19850428 Srimad-Bhagavatam 7.7.40 Vyasa Puja Lecture @ New Orleans, USA
19850428 SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM 7.7.40 VYASA PUJA LECTURE, NEW ORLEANS:
SB 7.7.40: Translation: It is learned from Vedic literature that by performing great sacrifices one may elevate himself to the heavenly planets. However, although life on the heavenly planets is hundreds and thousands of times more comfortable than life on earth, the heavenly planets are not pure [nirmalam], or free from the taint of material existence. The heavenly planets are also temporary, and therefore they are not the goal of life. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, has never been seen or heard to possess inebriety. Consequently, for your own benefit and self-realization, you must worship the Lord with great devotion, as described in the revealed scriptures. Purport by Srila Prabhupad read by Guru Maharaj. So today we are celebrating Dvadasi with initiations here in the morning, first initiations, second, and this verse advises us, the scriptures advise us we should avoid the desire to go to the heavenly planets. So most of us may view this and think, wow, I don’t desire to go to the heavenly planets, I want to go back to Krishna. They have realized that it is not so much just the occasional thought that I want to go to Krishna that would dictate where we go. We have to think, feel real, think, speak and do accordingly. Srila Prabhupad mentioned that many of his disciples would not make it back to Krishna but go to the heavenly planets instead. This is explained by Sanatana Goswami that if one maintains the attachments for the material world while chanting Hare Krishna, while rendering devotional service, and renders conditional devotional service desiring particular kind of place, a better place, particular type of situation, the tendency would be that when one is offered residence in the heavenly planets one won’t be able to turn it down because one has not trained one’s self to simply be unconditional, only want to serve guru and Krishna, wherever, whenever, under whatever conditions. So when one is offered the heavenly planets and when one thinks oh, this is a very nice place! I would like to serve Krishna in this place, I would like to be in this place instead of going back to the spiritual world which is much better, one takes the lowest denominator and ends up in the heavenly planets. Unfortunately from there, there is every opportunity to fall back down again to the lower planets and not go back up to the spiritual world immediately. So to stop the cycle of coming up and down, Lord Caitanya had said that (Jai Nitai Gaur, Jai Radha Radhakanta ki jai!) to stop the cycle of sometimes going up, sometimes coming down in the different planetary systems one take shelter of a pure devotee of the Lord, one take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession and achieve devotional service to the Lord. The Bhakti lata beej which one gets at first initiation is to be watered very carefully by hearing and chanting, by following the regulative principles, by avoiding offending of the devotees, by avoiding weeds or unwanted creepers of different kinds of material desires. Otherwise these unwanted creepers may force us to take birth instead of in the spiritual world, possibly in swarga loka or worse. So when one takes the Bhakti lata beej then one puts all one’s attention on that spiritual creeper. What does the spiritual creeper do? Defends against other kinds of materialistic desires so that the spiritual creeper can grow and grow, cross out of the material world, go far beyond the heavenly planets, go beyond the impersonal Brahman, the effulgence, beyond Vaikuntha loka and finally take shelter in Goloka Vrindavan at the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Radhakanta. This is very important. If we don’t give them absolute attention, to our devotional creeper, the other creepers will grow but the other creepers cannot penetrate the material universe. The other creepers will keep us here in one way or another. So it is not an accident that one finds a guru, representative of Krishna, it is by the mercy of Krishna. Certainly by strictly following just as Prabhupad has come to the western world and given Krishna consciousness. He said that his disciples are his spiritual children and his disciples’ disciples will be his spiritual grand children. So that everyone connected to the Krishna consciousness movement through the process of initiation is eternally a grand disciple or grandson, daughter, of Srila Prabhupad. They have a perpetual or eternal relationship with Srila Prabhupad obligation. In the broader sense everyone in the west that heard of the Hare Krishna mantra basically has only to owe their debt to Srila Prabhupad, to the disciplic succession because it is by his mercy that the Hare Krishna mantra has come here to the western world. At the time of initiation one has pray to Krishna, Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, sarva dharman paritagya, maam ekam sharanam vraja, aham tvaam sarva paape bhyo, mokshaishyaami maashuchaha. You simply surrender unto Me, abandoning or renouncing or giving up all other religions, all other occupational duties and simply depend upon me, I will protect you from all sinful reactions. So one has to actually take shelter of Krishna with that conviction. What is the use if we take shelter of Krishna but we don’t actually depend upon Krishna, we actually do not do whatever would be most pleasing to Krishna? That type of conditional surrender is not symptomatic of pure devotion. So we take advantage of the mercy of Krishna in the form of meeting a guru and taking initiation by dedicating ourselves completely to devotional service of the Lord. After putting in a lifetime of self realization just for a slight bit of negligence if we again have to take birth or we don’t reach the spiritual world and we go to some other planet, then what will be the advantage? In fact the danger is that if we go to the heavenly planets then Lord Caitanya’s movement would have already be out of the