Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Srila Prabhupada Reflections

Hare Krishna.
Since yesterday we started our devotee Bhagavata classes. And who is the greatest 
devotee, Maha-Bhagavata for us? Srila Prabhupada.
And yesterday we discussed about understanding Srila Prabhupada in our life. 
Understanding the contribution of Srila Prabhupada and how we are going to derive our most important and the supreme spiritual benefit by developing our relationship with Srila Prabhupada.So yesterday there had been some request that I speak about my personal experiences with Srila Prabhupada. So I came across, first Srila Prabhupada’s books. Actually I met the devotees in 1970 for the first time in Hamburg, Germany. Those days I visited the 
temple a few times but it didn’t occur to me to join the temple. Rather in a way I found 
some devotees to be very arrogant. And aggressive, insensitive. And as a result of that I 
stopped going to the temple. And the temple also was not at all as impressive. It was 
actually an old warehouse. And in that warehouse they had on the second floor, they had 
the temple. In a city like Germany where everything is so posh and prim, it was not very 
impressive. Anyway I didn’t mind that, like how the temple looked. Of course at that 
time, it was not much of a temple also. But there were many devotees and most of them 
were, many of them were, Americans. And one day I had a little disagreement with one 
American devotee and I stopped going to the temple. Not only I stopped going to the 
temple. Those days if I saw the devotees on this side of the road, I stood the other side. 
And they used to stand on a very strategic point. The underground station to the 
university was a place called Stefans Platz. And you come out of the underground station 
and you have to cross the road over a bridge. They used to stand on the bridge, so 
anybody who is actually going from the station to the university had to meet them. They 
used to stand there and chant. Most of the mornings they used to do that. But I used to 
make it a point, I used to avoid them.
And then gradually my attitude changed. I became quite disillusioned with the 
materialistic way of life. You see, in India generally you grew up with the idea that west 
is the best. The Indian education system very expertly gears up to that understanding. 
And so, and that’s why like, this illusion was there that the West is the best, that to 
materially make it big is the ultimate goal of life and so on and so forth. But then going 
there and seeing what the whole, entire western culture was like and the degraded 
condition of this culture. And also, another consideration actually was that after going to 
the west I started to appreciate India. Because I had many friends. I developed many 
friends there. Most of them were from America because they used to speak English, I 
used to speak English. And in the early stage I didn’t really have so many German 
friends, only those who spoke English but their number were not that many. But mostly it 
was Americans. And they had some very condescending attitudes towards India. I mean 
not that they would deliberately do that. But it would come out from time to time. Oh, 
India is so poverty-stricken, in India people are starving to death. And I used to very 
strongly defend. Naturally. Because I had never seen, at least from my point of view 
India was not poor. India was a very rich country. I mean the rich Indians are really rich. 
Their wealth surpassed those of the west in many cases. And the lifestyle also in India is 
much better than the west. All the western glamour, the external glamour is there but 
underneath it is all… is there very [unclear].
They were very close friends of mine, actually, but I used to have big arguments with 
them. And I used to tell them. You have never been to India, it’s all bad propaganda. You 
think that west is the best but west is terrible. And, anyway but in course of that I began             
to realise how little I knew about Indian culture. So I started to read books on India. And 
that led me to start to appreciate Indian culture, Indian philosophy, Indian heritage. And I 
could see that what a vast horizon just started to open up.
And then came a time when I felt that I had to take to spiritual life. And to take to 
spiritual life I had to go back to India. Because spiritual life meant finding a guru and he 
would guide me to my spiritual path. So thinking that, I went back to India. But I did not 
find, after a long search, quite an extensive search, I could not find a single guru. Or I 
couldn’t find a single person to whom I could surrender myself. Because my first 
impression I’ll tell you like, was something like…
I landed in Delhi and I went straight to Haridwar and then to Rishikesh. I didn’t even go 
home. I didn’t even tell them that I was coming to India. So I went straight to Rishikesh, 
Haridwar first and then to Rishikesh. And then I started to spend time there. And I 
thought that these people, these sadhus will be steeped with spiritual understanding and 
completely profoundly absorbed in philosophical and spiritual culture.
But I found that they smoked from morning till night, and even through the night. They 
were just smoking ganja. They just sit by the Ganges and smoke. And food is free 
because there are many dharmshalas, many chattras, many ashramas where they 
distribute food, free food. And, at least this is not what I expected. Because I had many 
friends in the west who are also smoking ganja from morning till night. I felt that my 
friends in the west, those hippie friends in the west were much better that these… at least 
they are not pretending to be spiritual. Thinking that I then left Rishikesh and I went back 
to Delhi. And then from Delhi I went back to Calcutta. That was a very difficult time in 
my life. I rejected materialistic way of life but I couldn’t enter into spiritual life. I did not 
know how to enter into spiritual life. One thing I knew that I needed a guide. I needed 
somebody to lead me to spiritual life, guide me to the spiritual path.
And this was a very, very difficult phase and at some point when I almost gave up my 
search. In the meantime I used to go wander around, stay in different ashrams, associate 
with some of those spiritual personalities, but there was nothing that impressed me, that 
generated the confidence that they could guide me in my spiritual path and I could 
completely surrender myself to them.
And then when I practically gave up my search, thinking that if I have a guru then let him 
come and pick me up. All this while I have been searching for him. So if I really have a 
guru then let him pick me up because I can’t find him in my search.
And it was around that time that through a friend of mine I started to visit Calcutta 
temple. That friend of mine also was in Germany with me. He was from Calcutta and he 
became a devotee. His name is Sarvabhavana Prabhu. A very close friend on mine. 
Sarvabhavana was, I mean when I saw him. He came to Calcutta one evening. He just 
knocked at my door. I heard that he became a devotee. He joined ISCKON. But I thought 
it was just, because I was not thinking at that time that ISKCON was the answer. I was 
thinking that the answer was somewhere else because the impression of ISKCON that I          
got was not really that impressive or (unclear). And so one day Sarvabhavana, I saw him 
as a devotee, shaved hair. He had long hair. He had Iong hair (laughter) I had never seen 
him wearing dhoti (laughter) . He was always, he used to wear blue jeans and jackets. So 
here he was. And he looked very bright and peaceful and effulgent. And naturally I was 
very happy to see him. And then I asked him, ‘Are you serious about what you are 
doing?’ And he said, yes he was serious. But he didn’t preach to me or try to.. He didn’t 
try to make me into a devotee as such. He used to come to me and we used just to spend 
some time together. Then he used to invite me to come to the temple, Calcutta temple.
And Calcutta temple was not that far from my house. And many times I went by Calcutta 
temple but it never occurred to me to go to the temple to look for spiritual life, as such, 
there.
And then one evening I went to the temple with him and he was suggesting that I read 
some books. And he used to speak very highly of Srila Prabhupada. So I said, ‘Okay, let 
me take a book.’ And so he suggested that I should start with Bhagavad-Gita. But 
unfortunately there was no Bhagavad- Gita available, for some reason. So I asked him to 
give me any book. So they gave me the Nectar of Devotion. And, maybe they gave me 
Nectar of Devotion because size-wise it was close to Bhagavad-Gita (laughter). So I took 
The Nectar of Devotion, went home. And when I started to read, from the very first page 
it just occurred to me that this is what I was looking for. From the very first page it 
became clear. Like things that actually impressed me at that time, what actually 
completely blew me out, was… You see, in spiritual life generally what you search for is 
liberation, liberation.
And the very first page it became clear that there are, Prabhupada mentions about five 
kinds of liberation. [laughter]. It blew my mind! Like, I was, I didn’t know what 
liberation was and Prabhupada was speaking about five kinds of liberation. [laughter]. 
Then he is talking about one liberation is negative and four others are positive. I mean, 
never ever I came across any description as clear as that. And then just what struck me 
that God is a Person, that Krishna is God. With such clarity Prabhupada explained that 
and I felt, ‘This is it. This is what I am searching for’. And I became so engrossed with 
The Nectar of Devotion that I just couldn’t stop reading it. While reading, I fell asleep. 
And in the morning when I woke up, the first thing I did, is pick up The Nectar of 
Devotion and start reading again. And I finished The Nectar of Devotion from cover to 
cover in three days. [laughter]. Because I was not doing anything. [laughter]. All I was 
doing was just reading. And after practically the First Wave everything started to fly 
above my head. Because first part, that First Wave was very clear, very easy to conceive 
but then this rasas and exchange of combination of rasas, and symptoms of rasas, 
expression of rasas. It was completely beyond me. But still I couldn’t stop reading. Just 
like, as if completely bound to that book. I kept on reading. And while reading, at some 
point there is a description of practice of devotional service. And I started to imagine 
myself doing that. I started to imagine that I am at Vrindavan and I am doing all those 
things, visiting the temples, going to take bath in Yamuna.
And then that friend of mine, he actually came back to India. And he was the VicePresident of Delhi. So he told me to come to Delhi with him, when I started to express 
my appreciation of Prabhupada’s books. But he invited me to come to Delhi. I said, www.bcswami.com
                                                                                                   www.iskcondesiretree.com              
‘Look, now I just want to be on my own. I do not want any other influence. Let me just 
be on my own’. And I asked him, ‘Where is Prabhupada?’   And he told me that 
Prabhupada was in America, at that time. And at the back of my mind I thought that
when Prabhupada came back to India I would surrender myself to Srila Prabhupada. 
Because internally I already made up my mind, I’ll surrender. I’ll become a devotee, so 
I’ll follow this path.
And then when I heard that Prabhupada was in America, I thought I’ll wait till 
Prabhupada came back. And in the meantime I’ll visit all the places where Caitanya 
Mahaprabhu performed His pastimes, and Krishna performed His pastimes. Thinking 
that, the first place I went to, was Mayapur. And I arrived in the evening in Mayapur. I 
arrived in the evening, because on the way I stopped at a friend’s house. I was talking to 
him and he was trying to persuade me not to join, not to go this way. Anyway, just some 
last snares of Maya [laughter]. And then many other friends, actually they all got 
together. They were trying to convince me to lead a normal life [laughter]. But I just, I 
made up my mind.
So finally I arrived in Mayapur in the evening. And it was at the time of, Sandhya arati 
was going on when I came there. And the whole atmosphere was so beautiful. And one 
devotee asked me to come to the Bhagavad-Gita class. Those days Bhagavad-Gita class 
was not in the temple room. Those days Mayapur was very different. Mayapur had only 
one building, the Lotus Building. And the temple actually was on the ground floor of the 
Lotus Building. And upstairs there were guest rooms, there was the guesthouse and on 
the second floor was Srila Prabhupada’s quarters. And Jayapataka Maharaja and 
Bhavananda Maharaja were the Co-Directors, two sannyasis. They used to live on the 
roof, one side of the roof was Jayapataka Maharaja on the other side, Bhavananda 
Maharaja.
So the Bhagavad-Gita class used to take place on the GBC Conference room and Bhakti 
Raghava Maharaja gave the class. Those days he was not a sannyasi, he was Raghava 
Pandita Prabhu. And I was so impressed to see that a Westerner had so much knowledge. 
And he was quoting Sanskrit verses from Bhagavad-Gita . And to me it seemed like he 
knew the entire Bhagavad-Gita by heart [laughter]. Later on when I told him about that, 
he revealed the secret to me. He said he knew only about five or six verses [laughter] and 
in the Bhagavad-Gita classes he always recited those [laughter]. Actually that’s how 
Prabhupada taught us.
