Lessons from Churning the Milk Ocean

Posted under Transcribed Lectures

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!

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