om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
Srimad-Bhagavatam, first canto, chapter 2, text number 16.
O twice-born sages, by serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service, one gains affinity for hearing the messages of Vasudeva.
Purport by His Divine Grace, Srila Prabhupada:
SDA: So, thatís why weíre all here, did you know that? Each one of us revolted against God. We became so envious and so crazy, so proud that we revolted against Krishna. We rebelled. Weíre rebels. We revolted against the Lord, so thatís why weíre here.
SDA: This is not some story book. Itís a fact. Thereís a famous person in India, I wonít name him, but he has a big asrama, the big government leaders come to him and bow down at his feet. He has followers all over the world. They declare that he is God. They worship him as God. This so-called guru is actually a demon. His followers are also demons. If you follow a demon, you become a demon. Whatever you follow, thatís what you become like. If youíre following a demon, you become a demon.
SDA: The last incarnation, according to the revealed scriptures is Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and the next is Kalki Avatara. We have seen some persons claiming now that they are Kalki Avatara. It is also being claimed by some Muslims that Elijah Mohammad was Kalki Avatara, and that therefore all the Hindus have to follow Mohammad; otherwise they are not proper Hindus. Thereís one thing wrong with this idea. Kalki Avatara is scheduled to come in another 427,000 years.
Anybody whoís claiming to be an incarnation like Kalki Avatara or claiming that someone else is the incarnation of Kalki Avatara is completely in the dark. Kalki Avatarais not coming for another 427,000 years. We were in the Laundromat. There was a poster of Maitreya. He was declared to be the incarnation, Kalki. He has now appeared. We immediately understood that this Maitreya is simply bogus, and the followers are bogus because they didnít get their time schedule correct.
Vishnu Priya Mataji: He has a website.
SDA: In the United States they have an air security system. Every aircraft travelling within US airspace has to be scheduled and authorized. If some airplane enters the US airspace without proper clearance, authorization, what do they do? They give it a warning. You land now under our direction. If they donít follow, they can shoot it down.
In the same way, if some incarnation enters into the airspace, and he is not scheduled, we can first of all ask him to desist from this pseudo-incarnation propaganda, and if he does not, then we can shoot him down. Not literally; philosophically he has to be defeated.
SDA: This is a fault we see among the sahajiyas. Those who take Krishna-bhakti very cheaply want to immediately jump to Radha and Krishna. They think, "Why should we worship the spiritual master? We donít want to hear about guru. We only hear about Radha and Krishna." But that is not the instruction coming in the revealed scriptures. The revealed scriptures tell us that we can give more pleasure to the Lord by worshiping His devotee than by worshipping Him directly.
They do not hear from the revealed scripture. They hear from the sahajiyas who give some cheap process of meditating on what your rasa is in the spiritual world. Youíre just supposed to imagine 'that Iím a gopi. Iím doing this and that.' At the same time, what are they doing? Theyíre having illicit sex. A gopiís having illicit sex. Actually Krishna did not do such things. Weíre imitating Radha and Krishna, having illicit sex. But Radha and Krishna donít do such a thing. The actual process is described here. You can please God more by serving His servant than by serving Him directly.
SDA: So we have to develop an eagerness to hear, to lay aside all other considerations and simply hear the glories of the Lord. Because our minds are so distracted by material thoughts, it is sometimes difficult to do that. Weíre thinking in so many ways about material sense gratification. How will we get that affinity for hearing? That is given in this verse.
By serving those devotees who are completely freed from all vice, great service is done. By such service, one gains affinity for hearing the messages of Vasudeva.
SDA: This is another one of those insiderís secrets on the path of bhakti. You simply have to find a devotee who is free from all vice, whoís actually pure, with no ulterior motive, whoís strictly following the process of Krishna bhakti. You simply have to find such a devotee and dedicate yourself to serving that person. That surrendered service to that devotee of the Lord actually is your ticket into the realm of absorbed hearing of Krishna.
You should find such a person whoís completely free from all vice and become his disciple. Fully dedicate yourself to that person. That dedication, that mood of giving service to that person will enable you to derive the deep, deep, deep satisfaction to experience deep, deep, deep realizations while you chant the Hare Krishna mantra, while you study the Vedic scriptures, while you hear the description of the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. This is actually the key.
Persons who say, "I donít want to worship guru, I just want to worship Krishna," they can never even enter into the actual hearing of Krishnaís pastimes. They say "I just want to hear about Krishna," but actually they canít even really hear about Krishna. That hearing doesnít penetrate the heart. The heart has to melt by submission to the servant of the Lord. Thatís what allows the heart to melt. Otherwise, theyíre not really hearing pure Krishna katha even. The full-blown manifestation of Krishna is not happening in their hearts. Unless you can be respectful, surrendered and submissive to the servants of the Lord, who are free from all vice, then you cannot go anywhere spiritually. This is the sum and substance of this verse. We hope that you will all take it very seriously and not remain in this material existence.
How long have you suffered in the cycle of birth and death? Do you know? You wouldnít want to know. Itís too frightening. If we could remember all the births and deaths weíve had in this material world, it would just be horrible. Some people ask, "If Iíve had previous lifetimes, why canít I remember them?" Just be glad that you donít. We went through so many nightmarish conditions. Can you imagine being a centipede, or a baboon, an orangutan, a snake? What would it be like to be a snake, crawling out on the grass?
