I am very grateful to be here this evening. A special gratitude to Anil, Kiran, Agvinesh, Priya for opening the doors of their home for us together. When we first came in this evening, Anil prabhu to three different people was very enthusiastically speaking the story of King Ashok. So since you already started the class, I will give some commentary to what you spoke with your permission. Anil was explaining how Ashok was a very powerful king, who was very aggressive in his conquering but then he came in contact with the teachings of the Lord Buddha who the Vedic scriptures had prophesied two thousand five hundred years before his appearance as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu and when that transformation of heart took place his whole life changed. Because kings are generally very aggressive, often times egoistic but Buddha was teaching humility, ahimsa, non-violence and what Anil was saying, was with the same enthusiasm, with the same aggressiveness that he was conquering and ruling kingdoms, he was sharing the gift of Lord Buddha with the people. Yes? And Anil was so enthusiastic that he keeps talking and talking about the subject. But actually throughout history this has been one of the ways great spiritual teachings have been spread to the common people. Christianity was really just a handful of Jewish people who followed Jesus who was a Jew in the line of King David and gradually was spreading a little more, a little more, a little more and then Saint Paul, he decided why should only Jews have this gift, we should spread it to the Pagans, the people who really had no proper religion and he took away a lot of the orthodoxy which was in the context of Jesus and his followers and spread it. But it was still not that many people and whoever took to it was risking torture and death. Then there was a King of Constantinople, whose name was Constantine, and somehow or other he was in the middle of a battle and he was losing and then he had a vision of the cross of Christ and he surrendered, “If you help me in this battle, I’ll give the whole kingdom to you Jesus.” And he won and actually that is when Christianity became a religion for the masses. It became a state religion. He promoted it widely.
King Prataprudra’s devotion to Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu
There was another king that I’d like to talk about. His name is Prataparudra. He was a King of Orissa. This was about five hundred years ago. King Prataparudra was very, very powerful. At that time the Moghuls were conquering practically all of India. People were helpless because they had such massive armies and forces but they could not penetrate Orissa because King Prataparudra was such a powerful king, had very good armies and was a man of such dignity. Lord Chaitanya, who is the avatar of Lord Krishna for the age of Kali Yuga, the prema avatara who spread divine love through namakirtan, the congregational chanting of the Holy names. He was actually planning to go and live in Vrindavana after he took the renounced order of life but his mother Saci-Devi was weeping along with His other associates saying, “Vrindavana is so far away, so far away. If you go there, so far from Navadwip, Bengal, we will never see you or hear anything about you. But the same Krishna that is living in Vrindavana is living in the form of Jagannath in Puri so please live there as it is close by”. So on the appeal of His mother He made his residence in Puri. He was just there for a couple of months and then He went on a tour to share His message throughout the southern and western provinces of India. Now at that time, King Prataparudra, his capital was in Cuttack but he came to Puri and he heard all about this great saint who is just an embodiment of love and devotion and He was just transforming people’s hearts. Even criminals and ruffians and murderers were becoming gentle and humble and lovers of God and servants of every living being and so he asked Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya was his teacher, his guru. He said, “Who is this Lord Chaitanya? I want to meet Him”. Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, “He has already left, He’s gone for a tour of South India and He will probably be gone for some years. We do not know when He will return.” And the king said, “Why did you let Him go? Why did you not keep Him here?” And Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya said, “Because He is the independent Supreme Personality of Godhead. He’s the Lord of all creation and He was incarnated in this world, what power do I have to keep Him here?” King Prataparudra said, “He’s the Supreme Personality of Godhead? He’s Krishna, God, who’s incarnated on Earth, when will He return? When He returns, please arrange an interview for me to meet Him.” Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya on the basis of scripture, on the basis of philosophy confirmed that Lord Chaitanya was actually whom the scriptures prophesized to come in this world as the Yuga avatar, to spread the most recommended and beneficial process of spirituality in this age of Kali that we are living. So when Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned after a couple of years, King Prataparudra did everything and anything to help the Lord, to relieve people of suffering and give them the unlimited joy of love of God. Actually, at first the Lord did not want to meet him because…this is a very interesting point…the Lord was a sannyasi; He was a Swami in the renounced order. He was playing this role for the benefit of people and He said, “I cannot meet such an egoistic controlling person as a King so I will not meet him directly”. When King Prataparudra heard this…he has massive wealth, beautiful palace, wonderful family and he said, “If my being a king is depriving me of the mercy of the Lord, then on this very day, I will give everything away and I will become a beggar living in the streets with just a simple loincloth and a wooden earring and I’ll go house to house with a wooden bowl to beg alms as a beggar for the rest of my life. Because what is the use of life without the mercy of God? And he was serious. He actually intended to become a beggar! Not just for one or two days or for a holiday but for the rest of his life. The Lord understood his heart, this is to the degree that he understands that spirituality is significant and of value in his life. So the Lord and the devotees wanted him to remain in his position and the Lord gave him His complete mercy. He actually just wanted to…He tested the king and in doing so wanted to show the world the value or the priority of spiritual life. This is the universal principle of every great religion.