Prabhupada used to tell us that we should speak on the basis of the sastra, on the authority 
of the sastra. So whatever we are saying , we must substantiate it with scripture, quoting 
scriptures. That’s why Prabhupada wanted us to memorise the verses. Not that we had to 
know, to understand or memorise all the verses but some selected verses. And by quoting 
the verses we should elaborate the verses, and that is how we should explain. And I could 
see how powerful that presentation was. That’s one thing I remember Bhakti Raghava 
Maharaja, he was a brahmacari at that time. And so he gave the class. It was very 
impressive, I could see that his knowledge was so profound and I could also see that. And 
he was giving the class in such a way… He later on told me that he made me the target of             
the class that day and I also felt that he was telling me everything. Telling me about the 
futility of materialistic way of life. What is there? There is nothing. Real life is here 
[laughter]. And simple living, high thinking, being in the Dhama in such a serene 
atmosphere, we can cultivate our spiritual life.
And I was very, very impressed with that class. And then whoever I spoke to, they all just 
kept on asking me, why don’t you stay here with us. Because those days Mayapur was 
very remote and ISKCON was not that prominent. Rather ISKCON had many negative 
images, created by some dubious people. And very few people used to visit the temple 
those days. And some life members were made and some life members used to come 
once in a while. I’ll tell you about that also. I was relating that incidence.
Anyway so the next morning also I attended the mangala arati, I attended the whole 
morning programm and I attended the Srimad Bhagavatam class. And then I was 
speaking to, everybody I was speaking to, was asking me, requesting me, inviting me to 
stay there, at least try it out. So, at the back of my mind I also thought, I made up my 
mind to take to this path. I made up my mind to surrender to Srila Prabhupada. And all 
these devotees are inviting me, so why don’t I just stay.
So, in the morning I went to a barber. I shaved up. And I went to the Ganga, threw away 
my old clothes and put on a dhoti and kurta. And the devotees were shocked. They didn’t 
expect [laughter] me to act so fast. Actually one of our Godbrothers, Pandu Prabhu, he 
whom I kind of developed a very friendly relationship with, he told me that he had 
always been here.
Yeah, the one incidence, one life member family. No, I don’t know whether they were 
life members actually. One family was visiting Mayapur. It was after three days of my 
being there. They were just newcomers. They didn’t know anything. They just out of 
curiosity, they just came to visit Mayapur. And I was preaching to them. And the man 
then told me that he wanted to take initiation from me [laughter]. So I was relating that 
story the other day because in India initiation is not such a big thing. In ISKCON we have 
made it so big. And as a result of that, our growth has become stifled. If we consider, it’s 
just a name just an expression, means the beginning. Initiation means the beginning of 
spiritual life and for this movement to grow properly as Caitanya Mahaprabhu wanted, to 
every town and village, we need many, many gurus. But unfortunately we have 
developed the concept that a guru has to be a superman. Therefore nobody fits the bill, or 
very few. Personally I feel that our movement needs many, many gurus because many 
people need the guidance, need the spiritual support. It is not going to be possible for just 
a handful of spiritual masters to execute the mission in the proper way.
Anyway, so I became involved. I joined ISKCON in this way and when it came to 
service, like, many devotees, I mean I developed friendship with all the devotees. And 
they all were, those days in Mayapur there were very few Indian devotees. Most of the 
devotees were actually westerners, the very few devotees were there, Shyamlal Prabhu 
was one of them. And he was a big devotee. [Applause] There were some Indian 
devotees but they were from, actually they were weavers from Bangladesh. They took              
shelter of ISKCON at that time. They got the shelter. But as I said not many educated 
people were joining the movement because those days ISKCON had, nobody really 
thought about ISKCON that seriously. And many people used to… There used to be a big 
misconception that ISKCON was a CIA set up and the devotees of ISCKON are CIA 
agents. [laughter]. Many times, I mean, those days we used to travel by busses and trams 
and trains and so many times we would be confronted by this kind of challenges that we 
were CIA agents. And so the service that I..
Yeah, give him a chair. Actually you should give a Vyasasana.
Syamlal Prabhu: No, no
So one devotee, one of my God-brothers was taking care of the goshala. So he 
encouraged me to join the goshala. So Bhavananda Maharaja was the co-GBC and he 
was mostly involved in Mayapura affairs. Jayapataka Maharaja in those days used to 
travel most of the time, travel and preach and also lead a team of book distributors. And 
Bhavananda Maharaja was the main person in Mayapura. So I went and told 
Bhavananda Maharaja, that I wanted to join the Goshala. He said, no you are not fit for 
Goshala. [laughter] So we just accepted that. Then there was a Gurukula in Mayapur. 
Mostly with local boys, nice little Bengali boys, very sweet. So Hiryangarbha was the incharge of the, the principal of the Gurukula. His assistant was another devotee called 
Nadiya. And Syamalal Prabhu, you remember? I think Hiryangarbha went back to 
Canada? (Syamalal Prabhu)Yes.
Anyway, Hiryangarbha convinced, kind of tried to get me into the Gurukula, tried to get 
me to join him in Gurukula to teach the boys. But then, so I got very fired up. Those days 
I was thinking that serving the cows and taking care of the cows is the highest service. 
But then, when I was not fit for that service, then I thought that teaching in the Gurukula 
will be a good service. So I went and told Bhavananda. So Bhavananda said ‘Oh, 
Gurukula is not….’ [laughter] So I got really upset, I told him ‘Am I good for nothing?’
[laughter] ‘I can’t serve in the Goshala? I can’t serve in the Gurukula, then what can I 
do? Am I not good for anything?’ So then he told that, ‘It’s not whether you are suitable 
for that or not. The consideration is that I do not want you to get some sort of service 
where you lose your heart, get frustrated and then run away’. He was actually very nice. 
In the beginning Bhavananda helped me in many, many ways. And I feel very much 
indebted to him.
Then finally I got my service. My service was to assist Pancaratna Prabhu who was 
building the Long building. How many of you have gone to Mayapur? Oh? So most of 
you have gone to Mayapur. So you have seen the Long Building? It was in ’76 and we 
were building the Long Building. And I became, I got the responsibility to buy all the 
materials, like steel, cement, stone chips. Like, stone chips used to come from Bihar by 
train. And trainloads of the, what’s it called?, the container-loads of stone chips used to 
come.
[Laughter] I was just about to speak about the [unclear] [Laughter]. Okay, that’s alright.              
And then another service that I took up at that time. I used to love to read. So whatever 
spare time I had, I used to have, I used to go to Navadvipa, the other side of the Ganges. 
And there are many Gaudiya Maths. And there is one Gaudiya Math called Devananda 
Gaudiya Math. And I developed some friendship with the devotees there. And I used to 
go there and study in the library, read the books in the library. And in course of my 
reading I came across some of the old writings of Srila Prabhupada. Devananda Gaudiya 
Math used to bring out a magazine called Gaudiya Patrika. And for some years, like ’47, 
’48, for some years Prabhupada was the editor of that magazine. And so I started to get 
those magazines and collect the writings of Srila Prabhupada from those magazines. And 
in this way I compiled, I collected Prabhupada’s writings and started to print them as a 
book ‘Bhagavaner Katha’ in Bengali. And we also, I also started to bring out the Bengali 
Back to Godhead. I used to translate the articles from Back to Godhead and we got them 
printed. So this is how I got involved with various services.
Then we got the news that Srila Prabhupada came back to India. Prabhupada arrived in 
Bombay. So I went and told Bhavananda Maharaja that I wanted to go to Bombay to 
meet Srila Prabhupada. So he told me that, ‘Look, Prabhupada’s health is not good. 
Prabhupada is not seeing the devotees now. And besides that, in Bombay nobody knows 
you, so it will be very difficult for you to get to Srila Prabhupada, get the darshan of Srila 
Prabhupada. So you rather wait till Prabhupada comes to Mayapur and then you will have 
the darshan of Prabhupada. ‘So I just accepted that.
And then I got the news that Prabhupada went to Kumbha-mela in Allahabad and a group 
of devotees were going to Kumbha-mela from Mayapur. So at that time another sannyasi, 
GBC was Gurukripa and he had a group of devotees called Namahatta. They used to 
collect in Japan. And Gurukripa with his group came back, came over to Mayapur at that 
time. And it was decided that Gurukripa and some devotees from Mayapur in a bus 
would travel to Allahabad, to Kumbha-mela. And I was also asked to join the group. So 
by bus, we travelled from Mayapur to Allahabad. We arrived in Allahabad at noontime.
And just as we arrrived, I immediately ran to Prabhupada’s quarters, which was a large 
area. It was walled out with corrugated tin sheets and inside that, there was a tent. Srila 
Prabhupada’s tent. And so I asked where Prabhupada was, and I was told that Prabhupada 
was there. And so I ran to meet Srila Prabhupada.
On the gate of Prabhupada’s entrance to the boundary area, walled out area there was a 
big western devotee guarding the gate. So he stopped me and he told me that 
Prabhhupada would give darshan in the evening, so I could come in the evening. So those 
days I didn’t realise how difficult it is to get close to Srila Prabhupada because 
Prabhupada had so many disciples, so many followers and everybody wanted to meet 
Srila Prabhupada, everybody wanted to get close to Srila Prabhupada, which I was not 
aware of. Therefore Prabhupada was very well guarded. Prabhupada’s secretaries used to 
make it very difficult for getting close to Srila Prabhupada.
And so I just felt a little disappointed. So I just left. And while I was just walking, 
coming back this way, Bhavananda, I saw, was just coming with a basket of vegetables              
that he brought from Mayapur. And he saw me. He said, ‘Come. I’m going to Srila 
Prabhupada. So you come with me.’ So I ran. He was running. I also ran after him. And, 
so, the guard just made way for us. I could go in. But I made a mistake. Instead of going 
straight into Prabhupada’s tent, like Bhavananda did, when I saw Srila Prabhupada, I saw 
from outside the tent, Srila Prabhupada. And I just offered obeisances. And then when I 
tried to go in, Prabhupada’s secretary was sitting at the doorway, at the entrance of the 
tent. And he stopped me and told me that Prabhupada was taking prasadam, so don’t go 
in. So anyway I left.
In the evening Prabhupada gave darshan. By that time I learnt one thing, don’t try to get 
close to Srila Prabhupada. Because Prabhupada’s darshan, Prabhupada’s association is 
very, very rare. But then I used to have the darshan. I used to go to the darshan in the 
evening and just listen. Didn’t even ask any question to Srila Prabhupada. Hundreds of 
people used to come. The tent used to be completely packed. And Prabhupada used to 
give darshan. Many people used to come. Kumbha-mela, you get millions of people, 
people would come there in Kumbha-mela. And that was a very special Kumbha. This 
was a Purna Kumbha, Purna, purna Kumbha. Purna Kumbha takes place in every twelve 
years and this Kumbha was in 144 years. This Kumbha comes once in 144 years. A very 
special Kumbha. Many people used to come. And mostly, those who used to come, were 
Indians, pious Indians, well-to-do Indians. And devotees did not ask that many questions 
at that time. It was mostly those people who were asking questions. And Prabhupada 
would give the answers in such a brilliant way. Only Prabhupada could give answers like 
that..
And anyway, and then Prabhupada also allowed us to have Guru-puja in the morning. 
Sometimes Prabhupada would give classes, but most of the time Prabhupada just allowed 
to have the Guru-puja. His health was not very good so he used to retire. And then one 
morning we heard that Prabhupada was leaving Kumbha-mela and Prabhupada would go 
to Calcutta. So I just took it, ‘Well Prabhupada is leaving Kumbha-mela.’