Some people who went through 9/11 and survived are still going to see psychologists for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. People who go through a traumatic experience suffer from psychological problems. They wake up in the middle of the night from horrible nightmares, screaming because they relive that moment. So just be glad you donít remember you previous lives. If you did you would have a very serious case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. By Krishnaís grace, weíve forgotten our previous lives. He lets us remember by the information received in the Vedic scriptures. Thatís His kindness upon us.
Some people think they want to go to a hypnotist and do past life regressions. This is a foolish waste of time.
Question 1: We revolted against the Lord, and thatís why weíre here, right Gurudeva?
Question 2: But it is also said, in the spiritual world we have full knowledge and bliss. So how could we make the foolish mistake of revolting if we were in sat-cit-ananda?
SDA: People cannot understand how that would be possible. "If Iím in the spiritual world, fully enlightened, illuminated soul, purely absorbed in serving Krishna, then how in the world could I ever end up making this stupid mistake of revolting against the Lord, and being condemned to the cycle of birth and death by my foolishness?" The answer is actually very simple. Love is voluntary. If I put a gun at your head and say, "love me or Iíll shoot," can you really love me? No. Youíd just be thinking, "How I can get that gun out of his hands to save my life.
If I say, "You can love me, you can leave me, but I will give my love to you," then youíd be inspired to voluntarily give your love to me. This is what Krishna does. He could force us all to just be His little cadets."Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, yes Krishna, whatever you say, Krishna."He could program us as robots if He wanted to, but thatís no fun. Instead of having a little girl, imagine getting a little robot girl.
They have robot dogs now. You can get a robot dog that doesnít pass stool or anything. Some people get robot dogs. Itís mostly a joke. They donít get the same satisfaction as a real dog obviously. The robot dog canít show you any affection because he has no free will. Without free will you cannot show affection. You want a daughter that has free will. You can give her love, and itís up to her to reciprocate or not. When she does, then you feel very happy. If sheís just a little robot, whatís the use? Thereís no meaning in having a relationship with a robot.
Krishna therefore endows us with free will to love Him or to leave Him. Itís common sense. Then you could say, "Even though the living entity has free will, still it doesnít make sense that he would misuse it because itís such a rotten deal. How could he be so foolish to misuse it?" Looking deeper to answer that query, since there is free will, there has to be some degree of probability that it can be misused.
If you argue that there is zero probability whatsoever that free will could be misused, then that means that it doesnít really exist. For free will to exist there has to be some degree of probability that it can be misused. That probability may be very,very slight, it may be practically infinitesimal, but still that probability has to exist. If there is absolutely no possibility that one could misuse that free will, then it doesnít really exist. For free will to exist, there has to be some degree of probability that it can be misused.
In the spiritual world there is an infinite number of devotees. If you take an infinitesimal probability and apply it to an infinite number of living entities, then mathematically you derive some number of living entities who do, in fact, misuse their free will. Guess what? Youíre one of them.
Youíre part of that small infinitesimal group who made a big mistake. All of us in this material world did. We may think that this is such a big material world. Actually, our numbers here are very very small, compared to the living entities in the spiritual world. 99.99999999999999999999999999% of the living entities in spiritual world never make the stupid mistake that we did.
We are the 0.0000000000000000000001% who were so stupid that we revolted against the Lord. In the future, you may have in your homes a number of children. As the children grow tall enough to reach the stove, youíll train them not to touch the fire, or your hand will get burned. The children will think, "Yes, we will follow our mother." But there may be one child whoís a little bit mischievous, "Oh, I donít know. I will try." He sticks his hand in the fire and goes running, crying. He burned his hand. He will not make that mistake again.
In the spiritual world, Krishna is saying, "Donít try to imitate Me. Just remain My devotee."
Practically, all the children agree, "Yes yes, Krishna is Supreme. He knows, He is our father, our Supreme master. Whatever He says, we accept." There is always going to be some number of those who think, "Well, I donít know. Maybe Iíll stick my hand in the fire." We stuck our hand in the fire and here we are in the fire of material existence.
Krishna has His safety net to catch us. This is the position. Just as the fire teaches us a lesson not to do such foolish things again, so this material, hellish condition is here to teach us that weíre not really meant be here, doing this. This is not really who we are. Weíre meant to come back to devotional service to the Lord.
Any other questions?
Question 3: Everything comes from something. Philosophy has to be applied to everything. Where does God come from?
SDA: What is that something from which Krishna comes? Krishna comes from Krishna. Krishna is self-manifested. He exists because He wants to. You are dependent on Krishna for your existence, but He is not. He is self-manifested. Thatís the difference.
That self-manifestation distinguishes Krishna from everything else that exists within reality. There are two categories, energetic and energy. Krishna is the energetic source of all that exists. There are two things that exist only: Krishna and Krishnaís energy. Thereís the energetic and the energy, thatís all.
If thereís any source for Krishna, it must be Krishna. Actually, Lord Brahma says anadir adir: Krishna has no origin and He is the origin. If you demand to know that Krishna must also have an origin, then His origin is Krishna. He doesnít originate anywhere else. Heís self-manifested. You are not. Krishna is self-manifested and everything else is Krishna-manifested. So, actually everything is Krishna-manifested. Krishna is Krishna-manifested, and everything else is Krishna-manifested. All that exists is Krishna-manifested.
