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Lessons from Churning the Milk Ocean

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26-12-2012 SB 8.6.32-39, Lessons from Churning the Milk Ocean, Cape Town, South Africa

Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 8, Chapter 6, the demigods and demons declare a truce, text 32.

tato devasurau katva
saavidaa kata-sauhadau
udyamaa paramaa cakrur
amatarthe parantapa

tatau—thereafter; deva-asurau—both the demons and the demigods; katva—executing; saavidam—indicating; kata-sauhadau—an armistice between them; udyamam—enterprise; paramam—supreme; cakrua—they did; amata-arthe—for the sake of nectar; parantapa—O Maharaja Pariksit, chastiser of enemies.


“O Maharaja Pariksit, chastiser of enemies, the demigods and the demons thereafter made an armistice between them. Then, with great enterprise, they arranged to produce nectar, as proposed by Lord Indra.”

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

The word saavidam is significant in this verse. The demigods and demons both agreed to stop fighting, at least for the time being, and endeavoured to produce nectar. Srila Vishvananth Cakravarti Thakura notes in this connection:

saavid yuddhe pratijïayam
acare namni tonaee
sambhanaee kriyakare
saiketa-jïanayor api

The word saavit is variously used to mean “in fighting,” “in promising,” “for satisfying,” “in addressing,” “by practical action,” “indication,” and “knowledge.”

I’ll read the verse again.

tato devaasurau katva
saavidaa kata-sauhadau
udyamaa paramaa cakrur
amatarthe parantapa

“O Maharaja Pariksit, chastiser of enemies, the demigods and the demons thereafter made an armistice between them. Then, with great enterprise, they arranged to produce nectar, as proposed by Lord Indra.” (SB 6.8.32)

So in the purport here, the whole purport as we heard is devoted to this word, “saavidaa” for which in the word for word at least has been translated as “indicating that tatha, thereafter; deva-asurau—the demigods and the demons; katva— they executed, they carried out, they did, saavidam. As we say in the word for word it’s been translated as indicating but in the purport, Srila Prabhupada has gone to lengths some lengths to point out with reference to Srila Visvanatha Cakravarthi Thakura commentary on the verse that actually the word saavidaa, it has multiple meanings and it is not really, well it’s not discussed in so many words in the purport itself but to some degree we can understand by Ahhh…. Looking at the verse the meaning of, the different interpretations, different meanings of the word that Ahhhh…. different or perhaps all of these meanings could be applied here in understanding the term saavidaa, in the light of what actually happened, that they executed an armistice, they carried out an armistice, made it, put it into effect in the
fighting of course in promising, well they promised, for satisfying, of course the idea was to satisfy.

They presented that they would, at least Lord Indra, Lord Indra, presented to the demons that let us have an armistice that is stop fighting for the time being because by doing that we can get together and churn the ocean of milk and get the nectar and in this way we can become satisfied, all of us. Of course we must not forget the idea of the snake and the mouse that we read about the other day. (laughter) So the proposal is we can all be satisfied but the idea is not that we all be satisfied. The idea is that, we will be satisfied, our party and your party will not be satisfied indeed your party will be smashed to pieces through… through us working together to get the nectar. But of course the presentation of Lord Indra, we didn’t actually read that verse yesterday but ahhhh…. the verse says, Lord Indra who was extremely intelligent, he is just extremely intelligent, he presented the proposal as the Lord had suggested but he presented it extremely intelligently. The idea, his idea of course is the idea was that we, the demigods, will become satisfied by getting the nectar and getting immortality or something like immortality at your expense but the presentation was, “we will all get the nectar, we will all be satisfied, isn’t that nice,” and he presented it so nicely that the demons felt convinced, “Oh yeah, how nice! We will all get the nectar!” But they were thinking, “yeah we will get the nectar and we will smash you.” (laughter) So yes!

Ahhhh… Sanskrit language is extremely complex, each word, each word in many cases at least each word has multiple meanings, not because there is a shortage of words and therefore we are just forced to ascribe different meanings to different words otherwise we are just not going to be able to express things. Ahhh… actually it has a vast vocabulary but still depending on context, different meanings can be drawn, for any… from so many at least and practically any given word. So for satisfying that idea was there in that diplomatic sense, satisfying all of us, satisfying us or satisfying the other “us,” the other group as the bumper sticker says “diplomacy means to tell a person to go to hell in such a way that he looks forward to journey.” (laughter)

So… (laughter) in different ways this is going on… snake and mouse, satisfying, speaking very intelligently in addressing, well they were going to address the situation and they were addressing each other by practical action, well of course the armistice was not just, “let us just take a break.” It was let us, let us get together and just address the situation here more effectively for our mutual benefit. Ha Ha (laughter) so practical action was involved. Indication, well the term, here Srila Prabhupada quoted Srila Viçvanätha Cakravarthi Thakura who it would appear that he may have, or must have quoted this particular verse in which the meaning of saavidaa is elaborated upon in different ways. There is no reference for the verse but it appears that Srila Visvanatha Cakravarthi Thakura has presented it in his commentary.

Any way you can have a look at it later actually but he uses… he translates here indication from the word saiketa in Sanskrit and there’s actually a place in Vrindavan probably, very few of you have really been there, maybe you have driven past but really been inside and visited the place called Sanket and it is in-between Varsana and Nandagram where Srimati Radharani and Lord Krishna were living for some time and… ahhh it is, it is a place of Purnamasi, she would stay there and when the coast was clear, so to speak, she would with mirrors send indications, you know catch the sunlight and sort of flash the light in this way, send signals so actually Sanket as a word well of course it also has some number of meanings, ahhh but it is often in that context, that context that there in Vrindavan translated as signals and an indication after all is a type of signal you could say, so ya. So like that… Ahhhh an indication that, a signal that they should work more intelligently.

Last meaning given is jnanayor, jnanayor, knowledge so anyway that is a little bit, just some thoughts on that idea really ahhh… but the fact is Sanskrit language is extremely complex in grammar, in grammatical or sort of Ummmm grammatical, the way, the way the grammar is structured, the way the grammar operates ahhh there are… there are languages like Latin which of course is not used practically nowadays, Ahh but it has basically the same system of grammar and even there are some old European languages that have the same system. Russian is basically the same system as Sanskrit essentially, although… anyway it is extremely complex, but not really, not really complex in this sense like Ahh… like Sanskrit, that so many words have different meanings and how to understand which meaning we should apply in the particular sentence, Ahh well first of all there is primary meaning, there is generally a primary meaning and there are a number of secondary meanings. So Ahh we won’t have a Sanskrit lesson but these are just some thoughts on the subject and then we can read on if that’s okay!

Thereafter, with great strength, the demons and demigods, who were all very powerful and who had long, stout arms, uprooted Mandara Mountain. Crying very loudly, they brought it toward the ocean of milk. (SB 6.8.33)

Because of conveying the great mountain for a long distance, King Indra, Mahäräja Bali and the other demigods and demons became fatigued. Being unable to carry the mountain, they left it on the way. (SB.6.8.34)

The mountain known as Mandara, which was extremely heavy, being made of gold, fell and smashed many demigods and demons. (SB 6.8.35)

By constitution, gold is heavier than stone. Since Mandara Mountain was made of gold and was therefore heavier than stone, the demigods and demons could not properly carry it to the ocean of milk.

The demigods and demons were frustrated and disheartened, and their arms, thighs and shoulders were broken. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who knows everything, appeared there on the back of His carrier, Garuòa. (SB 6.8.36)

Observing that most of the demons and the demigods had been crushed by the falling of the mountain, the Lord glanced over them and brought them back to life. Thus they became free from grief, and they even had no bruises on their bodies. (SB 6.8.37)

Yes, well the previous verse said they were frustrated and disheartened and their arms, thighs and shoulders were broken. I was thinking when I read it they must have been very frustrated and in great pain but the Lord, by His mercy made their bodies whole again.

The Lord very easily lifted the mountain with one hand and placed it on the back of Garuòa. Then, He too got on the back of Garuòa and went to the ocean of milk, surrounded by
the demigods and demons. (SB 6.8.38)

Here is proof of the omnipotence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is above everyone. There are two classes of living entities—the demons and the demigods—and the Supreme Personality of Godhead is above them both. The demons believe in the “chance” theory of creation, whereas the demigods believe in creation by the hand of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The omnipotence of the Supreme Lord is proved here, for simply with one hand He lifted Mandara Mountain, the demigods and the demons, placed them on the back of Garuòa and brought them to the ocean of milk. Now, the demigods, the devotees, would immediately accept this incident, knowing that the Lord can lift anything, however heavy it might be. But although demons were also carried along with the demigods, demons, upon hearing of this incident, would say that it is mythological. But if God is all-powerful, why would it be difficult for Him to lift a mountain? Since He is floating innumerable planets with many hundreds and thousands of Mandara Mountains, why can’t He lift one of them with His hand? This is not mythology, but the difference between the believers and the faithless is that the devotees accept the incidents mentioned in the Vedic literatures to be true, whereas the demons simply argue and label all these historical incidents mythology. Demons would prefer to explain that everything happening in the cosmic manifestation takes place by chance, but demigods, or devotees, never consider anything to be chance. Rather, they know that everything is an arrangement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the difference between the demigods and the demons.

Yes, so of course this is a more sort of, what would you say, not easier because we are dependent on the mercy of the Lord but at least… a , a purport which is easier to relate to us I suppose ahhh for us. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is omnipotent and as such He can do anything.

Mandira Mountain was of course a mountain, it’s already very big and heavy but it was made of gold and gold is more dense. Gold is very dense as a result; a litre of gold weighs more than a litre of water. A litre of water of course weighs one kilo. One litre of gold… (laughter) if you ever get a litre of gold try weighing it (laughter) and see (laughter). Anyway it’s probably… more than a kilo cause it even heavier which in a sense denser than stone. So all the demigods and demons; they are really very powerful. We assume it’s not specifically mentioned right here but we assume that Indra was there also because he is participating in this whole thing. But even he didn’t have the power to hold Mandira Mountain so they all just… it became too much and they were forced just to let it fall to the ground and unfortunately for some of them, some of them were under it and then such is life. (laughter) Sometimes things fall on you. That’s just the way it goes, then you have to get on with it. It’s beyond your control. So some of them got crushed and others got badly hurt. Some of them probably just got squished completely but then the Lord appeared on the scene on the back of Garuda and made everyone whole again. The Lord can do things like this.

Yesterday people were sort of celebrating whatever you call it, the appearance of Jesus Ahh who is supposed to have brought one or two or however many people back to life but I don’t know if we would have been able to bring people back to life if they had been squished (laughter) literally flattened to the point of merging with the earth beneath. (laughter) Krishna can do this, with lots of them, with so many of them and it’s not even celebrated so much with Jesus. He brought someone back to life. Wow! Whoa! It’s a big thing. It’s just one the outstanding things people like to talk about in regards to him and what he did, his qualifications etc but Krishna did lots more than that. Jesus never lifted a mountain, Did He? No I don’t know if he could have or not but he didn’t. (laughter) But here Krishna lifted … ahhh… he lifted Govardhana hill of course one time but it would then appear, I don’t know but really Mandira Mountain was heavier than Govardhana hill too. So the Lord can do things like that. He does so many things, he does so many things which are super human and because it’s just like every day, every day, Krishna is doing many things which are super human whereas Jesus just on a fewer. There was a handful of occasions that have mentioned… Ahhh that he healed people, turned water into wine. He should have probably have been arrested for that. (laughter) You know that antisocial in the extreme. That’s bad. It’s really criminal. You got perfectly good water but you turn it into rotten grape juice. (laughter) It’s poison. Well it is poison. Intoxication means it’s toxic… it’s toxic. Yeah. So but Krishna… Jesus did a few of these things here and there. Krishna was doing many of these things every day and when someone is doing many of these things every day, their super humanness becomes just like you know… Whoa! It’s just … they are overwhelmingly super human and just practically all the time or like we said every day and just frequently every day doing things like this then… then it’s considered mythological. Then it’s mythology.

So… of course, they say mythology and really the first reason that they could give why they think its mythology is we never saw it. We never saw anyone do like that so therefore it can’t be done and therefore if anyone says someone did it then it must mythology. But as Srila Prabhupada expressed somewhere else that you are such a fool. Your experience is so limited. You never… Krishna was doing it every day, many times you never saw one person do it anytime, what’s your position? (laughter)You’re inexperienced, this is the problem. People are inexperienced. Ahh… there are two things. One is inexperienced the other is, extremely puffed up to the point where they think, “If I have not seen it! It cannot exist. In order for something to be accepted, even as existing, I have to give my stamp of approval. Then people can say okay, it exists. So just see the arrogance of modern human society. Little bit of scientific knowledge, little bit and now they think that they are the masters of the universe and they can define, what is reality and what isn’t reality. Well it’s actually their position… their position is… is really pathetic actually, it’s not just substandard, not of a high enough standard to be accepted as substantial authorities but it’s actually pathetic. It’s pathetic – their perception, their familiarity, their awareness of reality.

Ahhh the example is given of an ant in the temple room, in a room, an ant in the temple room in ISKCON Cape Town, 17 St Andrews Road, there may be an ant, we hope not, but there may be an ant. There may be a group of ants and they are… for them this is just home. For them this is just the world that they live in but they don’t know this is the Hare Krishna Temple and you know sometimes we debate should we call it a temple or a yoga centre or (laughter)… you know one of these esoteric subject matters. To the ant, he has got no idea, temple / yoga centre makes no difference. He has got no idea, it may be either. To him and there are so many devotees here and sometimes they jump up and down in kirtan and they get excited and run around and the ant has no idea it’s the Sunday program. Doesn’t even know it’s Sunday (laughter) and it’s the Sunday program and they are having a kirtan and they are becoming spiritually blissful and therefore and these things are happening. He has no idea and sometimes they crawl across the temple floor in the middle of the kirtan and one of the devotee, one of the devotee’s lotus feet lands on them and they get squished and then the others see that their friend got squished and they can’t understand how did this happen (laughter) and the people are all here sitting around hearing Srimad Bhagavatam. They have got no idea. They are in a reality. They can see something that they accept as a reality. It’s very different from the reality that we perceive and understand and accept, very different and… and they are missing so many points of the reality, at least our version of the reality. They are missing so many points, although probably if you ask an ant, do you understand what is the situation here. He’ll say “ya”. One day a week because he doesn’t know a week is anyway, every now and then we find there is always this food lying around and we feast, it’s our lucky day but little do they know that they came at the end of the Sunday feast. So yes! There… their understanding is very limited and… and they missed a lot of the reality and that is our situation, in another sense.

The demigods are sitting here watching, and you know some Prabhuji here is sitting like that. It’s okay. (laughter) Don’t worry I am not going to do a Dhruvasa Muni here but because his legs are aching. This is why devotees do this, we know. Why his legs are aching and why somebody else’s is not aching. It’s because the demigod of leg aches (laughter) is doing his thing on him because it’s his karma. In the past he did something so that you know at 8:30 on the morning of the December 27, when he was sitting crossed legged his legs would start aching and he wouldn’t be able to just sit completely cross legged. It’s a fact. There are demigods, there are 33 million and they are not… none of them are just passengers, they all have duties in the universe and Prabhupada is …. There is one discussion where Prabhupada mentions, “there is a demigod in charge of the blinking of our eyes and some people, you know we all blink of course and different people blink at different speeds and I read a few years ago that some American Senator, I forget who it…. Anyway it was a few years ago… Ahh they were somehow or other a person who blinks a lot (laughter) and then the journalist counted…counted how many times the person blinked and there was a report on this in some news service that such and such a person in the American government had blinked so many times while giving some speech but others blink less. You know we don’t even notice that we are blinking… is it? Normally we don’t notice that ohh… we just blinked (laughter) we don’t notice when we blink, we don’t notice when we breathe, other things we do notice but the fact is there is a demigod in charge of the blinking of eyes and in terms of your karma your blinking function will be faster, slower. It’s all part of your karma. It’s all part of the intricate arrangement of how our lives work in this material world but we are not aware. Some of us may think… like I think that article said you know this person has some sort of condition, where they just you know blink a lot (laughter) so ya so psychological or physical or psychophysical condition they just maybe a some nervous condition perhaps something like that but… and… and actually it is under the control of someone up there, it is, and it’s their job and they are … you know it’s a big thing. It’s their life controlling how you blink, but us, you know and even devotees at least we might be willing to consider such an idea but if you tell the man in the street, some of the people in the park yesterday, “Did you know about your blinking?” They will think you are crazy because they are in this other type of consciousness that Prabhupada mentions here. Some… some variation on this theme, this is all happening by chance and particularly there is no God behind it, or Gods, demigods, particularly that. It’s all mythology and ultimately when you come to the scientists, the authorities in the subject, then their idea is its mythology. Its needs our stamp of approval, if it doesn’t get it then… then it’s just to be disregarded as some foolishness. As some people say, “if in a forest, a tree falls down and there is no one there to hear it, it makes no sound.” Isn’t that amazing? (Laughter) It’s just taking the same idea, just extending it a little further, for something to be a reality, it has to conform with me and get my stamp of approval. So this of course… this is the disease of the conditioned soul.

Ahhh… it is discussed in… this very, very nice part of… of the conversation between Lord Caitanya and Sanatana Goswami, in which they are discussing… well the point is being made that the non-devotees cannot recognise the Lord but the devotees always recognise the Lord. So there is a little discussion about this and then Lord Caitanya says or maybe even Santana Goswami himself actually says that the… the demons, the non-devotees cannot recognise you, even if You demonstrate Your Godhood just like vividly, so clearly just show, do something totally super human… but the demons will not accept, but on the other hand the devotees, even if You hide the fact that you are God completely, completely, disguise Yourself and somehow try to act like an ordinary person, the devotees will still recognise You.

An example which is given in regard to the demons is Duryodhana, when Lord Krishna came, just before the battle of Kuruksetra, there had been before the battle of Kuruksetra a number of meetings in which attempts were made to avoid the battle. Some negotiations, let’s make a settlement and even the Pandavas had offered at one point “just give us five villages, that’s all. One of each of us brothers because we are ksatriyas, we have to rule something so just give us five villages and you can be over us. You will be our authority, we’ll just manage the villages and then we don’t need to have a battle. We can just make a settlement like that and that’s it”, and Duryodhana said “I will not give you enough land to drive a pin into.” That’s extreme. (Laughter) So anyway there were different attempts, negotiations and the last attempt was Krishna came to Hastinapur unannounced. Normally the ksatriyas if they are coming, you know it’s sort of like a formal state affair but Krishna just came on His own.
Sri Sri Nitai Mayapurchandra Ki Jai!

So Krishna came on His own and just approached Duryodhana face to face and Duryodhana seeing, “oh here comes Krishna, what’s going on? Dont tell me He wants to talk about peace again.” Duryodhana said, “na I have had enough of this, I don’t even want to discuss it again” and he told his soldiers, “just arrest Him. Just arrest Him. So the soldiers went to arrest Krishna and it is described in Mahabharata, Krishna then manifested the universal form (laughter) as Arjuna saw it. You know how it affected Arjuna. It was a very most incredible type of vision so Krishna did that and all the soldiers they were shocked like Arjuna, they were shocked and they ran, and they were shouting that, “He’s Visnu! We can’t arrest Him! He’s God! He’s Visnu!” and there is Duryodhana looking at the universal form and Duryodhana, because he was a staunch demon, (laughter) he was not just your average demon, he was a staunch demon looking at the universal from, Duryodhana said, “No, He’s not Visnu! He’s not God!” Duryodhana said “I know what going here”, he said “In His previous life, Krishna performed austerities and now He has some mystical power.” (laughter) “This is what it is”. So yes, a demon because within this world, in order to show His Godhood, The Lord…to show the Universal form is certainly one of the… one of the greatest things that He can do within… within the material universe. To show how everything within the universe, the whole universe itself is just part of Him what more can you to do if you’re to show that you are God. So you know bringing someone back to life or something like that. That’s much less than showing that the whole universe is part of You so… but Duryodhana was such a staunch demon that… even that couldn’t accept it at all. Not at all!