And then Bhavananda told me that Prabhupada was leaving that day. And he would be 
travelling by train at night and a group of devotees will travel with him. And one entire 
carriage was reserved for Srila Prabhupada and a group of devotees would travel with 
Srila Prabhupada. And he told me that I also had been included in the team of devotees. 
So I became so excited. And I could understand that it was he who must have made that 
arrangement for me. So the train started in the evening, at night, around nine o’ clock. 
And soon after that everybody took rest.
In the morning I woke up, took my bath and was chanting. So Bhavananda came to me, 
told me and said, ‘Come I’ll take you to Srila Prabhupada.’. Now all these days I didn’t 
try and go close to Srila Prabhupada and here now the time has come, the opportunity has 
come to meet Srila Prabhupada. Now Bhavananda is telling me that he will take me to 
Srila Prabhupada who was just one or two compartments away from where I was. And I 
had a feeling as if I was not qualified to go to Srila Prabhupada, I was not fit to go to Srila 
Prabhupada. So Bhavananda probably could, I mean I just sat there, although 
Bhavananda said that I’ll take you to Srila Prabhupada. But I just sat there, without   
moving and all kinds of thoughts were going on in my mind. And then, probably 
Bhavananda could understand. So he grabbed me by my hand, and he dragged me 
through the corridor. And he opened Srila Prabhupada’s compartment door and pushed 
me in. [laughter]
And so I just fell flat, offering obeisances to Srila Prabhupada. When I got up, I saw Srila 
Prabhupada was looking at me and Prabhupada motioned, Prabhupada asked me to sit 
next to him. The first class compartment in Indian trains have two rows of seats facing 
each other. On the other seat Jayapataka Maharaja, Bhavananda Maharaja and 
Rameshwar Maharaja were sitting. Abhirama Prabhu who was the temple president of 
Calcutta at that time, he was sitting on the floor, and the other seat Prabhupada was 
sitting.
And Prabhupada asked me to sit next to him. So first I said, ‘No Prabhupada, I’ll rather 
sit on the floor.’ Then Prabhupada insisted. I said, ‘No.’ He said ‘No, you sit here’. So 
there was a blanket spread over the seat. So I rolled up the blanket and sat on the corner 
of the seat. And after some initial exchange, Prabhupada just told me to translate his 
books into Bengali. And that actually gave me the opportunity to be close to Srila 
Prabhupada. Or that gave me the opportunity to have access to Srila Prabhupada. Like 
everybody knew that Prabhupada gave me the responsibility of translating his books into 
Bengali. And those days this was a very important service. Everybody knew that 
translating Prabhupada’s books and printing Srila Prabhupada’s books was a very, very 
important service. And Prabhupada gave me that service himself. And so when we came 
to Calcutta… As it is Calcutta was my stomping ground. And Prabhupada was in 
Calcutta so I was with Prabhupada practically all the time. And this was our own field 
and Prabhupada was within our field and so we had access to Srila Prabhupada.
One evening, Prabhupada only stayed in Calcutta only three or four days, I don’t exactly 
remember, maybe three days. One evening, Prabhupada gave darshan. Every evening 
Prabhupada used to give darshan to people. A lot of people used to come to meet Srila 
Prabhupada. And, so then the aratika started. So Prabhupada told everybody to go to the 
aratika. So everybody left. I also left. And I was in the arati. But I was thinking that arati 
I can attend every evening but to get to see Srila Prabhupada, to be with Srila Prabhupada 
is a rare occasion. So I thought let me just go back to Srila Prabhupada. So I went back to 
Srila Prabhupada. I opened the door. I saw that Prabhupada was counting the money 
[laughs] people that gave dakshina after having darshan of Srila Prabhupada. They gave 
dakshina. And Prabhupada was counting that money that he received. So Prabhupada 
looked up and said, ‘What happened?’ So I said, ‘Prabhupada I thought that I would just 
come to be with you.’ Prabhupada said, ‘Sit down.’ And when I saw Prabhupada 
counting the money, it was kind of a shock to me, [laughter] because I never imagined. It 
was something not fitting to my, the image that I had of Prabhupada in my mind, 
[laughter], Prabhupada counting, [laughter] . But then I immediately brushed that 
thought aside quickly. That whatever Prabhupada does, is perfect. And Prabhupada 
couldn’t care less, he just kept on counting [laughter]. And then Prabhupada put them in 
a stack, opened his drawer, kept it in his drawer.             
And then Prabhupada asked me, ‘So? Do you want to say something?’ Then I just blurted 
out, ‘Srila Prabhupada, will you please give me initiation.’ Because I had at the back of 
my mind, I had some fear. I had some anxiety, because I heard that there were many 
devotees who had been waiting for years together and Prabhupada didn’t give them 
initiation. And I thought that if that happened to me, if Prabhupada said that I was not fit 
enough. But Prabhupada… And so that’s why I was with a heavy heart, with a lot of
anxiety. I asked Srila Prabhupada whether he would give me initiation. And Prabhupada 
immediately said, ‘Yes, sure. I’ll give you initiation. He said during the Gaura Purnima 
festival at Mayapur, I’ll give you initiation.’
Then from Calcutta Srila Prabhupada went to Buvaneshwar. Gour Govinda Maharaja got 
a piece of land there. And he invited Srila Prabhupada to come lay the foundation stone 
of the temple. I could have gone to Buvaneshwar because I was already considered, kind 
of, because again, because of Bhavananda Maharaja’s mercy, like I was almost in the 
team, in Prabhupada’s team already. But I was printing a book, called (Bhagavaner 
Katha) books that the articles that I had collected from back from Gaudiya Patrika. I was 
printing a book. So I thought that I would rather print the book and offer it to Srila 
Prabhupada when he came back. And thinking that, I stayed back. Then after about two 
weeks Srila Prabhupada came back to Mayapur. And then I met again.
Then one day Srila Prabhupada sent for me. And he gave me a stack of Bengali letters. 
And he asked me to reply them. Reply them in the sense, Prabhupada wanted me to read 
those letters out loud and then Prabhupada would give me the points and then I would 
make a draft of the reply. And then I would read the draft to Srila Prabhupada. And then 
when after some corrections I would write the final on Prabhupada’s letterhead and then 
Prabhupada used to sign those letters. So, many letters came in Bengali, so Prabhupada 
wanted me to answer them. So when I finished the Bengali stack, Srila Prabhupada gave 
me a Hindi stack, a stack of Hindi letters. And he wanted me to reply them. So, at that 
time Srila Prabhupada told me, one day that he was appointing me as a Secretary for 
Indian affairs. And he asked, he called Tamal Krishna Maharaja, who was Prabhupada’s 
secretary at that time. So he told Tamal Krishna Maharaj about my appointment. And he 
asked Tamal Krishna Maharaja that I would move into his room, Prabhupada’s 
secretary’s room.
So that gave me another wonderful opportunity to be with Tamal Krishna Maharaja in the 
same room. And for about ten months, wherever we went, we always stayed in the same 
room. And Tamal Krishna Maharaja was also so fond of me, being with me, that 
whenever he came to Mayapur, he used to stay in my room. And, so this is how my 
service to Srila Prabhupada started.
In the mean time the initiation took place during the Gaura Purnima festival. And 
Prabhupada, and now Prabhupada told me that he would give me first and second 
initiation together. So I got initiation. But soon after, and I was with Prabhupada, I was 
taking care of the correspondence in Indian languages, Bengali and Hindi.              
And everyday, practically I used to go and read out to Prabhupada about the translations, 
my translations. And Prabhupada used to correct me. Sometimes Prabhupada used to 
appreciate my translations. And this way I was, I was staying practically next to Srila 
Prabhupada’s room. Actually Prabhupada’s secretary’s room was next to Prabhupada’s 
room. But, those days there was no computer. The typing used to be done with a khat 
khat typewriter [laughter]. And Prabhupada used to feel very disturbed with the sound of 
typing. So therefore Prabhupada shifted his secretary’s room to the one after that. And 
next to Prabhupada was Prabhupada’s servant’s room. And Hari Sauri Prabhu was 
Prabhupada’s servant at that time. And next to that was Tamal Krishna Maharaja and I 
were staying. And those were such wonderful days.
Then one day we got to know that Prabhupada was going to leave for Bombay. So it was, 
I was naturally thinking that I also would travel. But Bhavananda Maharaja told me that I 
have so much service in Mayapur. And if I left, that service would be affected. Because, 
there was not so many Indian devotees in Mayapur those days. And the service that I was 
doing, it would be difficult for others to take over. So he told me and I also felt that, ‘Yes, 
if he is requesting me. After all he had done so much for me. It’s because of him that I 
could come so close to Srila Prabhupada.’ So when he said, I accepted it. But I was 
feeling heavy in my heart, that I would lose the opportunity of being with Srila 
Prabhupada. But at the same time I couldn’t say no to him. So the day before or two days 
before Srila Prabhupada was leaving, Prabhupada asked me whether I was coming. And 
in a way, I also was waiting for such an opportunity [laughter]. So, in a rather innocent 
way I told Prabhupada, ‘Prabhupada, Bhavananda Maharaja asked me to stay back in 
Mayapur. And he told me that service in separation is better than service in association. 
Then Prabhupada said, ‘Yes that’s true, but I think when your spiritual master wants you 
to come with him, then you should come. [laughter] So I was just waiting [laughter] for 
such a statement from Srila Prabhupada [laughter]. I ran to Bhavananda [laughter] and I 
told him that Prabhupada wanted me to go to Bombay. He said, ‘Well, if Prabhupada 
wants, then you have to go.’ And then I told him that Prabhupada also told me that he 
should also pay for my fair.’ [laughter]. So that is how I got this opportunity to be with 
Srila Prabhupada. Although I came late to the movement, but I was very fortunate to be 
with Srila Prabhupada practically twenty-four hours a day. Then we went to Bombay.
Today I’ll stop now. So tomorrow I’ll continue.
Thank you very much.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada !
Applause from devotees.
I’m not taking any questions today. It’s already nine o’ clock. We have another session 
but tomorrow, let us see. Tomorrow I will try to speak again. How many of you have 
some questions or may have some questions. Okay, Lokabandhu Prabhu, then. Yeah, I’ll 
take your question. These two questions I’ll take now.        
Lokabandhu Prabhu?
Lokabandhu Prabhu: Maharaja, it seems your knowledge of Bengali, and your early 
education in Bengali has equipped you admirably for translation of Srila Prabhupada’s 
works. The question is about, we have this wonderful facility in ISKCON today. Such an 
excellent facility for progress in spiritual life. The question is actually for the young 
ones, like Jivani and Devaki and others, to equip the young so that they can make full use 
of this facility.
His Holiness Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Yes, yes, very true.
Lokabandhu Prabhu: Can’t we motivate and encourage them? Especially we have the 
materialistic challenges and the schools system. And yet the real culture, the greatness of 
the Vaisnava culture is so important that we should give top priority to it.