You are part of Krishnaís lila, absolutely. Thereís nothing happening within reality except krishna-lila. The whole thing is krishna-lila. Youíre existing in krishna-lila right now. This day, February 7th, 2005 is part of krishna-lila. Youíre living in krishna-lila. Everything is krishna-lila. Bell-South, everything. They just havenít realized it. The city of Birmingham, itís all krishna-lila. The government builds a prison. Thatís part of the activities of the government.
Now, weíre in Krishnaís prison. This is part of His pastimes. Of course, it is not His intimate pastimes. He has His expanded Vishnu forms and demigods who are servants of Vishnu. They take charge of this part of His pastime. This is not the sweet part of His pastimes. Those who are intelligent go back to Goloka Vrindavana. Thatís where the sweet pastimes are going on.
Question 4: Sastra says that Kalki avatara will come in 427,000 years. Does that mean that Krishna is bound by the scriptures?
SDA: Krishna is not bound by scriptures. He can do anything and everything that He wants. The scriptures are coming from Him, and therefore He follows them for our sake, to set an example, to keep things in order. Actually, Heís not under the authority of scriptures, they are His manifestation, but He does act in accordance with them so that we are not bewildered and confused. Having compassion upon us, He acts in accordance with the revealed scriptures, which are coming from Him.
The government has given laws to keep to the right. The policemen are the government. Theoretically, they can do whatever they want, but as a general rule, they follow the traffic laws also. Otherwise, it would be very bewildering if the police kept to the left, instead of the right, if they drove down the sidewalk instead of in the street. Of course, India is a whole other world, but weíre talking about America. In India, anything goes. Everybody can do whatever they want. Just keep honking. Thatís the rule in India. As long as youíre honking, youíre ok. You can do whatever you want as long as you keep honking that horn, youíre fine. But America is more regulated.
Although the government men can theoretically do whatever they want, they generally follow the laws themselves. Krishna can do whatever He wants. Heís not bound by the scriptures, but He generally follows them to keep things in order.
Question 5: How do you cope with disasters in life? Like recently the Somali disaster which we call a natural disaster. How should a Krishna devotee react to those kind of incidents?
SDA: A devotee naturally feels very saddened. A Vaisnava has genuine deep compassion for the suffering condition of all living entities within this material world. He is not just thinking about himself, but his heart is always bleeding with compassion. Heís feeling great pain within his heart to see the suffering condition in this material world. The difference between a Vaisnava and an mundane philanthropist, who is also feeling sorry for the poor, and helping them in different ways, is that the Vaisnava understands the root cause of the difficulty. He has enlightened wisdom as to what is the root cause.
Why did the tsunami come? Other people say, "We donít know why it came, itís just nature. Letís cope with it as best we can by giving a lot of welfare, sending a lot of money and food." Of course, ISKCON is there too, now in Sri Lanka doing much better welfare work than anyone else. Other people are giving people raw food, and asking them to cook it themselves, or theyíre giving things that people donít like, not their traditional diet. But devotees are there cooking things, giving hot food according to what people like to eat, according to their culture, so actually, even materially speaking, ISKCON is doing the best welfare work for the tsunami victims right now.
The Hungarian government donated $20,000 to help ISKCON offer food relief to tsunami victims. Anyway, thatís one level, but the ultimate level is that the devotee understands better than anyone else. A devotee knows, and others do not know why this tsunami came to begin with. The tsunami came because of the huge accumulation of sin on this planet. Such disasters do not come out of the blue, or without cause, without reason.
They come as a reaction to a huge accumulation sinful activities. It is the law of karma. In my e-course, when I stated this, you wouldnít believe how much protest I got. People just couldnít accept it. I got e-mail after e-mail after e-mail arguing. I had to ponder this very deeply why people canít understand this point that the laws of karma are causing all these things to happen. Then I realized that people donít realize actually how sinful we are as a human society right now. They donít realize how sinful we are.
If you and I went to the grocery store to pick up some vegetables and I came to you in a state of absolute shock and told you, "They killed your mother and they cut her body up and theyíre selling it here in the store!" Wouldnít you be in a state of shock? "They killed my mother!? They cut her body up, theyíre selling it in the store, wrapped it up in plastic and are selling it for $2.95 lb. People are taking it home, cooking it and eating it?" Wouldnít you be shocked? Well, thatís what theyíre doing here, every day. The cow is our mother. These activities are going on, but we donít think a thing of it. "Let me get my fruits and vegetables. Some rice, whatever it is." We go home. We donít even think that my mother was just murdered and they are selling her body in the meat department. Theyíre eating her body.
Even we devotees, who read these books, are so conditioned. Weíre desensitized to the horrors that are going on. In one sense itís good. How could we function and do our everyday work? It would be difficult in one sense, to even function. Weíd be in total shock. How could they do this? In one sense it is good, so we can carry on. But, actually itís absolutely, unbelievably horrible. Whatís happening every day in the grocery store is like 9/11.
