Varam vrinidam Bhadram bho
Yuvam me nrupanandana
Swahar hi na tatha dharma
Tushtoham shohe na va !!
A Leader needs to be spiritually advanced
The prachetas were the sons of king Prachinabharishat. It is described in the 4th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam that the king was very pious and religious man, but attached to karma kanda. But he knew that his sons, in order to be trained properly, to eventually take over the state affairs, they had to perform tapasya. They had to go to holy places and be under the training of advanced devotees; they had to purify their consciousness.
In those days the standard of the proper leader in any field of society was they had pure vision in which they could truly and genuinely present the will of God to the common man and protect the laws of God. So it was an absolute necessity that his children became very highly spiritually advanced. Now while they were away what happened is Narada muni came to their father, and it is a long long story of how he very carefully preached to the king. The king was very attached to material life although he was a devotee of the Lord and being a king he was naturally a proud man and Narada muni just comes and says “you are in maya”. The king probably would have not been very attentive to hear because people who are proud they like to hear themselves being glorified. They do not like themselves being criticized. So Narada muni, who knew human nature very well, was a real preacher, a true preacher. A true preacher will do anything and say anything to save a person from Maya. He is not afraid to speak the truth even if you run away completely disgusted. You will accept that if you open your hearts and open your ears. So Narada muni approached king Prachinabahrisat and he explained, “You are a very good King, you are doing nice service to the Society. Let me tell you a nice story about a king named Puranjan. King Puranjan was a good King, was very attached to his wealth, beautiful wife, to his children, reputation, fame and all these other things and many… and it is described how his attachments created such a difficulty in his life, how he was so much slave of his senses and how ultimately he died and he had to take another birth.” By the time Narada Muni finished the story the king realized that he was talking about him and all that he did was changed the names. The king was so attentive to hear the whole story that he understood the philosophy of Krishna Consciousness and he asked “I am completely in maya. What should I do?” Narada Muni told, “You should surrender to Krishna”. So he left and surrendered to Krishna.
Real Love and Friendship – a true sign of spiritual advancement
Meanwhile the Prachetas were performing tapasya. There was no king for a long time. Prachetas were all brothers and their father told them to be Krishna conscious. And by their obedience to the order of their Guru and their willingness to accept sacrifice, they were fasting, offering prayers. They had the darshan of lord Shiva who taught them a Mantra in which they could receive a darshan of Vishnu. In this way Vishnu himself, the Supreme Personality Godhead appeared before them and it is described here in this verse how the Lord was so pleased especially because of their friendship towards one another. That is really what attracted his divine darshan in their lives. Lord Vishnu said “My dear sons of the King, I am very much pleased by the friendly relationships among you. All of you are engaged in one occupation that is devotional service. I am so pleased with your mutual friendship that I wish you all good fortune. Now you may ask a benediction of me.” Srila Prabhupada is explaining here how the unity of individual souls is very difficult in this material world. There are so many attempts but as long as we have separate interest, our unity is superficial, artificial and has no real substance. The example is given of the United Nations. The United Nations is formed after a great World War because the nations of the World are fighting over property. We have the right over this property and somebody else is saying “No, no we’ve the right over this property.” There were hundreds and thousands of lives killed to know who is the proprietor ultimately. According to God – He is the only proprietor of everything. Sarvo lokha Mahesvaram. Therefore this United Nation is useless in really creating peace in this world. Because after all, since the United nations was formed there was the Korean War, Vietnam War, war between Pakistan and India, Africa, Iraq and Iran, Ireland, Beirut. There are wars all over the world and practically all of these countries are members of the United Nations. Their coming together to try to unite is in terms of their own sense gratification. Every nation in the United Nations is not really thinking of the World. They are only thinking what my country would get out of this unity. It is all based on an illusion that I am this body and this land where I was born is mine. According to the Bhagvatam, it is described that anyone who considers the land of his birth to be something very great and important and worshipable has no more mentality than an ass and cow. Everything is the property of God and unless we unite on this principle that Krishna is the Supreme Enjoyer and we are all His servants and we are all working together to execute His will, there is no question of unity or peace. The Prachetas were brothers and it is very difficult in Kaliyuga for brothers to be good friends. It’s usually some envy, competition amongst brothers. We see within families, often times brothers are suing each other in court rooms. They do not even talk to each other. They hate each other.
Familiarity breeds Contempt. Srila Prabhupada used to tell the story. A father is asking his two sons to massage him and each son wants the father to favor him. In spite of doing so good at the massage he reaches over the other son’s side and pokes his father with his finger nail, the father goes AHHHH… and the other son reaches over the other side and punches over and in this way they are kicking, punching, scratching, biting and the father is in tremendous anxiety. Father does not care which son did it. So in this way Kaliyuga goes on.