material universe at the time when one has to take rebirth because one lives so long in the heavenly planets. That is why it says in other parts of the Bhagavatam where it says there are denizens of the heavenly planets who are crying to be able to take birth in this earth planet now when Lord Caitanya’s movement is present. Because in the short 50,60,70 years by simply absorbing one’s self in chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra and rendering devotional service in Lord Caitanya’s movement one can get transferred back to the spiritual world. The people that are present today in this world actually have the greatest opportunity and those who take initiation in the Krishna consciousness movement their fortune is unlimited. But due to some carelessness if we don’t take proper advantage of this special benediction of Lord Caitanya even if we end up in the heavenly planets, what will be really gain? It will be a curse in another form. It is therefore better to become very serious about our gardening, about gardening our spiritual creeper. Unless we are very serious about this responsibility to chant the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra regularly and to engage in devotional service with great determination, then there are so many pitfalls along the way. But if we are just a little careful to chant, to associate then our success is assured. Prabhupad has reassured us about this, has promised us his mercy in this regard. So when one takes the Hari naam initiation this establishes the eternal relationship with the spiritual master and Prabhupad, previous acharyas. Then one has to avoid the ten offences to the holy name, which are repeated every morning. After chanting Hare Krishna for a period of sometime if one wants to further increase one’s depth of commitment to serving guru and Krishna, then they can take second initiation. At that time one is accepted as a brahmana and is able to serve the deities, has responsibility to chant the Gayatri Mantra. When one is a brahmana then one is responsible. The story about the king Krishnachandra, historical story – he found a brahmana who was wearing a Shalagram shila while evacuating. Whatever a brahmana does, they are more responsible for. Because he was offending the Shalagram shila he was going to be beheaded. Some things that a brahmana does, minor things they were excused in the Vedic time but if they committed a spiritual offence, something they were supposed to know better about, then they had to take ten times reaction. So being a brahmana means that one has to be many times more responsible. Srila Prabhupad always stressed that when someone takes brahminical initiation if they deviate from the path of pure devotion, they engage in karmic activities they have to take many times the reaction. If they engage in sinful activity it is much more serious, both for the disciple as well for the spiritual master. The reactions are many times more profound. Which means that one has to be very careful not to neglect in any way any of the devotional principles. Maya has a way that the more one apparently progresses in devotional life the more that maya starts to increase her various means of trying to pull down the living entity. You see that that doesn’t end even when one takes sanyas when maya puts out more kinds of illusions and subtle prathistha, puja, love and so on, different kinds of material desires, subtle, gross. Therefore Prabhupad said that even great sanyasis who gave up the material world to realize the Absolute Truth, they end up falling down and going into mundane politics, welfare work and they give up the spiritual path. Sometimes yogis they become enamored by the mystic power and then they start to show off to the public giving some cheap thing and then they declare themselves as avatar. So this kind of thing is there when one tries to advance further in renunciation, further in spiritual life maya also tries to attract one by any means possible. If one has crossed over the gross attractions then maya attracts with more subtle attractions. And if one crosses over that then maya starts with even more subtle desires which are very camouflaged, very much camouflaged as apparently spiritual desires. Therefore one has to become very expert in knowing what is the siddhantha or what is the conclusion of our Krishna conscious philosophy. One has to learn this from the more advanced devotees, from the spiritual master very clearly, what is the verdict of the scripture? What is maya? What is Krishna consciousness? The brahmana means one who is able to remain on the transcendental platform. Brahman means transcendental. We remain transcendental by mancha yoga vicharina, Bhakti yogena sevete, sagunaan samathithaaya, brahma bhuyaaya kalpathe by constantly engaging in Bhakti yoga. Brahmana, vaishnava is continuously supposed to engage in devotional service. No maya. Otherwise how will one remain in the transcendental platform? We are not interested in being the brahmana pandit of the vedic Hindu tradition that want to go to swarga for doing animal sacrifice or other kind of sacrifices like that to get to the heavenly planets. Similarly, what is the use of a devotee who is engaging in pure devotional service to compromise the principles and end up with the same result one gets by doing this other type of karma kanda sacrifice simply due to being a little careless. Simply due to the careless attachment to the senses and sense object. Being a brahmana, taking this second initiation means that one is dedicated to preaching the Krishna conscious movement or to serving in a way which will help for the propagation of the Krishna consciousness movement. Duty of the brahmana is to teach, to read and to teach others. Whatever knowledge we get we don’t want to keep it to ourselves, we want to in turn give it to others. In this way it fructifies in ourselves. Canakya Pandit was a famous Brahmin pandit. He wasn’t a pure vaishnava but he was very strict in his principles. Brahmana means that they are not trying to artificially increase the amenities of their life or the complexity