In the Jewish scripture the dearest thing to Abraham in his life was his son Isaac. When God told him to sacrifice Isaac, there was nothing worse he could have possibly done but he was willing to do it if that was the will of God and when he was about to perform the act then God spoke and said, “You passed the test, it’s alright. Isaac is very nice, just let him be,” and that was the covenant between God and the Jewish people. Similarly, Lord Jesus…he said if you love anyone more than you love God then you are not really a devotee of God. He said you cannot love God and man simultaneously…the treasures of this world, he said, will be eaten by moths, rusted, corroded by rust and stolen by thieves. Make your treasure in the Kingdom of God because there it will be permanent. There is no rust, moths or thieves.
Lord Chaitanya tested Prataparudra Maharaja to show the world how a man of such stature gave such priority to his spiritual life. He remained as king but how was he king? He was so humble, he was so gentle but at the same time with all the power, with all the intelligence, with everything he had, he ruled the kingdom in the spirit of love and devotion to God and compassion to every living being. Practically the whole treasury of the Kingdom was at the disposal for people to elevate and enlighten people’s consciousness. He would set up gigantic places with godowns or storage places with food to cook wonderful, wonderful prasad for the devotees and the general population. He arranged all facilities for spiritual teachers to elevate peoples’ consciousness. At the same time he protected his citizens, he excised the taxes necessary, he maintained the justice department and he maintained his armies to protect them from the onslaughts of massive armies which were always waiting to attack and he did it all, not with greed, not with ego, not with lust, not with envy, but with love, compassion, humility and devotion. And this is the teaching of Bhagavad-Gita. Bhagavad-Gita does not teach that we should give up our work but to perform our work motivated by the highest ideals.
Arjuna, in the first chapter of Sri Bhagavad-Gita, was speaking in a very pseudo-spiritual way, that, “There’s too much confusion in fighting this war so I am not going to fight. Krishna, my charioteer, I am not going to fight. I am going to become a real saint and just practice meditation, whatever.” And the whole Bhagavad-Gita was to teach Arjuna, you must perform your duty but you must transform your consciousness. Duryodhana was fighting on one side and he was motivated by envy and greed and Arjuna was fighting in the spirit of compassion, humility and love of God; extreme example but this is the teaching of Gita. Some people misinterpret and they say what Gita speaks is ‘work is worship’ but if that is all Gita taught; ‘work is worship’ then the Gita would not be seven hundred verses. It would be three words, ‘work is worship.’ In Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna speaks eloquently, scientifically, philosophically, logically how to make your work worship and that is all-important.
yajñārthāt karmaṇo ‘nyatra
loko ‘yaḿ karma–bandhanaḥ
tad–arthaḿ karma kaunteya
In the third chapter, Krishna tells that whatever work one’s done or one does should be an offering to the Supreme. Otherwise whatever work one does is simply a cause of karmic bondage.
yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi
yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam
All that you do, all that you offer and give away, all charity you perform, all austerities you perform should be done as an offering of devotion. This is Gita.
karmaṇy evādhikāras te
mā phaleṣu kadācana
Krishna tells, “Do not be attached to the fruits of your work and do not be attached to not doing your duty”. This is subtle and difficult for many to understand: how to perform your duty and not to be attached to the fruits of your work.
rasa-varjam raso ‘py asya
param drishtva nivartate
By experiencing a higher taste…what is that higher taste that everyone is looking for? The heart, the soul is longing for happiness.
The Supreme Absolute Truth is the embodiment of all pleasure and every living being who are part and parcel of the Supreme Absolute Truth are by nature seeking pleasure.