Everybody was so shocked when 9/11 happened. Thatís whatís going on every day at the grocery store. 9/11 is happening, and we just think, "Life is normally going on. Everything is fine."
We say "Hello" to the people."How are you doing?"
In the meantime, 9/11 is happening right now. Right there in the store. Theyíre cutting up my mother. Tsunamis are coming because our sinful activities are being committed each and every day throughout the entire planet.
Question 6: Is 9/11 the result of the sinful activities happening in this part of the country? Are the people who committed the act pardonable?
SDA: 9/11 is definitely a reaction for sinful activities. These are all reactions for sinful activities. Of course they are not pardoned. Just because they were used by the material nature as the agents of delivering karmic reactions does not free them from the karma. Karma will come, but we should not be the deliverers of that karma. That doesnít free one at all. In the state, the executioner does his duty by putting the criminal to death, and heís considered a good citizen. Itís not like that. Theyíre not actually acting on the higher authority. Theyíre acting out of lust, anger and greed.
Therefore, theyíre fully culpable for every single life. If that was the case, you could say the cow was a meat eater in his previous life, and now heís getting his reaction of being a cow, and the butcher is just giving him what he was getting anyway by his karma. Those arguments donít work. If you do something which is against the order of Krishna, then you will suffer the reaction. Thatís a fact.
VPM: These great disasters that happen are to awaken us. All the time, we are thinking, "Iím not suffering." [Now] that disaster is happening, "how I am suffering." Actually, everyone is suffering, but we are so much blinded by the sense gratification that we think that we are not suffering.
That question was asked by Yamaraja to Yudhisthira, "What is the most wonderful thing happening in the world?"
Yudhishthira said, "Everyone is dying, but I am thinking that I am not."
We are seeing that if someone is poor, he is suffering. I am not. Actually, I am also suffering. But Iím just thinking that Iím not. These are the things which happen to awaken us to the fact that they are suffering and I am suffering in another way. Still we are blinded. This suffering comes to awaken us.
SDA: They werenít innocent. Thatís the point. It is not something to believe. You have to understand it scientifically. The actual fact is that nothing happens to anyone except what they deserve by dint of their past karma. That point you have to come to an understanding of. They may not have sinned in this lifetime, but they have sins from a previous life. They are now getting a reaction. What about a child in the womb who was aborted? That means they aborted someone else in their previous life, and now theyíre getting aborted. Thereís no such thing as a person getting some suffering they didnít deserve. It doesnít exist. It never happens. Nature is completely fair and just. There is no injustice anywhere.
Everyone will get theirs. Donít worry. Everybody will get their sinful reaction. Some will get it sooner, some will get it later. Thereís instant karma, delayed karma and further delayed karma. Sooner or later, everyone will get their karma. Every man, woman and child on the face of this planet will get all their karma. The higher authorities within the universe who regulate these things are absolutely flawless in their enactment of justice. Theyíre absolutely flawless.
You may say that this isnít fair, this isnít right. But it is a fair, well-managed, well-governed system. Donít try to buck the system. Youíll never be able to. Work with the system by surrendering to Krishna, then you become free of all your sinful reactions. You donít have to suffer them. Thatís why weíre trying to spread Krishna consciousness. We can put a stop to the tsunamis. We can put a stop to 9/11.
We can put a stop to all the ghastly suffering thatís going on more and more every day. Kids going to school and shooting their fellow students with guns. Youíve seen the news. The child will go to school with a gun and shoot his teachers and start shooting the other students. How many were killed in Columbine High school. Sixty children were shot dead by their school mates. This is all karma coming out.
The solution is we have to find out what Krishna wants. We have to do that. We get free from karma chakra. We try to free others also. Krishna consciousness movement means to free everyone from all these sinful reactions. Devotees dedicate their whole lives for preaching Krishna consciousness. I could be working a corporate job and making money. Why am I doing this? Because the whole world is suffering for lack of Krishna consciousness. Instead of thinking how I can make a lot of money and get a better house than the one I have now, Iím thinking how I can help people become Krishna conscious, and putting my energy into that instead of making money.
Question 7: Why does it seem for every one of us that material activities are attractive?
SDA: Material nature is attractive because it is part of the spiritual nature. A mundane example is that a young woman is very attractive to a man. When a young man sees her, he becomes enlivened. Because the young woman is attractive, if you see her reflection in the water, it is also attractive, though not as beautiful as the actual form. This material nature is a reflection of the spiritual nature, therefore it is also attractive, but it is not as attractive as the spiritual nature.
You may try to enjoy a wonderful love relationship with the reflection of the woman in the water, but youíll be frustrated. When you reach out to embrace her, youíll just get wet. The point is that instead of trying to enjoy in a relationship with the reflection, make your relationship with the original spiritual energy. Then, youíll be fully satisfied. Itís attractive because itís simply a reflection of the original attractive nature.
Question 8: Does the living entity have to pass through all of the 8,400,000 species of life?
SDA: No. Actually, our first birth in this material world, you may be surprised to hear as described by Prabhupada in the Bhagavatam, is as Lord Brahma. When you first fell down into the material world you were born as Lord Brahma. You could have gone directly back to Godhead from that position as Lord Brahma, but you were not so fortunate or intelligent to do that. Because of your material desires you came down a notch, and another notch and finally you came all the way down. So, no you donít have to go through all those forms, you can actually go back within one lifetime.
