in a similar predicament: This is the day you turn your priorities upside down, give them a flip flop. “Up to this moment, even though I have been practicing Krishna consciousness, I have prioritized material life.” Prioritize Krishna consciousness now. Today, make this resolution in front of the Deities, in front of Srila Prabhupada and in front of the Vaishnavas. Within your heart make this resolution. I dare you to do it. You can pray right now to Krishna: “My dear Lord, from this moment on please let my priority be always to please You and other things will be less important for me now on. I don’t care either if it is family, friends, whoever they may be. My dear Lord, please bless me that from now on my priority will be to serve You.” You can pray this right now within your heart if you dare to do it. Make this commitment right now.
Question 14: What is it Question 13 makes us compromise in our spiritual values and in advance please.
Answer: Its lack of determination, that’s all. So I have come today to push you to be determined. I have come today to push you to force you to be determined. What is the example of determination? Every one knows the story of the little sparrow and that rascal ocean. It stole the sparrow’s eggs and that sparrow was so disturbed, “Give my eggs back now!” “No. Ha, ha, ha…” So that sparrow was determined, “I am going to get my eggs back. I am going ….I am going to dry up that ocean.” She took some water in her beak and she ran back to the mainland. She was deposited that water on the land. She went back down for more water. In this way running back and forth, running back and forth, exhausting herself and the rascals around were laughing, “Ha, ha, ha! Just see that stupid little bird she is going to kill herself.” Well, who is the big brother of that little sparrow? Garuda. When he heard how they were abusing his little sister, making fun of her, laughing at her, torturing her, he became very, very angry and with his full anger and force he came zooming in to that scene and he told that ocean, “You better return those eggs right now or I will dry you up!” The ocean got scared and returned the eggs because I knew Garuda has that power. So you simply must be determined. You must now become determined like that little sparrow, “I don’t want any more nonsense in my life. I don’t want any more lust. I don’t want anymore anger. I don’t want anymore greed. I don’t want anymore madness. I don’t want anymore illusion. I don’t want anymore envy. I want pure bhakti and only pure bhakti. Krishna please give it to me. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” In this way you must be determined like that little sparrow that, “I will achieve pure devotional service by begging Krishna with all my heart for as long as I have to, even if I have to go on begging for billions and billions of years. I will keep bothering Krishna with my petition for pure bhakti until He finally agrees to give it to me. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Will Krishna take it as a botheration? No. To tell you the truth it will be sweetest music: “They are calling out to Me begging for pure bhakti, to bless them with pure bhakti.”
Question 15: While doing our material activities, we are conscious of our material responsibility, then how can we fully surrender to Lord Krishna and practice pure devotional service to get material existence.
Answer: Yad karosi yad….. Krishna is answering your question, “Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer and give away, as well as whatever austerities you may perform, do that as an offering unto Me.” So let me ask you, are material responsibilities an austerity? Are they an austerity? Yes. It’s a austerity. You are in the middle of something and nature calls. Who wants to get up to pass stool? It’s a botheration, isn’t it? You are doing it for Krishna, so your body can remain healthy. So you can serve Krishna nicely. Who wants to get up and go to work on Monday morning? You need the money so you can maintain a Krishna conscious life nicely and you can support the movement. Theres austerities, the bodily necessities, if you do them for Krishna then you are transcendentally situated.
Question 16: If one does not get the association of pure devotee and get the chance to serve them what should one do?
Answer: Well, if you cannot connect with them externally then you should invite them to live in your heart. Pure devotees are very merciful. If you give your hear to the pure devotees, they will give their hearts to you. So if you cannot be in their physical presence, then you invite them to come and live in your heart. Then you can constantly associate with them within your heart by remembering them, by doing what pleases them with your thoughts, words and deeds in all times, places and circumstances. My spiritual master is not present on this planet so how can I maintain my enthusiasm? By connecting with him within my heart, by living under his orders, then Prabhupada will agree to come and live in my heart. I can live in his heart and he can live in my heart. In this way I can always be in his constant presence. So this is how we have to associate with the devotees. If they are not physically there, you should connect with them within your heart by always thinking, speaking and acting in such a way that is pleasing to them.
Question 17: How should a devotee tackle the office place which is full of non-devotees doing injustice to each other’s interior growth?