Motivation should be to please Guru and Krishna
Krishna is our father. In family circles, even the Spiritual Master is our father. Prabhupada explains sometimes there is even disunity in Krishna consciousness. In order to present ourselves as very good to our Guru, we try to expose our God brother for being a rascal and this causes pain to the Guru. So on all levels whether spiritual or material, in the age of Kali, this is a very powerful influence – Quarrel and Hypocrisy. Prabhupada explains spiritual competition is you do the best you can, thinking that by doing really good I will inspire my God-brother to do even better than me and when he does better than me I will be inspired to do better and in this way there is no animosity. We both want to inspire each other to do better and in this way the spiritual master simply enjoys seeing both doing everything best. In this way it is beautiful competition. Material competition means somehow dragging down, bringing down the other under my lotus feet. In this way Krishna, Guru our father, everyone suffers. What does this mean? This means our motivation is not to please, our motivation is to enjoy. Krishna Consciousness means to be enjoyed to please Krishna, to please His representatives and material consciousness means to be the enjoyer. Recently one devotee was asking about some of our devotees go to Vrindavan and they were having good fun, roaming and chanting
Hey Radhye VrajDevaki ch lalite Hey Nand suno kotha….. Where is Radha and where is Krishna with tears in their eyes in the Sakhi bhav. I am Krishna’s Gopi. I go here there, today I see Sri Krishna dancing with peacocks, and tomorrow I will go to the place where He is embracing Sri Radhika. Just see I am Paramhansa ! But I do not see Vrindavan by just going and looking. If you want to enjoy Vrindavan you never see Vrindavan. This is called Prakrut Sahajiya. It means cheap devotees with the cheap mentality who takes Krishna, the Dham, everything else cheaply. If you want to see Vrindavan, there is only one way, you have to surrender to Guru. There is no other way. Through obedience, through purification, then when you go to Vrindavan you will see it as it is. Otherwise what you see is an illusion. It is not the real Vraj dham. Krishna reveals Himself according to the quality of your love, surrender, pureness of your heart. Therefore our devotees who are sincerely, honestly living in this polluted city of Bombay with all sorts of atrocities all around and all sorts of difficulties, but pushing out and trying to serve the mission, they are seeing Vrindavan thousands of times more clearly than those people who are simply enjoying walking around under the banks of Yamuna. In this way we have to learn that real spiritual life is based on pleasing Krishna and pleasing the Spiritual Master through serving him and not through self-enjoyment. People come to the temple to enjoy the temple but we should come to the temple with the spirit of serving the deity, serving the Vaishnavas. Only through this process of devotional service Krishna reveals HHHimself and this is the real principle of unity. It is the only principle of real unity, when we give up the false conception of being an enjoyer and we come together to strive, to help one another to please Krishna. There is nothing that pleases Guru more than when he sees the spirit souls coming together in love and trust to serve him. There is nothing as greater a power than that. Therefore Lord Jesus says in Bible “Wherever two or more of you gather in my name, I will be there “. Together in his name means to come together for his will, putting aside our own egos and simply coming together to serve him, to glorify him. And also, Krishna told Narada Muni that you will find me in one place, wherever my devotees gather together to chant My holy name. There is no greater power than the unity of sincere souls coming together to please Krishna. Lord Vishnu is explaining here “I am very much pleased by the friendly relationships amongst you” Certainly you know the way brothers are. They certainly must have different opinions, different ways of doing things, different things that they do not like about one another. But friendly relation means for the sake of the service to their father, their Guru and Krishna, they are willing to put all these things aside which is unimportant and insignificant and work together for the whole, for the pleasure of the complete whole which is Krishna.
One common occupation should be – devotional service
It is described here, “All of you are engaged in one occupation, devotional service.” Within this congregation tonight we have students, industrialists, doctors, housewives, businessmen, dentists, managers. We have practically every field of society here tonight but we have only one occupation and that is devotional service to Krishna. We have people who are very literate. We have people here tonight with PhDs. We have people here who hardly have any education; people of all castes; various nationalities with different propensities. But we all are united, because by the mercy of Gurudev we have all learnt that the only real occupation of our life is to simply dovetail our propensities together in the service of Krishna. This will create a spirit of love and trust. Love and trust breaks down when we have separate interests or separate motives, when we want to be the enjoyer, the proprietor, the controller. Love and trust is established when we want one thing and that is to be the humble servant of Krishna, of the Spiritual Master, of the Sadhus. To be the humble servant of one another especially. You cannot separate the Guru from his devotees. So in this way the Prachetas were being glorified by Krishna Himself for their friendly loving relationships with one another, centered on one occupation, devotional service. Lord said “I am so pleased with your mutual friendships that I wish you all good fortune. Now you may ask a benediction of me” and Prabhupada, here in the next verse says, The Lord continued “Those who remember you every evening of every day will become friendly with their brothers and with all other living entities.” This is very important, because by hearing submissively the beautiful story of the unity of the Lord’s devotees, we become naturally inclined towards being the well-wisher of our brothers, our sisters and all living entities. This is the power of hearing these glorious stories of the great souls who have dedicated everything to the Lord.