His Holiness Bhakti Caru Maharaj: Well, generally I don’t let my secrets out, [laughter] 
I’ll speak to you, I’ll…
Since you brought it up, I’ll reveal one secret, that I’m working on. You see, yesterday 
and day before yesterday, I briefly mentioned about the importance of youth involvement 
and what a loss it is we are losing our youth. They, we are losing our youth to the 
corporate world. And so with that in mind I am realising we have to have our business as 
such, where our youth can be gainfully employed. The point is that if somebody is 
employing somebody by paying X amount of money. He’s obviously making X + Y out 
of him. Now if we can employ them in a similar way, paying X amount of money, even 
if he can’t make Y amount of profit, but at least if we can make half-Y, still it is a gain 
for our movement, that ISKCON also needs a financial base. And the reality I have seen, 
is that when we employ our devotees, then we don’t pay them X, they are happy with 
half-X and they make twice Y profit. So anyway. So I think that is the way we have to 
go. ISKCON must engage them in a way which is befitting their aspirations and 
expectations. Like, most of our youth. Like as you have mentioned. After they have 
completed their studies and all, they are not just going to become a full time devotee. And 
even if they become a full time devotee what will they do in the temple? Wash pots and 
clean the floors? Like, the world has changed. You know, like, and going out, And 
another thing is, that, you know, our preaching, the preaching scenario of this world has 
changed. I mean, yes, we need Harinam, we need book distribution, we need door to 
door preaching. We need all of that but at the same time we have to open up another 
horizon. And that is the corporate world. And there, a whole lot of people are there. And 
we CAN motivate them, we can influence them. And specially our children when they 
finish their education. Like that’s the problem we had with our Gurukuli’s. They 
completed their education but they didn’t have any appointment, any opportunities to be 
engaged. Our society was not ready. And we didn’t really provide them any opportunities 
to become engaged within the movement, nor did we equip them to become, to find a 
place in the outside world. That’s why today most of our youth has turned against 
ISKCON. So we have to be proactive. We have to see how we can properly engage them 
when they reach that age when they need some sort of positive and gainful employment.           
Whether within ISKCON or whether outside ISKCON, we have to create that 
opportunity. That’s one side of it. The other side of it, is that a spiritual organisation 
cannot thrive just depending on donations in today’s world. We have to have our own 
financial base. You see, when you get donations, Just a simple point. When somebody 
runs his own business, he makes profits in the region of millions. But when he gives a 
donation, it will be a few thousand. But if you are running the business, then you can 
make that profit that goes into running the business. And that whole amount will come to 
ISKCON. Anyway these are just some thoughts. Since you asked, I wanted to share them 
with you.
Yes, last question? Bharata?
Bharata Prabhu: Guru Maharaj, when you joined the temple, how did your family take it 
and how did [unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Caru Maharaja: My father had a heart attack [laughter]. But I told 
him. I actually told him. I told him that, ‘Look, materially, you can’t really expect much 
out of me [laughter]. My other brother was taking care of him. Like he didn’t need much. 
My other brother was in America I mean he is well situated. I mean he was well situated. 
Now he is retired. it was a long time ago. And I told him that, ‘Look, you have one son 
who is taking care of you, who can take care of you. And you are quite [unclear], you 
don’t really need me. And what I am doing, I may not be able to help you now but in the 
next life, [laughter] what I’m doing, he is going to get benefit of it. And er, he was 
actually serious. I was serious when I told him. And he also took it seriously and then he 
understood. He didn’t stop me. He actually let me go.
Krishna Caran was reminding me of one incident that my first darshan of Srila 
Prabhupada. Actually it was, I got The Nectar of Devotion. The first night I read the 
book. The second night, the next night, I had a dream of Srila Prabhupada. Still now, I 
don’t know whether it was dream or real. I saw Srila Prabhupada sitting on a throne. 
Those days I did not know what a vyasasana was. Because sadhus in India generally 
don’t sit on an elaborate seat. They sit on a simple seat. But it seemed like Prabhupada 
was sitting on a throne. There was a brilliant light around Srila Prabhupada. And just by 
the sight of Srila Prabhupada made me realise that here is my spiritual master for whom I 
had been waiting for. I didn’t ask any question. I didn’t say anything. I just offered 
obeisances to Srila Prabhupada. And my heart was filled with a feeling that I cannot 
describe in words.
Hare Krishna.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada!







Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Sri Advaita Acarya Appearance Day Lecture By His Holiness Bhakti Caru Swami


Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Spiritual life means to become aware of the spiritual reality. This material nature appears
to be real. Like, we see things. We can touch things. We can taste things. This way, we
can see that this is existing, but this is not the only reality. Beyond this material reality
there is another reality, the real reality. That is the spiritual reality. The material nature is
there. It is there. We are here and we are experiencing. It is real, but it is not real reality.
The real reality is the spiritual reality. This is the reflected reality. This is a reflection.
This is not absolute reality.
So the goal of human life is to understand the real reality and go back to that reality. Like,
a reflection is temporary. As a reflection, a reflection is existing, it is real, but is real only
as a reflection. Then after some time the reflection will go. Like, there is some pool of
water. After the monsoon, after it rains, some water gets logged in and in that water we
see the reflection of a tree. But then, in course of time, the water dries out. Then can you
see the reflection of the tree? No.Similarly, this material nature is a reflection on the material ingredient called Maha
Tattva. And when the Maha Tattva disappears, when it dries out or is withdrawn, then the
material reality will disappear. But the spiritual reality is always existing. Just like, we
can say, we have this material body. As long as the spirit soul is in the material body then
we experience the material nature. When the spirit soul leaves the material body, what
happens to this nature? Does it exist for us? Or when we are awake we experience this
nature. When you fall asleep do you know whether this nature is existing or not? No.
But the spiritual reality is everlasting and eternal. So our business is to become situated in
the spiritual reality. And that is why whatever we are doing is to become situated in that
spiritual reality. Why do we worship the Deities in the temple? Why do we try to develop
a relationship with the Deities? Why we are doing so many things? Why we are chanting
Hare Krishna? Why are we practicing devotional service? Why are we singing prayers?
Why are we doing all that? Is it because we are devotees of ISKCON and that is the
practice of ISKCON, that’s why we are doing it? No, we are doing it to become situated
in the spiritual reality.
That reality is there, although we cannot see it. Why can’t we see that reality? Because
we don’t have the proper vision to see that reality. Our vision is being projected through
our senses. Our consciousness is being projected through our senses. Therefore, we only
see what our senses can perceive. An example can be given. The light is being projected
through a red glass. A red glass and the light are projected through the red glass. What
will the light be like? The light will appear to be red. Why? Because it is being projected
through the red glass.
Similarly, our consciousness is being projected through our senses. And as a result of
that, we are experiencing only what are senses can perceive. And what do our senses
perceive? Our senses are material; therefore our senses perceive only things that are
material. Our senses do not have the ability to perceive that is non-material. So we do not
have the ability to perceive the spiritual reality. That’s why we are not aware of the
spiritual reality. But we are practicing to spiritualize our senses.
Okay, with material senses we can perceive only matter, but to perceive spiritual reality
what do we need? We need spiritual senses. With the senses of this body we can only
perceive matter, but with the spiritual senses we can perceive the spiritual reality. So
what we are practicing is simply to spiritualize our senses. And how senses can be
spiritualized? It is simply like this. When the senses are projected towards the matter it
simply becomes material senses, but when the senses are subjected to, or projected to
Krishna, the Supreme Spiritual Personality, then our senses will become spiritualized.
Therefore, devotional service has been described as hrishikena, Hrishikesha sevanam
bhaktir ucyate [Bhakti Rasamrta Sindhu 1.1.12]. When Krishna, the Supreme Personality
of Godhead, Who is the reservoir of all senses, who is the Lord of all senses, hrishika,
hrishika means the senses and isha means the Lord. When the Lord of the senses is
worshipped by the senses, that is called devotional service. So what we are practicing? We are practicing devotional service, and what is devotional service? Devotional service
is to serve the Lord of the senses with our senses. We have senses.
Now what is the benefit when we serve the Lord of the senses with our senses? Then
what will happen? Then the senses will become spiritualized. So that is what we are
practicing here. We are trying to serve the Lord of the senses with our senses. And by
serving the Lord of the senses with our senses, our senses will become spiritualized. Then
we will be able to perceive the spiritual reality, because then our senses have become
spiritualized, our senses have become purified. Our senses are originally spiritual. All of
our senses are spiritual, but because of this mistake of projecting our consciousness
through the material body, our senses have become materialized.
Our senses are actually spiritual. Our body is actually spiritual, but because we are
indentifying this material body to be our body, we are thinking this material body to be
our self and the perception of this material body to be the perception of our senses.
So that is why spiritual life is a constant reminder, a constant engagement, to the spiritual
reality. That is the reason why we worship the Deity. Who are you worshipping? Who are
you serving? Are you worshipping somebody material? No, we are serving the spiritual
Supreme Personality of Godhead, Whose form is sac-cid-ananda. He is spiritual and by
serving that Supreme Spiritual Personality, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, our
senses will become purified, our consciousness will become purified. So that is what we
are practicing.
So today is the appearance day of Srila Advaita Acarya. Who is Advaita Acarya? Advaita
Acarya is an incarnation of Maha-Vishnu. Who is Maha-Vishnu? Maha-Vishnu is the
Supreme Personality of Godhead. And by understanding who Advaita Acarya is, we
make a step forward towards the spiritual reality. Who is Advaita Acarya? Is Advaita
Acarya an ordinary human being? No, Advaita Acarya is the Supreme Personality of
Godhead.
Therefore, we are trying to cultivate our relationship with Advaita Acarya. That’s why
we are trying to understand who is Advaita Acarya. That’s why we are offering prayers to
Advaita Acarya. That’s why we are discussing about Advaita Acarya today on this
particular day of Maghi Saptami. This is the month of Magha and the seventh day of the
month of Magha, Shukla Paksha, is the day of Advaita Acarya’s appearance day.
He appeared. He was not born. What is the difference between birth and appearance?
What is the difference between birth and appearance? Like, for example, Lila
Purushottama has come from London. So, we say that Lila Purushottama has come here
in Ujjain. That means Lila Purushottama already existed, but some years ago Lila
Purushottama was born. Lila Purushottama, did you all greet Lila Purushottama? He is
coming here for the third time? Third time. He spent considerable amount of time here,
so everybody knows him.So what is the difference between Lila Purushottama’s birth and Lila Purushottama’s
coming from London to Ujjain. What is the difference? When he was born, he came. He
was not here before. He came. But when he comes to Ujjain, he was already there in
London and then he came here. Isn’t it, Lila Purushottama? Do you agree with me?
[Laughs] Okay. Similarly, the difference between the appearance of the Lord and birth of
an ordinary living entity. The Lord is not born. Krishna is not born. He appears, but we
are born in this material nature. But Krishna appears means, Krishna is there in the
spiritual sky! And then He comes here.
So Advaita Acarya, who is Advaita Acarya? Advaita Acarya is:
maha-vishnur jagat-karta mayaya yah srijaty adah
tasyavatara evayam advaitacarya ishvarah
[CC Adi 1.12]
And Maha-Vishnu, Maha-Vishnu is the incarnation of Krishna for creating this material
nature, which is also known as Karanadakasayi Vishnu. There are three Vishnu
incarnations of Krishna. What are those three Vishnu incarnations? Karanadakasayi
Vishnu or Maha-Vishnu, then Garbhadakasayi Vishnu, then Ksirodakasayi Vishnu.
Maha-Vishnu lies in the Causal Ocean, therefore He is known as Karanadakasayi Vishnu;
One who is lying in the Karanadaka. And then as He breathes, from His breathing
innumerable bubbles come out in the Causal Ocean, and each of those bubbles is a
universe.
Then He enters into each universe as Garbhadakasayi Vishnu. Then, in that universe,
there are many, many living entities and in the heart of these living entities He enters as
Kshirodakasayi Vishnu. So this Maha-Vishnu, Who is the jagat-karta, Mahavishnu jagatkarta means the creator of the cosmic world. Jagat, what is the jagat? What is jagat,
means the material nature. This material nature is not just one universe. This material
nature is the sum total of all universes.
