Lecture: Srimad Bhagavatam 7.3.20
Denver, Colorado - 19 January 2005
- 19 January 2005
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
Srimad-Bhagavatam Canto Seven, Chapter 3, Hiranyakasipu's Plan to Become Immortal, Text number 20.
vyavasayena te 'nena
vyavasayena -- by determination; te -- your; anena -- this; dushkarena -- difficult to perform; manasvinam -- even for great sages and saintly persons; tapah-nishthena -- aimed at executing austerity; bhavata -- by you; jitah -- conquered; aham -- I; diti-nandana -- O son of Diti.
Translation and purport by His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada.
My dear son of Diti, with your great determination and austerity you
have done what was impossible even for great saintly persons, and thus I
have certainly been conquered by you.
In regard to the word jitah, Srila Madhva Muni gives the following quotation from the Sabda-nirnaya: parabhutam vasa-stham ca jitabhid ucyate budhaih. "If one comes under someone else's control or is defeated by another, he is called jitah." Hiranyakasipu's austerity was so great and wonderful that even Lord Brahma agreed to be conquered by him.
I was in the darkest darkness of ignorance, but by beloved spiritual master, His Divine Grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Tridandi Gosvami Maharaja Prabhupada came to me so mercifully. He is forcing my eyes open with this torchlight of transcendental knowledge. My eternal obeisances at his lotus feet.
It is quite interesting to note here that Brahmaji has been conquered Someone else may think, well this is pretty good. I will also conquer Brahmaji. I will go to the Rocky Mountains, and I will try to imitate Hiranyakasipu, so I can conquer Brahmaji. But, as we find out, as this saga unfolds, that Brahmaji is not as powerful as Hiranyakasipu thought he was. He was unable to provide the boon desired by Hiranyakasipu. So, it turns out srama eva hi kevalam. Even for his material desire, it turned out to be useless labor for him. All these austerities he had done, standing on his tiptoes for 125 years. It was a complete waste actually. Simply waste.
Because, when he wanted immortality and Brahmaji said I can not give you immortality, because I do not have it, then Hiranyakasipu thought he would use what he felt was his superior intelligence to get immortality anyway, he said I will not be killed in the day or the night. Bless me that I will not be killed by any man or any beast. I will not be killed inside or outside, or on the land or in the air. So many many many conditions he was giving. And he thought, now, I've got it covered. I've covered every single possible base, so, surely now I'm immortal. Even thought Brahmaji said no, now I have gotten it anyway by my superior intelligence. But guess what. Srama eva hi kevalam.
He schemed and plotted and he did so many austerities for what? Simply to be killed. Instead of trying to conquer over Brahmaji, or any other thing that we may try to conquer over, in this material world there are so many tiny Hiranyakasipus, and they're all doing various austerities and penances, of course to a much smaller degree, to try and conquer some way. Whether its in politics, whether its in business whatever field it may be. Interpersonal relationships. Everyone is trying to come to that supreme position. Indeed, that is the very disease which brought us here to this material world to begin with, the desire to be the supreme.
Until we become spotlessly pure devotees, to the degree that we are not completely surrendered to Krishna, we're still contaminated with the desire to be the supreme. So, we should honestly admit that to ourselves, realize it about ourselves, that we are actually in a diseased state of consciousness right now. We should be a little humble, actually very very humble. We shouldn't walk around thinking that we're great, that no one can tell me anything. That I'm beyond being instructed. We should not think like that. We see practically that those devotees who are the most advanced are more willing to be instructed. I'll give you a very graphic example in this connection.
One time, Prabhupada had gone to the airport. You may have heard it, but its a nice story that bears repeating. Prabhupada was at the airport. All the devotees of course were there surrounding him. You know how it was. Everyone came to the airport to see Prabhupada off. Nobody wanted to miss the nectar of being at the airport to see Prabhupada off. It was absolutely packed with devotees. Of course, that was the old days before the terrorists, and the high-jacking. You could go right up to the gate. All the devotees were there at the gate. You didn't have to clear security in those days because there was no security in the airport. The only thing you needed was a ticket to get on the plane, and other than that it was free access for everyone. There was a huge crowd of devotees there.
There were so many devotees, they were blocking everything. No one could get through the area because it was completely solid-packed with devotees. The airport officials were in complete anxiety. What to do? What to do? We have a congestion problem here. Our customers can't get through, what to do? So they went up to the devotees and said Can you please move? Can you please move? Nobody was going to move one foot away from Prabhupada. Everybody was camped out with their spot as close as possible to Srila Prabhupada. Not one devotee was going to budge one inch away from Prabhupada.
