Tartu, Estonia - 18 September 2005
Today we are reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, First Canto, Chapter Number Five, “Narada’s Instructions on Srimad Bhagavatam,” Text Number Nineteen.
na vai jano jatu
My dear Vyasa, even though a devotee of Lord Krishna sometimes falls down somehow or other, he certainly does not undergo material existence like others [fruitive workers, etc.] because a person who ahs once relished the taste of the lotus feet of the Lord can do nothing but remember that ecstasy again and again.
Purport by Srila Prabhupada (. . . Okay, we’ll just read half of the purport):
A devotee of the Lord automatically becomes uninterested in the enchantment of material existence because he is rasa-graha, or one who has tasted the sweetness of the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. There are certainly many instances where devotees of the Lord have fallen down due to uncongenial association, just like fruitive workers, who are always prone to degradation. But even though he falls down, a devotee is never to be considered the same as a fallen karmi. A karmi suffers the result of his own fruitive reactions, whereas a devotee is reformed by chastisement directed by the Lord Himself. The sufferings of an orphan and the sufferings of a beloved child of a king are not one and the same. An orphan is really poor because he has no one to take care of him, but a beloved son of a rich man, although he appears to be on the same level as the orphan, is always under the vigilance of his capable father. A devotee of the Lord, due to wrong association, sometimes imitates the fruitive workers. The fruitive workers want to lord it over the material world. Similarly, a neophyte devotee foolishly thinks of accumulating some material power in exchange for devotional service. Such foolish devotees are sometimes put into difficulty by the Lord Himself. As a special favor, He may remove all material paraphernalia. By such action, the bewildered devotee is forsaken by all friends and relatives, and so he comes to his senses again by the mercy of the Lord and is set right to execute his devotional service again.
So, anyone who has become a devotee, even if they sometimes fall down, is not to be considered the same as a karmi, even though they may appear to be the same as a karmi. This is the wonderful feature of Krishna consciousness: no matter what one’s condition may be, anyone who has seriously taken up the path of Krishna consciousness, even though they are in a fallen condition, receives the special favor and blessings of the Lord. Srila Prabhupada compares it to the son of a king as opposed to an orphan. The orphan has no shelter whatsoever. He has no loving parents; he is simply in a very difficult situation. So let us come to that position of being devotees of Krishna, because in that position we become just like the sons of the king. Even if we are in a fallen position, we are still protected by the Lord because we are accepted by Him as one of His beloved children.
This is a very wonderful, encouraging verse of the Srimad Bhagavatam - to see how much Krishna favors His devotees. Sometimes, as Srila Prabhupada explains here, the devotee may take the devotional service, but he wants to get some material power in exchange for doing that devotional service. That is the wrong mentality. One should not do devotional service for any material motive. If one engages in devotional service with the motive of wanting to get material power in exchange for that devotional service, then Krishna will take away that devotee’s position to bring him back to the proper standard of pure devotional service.
We don’t have that much time this morning for a lengthy class because I have to give a lecture in Riga, and my driver has now come to take me to the next lecture. We have to explain how much we feel happy, how nicely you have received Mataji and myself here. You are all very, very dear to Mataji and me. You are very special souls, actually. Anyone who has taken to this movement of Srila Prabhupada is a very, very special soul. So we are very, very grateful that we have gotten the opportunity to associate with you because you are all great personalities. We just offer ourselves to you as humble servants in any way that we can serve you, assist you, and facilitate you on your way back to Godhead. Please engage us in that way. We simply want to serve you and help you to go back to Godhead, so please bless us with the opportunity to serve you.
Are there any questions?
When will you come next time?
Well, the next time we come to Europe we will definitely come to Tartu. We are tentatively planning to come back in the late winter or the spring. That’s a tentative plan. We have a general plan to do a European tour in the late winter or early spring, and also to come when we are on our way to India every fall. That is our tentative plan: to come to Europe twice a year and to come to Tartu also twice a year. We want to start going to Tallinn also. We had a wonderful meeting there with Srivatsa Prabhu, so we’d also like to come to Tallinn as well. So that’s our tentative plan, to come twice a year. The exact date of our next visit is not known, but we will certainly keep you informed.
So we’d like to give you some instructions. Chant your sixteen rounds regularly, without fail; strictly follow the regulative principles; and work together cooperatively under the leadership of ISKCON. If you do so, your individual spiritual lives will be very, very happy and successful and this center will also be very successful. I am seeing so many very wonderful and sincere souls here who are eager to advance themselves in Krishna consciousness. So you all must consider yourselves to be their servants by making a nice facility here to encourage and guide them in that direction.
Are there any more questions?
I like to come to the temple, and I come, but without my wife, because she doesn’t like to come here. She doesn’t feel comfortable here. I know that for spiritual advancement it is necessary to associate with devotees; but at the same time my wife does not feel comfortable here. What should I do in this situation?
Actually, she told me that she is just extremely busy right now with her schoolwork. Now, I don’t know what the case is, but as a general principle, if someone feels a little hesitant or discouraged about coming to the temple, then everyone at the temple should just become very, very sweet and loving and kind to that person. The ladies should give her a big hug and just encourage her. She’s a very sweet and wonderful devotee, and everyone should just really welcome her. The devotees at the temple should think, “Well, maybe we did something wrong. Maybe we have to apologize to her so that she feels comfortable.” The Vaisnavas always want to take the humble position, you see. If some devotee is offended and upset, then the Vaisnava mood is, “What did I do to hurt that devotee’s feelings?” So the devotees at the temple should think, “Maybe I was offensive to her; I can apologize and bow down at her feet and encourage her to come.” And from her side, she should also think, “Maybe I did something offensive, so I should bow down at the devotees’ feet.”
This Vaisnava mood of humility solves all the problems. If you become angry, and I think, “Oh, I have done something to make him angry; let me bow down at his feet” – and you think that maybe you have made me angry, so you bow down at my feet – this is the mood for chanting Hare Krishna.
su-nicena taror iva sahisnuna
[Sri Sri Siksastaka 3]
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; being more tolerant than a tree; being ready to offer all respect to others without expecting any respect for oneself. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.
If all the devotees become very, very humble, that will solve all the problems. So you must become humble, [going around the room, addressing devotees one at a time] you must become humble, you must become humble, you must become humble, you must become humble, and you must become humble. Everyone has to be very, very humble. And then [inquirer’s wife] will not be able to stay away. She’ll be attracted just like a nail to a magnet.
So we’ll stop here. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.
Transcribed by Her Grace Labangalatika devi dasi