of their life. For the benefit of the Vedic culture that time Canakya was requested to become the prime minister. As a brahmana he wasn’t supposed to take any employment, so he refused to take any employment. The king requested that without employment he be the prime minister. So then he said well, I can become the prime minister without any remuneration, I can do that but I don’t want to stay in your palace. I don’t want to compromise my position as a simple brahmana. I am going to live outside in my own simple grass hut and I am not going to stay inside any palatial quarter. I don’t want to increase the comfort of my existence because I want to achieve self realization in the end. If I become attached to these types of opulent surroundings, there is a chance I will again have to take another birth. So although Canakya Pandit he was inclined possibly more towards the impersonal realization, it is not always exactly clear, he definitely was a brahmana worshipping Vishnu. But he was very fixed in his principles of brahminical culture living a simple living and high thinking. Now that the Krishna consciousness movement is having more naamahatta preaching or folk preaching or congregational preaching, many people living outside the temple are chanting and becoming pre initiated, even taking first initiation. We are seeing that they are chanting and able to progress. I personally gave the second initiation to those who are actually going to live more as brahmanas, who are going to live as a twice born person and take up the mission of preaching the Krishna consciousness movement. That they are not going to compromise the principles. They should be an example for the others, people can recognize, there may be many who are chanting but they can look to the brahmanas that these are persons who are leading an exemplary spiritual life. What is the use of taking higher spiritual responsibility if you are not going to live up to it. So it is very important that for the glory of Srila Prabhupad, the previous acharyas of the sampradaya that we preserve this integrity of the brahminical initiation. People often they tell to think this point can be repeated too many times that if one takes brahminical initiation and then they break the regulative principles the reactions that come upon them have multiple effects. I have seen so many people become destroyed, my own god brothers, become destroyed in their spiritual life because they were not conscious of this fact because they had taken second initiation and then deviated and that they were put under much heavier reactions which were hard to get out of. That is why personally I have some, Prabhupad told me that it is not at all necessary to give second initiation or to take it. And in Mayapur many people who have been there for 12 years we have never given them second initiation. And my average time for second initiation in many places is four years. Although Prabhupad was very liberal giving in one year and today even some people are getting after a period of one year because of the causeless mercy of the local authorities, one has to be very serious, learn that from others’ mistakes and don’t make the mistakes. If one is very careful, if one is very fixed up, doesn’t allow the mind to become strong, remains humble, Prabhupad stressed the point when we take second initiation is dwija, it is new birth. New birth means now we are new infant. So we have to approach it from a very humble point of view, not from a point of view that now I am a brahmana. Just like Vishwamitra thought, now I am a brahmana now I can fight with Vashishsta muni, because now I am already a brahmana. Because he was trying to become a brahmana from a kshatriya. We take it in a very humble attitude that now I have got the opportunity to study Vedas in a more profound way, to study the Krishna conscious process in a deeper way and to become more and more serious. Shouldn’t just be a status symbol, take brahmana initiation and chant a little better, if someone doesn’t chant then what? You see, then everything is spoilt. We take brahmana initiation to become very serious in our commitment. We already promised to serve Krishna eternally, we are already committed. Then what is the need of the second commitment? This is a further recommitment in the sense taking of a greater responsibility, not only are we going to serve but we are going to become qualified to serve in a completely spiritual way avoiding every trace, purifying ourselves of every trace of material contact. Brahmana means someone; in fact I was present when Prabhupad asked people, what is Brahman? What is the spirit? What is self realization? He would ask them and if they couldn’t say, he would say what type of brahmana are you, you don’t even know what is spirit, what is Brahman! You don’t know what is the spiritual world! He would reject them. I even saw Srila Prabhupad when he was teaching people how to count and they couldn’t figure out how to count properly with their fingers he would say you are not smart enough to be a brahmana. Go back! Prabhupad personally told me the reason why he was so sick in India was especially because of brahmanas that had fallen down. He had initiated too many unqualified disciples. And Srila Prabhupad took that risk, took that great austerity just to establish Krishna consciousness in this world. He planted so many seeds in a very short time hoping that some of the seeds would fructify and the Krishna consciousness movement would continue. So we should see that how much Prabhupad has sacrificed for all of us. And we should try to become more responsible to actually preserve the great jewel that he has given us that has been handed down from Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The brahmana’s duty is not only to preserve it but try to teach it to others by first their own example and second by their instructions. The more one has spiritual advancement the more one is responsible to be an example to others. In every state sometimes you find like in India some of the caste brahmanas they may feel well, I am a brahmana, therefore the