Today, we were at Keshav and Namamrita’s house in Karla in the morning and there was a very nice pond of water in a beautiful, beautiful garden and their mother, Maithili devi…she got very nice fish, which she put in the pond, very sweet fish swimming, swimming, swimming. Srimati was very proud of these fish, brought us to see the fish. One of the gardeners there, when he saw us coming he wanted to give us some entertainment so he threw some fish food and as soon as that fish food hit the surface of the water the fish immediately came to the surface and within seconds they devoured all of it. Yes? why? It obviously tasted good. Maybe not to you but to them it tasted very good. One man’s food is another man’s poison. So these fish, they don’t have big, big brains but they are seeking pleasure. Yes? If in your house, especially here in India, if you leave some sweet somewhere on the floor what will happen? There will be a whole civilization of ants that invade your home. Yes? They will be in lines, and they will be standing in line something like SiddhiVinayaka temple on Tuesday evening. There are lines of kilometres of people coming to see the deity of the Lord and to take some prasad of the Lord and the ants are just lining up trying to get a little of that sugar. Every living being is seeking pleasure. In human society, the most developed species of life, where there is such discrimination, such power of free will, we see the whole technology and science is oriented toward people trying to find pleasure and somehow or the other trying to avoid pain. Why do people want to avoid pain? Because it interferes with pleasure. Yes? Why is this the consistent nature of every living being, that we’re pleasure seeking? The scriptures tell us,
sa vai puḿsāḿ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 1.2.6)
what real pleasure is. We are all part and parcel of the Supreme.
(Bhagavad-gita As It Is 15.7)
The Absolute Truth, God, who is All Attractive, therefore he has the name Krishna.
The Lord has many, many names. The sun in the sky has many names according to the language of the people who are speaking about the sun. God has many names. Krishna means All Attractive. Lord Brahma prayed,
īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ
anādir ādir govindaḥ
Śrī Brahma-saḿhitā (5.1)
that the Supreme Lord or Krishna has a body that is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. He is the cause of all causes.
So in the way the sunray is related to the Sun, we are qualitatively one with God. But quantitatively, always subordinate to the Supreme, as eternal servants. But the soul, the conscious force, the life within us, is sac-cid-ānanda – eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. The soul must have bliss. It’s our nature. When we think we are this body, we will look for the bliss through the senses and through the mind. But really what gives bliss to the soul, to me? The driver of an automobile; if he drinks petrol, which is the nourishment for the automobile, the driver will not be satisfied. What is food for the driver? What is food for the soul? Love, the ultimate pleasure is love. The most fundamental need of every living being is pleasure and the essence of pleasure is to love and be loved. If you don’t have that then there is always emptiness and an unfulfilled quest within the heart.
One great saint once gave an example that if a person owns everything on Earth, the proprietor of everything on Earth, but you are the only person alive on Earth, will you enjoy? You have all the cars, you have all the buildings, you have all the money, you have all the food, you have everything but you are the only person, there is no competition. If one little bird came and landed on that finger that would be the most dear thing to you in life because at least the bird is alive and can reciprocate with you to some extent. You could love the bird and the bird may be able to somehow show some affection to you. Yes? You can’t love buildings or cars or money because there is no reciprocation so love means reciprocal. The soul’s nature is to love God.
nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema ‘sādhya’ kabhu naya
śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya
(Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 22.107)
Pure love of God is dormant within the heart of every living being. It’s our nature, it’s our essence but we’ve forgotten. So much diverted, so much distracted. So Bhagavad-Gita does not teach that being spiritual means being lazy. In fact Krishna, in the Gita, tells the world two of the greatest enemies for spiritual progress is egotism and lethargy, or laziness. We cannot be lazy, we must be dynamic. If you are a business person, or if you are a politician or you are a king or if you are a swami, or a brahmacari or if you are a doctor or if you are a lawyer…we have all those things in the room today…if you are a teacher or a student or a mother or a father, we don’t give up our duty, we don’t become lazy, but we’re motivated, we’re more enthusiastic, with more dynamics because instead of being motivated by greed, we’re motivated by love and compassion.
A mother, she’ll work twenty-four hour shifts for her little baby. Yes? How many men will work twenty-four hour shifts for their boss? Some may but they won’t be very happy about it but a mother is on call twenty-four hours a day, not only on call but usually busy. I’ve seen babies cry. Ladies come to me and say they haven’t slept in days, the baby’s crying…What to speak if you have twins or three babies. She’s not getting paid a paisa but there is satisfaction because she is motivated by love and affection, so this nonsense theory that if I become spiritual, if I become dedicated to a spiritual path, then I will become unproductive. No, you become more productive but for the right cause, for the right ideal. Love is a more powerful force than greed or egoism. That is what spirituality is about. That is what the Bhagavad-Gita teaches. The Lord descends into the world with so many avatars or incarnations. He send His son, His Prophet, His dear, pure devotees. Why? What does the Lord have to do with this world?
vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
He comes out of compassion, to re-establish the truth, to annihilate misconception and to protect and enlighten people and bring people back to His eternal, loving service. See saints! They are willing to die for their cause and how does that translate down to all of us? Deliver the cause of the Lord to purify our hearts, to live with integrity because the greatest act of compassion a person can do in this world is be a good example for others to follow. The example of humility, selfless dedication, self-control, devotion and integrity. Integrity means to be honest, to be truthful and to make great sacrifices whoever we are for the welfare of others. Krishna teaches that everyone can do that and in doing that we can actually express our intent to love God and simply by that intent the Lord reciprocates and gradually awakens that love within our heart and then what is our motivation?
There is also a need for Swamis
One time I was in a college. It was a college of students training to be chartered accountants, here in Bombay. And you know how Bombay students can be, very challenging. Yes? So one student, after my talk, he raised his hand and said, “What would happen if everyone became a swami like you? Who would grow the food?” Who will defend the courts? Who will protect the citizens?” And I asked him, “What happens if everyone becomes an accountant like you? Who’s going to grow the food? Who’s going to protect the citizens? Who’s going to maintain all the industries and everything?” I said that there’s a need for accountants, there’s a need for lawyers, there’s a need for doctors, there’s a need for housewives and fathers, there’s a need for teachers, there’s a need for policemen, there’s a need for soldiers, there’s a need for farmers, there’s a need for architects, there’s a need for all these various occupations. There’s also a need for swamis, somewhere. The purpose of swamis is to teach society how to utilize their talents, their gifts and their particular position in such a way that they will be liberated rather than entangled and that they can do great benefit for the world rather than just add to the karma of the world. So he accepted that answer. So be an accountant but don’t be motivated by greed and egoism and lust and envy and anger and pride. Be motivated by your own inherent nature, as an instrument of God’s compassion and everything you do in this world. For us, King Prataparudra, he lived as a king in that spirit. And how to awaken that great treasure of our original spiritual nature? Several points are very important for this purification of the heart: associating with pure people, hearing the pure topics that inspire us with faith and determination for the right cause and in this age of Kali, Sanskrit 33:33-33:38.
The potency of the Holy Name of the Lord
The most appropriate medicine for the heart, or let us say for the soul, to cure us of the disease of forgetfulness and the symptoms of that disease of ignorance is lust, envy, anger, pride, greed and illusion. God’s name is the most powerful medicine. Why? Because the Lord has incarnated within the name. The power, the opulence and the beauty and the sweetness of the Lord are within the name. Sanskrit 34:25-34:30
The Lord is the supreme embodiment of beauty, knowledge, strength, wealth, fame and renunciation. In all of those divine opulences are ever present within the Holy name. So when we chant the Holy name it cleanses our heart and awakens this attraction. When Hanumanji was building the bridge from Rameswaram Setu Bandha to Sri Lanka, he was tearing off the tops of mountains, which were thousands of tonnes in weight. But Hanumanji was very strong, he would just rip it off and carry it and make it float in the ocean. While he was doing that, there was a little spider. Now what is the difference between the limb of a spider and Hanuman? All the spider could do was kick one grain of sand at a time to try to assist in this bridge building and Hanuman was carrying massive, massive mountain peaks and he told the spider, “Get out of my way” as it was on his path and Rama chastised Hanuman. He said, “This spider is doing everything within his power in My mission and you are doing everything within your power. I see no difference between the two of you. I do not see what you do. I see your purpose, your intent.” Therefore in spiritual life, higher or lower is not how much you can accomplish; higher or lower is the purity of our motivation, the spirit of our compassion and love. That is what Krishna sees from within our hearts. In this way, the path of bhakti is equally open for everyone and anyone without discrimination. It is our natural, spiritual inheritance to love God and experience the unlimited pleasure of that love and express that in everything we do. That is my humble commentary on your nice class Anil. Are there a few questions, anything that you would like to ask? Or should we have prasad? Any questions?
Questions & Answers
Member of audience: Is there any such thing as a true selfless act? We do something without actually wanting something?
Radhanath Swami: Yes
Member of audience: We do something and say we do not want anything in return. If that feeling is there, is that selfless, truly?