That is our problem. Our problem is we simply think that whatever we perceive THAT is
the reality. But when we become exposed to the spiritual wisdom, then we get to know
what is what. Just like the modern day people, they think that the earth planet is the only
thing. Earth planet is the only place where there is life. And all the other things, all the
other stars and planets, they’re all empty. They’re vacant. They think that the earth is the
centre and everything else is subsidiary to the earth. Although scientifically they except
that earth planet is a part of the sun.
What is the modern understanding or concept? A part of sun became separated from sun.
WHY, they don’t consider. So when it was separated it was just a piece, right? And then
that piece got broken and different planets appeared. And the middle one, it was broken,
it was shaped like a… when it broke it was shaped like a, like you can say, it was shaped
like a mridanga, right? And middle part of the mridanga is solid, so the middle planet is
bigger and other planets are smaller. And then they started to move around the sun. That
is their understanding of the creation of the planetary system.So, even they can see that if the sun is the origin of earth planet, but still they think that
earth planet is the only place where there is life.
[Altar curtains open]
Jaya Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohana ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Krishna Balarama ki jaya! Jaya
Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
And that is called perceiving everything centered on our own perception. That is the
material nature. We put ourselves in the centre. I am the centre. Whatever I see only that
exists. If I don’t see something, it doesn’t exist. Is it an intelligent thing to do? Is it
intelligent to think that way? No. Only what I see, that is real. Anything beyond that, that
I do not see, doesn’t exist.
Like, if an ant thinks, let’s consider, an ant thinks that whatever I see that is real.
Anything that I do not see doesn’t exist. And a man looks at the ant, how will he think? “!
Look at this ant! The tiny little creature and he thinks that he is centre of everything!” So
we human beings are also like tiny little ants compared to the demigods. Demigods are so
powerful that compared to them we are even more insignificant than an ant. And now
human beings are thinking, whatever I see that is what is real and anything that I do not
see doesn’t exist.
Actually, if we analyze, we can see, like we do not see so many things. [To a devotee:
switch off the light, these lights, it's not needed] We can notice, like we can see, how
much can we see? What is the range of our seeing? We see only between violet and red.
Light has innumerable range, an inconceivable range light has. But we see only between
violet and red. Ultra violet is beyond our sense perception. Infra red, what is below red
and what is beyond violet, we do not see. Now, should we say that only what we see, that
exists? Things that we do not see, we do not believe?
Similarly, sound. What do we hear? We simply hear the sonic portion of the sound.
There is supersonic and subsonic. We do not hear them. Like we have seen, an owl, it
moves around at night. Why is that? Because the owl sees only things at night. Which
means, what we cannot see an owl can see? At night we cannot see, because it is dark for
us, but is light for the owls. And what we see, the owl cannot see [laughs].
So in this way we have to accept that there are many things that we do not see, although
they are around us. They’re around us, but we do not see. This first thing that an
intelligent man must recognize is that there are many things that I do not see but they are
existing. Therefore better not to believe only in my sense perceptions. Let us not believe,
let us not depend only upon our sense perception. Rather, let us gather information from
higher authorities.
Like, let us consider, an ant. A man is educating the ant that, “Don’t think that your ant
hill is the entire creation. Beyond the ant hill there is a city called Ujjain, and Ujjain is a
part of Madhya Pradesha. Madhya Pradesh is part of India. India is a part of Asian
continent. And Asia is a part of the earth planet. Earth planet is the part of the solar system. Solar system is a part of the universe, and there are so many universes. And
beyond the universe there is a Causal Ocean.”
What will happen to the ant? Won’t the ant become wise? Ant will know, “Although I do
not see all those things, although I do not see there is a city called Ujjain, but Ujjain is
existing. Why? Because Maharaja is telling that it exists [laughs].” So this is the
intelligent way of receiving knowledge. The intelligent way of receiving knowledge is to
receive it from the higher authorities, higher sources. And who is the highest source of
authority? Who is the highest authority? Who is the highest source of information?
Krishna! And Krishna gave this information to Brahma.
Therefore, the most intelligent class of people will accept the information from the Vedic
scriptures which was originally given by Krishna. And that is the beginning of receiving
information about spiritual reality. Things that we cannot see with our eyes, if we want to
have information about that reality, then we must depend upon proper source. So our
source is the Shruti or the Vedas. Our source of information is Shruti or Vedas. Why it is
called Shruti? Because it can be received only by hearing.
If somebody says okay, I must see the Vedas, I must verify the Vedic information, and
the answer will be: no, you can’t. You can’t, because you don’t have the faculty. You
don’t have the ability. You may want to see the Vedas, the information of the Vedas, you
may want to verify the information that has been given in the Vedas, but in order to
receive that information, or in order to perceive that, you have to have proper facility,
proper ability. And it is not saying that you can never get that ability. It is there,
information is given. Yes, the ability is there. You can develop the ability. The way to do
it is by developing the spiritual senses. How to develop the spiritual senses? Hrishikena
Hrishikesha sevanam bhaktir ucyate. When you engage your senses in serving
Hrishikesha, the Lord of the senses, your senses will become purified and you will be
able to perceive the spiritual reality. You will be able to perceive the spiritual reality, but
the way to do it is through this process of devotional service.
So that is the scientific method. And there is only one sense that can perceive that reality.
What is that? The hearing. This information can be perceived only through hearing, not
by any other means. Therefore, that reality, the spiritual reality, is called Adhoksaja.
Adhoksaja, beyond our sense perception. Our senses, our material senses will not be able
to reach that reality. The only way we can reach that reality is by hearing. Only way we
can receive or perceive that reality is by hearing. And that hearing, how should we hear?
We must hear with shraddha. Shraddha means faith. With faith we have to hear that is
coming from the Vedas. We must receive with faith. Or it is coming from Prabhupada,
therefore, we must accept it, because Prabhupada is an authority. Prabhupada has no
reasons to lie. There is no reason for Prabhupada to say something that is not real, that is
not true.
We have seen Srila Prabhupada, such an exceptionally brilliant person! And whatever
Srila Prabhupada said is the truth and nothing but the Absolute Truth. Nowadays we are
seeing that some people are questioning, some people are doubting, even ISKCON
devotees. They’re doubting Srila Prabhupada’s authority. They are saying, “Oh, Srila
Prabhupada made so many mistakes.” The result is, they’re losing out. It’s Maya. It’s actually Maya’s trick. Maya is telling, “Oh, Prabhupada was not really that great a
person. Look, Prabhupada said so many things wrong in his books.” And as a result of
that, their faith is destroyed. And as a result of that, they are not able to receive the vast
ocean of information on spiritual reality that Srila Prabhupada has given.
Therefore, the intelligent class of people will have absolute faith in Srila Prabhupada.
One may say, “Prabhupada is an ordinary person”, then immediately let us consider, did
anyone ever achieve something that Srila Prabhupada did? Show me one man who has
achieved something like Srila Prabhupada! In ten years time Srila Prabhupada, in simple
words we can say, in ten years time Srila Prabhupada conquered the world. How long did
it take Napoleon to conquer Europe? Not even the whole of Europe. How long did it take
Alexander to conquer whatever part of the world he did? And what effort he did, and then
glorified as a great personality, Alexander the Great. And Napoleon, Napoleon
Bonaparte. [Laughs] William the Conqueror! Even compared to that look at
Prabhupada’s achievement! They conquered only some part of the world, but Srila
Prabhupada conquered the entire earth planet, didn’t leave any continent there. He went
to America and conquered it. Then he went to Europe, conquered it! Then he came to
India, Asia, conquered it! Then he went to Australia, conquered it! So what’s left? Then
he went to Africa, conquered it!
And also, Alexander, when he was leaving, he conquered one country and when he left,
he lost that country. But Srila Prabhupada’s domain is increasing even though
Prabhupada has left the planet. And what is that conquering? That is a spiritual conquest!
Prabhupada was not conquering with sword and guns and rockets and missiles. Srila
Prabhupada is conquering this world with spiritual information. Alexander, Napoleon,
they conquered the land, and what is Srila Prabhupada conquering? Srila Prabhupada is
conquering the hearts of the living entities. Now what is more important, just a piece of
inert land, or the living entities? It is more important, the most important consideration is
to conquer the living entities. And as a result of this conquest, what is happening? They
are benefitting! These people are becoming eligible to go back to the spiritual sky.
So, Srila Prabhupada actually gave a wonderful gift to this world in the form of Krishna
Consciousness. Srila Prabhupada has made arrangements for us to receive the spiritual
knowledge, the Shruti, through hearing. That’s why we have to have faith in
Prabhupada’s words. What Srila Prabhupada said is the truth and nothing but the truth.
And by receiving that, what is happening? We are benefitting ourselves. And as far as
accepting or believing in [what] Srila Prabhupada gave, having faith in Srila
Prabhupada’s words, let us consider one thing. With wisdom you may start with
knowledge, you may start with faith, but then it becomes verified, experimentally
verified.
Say, for example, when you learned alphabet, A, B, C, D. Did you accept it with faith?
Krita-yuga, you accepted with faith? A is A, B is B, right? Who taught you alphabet?
[Krita-yuga: the teacher]. Your teacher. So did you question the teacher that why is he
saying A is A, maybe A is Y. Did you question? No, you accepted. A is A. Your teacher
said, “This is A”, and you said, “A”. “This is B”, you said, “B”, right? And then you learned to write A, B, C, and D. And then when you grew up and then you started to read
books. Wasn’t it proven, that A is A and B is B?
So that is the thing with knowledge. As you progress, what you learned before becomes
established. Similarly, in spiritual knowledge as we are advancing, although in the
beginning we may have started with faith, that Prabhupada said that’s why we must
accept. We accepted with faith, but in course of time it is becoming verified. And another
way to verify is with our intelligence. With our intelligence we can verify.
An example of verifying it with intelligence is something like, a person, a philosopher,
who is an atheist, and he had a scientist friend, who was a theist, who used to believe in
God. So the philosopher friend philosopher and the scientist used to have lot of
arguments. The philosopher used to say God doesn’t exist and the scientist used to say,
No, God exists! They used to have arguments like that. Then one day the philosopher
friend came to the scientists’ laboratory and he saw the solar system, the model of the
solar system. So the philosopher, atheist, asked, “Hey, who made this?” The scientist
said, “No one made this.” The philosopher said, “How is it possible? Somebody must
have made it.”The scientist said, “No, nobody made it.” He said, “How is it possible?
Somebody must have made it!” Then finally the scientist said, “Look, when I show you
the model and said nobody made it, you don’t believe it, which is only just a replica of
the solar system. And when I show the solar system and tell you somebody must have
made it, you said, “No, nobody made it.” See what a fool you are?”
So with our intelligence we can understand. Like, did somebody make this watch? How
many of you are wearing a watch? So the watch that you are wearing, did somebody
make it? Priyavrata? If someone came and told you the watch nobody made it. It just fell
from a big bang. [Laughter] What will you say? You’ll say, you’re crazy! Right? So now
we can’t accept a simple thing like a watch came out of nothing, but when it comes to
such a complex creation of this universe we say nobody made it. Atheists.
[Altar curtains close]
Jaya Sri Krishna Balarama ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohana ki jaya! Lalita
Vishakha Devi ki Jaya! Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya! Srila Sandipani Muni ki jaya! Srila
Prabhupada ki jaya! Gaura Premanande! [Audience: Hari Haribol!]