But, obviously thereís a lot of people who donít do that, otherwise, weíd all be Lord Brahmas here. Here in this world, the animals, plants, humans, weíre all living beings who fell from the spiritual world and didnít go back after one lifetime. Generally speaking, because we have such strong material desires to enjoy in various ways, we want to experiment.
People enjoy their tongues by going to the Italian restaurant, Spanish restaurant. They want to try to enjoy in all varieties of ways. One year they go on vacation to Europe, the next year to the South Pacific, then to Mexico. Because our desire to enjoy comes out in so many ways, there are 8,400,000 species. You can try this way and that way, but youíll find that youíre never satisfied. Therefore, if you find yourself in the human birth, youíre in the most fortunate position because athato brahma jijnasa. Now you can inquire into the absolute truth. Now you can get out of the repetition of birth and death. If you take it very seriously, hear soberly and attentively from the realized soul, and then act on the instruction youíve received, this will be your last birth. If you can actually take shelter of the bona fide spiritual master and become initiated, then from that moment on, for all of eternity, youíll be living in the state of immortality.
If you can take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master and faithfully follow your vows, youíll be living in the realm of immortality from that very moment, even while youíre maintaining your existence here, with your corporate job and your wife.
Question 9: How do lower forms of living entities get elevated to higher forms?
SDA: Itís an automatic progression. In school you go to 1st grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade. In India they call it standards. Itís a natural progression. The rule is that you have to be in the human form to be liberated. There are exceptions, but those are very rare. It is possible to get liberated from a non-human form, but it is exception to the rule. The rule is you have to be a human being. The animals donít commit any papa, or sin. They are simply acting under the dictates of the three modes of nature.
Human life is a life of choice. You can choose to live within the higher self or within the lower self. The higher self means to cultivate Krishna bhakti. The lower self means to continue in the realm of sense gratification. The human being has a choice, but the animals donít. Theyíre just stuck in the lower self. Theyíre burning off karma from sins they committed as a human being. They get all these different ways to burn off their karma, then when theyíve finally burned it all off, they get a chance to become a human being, and go back to Godhead. But if they again take up sense gratification, they return to the animal kingdom, plant kingdom, germ kingdom, fish kingdom, etc.
The key is that in this human form of life do not cultivate sense gratification, do not waste your time absorbing your mind in television. Absorb your mind in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. You can sit there as a family. You can get some Krishna conscious videos. Thereís so many DVDs now. You can get all kinds of wonderful things. You can watch TV every night with a big library of your own material, instead of taking the karmi material. You just get a nice big collection of Krishna conscious stuff. Your little girl can watch Krishna conscious cartoons. Itís the same enjoyment, but become liberated. You donít have to deny yourself.
You just have to be intelligent how you do everything. Do everything intelligently to get liberated. I canít be against TV. I produce a TV show. Iím a TV producer. I have a weekly show in Austin, Turn On Your Soul.com. I produce a television show. Weíre not against television, but it should be enlightened television that elevates the consciousness. You have to live your life in such a way that youíre hearing and chanting about Krishna 24 hours a day. At work, you canít do that obviously, but the fruit of your work is income, money. If that money is utilized in a Krishna conscious way, then that work also becomes purified. You can spend that money on a library of Krishna conscious DVDs, or in Bhagavad-gitas to be distributed here.
If you take advantage of these points, I guarantee youíll be living in Vaikuntha, the spiritual world.
Question 10: What do we do with disturbing memories of sinful activities?
SDA: There are two ways. In one sense, they can disturb. If you engaged in some sinful activity and your mind is going back and basically drooling over that thing wanting to enjoy it again, that is very dangerous. If your contemplating past sinful activities and trying to squeeze more so-called pleasure out of them, that is very dangerous and you have to pray to Krishna to save you from such a mentality.
On the other hand, if youíre remembering that activity, how horrible it was, how much you were suffering, then thatís good. That helps you become sober and realize that "I have to strictly follow Krishna consciousness. I donít want to suffer like that again."
If you can remember how much you were suffering before you came to Krishna consciousness, how horrible it was to not be Krishna conscious, then thatís very good. To remember that suffering condition you were going through before you came to Krishna consciousness will help you to be sober, stable and fixed in Krishna consciousness. Itís a matter of how youíre remembering your past sinful activities. Are you relishing it? "I wish I could do that again." Or, are you saying, "Oh, that was so horrible, thank God I was saved." It depends on how you were thinking about it.
Question 11: Is loving Krishna, just by His personality sufficient, or is some knowledge also required?
SDA: Bhakti alone is sufficient. It does not require jnana, but right now youíre polluted by ajnana. Therefore, jnana is necessary to help clear out the ajnana. Weíre teaching you that youíre not your body. If you had pure love of Krishna, youíd automatically realize that youíre not your body. But right now, your pure love of Krishna is very deeply buried under thousands and millions of layers of lust, anger and greed.
Your mind is polluted with ajnana. Iím American, Iím Indian, Iím male, this or that. "Iím the lord of all I survey." Youíre polluted by so much ignorance; therefore jnana is a necessary part of the purification process, to help you to revive that dormant Krishna bhakti. If Krishna bhakti is there, no jnana is necessary, but to get it revived, you need the jnana. Actually, jnana is necessary for someone whoís in material consciousness, otherwise, why are the Vedas there?
