"People work very hard to get the best deal for the best TV in order to watch TV commercials about how to get the best deal for the best TV." – Prahladananda Swami
a quote from a class at 26 2nd Ave excerpted by Atma-Nivedana Das
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 08, 2011
Travel Journal#7.17: Leipzig Ratha-yatra, Radhastami, Berlin Harinamas, Ukraine Festival
Diary of a Traveling Sadhaka, Vol. 7, No. 17
By Krishna-kripa das
(September 2011, part one)
Leipzig Ratha-yatra, Radhastami, Berlin Harinamas, Ukraine Festival
(Sent from Tallahassee, Florida, on November 10, 2011)
Maya makes our life seem very difficult, and we seem to have so many problems. Prahlada Maharaja says that there is only one problem, the uncontrolled mind. The mind is also very simple. It is either hankering or lamenting. If we stop focusing on this hankering and lamentation, we can absorb ourselves in the holy name and become happy.
One who is aware that the only shelter is Krishna, can perfect his life.
Kunti did not stay to Krishna, “Every day I chanted my rounds. Every day I followed the rules and regulations. Why are all these things happening to me?” Rather she prayed, “Please give me more troubles for in these troubles I am remembering You.”
People can challenge, “You are crazy because you are depending on Krishna.” And we can challenge back, “You are crazy because you are depending on Maya.”
If we pray to the Supreme Soul, please wake us up at 3:00 a.m., we will find the Supreme Soul is the greatest alarm clock. He can wake the sun up every morning, even if he is tired, and so he can certainly wake us up.
Everything is an instrument of Krishna.
If I understand I am a servant of Krishna, if I pray to Him, I will understand what to do.
Lord Caitanya wanted us to preach to the conditioned souls. Most of our friends and relatives are conditioned souls, so we can have kirtana morning and evening together and discuss Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam with them, and in this way please the Lord.
Giving Srila Prabhupada’s books is the best thing we can do for anyone’s spiritual life.
It is easy to be a pure devotee when everything is going all right. But if someone kicks you in the chest while you are sleeping, it would be difficult not to get angry.
By diksa one becomes gradually disinterested in material enjoyment and gradually attached to spiritual life.
Satisfaction of the self-realized devotee is the secret of success in Krishna consciousness.
By chanting we get the strength to follow the principles.
Tamal Krishna Goswami: “Just like we can see, one devotee from our society, you know him, Prahladananda Swami. Always blissful. He is always blissful. Why? Because he is always absorbed in remembering the pastimes of Krishna. That’s his sadhana. He has that technique. He memorizes pastimes of Krishna constantly and so he is blissful wherever he goes. Heaven or hell is the same for him. He doesn’t care. That’s a good example. (Srimad Bhagavatam class, Amsterdam October 1990)
Date: March 2nd, 2009
AKA “Father Son Relationship”
pritas tubhyam aham tata svasti stad vam ksitisvara
yan nirvyalikena hrda sadhi mety atmanarpitam
TRANSLATION: Lord Brahma said: My dear son, O lord of the world, I am very pleased with you, and I desire all blessings for both you and your wife. You have without reservation surrendered yourself unto me with your heart for my instructions.
PURPORT: The relationship between the father and the son is always sublime. The father is naturally disposed with good will towards the son, and he is always ready to help the son in his progress in life. But in spite of the father’s good will, the son is sometimes misguided because of his misuse of personal independence. Every living entity, however small or big he may be, has the choice of independence. If the son is unreservedly willing to be guided by the father, the father is ten times more eager to instruct and guide him by all means. The father and son relationship as exhibited here in the dealings of Brahma and Manu is excellent. Both the father and the son are well qualified, and their example should be followed by all humankind. Manu, the son, unreservedly asked the father, Brahma, to instruct him, and the father, who was full of Vedic wisdom, was very glad to instruct. The example of the father of mankind may be rigidly followed by mankind, and that will advance the cause of the relationship of fathers and sons.