So, this is how with our intelligence we can understand there must be a creator behind
this creation. Makes sense, Navadvipa? Does it make sense? There must be a Creator
behind this creation. [Navadvipa: yes, there cannot be a creation without a creator]. Yes!
Right! So who will accept the theory of accident, creation came out of accident?
[Devotee: the scientists will say that this all is a Big Bang. Inaudible]
They don’t accept that. Scientists don’t accept. They say a Big Bang and they leave it up
to that Bang, or they say Primordial Soup. There is actually, I forgot the name of a
philosopher, American philosopher. He actually made this point, that to say that creation
came out of an accident is like saying that there was an explosion in a printing press and
the types fell in such an order that the Webster Dictionary was printed. If there was an explosion in a printing press, printing press has the types with which they print. Those
days they used to, now everything is printed in computer. So the types fell in such an
order that Webster Dictionary was printed.
Anyway, it is only the foolish people who will say that creation came out of accident. So
in this way we can see that there must be a throughout our intelligence we can perceive
the spiritual reality, the cause behind creation.
So today is Srila Advaita Acarya’s appearance day. Why are we celebrating Advaita
Acarya’s appearance day? Because this way we can understand, we get a chance to
recognize who Advaita Acarya is! And by recognizing who Advaita Acarya is, we get a
glimpse of the spiritual reality. So, who is Advaita Acarya it has been described in
Caitanya Caritamrta. Caitanya Caritamrta is giving the description of who is Advaita
Acarya.
maha-vishnur jagat-karta mayaya yah srijaty adah
tasyavatara evayam advaitacarya ishvarah
[CC Adi 1.12]
So we have two verses on the board today, because these two verses are in Caitanya
Caritamrta describing Advaita Acarya’s tattva. Who is Advaita Acarya? So the first verse
has been recited by the boys. The second verse will be recited by the girls. Okay, so I’ll
just go through the translation:
Lord Advaita Acarya is the incarnation of Maha-Vishnu, whose main function is to create
the cosmic world through the actions of maya.
So who is Advaita Acarya? Advaita Acarya is the incarnation of Maha-Vishnu, and who
is Maha-Vishnu? Jagat-karta, whose main function is to create the cosmic world, mayaya,
through the actions of Maya. So next verse, text thirteen:
advaitam harinadvaitad acaryam bhakti-shasanat
bhaktavataram isham tam advaitacaryam ashraye
[CC Adi 1.13]
Translation: Because He is non-different from Hari, harinadvaitad, Advaita means nondifferent from being non-different. Because He is non-different from Hari, the Supreme
Lord, He is called Advaita, and because He propagates the cult of devotion, He is called
Acarya. He is the Lord and the incarnation of the Lord’s devotee, bhaktavataram isham
tam. Therefore I take shelter of Him, advaitacaryam ashraye.
So why He is called Advaita Acarya? Okay, who knows? Who can answer? Yeah,
Priyavrata? [Priyavrata Dasa: Because He is non-different than Hari]. Yeah, because He
is non-different from Hari He is known as Advaita. And why He is called Acarya?
Archana? [Archana Dasi: Because He propagates the cult of devotion]. Because He is
propagating bhakti cult, therefore He is Acarya. He is non-different from Hari and He is
propagating bhakti. Therefore, He is Advaita Acarya. And He is non-different from Him. He is the Lord and incarnation of the Lord’s devotee, bhaktavataram isham tam.
Therefore, Advaitacaryam ashraye, I take shelter of Advaita Acarya.
So these two verses are very important. If we understand these two verses we understand
who Advaita Acarya is. Is Advaita Acarya an ordinary Brahman? He was quite a nice,
great personality. Is that the thing that we are worshipping Advaita Acarya? No, Advaita
Acarya is, maha-vishnur jagat-karta mayaya yah srijaty adah. Who is Maha-Vishnu? He
is the jagat-karta, the Lord of the entire cosmic manifestation, and He, mayaya yah srijaty
adah, He creates this material nature, jagat, through the agencies of Maya.
maha-vishnur jagat-karta mayaya yah srijaty adah
tasyavatara evayam advaitacarya ishvarah
Tasyavatara, He is His incarnation. Eva-ayam, so certainly this personality is nondifferent from Maha-Vishnu, Who is the Creator of the cosmic manifestation. So who is
Advaita Acarya? Advaita Acarya is an incarnation of Maha-Vishnu, Who creates this
material cosmic manifestation through Maya, through the actions of Maya. And then,
why He is called Advaita Acarya?
advaitam harinadvaitad acaryam bhakti-shamsanat
bhaktavataram isham tam advaitacaryam ashraye
So today is Advaita Acarya’s appearance day. When did Advaita Acarya appear? Advaita
Acarya appeared in 1442, I’m sorry 1434, 1434. In the year 1434, on this day. This day,
what is this day? Today is the Shuklam Saptami tithi in the month of Magha. So Magha is
the month of winter. In India there are six seasons, right? Vaishakha, Jyaistha, Ashadha,
Shravana, Bhadra, Ashwina, Kartika, Agrahayana, Pausha, Magha, Phalguna, Caitra.
Twelve months. Vaishakha and Jyaistha is summer. Ashadha and Shravana is monsoon.
Bhadra and Ashwina is sarad. Grisham, varsha, sarad. And Kartika and Agrahayana,
hemant. And Pausha and Magha, winter, shita. And Phalguna and Caitra, vasanta.
So Pausha and Magha, especially Magha is the very, very cold season. In Bengal there is
a saying that, remember Mitravinda what’s the saying[laughs], she was just about to say
it. [Matravinda Dasi: Inaudible]
Magha shite baagh palai.
In the month of Magha it becomes so cold that even the tigers run away.
So, in the winter season, and the winter season in the month of Magha, the Shukla
Saptami, the seventh day of the Shukla Paksha. Advaita Acarya appeared in the year
1434. I think it is 1434, yeah, 1434, according to English calculation. In Indian
calculation is 1355, Vikram Samvat, 1355. Why this Vikram Samvat? It’s actually from
Ujjain. Vikram Aditya drove the Shakars out of India. Therefore that year is marked as
the Shakabda, or Vikram Samvat, the year of Vikram Aditya.So, we can understand Advaita Acarya appeared in 1434. When did Caitanya
Mahaprabhu appear? Who remembers? 1486. So how old was Advaita Acarya when
Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared? Fifty two years old. He was quite old actually, when
Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. But He accepted Caitanya Mahaprabhu as the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. He didn’t think, “Oh, He was just born the other day. I am older
than Him, therefore, I am greater than Him.”
So, Advaita Acarya appeared in a place near Sri Hatta. Sri Hatta is a place which is in
Bangladesh now. It is near the Assem side, in the eastern part of Bangladesh, not too far
from Assem. It’s also kind of mountainous region, in a place called Navagrama. And He
appeared as the son of Kuvera Pandita, or Kuvera Mishra. So, Kuvera pandita was a very
exalted Brahman. It has been described that he was actually an incarnation of Kuvera, the
king of the Yakshas. Kuvera is the stepbrother of Ravana, and Kuvera is in charge of the
wealth of the demigods. He is the treasurer of the demigods. All the wealth, the treasure
of the demigods are in Kuvera’s custody. Or in simple words we can say, when the
demigods need something, they go to Kuvera; “Hey Kuvera, I want three trillions of
dollars in demigod’s calculation [laughter].” And Kuvera says, “Okay.” He writes down
and it is granted to the demigods. Who is Kuvera’s son? Who are Kuvera’s sons?
Nalakuvera and Manigriva. So Kuvera is a very exalted demigod.
So that Kuvera appeared as Kuvera Pandita. It has been described as, Gaura Ganodesa
Dipika actually, let me see. Oh yeah:
Mahadevasya mitranja kuvera guhyakesvarah
Kuvera pandita svardha janaka vastra vidyambara
Vidyambara guhyakeshwara, who is a friend of Lord Shiva, Mahadeva, now he has
appeared as Kuvera Pandita and he has become the father of Mahadeva, Advaita Acarya.
Advaita Acarya is an incarnation also of Sadashiva. He has been described as the
incarnation of Maha-Vishnu, as well as an incarnation of Sadashiva. So this calculation is
that Lord Shiva appeared as the son of His friend Kuvera.
It has been described in Bhakti Ratnakara,
Banga desa sri hatta nikata navagrama
Kuvera pandita tatha Nrisimha santana
Kuvera pandita bhakti pathe mahadhanya
Krishna pada padma vina na janaya anya
Tvaisakara patni nabha devi pati vrata
Jahute ucha teha Advaita mata pita
In Bengal, near Sri Hatta, which is known also as Sylhet, in Kalagya it is called Sylhet,
but actually it is Sri Hatta, there is a place called Navagrama and Kuvera Pandita, the son
of Nrisimha, used to live there. Kuvera Pandita was very well known for his devotion. He
did not know anything besides Krishna’s lotus feet. He was so surrendered to Krishna
that besides Krishna’s lotus feet he did not know anything. And his wife is Nabha Devi who was a very chaste woman. She was worshipable for the whole universe, whole
material manifestation. And she was the mother of Advaita Acarya. So Advaita Acarya
appeared as the son of Kuvera Pandita and Nabha Devi.
Advaita Acarya lived on the planet for one hundred and twenty five years. And Advaita
Acarya is an incarnation of the Lord. He is a Vishnu Tattva. So, Vishnu Tattva, when
they appear generally their Shakti also comes with them. What are the shaktis of Vishnu
or Krishna? Is Sri, Bhu and Nila. Sri Devi, Bhu Devi and Nila. Sri Devi is on the left
hand side, Bhu Devi is on the right hand side and Nila is the Dhama of the Lord. These
are the three shaktis. Therefore, it is seen that sometimes these Vishnu Tattvas, They
have two wives. Like, say Krishna had Radharani and Candravali. Radharani one side
and Candravali on the other side. Vasudeva Krishna has two principle wives: Rukmini
and Satyabhama. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came, He also had Lakshmipriya and
Vishnupriya. Nityananda prabhu has two wives: Jahnava devi and Vasudha Devi.
Similarly, Advaita Acarya also had two wives, Sita Devi and Sri Devi.
When Advaita Acarya’s father, Kuvera Pandita, left the planet Advaita Acarya went to
Gaya to perform his shraddha, pinda. And at that time Advaita Acarya left and travelled
to different places and eventually Advaita Acarya settled down in Shantipura. And
Advaita Acarya also had another residence in Navadvipa, near the house of Srivasa
Thakura. In Mayapura we have Srivasangam and near Srivasangam is Advaita Bhavan
and Gadadhara Pandita’s house.
So when Madhavendra Puri went to collect sandalwood and camphor from Orissa, you
remember why he did go to collect sandalwood? Who knows? [audience member:
inaudible] Okay, Raghava Pandita it was. [audience member: inaudible] Yeah, Gopalji
told him, “Look, I am feeling very hot here. Summer is very hot. Can you get Me some
sandalwood and camphor and put it on My body to cool Me down, to make Me feel
cool.” So Madhavendra Puri went to Orissa, to Puri, to collect sandalwood and camphor.
So on his way to Puri he stopped in Shantipura and he met with Advaita Acarya. Or
rather Advaita Acarya then met him, and Advaita Acarya, although He is Vishnu Tattva,
but in order to set a proper example He took initiation from Madhavendra Puri.