Bhakti is self-sufficient. If you have bhakti, everything is there, but we donít have it, so we need the jnana to help us get to the point of bhakti. Transcendental knowledge is necessary. We pray every morning, "My only desire is to have my consciousness purified by the words emanating from mouth of my spiritual master." We want to take in that transcendental knowledge that purifies our heart.
There are also the pastimes of Krishna. That is also purifying. There is philosophical knowledge and lila. Both are very good. Both will purify us. But, we see that if someone just wants to hear about Krishnaís lila, and they donít want to hear that theyíre not their body, we see the tendency that such persons will engage in illicit sex. They say, "Just give me Krishna lila, thatís all I want. No jnana." Such persons we see end up being debauchees, and have illicit sex life, even outside of marriage. So, jnana is very necessary to purify us and make us chaste so that we can actually achieve genuine bhakti.
In our conditioned state, if we try to come to bhakti without jnana, it will be sahajiya, cheap imitation. If we think we have bhakti without jnana, that bhakti will be pseudo-bhakti, it will not be genuine bhakti. Jnana, knowledge is absolutely required for us in our conditioned state. Therefore Prabhupada has given us so many volumes of books. Prabhupada said, "All of my followers have to read all of my books, or they will fall down." Take these books very seriously. You have to be studying these books.
Start with page one. Itís very simple. First Canto, part 1, page 1 and go to page 2. Read the book, the whole thing. Even if you can read one page a day, one verse and purport a day, which may take you 5 minutes, eventually youíll read all the books. The best thing is you and your wife sit together and read one verse and purport in the morning from the Bhagavatam. In the evening read one Gita verse together, and that way, the two of you together can read the whole Bhagavatam and the Gita.
That jnana is necessary to help purify our hearts, so the bhakti can come out. If you donít understand something, the two of you can discuss, or if needed, call me or Mataji on the telephone. Guru is there to help you get clarity. Send an email, or call on the telephone. Mataji is there on the telephone, if Iím tied up answering emails. She can also give you complete, full answers and understanding. Thatís why we are here.
Why are we dedicating our whole life? Just to sit there and take chapatis? We want to answer your questions. Thatís why weíre dedicating our lives for Krishna consciousness. We want to educate you. Youíre asking the question now. You must. Donít think, "Oh! weíre bothering Gurudeva and Mataji." No. Youíre bothering us if you donít ask questions. Thatís when youíre bothering us.
Mataji will agree. Weíre bothered when people donít ask questions. That bothers us. When you ask questions, then weíre satisfied. "Thank God, somebodyís asking questions. Somebodyís serious to learn about Krishna. Somebody out of the millions of ignorant rascals."
VPM: Somebody called to ask, "How are you doing? Howís the weather there?" (laughing)
SDA: We get a lot of people asking, "How are you doing?" When you approach the realized devotees of the Lord, it shouldnít just be 'buddy, buddy'. "Howís it going? Howíre you doing?" It should be, "Please enlighten me in the science of bhakti." When you approach realized souls, then that should be the mode. "Please kindly enlighten me in the science of bhakti. Iím begging youíre mercy, kindly enlighten me." Not, "Howís it going? Howíre you doing? Is the sun shining today, there?" You can talk that way with anybody. When you talk to realized souls, you should be talking, "Please bless me with realization." Thatís how you should be talking.
Question 12: If we follow four regulative principles, chant 16 rounds and do kirtan every day, is it compulsory that we take initiation?
SDA: Krishna does not accept your bhakti unless youíre initiated. Thatís stated in the sastra.
Questioner: Prabhupada said in his lectures that by chanting Hare Krishna mantra you can connect with Krishna directly.
SDA: There are ten offences to the chanting of the holy name. The third offence is to disobey the order of the spiritual master. The spiritual master orders us to take initiation. Srila Prabhupada has ordered us that we have to be initiated disciples. If youíre chanting but youíre not taking initiation, that means your chanting will remain impure. If you say, "No, I will not get initiated", then you will never experience the pure name. Your chanting of Hare Krishna will always remain impure if you refuse to humble yourself to Krishnaís servant by becoming a disciple.
If youíre content to chant the impure name and take birth after birth after birth, then you donít need to be initiated. Not necessary. If youíre thinking, "I donít mind taking birth after birth in this material world, its ok", then you donít need to be initiated. But, if you want to go back to Godhead, then you have to come to the pure chanting of the name, without offence. That requires being initiated.
VPM: If we donít want to take initiation, that means weíre not humble, weíre proud. No matter how many millions of names we chant we will never go back unless weíre humble.
SDA: Weíre not concocting this. Itís right there in Prabhupadaís books. There are ten offences to be avoided in the matter of chanting the holy names. The third offense is to disobey the order of the spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada explains in the Nectar of Devotion that Krishna does not accept our service unless weíre initiated. Itís compulsory to become initiated. These are the first items given by Rupa Gosvami in bhakti yoga. You have to take shelter of a bona-fide spiritual master. Thatís the first step. Thatís the beginning. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita, acaryopasanam. The Bhagavatam says,
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
jijnasuh sreya uttamam
If youíre at all serious to achieve the ultimate happiness, then you must approach the spiritual master and take initiation. Itís stated right there in the Bhagavatam.