Recommended process in the age of Kali – Sankirtan
So in this age of quarrel and hypocrisy there is no greater service we can render than teaching people how to unite under the banner of God’s name. This is the greatest service we can render to the society. You can be a babaji in the holy- dham or you can be a yogi in Himalayas and certainly by that process there is some great benefit to the society. But the greatest benefit is by example to teach people how to come together to chant the glories of Lord’s name. Therefore in this age of Kaliyuga the only process of sacrifice which is recommended—is Sankirtan—throughout the Vedic literature. In this age of Kali, intelligent people know the only process of purification really effective and practical is Sankirtan. Now Japa means to sit alone and chant. Bhajan means may be alone. San means together to chant the holy names congregationally is the panacea cure for all the ills in this age of Kaliyuga. To unite together under the divine auspicious influence of the holy name is the only means of counteracting the influence of quarrel and hypocrisy in this age. Power of doing it together is the power that most of all attracts God.
And it is the hardest thing to do. To do anything together with anybody in Kaliyuga is very difficult because in due course of time we just come up with our own crazy opinions of everything and we disunite.
Disagreements should be to only serve Krishna in different ways
Prabhupada explains here that even amongst great devotees there is always difference of opinions, disagreements. But that is good. Disagreements are good as long as we keep the purpose the same and we are doing it for Krishna. There must be disagreements because we are all Jivatmas.We are all individual souls. Therefore different Vaishnavas will have different ways of doing things and if it was not like that we would all be Mayavadis, Impersonalists. In the Spiritual World everyone has a different way of doing things. Mother Yashoda is trying to keep Krishna at home and protect Him and the Gopis are trying to attract Him to leave home at the middle of the night .The Gopis are saying “Krishna – Come out, Let’s dance” and mother Yashoda is saying “ Krishna – Stay home – be a good boy “. Total difference of opinions. The Gopis and mother Yashoda never agree. Mother Yashoda wants Krishna home whole night and Gopis want Him out whole night. Conflict, but they want…they are both doing it for one purpose to please Krishna and therefore you do not find they are hating each other or arguing with each other. They love each other. Yes Mother Yashoda you have your way. Yes Gopis you have your way. Radharani, Lalita, Vishakha , You have your way. All doing it for Krishna’s pleasure. So the disagreement becomes irrelevant.
There is a beautiful story in the Bhagavatam, when Ashvatthama kills the five sons of Draupadi. And Draupadi and all the Pandavas were very much sorrowful. So Arjuna, with the help of Lord Krishna, captured Ashvathama, brought him back to Draupadi and Bhima was standing there. Draupadi, soft hearted as she was, said, “Please let him go, after all he is the son of our Guru Dronacharya, and for his mother, he is the only son , and how much she will cry if she loses her only son. She will become like me. I do not want her to become like me.” Bhima had a different opinion, “Kill him, give up this sentimental nonsense, and kill this rascal.” Bhima was a Paramhansa. He was a personal associate of Lord Krishna and Draupadi was a personal associate of Lord Krishna. They were both pure devotees of the highest order and were both perfect and correct. Draupadi was a woman. She had a soft heart and Bhima was a Kshatriya who wanted to see the law applied on all circumstances. According to their natures they were both trying to serve Krishna and please Krishna the best way they could, and Krishna heard both of them and He realized that they are both perfect, they are both correct, neither of them have any flaw. Therefore Krishna worked out a way where He was simultaneously killed and not killed, by humiliating him, because for Kshatriyas humiliation is worse than death. In this way Draupadi was satisfied and Bhima was somehow satisfied. So here are two great souls, but did it cause disunity between them? Bhima and Draupadi were the greatest objects of each other’s love. And this disagreement did not disturb that love because they knew that they were both doing it for Krishna. That way they were naturally inclined to do it for Krishna with no other motivations but service to the Lord. So yes, there will be disagreements, there will be different ways of doing things, there will be different moods. It is not that one is higher than another. After all, Gaur Kishore das babaji was one type of preacher and Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur was a completely different type of preacher. Gaur Kishore das babaji was seated in Navadweep and if somebody would come to him and had any material aspirations, he would become very angry like thunderbolt. He did not like to see the face of materialistic people. One time Prabhupad told the story that Gaur Kishore babaji was sitting just to get away from materialistic people, he was sitting at the place where people would go to pass stool on the banks of Ganga and nobody likes to stay there longer than it takes to finish the business, but he was living there and one man came to him and said “I want to be your disciple and get your blessings.” Gaur Kishore said, “I do not want to see the face of anyone who wants any material benedictions. I am only here to give love of God, pure devotional service. If you want that, I can give you.” He said “Oh! That is what I want, give me a blessing.” He was thinking that by getting these blessings I will get good luck. Gaur Kishore said “Alright, my blessing is – you sit here on this stool with me and chant Hare Krishna.” The man ran away.