Answer: Well in the work place, you are like Arjuna on the battlefield, and being Arjuna, being the devotee in the battlefield, did not mean that he would not kill the enemies. Arjuna had to be aggressive on the battlefield. He didn’t want to be aggressive on the battlefield. It’s nice that the devotees don’t want to be aggressive in the work place. Now such a devotee is in Arjuna’s consciousness, the early Arjuna consciousness at the beginning of the Bhagavad gita: “I don’t want to be aggressive because I am a devotee.” Wait a minute… What do you want in the office? You are there to make money, so you should be aggressive. Arjuna was on the battlefield to kill the enemies.So the point was that instead of thinking, “I don’t want to kill the enemies. Let me just be a devotee.” No. Kill the enemies as a devotee for the pleasure of Krishna. Now be aggressive in the office to be successful in the office for Krishna. To say, “Well, I don’t want to be aggressive in the office because I am a devotee,” that’s mayavadi consciousness. You should be aggressive in the office. Wherever the devotee is, he should be the leader in any sphere of activity, in every sphere: in business, in education, in the arts, in music and in poetry, politics. In every single sphere of life, the devotee should be the leader. Yad yad acarati srestas… “Whatever a great man does the common people follow in his footsteps. Whatever standard he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” So wherever you are, you should be the leader. You should manifest leadership qualities in every sphere: in business, in education, in social dealings, within your family. If the husband doesn’t want to be a pure devotee and the wife is a devotee, the wife should be the leader. Normally the husband is the leader and the wife is to follow, but if the husband is not Krishna conscious and if the wife is Krishna conscious, she should be the leader. If the parents are not Krishna conscious and if the children are, then the children should be the leaders. We saw that many years ago in our Houston temple. In the old days in America, we were all Americans. There were no Indian people who were members of our movements, but gradually a few joined and it spread. Now we have mostly Indian members of ISKCON also in North America. For the first Indian family who joined our Houston temple, we were all American brahmacaris and a few householders, all American youngsters. They were basically in their twenties and one Indian family found out about the temple and came and they were really amazed. A Gujarati family. Anyway they were still attracted to material culture. So there is a big football event every year called Super Bowl in the US. It’s a big thing. Everybody watches TV then. So they say, “This Sunday we are not going to the temple because it is the Super Bowl. We are going to stay home and watch the Super Bowl on TV. One of the children said, “No! I want to go to the temple. I don’t want to see the Super Bowl. I want to go to the temple.” He was so determined that the family had to turn off the TV and come to the temple because the child wanted to come to the temple. The family knew actually, “He is right, but we want to watch the Super Bowl. We don’t want to miss the excitement of the Super Bowl.” So the child, he became the leader. The whole family had to go to the temple. So even if the child is Krishna conscious and the parents are not Krishna conscious and the whole family was a member of the temple, but the children were more Krishna conscious than their parents and they drag them. That child dragged the whole family to the temple. So the point is whatever situation you are in, you should be the leader. Krishna conscious means you are the leader. You should be the example to the whole world. And if you are at your work place for your livelihood, if you are using to support your family, to support the movement, you should be aggressive and be successful just like Arjuna was aggressive.
Question 15: How to deal with them when we see these people doing wrong?
Answer: Well, what Bhaktivinoda Thakura did… He was engaged by the British government to curb down a bogus incarnation. He took… He took a heavy position, they threw him into a wagon and they dragged him back to Jagannatha Puri and they threw him in to the prison. That’s what Bhaktivinoda Thakura did. So pure … In the office, you should take a strong position of leadership to curb down that which is improper and establish the proper atmosphere, so Krishna consciousness can thrive in the hearts of the people. If people see you and respect you as a powerful leader, they will want to know eventually what made you like you are. “You are the most amazing person I have met in my whole life. What is your secret of success? I came to this job but I am so stressed out but I see you are in a different state of consciousness than me.” So the devotees should use their work situation as an opportunity to inspire in that work place by your example of being a transcendentalist. It doesn’t mean that you are a weak person; that everybody can run over you. No. You are strong actually. The devotee is stronger than anybody and his strength is that he is doing everything for the pleasure of Krishna, not for his own sense gratification.
So our time of 10 o’clock has now come and we have another session tomorrow at 4 o’clock, from 4 to 7 tomorrow afternoon. I am going to save these questions that didn’t get answered yet.
I am giving Sunday feast lecture at East of Kailash, so is it possible… That means that 3 is too early, maybe 3:30pm to 6:30pm. Where is Vishnu Priya mataji? Where is my wife Vishnu Priya devi? I don’t want ,they want to prepone it from 3 to 6 pm. Will that be…? It is very tight. I don’t think… Do you think 3:30 will be ok? I’ll give 1 to 2 pm lecture at the Sunday feast, and then we have… Where do we take lunch? That’s not a big deal. I mean I can eat at any time. Do we have enough time to 3:30? I am letting the managers figure out the details. I am the preacher, they are my managers, my wife and my disciples who arrange my preaching, so I am just focused on the philosophy. They are the management. Let them make the decision. it has to be 4 o’clock so you all can do austerities, from 4 to 7 pm? Alright. This is the end of session number one. We have covered points one and two of the six characteristics of pure devotional service. Tomorrow we have four more points on pure devotional service to be covered and lot more wonderful questions to be answered. So now everyone please be determined from this point on for all eternity that your every thought, your every word, your every deed will simply be for the pleasure of Krishna and not for any material sense gratification.
Thank you very much. Pure devotional service ki jai! Srila Prabhupada ki jai!
Transcribed by Bhaktin Shobha Parek