But on the other hand the devotees, even if the Lord is disguising himself the devotees can recognise Him and in fact it happens there in that discussion between Lord Caitanya and Sanatana Goswami… that Sanatana Goswami of course, he knew that Lord Caitanya is Krishna and at one point in their discussion Sanatana Goswami was asking Lord Caitanya about the avataras, different avataras, the different types of avataras. There’s yuga avataras, lila avataras, guna avataras, manvantara avataras, purusah avataras. There are different types of avataras so they are talking about these different types of avataras, there’s 6, those 5 and shaktyavesa. So they were talking about yuga avataras and Sanatana Goswami knows that Lord Caitanya, He is the position of course… He is the source of the avataras…of course He is in the position of a yuga avatar for Kali yuga, although he is beyond just being the yuga avatara, but still he is in that position. So Sanatana Goswami wanted to sort of trick… lead Lord Caitanya to the point of admitting “Okay I am God, alright, I am Krishna!” which Lord Caitanya would not do. If anyone said he was God, which happened occasionally, He would deny it strongly and even leave the place and block His ears. So, so, so Sanatana Goswami wanted to lead Him to the point of doing it so, so Sanatana Goswami then started asking about the yuga avataras, that in such a yuga there is a yuga avatara, Lord Caitanya said and talked about the yuga avataras and Sanatana Goswami said that in Tretha Yuga there is also a yuga avatara, Lord Caitanya said “yes” and talked about it and that yuga avatara and then, Dvapara Yuga there is a yuga avatara and “yes”. Lord Caitanya talked about it and then Sanatana Goswami said “you know there I heard there is also a yuga avatara in Kali yuga,” and Lord Caitanya said “yes, that’s right.” Santana Goswami said “you know I heard He has a golden form” and Lord Caitanya said, “yes, that’s right” and Sanatana Goswami said, “I heard, that he performs these sankirtan yagnas with His associates,” means its Lord Caitanya. He’s getting closer and closer and Lord Caitanya said, “Stop your intelligent questions, Sanatana” (laughter) and let me explain to you about the shaktyavesa avataras.

He changed the subject and in the science of argument, there’s a science, there’s an actual science, different strategies. One strategy if you are losing, and it looks bad, is a very important strategy is change the subject (laughter). So, so yes, so, the main point Prabhupada is emphasising here is the difference between the demons and the devotees of course there are degrees also. There are degrees it’s not just that the non-devotees they just…it’s all just rubbish, rubbish and the devotees accept everything. There are degrees, there are… there are more pious or different types of non-devotees who you know maybe… there are devotees, in a certain sense of the term, they are just hypothetically are willing to accept that there is a God and maybe he can do certain things and then… they are those that accept more and then they are those that actually become devotees and actually are willing to serve the Lord. They accept Him to that degree ahhh but then…and then… but then you have the devotees the actual Hare Krsna devotees but even ourselves… of course… we understand that ahhh… in the purport here the last sentence Prabhupada says that the demons think everything is happening by chance but the demigods or devotees never consider anything to be chance, rather they know that everything is an arrangement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead… that the difference.

So even ourselves as devotees or aspiring devotees to really be a devotee that’s high but aspiring devotees sometimes for some of us at least, something happens in our life and usually it would mean some challenge. Maybe even some huge challenge, some great difficulty comes and sometimes we see, some… some devotees and maybe even ourselves sometimes struggle to accept… struggle to really accept, this is the arrangement of the Lord. It is His mercy. I must accept it and carry on and serve Him under these circumstances and not get into some lamentation, disturbance, doubt, is Krishna really in control or did Kali get the better of Him here. Something like that. So there are degrees, there are degrees, even amongst the devotees there are degrees, it’s not just black or white but still at least the devotees are people who generally accept the Lord, and to the point that they are willing to render service the Lord…and… and that they make the process of Krishna Consciousness the focal point of their lives even though they may have to do other things like work somewhere in a non-devotee environment but still they see, who am I? I’m a devotee, that’s who I am. That’s my life and my business is to serve Krishna and progress in devotional service. So this is a devotee. So as devotees advance they become more and more able to accept as whatever goes on as being the arrangement of the Lord and not just haphazard happenings, ahh and to take every situation as being the Lord’s mercy.

Let me conclude by telling you a little story, actually you must have heard it before. There was a king who had a minister, who was a devotee and the king was a bit of a devotee but the minister was more of a devotee, he was really a devotee. So one day, they went hunting and the king was about to fire an arrow but it slipped and the arrow sort of slipped and cut off the top of his thumb. Are you familiar with this story? Anyway so there is the king, this king with his thumb, off, part of his thumb has been removed and the king said “look at this, what is this?” Got very disturbed and the minister who was more a devotee said, “it’s Krishna’s mercy”, (laughter) and the king said, “what? What do you mean its Krishna’s mercy, that’s ridiculous it’s not Krishna mercy, look it’s a disaster, look at it”, but the minister was insisting no it’s Krishna’s mercy and the king got so upset he told his soldiers “arrest him and let us just stop his nonsense”. So they did, they locked up the minister. King, his thumb sort of got a little better over a few days to the point where he go out hunting again so he went out hunting again. He got lost in the forest and he got arrested by like… aboriginal people out there and they… they arrested him and they told him… he said, “you can’t do this I am the king”, and they said, “oh you are the king that is wonderful, you are a special honour. We will allow you to be a human sacrifice to Kali, seeing you’re so important, you are the king”. So they were going to sacrifice Him to Kali and so they were just about to sacrifice him to Kali and the priest came to dress him up cause they do this where they dress up the sacrifice you know anoint him with oils and ornaments and stuff and the king would…and the priest was checking the kings body and what did he see, part of his thumb is missing! “Oh no, he’s not whole. We can’t sacrifice him to Kali because he is not whole. Let him go“. So they let the king go. “Whoa!” The king was so happy and he went back and all the time he was just thinking the minister was right, it was Krishna’s mercy, I lost the top of my thumb it really was but I am such a fool I had him arrested. The first thing he did he went back, the first thing he did was he released the minister and said, “I am so sorry to have you locked up, you were right, it was the mercy of the Lord that my thumb got cut off. I am so sorry. I am such a big rascal”. And the minister said, “no, no, no, you are not a rascal, it was Krishna’s mercy (laughter), for me”, and the king was saying “no, no, it was my foolishness. I shouldn’t have had you locked up”. And the minister said “no, no, it was Krishna’s mercy I was locked”, and the king said, “what do you mean it was Krishna’s mercy?” The minister said, “if I was not locked up, I would have been out with you hunting today and I would have been arrested with you and my body is whole. (laughter) They would have sacrificed me (laughter) so it’s Krishna’s mercy that I got locked up”. So you see, it takes some advancement (laughter) to see things as Krishna’s mercy and all of us as aspiring devotees, we are prone to have sort of breaking points where we can remain Krishna Conscious and everything is okay to a point but then it reaches a certain point and whoa, what’s going on here. Krishna did You…have You taken break… are You not doing Your job now. Yes! Hare Krishna!

Any comment or question?


Devotee: I would like to understand the law of karma in terms of aspiring devotees, like I have baggage issues. As an example how does Krishna deal with a person who has some disabilities. Does he nullify their karmic situation?

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Well when you become a devotee, Krishna takes all your karma and it becomes His property because He is totally unaffected by it but it’s no longer your property, He takes it from you and then He can use it as he likes. So it happens sometimes some people with some physical condition or even psychological conditions, just some situations in their lives, they become devotees and suddenly their situation changes drastically. Like if they have some physical condition it goes away. It happens. We have seen. Some devotees have had psychological conditions, they become devotees and then the psychological condition goes away.

Ahhh… but you know, materialistic people, their idea is if you get the mercy of God, then all… whatever your material problems are, whatever sort, they will go away and this is one of the essential signs that you got the mercy of God. Without that, it couldn’t be accepted that you have got the mercy of God. You know, your sickness goes away, your financial problems, whatever, your political problem, whatever it is, it must go away if you’ve really got the mercy of God then otherwise you haven’t got the mercy of God because this is their idea that there is… there is only material existence and the mercy of God has to mean and can only mean that your material existence is improved.
Ya, but now Krishna takes the karma of the devotee and then it’s up to him. Sometimes devotees’ physical conditions become improved, sometimes they don’t and sometimes they become worse. You know, different things, I mean it’s all going to become worse anyway because we are all. These bodies are going to die and for some time usually before they die it becomes worse unavoidably. But the main point is Krishna wants to see that whatever your situation is, you’re willing, you want to surrender to Him whole heartedly. Whether you are poor or whether you are rich. Whether you are healthy or whether you have some physical condition or even maybe severe like I don’t know like one devotee in Russia he became a devotee oh, we have one in Durban actually he became a devotee, he was already paraplegic, paralysed from the waist down or something like that so… so … so the point is not really to get our material existence together and then we can even serve Krishna better. The point is Krishna is watching, whatever your situation is are you going to do your utmost to serve Me under those circumstances because you know also in another sense, even those of us who have good health, then you know really our physical condition compared to say, the demigods even the healthiest and the strongest body builder amongst us devotees here (laughter) who just runs every day all these things for hours every day compared to a demigods they are like ants compared to us. One flick, one flick of the finger and they go flying, yeah. It’s a fact. So these considerations like I have a… whatever condition, a respiratory condition, back condition and something, something condition, financial condition, social condition, whatever it may be… they are not relevant. They are not relevant and they are certainly not relevant to Krishna. So Krishna wants to see that we are willing to serve Him and really take up the process and practice the process whole heartedly regardless of the material circumstances. But He may if He likes takes some problem away… change the problem and make it a different problem. (laughter)
You know a classic, a real classic, someone has no husband or wife, they want one, and they feel they need one, so it’s a problem. (laughter) No we may laugh but for some devotees it’s, it’s a problem, it really is, and it you know, it haunts them naturally and undermines or tries to undermine their Krishna Consciousness, not extremely unusual. So then Krishna says okay you silly devotee, take a husband you know, take one so you know. They get a husband or a wife but you know many husbands and many wives are just not suitable. So that becomes a problem, they have a bad husband or a bad wife and now you got another problem and you know… you know that sometimes becomes a terrible problem, becomes disastrous sometimes.

Ya, so this idea that God in order to have considered merciful must be given that type of thing in our lives that materially beneficial thing. It’s not… at most, it’s not important. Actually I knew one devotee who passed away, well-known devotee from Durban, extremely well known but he was in a car accident and he became paralysed as a devotee, Brahmananda, and he couldn’t accept it and he live with it and he just you know being Krishna Conscious under those circumstances, he couldn’t do it. Just couldn’t do it and he just passed away as much from depression as anything else. Ya. So you know it’s very important not to be to materially expectant with Krishna but first and foremost to be willing and able to accept whatever the circumstances Krishna has put us in and the to see how to serve Krishna. How to be a devotee under those circumstances. Ya

Is your hand up Mother Kirtida?
Devotee: Yes.

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Yes! It was Mother Kirtida’s birthday on Sunday.

Devotees: Haribol!

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Gita Jayanti, Snana Yatra, Mother Kirtida’s birthday, how many auspicious events, anyway please go ahead.

Mother Kirtida: There are so many living entities that we are trampling unknowingly…

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Yes…

Mother Kirtida: is that condoned? Or…

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: It’s not condoned at all. I, well actually I wasn’t present but I was around, when Prabhupada was at Bhaktivedanta Manor, one time, his first visit, and a devotee asked Prabhupada and the devotee said, “this grass is all living entities and we are walking on the grass so we are walking on the heads of these living entities, is it alright or is it sinful activity”, Prabhupada said that…. “Unless you are walking for Krishna you should not walk on grass”. (laughter) If you are walking for Krishna means you know you are in the process of doing some service then you can walk on the grass otherwise no it’s sinful activity. What right do we have to just walk on other living entities for our own enjoyment so we can achieve our happiness in material existence? Good point.

Anyone else?


Devotee: Maharaja, Sometimes unknowingly we take shelter from our karma by saying oh it’s just my karma, why these things are happening instead of sometimes deepening our thinking that perhaps Krishna is trying to teach me something and that He is giving me this karma for a reason please could you share some light on this…

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Ya

Devotee: Perhaps you could

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: well I think you did, that ya… (laughter) ya sometimes it sort of like part of the way there. It’s karma. Well, yes. We should see it like that but it is given by Krishna and Krishna, you know, here we read well we didn’t read but we referred to how Indra was extremely intelligent in the way he presented this idea. Let’s work together to get the nectar so, you know, someone like Indra he never does anything… well anyway, someone who is very intelligent, they generally never do anything unless they thought about it and decided it was the best thing for them to do and therefore they are doing it and Krishna is the leader of that group. Krishna never does anything just you know because… when we are children sometimes we do some nonsense and our parents ask us why did you do that and we say… “because!”… (Laughter) Krishna never does anything because… Krishna does just things….well because there is an actual reason. So certainly there is nothing haphazard in the life of a devotee, actually there is nothing haphazard in anybody’s life, and you know in existence everything you can think of exists, everything… anything you can think of exists but Prabhupada said the only thing that does not exist is chance. It doesn’t exist. There is no such thing in reality. So the progressive devotee… you know whatever is going on the progressive devotee will see it like that, Krishna is behind this and how must I serve and how… how… would… what would Krishna like me to do here. What would please Krishna here? Why is Krishna arranging like that? This
is all part of the meditation of a progressive devotee.

Devotee: To what extent… um… does my consciousness determine what type of karma am I going to attract. For example perhaps if one is receiving a lot of criticism, maybe somehow or another I am doing something to attract this type of karma.

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Ya, well… it’s not exactly that you would just attract karma like a magnet attracts metal but if you… if you become in the wrong consciousness, Krishna will arrange. For example…you start getting puffed up, say you are going out distributing books and you go out, well it was who… it was… well it was Kadamba Kanana Maharaja who mentioned about Rameswara on the first spontaneous Christmas marathon, he got not really puffed up but he got a little sort of something, thought he was a bit special… a little bit that “ahhh… you know its midnight I better go back and devotees are probably waiting up for me and wondering where I am and you know I have been out so long doing books.” So he went back and there was nobody around and he thought “Ahh, Jee wiz you know they were waiting for me but then it was too late they all took rest…”, (laughter) He went into the ashram it was empty (laughter) and then he realised wow maybe I’m not so much the big sankirtan man. So sometimes we go out distributing books and by the grace of the Lord sometimes we distribute a lot of books but being conditioned souls sometimes we cannot sort of really accept it as mercy from Krishna, Lord Caitanya, Guru somehow we got some mercy despite our short comings, They used us as an instrument, how nice but we get a little you know puffed up and we think we did well. So if we get into that then one day you will go out and you won’t be able to distribute anything and someone will come and attack you (laughter) and then someone will arrest you, I mean the police will arrest you, and then people will bring the books they bought the other day back and demand their money back (laughter) you will end up in the minus (laughter) This is Krishna. He is a very creative thinker but He is so kind to do it with us even though we are insignificant really but to help us gradually improve as devotees. Learn the lessons we need to. Even though sometimes He has to bash us on the heads a bit before we realise oh… yeah… Krishna is behind this! (laughter)

Hare Krishna!
Srila Prabhupada Ki
Devotees: Jai!
Devotee: His Holiness Bhakti Caitanya Swami Maharaja ki…
Devotees: Jai!


Hearing Purely

Posted under Transcribed Lectures

27-­‐11-­‐2013 SB 4.31.24,
Hearing Purely, Vrindavan, India

om namo bhagavate vasudevaya!

So we are hearing today from Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 4, chapter 31: Sri Narada instructs the Pracetas, text 24.

te ‘pi tan-mukha-niryātaḿ
yaśo loka-malāpaham
harer niśamya tat-pādaḿ
dhyāyantas tad-gatiḿ yayuḥ

Translation: Hearing from Nārada’s mouth the glories of the Lord, which vanquish all the ill
fortune of the world, the Pracetās also became attached to the Supreme Personality of
Godhead. Meditating on His lotus feet, they advanced to the ultimate destination.
Purport: Here it is seen that by hearing the glories of the Lord from a realized devotee the
Pracetās easily attained strong attachment for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Then, meditating on the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord at the end of their lives, they advanced
to the ultimate goal, Viṣṇuloka. It is sure and certain that anyone who always hears
the glories of the Lord and thinks of His lotus feet will reach that supreme destination. As
Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (18.65):

man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yājī māḿ namaskuru
mām evaiṣyasi satyaḿ te
pratijāne priyo ‘si me

“Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto
Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very
dear friend.”
Yes, so, the Pracetas have been hearing from Narada Muni all sorts of very nice instructions
about the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And here Maitreya is continuing and
making the point that because they heard in that way without deviation and because
Narada, the person they have heard from, was a fully realized soul, so highly, fully qualified
in Krishna Consciousness .Then the result of all that was that they progressed first of
all. They advanced and in due course, they advanced to the Supreme destination. They all
went back to Godhead or they all attained completely pure, unalloyed devotional service to
the Lord – the perfection of life.

So, the process is so powerful as stated here that loka malapaham, the process of hearing
the glories of the Lord is so powerful that it can vanquish, Prabhupada translates, vanquish
all the ill fortune of the world. It is a total panacea you could say. The whole process
is of course, but particularly within the process that particular part of hearing the glories of
the Lord, particularly from a great devotee like Narada Muni or great devotee like Srila
Prabhupada. That part of the process is really most extremely powerful. most extremely
important and essential actually and if it is really done properly then in and of itself it has
the potency to vanquish all the ill fortune of the world and of the individual, of the devotee
who hears that wonderful pure sound vibration.

So in and of itself hearing the glories of the Lord has that potency to bring one to the perfectional
stage. In Caitanya Caritamrita Srila Sanatana Goswami is instructed by Lord Caitanya
and Lord Caitanya then lists out the 64 processes of devotional services, 64 types of
devotional activities. The last five of which Lord Caitanya emphasizes as being particularly
effective, particularly powerful and particularly beneficial.

sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

Incidentally if you don’t understand English the Russian translation is over there. So Lord
Caitanya speaks this to Sanatana Goswami in the 22nd chapter of the Madhya Lila and
these particular processes, these five he says, they are so exceptional even amongst the
other activities that he says, just a little bit of any one of them, even if it is performed not so
nicely, not so expertly, even if it is performed without real faith but as along as they are
performed without offenses, that any one of these activities has the potency, that it can, it
may bring a person immediately to the level of bhava. Practically immediately to the level
of bhava, which basically means the perfect stage of devotional service.

Of course we emphasize Krishna prema, prema pumarto mahan. Krishna prema is the
great great goal of life. The greatest goal of life and the greatest part of perfection. But still
bhava is part of perfection. It is not part of something less then perfection. It’s just there is
perfect, more perfect, most perfect – that sort of idea. Most perfect. Then there is even
more most perfect, most most perfect, mostest(laughs) most perfect. It is unlimited really.
But definitely there are different stages of perfection and just because one stage is in a lower
part of perfection so to speak it doesn’t mean that it is not part of perfection, it is. So
bhava is part of perfection and that is what Lord Caitanya says there in Madhya Lila to Sanatana
Goswami. That just a little bit of any one of these activities, even if performed without
faith, but as long as its done without offenses may bring the devotee immediately to
the level of bhava.

And in regard to hearing the glories of the Lord, which is the particular activity being presented
here and emphasized here, Srila Rupa Goswami in Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, in
order to glorify and really give a clear appreciation of all of those five activities, Rupa Goswami
has composed a particular verse for each one to really bring out the essence of its
essential and wonderful wonderful nature. So hearing the glories of the Lord, hearing Srimad
Bhagavatam, krishna katha, Srila Rupa Goswami gives a very interesting type of glorification.
As he does with one or two others, he apparently criticizes it but actually by this
particular type of “criticism” he is really bringing out the glories of it. The potency of it, how
wonderful it is. So the translation at least of that verse, about hearing Srimad bhagavatam,
hearing the glories of the Lord, it is in the context that some materialistic person is speaking
to his friend who is also a materialistic person and both are, really like you know, very
enthusiastic materialists. And the one who is addressing the other one, he is saying, he is
basically warning them, “Don’t hear Srimad Bhagavatam. Watch out. Just you be careful.”
So first of all he says to his friend: “My dear foolish friend. I think you have been hearing
Srimad Bhagavatam.” You know what, and of course you know it is just implicit in that, that
there must be some reason why the person speaking thinks his dear foolish friend has
been hearing Srimad Bhagavatam. You know which in the context that I was presenting it
in, the speaker feels is foolish. There must be some symptoms. And as we mentioned as
Lord Caitanya says, to hear or to be engaged in any one of those five activities even with a
little faith , etc., it may bring the person the level of bhava and bhava is quite noticeable by

When devotees who are so advanced it may be difficult to pin-point what it is their stage of
advancement in terms of different levels from sraddha to prema. And even they may go up
and down, be at one stage at one point, then be at another stage a matter of minutes later,
or even a combination of stages. But bhava, if someone comes to the level of bhava, that
is not so easy to mistake. It is really quite something outstanding and really extremely
prominent. So in other words implicit in this first part of this verse, “My dear foolish friend. I
think you have been hearing Srimad Bhagavatam”. Implicit in that is is his dear foolish friend
is showing symptoms of bhava, which could be, you know there are different symptoms.