Prahladananda Swami: Here is an example of a proper relationship between a father and a son, that a relationship between a father and son is not meant for sense gratification. All relationships are ultimately meant to develop our relationship with the original father, Lord Krsna, who says in Bhagavad-gita:
sarva-yonisu kaunteya murtayah sambhavanti yah tasam brahma mahad yonir aham bija-pradah pita
It should be understood that all living take birth in this world and that I am the original father. In other words, it appears to us that we have relationships with many living entities, but while we are relating with any living entity, behind every relationship; is our relationship with Lord Krsna. We cannot avoid a relationship with Lord Krsna. That relationship is eternal, as Krsna says:
mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah manah-sasthanindriyani prakati-sthani karsati
The living entities in this material world are mamivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah, they are all my parts and parcels eternally, although presently we are all struggling with material existence, namely with this material body. Therefore, in relation to this body, we form so many other relationships. Those relationships are not false, they are in relation to this body, but unless we understand properly our relationship with this body, unless we understand properly our relationship with the Supreme Lord, who is within the body, then we don’t actually understand properly our relationships with everyone else who are in relation with the body.
As I have mentioned before, but it is always worthwhile to mention again for those who have not heard it, it is not that at any point that we ourselves as souls cease to become devotees. We are eternally devotees it is only a question of who or what we want to devote our energies to. It is only a question of who or what we want to give our love to. In the material concept of life, we take this body as our most beloved deity.
As I have said before many times, we wake up in the morning, we look in the mirror, and immediately we become curious after seeing the image within the mirror. We ask the image within the mirror “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the greatest of them all?” [Laughter] And at once, without any doubt or hesitation, we receive the message coming in our heart from the mirror on the wall that by good fortune and pious activities of many, many lifetimes, you have achieved the ultimate goal of life, having darshan of the supreme deity in the mirror. [Laughter]
Being convinced, being enthused by the message received within our heart, we vow to render unalloyed, uninterrupted service, twenty-five hours a day to the deity within our heart and the mirror. Fulfilling our vows, we perform abhiseka to our deity as part of our sadhana. Namely, we take a shower if we are a little pious. [Laughter] We decorate the deity, we clothe the deity, we make the deity smell nicely for other worshipers so that they can appreciate the deity. [Laughter] We offer all kinds of nice food to the deity, as much as within our means to serve the deity. We pray to the deity, the fire of digestion within the heart, its expansion, to please accept our offering and distribute it throughout the body, the other parts and parcels of the deity. And then we go out into the world, on sankirtan, to spread the glories of the deity all over the world. [Laughter]
This is also one conception of life, but it is not a complete conception of life. Unfortunately, in modern society, we don’t have the proper training, generally speaking, from our biological parents, what is this body, what are their bodies, what is everyone in this material world, how to see things properly. Without understanding the root, where everything is coming from, without understanding the purpose behind everything, it is very difficult to understand how to relate to the rest of the, well, in this example:
yatha taror mala-nisecanena trpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopasakhah
That just like if one waters the root of the tree, naturally the water goes to all the leaves and branches. Or by supplying food to the stomach, naturally the food goes to all the different parts of the body. In the same way, by serving the root of the creation, namely Krsna, we have a relationship as son and father. By engaging in that relationship, then naturally we understand how to properly relate ourselves to all other living entities. If we do not understand our relationship with the father, how is it possible to understand our relationship with our brothers and sisters? If we don’t know who our father is, how do we know who our brothers and sisters are? If we don’t know who the original father is, how will we know that in reality, every living entity is our brother and sister.
Therefore the spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, that is his message, that all living entities are part and parcel of Krsna and we have to learn how to serve Krsna while simultaneously serving all living entities within this material existence. Therefore it is said:
tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah
The first quality is submission. Anyone who is taking the goal of life to become more and more powerful in the material world, they cannot be submissive to one who is surrendered to Krsna. It is said:
dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam mahajano yena gatah sa panthah
That if we want to understand reality:
tarko ‘pratisthah srutayo vibhinna
It is very difficult simply by arguing. Kali-yuga is the yuga everyone is trained up how to become expert at arguing. Ultimately the essence of the argument is, “I say I’m the best and you say I’m not. There’s something wrong with you, but I forgive you because I’m a devotee. [Laughter] I simply have to educate you somehow or other what is reality. If you don’t understand who I am, then how will you understand everything else? But I am very patient. I will try many different ways. I will try not to get angry. Even if I get angry at you for not understanding reality, don’t worry, it is simply mercy.” [Laughter]
That is the essence of the argument: “I am the Lord, but I try to be benevolent to all my creation. Everyone has come to the material world to acquire this mood of being the lord of material creation, and in this way, learning how to be happy here in the material world. Unfortunately, there are some living entities who have not realized the truth. And my mission is to help them life after life until they finally realize who is the supreme, namely, me.”