They didn't care what authority or what policeman says anything. I'm camped out here. I'm having my darsana of Srila Prabhupada and I don't care what you say. I'm staying right here. It was very perplexing. They couldn't get the devotees to move. They just couldn't do it. So, finally they came to Rupanuga, who was the GBC and they asked him and he, being in that position, he had to do something, so he finally just stood up on a chair and made an announcement. All the devotees should leave the area immediately. But still, nobody was moving. Everybody was just staying there.
There was only one devotee who took the instruction. You know who that was? Prabhupada. Prabhupada stood up, Oh all devotees should leave? I'm one of the devotees, so I have to leave. The GBC had made an instruction, all devotees should leave the area. I have to obey the GBC. Prabhupada thinks he's one of the members of iskcon, and has to obey the GBC's instructions. So, he got up to leave the area. It shows you that those who are more advanced, they are more willing to follow instruction than those who are less advanced. If you want to show yourself to be a neophyte devotee, then just be very stubborn to follow instructions. Be very very stubborn to follow instructions from your superiors. Those who are the most surrendered to following the instructions of their superiors, they are the most advanced devotees.
Prabhupada trained me personally. He wrote me a letter from Paris. He said follow whatever instructions you receive from your temple authority without question. Period. Just follow the instruction, period. That's how Prabhupada trained me. And I did that. I've always done that, and that has kept me, in spite of all the ups and downs that one normally goes through. It has kept me here solidly for 35 years. Its one of those insider's tips that I like to give. If you want to know the secret of how to make it in Krishna consciousness. Be subservient and obedient to your authority. That's how Prabhupada trained me. There's a lot of counter propaganda against our movement, against our leaders, by former, disgruntled members. They want us to follow them, instead of the leadership of iskcon. [aside: sorry, don't sleep in class please. If you're having a hard time, stand up.] Prabhupada made it very clear to us. He said that you should never leave this society that he created. He says, even if you find it intolerable, you should not leave. Actually, there's nothing intolerable in the association of devotees, but if you think its intolerable, still you should not leave. Prabhupada told us that actually it is our mental conception if we think its intolerable. Simply our mental conception. Even if your mind is telling you this is an intolerable situation, you should not leave. That's how Prabhupada trained us.
If we can stick to these programs, you're not going to be a conqueror over Brahma. You may say its an austerity. But Sankarshan prabhu, that's such an austerity. How can you expect me to always do that. To be surrendered to my authority. How can you ask me to do that? Its a great austerity. Even if you do that, you're not going to conquer Brahma, but I can guarantee you that you're going to be one who conquers over Krishna. Krishna is known as ajita, He who is completely unconquerable. But, if you actually surrender fully to Krishna through the guru parampara system, then I absolutely guarantee you that that day will come when you will conquer Krishna. Why conquer Brahma, who can't make you immortal, when you can conquer Krishna?
This is the program that this Krishna consciousness society is offering you. A system, a technique, a discipline, a society, a program which will enable you to personally conquer the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Can you imagine if Krishna became your personal property? That person who not a blade of grass can move without His sanction, that person who absolutely controls everything, owns everything, just imagine if He's your personal property. What would be your position? How opulent, how powerful, how unlimitedly auspicious that position is? If you do the austerity of following this program that Prabhupada has given us, if you simply agree to do this austerity, to do it purely, to not deviate, to be a strict devotee, if you sincerely do this, then I absolutely guarantee that day will come when Krishna will manifest Himself to you personally, and you will actually conquer over Him. Just like Mother Yasoda, or Arjuna. I guarantee it. That's what Prabhupada has taught us. Its not my personal guarantee. I'm just passing on Prabhupada's guarantee How fortunate we are, and how sublime is this Krishna consciousness. How sublime is this Krishna consciousness movement.