But For example it could be that he is now although generally previously he was not, but
now he may be very actively engaged in some devotional activity, unexpectedly. Previously
he would never do that but now he is very visibly engaged in some Krishna conscious
activity or perhaps he has suddenly become very renounced. Previously he was not, but
now some symptoms of really quite major renunciation appear in his character. Or something
like that. Maybe he has become extremely tolerant or perseverant or even it could be
some emotional symptom. But there are symptoms and in the statement the person speaking
obviously must have observed something. Otherwise why would he just surmise, just
assume that you must have been hearing Srimad Bhagavatam.

So these symptoms of bhava are extremely powerful. It is not just a little bit of renunciation
or a little bit of attachment to chanting. It’s something quite dramatic actually. And this person
unexpectedly is showing that, you know just like sometimes a person…, someone who
has drunk some liquor. The effects of that are also quite noticeable. But sometimes if
somebody has drunk some liquor and he is confronted, “You have been drinking” he would
say, “No no, not me, I haven’t been drinking” just before he collapses on the ground or
something like that. So, you know the symptoms are noticeable.

So anyway Rupa Goswami in that verse he says, “My dear foolish friend. I think you have
been hearing Srimad Bhagavatam,” because obviously some prominent symptoms must
unexpectedly have arisen in that person. But then the person goes on, “If you hear the
tenth canto I don’t know what’s going to happen to you. You know you are bad enough
now that you have foolishly been hearing Srimad Bhagavatam and something pretty substantial
has come over you but now when you hear the tenth canto you are finished. We
will just have to carry you out. Or you know, your whole life will just be turned upside down
and around and just you know… Your past will just…, your previous material life will be finished.”

So devotees, bear that in mind, be careful! Do we know what we are dealing with here? It’s
very powerful. It’s extremely powerful and it has the power to transform a person, even
sometimes at least, on the spot. Immediately from quite a material condition to a very
Krishna conscious condition, practically like that. It may do that. In a similar vein at least,
although slightly different example but similar idea.

When Lord Caitanya in the later stages of his pastimes in Jagannatha Puri, during the
nights, he would sometimes escape. He would be locked in his room in the gambhira. Locked
in from the outside and there was only that one entrance. So he would be locked in
because he would…, if he was able to get out and there was no one to watch him and monitor
him and follow him. He might just do anything or go anywhere and just disappear. So
they would lock him in. But Caitanya Caritamrita describes one night he got out and one
night he went running around looking for Krishna. Just completely, totally overwhelmed
looking for Krishna. And he ran down to the sea thinking it was the Yamuna. So he just dived
in thinking that it’s the Yamuna and I’ll find Krishna there. But then he got washed
away by the sea. At Jagannatha Puri the sea, for any of you who are a little familiar with
the sea, the sea is moving northwards up the coast, so Lord Caitanya got swept by the
sea. Just gradually over a period of some hours up the coast to the North.
Somewhere up there, there was a fisherman. In the middle of the night he was using a net.
He was casting the net out into the sea, into the surf or somehow casting it out there and
then pulling the net in and catching fish that way. He happened to catch Lord Caitanya.
And Lord Caitanya was in such a condition, such an extreme condition perhaps even by
His own standards which were very extreme. His arms and legs had retracted into His
body, into His torso. And His head somehow…, maybe something like that. So in other
words He looked very extraordinary. Certainly not like a human. And it was in the middle of
the night. And this fisherman he could see… “I have caught something big here and something
very unusual, very strange.”

So he pulled Lord Caitanya on to the beach and in the darkness trying to figure out, “What
did I catch?” He went to touch Lord Caitanya and immediately symptoms of bhava overpowered
him. Immediately his body just started shaking uncontrollably in ecstasy. Tears
just started pouring from his eyes, his body and his voice started stammering and shaking.
It was really something extraordinary. And being just basically an ordinary person he
couldn’t understand what happened, what was it, and he thought, “I caught a ghost.” And I
am now, since I touched the ghost, I have been possessed by the ghost. “Wow, I have really
got a big problem.”

So he ran, just ran panicking back down the beach towards Jagannatha Puri which was
some distance away, to the South. And as he was running, on a conscious level he is aware,
you know. His mind in other words has not become infused with Krishna consciousness.
These are physical symptoms which have overcome him. So he was in a great
anxiety, “I have been possessed by a ghost and I need an exorcist.” So he is running down
the beach and now by this time it is very early morning, the sun is beginning to rise.
The devotees, the associates of lord Caitanya they discovered that Lord Caitanya had got
out and now has disappeared. So all devotees went out in different directions to search for
Lord Caitanya and Swarupa Damodara Goswami and a group of devotees they went up
the beach because Lord Caitanya had done that sort of thing previously. Dived into the
ocean and being swept away. So they went up the beach and whom did they come across,
but this fisherman, running down the beach exhibiting all these symptoms, collapsing and
body shaking and etc etc. And Swarupa Damodara Goswami thought, “Aha, I think we
have discovered Lord Caitanya, at least a lead, an important lead.”

So this fisherman approached Swarupa Damodara Goswami and this group of devotees
and explained what happened. And he said, “You know, I caught this ghost and I touched
him and all these things came upon me, I am possessed. I need an exorcist.” And Swarupa
Damodara Goswami said, “Well, it is your lucky day. I happen to be a big exorcist.”
Anyway we are not really aware what happened to the fisherman after that, if in the end he
became a devotee. But the devotees found Lord Caitanya shortly after that.
Yes, so, this sort of contact with the Lord, through this different devotional activities and
particularly hearing about the Lord. They are all very exceptional and hearing about the
Lord is most exceptional. Srila Prabhupada would say there is a direct channel, direct line
from the ears to the heart. So in other words whatever you hear, actually anything you
hear. But particularly transcendental sound vibration, if you really hear it nicely and if it really
has that transcendental quality, it’s not some mixed sound vibration but coming from a
pure source then it goes straight to the heart and immediate impact is there.

And transformation, big transformation can be there very quickly. So like that very direct
connection: The other senses, of course they are also connected. We engage our senses.
Hrisikena hrsikesa sevanam. We engage our senses in the service of hrsikesa, the master
of the senses, our senses become purified. But there is special character to the sense of
hearing and to engaging the sense of hearing in hearing about Krishna and particularly
from very good sources, direct link.

Whereas if you hear from someone who is not on that level and particularly if you hear
from people who are really contaminated and it’s all just you know, just a big mish-mash.
And the transcendental nature is not really prominent, it’s very mixed. Then it may even
have bad effect as we know. That to hear the holy names of the Lord from an offensive
person it has an effect like drinking milk which has been touched by the lips of a serpent. It
has a poisonous effect. Yata sarpa sarpa yata paya. If that milk has been touched by the
lips of a sarpa, of a snake, of a serpent then it has drastic… drastic, poisonous effects. So
the quality, the qualification of the source from whom one is hearing is an important consideration.

Yeah, just like you may have heard, I’m sure many of you have heard…, it is a joke, but it
is a good one. The temple president from Krishna Balarama temple, Vrindavana, happened
to be in Rome. It is a joke, don’t worry. And somehow he ended up visiting the Vatican
and visiting the Pope. And on the Pope’s desk he saw this big red telephone. And he asked
him, “What’s this red telephone?” And the Pope said, “Direct line, up there to Him,
God.” So the devotee asked, “Can I make a call to God, to Krishna?” And the Pope said,
“Ok, but bear in mind it’s long distance. It is very expensive, 100 dollars a minute.” So the
devotee made a call to Krishna. It is a joke, don’t worry about it (laughter) And Krishna was
asking, how is the sankirtan movement going. One minute 100 dollars he had to pay.
Then the Pope later came to India. Few years ago the previous Pope I think was here. And
the devotee, temple president gave him his card. And the Pope thought, “Hey let me go
and visit my friend, the temple president from ISKCON Vrindavana”. So he came and went
into the president’s office and sure enough there was a big red telephone. And the Pope
said, “Oh you got one of them also.” And the devotee said, “Yeah, direct line.” Pope said,
“Can I make a call?” ”Go ahead no problem.” Pope made a call and Krishna told him, “Are
you still allowing so much nonsense. You don’t allow women to be priests. What are you
people up to?” You know He chastised him a little. And he hang up and he said, “How
much? It was couple of minutes. Must be a couple hundred dollars.” And the devotee said,
“No. Don’t worry about it, it’s free.” And the Pope said, “How can it be? It’s such a long distance
call. Must be very expensive.” And the devotee said, “No no no. In Vrindavana it’s
just a local call.” Anyway it’s just a joke. But still the point is there. If you really hear from
right sources, the right things then it can transform even someone who is like extremely

There is this story of Valmiki meeting Narada Muni. He was extremely degraded. He was
really the most terrible person but he got instruction from the saint Narada Muni who was
speaking here to the pracetas and it transformed him. Basically, literally on the spot. Major
transformation came. Mrigari the hunter, same sort of situation. Again Narada Muni, another
degraded and vicious person, just terrible condition. With a little hearing from great
devotee, transcendental sound vibration Mrigari the hunter became completely transformed
into a great devotee.

The prostitute who came to try to drag down Haridasa Thakura. She just heard his chanting
for some hours. Even she fell asleep and she woke up the next morning, he was still
chanting. He had promised that when I finish my rounds then we can enjoy together. She
woke up the next morning and he was still chanting and she asked him, “You haven’t finished
yet?” And he said, “No no, I finished. That was yesterday’s rounds. Now it is today’s.
So just be patient, sit down and listen and I”ll be finished after a while.” And she was sitting
and listening and hearing and it was not really…, she had this sort of element of piety in
her character to some degree. But it was not like devotees hearing from some very advanced
devotee like Narada Muni or Haridasa Thakura. She was just hearing but still it transformed
her also on the spot, at least over the period of some hours she became a different

So these are some examples and of course there are many examples of how this works.
Hearing from the right sources. In our case, well of course we have Narada Muni speaking
in Srimad Bhagavatam and Prabhupada in, is it the third or fourth canto? Anyway, somewhere
in earlier cantos. Srila Prabhupada in one purport to a verse in a chapter where
Narada Muni is speaking, I think it is in the fifth chapter of the first canto actually. Prabhupada
makes the point: We would like to thank Narada Muni for appearing in the pages of
Srimad Bhagavatam. And we would like to thank Narada Muni also. But we would like to
particularly thank Srila Prabhupada for giving us Bhagavatam, Bhagavata Gita all his lectures
etc etc. Because now we have the opportunity to hear the same transcendental message
from someone like Narada Muni.

And people like Narada Muni one thing you must know: There are devotees and there are
devotees. But devotees like Narada Muni and like Srila Prabhupada, this is just something
else. Not just like the head of another vaishnava organization or something like that. This
is actually someone on the level of Narada Muni. When you hear from Srila Prabhupada, if
you hear nicely then exactly the same impact can happen, can happen.

Lord Caitanya makes that point that if you do those activities as we mentioned, even without
faith or without offenses and even one of them may bring you…, not that it will bring
everyone to the level of bhava just like that, but it may bring a person immediately to the
level of bhava. You know, Don’t worry if you haven’t come to the level of bhava yet after
chanting, associating and hearing and doing all those activities for many years. It is still
having this effect. But there is also a problem or you could say consideration in terms of
how you hear. You have to hear the right thing from the right person. That has to be there,
you know not just some Bollywood version or different kind of hindu pop. What was that?
Radhe Radhe japa karan, Krishna nam rasa piya karo… something like that. It is basically hindu
pop, Vraja mandala style. That’s essentially what it is. So the qualification or nature of the speaker
and the chanter that’s an essential consideration. But then you, the hearer you have to hear. Clearly.
You know we have the mind. Everyone of us has a mind and the mind speaks, the inner voice
and the mind speaks a lot! About a lot of different things. The mind is a character. And there is the
inner ear. The sense of hearing is a slightly complex sense and your sense of hearing may be engaged
by your mind.

You may possibly have had the experience, maybe even today. You were trying to chant
your rounds and of course you know that you should chant them nicely and be very attentive
and so on. You may have heard that so many times but still even today, you may have
been chanting but your inner voice was also operational. Your inner voice was talking and
your inner ear was listening and that was really where your consciousness was. Your awareness
was more given to your mind. Even though the chanting was going on and sometimes
you hear it. Did you ever have such an experience?

So it is a very important consideration. To make the whole process complete the chanter
has to be to the right standard, but the hearer has to really hear. Otherwise, like we said
there is this channel from the ear to the heart. If your mind is now thinking about this and
that and actually your attention is giving to that, it is as if you have blocked the channel. It’s
basically, literally like you have blocked the channel from the ear to your heart. There is a
blockage. And the sound vibration is there. It’s trying to go in but it is getting caught by the
blockage and as a result it’s not really reaching the heart and as a result the transformation
is not really taking place. At least certainly not like Lord Caitanya said it can take place.

Therefore for ourselves, to hear from the right sources, which basically means hear from
Srila Prabhupada and those who are actually following Srila Prabhupada and not just
some others…you know Vrindavana is such a colorful place, full of colorful people with colorful
ideas about Krishna consciousness. It’s amazing. So there are all sorts of wrong
people you can hear from. We should hear from Srila Prabhupada and those who actually
follow Prabhupada. Which excludes those who say they are following Prabhupada, but
you know if you have the reasonable idea what it means to follow Prabhupada then you
understand that they are not actually following Prabhupada. You have to hear from the
right people, but then you have to actually hear from them. We have to actually hear. And
then that sound vibration, powerful sound vibration will just go to the heart. And then it can
even be on the spot today. Literally today. Major transformation can take place in your
heart, literally. No exaggeration or anything of that sort.

So, well we should try to do that, hear from the right source but really hear. This is something
we have to work on, cultivate. And of course it is becoming recognized and has been
recognized in ISKCON more and more over the last so many years and therefore we have
different programs where devotees focus on these things. But we should understand, we
should not… It is nice to serve Krishna a lot and enthusiastically. We should not just become
Krishna conscious workaholics. We should become Krishna conscious and then serve
on the basis of being Krishna conscious. Having actually heard nicely.

So the Pracetas did that and Prabhupada says in the purport, they easily attained strong
attachment for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, easily. Strong attachment. And then
meditating, being focused on the lotus feet of the Lord they went back to Godhead. They
perfected their lives, achieved Krishna prema. Let us follow in their footsteps.

Hare Krishna! Srila Prabhupada ki jay!

Is there time for a question or should we finish?

Question: Hare Krishna! Thank you, maharaja. It is one of the five processes you mentioned,
it says residing in Mathura. Why Mathura, why not Vrindavana?

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: It’s sort of…, it’s a generic. The basic idea is we should live in a
holy place. And well actually, you know if we sort of get slightly technical about it, Mathura
Vrindavana it’s the same area. Mathura Vrindavana. Just Mathura… you know. Rupa Goswami
is preaching, Lord Caitanya is preaching by presenting all those different processes
and Mathura is a very famous place of pilgrimage. So you know practically anyone in the
whole country even today, if you say Mathura, they will immediately understand oh yes.
But it is in a generic sense. You know you could turn your own house, flat, in another part
of the world into a holy place by having deities and pictures and Krishna conscious programs
and so on. That’s the principle, is that ok?

Mataji: Thank you.

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Just pass the microphone forward please.

Question: As it is described in canto 6 in the Ajamila case that the chanting of the holy
name whether knowingly or unknowingly extinguishes the offenses that we are not conscious
off. So when we keep on chanting does it not include extinguishing the offenses
caused by hearing from unauthorized sources that accumulates in the heart. Does it not
reconcile in this case that if we keep on chanting that the chanting will burn the unknown
offenses of hearing from unauthorized sources in the heart. So we should keep on chanting
even though sometimes we have heard from unauthorized source. If we keep on
chanting it will solve the problem.

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: The thing is, there are couple of considerations. One is, how unauthorized,
if it’s really like super unauthorized…like some nonsense people in a nonsense
context, then according to Padma Purana, being quoted by Rupa Goswami in Bhakti
Rasamrita Sindhu… If the source is really bogus enough, it may actually have a detrimental,
like a severely detrimental effect. Like, kill you spiritual life. But then another consideration
is, that the more you hear from the good sources, the authorized sources, the quicker
the process is. And we should have a sense of urgency in our Krishna consciousness. And
not just think that, well you know… if I sort of… kind of carry on sort of in Krishna consciousness
to some degree… You know, Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita in 9.33 api cet duracaro…
Yes, it’s not too bad. I can take birth my next lifetime as a devotee and carry on.
So if I hear some Bollywood, I don’t know who it is, but om shanti om something… chanting
Hare Krishna, then it’s ok, it’s not too bad. But we all should have a sense of urgency.
For different reasons. One is that the goal is so worthwhile to achieve. Oh we should
achieve it! Without delay! Another point is, that if you do delay, if you are not careful and try
to do things properly and maximize the opportunities to your progress… If you are lackadaisical…
like that, then you can make a serious mistake which can set you back very badly.
The example or one example is Bharata Maharaja. Well, Ajamila is one thing. He was not
committing offenses. So therefore, even though obviously his position was a nonsense position.
But he was chanting. But without offenses. Bharata Maharaja’s situation was different.
He actually, Jiva Goswami explains in Bhakti Sandharba, that Bharata Maharaja…
The reason he became attracted to the deer was the result… as a result of previous offenses
he committed. And we don’t know what they were. But Jiva Goswami does make the
point that we should understand that they must have been. Because he was on the level of
bhava. Means, perfect devotional service. The beginning of perfect devotional service, but
still perfect devotional service. And because of offenses he became bewildered and he lost
a lot of time. He had to go through being a deer. And then he was Jada Bharata and that
was all a very difficult situation. So we don’t want to take that risk. Therefore it behooves
us, for our own benefit we should do our real best. Sadhu sanga, keep in good association.
Srila Prabhupada and his real followers. Nama kirtan, really trying to chant the holy
names. Even if our efforts are lacking. Even often lacking. But still we should keep trying.
And bhagavata sravana, really try to hear. And when the Bhagavatam class comes or
when we are reading Prabhupada’s books, really try to take it in. And mathura vasa. Really
try and stay…make our own home a holy place, a Krishna conscious place. And don’t go
and mix in the wrong places with the wrong people. And engage in deity worship nicely. So
if we are attentive in how we apply ourselves to these activities, if we really try to be as attentive
as we can, then we will progress reasonably rapidly. Otherwise there are many
challenges. And if you are not careful some challenge can just knock you down and out for
some time. And who wants that?

Ok. We‘ll finish here. Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!


Churning of the Milk Ocean

Posted under Transcribed Lectures

24-12-2012 SB 8.6.21-28, Churning the Milk Ocean, Cape Town, South Africa

om namo bhagavate vasudevaya!
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya!
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya!

Reading from Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 8, Chapter 6, “The Demigods and Demons declare a Truce”, text… it says 20 here; I was told it was 21. Is this correct? Or is
Devotee: Ahh… I think its 21 because we did 20 yesterday…

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Oh okay, so you already did this.

Devotee: Ya.