Therefore everyone thinks, “Everyone should humbly approach me and when people humbly approach me, I feel good to them. My job is to help others realize that they should humbly approach me, but I should not degrade myself by coming to the platform of becoming too humble in relation to others.”
Therefore with such a mentality, it is very hard to become submissive. And what to speak of someone who is giving the message that ultimately I am not God. If someone is giving the message, “My dear sir, it is hard to see through your effulgence, I realize that, but somehow or other, I have realized that behind the effulgence, I am seeing God, therefore let me offer my respects to you, O Supreme. I realize that you are God, but I am trying to help you realize that you are God. For a small price, I can help you realize that you are God, fifty dollars in three months.”
But if someone comes with the message, “My dear sir, you are one-ten thousandth the tip of a hair in size and you are not getting any bigger. [Laughter] There is no health food that I have. There is no mantra that I can give you. There is nothing that I can give you. The only thing I can do is help you realize that you are one-ten thousandth the tip of a hair in size.”
As you’ve probably heard the story before, one time, our eternal father within this movement, Srila Prabhupada, was telling one of his sons in Los Angeles. This particular devotee was a Temple Commander in one of the biggest temples we had in the movement at that time, 1968. There were at least twenty devotees in the temple. It was a maha big temple. [Laughter] He said, “My dear son, in the spiritual world there is one planet called Goloka Vrindavan. It is infinite. It is so infinite that all the other infinite planets known as Vaikuntha planets, they can all fit into that infinite Goloka Vrindavan.
“And in that infinite spiritual world, sometimes there is a cloud that forms. It is so small that no one even thinks that it is going to rain. They hardly even notice it. And in that cloud that forms, the Supreme Lord in the form of Karanodakasayi Visnu expands himself . He rests there in the Karana Ocean, the Causal Ocean, and from his body unlimited universes emanate, more universes than there are grains of sand on the beach.
“And in one universe out of all those practically unlimited universes, the Supreme Lord has expanded himself as Garbhodakasayi Visnu as he has expanded himself in all the universes. He is lying down in the Garbhodaka Ocean. From his navel sprouts a lotus flower and the smallest Brahma of all the universes is born with four heads. In that lotus flower, there are unlimited planets that he creates. One of those planets, which is floating like a little speck of dust in the air, one of those little planets is called the Earth planet. On the Earth planet there are so many continents, one of which is North America. In North America, there is one state called California, in which there is one city called Los Angeles. In Los Angeles there is one street called La Cienaga Boulevard. On that street is one house. In that house is temple. In that temple there is one devotee. He is the Temple Commander and he thinks he is controlling everything.” [Laughter]
The original father comes to teach us that he is:
aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate iti matva bhajante mam budha bhava-samanvitah
That he is the source of everything. Everything is flowing from him. The wise who know that worship him with all their hearts. And what happens after that?
mac-citta mad-gata-prana bodhayantah parasparam kathayantas ca mam nityam tusyanti ca ramanti ca
The devotees who discuss that science of how to love Krsna, how to love everyone and everything in relation to Krsna, they learn not only to become more humble, seeing how great Krsna is, but more transcendentally, discrimination how to please Krsna, how to love Krsna in all his different forms. It is not that we are fanning Krsna with one hand and stepping on Krsna’s foot with the other. We have to love Krsna in the form of his Deity, in the form of his books, in the form of his devotees, even in the form of the Supersoul who is residing in the hearts of all living entities, in the form of his energies.
The spiritual master teaches us how to recognize Krsna within everything and how to properly act in such a way as to advance, especially in this world, love of Krsna, awareness of Krsna within the hearts of all living entities. How to become nimitta-matram bhava savya-sacin, not to think ourselves to be the Lord, but to always feel ourselves to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord. And that representative of Krsna who teaches us how to become the servant of the servant of the servant of Krsna is known as the spiritual master. He imparts the Vedic knowledge to us. The ultimate Vedic knowledge is how to see Krsna, how to love Krsna, how to serve Krsna, how to glorify Krsna. Krsna will reciprocate with us according to how we serve his devotees coming in that succession. What is the proof? What is the criteria by which Krsna reciprocates with us?
tesam satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te
To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.