others have to serve me. But we find the brahmana vaishnava has a different attitude. The attitude is that we are the servant of the servant of the Lord. I mentioned yesterday in a private darshan that even in India the system is there that generally when they have any big feast, any of you have been to Mayapur when the Manipuri devotees come to feed the senior god brothers. Then at that time these devotees they always have the brahmanas do the distribution. I don’t if Gurugauranga was there any time when the Manipuris served? And the brahmanas it is quite interesting, they put their chaddar around their head and they put it over their mouth so that their breath won’t go out when they are distributing. But the brahmanas are serving the others, they are giving. Brahmana means he gets charity and he gives in charity, doesn’t keep it. He gets the mercy of Krishna, he gives it out. He gets a donation, he gives it to Krishna, uses it in Krishna’s service and then he gives it out in another form to the people. The brahmana, doesn’t keep anything, he gives it to Krishna, takes from Krishna, gives it out. He always remains simply attached to Krishna, only taking the minimum whatever he needs in that attitude of service. So we find that the brahmanas – I am shocked sometimes when in the West I see the brahmanas sit down and the bhaktas serve. In India no brahmana would ever accept prasadam from the hand of a Bhakta. Because the bhaktas do not have any standard of cleanliness, they don’t if after they go to the bathroom they have washed their hands, they may be offending prasadam, they may be giving. Bhakta generally means they do not have any sense, they are not trained. Sometimes you see people walk off the street and they say they will help us serve. That may be alright for some big feasts for the karmis but the standard that we have even seen in India in the Krishna conscious temples there is that more advanced devotees, they serve. Who served at the feast of Panihati? Swarup Damodar, Mukunda, the biggest devotees. To get the opportunity to serve the others. Lord Caitanya started out and He gave such big helpings that the people could never eat it. It was four times the normal helping. So then they said Lord Caitanya, please sit down, we will take it after You sit down and take. Actually the mood of the brahmana vaishnava is one of increasing their service to guru and Krishna and being an example to others. Because the brahmana is detached he sees everybody gets prasadam. He sees that everyone gets the mercy of Krishna. Sometimes someone is less advanced when they are serving they may be thinking there won’t be enough for me and everyone he serves to may get sick. Any way that is a side issue but the point is that the standard we see from our previous acharyas is that when someone took higher responsibilities that meant that they increased their service. So if someone is not inclined to increasing their responsibilities, to increasing their service, if they already feel overwhelmed with the amount of responsibilities they have, maybe they should wait before taking the additional responsibility. But if they feel enthusiastic and determined that they want to become more and more attached to the lotus feet of guru and Krishna no matter what it takes then of course brahmana initiation is one very good opportunity. If there is anybody now that would like to pass up this time and wait until the next opportunity? Before putting these flowers in the garlands take a piece of white cloth and I would test the flower whether it leaves off stain. The conclusion of this verse is be fixed in going back to the general service of Krishna and don’t get waylaid in the heavenly planets. Here in New Talavan this is an extension of the spiritual world which you are bringing here by your devotion. Talavan is one of the 12 vanas or forests of Vrndavan. This is the forest where Krishna killed the demon – was it the Keshi demon? No, it was Dhenukasura. I saw the picture of the demon flying up in the trees, that is Dhenukasura? The point is that there are so many demons that can come into our consciousness, come into our spiritual life, we have to be very careful to depend on Krishna because by His mercy those will be driven out. Krishna used to enjoy in the Talavan, the Tala fruits. Tala fruit is very juicy, has a very fragrant smell. So Krishna used to enjoy with his cowherd boys and the calves there after eradicating the demon from the Talavan forest. Similarly we have the opportunity here of serving Krishna and enjoying the nectar of Krishna’s transcendental association and service. We should keep the transcendental vibration all pervasive so that people will always be able to think of Krishna. People are in need of more spiritual help and they should take it. Having this association of so many wonderful vaishnavas, if we have any doubts in our mind rather than keep it inside and letting it rot we discuss with other vaishnavas. If we have any weakness we take the string to fight better with maya. We all have to fly our own path back to Godhead but as Prabhupad said - like a sail boat with favorable winds, if we have the close association of the vaishnavas then they are just like good winds that fill our sails with and drive us back to Krishna quicker. We need that type of association. So each person is individually responsible to try to give good association to others and try not to be in bad association. And if someone feels weak then they should try to take good association in a humble mood so they can become quickly purified from the influences of ignorance and passion. One should never be attached to their qualities of ignorance or passion. One should only be attached to Krishna, one should be very detached from everything that is separate from Krishna. This is the special instruction of this verse. One should not even be attached to the heavenly planets which are very good because that is also temporary. We should simply be attached to what is eternally good, Nitai Gaur, Radha Radhakanta, Srila Prabhupad the eternal servers.
Jayaraseshwari devi dasi 24 February 2016