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Ah ha… Ah ha…

Devotee: So it’s fine you can speak on 21…

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Okay… okay… Did someone just write this up this morning? Or is this… Oh, was it an error. (laughter) Anyway in Krishna’s service nothing is wasted (laughter) even if you write the same verse up again. It’s all transcendental. So it’s okay then to do 21? Is it?
Devotees: Yes

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Okay, okay so 21 and actually we’ll read a couple more verses ah… because there’s no substantial purport for a little while, ya till 28 actually.

amatotpadane yatnau
kriyatam avilambitam
yasya petasya vai jantur
matyu-grasto ‘maro bhavet

“Immediately endeavor to produce nectar, which a person who is about to die may drink to become immortal.” (SB. 8.6.21 Translation)

kniptva knerodadhau sarva
manthanaa mandaraa katva
netraa katva tu vasukim

sahayena maya deva
nirmanthadhvam atandritau
klesa-bhajo bhavinyanti
daitya yuyaa phala-grahau

“Translation: O demigods, cast into the ocean of milk all kinds of vegetables, grass, creepers and drugs. Then, with My help, making Mandara Mountain the churning rod and Väsuki the rope for churning, churn the ocean of milk with undiverted attention. Thus the demons will be engaged in labor, but you, the demigods, will gain the actual result, the nectar produced from the ocean. (SB. 8.6.22-23 Translation)

Purport: It appears that when different kinds of drugs, creepers, grass and vegetables are put into this milk and the milk is churned, as milk is churned for butter, the active principles of the vegetables and drugs mix with the milk, and the result is nectar.” (SB. 8.6.22-23)

I’m going to carry on if you don’t mind really.

yuyaa tad anumodadhvaa
yad icchanty asurau surau
na saarambheea sidhyanti
sarvarthau santvaya yatha

“My dear demigods, with patience and peace everything can be done, but if one is agitated by anger, the goal is not achieved. Therefore, whatever the demons ask, agree to their proposal.” (SB. 8.6.24 Translation)

na bhetavyaa kalakuoad
vinaj jaladhi-sambhavat
lobhau karyo na vo jatu
ronau kamas tu vastunu

“A poison known as kälaküöa will be generated from the ocean of milk, but you should not fear it. And when various products are churned from the ocean, you should not be greedy for them or anxious to obtain them, nor should you be angry.” (SB. 8.6.25 Translation)
“Purport: It appears that by the churning process many things would be generated from the ocean of milk, including poison, valuable gems, nectar and many beautiful women. The demigods were advised, however, not to be greedy for the gems or beautiful women, but to wait patiently for the nectar. The real purpose was to get the nectar.” (SB. 8.6.25 Purport)

sri-suka uvaca
iti devan samadicya
bhagavan purusottamau
tenam antardadhe rajan
svacchanda-gatir ecvarau

“Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O King Parékñit, after advising the demigods in this way, the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead, the best of all living entities, disappeared from their presence.” (SB. 8.6.26 Translation)

atha tasmai bhagavate
namaskatya pitamahau
bhavac ca jagmatuu svaa svaa
dhamopeyur balia surau

“Then Lord Brahmä and Lord Çiva, after offering their respectful obeisances to the Lord, returned to their abodes. All the demigods then approached Maharaja Bali.” (SB. 8.6.27 Translation)

danovaren apy asaayattai
jata-knobhan sva-nayakan
nyanedhad daitya-rao slokyau

“Maharaja Bali, a most celebrated king of the demons, knew very well when to make peace and when to fight. Thus although his commanders and captains were agitated and were about to kill the demigods, Maharaja Bali, seeing that the demigods were coming to him without a militant attitude, forbade his commanders to kill them.” (SB.8.6.28 Translation)
Purport: “Vedic etiquette enjoins: gahe catrum api praptaa vicvastam akutobhayam. When enemies come to their opponent’s place, they should be received in such a way that they will forget that there is animosity between the two parties. Bali Maharaja was well conversant with the arts of peacemaking and fighting. Thus he received the demigods very well, although his commanders and captains were agitated. This kind of treatment was prevalent even during the fight between the Päëòavas and the Kurus. During the day, the Päëòavas and Kurus would fight with the utmost strength, and when the day was over they would go to each other’s camps as friends and be received as such. During such friendly meetings, one enemy would offer anything the other enemy wanted. That was the system.”

danovären apy asaayattai
jata-knobhan sva-nayakan
nyanedhad daitya-rao slokyau

“Maharaja Bali, a most celebrated king of the demons, knew very well when to make peace and when to fight. Thus although his commanders and captains were agitated and were about to kill the demigods, Maharaja Bali, seeing that the demigods were coming to him without a militant attitude, forbade his commanders to kill them.” (SB.8.6.28)

nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale
srimate bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine

namaste saraswati deve gaura-vani-pracharine
nirvishesha-shunyavadi pashchatya-desha-tarine

sri-krishna-chaitanya prabhu nityananda
sri-adwaita gadadhara shrivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

So yesterday, I take it that you read verse 20 and there ah… the Supreme Personality of Godhead was advising the demigods to act in a certain way which might appear to be at least something extraordinary even maybe slightly dishonest or something like that, “that you should act according to the logic of the snake and the mouse. We were all here for the class yesterday, yes?

Devotee: Saturday the class was?

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: oh okay, Saturday! Oh okay, okay, you were all here on Saturday then? Okay…

Devotees: (cannot hear audio properly)

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Hmmm… okay…So the logic of the snake and the mouse. It’s a very crafty and sneaky logic ahh… and actually Srila Prabhupada explains the whole thing in the purport and actually the whole purport is the story of the snake and the mouse. Somehow we don’t know how… but somehow there is a snake and a mouse and they are caught in a basket, like completely enclosed and how are we going to get out? So for a snake, a mouse is something like the natural foodstuff, ya. Snakes among other things are fond of eating mice apparently so, so this was in one sense, Prabhupada explains this was just an ideal situation for the snake because he has this mouse and there is nothing that the mouse can do let alone escape and so without any effort, he can just grab the mouse and eat the mouse and achieve his goal of… of eating and becoming happy in that way. But, the thing is somehow, there are both there in the basket and it is completely enclosed so whether the snake eats the mouse or does not eat the mouse, the snake is not going to get out. The snake is completely captive and that is it for the snake. So the logic of the snake and the mouse is the snake even though normally, he would immediately without a thought attack the mouse and enjoy eating the mouse, ah…But no under these circumstances he doesn’t do that cause the mouse can eat his way through the basket in that way they can both escape and the logic… and the logic of the snake and the mouse Prabhupada explains is the mouse eats a hole through the basket and just when he has finished and you know they can now both escape then the snake eats the mouse, (laughter) and then he escapes and that’s the logic of the snake and the mouse.

So here the chapter is called, “The Demigods and Demons declare a Truce” and we read on some verses and we saw the idea you know that it is not they are in a basket but they are in a situation. They are in a situation, they all, and particularly the demigods here they are the sort of main characters…ahh they all in particular the demigods want to churn the ocean of milk and get the nectar but then here are the demons. They would also like to do that and get the nectar. So the proposition of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Khirodashayee Vishnu, is speaking… Khirodashayee Vishnu who is the form of the Lord who lies on the Swetadwipa island which happens to be in the middle of the ocean of milk. Yes. So the logic under these circumstances, the application of the logic is that you know churning an ocean of milk, that’s a big job. That’s… that’s hard work so you got all these big strong demons here, get them help, by their mercy or at least with their assistance using the celestestial servant, Vasukhi as a rope and Mandira mountain as a churning rod in the ocean of milk which will then by pulling on the rope, the mountain will turn like this (demonstrates) and the ocean of milk will get churned and different things will come out. Ultimately the nectar of… not exactly immortality really as such, but the nectar which gives long, long material life will come out and then the demigods will grab it and drink it and then, empowered by the nectar, they will smash the demigods. Thanks for helping us churn the ocean of milk. “Wack! (laughter) Off with your head.” This is the application of the logic of the snake and the mouse in this specific situation.

So normally of course the demigods, if they were up to it when they see here’s the celestial demons in front of us, the demigods would just grab their weapons and just start fighting and kill them because normally, well this is the normal exchange between the demigods and the demons. You fight each other and try and kill each other. You know some people smile and shake hands, some others look to see how can I enjoy you, others just fight when they meet. The demigods and demons, they just fight, that’s just the way they are. So in all the demigods where up to it and when they would just see the demons and grab their weapons and start fighting and try to kill them and vice versa. But now the demigods are in a severely compromised condition. Yes, they had become severely weakened and even if, even if they were not being given this very astute advice by Khirodashayee Vishnu ahh… even if they were not being sort of induced to the tricky and diplomatic, they are still not in any position to fight with the demons because they lost their power, they lost their shakti, that was explained I think in the beginning of the chapter, or a little before. Ahh… Lord Indra offended Dhruvasa Muni and Dhruvasa Muni is not a person you want to offend because you don’t want to offend anyone actually but you particularly don’t want to offend Dhruvasa Muni because even if you do, some minor offence, it’s not really an offence but it will just be a little social error. It may not even be that, it may be just something totally unobtrusive and you know just nothing. But Dhruvasa Muni, his thing is you know demigods and demons, they fight. Men and women they meet and a lot of the times they think… ah ha… (laughter) how can we enjoy (laughter).
Dhruvasa Muni, you meet him, you watch out because he takes offence, he sees offence even when there is none or very little. Ja, he is amazing, even you know a situation like this sitting here and you why are you not sitting properly (laughter) and you do and you think, why are you (laughter) leaning against the door try and hold it up (laughter) and… and… and you, what happened to your tilak? And you, why don’t you have a shika and you why have you got a long shika. So you see Dhruvasa Muni, whatever you do it’s wrong. Why are you sitting properly? You trying to show off? (laughter) This is Dhruvasa Muni even when you do the right thing, it’s the wrong thing.

So now Indra, He actually did something offensive, it was really something he shouldn’t have done to anybody and particularly Dhruvasa Muni. Dhruvasa Muni was there in the assembly of demigods which Indra is the chief of and as a gesture of magnanimity and kindness and you know ahh… and know from a senior to a junior he offered… Dhruvasa Muni offered Indra ahh… his garland. He had been wearing a garland and as a gesture of kindness, whatever like that, he says to Indra, “Here take my garland”. But Indra being in a somewhat proud mood, puffed up mood he got this garland and I don’t know why, maybe he just didn’t like the colour but He decided he didn’t want to wear it, he hung it on the trunk of his elephant and the elephant being an animal just you know, what’s this thing just threw if off and just trotted on it and Dhruvasa Muni… right in front of Dhruvasa Muni ohhh… (laughter) and so Indra lost all his power and not only Indra, all the demigods because… because their leader who they were all attached to and strongly connected with and dependent upon, you know it’s like a network because their leader committed an offence because of the network of connection they also became affected. That’s an interesting point in itself that ahh… also, also when Srngi at the beginning of Srimad Bhagavatam, when Srngi the young brahmana boy, unqualified, not properly educated and not… not well cultured, when he cursed Maharaja Parikshit which of course is the event which is like the basis for the speaking of the entire Srimad Bhagavatam. When Srngi cursed Maharaja Parikshit unjustly, he should not have done that ahh… then, he was a brahmana and the brahmana society is also like that, like all networked together. Everyone is connected to everyone else. The whole brahmana community became deteriorated and started falling down.

Ya and now we see today at least in India, the whole brahmana community at least 99% of it is severely, severely, extremely deteriorated. It’s just disastrously deteriorated. It all comes from that, from that one boy. There’s in other words a community… ahh all members of the community are responsible for the other members. You cannot just say that well you know that’s his problem, members of community are connected, particularly the leadership of a community has an extremely, extremely responsible role and there will be great implications. There will be great positive implications if the leader of the community does very well as the leader. There will be great negative implications if the leader falls down and gets into some really bad situation, the whole community will be affected.

So that’s what happened, because of Indra’s offence, all the demigods lost their power and the situation here we see generally when the demigods and demons meet, they don’t really even say “Hello”, they just start fighting. Ya that’s all. It’s just the way they are oriented. But now the demigods being severely ahh… compromised in strength, if they try to attack the demons, they are going to get slaughtered completely, perhaps wiped out, annilated and ahh… Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva of course they are also demigods but their position is much higher than Indra and the regular demigods, the vast majority of demigods are under the authority of Indra. He is the king of the demigods. But Brahma and Shiva, even though they are demigods they are above him. So by the arrangement of Lord Brahma, they got to meet Khirodashayee Vishnu, the demigods, and the demigods are now being instructed by Khirodashayee Vishnu in this very diplomatic way that ahh… hmm… that “don’t try to fight them, get the nectar, the thing is the nectar. You get the nectar, then you can fight with them. Until you get the nectar, just… you just be completely cool, totally cool,” and even to the point, the Lord tells the demigods here, “you know you get them to help with this churning so the nectar comes out. When they ask for whatever they say, you just agree.” Oh yes normally, just on principle they would disagree (laughter). You know even if they just asked for something just say yeah sure because you want to get the nectar which is coming but you got tolerate. You got to be very patient for the time being and well… ahh… we’ll read it as the story develops, as it goes on. Ahh…

“The demons agree” we will read all about it. The demons agree and the demons take one end of ahh… of Vasukhi ahh… the demigods take the other end and the demons end up with if I remember correctly, the tail end, the demigods have got the head end and the demigods, you know they are about to start pulling suddenly, the demons say “hey wait a minute, we got the tail, that is inauspicious, we want the head end” and the demigods on the basis of all of this they were made to say, “sure, (laughter) you can have whatever end you like (laughter) just tell us” and so they swap ends. So, so the Lord is advising the demigods under the circumstances in very clever ways, very clever ways that you know, that when you start churning the ocean of milk, it is not that the nectar that is just going to come out like that but rather many things are going to come out, some horrible things are going to come out, the kalakuta poison. That’s going to come out and… and some nice things are going to come out, gems and beautiful women so these different things, nice things, bad things…

Sri Sri Nitai Mayapur Chandra Ki Jai!

“All these different things are going to come out but… but when you see them, particularly the nice things, don’t become attracted just tolerate and you know just don’t… try not to ahh… notice these things too much, wait for the nectar. Just wait for the nectar then when the nectar comes, just get it!” That’s the point, so this is the Supreme Personality of Godhead speaking, ahh…very interesting and then in the last verse we read which was 28. Then… well the Lord has finished his instructions and… and disappeared. Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva because they are not really part of the situation exactly, they are on a higher level, they have also gone to their abodes and now it’s the demigods and the demons confronting each other. So, the demigods then approached the demons without weapons and you know obviously not in a militant mood, just like in a social type of mood and Bali Maharaja, who was the king of the demons and who himself is a highly qualified person in many ways actually, much more qualified than the other demons. Here it is described, the other demons, his commanders and captains, the other leaders of the demons under Bali Maharaja, they just wanted to kill the demigods but Bali Maharaja could see, “No! They don’t want to fight, something is going on here, let’s us find out what is going on” and Srila Prabhupada devotes the purport to discussing it is an interesting aspect of Vedic culture, interesting aspect that if they are two sides and somehow there are some major dispute and it comes to the point of war between the two sides so they would fight face to face during the day and at the moment the sun set they’ll stop. They wouldn’t think if they are just about to cut off someone’s head and the sun sets, they wouldn’t think oh, it’s okay to cut off his head. No, they would say, oh okay, that’s it, stop, end! Literally until the time the sun rose again in the morning, as soon as that happened, they were back into it. But from the time that the sunset, till sunrise, they were friends and they would visit each others’ camps and sit down and have dinner together and chat and just a
few hours before they were trying to kill each other very savagely. It’s amazing! This is part of Vedic culture, it’s very interesting.

Vedic culture, Krishna Conscious culture is a very non-envious culture… ya… and even… even in different parts of the world maybe not exactly to this degree but up until recently, the idea of warriors being noble and you know don’t shoot someone in the back. That sort of idea and… and don’t attack the women and children, just fight the other soldiers and if someone is down, you know, don’t… don’t kick a person when they are down. Let them get up again. This sort of vestiges of noble, upstanding character they were still there. They were still there even on Christmas day 1914. The first Christmas during the First Word War, the British… in some places, the British and German soldiers played soccer together. (laughter) Ya. Just on the first Christmas day they did that in some places, it’s well known historical event but then the next day, they were at it again and…
There’s a famous character in like somewhat recent Indian Military history, some of you may have heard of, Shivaji, Shivaji, he was a king of some area in India ahh… you know maybe like I don’t know four, five hundred years ago or something like that and he was a kñatriyas and he really held these ksatriya principles. So he was fighting against the Muslims, the Muslims were invading and there was one particular Muslim leader, I don’t know his name who he fought against and defeated and captured and when they captured the Muslim leader they let him go. Then they fought again a little later and captured him again and let him go again and this happened several times. They let him go. One time the Muslims defeated them and captured Shivaji, and killed him. (laughter) He is a famous personality in Indian military history but… but here ahh… Bali Maharaja he is a ksatriya and ahh… the term is dharmatma, dharmatma even the term is used nowadays sometimes in India, a religious person. Dharmatma, he was… you know he’s a demon. He’s not exactly a demon but he’s a member of the community of demons but still his character was extremely noble and upright and very righteous and for example he respected the brahmanas, he would do anything and give anything to a brahmana which he eventually did with Lord Vamana but… but these were his principles. So the other demons didn’t have such high principles but he was like you could say a dharmatma, ahh… a very pious and religiously minded person so he saw, here come the demigods and obviously they don’t want to fight they don’t have their weapons. So they must have something they want to discuss, let’s discuss with them ahh… and so in this way, anyway we will read how they actually make a truce and then they cooperate in the churning of the ocean of milk but Vedic culture… Vedic culture is like that. Krishna Conscious culture is like that.

Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati would say that, “you can recognise a Vaisnava because he is a perfect gentleman, just by being a Vaisnava a person becomes a perfect gentlemen” or gentle lady, of high character, just most wonderful type of person without the lower tendencies like in the greed, pride, arrogance, cheating tendency ahh… these are… they are just those types of characteristics that are not just there in the character of at least a pure devotee, a first class Vaisnava. They are completely beyond these things and… and as a result even in regard to their enemies as discussed here, they are actually sincere well-wishers of their enemies.

Maharaja Yudhisthira, he was very much such a person, he is known as ajata-satru. His enemy is… his satru ,enemy is…satru basically means someone who wants to hurt you literally. His enemy was ajata, of course we know that Maharaja Yudhisthira had many enemies and they assembled a huge army against them… huge army but still Maharaja Yudhisthira is … it’s one of his names is ajata-satru, he whose enemy was never born, but he had many enemies who wanted to and tried to kill him at different times but as far as he was concerned none of them were his enemies. He did not feel these are my enemies, he felt no animosity towards them whatsoever but rather he felt he had benevolent feelings.

In Mahabharata there is the description of the Pandavas in exile and Duryodhana the chief of the opposing side, Duryodhana from time to time, he would do something to make life more difficult for the Pandavas. They are already in the forest just living under trees, it’s already more than difficult enough really but he would from time to time make arrangements to make things more difficult. You know he sent Dhruvasa Muni and his 60,000 disciples. “You want lunch? Go and ask the Pandavas” cause he was hoping that the Pandavas would not be able to provide lunch. Dhruvasa Muni as we mentioned being hyper-sensitive, would become offended and curse them. They are already living under the trees in the forest but he wanted to make it worse. So one day Duryodhana came and his idea was in one way or another, he wanted to just come and have a look at the Pandavas and have a good laugh at them. “Ha, look at you, living under the trees.” “You don’t even have a supermarket to go to; you just have to pick stuff from the trees.” (laughter) He wanted to get a laugh. Look at them, “these fools” so he was coming and on the way he met a gandharva a powerful, not like our Gandharva (laughter) but a male gandharva, warrior and gandharvas are demigods like minor demigods but they are still demigods. They are much more powerful than human beings. So somehow a fight developed between Duryodhana and the gandharva and the gandharva was more powerful. He was just about to kill Duryodhana when the word reached the Pandavas in the forest there and Yudhisthira, when he heard this he immediately said, “Let’s go! Take our weapons and help Duryodhana. He’s our cousin. Let’s save him”. Bhima, he was not so enthusiastic (laughter) he was just… Bhima thought,
“Ahh… he deserves it.” But Yudhisthira went and fought the gandharva and defeated him and saved the life of Duryodhana.

You know we may not be ksatriya material ourselves so much, but we can appreciate the mood, the spirit, the non-envious spirit of the pure hearted personality. Ya. So even if someone feels that a devotee is his or her enemy, the devotee will not feel that this is my enemy, rather the devotee will have benevolent kind feelings towards that person unless of course that person offends another devotee or Krsna, then the devotee will take exception and act very strongly. But on their own account, if the devotee sees that someone is abusing me, someone is aggressive towards me, nasty towards me. A devotee at least… a very advanced devotee does not get all upset and fight back and say, “Why me? I don’t deserve it, they’re nasty…” The devotee says… Ahh, just see… I am getting reactions from my previous bad activities. I deserve it!” Ya. They just take shelter of the Lord.
We will see that in a little… in a while when you reach the 9th Canto and Maharaja Ambarish is offended by Durvasa Muni… the same Durvasa Muni, again for nothing. (laughter) literally for nothing actually, it was his miscalculation that he had been offended. So then Durväsä Muni creates some mystical demon to attack Maharaja Ambarish and of course Maharaja Ambarish he is a very powerful kshatriya. He could have fought, different things he could have tried to do. He didn’t. He just stood there, folded his hands and prayed to the Lord and he became so absorbed in remembering the Lord, tears came from his eyes. He didn’t become belligerent, he didn’t panic, he didn’t accuse Durväsä Muni of being unfair. He just took shelter of the Lord. So he is very advanced, devotees and ourselves of course we are not on the same level as Maharaja Ambarish or Maharaja Yudhisthira ahh… but we should try and appreciate their examples and if, or we should really say when we get into challenging situations, because don’t worry, they will come from time to time, no matter how expert you feel you are getting around them or somehow doing something. They’ll come. They’ll come. So when our challenges come then we should try and remember these examples and remember how these devotees dealt with their challenges in pure Krishna Consciousness and do our best at least. To deal with our challenges in really Krishna Conscious ways and not just get emotional about it and or angry or whatever like that.