VPM: In Bhagavad-gita, Arjuna had been Krishnaís friend. In the beginning, Krishnaís was not instructing Arjuna, until he surrendered to Krishna, taking Him as the spiritual master.
SDA: As long as they remained friends, Arjuna was in a state of bewilderment. After saying that "Iíll become Your disciple," then he became enlightened. If you want to, you can remain friends with the guru. Guru is very kind, but you wonít get enlightenment. Youíll remain in a state of ignorance. No oneís going to force you. The guru is very kind. He wonít force anyone. Itís your own choice. Itís your own heart. The fact is that if you remain in Arjunaís position in the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita, then you remain bewildered, until you submit yourself as a disciple.
Why is the Bhagavad-gita given? It is teaching you to be in the mood of the disciple. Not just a friend. You have to come to the position of being a disciple to become enlightened with spiritual wisdom, for your pure Krishna bhakti to manifest. You cannot get it without taking shelter of Krishnaís pure devotee, the spiritual master. Itís absolutely necessary. Is that alright?
Questioner: I need more time.
VPM: Iíve been telling her.
SDA: Do you have the book Nectar of Devotion? Itís stated there, in Prabhupadaís summary study of Rupa Gosvamiís Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu. It is directly stated in Nectar of Devotion that one must take initiation. Krishna does not accept your service. The example is given of a university. You can go to the university, audit some classes. Sit in without registering. Pick up a little bit. But, if youíre serious to learn a subject matter, what do you do? Register in the university.
What did you study in the university? Computer science? You can pick up computer skills on your own just by playing around with a PC. So, why did you spend the money and do all the austerity of enrolling in a university? Why did you go to the university? Why didnít you just pick it up on your own?
To get authoritative training. To get discipline to study every day even if you donít want to. Youíve registered, so you must. Initiation is simply registering in Krishna University. Youíre plugging yourself into the system thatís going to carry you along the pathway, even if youíre not always in the mood to do it. When you take diksa, initiation itís just like registering in the university. Youíre registering in Krishnaís university. Do you want Krishna bhakti?
If youíre really serious about it, then register in the university, take initiation. That commitment you made by surrendering to the guru will help you overcome all the impediments in your heart. Otherwise, on your own, you donít have sufficient strength to overcome all the impediments in your heart. None of us have the strength to do it on our own.
If youíre in the middle of the ocean, drowning, and I come by with a boat, and say, "Here, take the lifesaver. Weíll pull you in."
But you say, "No, Iím just going to swim for it."
You do not have the strength to purify your existence without taking shelter of a guru. None of us do. I donít have it, thatís why I took shelter of guru. That diksa is absolutely essential. There is so much contamination in the heart from so many millions of lifetimes. How can we conquer that if we donít surrender to the bona fide spiritual master? Itís not possible. We have to.
VPM: Another point is that if we want to progress in life in Krishna consciousness we have to follow the mahajanas. We cannot concoct ourselves. All the mahajanas did the same thing. Even Krishna did it. Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted guru. The 12 mahajanas also had guru. We cannot concoct.
SDA: Are we such big devotees that we donít require guru? Lord Caitanya took guru. Krishna took guru, but I donít need? Krishna Himself took Sandipani Muni, but I donít need a guru. Iím bigger and better than Krishna. I donít need a guru. Just see the fun! The foolishness. I donít need a guru. That means you think youíre better than Krishna, better than Caitanya Mahaprbahu. Better than Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Better than Gaura Kisora dasa Babaji. Better than Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati. Better than Prabhupada. Just see!
VPM: Better than Brahma, better than everybody. "Iíll go myself."
SDA: I will do it on my own. I donít need diksa guru. Donít concoct your own so-called process of bhakti. Take the standard process of bhakti coming down from Krishna, given to to Brahmaji, coming to Narada Muni, to Vedavyasa, handed down to Madhvacarya. You have to take it as it is coming in guru parampara. Do not manufacture your own process. I guarantee, youíll be a failure. Youíll fall flat on your face and you wonít go back to Godhead. You will take birth after birth after birth until you agree to accept the spiritual master and fully surrender to him.
Question 13: In one lecture I was hearing, Prabhupada said that it is not necessary for a pure devotee to go back home. We can be here, and do krishna-katha, life after life.
SDA: For a pure devotee, thatís true. But youíre not a pure devotee. Youíre running after sense gratification. So you should desire to go back to Godhead just to get out of sense gratification. The pure devotee doesnít need it. Heís already back to Godhead, even in this material world because he has no attraction for sense gratification, but you are so attracted to sense gratification. Therefore for you, you better think about going back to Godhead and getting out of this sense gratification.
VPM: Although theyíre here, still they feel that, "I will take whatever Krishna gives me. I will stay here in the material world and preach, but personally I would prefer to be with Krishna." Otherwise, why would they be searching for Krishna over by Govardhana Hill?
anande bolo hari,
sri-guru-vaisnava-pade majaiya mana.
sri-guru-vaisnava-pade majaiya mana.
The pure devotee is satisfied to serve Krishna in any place. But he is always worshipping Sri Vrindavana Dhama. He is always worshipping it.