One time, one of our Godbrothers asked Srila Prabhupada, what happens when we give somebody a simply wonderful on the street? Srila Prabhupada said, he will take that wonderful sweet, and he will come to your temple, and he will become simply wonderful. Then Prabhupada continued to speak. He was enlivened by that question. He said, Krishna is simply wonderful. This process of Krishna consciousness is simply wonderful, and you are all simply wonderful. Then, one devotee said, Prabhupada is simply wonderful. Prabhupada said that's alright, have kirtana. (laughs)
If you will simply stick with this simply wonderful process of Krishna consciousness, it will be like eating the most wonderful gulabjamun at every second. The unlimited, ultimate gulabjamun. Eternally relishing the eternal gulabjamun. Simply wonderful Krishna consciousness. We should develop a deaf ear to all these critics who are telling us to leave iskcon, that the leaders are no good, there's been so many fall downs, therefore you shouldn't obey the leadership of iskcon, you shouldn't listen to your temple president, you should tell your guru to take a hike. You shouldn't listen to all this counter propaganda. Its simply poison. This counter propaganda needs to be stamped out very solidly because its the worst enemy of our movement actually. This counter propaganda telling us not to follow the leadership of iskcon.
What can I say? Prabhupada ordered me to follow the leadership. There is a mechanism in our society if one feels that leaders are not doing the right thing, there's a mechanism. This year in Mayapura, they have an open forum. Any devotee who wants to make a presentation to the GBC body is welcome to do that. You just report at such a time, give your name to the Sgt. At Arms, and you're on the agenda to speak to the whole GBC body. Just like in the old days, any citizen could go to the king and make a complaint. The king would openmindedly consider if it was a just or an unjust complaint, and would take proper action. So, the GBC has that facility now at the annual meeting. You can go, make your presentation to the GBC body, that this is not going proper in our society, this needs to be adjusted in this way, and if its a just complaint they will act on it. Or you can also submit a written proposal for GBC resolutions. Any devotee can put forward a proposal for GBC resolutions.
We're working together, as a body of devotees throughout the world, to establish a perfect society. So, please, if you feel something needs to be done to improve the society, then make your realization known. We're all working together to try to make Prabhupada's mission a success, and its our duty of every single member, as we've been saying, as in the Indian Railways, its the duty of every member to see that the wheel of the train is turning, its the duty of every member of iskcon, to see that this society is successful in inundating the world with Krishna consciousness. So, kindly take up this mood of responsibility to work cooperatively and responsibly to see that this society is successful, and does, in fact, inundate the world.
This sort of meditation, if you take it very seriously in your heart, this will keep you purely fixed in Krishna consciousness. Lord Krishna has given us the order that you must surrender to Me.
Sarva dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja
We have to surrender fully to him. Prabhupada has explained that in the kali-yuga that [aside: open your eyes. I want to make sure you're not sleeping. You mentioned the speaker's eye contact, I would like to have the listener's eye contact also, to make sure you're with us, and not drifting off somewhere.] Prabhupada explains that in this kali-yuga, that instruction of Krishna, to surrender to Me, he says that order in the kali-yuga takes the form of
yare dekha tare kaha krsna-upadesa. Become a guru and deliver the people of this country. Taking responsible position in this movement to see that it is successful in awakening the fallen conditioned souls, that is how we surrender. That is our surrender to Krishna, to take the responsible position, that I have to take my responsible duty to see that this preaching movement is successful. Every single member should be seeing how this movement can be successful. It doesn't matter if one is a child, an old person, a woman, a man, a brahmacari, a sannyasi, a grhasta, just those who are members also, they should become responsible too. Everyone should take the responsibility to see that this movement is a grand success. That is our surrender to Krishna. That is our practical program for surrendering to Krishna. Kindly do that. This is what Prabhupada wants. Kindly do this, and I can guarantee you, every minute of your life will be absolutely ecstatic, if you do this.
Are there any questions?
Guest 1: I've read Bhagavad-Gita myself, and somethings, I just can't get to connect. Is there a time of day where people get together and go through the Bhagavad-Gita?
SDA: While I've been here, I've been giving a whole lecture series on the Bhagavad-Gita. But its over now. You could've come every evening and we could've certainly answered all of your questions. But, you can write me. I have my email address, and the devotees here also can help you.
Guest 1: I do not live too far from here.
SDA: What you can do is write all of your questions down, and give it to one of the senior devotees here, and they'll be happy to answer them for you. We're here just to serve you. That's all were here for, otherwise we'd all be in Vrindavan. But, we've made Vrindavana here with kirtana, prasadam, nice Deity worship, just so you can experience the sublime atmosphere of Krishna consciousness So, kindly come, or we'll all just leave for Vrindavan. Kindly bother us with all of your questions, we'll take it as a great blessing.
Guest 1: There is such faith here, which I am looking forward to.
SDA: Yes, it is faith, but it is not blind faith.
Guest 1: No.