Hare Krishna!

Any comments or question?

Yes, Mataji?

Mataji: “Maharaja you were talking about the Brahmins, Srngi for example, he did something wrong and how it affected everybody. Maybe you want to comment something about as devotees what we do positive and negative how it affects society? ”

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Well yes, a very simple example, if it’s still book distribution marathon, if you’re out there somewhere and you are just trying to distribute more books and just get everyone to take a book whether they like it or not or want it or not and if you just force someone to take a book and just you know overdo it and they walk away thinking “wow these Hare Krishnas they are too much”. And the next time they see another Hare Krishna. First of all they’re going to tell their friends, why you wouldn’t believe I met this Hare Krishna and that was terrible and the next time they see some other Hare Krishna then they think, oh it’s one of them and this is actually how in America in the 70’s really, our movement got a very bad name with the public because in the name of distributing lots of Srila Prabhupada’s books which is one wonderful but some of the devotees just got carried away and offended a lot of people by using cheating techniques and things like that and it… it had implications for the whole organization. So you know that’s a simple example but in more subtle sense, in a more subtle sense, you know if anybody but particularly the seniors anyone or some of the seniors start to ahh… lower their standards in Krishna Consciousness and you know like for example, start watching television regularly, as an example, and the other younger devotees they become aware, and then they start thinking, “oh must be okay.” So like this… there are implications. Ya… or eating certain foodstuffs, you know from the shop which may be you know borderline or who knows really where they are maybe. Ya. Ahh like this trends develop and it can start even with the younger devotee also but it’s much more likely to really take hold, kind of infiltrate the community if it starts with the senior devotees.

Ya. So… and then even in a really subtle way, like for example, if the senior devotees attend the morning program, it’s very good. It’s certainly very good for them because no one is really so advanced that it’s not good for them to attend the morning program but it sets a very good example. Other devotees can understand it must be good thing because the seniors are doing it ah but you there is also just you know just like a subtle connection in the sense that in particularly, leaders or seniors, if their standards go down there’s going to be subtle influence amongst the other members of the community like maybe you might not be able to see it or.. but you know it’s there.

Yes, so even like here in our temple, the temple as such… and the extended community of devotees’ ahh… it makes a difference what, particularly what standards the seniors maintain. Ya it makes a difference… even… even just in truly subtle ways which you may not really be able to put your finger on. So you know we are all members of the community even whoever is the most junior, spiritually junior devotee sitting here right now. There must be someone who is actually spiritually, the most junior here right now. Whoever that person is…ahh… even what they do, it matters. If they become serious and really get into everything in the right ways ahh… there will be a type… there will be ripple effects throughout the other members in different ways. Ya… so… Hare Krishna.

Hare Krishna!

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Yes

Mataji: In regard to the class, basically the umm… churning of the milk ocean, where Ksirodaksayi Vishnu told the demigods not to get attached to all these beautiful things that are coming out…

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Right…

Mataji: and eventually be disturbed by the bad things and that they should wait for the nectar. Can we kind of draw a line like through our personal practice and in devotional practice that you know we shouldn’t be so disturbed by all the bad things and just keep on like achieving prema is like the nectar?

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: Well… yes… you could say that…you could say that… ahh… certainly we should try not to become like depressed or lose our enthusiasm if there are difficulties or when they are difficulties. When there are materially good things, we should not become carried away ahh… and yes we should keep our eyes on the ultimate goal of… of… really coming to the level of pure devotional service. But if there are spiritually good things that happen, we should celebrate those like someone goes out and distributes a lot of books. Gaurasundara Prabhu goes out and does 1000 books in a day! (Haribol!) We should celebrate. We should not just think, “ohh, okay. It was Krishna acting through me (laughter) you know it’s okay. No! We should celebrate, not in the mood of enjoyment like independent enjoyment. Ya… and he of course should not think “wow; I am a big book distributor, look at me, everyone should appreciate me” but spiritually we should appreciate, celebrate ahh… nice things that happen in Krishna consciousness and ahh… if there are spiritual challenges, then you know like in some places sometimes the government tries to either slow down or sometimes even stop the movement so we shouldn’t just think, “oh… it’s okay!” no, we should become concerned and really work to… to correct things but certainly in personal terms ahh… you know if we like … get sick then one should try just take it as the Lord’s mercy and say okay, now I am sick and I should get better as quickly as possible but in the meantime let me just do some Krishna Conscious things that I can do while I am sick. But of course we should keep our eyes on the goal to become pure devotees ahh… but we should also have more immediate goals too, like krsna prema, you know that’s quite a goal. How about chanting 16 rounds…? How about chanting one round attentively? How about that for starters? That’s a good goal! (laughter) Ja and that’s something which is extremely relevant today, right now. I must chant 16 rounds. Okay that’s fine! But at least 1 of them should be a really attentive round and then from that others may also develop other rounds. Ya, so we are goal orientated, we are not just sort of you know, “let is all just happen.” “Whatever Krsna desires!” There is a place for whatever Krsna desires, consciousness but we should also have mini goals well like talking about the book distribution ahh… if the most of you have done in a day before perhaps is 50, then in order to please Krsna, please Lord Caitanya, please Prabhupada and help the conditioned souls and like that, then you should think “right, I did 50, I want to do 100. I want to do a 100”, like this, it’s a goal but it’s you know a very… it’s a very relevant goal in very practical terms today. You know developing krsna prema obviously is relevant but you know in our experience ahh… we feel that it is quite rare that someone goes from this sort of condition we are in to krsna prema on the same day. (laughter) so you know it may really come on the down to earth terms like what am I doing right now and trying to do today. It may not be… it may be in a certain sense idealistic and naive even ahh… but we… but we should definitely have goals for improving our Krishna Consciousness. Chant better. Distribute more. Get up every time for the morning program. You know. Read more and better. These are things we may not be doing but we need to do and if we don’t do those things then the krsna prema goal is never going to come. We will never get there.

Anyway, good point. Thank you.

Srila Prabhupada ki Jai!

His Holiness Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja ki Jai!


The Ten Offences, Day 4(final day)

Posted under Transcribed Lectures

The Ten Offences, Day 4, Durban, South Africa

And now let us move on to the 7th, “to commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy name of the Lord”, so of course the point here is that as we note in our first little comment here, that the unlimited power of the holy names has already been discussed in regard to the 5th offence that we mentioned about, how you can’t commit enough sinful activity that just one chanting of the name “Krishna” without offence will not be able to eliminate all of that. So therefore some people may think that let us make a program, a systematic program of enjoying life, eat, drink and be merry and not eating prashadam and drinking prashadam or milk or whatever and enjoying kirtan but some other forms. So… people may think like this and then think that let us also chant the holy names and this will free us.

However, point number 3, Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura says “if someone even contemplates relieving himself of the reaction of deliberate sin by exploiting the purifying strength of the holy name, he is utterly ruined and no amount of prayascitta will help him.” (Sri Harinama Cintamani 9, sinning on the strength of chanting the Holy Name, Being inclined to sin is nama aparadha) Prayascitta, means atonement. “Even after untold retribution in hell he will not be absolved from this mental nama aparadha” (Sri Harinama Cintamani 9, sinning on the strength of chanting the Holy Name, Being inclined to sin is nama aparadha) so this is really serious, this is very, very serious. Of course we don’t expect any of you; we know you… you all are committed devotees so we don’t expect you to break any of the regulative principles, so hopefully this wouldn’t apply so much to yourselves.
Ahh, however there is one interesting little twist to this and it comes up and we mentioned in point 5, it’s actually point 4 in fact, from seva aparadha to nama aparadha. This is explained by Viçvanätha Chakravarthi Thakura that actually we already mentioned that there are seva aparadha beginning with what… What is seva aparadha number 1? Show me you have learnt something? Entering the temple room with shoes or something… ya and it includes, I mean… the list of seva aparadhas include ahh… not reciting the pranama mantra out loud or at least audibly not that you have to shout but you know audibly and should be audible and there’s… there’s a number 60 or so specific seva aparadhas and right at the very beginning you may recall, right at the very, very beginning in fact it’s on the first page about, ahh… of our study guide. This is a quote from Srila Prabhupada which He says that, “if you commit some offence against the Supreme Personality of Godhead then if you chant Hare Krishna, you can be delivered from that”, and we did explain at that time you if recall that what Prabhupada is referring to then when he says if you commit offence against the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it’s the seva aparadha, beginning with entering the temple with shoes on or not to offering obeisances properly or different things like that, getting angry with people in front of the deity and you can read through them it’s worthwhile. So, ahh…Srila Prabhupada made the point that if you happen to commit any of these then you just chant… as you are already chanting Hare Krishna, you just carry on chanting Hare Krishna and the results of those will be washed away, ahh… in other words, they are not terribly serious really! However Viçvanätha Chakravarthi Thakura makes the point that if you commit any of these knowingly then, any of these seva aparadhas, they cease to be seva aparadhas and they become forms of the 7th offence, committing sin on the strength of chanting Hare Krishna. So now you know you are not allowed to enter the temple room with shoes on, anyway you knew that already, now you know you’re meant to say your pranama mantra out loud, so you know with knowledge comes a burden of responsibility, so you might argue… let me not read these list of offences (laughter) so I can very sincerely commit them without any intention and then it won’t actually be an nama aparadha however this is not actually a very good idea. You should be aware and you should avoid them and if you don’t, somehow or other you may, if it happens sometimes that the devotee just has to rush into the temple room to call someone out or something like that. You may have seen this happen, just left your bead bag there or something you just got to say good-bye to someone. You just duck in, (laughter) grab your bead bag and duck out without really offering your obeisances. These things happen sometimes or it’s an offence… anyway I won’t mention that one. There’s a few touchy ones there, like you are not meant to wear red or blue in front of the deity, are you familiar with that one? That one is there and how do we interpret that, well Srila Prabhupada didn’t apply that because particularly ladies and men perhaps sometimes, maybe with a pull-over or a jacket perhaps ahh… I am sure devotees wear red and blue sometimes but according to that list, it’s an offence, anyway Srila Prabhupada didn’t apply that so we don’t really worry too much about it. However the others we should really be mindful.

Then the last little point under the 7th offence is the need for vigilance on the namabhasa stage and let me just see what we have to say about that here. Ahh. Yes. So namabhasa, this clearing stage, we talked about that yesterday. It’s very important to be mindful of, we are meant to be on the clearing stage. Of course it will be nice to say we are meant to be on the shuddha-nama, pure stage of chanting in Love of God but we don’t really, you know expect that too quickly but at least we should be on the clearing stage and that means… The difference between the clearing stage and the offensive stage is that on the offensive stage, the different desires or non-Krishna Conscious ideas will enter the mind sometimes and on the offensive stage, we may sometimes entertain them. Yes. Some little idea enters the mind and then off we go on some little mental path, following that idea and thinking about it and wouldn’t it be nice and something like that, some material contemplation. So that’s the offensive stage. Now the difference between that and the clearing stage is that even though the mind is sometimes pushing and telling you, come on think about this… think about that… some nonsense but on the clearing stage the devotee says, “no”. Ya, the devotee says no and an emphatic “no” and even though the mind is talking away there but then the devotee remains fixed in chanting. Doesn’t mean that no desires, no ideas ever come into the mind, that’s the… that’s the pure stage were one is totally just swimming in the ocean of the holy name and just drowning in the ocean of the holy name and there is no question of material desire even… even entering the scene… even as a hint but on the clearing stage it’s understood that the pushing is there, pushing is there from the mind but the devotee is resisting and has become strong enough and purified enough to be able to resist and not just get washed away with the tide of the minds, desires and the strength of the mind.

So as far as vigilance then being required in the namabhasa stage then there are two things and this is important for us all as aspiring devotees, we are all trying to get it together. So two things are there, one is that you just just have to be very determined, that has to be there. But second this is recommendation from Bhaktivinoda Thakura that we must regularly seek the association of devotees and pure devotees, who do chant the holy name without offences and chant in their company. In fact Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends that for at least an hour a day we should chant with advanced devotees even though you know you won’t chant all your rounds within an hour, if you are chanting all your rounds within an hour then you must know that… you are… it’s not really possible unless you adopt one of the deviant forms of the maha mantra like “the snick snick rama rama” (laughter). You’ve heard about that, I am sure you must have heard about that. One devotee was chanting something like that and Prabhupada’s presence and Srila Prabhupada was quite struck by it, and He found it quite amusing. He told them if you keep chanting like this you may go to snick loka (laughter) snick snick rama rama (laughter) or the Hare… we have the Hare Krishna maha mantra. I am sure you all have heard us mention before about the Hare Krishna mini mantra (laughter) the abbreviated Hare Krishna mantra. One of our dear devotees I won’t mention any names (laughter) sometimes chants Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Hare (laughter) and finishes his rounds quickly (laughter) anyway…so… yes. Yes we should chant very vigilantly if we are to come to or remain on depending where we at right now on the clearing stage ya and see the tendency towards sin is something that is quite deeply engrained for many, many lifetimes, so we really have to watch out for the 7th offence. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends like that, that we should regularly, you may not always be able to but regularly we should chant in the association of advanced devotees. Ya and ideally on a daily basis, of course yourselves, many of yourselves at least as householders, that might be difficult. But the thing is, that as you advance more, probably of course as you advance more you will be become better association for each other anyway as family members but perhaps as you advance more than the devotees in the different areas may gather sometimes in each other’s houses, you know for an hour at least every day or every other day or something like this.

In some parts of the world, like in Russia where they have namahattas, they have a namahatta centre, they have one flat and it’s only used for the namahatta programs, someone may stay there just to keep it clean but otherwise it’s just for the namahatta programs. So in the morning many of the devotees, the namahatta devotees around, working people, they’ll come there, they will gather at 5:30 or 5 o’ clock or something like that, spend an hour or so before they go to work. You know this some practical thing which may be possible in order to… to help each other and associate, surcharge each other and this is very helpful, ya because one thing we should remember is that we are never alone, even when we’re alone, we are not alone and that doesn’t mean just because Krishna is there, us and Krishna are not alone. Yes, you know who is there with you? Your mind! Yes and unfortunately your mind is probably not very good association. In fact Bhaktivinoda Thakura compares the mind to Pütanä, the witch, she’d like to kill us but she looks very sweet. Pütanä dressed herself up like a very sweet young lady, extremely good looking, very, very beautiful but not a flashy type of beautiful lady but of very high character, very pure hearted sattvik type of young lady. She looked so nice that Mother Yashoda didn’t, when… when Putana went walking in to Nanda Maharaja’s own room cause they lived in separate rooms, even in separate parts of the house then she looked so sweet and nice that Mother Yashoda didn’t even ask her, “Who are you?”, “What are you doing in my husband’s room?”. She just let her go. So like this we may be a little… ah… too liberal with our minds cause your mind will tell you that, “We are good friends, we have been friends for a long time.” (laughter) “I always give you good advice, I am there when you need me”, and we may think “Yes, good old mind!” (laughter) But the mind is compared to Pütanä, looks very nice but then the mind will try to kill us, or kill our Krishna Consciousness. So in this way, we should try to seek the association of devotees on a very regular basis and chant in their association and that’s very important.
We haven’t been talking a lot about the remedies, Bhaktivinoda Thakura suggests some remedies. Of course we did also make the point, or Prabhupada made the point right at the very beginning that if you commit offences against the holy names then there’s no… you know you can’t ahh… it’s very difficult or even Prabhupada more or less said that it is hardly impossible to really address that. However Bhaktivinoda does talk about that and Prabhupada also elsewhere does say, particularly with Vaisnava aparadha, that there are things you can do. With Vaisnava aparadha, we talked about that how you have to very humbly go before the devotees and throw yourself at the devotee’s feet ahh… in regard to the 2nd offence the remedy, if you happen to get into demigod worship cause I see actually, I have seen in some of our devotees, not many but some of our devotees houses, here and there… ahh… they may have 2 altars sometimes or you know most of the altar is Krishna Conscious but just around the corner is you know, Durga or Laxmi or somebody or you know, actually we have seen it. So if someone happens to commit that offence then what Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends is that you go in front of the deities and throw yourself at Their lotus feet and beg forgiveness. If you disobey the orders of the spiritual master, you are meant to go into His presence and ahh… admit your offence and in front of all the devotees you are meant to do that. If you blaspheme the scriptures you are meant to do the same thing make up… like you know make up like an altar with some of the scriptures on the altar an offer your humble obeisances and in front of the devotees make them aware of what you have done. So these types of remedies are there ahh… for most of these offences.

For this offence ahh… if you commit sin on the strength of chanting the holy names, Bhaktivinoda Thakura recommends that you go into the association of devotees and throw yourself at their lotus feet and beg for forgiveness and beg for help and the devotees of course are so merciful that if you beg for their help, then they will give you good advice and encouragement and treat you in a very merciful way, soothing words like this.

So that’s something about the 7th offence.

Let’s say something now about the 8th offence to, ahh… to consider… ahh… where are we? 9th offence, wait a minute… (it’s on the last page) oh it’s the last page okay. “to consider the chanting of Hare Krishna to be one of the auspicious ritualistic activities offered in the Vedas as fruitive activities, karma khanda” (9th offence to chanting the holy name) so we make the point, goloker premadhana, ( Hari Hari Bifale, From Prärthanä, Prayer to One’s Beloved Lord, By Çréla Narottama Däsa Öhäkura) goloker premadhana actually, d-h-a-n-a harinama-sankirtana (Hari Hari Bifale, From Prärthanä, Prayer to One’s Beloved Lord, By Çréla Narottama Däsa Öhäkura) This harinama sankirtana, the holy name has descended from Goloka as a great gift, premadhana, like that. “It’s descended from the spiritual world as a great gift of Love of God.”
Then we quote one very nice verse here from Caitanya Caritamrta which really makes it very clear. “”The holy name of Krsna is transcendentally blissful. It bestows all spiritual benedictions, for it is Krsna Himself, the reservoir of all pleasure. Krsna’s name is complete, and it is the form of all transcendental mellows. It is not a material name under any condition, and it is no less powerful than Krsna Himself. Since Krsna’s name is not contaminated by the material qualities, there is no question of its being involved with maya. Krsna’s name is always liberated and spiritual; it is never conditioned by the laws of material nature. This is because the name of Krsna and Krsna Himself are identical.” (CC, Madhya 17.133 translation)

This is a very important verse making it very clear, ahh…of course you all know this fact that Krishna Consciousness is transcendental but still a…a… possible variation on this offence which we may commit is if we start praying to Krishna for… ahh ya… praying to Krishna with some sort of material end in mind. Of course, you know, you may need some money to do some service for Krishna, even maintain your own family better in Krishna Consciousness so that’s… that may be acceptable up to a point but if we start… you know like really praying to Krishna for material things then it is basically an offence falling into this category in which we… we are equating Krishna Consciousness or trying to get from Krishna Consciousness the same benefits which are normally got from karma khandia, material things. “Give me a house and a car and a colour TV, om jaya jagadisa hare” yes. Ya, like that. So… ahh… in our cases we, we don’t really expect you, any of you to think that the chanting of Hare Krishna is actually a material religious activity. I think, I am sure you hear; I am sure you have all heard about it enough but this is a little twist on it. A little twist, a little subtlety that we may think of getting something material by the grace of the holy name, something beyond our real requirements, so this is a possible variation which might apply to us then we say… Ahh it’s actually meant to be point number 3 but the number got lost there.