VPM: He would rather be with Krishna. But whatever Krishna gives him, he will take it for service of Krishna.
Question 14: Is it the case that by desiring to satisfy myself, that is matter, and that desiring to satisfy Krishna is spirit?
SDA: Yes, but you have to know what Krishna wants. You canít concoct your own so-called satisfaction of Krishna. Thatís an important point. Thatís why guru is required. I may think Iím doing what satisfies Krishna, and actually, Heís dissatisfied. Thatís why guru is required, because we donít always know what satisfies Krishna.
VPM: Guru is required because Krishna says you must accept a guru first. tad viddhi pranipatena. If you want to progress, you have to do the first thing.
Question 15: Since the sage is supposed to see with equal vision a learned brahmana and a dog-eater, then what amount of compassion should we have for people who are suffering in material natureís grip?
SDA: We must feel compassion. The higher the better. The more compassion you feel, the better.
VPM: That means that if you really feel compassion, you will take Krishna consciousness fully and give that compassion to others. Otherwise, you wouldnít be able to continue.
SDA: "Physician, heal thyself." If you really feel compassion on the fallen conditioned souls of this age of Kali, you will first of all make sure that youíre completely, totally surrendered to Lord Krishna. Youíll do everything within your power, at every second, twenty-four hours a day, in all times, in all places and in all circumstances, with every thought, every word and every deed to purify yourself as much as possible, understanding full-well, that the more youíre pure, the more you can help them.
If youíre really compassionate, charity begins at home. You will make your life pure, and your household purely Krishna conscious twenty-four hours a day. As far as youíre able, youíll give it your best sincere effort. Then youíll have that platform on which to base your dealing with others outside of your household. Then you will have empowerment to inject Krishna bhakti into the hearts of others. Actually, do something practical to save people from their suffering.
Question 16: So to become Krishna conscious ourselves, is that enough?
SDA: That is sufficient actually. If you become purely Krishna conscious yourself, that will deliver you. Being fully Krishna conscious means you follow the injunctions of Sri Krishna coming down through the guru parampara system, and as stated in the scriptures. Lord Caitanya is ordering us that we should all spread this Krishna consciousness. In this age purifying yourself means to engage in the yuga-dharma, spreading Krishna consciousness. Thatís part of the process, just like the programs at the university, or like last night with Ted and Denise.
These activities of preaching are part of our own purification process. I have a disciple who is a very nice young Finnish girl, Laura. She is spending some time in Mayapura. And thereís another very nice young girl, Annie. Two nice girls. Annie is very enlivened to distribute books. People come in and sheís distributing books. But Laura has a difficult time distributing books to the people who come into the Mayapura center. Annie is able to distribute a lot of books and it is encouraging to her, but Laura tries and she just falls flat on her face and gets discouraged. So I wrote to Laura, telling her, "Donít worry whether you sell the books or not. Just do it for your own purification."
We donít do things for the result. We do it because itís our duty, and we do it because it purifies us. She just distributes the books for her own purification. Approach someone and give them a Bhagavad-gita for her own purification. That will help her. In that situation, Krishna will reciprocate with some results from her activities. The point is, we do engage in the activities of spreading Krishna consciousness, but our success or failure in doing so does not alter our own being properly situated. We naturally will try to spread Krishna consciousness, but whether they take it or not, just our endeavor to try to give Krishna to others situates us purely in Krishna consciousness.
The results are up to Krishna. You have no control over the result. Take whatever comes as Krishnaís mercy. The result may be there, it may not be. You have no control over that. That you leave up to Krishna. You have control over whether youíre going to endeavor to be Krishna conscious or not, whether youíre going to endeavor to give Krishna consciousness or not. Practice or not practice.
VPM: The result of our Krishna consciousness depends on us.
SDA: That result will come. Prabhupada explains in the Bhagavatam that a Krishna conscious being is always thinking of how to deliver Krishna consciousness to others. They may or they may not, but the person who is endeavoring, his Krishna consciousness is guaranteed. If youíre always thinking of how to give Krishna consciousness to others, then your Krishna consciousness is covered. Youíre guaranteed to have it. Whether they take it or not, doesnít matter.
VPM: Thatís not the only thing. We have to perform our sadhana.
SDA: Our personal sadhana is also there. Not that I donít chant any rounds, I donít offer my food, I just go around preaching. What kind of preacher are you if you donít practice it yourself? "I donít follow any of the principles, Iím not accepting a guru, but Iím a preacher." No.
apani acari prabhu jivere sikhaya
First of all you practice, then you preach. The first thing is that, "Physician, heal thyself." You become properly situated in Krishna consciousness. Then, when you explain it to others, thereíll be some result.
You may say, "You should get a japa mala and chant Hare Krishna."
They may ask if you chant.
"Oh no. I donít chant."
You have to be the example yourself of practicing Krishna consciousness. Then, when you tell people about it, there will be some real potency.
"Oh, youíre doing it." Then theyíll ask you what itís like, "What is your experience in doing it?"
You have to do it yourself, then when you tell people, there will be some potency.
Grantha-raja Srimad-Bhagavatam ki jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki iaya!
Transcribed by His Grace Jagannatha Dasa