So, Advaita Acarya was displaying His role as a devotee and it is actually Sri Advaita
Acarya who brought Krishna to this planet. When Advaita Acarya saw that… He was a
great devotee and when a great devotee sees that people are becoming atheistic, how does
a devotee feel? Devotee feels very concerned that people are becoming atheistic, how to
save the situation? People are becoming so atheistic. And Advaita Acarya considered that
only Krishna can save this situation. Therefore, He decided to bring Krishna down. And
Advaita Acarya considered that if the Lord is worshipped with Tulasi manjari and Ganga
then the Lord becomes pleased. So Advaita Acarya, sitting on the bank of the Ganges, He
used to offer Ganga water with Tulasi towards the Lord. And He used to roar like a lion
and asking the Lord to come.
huhunkara-garjanadi aho-ratra-sad-gunam
ha krishna radhika-natha prarthanadi-bhavanam
[Sri Advaitastakam, verse 1]ganga vari mano hari tulasyadi manjari
krishna-jnana sada dhyana prema-vari jharjhari
[Sri Advaitastakam, verse 2]
Krpabdhih [in the verse: dvibhuja] karuna natha diyatam sudarshanam
Sita-nathadvaita-caranaravinda-bhavanam
[Sri Advaitastakam, verse 3]
So this is how Advaita Acarya used to call Krishna. We will sing this song in the
evening. I would have sang in the morning, but we have some Hindi copies, but we don’t
have any English copies. Therefore it is decided to sing it in the evening.
This song is composed by Srila Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya in eight verses, ashtakam. He
is glorifying Advaita Acarya. Huhunkara-garjanadi, He used to roar like a lion.
Huhunkara-garjanadi aho-ratra-sad-gunam, ha Krishna radhika-natha prarthanadibhavanam. He used to call out to Krishna, the Radhika-natha. And how He used to call
Him? Ganga vari mano hari tulasyadi manjari. With Ganga water He used to offer Tulasi
and in this way He used to pray to Krishna to come and incessantly tears used to flow
from His eyes, prema-vari jharjhari. Tears of love used to flow from His eyes. So in this
way Advaita Acarya called Sri Krishna to come.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu, when He displays His Maha-Prakasa lila, He showed Himself as
the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Srivasangam. At that time Caitanya Mahaprabhu
declared that, “I was very peacefully lying in the Causal Ocean, shayane acana mui
kshirod sagare [Caitanya Bhagavata 3.9.297-298].I was lying down in the Ocean of Milk,
in the Milk Ocean, kshira samudra. Jagaye anilo mora nara hunkare.” Nara, Caitanya
Mahaprabhu used to call Advaita Acarya as ‘Nara’, because He used to have shaved head
[laughs], therefore He used to call Him Nara. “So when Nara started to roar, He started to
make so much noise, I woke up. In His noise I woke up. Advaitera lage mora ei avatara. I
have appeared because of Advaita Acarya. Advaitera lage mora ei avatara karne mora
baje ashi narara hunkara. And in My ears Nara’s roaring, Nara’s loud shouting started to
ring in My ears. I was very peacefully, shayana acana moya kshirod sagare, I was lying
down, I was sleeping very nicely, very peacefully in the Milk Ocean [laughs]. And,
jagaya anilo more narara hunkara, this Nara, making all kinds of noise, roaring, His loud
chanting woke Me up and brought Me here.”
Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s tree has two main branches. One is Nityananda prabhu’s branch
and the other is Advaita Acarya’s branch. These are the two main branches. Caitanya
Mahaprabhu is the root of this tree of devotion and two branches are Advaita’s branch
and Nityananda’s branch. In Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi Lila, it has been described
eka mahaprabhu, ara prabhu duijana
dui prabhu seve mahaprabhura carana
[CC Adi 7.14]There is one Mahaprabhu and there are two prabhus. Who is Mahaprabhu? Mahaprabhu
is Sri Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And who are the two prabhus? Nityananda prabhu
and Advaita Acarya. And what are these two prabhus doing? Dui prabhu seve
mahaprabhura carana, these two prabhus serve the lotus feet of Mahaprabhu.
ei tina tattva,-’sarvaradhya’ kari mani
caturtha ye bhakta-tattva,-’aradhaka’ jani
[CC Adi 7.15]
So these three tattvas are the worshipable by all. And the fourth is bhakta tattva. The
fourth is the devotee tattva. Who is the devotee? He is the worshipper. The worshipped
are these three and the devotee is the worshipper, bhakta tattva, ‘aradhaka’ jani.
srivasadi yata koti koti bhakta-gana
‘suddha-bhakta’-tattva-madhye tan-sabara ganana
[CC Adi 7.16]
Srivasa Thakura etcetera, millions and millions of bhaktas, they’re considered to be the
pure devotees of the Lord. Gadadhara-panditadi prabhura ‘sakti’-avatara [CC Adi 7.16],
and Gadadhara Pandita is the shakti tattva. And ‘antaranga-bhakta’ kari’ ganana yanhara.
The shakti tattvas are considered to be most intimate devotees. So this is the Panca
Tattva. Panca Tattva; Sri Krishna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda Sri Advaita, these three
are the worshipped tattva, and bhakta tattva Gadadhara Srivasadi Gaurabhakta Vrinda.
Srivasadi Gaurabhakta Vrinda, they are the worshipper and Gadadhara is the shakti
tattva, and who is very intimate, who are very intimate devotees.
It is by the mercy of Advaita Acarya that one can receive the service to Caitanya
Mahaprabhu and Nityananda prabhu. Although Advaita Acarya was so much senior to
Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He used to treat Him like His guru. So Advaita Acarya didn’t like
that Caitanya Mahaprabhu was always worshipping Him, respecting Him. So, once
Advaita Acarya, in Shantipura, started to propagate Mayavada philosophy. And when
Caitanya Mahaprabhu got to know that, the news reached Caitanya Mahaprabhu, so
Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to Shantipura running. And He did not ask Him [Advaita
Acarya] anything. He just started to beat Him. [laughter] He said, “You started to preach
Mayavada!” Jnana marga. Actually He was not exactly propagating Mayavada, but He
was propagating the jnana, not bhakti, but jnana. And hearing that, Caitanya Mahaprabhu
became very angry and He came to Shantipura and He started to beat Advaita Acarya.
And Advaita Acarya’s wife, Sita Devi became worried. He [She] said, “He is an old man,
if You beat Him like this He’ll die!” [laughter] So she started crying. But Advaita Acarya
started to jump with joy, in ecstasy, saying that, “Caitanya Mahaprabhu has always
treated Me with respect, and now that He is beating Me, He used to treat Me like a guru,
but now He started to treat Me like a disciple! He came to correct Me.”
So this has been described in Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi Lila:acarya-gosanire prabhu kare guru-bhakti
tahate acarya bad?a haya duhkha-mati
[CC Adi 17.66]
Advaita Acarya treats Caitanya Mahaprabhu as His guru and because of that Advaita
Acarya became very sad.
Bhangi kari’ jnana-marga karila vyakhyana
krodhavese prabhu tare kaila avajnana
[CC Adi 17.67]
So Advaita Acarya, in order to treat Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He started to preach the jnana
marga. And hearing that Caitanya Mahaprabhu became extremely angry and He came to
correct Him. And then Advaita Acarya became very happy and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu
became embarrassed. He realized that He has been tricked by Advaita Acarya [laughs].
When Caitanya Mahaprabhu went to Jagannatha Puri Advaita Acarya came to see Him
every year during the Chaturmasya and attend the Ratha Yatra festival. And Advaita
Acarya used to dance in front of Lord Jagannatha’s chariot. So although He was almost
hundred year old at that time, fifty two plus – Mahaprabhu took sannyasa at twenty four,
so let us say about thirty – fifty two plus forty, that time He was about eighty two years
old. And He used to dance in ecstasy.
Then Advaita Acarya gave a letter to Jagadananda Pandita, when Jagadananda Pandita
came from Navadvipa to Purushottama Dhama. Then Jagadananda Pandita went to
Advaita Acarya to get His permission and then Advaita Acarya wrote him tarjana, a
riddle. A kind of a riddle He wrote, and asked him to give it to Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
That riddle wrote,
Baula ke kahiha, – loka ha-ila baula
Baula ke kahiha, – hate na vikaya caula
Baula ke kahiha, -kaye nahika aula
Baula ke kahiha, -iha kahiyache baula
[CC Antya 19.20-21]
Nobody could understand what was the meaning. Even those who understand Bengali
can’t understand this. You understand, Ganga Narayana? [laughs] Okay, literally it
means, Baul, means one who has in devotion to the Lord who has become mad. So, you
tell the madman who has become mad due to devotion to the Lord that everyone has
become mad in devotion to the Lord. And you tell that madman that the rice is not selling
in the market place. So you can see, there is no link. Tell the madman that everyone has
become mad in Krishna bhakti and you tell that madman that in the market place there is
no, no one is buying any more rice. And you tell the Baul, the madman, that the Aul
doesn’t have anything to do in the material nature, anything to do here. And tell the Baul
that the Baul has said that to Him. [laughs]Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura has written the purport to that. Bhaktivinode Thakura’s
purport or translation is that Advaita Acarya wrote:
Tell Caitanya Mahaprabhu that people have become mad in Krishna Consciousness. They
have become ecstatic in Krishna Consciousness and therefore, in the market place of the
Holy Name, in the market place of love of Godhead, since everybody has bought
devotion to the full, it is not selling anymore. Because everybody has taken the
commodity. And you tell Him that the personality absorbed and lost in Krishna
Consciousness, became insane in Krishna Consciousness, he has no more things to do in
the material nature. Therefore, he can do what he wants to do.
Like, Advaita Acarya brought Caitanya Mahaprabhu and now the mission has been
accomplished. The purpose why He brought Caitanya Mahaprabhu that mission has been
accomplished. So now if Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants to go back, He can go back to the
spiritual sky. And He said then that tell Caitanya Mahaprabhu Advaita Acarya, another
madman in Krishna Consciousness, has said that.
So this is how Advaita Acarya brought Caitanya Mahaprabhu and now He is telling Sri
Caitanya Mahaprabhu that if He wanted, He could go back to the spiritual sky, because
the mission has been accomplished.
Hare Krishna! Srila Advaita Acarya Prabhu ki jaya! Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol!
So, I’ll stop now. Thank you all very much and this evening we will also sing
Advaitastakam and we will also discuss more on Advaita Acarya.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Passing the Final Test



If we have developed proper attitude, if we have cleansed or purified our heart, if we
have considerably detached ourselves from material attachments and detached ourselves
from the propensity for sense gratification and if we have considerably maintained or
advanced ourselves in spiritual lives, then at the time of death we will pass the exam, just
like a good student who has prepared through out the year will pass the exam with flying
colours. But a student who has gone to school but who doesn't study properly, what
happens to him?
Bhaktivinoda Thakura is saying, at the final moment he will be completely bewildered
about how to face it as he didn't prepare himself.
This Krsna Consciousness movement is meant to prepare ourselves for that final moment.
- HH Bhakti Charu Swami

Thursday, 9 February 2012

A guest should be treated with proper respect and honour


grhesu yesv atithayo narcitah salilair api yadi niryanti te nunam pheruraja-grhopamah
TRANSLATION: Homes from which guests go away without having been received even
with an offering of a little water are like those holes in the field which are the homes of
jackals.