The example of Kalidasa, the example of Kalidasa. Now Bhaktivinoda Thakura, when he explains this offence in Harinama Cintamani actually it’s…umm…it’s Haridasa Thakura in fact who is really speaking so he, he makes the point that if you commit this offence it indicates that you have gross material attachment. You know if you think that the holy name is just something like karma khandia or even in this more subtle sense. You are chanting Hare Krishna and you are praying to Krishna give me a new BMW. I could use it in Krishna’s service. (laughter) Give me a new Rolls Royce or something like that. Give me a new sari. Of course you may need a new sari (laughter) or whatever it might be. So, but the thing is when we start going a little over board, if we start going a little over board about desires on the bodily platform or I am this body at least in some subtle way, we are getting into that so Bhaktivinoda Thakura or Haridasa Thakura recommends, he makes a very interesting recommendation. He says that seeing this indicates you’ve come on the bodily platform what… he says what you should do is to counteract as a remedy for this, to cure yourself of this, you should find some Vaisnava who comes, at least from the…when he… before he was a Vaisnava comes from the lowest position in society that you could find you know whatever that might be the lowest you know in… in the Vedic context that would mean candala, mleccha or yavana something like that. Some devotee who was you know born in a certain family really, really, really low. You should find that devotee and then throw yourself at the lotus feet of that devotee and eagerly take the dust from that devotee’s lotus feet and then bathe that… the feet of that devotee with water and drink the water and then take the food remnants of that devotee. Take the dust from the devotee’s feet and smear it all over your body and offer very humble prayers for mercy at the lotus feet of that devotee.

So now the example here given, we have mentioned is Kalidasa, some of you may have heard of Kalidasa. Have you heard…? How many of you have heard of Kalidasa from Caitanya Caritamrta? Oh okay only a couple of you. So Kalidasa, he was an uncle of Ragunathadasa Goswami and he was a great devotee and he, he had taken up as a, like a vow it was his thing, he was just into it, was his…his activity that he would the dust and food remnants and the water which he had just washed the feet of all the devotees in Bengal. Now there were probably millions of devotees in Bengal in those days. So he actually did it. He took the food remnants of all of them. Now of course… and he washed their feet and he took the dust from their feet and like this. So then one… one particular incident is recorded there in Caitanya Caritamrta, He went to one Vaisnava who was from that sort of background, lower class background and he approached him and he said… His name was Jhadhu Thakura. He said, “My dear Jhadhu Thakura, can I please have some dust from your feet?” So what did Jhadhu Thakura say…? (laughter) He said, “No!” (laughter) He said, “Well you know, I don’t have lotus feet actually so the question doesn’t arise.” “Could I have some of your food remnants?” and he said “yes you could but what will be the point.” So in this way as devotees we would expect would do, Jhadhu Thakura refused, but Kalidasa, he was very determined so he brought two mangoes as a gift. He gave them to ah…Jhadhu Thakura and said okay I’ll go now. So Jhadhu Thakura walked him out to the front gate out to the road and said goodbye and Jhaòu Thakura went back inside to eat the mangoes and Kalidasa… as soon as Jhaòu Thakura got inside he came running back, found the foot prints of Jhadhu Thakura in the path and just took the dust and just smeared it all over, completely and just bathed in ecstasy in the dust of Jhadhu Thakura. Then Jhadhu Thakura was sitting there eating the mangoes and he ate the mangoes, and then threw the stones away and the skin into the rubbish heap at the back, so Kalidasa he went and he dug in and he got the mangoes out and the skins and he sucked on them and just got all the mercy and as a result Kalidasa, this was his practice. He wouldn’t take no for an answer (laughter) and you know if “no” really was the answer he had his ways (laughter) of getting around it (laughter).

Yes, so anyway if you happen to get a little bit on the material platform, you are thinking, when you chant Hare Krishna you are thinking about you know the new… whatever you like, you know the new thing that you would like for Krsna or whatever. (laughter) Ya, you got to be merciful to the BMW company by engaging their cars in Krishna’s service (laughter) otherwise how will they advance. Anyway you should do that, find the lowest, I mean the Vaisnava who previously was from the lowest background and just do like that… and stop at nothing… Stop at nothing! So this is what the example of Kalidasa means.
Then let’s go on to the 9th offence, “to instruct a faithless a person about the glories of the holy name” ah… anyway… I think what I will say here, we made a couple of notes as you can see, but due to lack of time I think what I will say here is that you may try to tell someone ah… you may try and tell anyone too much. You know if you go to even one of the devotees and start talking about the intimate pastimes of Radha and Krishna and if you really get into that then…then you’d be committing this offence.

If you go to a Christian and get into a debate with you know one of these born again Christians and it turns into the usual heated discussion, then you would be committing this offence. Ya, so in different ways you can commit this offence just by instructing people beyond their capacity to absorb. Ya, essentially means you are committing this offence, ya So we have to be very mindful about audience and not take the audience beyond their capacity and what to speak of you know not get into some sort of verbal battle with a Christian ah… so that really is the essence of the 9th offence and Bhaktivinoda Thakura gives a recommendation that if you happen to commit this offence, there you are going door to door in Phoenix and you meet some Christian enthusiast and you get into a real “hum dinger” (laughter) and you know you tell him off and he tries to tell you off. Then what you should do is to go into the association of the devotees and in front of them all, you announce that “I did this! I am an offender! Yes, I tried to preach the glories of the holy name to some faithless person so please be merciful, pray to Krsna for me.” You can do like this, and then offer your humble obeisances at the lotus feet of the devotees. Even… it’s interesting Bhaktivinoda Thakura applies this offence in terms of a spiritual master who may accept a disciple, who in the end turns out to be a nonsense. Ya, so Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that if a spiritual master does this, accepts such a disciple and you know then the person later on falls away and becomes a real offender, an aparadhi and you know attacks ISKCON or something like that. Unfortunately these things happen sometimes, ah… so then the spiritual master is meant to come before all the devotees and proclaim that you know “I have done this!” and publicly reject the disciple. Ya, and if he doesn’t do that then according to Bhaktivinoda Thakura he will get a very serious reaction and could possibly fall down. Ya, so this is the recommendation here in regards to the 9th offence.

Now let’s just go on to the 10th offence, “to not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names and to maintain material attachments even after understanding so many instructions on this matter”. Here is a definition of faith, “by rendering transcendental loving service to Krishna, one automatically performs all subsidiary activities, this confident firm faith favourable to the discharge of devotional service” (CC Madhya 22.62) is called sraddha or faith. Sraddha sabde, what that means is that this word sraddha, Sraddha sabde this word Sraddha, this word faith means and we are going to ask you about this in the test. You must be able to define faith in these terms in the test okay. Did anyone not catch that? We are on your side here. So… hmmm… ya…

Then the next point… oh we also recorded point number 1, well it’s very important that having given up the first 9 nama aparadhas, just one way or another every devotee must surrender completely to the holy name and there are six principles of surrender. We talk a lot about surrendering but what does it mean? What does it mean? You know in the… in the Wild West movies… Did you ever watch any Wild West movies? Buffalo Bill and company… you know they have this this thing when someone has a gun pointing in his face; he puts his hands up like this… (demonstrates) have you seen that. “Hands up!” they say, so actually in the Vedic scriptures this… is a mudra. A mudra means a hand gesture like there is a gesture for knowledge. What is the jnana mudra? Something like this… (demonstrates) ya… something like that… or like that … or that… or something like this… The jnana mudra and in deity worship there’s different mudras performed, hand gestures so this… is the jesture, the mudra for surrender actually in… in according to Vedic scriptures. This is one reason other than feeling very ecstatic, this is one reason why when we chant, we sometimes do like that because it indicates surrender. But what does it really mean to surrender, how do you go about surrendering? You know like if there’s… if there’s war or something and they come at you with guns and you surrender, “okay I surrender” but when does it end just there? No! So when we talk about surrendering to Krsna it doesn’t mean… it doesn’t end with just saying that, “Okay Krsna, here I am. I am all Yours now”. So here, this is coming from Rupa Goswami, there are six principles in surrender, “accepting things favourable for discharging devotional service, rejecting things unfavourable, believing firmly in the Lord’s protection, felling exclusively dependent on the mercy of the Lord, having no interest separate from the interest of the Lord and always feeling oneself meek and humble” (Hari-bhakti-viläsa 11.417) hmmm… so the idea here is that not maintaining material attachments, in other words we are giving ourselves completely to the holy name by accepting things favourable for chanting the holy name, rejecting things unfavourable for chanting the holy name and so on… like this.

Then last, and certainly not least is the danger of inattention which we add on the list of 10 offences. It’s sort of like an 11th offence in a sense, so… ah inattention. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says it can’t be the most dangerous because if you are always inattentive to chanting then… then where… where will the possibility arise of offending or blaspheming the Vaisnavas, or thinking that the name of the Lord is equal to the name of some demigod. If you are really absorbed in chanting very attentively then the possibility of committing any of the 10 offences will hardly arise. So Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that inattention is the root of all 10 offences. Ya, it’s the first root. You know another root could be your own lusty desires due to being a conditioned soul but if you are very attentive to your chanting then even your own lusty desires won’t be able to get in. Ya. So really strictly speaking, if you think about it, inattention is actually the root of all the other offences and if you are always attentive, you won’t commit any of the 10 offences. This is very, very important.

Then Bhaktivinoda Thakura says that there are three types of… ah… inattentive chanting and we are going to ask you this in the test. One is… you don’t need to know the Sanskrit or Bengali, one is called apathy. The other is called laziness and the other is called distraction. So you have to learn those okay? You only got half an hour to learn them plus the definition of faith. So we are going to finish in a minute so you have a chance to swot up. Hmmm, so apathy… laziness… distraction… What they are I think it’s fairly obvious. Ahh… Bhaktivinoda Thakura gives recommendations for each one. To overcome apathy, he says you should chant every day for at least an hour in the company of advanced Vaisnavas. If you are still struggling or maybe if you can’t do that or you know you are in a little isolated place, something of that sort, then he says that you can go and sit alone in a closed room, he says you can even cover your head and face with a cloth so you can’t see anything and just chant. Ya, like this but main thing he says is chant in the association of devotees. Then for laziness, tendency to want to sleep or just can’t be bothered, actually he says that if you are prone to chant slowly, very slowly, this maybe a sign of laziness. Yes. Ya. Of course if you chant too quickly, not that its laziness, but it’s also ahh… a type of inattention if you’re chanting too quickly. Anyway he recommends for laziness… ahh let’s see what he recommends. Again he recommends chanting in the association of devotees. Then overcoming distraction ahh… he says in order to overcome distraction the devotees should observe Ekadasi very carefully and observe the festival days very carefully. The appearance days of the Lord, different forms of the Lord and the great devotees, try to observe those appearance days and the Ekadasis very meticulously and this will help cure you of the tendency to become distracted. So these are some suggestions by from Bhaktivinoda Thakura. Hmmm and you got to be enthusiastic and humble that’s there.

Let’s see. Okay I think that will do for the time being. Of course there is so much we can say but let us say that that will do for the time being. Ahh, now just get your pens ready okay students? Are you ready? I won’t tell you the questions from the other teachers unless you really want me too. “Yes, yes!” (laughter) is there anyone who objects? Oh… someone objects! (laughter)
Yes so anyway for the 10 offences, the questions are:

What are the 10 offences plus the 11th offence? You get 11 marks for that.

What are the 4 types of blasphemy? You remember that? Yes. We told you to write that down.

We told you that you must know two examples of big offenders and we gave… and that means two of the ones we referred to. We referred I think to three or something like that, four even, so you must know two. You don’t really need to explain about them, you just need to know who they were.

What are the 3 stages in chanting? We talked about that yesterday. Got me? Okay. Anyone not got me? What are the 3 stages and that let’s see … ah… you got to know in Sanskrit and English. (laughter) You got that?

Anyone not got that? Hmm… nama-aparadha, the offensive stage, namabhasa, the clearing stage and suddha-nama, pure stage. You got that? Okay.

And then the definition of faith, we just read it’s a few… it’s there in the book, under the 10th offence and 3 types of inattention and there… ohh I was thinking you would only have to know the English but according to this you need to know the Sanskrit also. Hare Krishna! (laughter)

Well it’s a test, it’s meant to be a test.

Now shall I tell them the other questions Radha Damodara? Well, what to say? (laughter)

Well you are meant to know the 7 purposes of ISKCON. You are meant to know… ah… that verse from Srimad Bhagavatam, the translation… so just the translation. 10.14.8. You are meant to give a quote from Srimad Bhagavatam which is in your notes, oh apparently there is a number of them, showing how a devotee should regard reversals or tribulations? You got that? Says one. You are meant to give an astounding I mean outstanding… and astounding example of a great personality who accepted tribulation as a benediction and you are meant to know what tribulation that devotee had to deal with. Got it? Got it? Yes. Sure. Yes. It that okay? Yes.

So let’s hope you all do well. So for my part, does anyone have any comments or questions now?

Yes, Radha Damodara?
(Cannot hear the question clearly)

Yes, yes that is recommended, right. Ahh haaa… ahhh haaa… a tricky solution here. Instead of getting together with the devotees and just chant with them, can we just play a tape of Srila Prabhupada chanting and then be chanting in the association of a pure devotee? Well I’d recommend, I think it more on the spirit of what Bhaktivinoda Thakura is getting at that we chant in the company of advanced devotees and play a tape of Srila Prabhupada chanting. You know I think that would really be appropriate. You know this is very important to chant in the association of advanced devotees. This is very, very important and extremely valuable. Don’t underestimate that. That makes a very, very big difference, really makes a big difference.

Someone else had a question. I saw a hand up somewhere.
(Question cannot be heard)

Yes… under… in the danger of inattention, distraction, viksepa, it’s actually viksepa , anyway we won’t be too touchy about the spelling. “Distraction or misplacing one’s attention in engagements other than sadhanabhakti,” (Sri Harinama Cintamani, 12, chanting inattentively is offensive, inattentiveness in negligence) this includes illusion, attraction to “wealth, women, position, success, material success, cheating” (Sri Harinama Cintamani, 12, chanting inattentively is offensive, distraction (viskepa) and the antidote) propensity. Does that answer the question? Ya, these things are included under this heading of “misplacing one’s attention in engagements other than sadhanabhakti” (Sri Harinama Cintamani, 12, Chanting inattentively is offensive, inattentiveness in negligence) distraction.
(cannot hear devotee’s question)

For the 10th offence, that we surrender, the recommendation for the 10th offence is to surrender to cultivate the 6 principles of surrender. Bhaktivinoda Thakura makes a very interesting recommendation as a remedy for all the offences. You know what it is, it’s a blanket recommendation. It applies across the board to all the offences. He says that in order to avoid the offences, you should do the opposite, means you don’t want to blaspheme the devotees so how do you do avoid it, you do the opposite, you glorify the devotees. You don’t want to get Lord Krishna mixed up with Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma so what do you do, you glorify Krishna and His supreme position. You don’t want to disobey the orders of the spiritual master so you glorify the spiritual master and his instructions and you follow them and promote them like this, not canvassing. (laughter) Watch out! (laughter) Just watch out for that one! My God! (laughter) but anyway we have to find a nice way of doing that and so on and we have another thing here.

Ohh, someone’s cars’ in the way, oh the alarm is on. What sort of car is it? White Conquest ND 154 248, a White Conquest, oops there we go, the alarm is on. Yes. Hmm, ya.

Nrshimananda Prabhu: If one has… ahh… knowledge of the 7 aparadha and one doesn’t perform that activity then… ah… but obviously it goes into nama aparadha but then due to some habit one might be prone you know to doing something even though he is aware. After some time it starts clicking after he performs the activity. Ohh I shouldn’t have done that. So when does… when does it actually turn into an offence?

Bhakti Caitanya Swami: ya, seva aparadha under the 7th offence, from seva aparadha to nama aparadha . Question is when does it become an offence? It becomes offence… it becomes an offence when you know, means you may forget, but you know actually but you forget. Ya, and then you realise, oh wait a minute I shouldn’t have done that should I. Ya, but the thing is, then it’s an offence, because you should know, you do know it, ja, but just because you know of some mode of passion or something, you know rushing around or whatever and you don’t think about it. Ya. Yes it’s like that. It’s not a matter that you are about to enter the temple but then you think, well, let me just wear my shoes in anyway (laughter). It doesn’t have to be that gross, ya or you know I just can’t be bothered offering the pranama, saying the pranama mantras out loud, I will just bow down, touch my head to the ground and jump straight up which is you know not so uncommon these days. Ya.
Yes Charles? (end of recording)


The Ten Offences, Day 3

Posted under Transcribed Lectures

The Ten Offences, Day 3, Durban, South Africa

Moving on with our course on the ten offences and we only have another two days left and we have only, and we have 8 more to do and actually there’s an 11th offence of course in a sense. So we have 9 to do so it looks like we are going to have to move on a little bit, speed up a little bit.

So, we are starting today with the 3rd offence, “to disobey the orders of the spiritual master” and of course I haven’t been following this course which Brhat Mrdanga Prabhu is teaching but I think it may be connected, is it? Anyway there is some things to do there with the spiritual master and here you will see, Ahh…we have given 3 headings here, 3 aspects to this subject of disobeying the orders of the spiritual master.
First is just in regard, to the importance of the spiritual master generally, so that’s a very important principle. The principle of guru. The principle of spiritual master is very, very vital in Krsna Consciousness. Then secondly, the importance of founder äcärya, in other words the importance of Srila Prabhupada. That is another very, very important element actually, in our lives in our Krsna Consciousness and thirdly Srila Prabhupada’s explanation on the fall of the Gaudiya Matha, so in other words, and example of what can happen if devotees, if the devotes, if they commit this offence basically. What can happen if one commits this offence, “disobeying the orders of the spiritual master” and everything can fall to pieces and basically the Gaudiya Matha has fallen into pieces and the only ones who are successful at all are those who hang around the periphery of ISKCON, trying to somehow or other get some disgruntled devotees or you know somehow or other, someone who, someone who is so keen on getting initiation but they don’t really care about the standards so when they hear that “we only require 4 rounds!” and they think, “gosh that’s better than ISKCON”. (laughter) “What a good deal!” That is not really, that is a bad deal.
Okay, so this is the 3rd offence then and it’s important, of course it’s an offence which I think you are all well, quite well aware of. The importance of the spiritual master, I think you are aware of that basically. We have quoted Lord Caitanya from Caitanya Caritamrta.

brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jeva
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lat-beja

“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. By the mercy of both Krsna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” (CC Madhya 151)

So, the importance of the spiritual master as I say, I think you are all, you at least have a basic understanding of…of the idea, that we are wondering here in the material world, we are lost, lost in the material world, lost completely, we really don’t know where we are going but Krsna, the devotees are there and the devotees they are carrying Krsna’s mercy and the devotees are trying to help the fallen conditioned souls so if we are fortunate, or if the devotees are merciful and they extend themselves going here and there trying to find people, trying to give people the opportunity for Krsna Consciousness. Prabhupada said that about Himself, He said, “I did not wait to become invited to America, I just came”, so this is the mood, this is Srila Prabhupada’s mood. This is the mood that the preachers should have, trying to find opportunities, not sitting there in the temple waiting for the people to come, then we will preach to them. Of course when people come, obviously we will preach to them and the temples are there for that, so people can come. But the devotees are ready to go out and extend themselves and this is their mercy so by such mercy the devotees extending themselves, one meets the devotees, one can meet a bonafide spiritual master, ahh… who is able to actually awaken your Krsna Consciousness and give you guidance so you can then you can start making your way down the path back home, back to Godhead, that is very important. Ya very, very important principle and it’s a principle I am sure you are all aware of and you know the importance, the… the… ahh… the good fortune of meeting bonafide spiritual master.