This is his style of preaching. Very strong. If he saw anyone in anyway taking Krishna Consciousness cheaply, false tears, he would expose them like a thunderbolt. Or if he saw someone sincere and genuine, he would become a very humble servant. He would never leave Navdweep. One time he had cataract in his eyes. He was about to go blind. Bhaktivinod Thakur said, “Gaur Kishore Das Babaji Maharaj please come to Calcutta. We have a doctor friend who can give you nice operation.” He said, “Calcutta is hell. I will not go to hell.” So he wouldn’t go. He did not like people telling him. So what he did is he just walked to the Ganges, went to take his bath and disappeared in the Ganges and everyone said, “He committed suicide. It is our entire fault as we were putting pressure on him to go to Calcutta.” And some days later Bhakti Vinod, Bhakti Siddhanta were bathing in the Ganges, out from Ganges came Gaur Kishore Das Babaji. He said, “Don’t ever ask me to go to hell, Calcutta again”. Bhaktisiddhanta was his disciple and what did Bhaktisiddhanta do. He made his main base in Calcutta, head quarters. When he was about to leave his body, they told, “Bhakti Siddhanta, you know you are about to leave this world, you have already told us. We can take you to Mayapur, the holy Dham Mayapur. You can live there.” And Bhaktisiddhanta said, “No,” he said, “My place of preaching is Calcutta, I want to leave my body here. This is the battlefield where I have given my life to preach to the masses. Wherever there are many people, that is the best place to preach.” So would you agree that they had two different moods? If you say that Bhakti Siddhanta was a greater devotee than Gaur Kishore, Bhakti Siddhanta would strongly disagree with you. Because you are offending his own Guru and if you say Gaur Kishore was a better devotee, he will become very angry because Bhakti Siddhanta has given his life to preach everything to everyone. They are both perfect, equally perfect. They are both pure devotees. Simply acting according to how God is directing them according to their natures.
We need to follow only our Guru, but respect all
Factually Gaur Kishore das babaji did preach to the whole world by empowering Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati through the Parampara system. So how can we discriminate? Neophyte devotees like to think, “My Guru is the only Guru. He is the best. He is the greatest.” That is good, very nice. But more mature understanding is to see that any great Guru who is… We follow our Guru strictly. Nobody else. We will follow our guru to the end of our life, we will not deviate, but that doesn’t mean we have to say anybody else is less. If somebody else is scarifying his life to spread Krishna Consciousness in another way, in God’s eyes how do we discriminate as to who is better? We accept ours is best. We accept that our life and soul. But the other person’s disciple is making the same thing. The real question is, “Are they giving their lives completely to the service of the Lord?” If they have no other motivations, in the eyes of God, they are both perfect and therefore we find in the Vaishnav tradition even disciples of other Gurus are completely united with love. Even though they may disagree on so many methods and techniques, these disagreements of techniques only makes their lives more interesting, full of varigatedness. They don’t hate each other. They don’t take each other less than one another. They all know that our gurus are united on one principle—surrender to Krishna—and are teaching surrender to Krishna. And that is what we are living for; therefore we are all brothers and sisters. What to speak of disciples of the same guru. We have to unite on the higher principles; and the lesser principles, there will be disunity because we are all individuals. But on higher principle there is unity. Then even in disagreements, they become spiritual and they only make life interesting. The argument between Bhima and Draupadi is a wonderful, wonderful subject matter to discuss. Because they both were giving their life to the service of the Lord, they had one occupation – surrendering to the will of God and that is the only principle we should live for and if we want to maintain and preserve the unity amongst Vaishnavas we have to unite on this higher principle. Otherwise we will disintegrate. If we expect to be united, we have to give up pride. We have to give up the sense of being the enjoyer, we have to give up the ego. Then naturally if we are striving together for this purpose, willing to tolerate and putting aside our own conditionings for the mission of the Spiritual Master and Krishna, we can enter into the true meaning of Sankirtan—congregation of glorification of Lord’s name. This is the method taught by Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and this is the prime benediction for all humanity to learn how to unite in the congregational chanting of Krishna’s holy name.