SDA: Our faith is based on knowledge When you get in an automobile, you have your knowledge and experience that this looks like a safe automobile. If it looks like an old bomb trap, you may not want to get in that automobile to go for a ride. You put faith in that automobile, but its based on knowledge, because you know what is a safe automobile, and what is a dangerous automobile. If the door's falling off the hinges, you may not want to go for a ride in the car. If its backfiring, and flames are shooting out the exhaust pipe, you may not want to get in that car because you have some knowledge of what is a safe car and what is a dangerous car.
Our faith is not blind. Its based on knowledge. We have vedic knowledge.
Guest 1: After I started to read it, it got confusing. Like there was something missing.
SDA: What you have to do is put forward every single question you have. When I was coming to this movement, I was also sometimes confused. There's a lot of information here. What I was told was that you have to have your intelligence fully satisfied. Visnujana Maharaja told me that. Blind following is not allowed here. We don't allow anybody to be blind follower because this is not a brainwash cult. This is a movement for the most highly intelligent class of people on this planet. We want your intelligence to be fully satisfied. No doubt. No blind acceptance. It should all be based on intelligent understanding. Its a process of putting the questions and getting the answers. Another question, another answer. Just keep inquiring inquiring inquiring inquiring, and listen with an open heart. Finally, that time will come when all doubts will be gone, and you'll absolutely know and understand everything perfectly and you'll surrender to Krishna's lotus feet. The process works. Do it, and you'll reap the ultimate reward.
Devotee 1: Sometimes in our preaching we tell people that this material civilization will be finished in a few years, and they reply ok, let me enjoy now.
SDA: (Laughs) Someone may say, let me enjoy now. You could do that, yes. But, you can ask them, would you rather enjoy temporarily or rather enjoy permanently? There are two types of enjoyment, they are called, in the Sanskrit language, they are called sreya and preya. Preya means that which is immediately enjoyable. This society is offering all varieties of immediate enjoyment. There are so many nightclubs, there are so many bars, there are so many hamburger stands, so many young girls now, walking around, just ready to have sex with anybody who approaches them practically. The culture has gotten them so far. You could just gratify your senses. There's full facility, especially in America. There's so much facility for sense enjoyment here. You could just go for it. Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy Enjoy. But, that is called preyas. It is immediate enjoyment. But, that enjoyment will come to an end, and then you have to pay. You have to take all the karmic reactions.
I remember this one graphic example from my own past experience of this sreyas and preyas. I remember when I was in high school in Houston Texas, very humid, especially in May. In the end of the spring semester it was so unbearably humid. In those days, there was no air conditioning in the school. That was too much pampering for the kids. We just had to gut it out in the classrooms, especially in the 5th period. Some of our cohorts, our fellow students, they thought, this isn't so cool. I'm just going to drop out. They got a job at the gas station. They got their hot rod. Come, around 5th period, we were sitting there in physics class, gutting it out in physics class with all this boring stuff about the laws of the material universe. We could hear them out there in front of the school (makes revving sound and peeling out sound.) Burning rubber up and down Wigden street in front of the school, showing off to us. Ha ha ha, I'm having a great time, and you're all suffering there in 5th period. I'm enjoying like anything and you're suffering. Its a fact, we were gutting it out in physics class, and they were out there having a great time with their hot rods (continues auto sounds, laughing) But ten years later, they're still working in that damn gas station, and where are we?
For me, I'm in the Hare Krishna movement. For everybody else, they've got their college degrees, they've got a nice well payed job in an air conditioned office somewhere. Sreya and preya. If you want to get something that's really good, you have to be willing to work for it. Undergo some austerities and penances, to get it. They have sreya. In the beginning, it may be difficult sometime. You've got to do some austerities. You have a young healthy body, you could have so many girlfriends. But you restrain your senses. You practice brahmacarya. Tapasa brahmacarena. You practice brahmacarya. Your regulate your senses. What will be the result? You will conquer over sex desire in due course of time. Sex desire will no longer bother you. You'll actually conquer over it, and all that energy, instead of running around in your mind, this woman that woman, that energy will go to Krishna and will go to your spiritual master, and instead of going up and down, up and down, you'll just go straight up in your Krishna consciousness. So, its worth the austerity. A little discomfort, a little tapasya. Its worth it.