Srila Prabhupada gave an example, He said, it’s something like the chances, the likelihood of meeting a bonafide spiritual master in the material world is something like, if you have in the Pacific ocean, big ocean, you have one turtle swimming and also in the Pacific ocean somewhere just anywhere, could be anywhere at all, somewhere in the Pacific ocean, you have one piece of wood, with a hole in it, floating there and that hole is just big enough so that the turtles head could fit up through it without touching the sides, when the turtle occasionally comes up to take a breath of air. So the likelihood in general the likelihood is something like that but the turtle just swimming around could be anywhere and that piece of wood floating around could be anywhere, from Los Angeles to Tokyo or Alaska to the Antarctica or whatever, you know in the Pacific ocean. But somehow it just happens that the turtle comes to the surface to take a breath of air and his head goes through the hole without touching the sides, not that it was his good fortunate actually so it’s very important.
Then there is the point, additional point for us that is the importance of the founder-acarya and we have quoted Bhaktivinoda Thakura here. This is a very nice quote. “The founder äcärya is the principle shiksha-guru. The founder-acarya of the sampradaya is the principle shiksha-guru for the entire disciplic succession; speculations that contradict his teachings are to be immediately rejected; only a saintly devotee who has understood the teachings of the principle shiksha-guru is eligible to be a diksha-guru for others. If one thinks that he can be initiated by unauthorised guru or a Mayavadi into these teachings, he is severely punished; he’ll never attain Krsna Consciousness.” (Sri Harinama Cintamani 6, Disobeying or Disrespecting the spiritual master, The teaching of the adi-guru must be followed)

I am sure, I imagine all of you were there, that one Sunday program in which we read the letter from the GBC body and we made mention… we made mention of the fact that…“Take it outside”. We made mention of the fact that there was a… what do you call it, a proposal, there was proposal put to GBC body that Srila Prabhupada, that ISKCON be declared a sampradaya as distinct from you know, it’s already happened, it’s a Brahma sampradaya and then Madhavacharya came and then it became, Brahma-Madhava, and Brahma-Madhava sampradaya is a little different from the Brahma sampradaya and actually the Brahma sampradaya are still existing in India. There are still the Brahma sampradaya without Madhava. The same ideas coming from Brahma but before Madhava came and made his contribution, so there are still some sort of remnants of the Brahma sampradaya but unfortunately it’s lacking that contribution of Madhava made. That’s very important contribution and then Lord Caitanya came along and then the followers of Madhavacharya, everything got updated by Lord Caitanya so even now the Brahma-Madhava people, actually they are a little bit out of touch. They are a little bit out of touch, they missed out on the mercy of Lord Caitanya, Ya and they are a little mixed up.
One of our devotees, Bhakti Vikas Swami, you may have heard of him, he writes for BTG sometimes. He went to Uddupi which is the headquarters of the Brahma-Madhava, Madhava sampradaya and at that time, a few, some or several years ago or so many years ago there had been some gurus who had fallen down in ISKCON. Maybe 10 or 12 years ago actually, so he went and asked the people, the äcärya, the main head at the Uddupi headquarters of Madhavacharya. “Have you ever had people, have you ever had this happen? Did you ever have this happen?” and he said “yes yes. We have had people deviate, we have had people deviate like Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”(laughter) Yes, he saw it like that, (laughter) but of course the fact is and they know we are in this line from Lord Caitanya and we’re kind of connected to them, but we make a distinction and we consider it very important that distinction, the contribution of Lord Caitanya. But they got a little left behind and they think it’s a deviation, so anyway we had this, this idea came up in the GBC meetings of declaring the Brahma-Madhava-Gaudiya-Bhaktivedanta sampradaya and everyone thought it was a great idea, everyone. It is a great idea but anyway they thought they should sort of think their presentation out more clearly because they might offend some of Prabhupada’s God-brothers and their followers which undoubtedly would be the case but unfortunately I mean it’s not a matter of not doing it, it’s just a matter of trying to make it as gentle as possible with them because the fact is that those people who are trying to practice Krsna Consciousness now, separate from Srila Prabhupada, you know it’s like the Madhavacharya people, they got sort of, a little left behind. This is a very important thing. So here we have it, the importance of the founder-acarya, particularly in our cases.

Srila Prabhupada Himself says it somewhere in the 4th Canto, that anyone who thinks they can become Krsna Conscious independent of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is living in a great hallucination. “Have you read that? Are you reading Srimad Bhagavatam?” “Ya.” “Did you read that?” Ya, Ya well I am sure you would have noticed it of you’re reading, ya so this is a very important thing and then as far as that goes there is that resolution, you remember about like the 3 in 1 resolution? We also read it out one Sunday program. You know what I am talking about? Ya? Let me just, I’ve got it here. There is a preamble “whereas allegiance in principle should be one and undivided yet devotees in ISKCON sometimes feel their allegiance to their spiritual master and their allegiance to ISKCON that they are not intrinsically related and could become

You know like the spiritual master might decide that he wants to go off and form his own institution actually, it’s specifically what they getting at, “whereas there is sometimes evidence of irresolution among devotees in ISKCON as to the priorities of their allegiance to their spiritual master on one hand and their allegiance to ISKCON on the other, whereas to strengthen the devotees commitment there is a need for a clear and unequivocal understanding of how our allegiance is one and indivisible therefore be it hereby resolved that the GBC hereby issues this statement on allegiance. For all devotees in ISKCON allegiance to the spiritual master and allegiance to ISKCON must be understood as two manifest features of one and the same indivisible allegiance, the reason for this is that all devotees in ISKCON, whether they act as spiritual masters or not are equally bound by the order of the founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada. And Srila Prabhupada has enjoined us repeatedly to serve Him cooperatively within the framework of ISKCON. ISKCON is the instrument which Srila Prabhupada crafted by His own hands for our service to Him and which in virtue of His position as founder-acarya continues to be His manifest body for receiving personal service from us, consequently for a devotee to serve the spiritual master in the line of Srila Prabhupada and to serve ISKCON are simply two different aspects of a single service to Srila Prabhupada. Consequently devotees in ISKCON have only one allegiance which is manifest in three features, allegiance to the guru, to ISKCON and to Srila Prabhupada.” Ya, so the importance of the founder- acarya, very, very important for us as members of ISKCON as devotees, as devotees because basically anyone independent of Srila Prabhupada nowadays, even though they may be somewhat Krsna Conscious but it’s just like somewhat like the Madhava people, they are just a little out of touch and the difference, the difference that being out of touch makes will become more and more manifest as time goes on.

Then the third point is an example, we give an example of someone, some people who disobey the orders of their spiritual master and it’s the same Gaudiya Matha. Prabhupada, Himself writes… pardon me for reading so much… “the words daivera karana,” (CC, Adi, 12.8, Purport) This is Caitanya Caritamrta, Chapter 12 if you want to read what Srila Prabhupada thinks about the Gaudiya Matha, read Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi lila, Chapter 12 and you will get a clear picture of what Srila Prabhupada thinks of the Gaudiya Matha, so this is the purport to verse 8.

“The words daivera karana indicate that by dint of providence, or by God’s will, the followers of Advaita Äcärya divided into two parties.” (CC, Adi, 12.8, Purport)

Even Advaita Acarya, isn’t that amazing, He is an incarnation of God and His people divided into two in His presence.

“Such disagreement among the disciples of one äcärya is also found among the members of the Gaudiya Matha. In the beginning, during the presence of Om Visnupda Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, all the disciples worked in agreement; but just after his disappearance, they disagreed. One party strictly followed the instructions of Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura, but another group created their own concoction about executing his desires. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, at the time of his departure, requested all his disciples to form a governing body and conduct missionary activities cooperatively. He did not instruct a particular man to become the next acarya. But just after his passing away, his leading secretaries made plans, without authority, to occupy the post of acarya, and they split into two factions over who the next acarya would be. Consequently, both factions were asura, or useless, because they had no authority, having disobeyed the order of the spiritual master.” (CC, Adi lila, 12.8 purport)

Thing is that it is traditional in India that every spiritual institution has a head who is called the acarya and he is, he is the chief, basically, what he says goes and everyone is under him, but Srila Bhaktisiddhanta didn’t want that. However His disciples were kind of conditioned to that idea just by their upbringing so and, and they found it very difficult to manage things cooperatively because people tend to have their own ideas and they thought it would just be simpler if they could make one person the acarya, he could just say everything and people would just accept him and he wouldn’t have to worry about discussing things and going back and forth. So they elected one fellow, I think his name was Kunja Bihari. Unfortunately he didn’t make it! Unfortunately he ran off with one lady who was some sort of low class lady obviously. He ran off with one lady and became quite degraded. It was a story quite similar to the Ajamila story if you are familiar with that. There were really some pretty clear similarities and in the end she killed him. Sjoe! Yes, she killed him so he was like, being the acarya like the main one who disobeyed the order of the spiritual master in the main way and you know just see and we have even had personal experience, we had as our GBC here going back, ‘82 was the end, so that’s 16 years ago, Jayathirtha and who I knew very well, very well indeed but he also got some ideas in his head and tried to become you know the LSD acarya which also didn’t work. It really didn’t work and in the end, well it’s a little bit of a gory story but in the end, his main follower, his right hand man, well actually what happened was Jayathirtha declared himself to be Krsna, you know which is a step up from being the acarya (laughter). Being acarya is pretty big, but what’s next, what’s higher…well the only thing that is left is to become God so he decided he wasn’t satisfied being the independent LSD acarya so he declared himself Krsna and then he ran off with the girlfriend of his right hand man. These things happen in this world and declared her to be Radha (laughter). Anyway Radha and Krsna didn’t make it (laughter), and Radha left Krsna or maybe… maybe Krsna left Radha and adopted another Radha or Candravali perhaps. (laughter) So Radha ended up fried with Krsna and went back to the right hand man and complained like mad about Krsna, how can Krsna leave Radha and the right hand man who was also like an upcoming LSD acarya. (laughter) He said, “Right! Right! This is unbonafide , Krsna cannot leave Radha so as a reaction for this offence he must die,” so he killed him. Yes and cut his head off actually, placed his body in a lotus position, you know sitting cross legged, put his hands down like this and put his head in his hands and sat there and waited for the police to come. Hare Krsna! (laughter)
So don’t disobey the orders of the spiritual master okay (laughter), please, don’t do that and particularly not in some special way but don’t in any way, don’t in any way because you will find that the…the orders of the spiritual master, they are like a boat, you could say, as long as you stay on the boat, and we are trying, we are floating across this ocean of material existence and its really rough. You know it’s really rough this material ocean, so you got to stay on the boat and even though it may get bumpy sometimes and you may feel a little sea sick sometimes, but don’t think that the answer is to jump out of the boat of the orders of the spiritual master, and that means one’s own spiritual master if you know as in the cases of most or perhaps all of you. Your spiritual master is one of the current spiritual masters so it means stay on the boat of his instructions but it also means to stay on the boat of Srila Prabhupada instructions.

Ya, and when you, you know we have these three standards you could say for knowledge, sadhu, shastra, guru. Out of them the highest standard is shastra, in order for a guru or a sadhu to be accepted as a guru or a sadhu, their teachings have to conform with çästra not that they can innovate and you know, contradict çästra and, and expect to be accepted as bonafide. So, so similarly for… in terms of what we were reading from the GBC resolutions a few minutes ago, in order for a guru to be bonafide in ISKCON, they have to be in conformity with Srila Prabhupada and He has the higher position. They cannot innovate and contradict Srila Prabhupada and say, expect to be taken seriously.

Okay so that is something about the 3rd offence, of course there is so much we can say about that but as I said we are running out of time, so we will move on now to the 4th offence. “To blaspheme the Vedic literature or literature in pursuance of Vedic version” and we give one quotation from Caitanya Caritamrta,

ei kali-kale ara nahi kona dharma
vaisnava, vaisneava-castra, ei kahe marma

“In this Age of Kali there are no genuine religious principles other than those established by Vaisnava devotees and the Vaisnava scriptures. This is the sum and substance of everything.” (CC, Madhya 9.362 translation)
Sometimes it is said that the spiritual master is like the captain of the ship. Have you heard that? Actually it is in the Bhagavatam, in one of the verses I think. Ya. Vyasadeva, I think is glorifying the captain of the ship for those who want to cross the dangerous ocean of Kali so the spiritual master as the representative of Vyasadeva is like that, He is guiding us but the scriptures, they are like the map book, you could say. The spiritual master is giving the personalised direction in terms of you and your own situation like that. But the scriptures are giving the general directions, chant Hare Krsna and in a more general sense.

In Nectar of Devotion if you are familiar with Nectar of Devotion you’ll know that Rupa Goswami at the beginning of Chapter 6, talks about how there are general instructions and detailed instructions. The general instructions are generally found in çästra and the detailed instructions means for more like you as an individual… generally like that. So in this sense the Vedic literatures are giving the general directions how to practice Krsna Consciousness and the spiritual master is helping you personally, it’s more like that. Krsna Consciousness is a personal process.

So, anyway, the Vedic scriptures therefore are definitely essential and we shouldn’t think that we have become more intelligent that Srila Vyasadeva, or Lord Krsna or Lord Caitanya or Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami.
Ahh…Then there are some forms of this offence, different forms, there a couple of different forms of this offence that I thought we could note.

Is everyone awake? Are any of you asleep? Try and stay awake. Yes. You can fan yourself, see Mataji is demonstrating (laughter), she will sell you a fan or you can make one yourself. Fan yourself if you are feeling hot otherwise you could always stand up.

So some forms of this offence, there are two forms of this offence mentioned in… Nectar of Instruction. Of course there are many forms with any of these offences you could, we could have a whole course on any one of them but here we are talking, we have drawn out two particular forms of this offence. Do you know what I am talking about, Nectar of Instruction? Have you read Nectar of Instruction? Who hasn’t? Put your hand up if you haven’t read Nectar of…, have not read? Okay. So, most of you have. Now can you think, those of you who have read it, can you think? There is a very clear instruction in Nectar of Instruction about following instructions. Hare Krsna! It’s all to do with instructions. Are you familiar with the term, niyamägraha. Are you familiar with that term, those of you who have read Nectar of Instruction? Niyamägraha, it’s a compound word which can be interpreted in two ways, niyama-ägraha or niyama-agraha… Ya, so niyama-ägraha… niyama-ägraha means that ahh…that you follow…. Where are we? Okay. Srila Prabhupada says, “Accepting some of the scriptural rules and regulations for immediate benefit, as utilitarians advocate, is called niyama-ägraha, and neglecting the rules and regulations of the çästras, which are meant for spiritual development, is called niyama-agraha.” (Nectar of Instruction, Verse 2, Purport)

The word ägraha, perhaps I should write it on the board, the word ägraha means being like overly eager to accept. You become a rules and regulations fanatic. I remember I had one really good experience of that. There was this one devotee who had heard that ahh… Srila Prabhupada had said, I do not know whether it was really true or not, but he heard that Prabhupada had said that if you eat more than nine chickpeas. You know what a chickpea is? Chana. Basically, a form of chana. If you eat more than nine in a day, this is maya. This is bad for you. It’s very passionate food that’s true. So we were on travelling sankirtan and we would have chickpeas sometimes and he would count the number. (laughter) Yes, and if we had more than nine, he would get on our cases (laughter) in all seriousness he would be very, very upset.

So here we have niyama ägraha and that long a, which has the line over it, that indicates, I assume you are familiar with these symbols in our transliterated sanskrit. Long a, but it can be either a combination of niyama ägraha or niyama agraha, so the fact that Rupa Goswami doesn’t go to great length to make the point that its one or the other means that it can be applied, Ahh… either understanding can be applied.

So niyama ägraha means you become a rules and regulations fanatic, a very touchy sort of person who is always checking people out and finding fault like that but niyama agraha means you don’t take the rules and regulations seriously enough, just like one, you know we have the four regulative principles, so sometimes you get the people who are struggling with them and they try to umm… they can’t follow them all so they try to justify it. You know there is one fellow; he made a slogan, “three for me”. How’s that? “Three for me.” I don’t know which three and which one is the odd one out (laughter) but he made a little slogan like that. Ya, and you get this type of person and they’ll come you or you may hear them preaching to some, one of these borderline types of people, types of devotees that you know, “why, why do you put yourself into anxiety by, by artificially repressing yourself, you know you should just, you know if you feel like doing something, just do it. It’s alright. Krsna is merciful. He’ll forgive you.” So ya, you get people like that.

In Nectar of Devotion you will see that in the earlier parts where Srila Prabhupada is discussing association and the dangers of association with non-devotees. He talks about two types of non-devotees, he talks about those, he talks about two types of dangerous association; association with those who are not devotees and association with those who are too materialistic but they are devotees. Ya, so that association with people, with devotees who are too materialistic, this is very dangerous, particularly if you are a neophyte like the kanistha adhikari. The kanistha adikari’s consciousness, mind can be changed easily by some opposing argument. So, if someone comes along advocating that smoking dagga every now and then is okay, as long as you don’t do it too often, then some people or something like that you know. Watching T.V. is now the fifth regulative principle. (laughter) It’s there somewhere but actually it comes under the fourth, it comes under gambling actually. Ya, useless activity. So, Ya, you may get some people, they tell you, “ look you know, it’s okay, there a good program, on educational program like the Bold and the Beautiful (laughter), you can watch it a little bit, I mean, what the hec. Don’t repress yourself, repression. Krsna says in the Bhagavad gita, what will repression accomplish? He says that. He says it. It’s there in black and white. What will repression accomplish? So you see, it’s okay. (laughter)Ya, it’s alright. Don’t repress yourself.” Repression is dangerous. Did you know that! Repression is dangerous.

You know, down in Cape Town, a while ago, few years ago, a few years ago, we were very active there on the campus, we still are, and a few Jewish youngsters were joining our society on campus and the Jewish society reacted very strongly and they had a whole campaign against the Hare Krsna’s and one of their main parts was about being vegetarian. So they got one of their big Rabbis to write a big article in their campus newsletter magazine and he wrote an article that this vegetarianism is very dangerous. It’s extremely dangerous because eating meat is natural and if you repress some natural urge, It will build up in you, just like if you compress a spring, its builds up and then finally you let it go and then BANG! You know really, so if you repress your natural urges after a while it will just build up and then explode. Ahh, explode and you will just go, it will be a mess. He loses his serious argument against vegetarianism. Anyway perhaps we are getting a little side tracked here but the thing is that both being overly fanatical about following the rules and regulations of scripture, plus being too loose and not following them properly, they are both dangerous and you can end up disobeying the orders of the…I mean blaspheming Vedic literature and literature in pursuance of Vedic version. So of course in order to figure out how to do it, then we need the guidance of the spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada obviously, particularly by far His books are explaining everything very nicely.

Okay we’ll take a break and would you mind if we… if coming back in 10 minutes.

Written Questions:

Could you please explain whether it is proper to chant on your beads before taking bath in the morning taking into consideration that the nine holes of the body becomes contaminated when one takes rest. What is the strict or correct approach in this regard according to shastric injunctions?

So, the correct thing is, well the best thing is just to take bath, but if…you know it’s too cold for example, like in India where often times they don’t have hot water in so many places Ahh, wow, the air is really coming in (laughter). So in India, you know when its winter in some parts like Vrndavana particularly and Mayapur for that matter but particularly Vrndavana in winter it’s really cold sometimes. It’s literally freezing, it gets down to zero. Its gets really cold and so therefore many…many of the people they don’t take bath until the sun has risen in fact that is sort of like you could say a, it’s not like a really important standard but it’s a type of Vedic standard not taking bath before the sun rises, I mean it’s like a very minor standard. So Srila Prabhupada, He sometimes would…would apply that… and only take bath a little later having got up some time before you know he would get up sometimes at midnight or 2 in the morning that was quite normal. So then what one does in that case if for some reason you may not be able to, perhaps you’re travelling. If you’re in India, you may be travelling in a train and you can’t really take a proper bath when you get up in some cases, so then the idea is that wash your hands, wash your feet, wash your face and chant! So that…that is what Srila Prabhupada did so that we would accept as being an acceptable standard as far as that goes.

Is that okay? I don’t know who asked the question, but is that okay, whoever asked?

So now we will carry on, we will go on now to the 5th offence, “Considering the glories of chanting Hare Krishna to be imagination”. So we have given, how many, we have given four headings here Ahh… and when I was making up my notes this morning I added a fifth.

First thing, I thought we should mention is about the potency of the holy name. I am sure you’ve heard that there is a shastric statement: anghah sanghavad….
anghah sanghavad akhilam sakrd udayad

“With one utterance of the holy name all sins are destroyed.” (CC Anthya 3.181 Translation)

I am sure you have heard this, you chant Hare Krsna without offences once, once, purely, actually the pure holy name, suddha nama and that will extinguish the results of more sinful activities than you could perform in an indefinite period of time in the material world. Just chanting Hare Krsna once, so that is really quite something.

And then there is another quotation and this is given by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura

yan nama sakrc chravanat pukaso’pi vimucyate samsarat

Oh the air is coming right. Are you getting some air? Oh wow! I am… (laughter) It’s coming out this side also, oh good. (laughter)
“If one hears the Holy Name even one time, a candala can obtain liberation from the material world.” (SB 6.16.44)

So the holy name has such tremendous potency and ahh… anyway the various, these various little sub sections that we have included here, they are examples of that, they are giving different examples.
First of all, chanting of the holy names, well first of all, let us just acknowledge the fact that even though it says “with one utterance of the holy name all sins are destroyed” (CC Anthya 3.181 Translation) and ya, you know that is really quite something fantastic, we may still be experiencing, ahh… some material contamination. Do any of you ever experience any material contamination? Couple of people. Okay (laughter). Gee wizz… where as you others, you are doing very well; tell me your secret (laughter)!

