The following is a class given by H.H. Jayapataka Swami Maharaja on November 28th, 1980. The class begins with a reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 2, Chapter 9, Text 23.
pratyādiṣṭaṁ mayā tatra tvayi karma-vimohite tapo me hṛdayaṁ sākṣād ātmāhaṁ tapaso’nagha
Translation: O Brahmā, the sinless! You may know from Me that it was I who first ordered you to undergo penance at first on your being perplexed in your duty. Because such penance is My heart and soul, and because of that, penance and I are non-different. http://vedabase.com/en/sb/2/9/23 (link to the purport)
Elaboration By Gurudev : Continuation of the discourses between Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. That, here we understand that penance in the devotional service of the Lord, penance for attaining the Lord, is not different from the Lord. Devotional service is perfect because the means is the same as the end. The means is devotional service and the end is more devotional service. A devotee performs service to Krsna. What is the goal? What is his desire? That he can get the opportunity to perform more service to Lord Krsna. So the means and the end is the same. Similarly, the penance of devotional service is also non-different from the Lord. It means that the penance of performing devotional service to obtain the Lord and the Lord is non-different.
When one is perfectly fixed in devotional service, it is to be understood that he has already achieved Krsna. That Krsna has fixed Himself up in the heart of that devotee and the devotee is already under His shelter. Sometimes people may think that we should perform devotional service and at the same time enjoy material life. In English there is a common saying that you want to have your cake and you want to eat it too. That they want to have the shelter and the prestige and the satisfaction of being a devotee; at the same time they want to enjoy material sense gratification, you see. But here this is very firmly established that this is not possible. To whatever extent one is still hankering or clinging to material objects as a goal of success or as a object of satisfaction, to that extent one is excluded from devotional service.
The sign of pure devotional service is the complete absence of material sense gratificatory desires or activities. Just like you put on a scale, depending on how much weight is put on the either side of the scale, one side will go up and the other side will go down. Our consciousness is hundred per cent. So depending on how much we fill it with Krsna, that's how much empties out from maya. So therefore it's very easy to see how much a person is fixed in devotional service by how much a person is fixed in maya. Just so we can judge ourselves, how we are detached from material desire and material sense gratification. The more that we are feeling detached, that is success. The more we are feeling attached, that means we have to become more determined to fix ourselves in devotional service. We don’t have to negatively try to avoid, you see, material things in a unnatural sense. Actually, by positively engaging all our senses in Krsna consciousness, that is automatically performed.
Of course, there are some principle things that we must avoid, namely, meat eating, illicit sex, gambling and intoxication. These things we should avoid very strictly. But practically if someone is performing positive parts of devotional service, you see, there will be no time or inclination for these activities. We only take Krsna prasadam; we don’t take anything that is not offered to Krsna. So how can you offer any intoxication to Krsna? He will not accept. It is not a authorized offering. In this way, by positively performing devotional service, even then it is very difficult to break the regulative principles. This can only happen if one keeps bad association, and when one loses sight as to what is the goal. Therefore we should take special instruction from this shloka that devotional service and material enjoyment do not go together.
We have to fix our mind on one or the other. That there is a penance that we must perform. That penance means that we have to avoid material enjoyment. However nice it may appear at the moment, we understand that this is bish; this is poison. Jaaniya suniya bish khainu. Knowingly, we have taken poison. This was the prayer by our previous acharyas. Knowingly we have taken poison. What is that poison? That is the material enjoyment. So the penance of devotional service is there. That means that we can feast only on Krsna prasadam, only chant Hare Krsna, only dance for Krsna, only serve Krsna. That is the penance.
We have to follow the instructions of our spiritual master. If our spiritual master tells us something that we think is very nice, that is all right, we still have to follow. If we think it is not very nice, we still have to follow. You see, that is the penance. Maybe our spiritual master instructs us to go some place which we think is difficult to remain at, but if whimsically we go somewhere else that we think is more suitable, that will not be beneficial for us for our spiritual advancement. Wherever the spiritual master directs us to go, that is our residence, that is our home. Guru-datha desh. And wherever we go because of our own concoction, you see, that is dangerous; that is sense gratification. So devotional service means that we avoid sense gratification.
Rupa Goswami, wrote one prayer that, “Don’t look at Govinda (in the Nectar of Devotion you will find),” because Govinda is standing by the side of the Jamuna river with His smiling face, and His moon-like face decorated with multi-colored turban and the peacock feather and the sweet sound of the flute being blown by His nectar-like lips. Don’t look at this Govinda, if you want to maintain your relationship with friends, family and society, because He will steal away your heart.” So of course, Rupa Goswami was giving an instruction in reverse. That if you want to fix yourself in Krsna consciousness, that means you must give up friends, family and society attachment. And you should know that by rendering devotional service, that these things are all going to disappear. The two do not go together. Either you are Krsna conscious or you are maya conscious.
Maya means friends, family, society; means gossiping. Even in our society of devotees we should be careful not to simply relate with each other in material friendship. What is material friendship? I please your senses, you please mine. That is material friendship. That means we rub each other on the back or we give each other some material sense gratification, you see-- sit down, shoot the bull, gossip for a while, encourage the other person in maya, no, that is not real friend, that is material friend.