For them also, if they just want to enjoy now, they can enjoy now, that's a fact. But that enjoyment will come to an end very soon. Even if Al-Qaida doesn't come in, take nuclear weapons and blackmail the U.S. Government to surrender to Osama Bin Laden, or have all the U.S. Cities blown up by nuclear weapons, even if that doesn't happen, and it could very well happen. As soon as Al-Qaida gets hold of nuclear weapons, they could easily plant a powerful nuclear device in every city in the U.S., and call up President Bush, and say, OK George, we have a nuclear bomb, which can blow up all of New York City. You, either give in to our demands, or New York City is history. And George says No, we don't give in to terrorists. (Makes explosive sound) New York City in a mushroom cloud. 10,000,000 people killed. Then, another call, George, are you ready now to give in to our demands? Los Angeles is next on the list. George says, No, we don't negotiate with terrorists. OK. (Makes explosive sound) OK, Los Angeles goes up. At what point would the U.S. Government be forced to cave in? This indeed, could happen in the next few years.
This is why I'm encouraging every member of this movement, to take very seriously their responsibility to see that the whole world becomes Krishna conscious. I hear every morning on a tape in a lecture Prabhupada gave, he says this world right now is being managed by rogues and demons, now, you make your life perfect, and you take the management. Its really imperative at this moment in history, with this big threat from Al-Qaida. We have to get to the point where the high court judges in this country are wearing tilaka. This is serious, its not just some pie in the sky thing. We have to get very serious about becoming absolutely pure in our practice of Krishna consciousness, and preaching very boldly to everyone we meet so that actually the world can be saved from some horrible things that can happen if these Al-Qaida's take over. My understanding is that our Krishna consciousness movement is the only thing that can stop the forward march of this terrorism. I don't see anything else that has the power to stop it, personally. If there is something else that the U.S. Government has up its sleeve to put a stop to it, I don't know. They have been trying for so many years to catch Osama Bin Laden without any success. From my perspective, I can't see anything that can solve the problems of the world except for Krishna consciousness. The United Nations have been trying since the late '50's, and they haven't done it. I don't see anything else that can solve the problems of the world.
Prabhu, you're a senior devotee, is there anything else that can solve the problems of the world? I don't see anything. If you have something better than Krishna consciousness, I'll give up Krishna consciousness. I'll give up Prabhupada and Krishna, and I'll become you're disciple. If you can show me something better than Krishna consciousness, I'll give up Krishna consciousness. But, I've been making this challenge for 35 years and no one has shown me anything better. So far as I have seen, there's nothing like this Krishna consciousness movement. there's nothing like this Krishna consciousness philosophy. It will solve all of my problems. It will solve all the world's problems. So, I'm remaining 100% dedicated to Prabhupada's mission, and requesting that all of you must do this. You must do this. Otherwise, you're just fools and rascals if you don't do this. Anyway. (audience laughs) Thank you very much.
Devotee 2: As a responsible member of iskcon, how do you discriminate between correcting a problem, and fault finding?
SDA: I may think, in my conditioned state that if my senses are not being gratified, then that's wrong, for example. I'm not being given enough facility. One devotee came to visit a temple, he wanted to do something there. He was on his own independent program and he said that the temple authorities are not cooperating with me. He was finding fault. But actually, it was he who was not cooperating with the temple authorities. There is a tendency that we may think, well I want to rectify this problem in iskcon, the problem is that they're not cooperating with me. How does one become enabled to see things purely and clearly that I'm not clouded by my own selfish desires, in how I think this society can be improved? That's an excellent question.
That question was answered the other night in our Bhagavad-Gita class.
To those who are constantly devoted to worshiping Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
It really boils down to our sincerity. If we're sincere just to completely surrender to Krishna, I haven't come to this movement to get some material facility, I've come here simply to be a humble servant of the Lord, and accept whatever facility He provides for me. That's up to Him. If Krishna wants to embrace me, or leave me broken hearted by His absence, still He is my worshipful Lord, unconditionally. Whatever Krishna provides for me, I accept it as His mercy upon me. If He gives me unlimited facility, or if He gives me no facility. That is the mood of purity. We have to come to that mood of purity. I don't have any demands for myself. I have no personal demands, I simply want serve Krishna and accept whatever arrangement he provides for me. If we're in that spirit, then we will have the proper vision to discriminate. What needs to be rectified in the society. We don't have any personal motivation. We're simply motivated by what will please Prabhupada, what will make this movement a success. We have to come to that pure platform of total surrender, and then, Krishna will bless us with the proper intelligence.
OK then, we'll stop here. This is my opportunity to thank each and every one of you for the wonderful kindness and hospitality you've shown to myself and my wife, Visnupriya devi dasi. We're very indebted for all the sweet loving kindness to these wayward souls. Please, give us your blessings that we can be Krishna conscious. Hare Krishna.
Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Dasa