So we may notice that, that despite the fact that we have been chanting for years and years every day, but still you know sometimes the mind gets a little affected by something. Isn’t it? These things are going on unfortunately so then we may doubt this is the nature of this offence. We may doubt, I have been chanting Hare Krsna for such a long time and it says, if you chant it just once, then you are completely liberated, no more problems and practically you’ve gone back to Godhead on the spot but not me. So we may think, and then we may look around us and see well what about the other devotees. Maybe I am just the odd one out and then we may see that actually they are also having the odd problem every now and then. So, then we might think that actually you know this statement, these glories of the holy name is just imagination but actually it’s not true. It’s not true! Srila Prabhupada asked, we did mention here. The evidence of Nectar of Devotion if you look down there at point number 3, we are quoting one verse from the CC which is referred to in Nectar of

Devotion. How does that verse go?

sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana

“One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration.” (CC Madhya 22.128 translation)

“These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna.” (CC Madhya 22.129 translation)

So we might say that it taking, it’s taking an awfully long time to awaken within me. Ya, so Srila Prabhupada gives an explanation in Nectar of Devotion having acknowledged this verse from Caitanya Caritamrta.
Srila Prabhupada says, “In these statements about devotional service, sometimes it may appear that the results have been overestimated, but actually there is no overestimation. Some devotees, as revealed scriptures give evidence, have had immediate results by such association, although this is not possible for all. For example, the Kumaras immediately became devotees simply by smelling the incense in the temple. Bilvamangala Thakura simply heard about Krsna and then immediately gave up his beautiful girl friend and started out for Mathura and Vrndavana, where he became a perfect Vaisnava.” (NOD 13, 5 Potent forms of devotional service purport) Immediately! Immediately! Practically! Almost! “So these statements are not overestimations, nor are they stories. They are actual facts, but are true for certain devotees and do not necessarily apply to all.”(NOD 13, 5 Potent forms of devotional service purport) These statements…. Oh okay that will do there.

Ahh… the thing is that chanting of the holy names is on three levels. That is the first point that appears there ahh… in your over view book and it depends on what level you are chanting. If you are chanting on the level of nama- aparadha then not only will you not come to the level of love of God instantly, not only will all your sinful reactions not go away instantly but you will probably fall down and stop chanting Hare Krsna at least for some time. Ya, so it depends on what level you are chanting. The second level, namabhasa, Prabhupada called this the clearing stage. This is a very amazing stage in which you are not committing any offences. You are not committing any offences but still there is a residue you could say within you of various things from the past so therefore your chanting isn’t totally pure in the sense of being on the level of love of God but because there are no offences, it’s called the clearing stage. Now Srila Prabhupada expected all of us to chant on the clearing stage. This is why at the time of first initiation, I am sure you have all heard it and seen it on numerous occasions, this is why at the time of first initiation there is always a lecture about the ten offences. Right? You’ve all seen, I am sure you must have. It’s always there because Srila Prabhupada intention and desire, what He wanted and expected is at least when the devotees are initiated that they chant on the clearing stage. They avoid the ten offences and they chant seriously and in this way they make progress ahh…towards the level of pure chanting, shuddha nama, or chanting on the level of love of God. So this is something you could just note, this is what is expected of you, this is what is expected of all of us, on a very practical and down to earth and real level on a daily basis.

So that clearing stage is very amazing, here you will see we also talk about Haridasa Thakura isn’t it? Ya, Haridasa Thakura, point number 4. There was one incident it’s described in detail in Caitanya Caritamrta. Haridasa Thakura attended a meeting where different people gathered, devotees, different philosophers and people and they debated about the holy name and or actually no, they didn’t, they were debating about what is the most effective process of religion, that is what they were debating about, and some were saying jnana yoga, some were saying karma yoga, some were saying meditating on this or that or worshipping the demigods or impersonalism or something, different things and that through these processes, you can achieve liberation. So Haridasa Thakura when he heard this, he said, “actually you know the chanting of Hare Krsna is so amazing, so powerful that just a dim reflection of it can give you liberation” and dim reflection, the actual Bengali word which Srila Prabhupada is translating there is namabhasa, Ya chanting on the clearing stage or abasa, abasa literally means reflection, actually, Ya. It’s a reflection of the holy name, it’s not the pure holy name, it’s something else mixed that like residue of your previous activities and consciousness, that’s mixed in with it a bit. So therefore it is namabhasa. There is namabhasa, there is Vaisnava abasa, you know the reflection of a devotee like a pseudo devotee. Anyway, namabhasa, Haridasa Thakura says just a, just a dim reflection of the holy name can give liberation, and this one other philosopher got up and said, “What? You are talking nonsense. How can it be, chanting the holy name just a dim reflection of it you get liberation. Liberation is so hard to get”. So he challenged Haridasa Thakura, he said that, “if it is not true that a dim reflection of the holy name can give liberation then I am going to cut off your nose.” In those days people took these things very seriously (laughter) you know.

Sometimes the Shivites and the Vaisnavas, I mean what to speak of the Muslims when they attacked India but even the Shivites just on, just on the basis of this question, who is superior, Shiva or Vishnu, sometimes they would fight wars. Did you know that? Well just not the Muslims, oh ya in the time of Ramanujacharya, one Shivite king tried to assassinate Ramanujacharya, simply because he was preaching Vaisnavism and showing that Lord Shiva is not the supreme amongst other things, and he took it very seriously and Ramanujacharya he had a debate with some Jains, who are kind of like certain type of impersonalists really and the.. they made a wager that whoever was defeated would have to become the disciple of the person who won or commit suicide. They took it really seriously. So there were 1200 of these Jains, they all ganged up on Ramanujacharya with this wager and they lost. Ramanujacharya won so he told them, “right now you must be my disciples or commit suicide”. You know what they did? They all committed suicide! All, 1200 of them. Isn’t that taking it, you know your religion very seriously, would you do that for Krsna? Anyway we won’t ask you actually but ya.

So ya, so anyway this man said you know so ya I’ll cut your nose off if it’s not correct and Haridasa Thakura said “look, if it’s not correct I’ll cut my own nose off”, and three days later that other philosopher got leprosy and his nose fell off. Ya, so he committed this offence actually, considered the glories of chanting Hare Krsna to be imagination.

Now we have also mentioned here, the evidence of Ajamila and other evidences from Srimad Bhagavatam but think we don’t have a lot of time. Let us just consider the evidence of Ajamila. I think you are all… is anyone here not familiar with the story of Ajamila? Okay, so Ajamila when he died or he was, he didn’t actually die at that time, it appeared like he was going to so as he was practically dying, the Yamadutas… he called out the name Narayana. He was so horrified; he called out for his son, who he happened to have named Narayana. The reason he named him Narayana was basically because a social custom, even in India to this day children are very, very commonly called you know Krsna, Narayana, this that, Vishnu and you know it’s just a social custom. Just like in South Africa, the Indian people have adopted this, at least some of them or even many of using English names. Ya when I met… when I first came I didn’t know about it and it was rather shocking. I met this one man, and he said, my name Gopala Govender, Gopala Govender, but everyone calls me Fred (laughter). So you know such is life, well Fred is not such a special name but the very popular names like John, of all the English names, John is the most popular. Ya, John is the most popular and it is the name of a saint but you know no one thinks that we will name our child after Saint John. Yes, it’s just a popular name. So in the case of Ajamila, Narayan was just a popular and he just decided to call that particular child Narayana because that was just the social custom. So then everyday he was calling Narayana, Narayana come here, go there, come with me as a doting parent basically. Then the time of death came and he was very attached to Narayana so in that mood of bewilderment he called out “Narayana!” and then the Yamadutas came and then the Vishnudutas came and he was saved and actually he didn’t even die and eventually went back to Godhead a few years later.

So now ahh… here is an example we know, it’s a very important example from Srimad Bhagavatam but many devotees do not understand the real significance of it or like what is really like the critical, the critical aspect of the whole thing. Many devotees that that he called the name, “Narayana” and at the time of death and that was the critical thing. Isn’t it? At least I think so in my experience. He somehow called the name Narayana at the time of death and that was the thing which saved him but if you read the 2nd Chapter of the 6th Canto at the end, right at the very end, the very last purport, Srila Prabhupada, citing Viçvanätha Cakravarthi Thakura explains that that was not actually the thing and I will now read, just… it’s a fairly lengthy explanation but I will read just one paragraph which explains what was really the thing, the critical thing which actually saved Ajamila. It wasn’t that he called out the name Narayana at the time of death. There was something else which was more important.

So Prabhupada writes, “Since he was constantly chanting the name of Narayana,” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) oh no, “one may argue…”, Prabhupada says “One may argue, “Since he was constantly chanting the name of Narayana, how was it possible for him to be associating with a prostitute and thinking of wine?” By his sinful actions he was bringing suffering upon himself again and again, and therefore one may say that his ultimate chanting of Narayana was the cause of his being freed.” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport)

So like this, one may think that his chanting of Narayana, his ultimate chanting of Narayana when he died was his cause of being freed but no.

“However, his chanting would then have been a nama-aparadha. One who continues to act sinfully and tries to neutralize his sins by chanting the holy name of the Lord is a nama-aparadhi. In response it may be said that Ajamila’s chanting was inoffensive because he did not chant the name of Narayana with the purpose of counteracting his sins. He did not know that he was addicted to sinful actions,” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) he just thought it was normal to do all these things, “nor did he know that his chanting of the name of Näräyaëa was neutralizing them. Thus he did not commit a nama-aparadha, and his repeated chanting of the holy name of Narayana while calling his son may be called pure chanting.” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) Not shuddha-nama but namabhasa in the sense that namabhasa is free from offence. “Because of this pure chanting, Ajamila unconsciously accumulated the results of bhakti.” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) And this is now the crucial thing. “Indeed, even his first utterance of the holy name was sufficient to nullify all the sinful reactions of his life. To cite a logical example, a fig tree does not immediately yield fruits, but in time the fruits are available. Similarly, Ajamila’s devotional service grew little by little, and therefore although he committed very sinful acts, the reactions did not affect him.” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) Hare Krsna! That is amazing. “In the shastras it is said that if one chants the holy name of the Lord even once, the reactions of past, present or future sinful life do not affect him. To give another example, if one extracts the poison fangs of a serpent, this saves the serpent’s future victims from poisonous effects, even if the serpent bites repeatedly. Similarly, if a devotee chants the holy name even once inoffensively, this protects him eternally. He need only wait for the results of the chanting to mature in due course of time. “(SB. 6.2.49 Purport)

So the point is that when he named the child, Narayana, inoffensively speaking the name Narayana at that time that sowed a seed which grew irrevocably and produced fruits in due course of time. Of course the ultimate fruit was when he went back to Godhead which was later but this was one fruit like the beginning of the fruit, he got liberated, he got delivered from this horrible situation with the Yamadutas. So had you thought about it like that? I don’t know if you had thought about it like that. The crucial thing was that he chanting the holy name of Narayana when he named his child and that was the beginning. From that point on it wasn’t a matter of if he would become successful in Krsna Consciousness, it was just a matter of when, just a matter of when and then it gradually started coming. First of all, he was delivered from the Yamdutas and then he went back to Godhead eventually. So like this we shouldn’t…don’t underestimate the holy name, don’t underestimate it at all!

Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura in Madhurya Kadambini, he raises the point, we can just mention finally that ah… Sometimes you may look at a devotee and see, or you may look at yourself or you may look at another devotee and see that traces of sinful life, some bad habits or something, some short comings and you may think that this person is not making any advancement in Krsna Consciousness and like this you may think because apparently there is some bad habits but Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura says that… what does he say… “just as a fruit bearing tree bears fruit the holy name pleased with an offenceless person will reveal its mercy, since the heaps of sinful reactions which are being experienced due to previous bad practices are factually reduced to insignificance by the process of bhakti like the bite of a serpent without his poison fangs the sickness lamentation and other sufferings that are undergone by devotees are not due to sins in the previous life. The Lord thinking of the welfare of his devotees in order to increase his humility and longing for the Lord bestows on him all sorts of suffering as his mercy. This suffering is not the effect of sinful actions in previous life.” (Madhurya- Kadambini 3, Third Shower of Nectar, Surrendered devotees are under the Lord’s protection)
I think we are very fortunate because we have all received that seed as Ajamila did when he chanted the name, “Narayana”. We have all received that seed so it is just a matter of when you, in a sense when you want to back to Godhead. Of course if you decide that you just must stay in the material world and you know, you will just hear nothing else I mean you will hear nothing about going back to Godhead. If you decide like that then you can stay if you really insist but otherwise from what Prabhupada explains there and Visvanatha Charavarthi Thakura explains that if you carry on in the clearing stage, chanting without offences you are on your way back to Godhead.

Is that.. Is that okay? Is that good? Yes. That’s nice. We are on our way back to Godhead. Ya. This is why Srila Prabhupada He would speak very optimistically about it. Ya. He spoke very optimistically about how you can go back to Godhead, even… even in this lifetime.

One devotee, actually Mother Malati you may have heard of her, actually she just became a candidate for GBC. Ahh… She asked Prabhupada once that “You say if we just chant 16 rounds a day, follow the regulative principles we can go back to Godhead end of this life”. Prabhupada said “yes”. But she says, “it sounds too easy, how can it be so easy… sounds too easy.” Srila Prabhupada looked at her and said, “Do you think I would cheat you? So, yes. This is very merciful process, thing is we have to avoid offences and chant in the clearing stage. It’s very, very important. I think now we will do one more, just very briefly.

The 6th offence, “to give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord” and we have referred you to an experience that Lord Caitanya had… Ah… One time
(beginning of recording)

…one hundred ashvameda sacrifices. If you perform one hundred ashvameda sacrifices you can become Lord Indra. Ya, you can become Lord Indra. The Ashvameda sacrifice is the biggest material sacrifice, the biggest karma khanda activity in existence, ashvameda, ya, horse sacrifice. So hundred you know, it’s practically unheard of. Our, the current Indra has performed a hundred, not all Indra’s can do it but our current Indra has performed a hundred ashvameda sacrifices, very difficult, it’s a big thing. So this student was thinking that this is such a nice glorification. Chanting Hare Krsna is as good as one hundred ashvameda sacrifices, oh very thing, it’s a nice thing, and he thought Lord Caitanya would appreciate so much. But Lord Caitanya got very angry and chased him out physically; He was going to beat him up. Yes! Lord Caitanya was running after him, the poor fellow had to run for his life and he went and he gathered together with some of his friends and then they complained. So when Lord Caitanya, when he saw them complain, he decided, I have to take sannayas, these people can’t take me seriously so that was like the final straw which lead to Lord Caitanya taking sannayas.

So anyway the thing is that we can’t compare, we shouldn’t interpret, give some mundane interpretation on the holy names of the Lord. Understand it as being something completely purely spiritual totally spiritual. You cannot really draw any parallels between the chanting of the holy names and even the best, even the best so called material activity or thing.

Hare Krsna.

Okay, I think I may have to finish here.

Does anyone have any comments or questions?

You are all looking a little sleepy today? (laughter) I hope it wasn’t too much my fault. Anyway I feel quite good down here (laughter) getting the breeze. (laughter)

Srila Prabhupada Ki… oh sorry… yes?

(devotee asks a question that cannot be heard on audio)
…because we have impure senses and impure facilities how can we chant the holy name purely?

Well the thing is, if we follow the process of Krsna Consciousness as it’s given, the authorised process, the process is pure, so if we follow the pure process we become purified. Ya, this is… this is the basic idea. If you follow the pure process, just like if you stand in front of fire, you become hot. We are not by nature hot, you know we are a certain temperature but not really hot but if you stand in front of fire, whether you want to get hot or not, you will get hot. So the process is pure. goloker premadhana, harinama-sankirtana. (Hari Hari Bifale, From Prarthana, Prayer to One’s Beloved Lord, By Srila Narottama Däsa Thakura) The whole process of Krsna consciousness is coming from the kingdom of God, it’s completely pure and the activities are pure. You know your senses, our senses may not be pure but activities, bonafide activities in devotional service as authorised by the disciplic succession, those activities are pure, and if we perform those activities, if we have that contact with Krsna through His devotional service, then our senses and our mind and everything becomes pure. So gradually although initially we start on the offensive level of chanting but if we apply ourselves sincerely then Prabhupada’s intention was that by the time the person comes to the level of first initiation, they should be able to maintain, this clearing stage means chanting inoffensively. Ya… they would have made advancement and become purified to some extent just to be able to do that, that’s quite quickly. Ya, so that is the principle, even though we are filthy in terms of karmic reactions and all that, but by associating with the pure, then we become purified. Is that ok?

Jai, Srila Prabhupada Ki Jai!


The Ten Offences, Day 2, Durban, South Africa

Posted under Transcribed Lectures

The Ten Offences, Day 2, Durban, South Africa

The universes looked like they were going to bounce of his head and just be lost. That would have been a problem, but they were trying to restrain them but they couldn’t restrain them. He was just so overwhelmed in ecstasy. But fortunately, the universes didn’t get lost. Anyway, then the next chapter, is about the “Prayers of Madhai”. “The prayers of Madhai”, Madhai, Jagai and Madhai, they got love of God, and everything was forgiven but, and they were simply chanting and dancing in ecstasy, going everywhere with Lord Caitanya. But they would from time to time, they would remember, that “wow, what we did!”, “what we did!” and particularly Madhai, who was the actual one who attacked Lord Nityananda, he would remember, “what I did!” and it would become too much and he would just collapse, just crying and lamenting and it came to such a point that he was constantly in this state, just constantly crying and lamenting, that “I attacked Lord Nityananda, what sort of demon, what sort of demon am I”.
So then one day, he met Lord Nityananda and he appealed to him for forgiveness, he had already done that, but you know again like more deeply. So there are some prayers then, Madhai’s prayers and I thought I could just read them and there is a benediction. Read the rest of this entry »


The Ten Offences, Day 1 Continued

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The Ten Offences, Day 1 Continued, Durban, South Africa

We’re going to talk as we go on, about different aspects of the holy name and so on and the potency of the holy name, so that will come up more when we get to the 5th offence, 6th offence, like that, how powerful the holy name is. Okay, so now we are still going through the 1st offence. Read the rest of this entry »


The Ten Offences Day 1

Posted under Transcribed Lectures

The Ten Offences, Day 1, Durban, South Africa

om namo bhagavate vasudevaya.
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
om namo bhagavate vasudevaya

We are very happy to be here with you all, taking part in our Easter courses again, very, very nice experience and very nice opportunity for all of us to share together in Krishna Consciousness. We have rather amusing chairs this is just when anyone is falling asleep we just do a trick on the chair and people will wake up.

So, we are going to be doing a course about the 10 offences in the chanting of the holy names, just in case any of you are falling asleep already. Oh that’s better, okay that will do, that’s good, okay. Read the rest of this entry »


Understanding What Is Good And What Is Bad

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12-08-2011, SB 11.20.4, Understanding What is Good and What is Bad, Durban, South Africa
vedac caknus tavecvara
creyas tv anupalabdhe ‘rthe
sadhya-sadhanayor api

pita—of the forefathers; deva—of the demigods; manunyaeam—of the human beings; vedau—the Vedic knowledge; caknuu—is the eye; tava—emanating from You; ecvara—O Supreme Lord; creyau—superior; tu—indeed; anupalabdhe—in that which cannot be directly perceived; arthe—in the goals of human life, such as sense gratification, liberation, and attainment of heaven; sadhya-sadhanayou—both in the means and the end; api—indeed.

My dear Lord, in order to understand those things beyond direct experience—such as spiritual liberation or attainment of heaven and other material enjoyments beyond our present capacity—and in general to understand the means and end of all things, the forefathers, demigods and human beings must consult the Vedic literatures, which are Your own laws, for these constitute the highest evidence and revelation. Read the rest of this entry »


Lessons From Lord Vamana

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26-09-2012 SB 8.22.1-2 Lessons From Lord Vamana, Midrand, South Africa

Hare Krishna, Thank you very much for coming, it’s very nice to be here with you all. Today is Sri Vamana Dvadasi. We hope you have had a nice Vamana Dvadasi observed as Ekadasi, but the appearance day of Lord Vamana and it’s really a wonderful pastime of the Lord and extremely instructive in different ways.

Incidentally can you all hear because this is now, it’s now pointed towards me actually, this speaker? Is it okay? No problem. Alright, so let’s just carry on. Read the rest of this entry »