Real friendship on spiritual platform means that we discuss Krsna, we discuss how to improve our service to Krsna. When the other person starts to discuss maya, then we say we don’t want to hear maya. We want to discuss Krsna. Or by some means or other we bring it around to discuss to Krsna. That is the system of actual friendship. Actual friendship means, friendship to Krsna.
Material friendship is society, family, they are simply based upon the mutual cooperation of sense gratification. Big philanthropist, servant of mankind, slaughter all the cows and all the chickens, so that mankind can be fed nicely. What is the result? The whole mankind is thrown into hell. War, pestilence, earthquake, because of the, you see, eating of so many living entities’ murdered bodies. Therefore they have to accept so many reactions. So, all the so called society friendship and family attachments are all illusion, because they are all temporary and based upon artificial standards. So when one fixes his mind on Krsna consciousness, then he should be... should realize this is an illusion that this friendship, family and society has any value to him.
There may be some social interchange, there may be some social custom, we may be friendly to people on that basis. But actually in our heart we are not bewildered. We don't get into it, with that taste anymore. We understand that these things are actually the manifestations of maya, illusion. That by becoming Krsna conscious, we are entering into our real friendship, our real society, our real family – the family of devotees, the society of devotees, the friendship of Krsna and His devotees. That is an eternal society, not this temporary society.
We see that there is also the society of the monkeys. Here, near Pashupathinath temple, we see so many monkeys. They are a big family, big bull monkeys, call them bull monkeys or what, and so many female monkeys and baby monkeys going around. So they have a nice society. But their society is based on mutual, if you go and attack one monkey all the monkeys will come and gang up on you. They have mutual cooperation. So it is a natural thing. So this idea that everything for human kind, why not everything for monkey kind? Monkeys have the same idea. If one monkey gets some food, then he will call all the other monkeys to come and take. So everyone, all the monkeys will come and take. Of course, he will take his full first and then call all the other monkeys. So big philanthropists you see, the same thing.
Whether monkey consciousness, or bird consciousness or human consciousness, it is all based on our temporary, artificial understanding. So where there is Krsna consciousness, that means we see everything in relation to Krsna. We are seeing everything in relation to Krsna and we are doing what Krsna wants. That benefits not only humans, but also monkeys, birds, plants, everyone. Because Krsna is everyone’s friend, He is the source of everything. He is iswara parama Krsna sachidananda vigraha, anaadhir aadi Govindam sarva kaarana kaaranam. The cause of all causes, you see.
Therefore, by satisfying Krsna, everyone is satisfied. You know the story how Draupadi, gave Krsna one morsel of vegetable from her pot, and Krsna by taking that, all the disciples and Durvasa muni were fully filled up and they could no longer think of eating and so they went away. So in this way the Pandavas were saved. So if we satisfy Krsna, everyone is satisfied. But all this idea of monkey service or human service without trying to satisfy Krsna, they will never satisfy, it will never satisfy. Especially, the more the people become less God conscious, the more ungrateful they become. At least the person, society is God conscious, you can give some prasad, give something out, people feel really satisfied over a small thing. But you see that in big countries, without God consciousness, even the government gives out pay relief, social securities; it doesn’t matter, they are still dissatisfied, still frustrated because they have artificial perception, artificial standards. So as a result, mankind is becoming lower than animal kind. They are just becoming more and more absorbed in kaam, krodh, lobh, madh, matsarya, moha. Lust, anger, greed, envy, intoxication and illusion.
This is the difficulty with the present day. People, as they become more intoxicated and illusioned, they become more bewildered. In this way, a vicious circle is taking the people faster and faster to a degraded position. So the only solution to stop all this is : kalau dosha nidhe raajan, asthi hai eka mahaan guna, the only one thing in this ocean of faults revealed by Sukadeva is Krsna. kirthanad eva Krsnasya, mukta sangha param vrajeth. Krsna sankirthan! People begin to chant Hari naam sankirtan. Take Krsna prasadam. Then they get freed from all the contamination of the modes of nature, return back to their original spiritual abode of the Lord, back to their original spiritual consciousness. So the people of India and Nepal are very clever and they know that Krsna means no maya. They know that if you perform Krsna consciousness, that means giving up family attachment. They know these things.
They have seen all the great devotees of Ramachandra and Krsna, they give up everything. So they are already thinking that we don’t want to get too much into that because we have to give up everything possibly. They don’t think that why people are giving up? That maybe they got something better. They are thinking I have something already I am attached to, I like it. I have already got my lot here. Even if I just chant and get attached, what will be my present situation? I will be very disturbed. They don’t think, they don’t have intelligence. They are stolen by maya like ghostly haunted persons. That maybe I chant and I will taste something more relishable. I will experience something nicer. No, they are already thinking, I know about dharma, I know about this bhakti. You get into bhakti, you get completely mad after Krsna and all your material thing goes haywire. So I don’t want to get into this. I know what it is all about, you see, This is their distorted, perverted intelligence. Completely stolen by maya. They don’t think, why are all these people chanting? Why they chant, why they get mad after Krsna? You see, not because they go crazy. But because they get real intelligence, and they get a real taste. What is the nectar of life?