Just like one time I was sitting, Srila Prabhupada talking to another devotee and myself in Buffalo, it was 1969, for hours. I was at the University of Buffalo in New York. I had the good fortune, I had classes in the afternoon, I would come sometimes and sit with Srila Prabhupada while he was preaching to guests or devotees or myself for sometimes two or three hours a day. One day I was getting a little bored. Srila Prabhupada was preaching and he mentioned many, many things out how we should deal with devotees, how to become Krsna consciousness. For instance, every ten minutes or twenty minutes, Prabhupada would stop and pick up his beadbag. He told us, “If you have any extra time, then pick up your beadbag and chant:
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Then my mind was wandering a little bit, or a lot, and because before I came to the movement I was practicing hatha yoga sometimes up to eight hours a day, I was sitting there, I had read some books, I was trying to figure out how to dissolve clouds in the sky, etc. So while I was sitting there, Prabhupada was talking to me and another devotee, I thought, “Let me see what Prabhupada’s aura looks like.” I started to meditate on Prabhupada’s aura, and immediately, Prabhupada looked at me and said, “Our process is not mystic yoga, [laughter] our process is bhakti.”
bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah tato mam tattvato jnatva visate tad-anantaram
If one wants to enter into Krsna consciousness, whatever discrimination we have, we have to learn from the devotee how to infuse bhakti, love, service, with that discrimination. Nor should we simply love the devotees and not know how to properly serve them, how to have proper discrimination. That depends up on relying on the Supersoul within our heart. That knowledge of how to rely on the Supersoul within the heart, that sadhana, that knowledge is given to us by the devotee coming in disciplic succession.
Srila Prabhupada has given us so many techniques, especially the five important techniques how to love Krsna, how to serve Krsna, to worship the Deities, to serve the devotees, to chant the holy name, to read Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, to live in a holy place, and to make the world into a holy place. Unless we are engaged in those activities, unless we are engaged in the activities of yare dekha, tare kaha ‘krsna’-upadesa. Unless we’re engaged in the activity to spread Krsna consciousness, our awareness of Krsna, our love for Krsna, our Krsna consciousness will always remain incomplete.
One time Srila Prabhupada wrote to me, as I’ve said before, I was trying to find out different realms of transcendental awareness, how to understand and how to come to higher levels of bhakti, ruci, prema, etc. Srila Prabhupada wrote to me and in the letter he tried to inspire me to go out on Harinam. This was in 1969. We were just starting Harinam, a little Bhagavad-gita book distribution on the streets. At the end of the letter he wrote to me, “The boys and girls in your country are generally good souls. That is why they have taken birth in such a nice country, that in New York in just two weeks they distributed three thousand Back to Godheads. I have heard that in Buffalo also you are distributing Back to Godhead very nicely.” Then he also mentioned, “In San Francisco we have just had Ratha-yatra and ten thousand boys and girls were chanting and dancing in full ecstasy. Please continue in this way and as Krsna sees that you are seriously trying to help bring his other children back to the spiritual kingdom, then he will bestow all his blessings upon you. Krsna is never ungrateful for our efforts to serve him, rest assured.”
This does not mean that only we should go outside and preach. This means especially we should go outside and preach to the innocent, but we should also act in such, as to the best of our ability, in relation to the devotees, we become their servant. We learn how to see the devotees as servants of Krsna, the higher devotees, those who have more realization of Krsna than ourselves, those who are equal, and those who are less advanced than we are, how to see them as our masters, as our prabhu, not as our das, how to pray to Krsna for the intelligence how to act, how to speak in such a way that we are appropriately servants of all the devotees, higher, equal or lower. In such a way that Krsna and the previous acaryas become pleased with us and therefore we are able to attain their mercy, the intelligence to understand things properly, and the love to feel things in Krsna consciousness.
Srila Prabhupada once explained that even the topmost devotee who sees everything clearly, how does he see things, even when he’s taking the position of a spiritual teacher or a spiritual mater. In one lecture in Vrindavan in 1972, Srila Prabhupada is explaining how a devotee sees other devotees. He said a devotee, even the spiritual master, he understands that whatever knowledge about Krsna he has, it is coming by the mercy of his spiritual master and Krsna. He has no independent knowledge of Krsna other than that received by the mercy of his spiritual master and Krsna.
When he gives instructions to those who are his disciples, he understands, “I am simply an instrument, that knowledge is coming down in the disciplic succession.” When he sees his disciples following out those instructions, he learns from them how to become a better servant of his spiritual master. In that way he takes his disciples as his teacher.