PURPORT: In a field there may be holes made by snakes and mice, but when there are
very big holes, it may be supposed that jackals live there. Certainly no one goes to take shelter in such homes. Thus the homes of human beings where atithis, uninvited guests,
are not properly received are like the homes of jackals. [End of purport]
[Invocatory prayers, repeats verse and translation]
So Kasyapa Muni, who is one of the prajapatis, one of the progenitors, who procreated
different species of living entities at the beginning of creation, is the father of the
demigods. He is also the father of the demons and the serpents. So all these different
species appeared from Kasyapa. He had several wives. One was Aditi, and from her the
demigods were born and they are therefore known as Adityas. His other wife was Diti,
from her the Daityas or demons were born, like Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu. Another
wife was Kadru, from her the serpents were born. Another wife was Vinata, from here
Garuda and Aruna were born. Therefore Garuda is known as Vaineteya, the son of
Vinata.
Kasyapa Muni was a self realised soul so he was absorbed in meditation on the Supreme
Personality of Godhead. And in this way he spent a long time away from home. When he
came back home a lot had happened. The Daityas, led by their king, Bali, invaded the
heavenly planets and drove away the demigods. They were cousins in a way, not only
that, they are stepbrothers, born from the same father but different mothers. Bali
considered that we are children of the same father, so why the Adityas like Indra, Candra,
Varuna, etc., have the higher planetary systems and we have the lower? The lower is not
very nice, the facilities are higher in the heavens than in the lower planetary system,
although they are also heavenly planets. Svarga is the heavens and the lower planets are
known as the subterranean heavenly planets. In some ways the facilities there are
superior.
Anyway, Bali was disappointed, “Why did we get an inferior place?” He was very
powerful, he attacked the heavenly planets, defeated and drove away the demigods. So
they were wandering around, hiding in disguise, being afraid of torture by the demons.
Naturally the mother of the demigods was feeling very, very sad about this, that her sons’
enemies have occupied their home. She was feeling very distressed.
When Kasyapa came back, he found that the house was devoid of opulence and beauty.
He considered what was the reason, there were various possibilities why Laksmidevi
goes away. Laksmidevi is the giver of opulence, beauty and prosperity, that’s why she is
known as Sri. When he saw the house devoid of Sri, sri-hina, he is asking his wife is it
that you did not properly treat the guests? That is one of the reasons why Laksmidevi
leaves the home. There are two types of guests, invited and uninvited. Uninvited guests
are called atithi, ‘tithi’ means time and ‘a’ means no. These are guests who come
unannounced, at any time they may come.
The Vedic culture is such that a guest should be treated with proper respect and honour.
The first thing is that when a guest comes home, his feet should be washed. In ISKCON,
we have that culture but somehow that has become exclusive for only gurus and
sannyasis, but in Vedic culture that is for every guest who comes home. Then he should be offered a place to sit down, then food and water, drinks and so on should be offered.
Then he should be invited to rest and if they want to stay for some days, they should be
given that facility too. When one follows that culture, then Laksmidevi resides
permanently in that house, and when not then she goes away, Sri-hina.
Even for the demigods that is the case: when Laksmi goes away they too become devoid
of opulence and prosperity. Once Durvasa Muni was insulted by Indra. He gave a garland
to Indra who put it on his elephant, Airavata, who threw it away. Durvasa became very
upset and cursed Indra that Laksmi will disappear from your kingdom. Then the
demigods in the heavenly planets were again attacked by the demons and driven away.
So Kasyapa is considering here why the house is looking so ominous and why Aditi is
looking so morose. That’s why he is inquiring from her what actually happened. This
chapter will describe what happened, that Bali drove the demigods away. Aditi begged
her husband to please do something to reinstate her children to their rightful position.
Kasyapa advised that you please the Supreme Personality of Godhead and perform this
payo-vrata, sustain on milk only, and perform these austerities and as a result your sons
will be reinstated.
As a result of Aditi doing that, Vamandeva appeared as the son of Aditi, and as you know
he tricked Bali Maharaj and took the heavenly planet away from them and gave it back to
the demigods. Bali was banished to the lower planetary system, Sutalaloka. Bali received
two benedictions also, one is that the Lord will become his gate keeper. The Lord also
had to stay there with him as his gate keeper. The Lord actually agreed and proposed that,
“I will become your gatekeeper.” In this respect there is another nice anecdote:
When Narada Muni was searching for the greatest devotee, he was told that Bali
Maharaja is the greatest devotee. So Narada Muni went to Bali Maharaja and was
praising him that, “You are so fortunate that the Lord resides here as your gatekeeper.”
Bali Maharaja replied that, “Actually it is not his favour–he is guarding me so I don’t get
out and make a disturbance.” That’s how he thought.
Another benediction was that in the next manvantara he was going to become Indra.
There are 14 Manus in each day of Brahma so when the reign of Manu comes, which
lasts for 71 catur-yugas, the whole structure, the whole system changes. In each reign of
Manu the structure changes. In this manvantara Indra is the lord of the demigods, but in
the next one Bali Maharaja will become king. That is the benediction he had. Since he
had the desire he would rightfully become that.
That is the way to do things, if we want something but abide by the desire of the Supreme
Personality of Godhead he will fulfill our desires. But if we go against the desire of the
Lord, then we make a disturbance in society and suffer. The Lord will fulfill our desires.
Even if we have some material desires for enjoyment, if we remain submissive to the
Lord he will fulfill even those desires. Therefore there is no need to go against Krsna’s
will.Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can make any arrangement. He allows the
atheistic demons to enjoy, so what to speak of his devotees? Of course he wants that his
devotees will enjoy with him in the spiritual world. But if some devotee has some
material desires then Krsna will fulfill that. The desires may be latent in the heart but if
one remains Krsna conscious, then Krsna, who is the Supersoul in the heart, may fulfill
those desires if he feels it is necessary for our spiritual advancement.
Spiritual life is not dry, it is full of joy, and it is also executed happily, susukham, the
result of that is not just happiness, but bliss, spiritual joy. Happiness and joy are not the
same thing. Happiness is material, joy is spiritual. This material nature is full of suffering
and misery, when that is reduced to some extent we call it happiness. This is a material
concept. Cessation of pain, reduction of misery is happiness. But bliss and joy is
diametrically opposed to suffering.
For example if misery is considered to be darkness, then when the darkness is dispelled to
some extent by lighting a lamp, that is happiness. But when the sun comes up and
darkness is totally removed, that is joy. The state of joy is total absence of misery. In
Sanskrit the expression is atyantika duhkha-nivrtti, the total cessation of suffering, not
just temporary. This is the result of joy. When we are situated in a blissful state then there
is no consideration of suffering, just as when the sun comes up there is no room for
darkness.
So when we become stationed on the spiritual platform then suffering is totally removed
and we become situated on ananda. Actually what we are craving for is joy or bliss or
ananda and this is not available in this material world. As long as our consciousness is
materialistic there is no room for joy. But on the spiritual platform it automatically it
happens, there is no separate endeavour. Three things automatically happen when we take
to spiritual life: eternity, knowledge, and bliss. Immortal or eternal existence on the
spiritual platform, full of knowledge of fully conscious, and full of joy, sat-cit-ananda.
That is the identity of the spirit soul.
Not only is Krsna sat-cit-ananda, but Krsna’s parts and parcels, when they become
connected to Krsna, also become sat-cit-ananda. When a spark comes out of the fire it
loses the fiery quality and become transformed into ash. That speck of ash does not have
the light and heat inherent in fire. But when that speck that was a spark at one time and
now became speck of ash, when it is taken back to the fire it again develops its fiery
quality. That is the case with the jiva. When the living entity establishes his relation with
the Supreme Personality of Godhead then he too becomes sat-cit-ananda, that his relative
to his relation with Krsna. When he is separated from Krsna then he is asat, acetana and
nirananda, temporary, unconscious and devoid of joy or miserable.
That is the living entity’s situation in the conditioned state. He has become temporary.
Since he lost his spiritual identity and identifies with the body, his body is temporary and
he’s identifying with it, when the body perishes he thinks that he also is finished. Since
matter is unconscious and he identifies with it, then he becomes unconscious. And when he is isolated and separated from Krsna, then he becomes miserable. We have become
mortal, unconscious and miserable.
When you realise that this is what happened to us, but we are eternal, sat-cit-ananda, and
that that state can be achieved only by being connected to Krsna, then we are inspired to
practice the process by which we can come to that, the process of devotional service.
Therefore the Vedic concept deals with three aspects: sambandha, abhideya, and
prayojana.
What is our relationship with Krsna? It is the relationship of master and servant. Now is
that relationship there or have we lost it? If we realise what we lost it then how to
reestablish that lost relationship, sambandha? And the process to do that is abhideya, the
means by which the goal can be achieved. Why do we need that, what we are searching
for can be achieved only by developing our relationship with Krsna, Sri Caitanya
Mahaprabhu came and gave this process very wonderfully.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu very wonderfully, in a sublime way, made us aware of our
relationship with Krsna. Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and we are his
eternal servants. Krsna is the supreme whole and we are his parts and parcels. That
relationship can be established only by rendering pure devotional service. And the result
of that is that we will receive the ultimate goal of existence, krsna-prema, prema
pumartho mahan. So this is the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakur summed up Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s gift, his most
merciful offering to us, the gift is that he made us understand that Krsna, the son of
Nanda Maharaja, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the supreme worshipable
personality. Aradhyo bhagavan, vrajesa tanaya, tad dhama vrndavanam, his abode is
Vrindavan. Not Vaikuntha, not even Dvaraka or Mathura, tad dhama vrndavanam. And
ramya kacid upasana vraja-vadhu, the way the cowherd damsels of Vrindavan
worshipped him is the highest form or worship. And the proof of that statement is
Srimad-Bhagavatam. And prema pumartho mahan, to achieve krsna-prema is the ultimate
goal of life. This is the teaching of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, just accept it with absolute
sincerity, accept it wholeheartedly. There is no need to accept anything else. Thus you
will achieve the ultimate goal of life which is rare even for Lord Brahma and Lord Siva.
Therefore Lord Brahma appeared in Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes as Haridas Thakur,
as an associate of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Siva appeared as Advaita Acarya, to
get entry into the topmost region of the spiritual sky, Goloka Vrindavan.
Thank you very much, does anyone have any question or comment. Yes, Syamasundara.
Syamasundara Das: How can the Vedic principle of receiving guests that you mentioned
be practically applied in today’s day and age, because people will take undue advantage. .
. .Maharaja: Yes, the society has become so degraded in a way it may be difficult to
practice, but in the ideal situation Prabhupada is saying that after the offering is made, the
householder would go out on the street and loudly announce that if anyone is hungry
please come and be my guest. In a society like that there cannot be any scarcity, nobody
can go hungry.
Prabhupada came to establish that standard. In ISKCON Prabhupada told us that every
temple and even ISKCON centers should keep prasad for 20 people ready. The subji and
halavah can be kept ready beforehand and the puri dough is ready and if some guest
comes, you just fry the puris which takes only a minute or two, and serve. And when that
batch is exhausted, cook another batch and if something is left over when the brahmacaris
come back to the temple after sankirtana they can take care of the rest.
This is the standard that Prabhupada gave. And it’s not a very expensive affair. And when
guests are treated like that they appreciate and come forward to support. We take care of
them and they will take care too. That’s the standard Prabhupada gave. Individually for
householders one may not be able to announce loudly like this, but at least when a guest
comes, offer him a glass of water, and if there is some other prasad sweet or sandesh
available, otherwise you can offer some potato chips or cookies. The main thing is by
doing that we are establishing the proper culture in society, this is ISKCON’s business, as
a result of that real prosperity will prevail in human society.
Yes?
[Inaudible question]
Maharaja: The way he is guarding is in his Visnu form, not as Vamana.
OK. Hare Krsna, all glories to Srila Prabhupada. Gaura-premanade.