In this way they are bewildered. So what is needed is that they need the association of pure devotees, that is the only thing that is lacking. If they get association with pure devotees of Krsna, that will change their heart. You see they have heard Hare Krsna chanted by so many impure devotees and that has not changed their heart. Now we need pure devotees.
Pure devotees who follow the guru parampara, no illicit sex, no gambling, no meat eating, no intoxication, chanting their rounds the prescribed number of times every day, those are pure devotees. You see, they are chanting to satisfy Krsna. By doing that, under the instructions of the previous acharyas, their chanting will have effect. So this is what is required. We need that each devotee become very determined and very fixed up in Krsna consciousness, so that by their association, that will change the hearts of other people.
The people are to be won over by friendship, by nice reciprocation, and by gentle persuasion, by any means, some how or other, they have to be convinced them to chant Hare Krsna. And at each time and place there is a different situation. So here the people already have an idea that if we chant Hare Krsna, we are going to give up all material attachments. They are not thinking, “Why I have to give up?” They don’t fully use their brains. It doesn’t quite make any sense of course you know. But that is because they do not have the association of devotees. They are just seeing externally that if I chant – just like my brother, he came and visited me about ten years ago, about thirteen. fourteen years ago – he came to the Montreal temple and I was giving him daily Krsna prasadam. So he was taking the Krsna prasad and he is about six seven years younger than me and so at that time he was only in high school.
He said that this prasad and living in this place with you, that there is something that is affecting my mind. If I continue to eat this food, I will never be able to eat meat again and I don’t know how I will be able to stay with my family and I am only a young boy and I am still in high school. So I better go immediately otherwise if I stay any longer I will not be able to go back home. I can already see some changes happening.(devotees laugh) You see, this is the position! Due to attachment, they are like ghostly haunted people, their brain is stolen away, like a person who is addicted by something. They don’t see that the thing is killing them. But they are only seeing that if I get the association with Krsna, that is going to change me. In fact, I can already feel some change coming, so I better stay away.
Of course, that is the time...Prabhupad said, “When someone comes to the kirtan and you chant and they cover their ears. You pull away their hands and chant HARE Krsna in their ears. You see, that is the time you have to give them some more, you see, because they are only a little bit away, but by illusion somehow they are trying to avoid. So somehow or other, when you get to that stage we have to keep them, because then a little further, they will be completely attached to Krsna. But this is the situation that the people of India and Nepal... See, they are already attached to Krsna, why they keep away, that is due to their very closeness to Krsna consciousness.
They know, they feel, just a little bit of association with Krsna, already it starts to change something in their heart. So they get afraid, “If I go on associating, what is going to happen? Then what happens to my family, my business?” They don’t think, “Let me go to guru and discuss these things.” Because actually nothing needs to be disturbed. But they get all upset, because as soon as they get a little association with some devotee, then immediately their hearts start to feel something, “If I continue to associate, then somehow this is going to disturb my material situation.” They don’t think, “Oh, this is awakening a whole spiritual thing.” This is due to their conditioning. So that's why, you see, what we see as a negative thing is actually the symptom of their proximity to Krsna consciousness. So somehow or other, they have to be, you see, by hook or by crook, we have to keep them, give them a little prasad, give them nice things, so that they feel at ease and think, “Oh this is very nice, I can come.” Once they can get over that obstacle, they can make very quick advancement.
Western people, they chant Hare Krsna, immediately they don’t understand what’s going on, they don’t know all these implications, neither they know exactly what’s happening, you see; a little bit slow that way. By the time they get already a taste for devotional service, it is too late. And also, they don't have so many attachments – family is not so – they have other kind of attachment, gross sense gratification, debauchery, intoxication and all that. But family attachment, attachment of the material society, nation, these things are not so deeply ingrained as one might think. Because of so many disturbances in the family due to lack of any kind of discipline, everything is s detestful.
Family means always fighting and this and that, so, somehow or other, people have to be given that taste for Krsna consciousness. The taste, if they get it, then everything changes. So, this is our duty that we have to be pure. Then we can give people the taste. If we are not pure we cannot get the taste. If we are pure, we can get the taste and we can give others the taste. Otherwise you can have someone who is impure, he can know so much, he can preach and speak so many things, but no one will be convinced by that. It won’t touch their hearts.
In order to preach Krsna consciousness, one must be pure. What is purity? Doesn’t mean so much purity. It means at least following the principles and trying to do what he is doing to serve guru and Krsna. You see, then that will penetrate the heart, because Krsna dharma will reside in the heart. The truth of what is being spoken will penetrate the covering of kali yuga. That is the penance. So one tolerates, you see, he tolerates the disturbances of the material energy and sticks to the devotional principles. That much penance is required. It is not very difficult at all. But whatever difficulty is there, you see, that is the penance. Also for some, you may say it is not very easy. It is not very easy, if one is unintelligent. If one is not intelligent, it is not very easy. But if one is intelligent, what is the difficulty? You can see, there is no other way. This is the answer.
H.G. Jayarasesvari Devi Dasi