In other words, we have to study Srila Prabhupada’s books. We have to hear from those who have more realization about Krsna consciousness than us, learn how to hear from everyone, especially the devotees, in such way that we become more and more humble. We realize that we are actually dealing with Krsna. We are not simply dealing with our material conceptions, whatever our material conception may be.
There we see superiors and we pray to them to help us advance to become a superior. We see our equals and we compete with them to become a superior. We see our inferiors and we try to push them down so they do not become competitors to us in our struggle to ultimately become divine incarnations of something. Instead we see every opportunity, a spiritual master like Srila Prabhupada or others who follow in their footsteps teach us how to see every opportunity as an opportunity to become more and more humble, to see more and more clearly that we are dealing with Krsna.
When Srila Prabhupada was installing Rukmini-Dvarakadisa in Los Angeles, he mentioned that Sanatana Goswami was talking to his Deity, Madan-mohan. Madan-mohan, before he had come to live with Sanatana Goswami, he was living in a very nice brahmana’s house getting very nice prasadam every day, but before he had come to live with Sanatana Goswami, Sanatana Goswami had given a disclaimer to Madan-mohan. He told Madan-mohan,” I am very poor. I do not have a nice house. I cannot give you nice food. If you want to come, it is up to you.
Madan-mohan more or less said, “All right, I will take my chances.” Lo and behold, he came to live with Sanatana Goswami and much to his surprise, his house was now on a branch of a tree. He thought, “All right, at least the prasadam should be all right.” Unfortunately, Sanatana Goswami would go beg every day and he would bring back one or two pieces of bread, rotis. He was offering these pieces of bread to Madan-mohan. One day, Madan-mohan, he more or less had it. Or as they say in English, he cracked. [Laughter] He said, “Sanatana Goswami, I came to live with you. I’m on a tree, my God, a tree. [Laughter] I said I’d accept whatever you gave me, but please, couldn’t you give me a little salt with the piece of bread?”
Sanatana Goswami more or less said, “Now you are asking for salt, next you will ask for sweets. [Laughter] What can I do? I am a poor man. I can hardly move. Please, out of love I am offering you whatever I have. Kindly accept it.” Srila Prabhupada said that Madan-mohan had to accept it because it was offered with so much love and devotion. He had no choice He was overwhelmed with Sanatana Goswami’s devotion.
Then Srila Prabhupada said, “But what is your qualification? What is the qualification of the things you have?” He said, “It’s nothing. The real thing is bhakti. ‘Krsna kindly accept. I have no devotion. I am rotten and I am fallen, but I am offering you these things’.” Then Srila Prabhupada started to cry. He said, “That will do. Don’t be puffed up. Always remember that you are dealing with Krsna. That is my advice to you. Thank you.”
So whether it is the Deity, or the Ddeity in everyone’s heart, we have been trained up by such an exalted personality as Srila Prabhupada and by those that follow Srila Prabhupada how to see the Deity in everyone’s heart, how to see the Deity in the books, how to see the Deity on the altar, how to see the Deity in the holy places, how to see the Deity in the association of the devotees so that we don’t become puffed up. We always learn how to love Krsna, and in that way, become empowered to spread Krsna consciousness as Srila Prabhupada desires.
Thank you. [Applause] There’s no time for questions, unfortunately.
Hare Krsna. Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Grantha-raja Srimad-Bhagavatam ki jai! Gaura premanande. . . haribol!
I showered up (there is a fair bit of dust up there, tucked on top of those awnings) and came back for HH Prahladananda Swami’s class. He was telling lovely stories of the Prabhupada days and book distribution. One time he mentioned was when Srila Prabhupada sent him to open a center. He arrived and found he was living in a park, with a sannyasi and his servant. All the sannyasi would give them to eat was two chapatis (and some apple chutney). They would cook chapatis all day and distribute them to hippies and then be rewarded at the end with only two. Finally he was asked to join the Radha Damodara party instead and had to leave this other arrangement. He made his way, with no money, to the town that the party was located. He had no idea where they were and had to search them out. Finally, when he found them, they gave him some prasadam. He was a little confused when they gave him six chapatis and instructed him to eat them all, as he was conditioned to think that everyone in ISKCON must only be eating two chapatis (with some apple chutney). Naturally he ate all the chapatis up, hungry from travelling and felt the mercy from Krsna in a new fashion.
From Leading To Gaura Purnima and Sankirtana Saturday by MESSAGES FROM MADD MONK