Radhanath Swami: The Bhagavatam declares the supreme occupation for all humanity is to act in the loving service of the Supreme. Such service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self. To the degree our actions are selfish, which means egoistic, it cannot satisfy the heart. A selfless act is that in which we are truly giving ourselves for the object of our love. We give the example of the gopis. When Krishna had a headache, He asked, “I need the dust of the feet of My devotees to cure My headache”. So His devotee went to many sages in the Himalayas, to great pandits in various academic institutions and requested, “Please. Krishna is requesting dust from your feet to put in His head to cure His headache”. They said, “No, no. If we put our feet on God’s head we will go to Hell. Isn’t that true?” He said, “It probably is. We are not giving our feet to God’s head”. Then he went to the gopis. Immediately the gopis collected all the dust they could get from their feet and put it in little packages and said, “Bring it to Krishna, immediately. Immediately!” And he said, “Don’t you know what the result of this will be? Putting the dust of your feet on God’s head?” And they said, “Of course, we will go to hell forever.”
“You don’t mind?”
They said, “No, of course not. If I going to hell forever gives Krishna relief for even one second that will be the greatest joy of our life”.
That is love. Love is selfless. If we have selfish motivations then it is not really love on the spiritual platform. It is karma. What goes in the name of love in this world is mutual – if you give me pleasure, I’ll give you pleasure. To the degree that selfless spirit is not there, we find what happens. If we do not give each other the proper pleasure then divorce. In America, 70% of marriages are divorces. And India is catching up. Because that spirit of selfless service is being replaced, which is actually tradition. Tradition in any culture, which is based on spirituality, is responsibility for selfless service for those who they are responsible for. Yes? But when we are thinking, “I …” Sanskrit 41:40-41:42.
There was a famous book. Today’s world is the ‘I’ society. Everyone is thinking about me but there’s a problem. We don’t know who we are. It’s alright if you’re really thinking about ‘I’, but who am I? If we are thinking this false ego is ‘I’ and the things related to this false ego is ‘I’, then it creates discontent ultimately. There’s so much potential conflict with almost anybody: brothers fighting, husbands and wives fighting, nations fighting. But I am the eternal soul, there’s nothing to fight about. Yes? If we are the eternal soul then what is in our heart is love and where there’s love, the greatest pleasure is selfless service. A selfish person eats and is happy. A selfless person in the mode of goodness finds more happiness in feeding others. Yes? A father has some love for the child, has some affection for the child. What brings the father more happiness – doing something for the child or doing something for me? If there’s affection, obviously you would be more happy doing something for the child, even if you have to suffer doing it. Bhaktivinoda Thakura prayed, “My dear Lord, the sufferings and the pains that I undergo to serve You are the greatest pleasures of my life”. So not only is there such a thing as selfless service, it is our eternal nature. And to the degree we cultivate that spirit, to that degree we’ll actually find bliss in life. Does that answer your question? The nature of the mind is ‘it isn’t impossible, so I try.’
Member of audience: Pranam Maharaj-ji. If I go to the temple or a church or a mosque or a gurdwara, I don’t feel anything different. Is it a correct way or should we feel going to the temple is better or mosque is less, or church is better? What should be the way?
Radhanath Swami: You should make your heart a temple. If we make our heart a temple, we will actually experience God. What the difference is really is the association. A temple is just a building. Yes? It’s just a building. What is happening in the building? The place where people are actually in selfless spirit of compassion and love and truly worshipping the Lord and surrendering their hearts to the Lord…that is the place where we are actually going to have the most enlightening experience.
Member of audience: The church, or mosque or temple are the same I think.
Radhanath Swami: Not necessarily the quality is the same. It is the quality that is important. We have to actually be sincere. Otherwise, it is not just a question of what we feel. It’s a question of how it transforms our life. You could feel the same going into a cinema. It is not just a matter of feeling. I feel the same if I go into a restaurant or if I go to a church or a mosque or a temple. It’s a question of how it is transforming your life. How it’s illuminating you and bringing you to higher states of consciousness and higher states of living. That is what is all-important. So wherever we actually find that association, those teachings and that inspiration to really purify our lives and live with integrity and live with humility and live in a spirit of service – that’s where we are going to find the deepest experience of God. It’s not just which building you go into. Does that answer your question? God is one, no doubt, there’s only one God. And an enlightened person…if you love Krishna, you will see Krishna in a mosque or a church or a synagogue or in a gurdwara or in a temple. Krishna has appeared in this way for the sake of these people. Yes? But how to actually come to that state of consciousness, for it’s not just a feeling but it’s a reality. For that purpose, temples are not just places where you give donations, see the deities and say a prayer. Temples have always been established by acaryas as spiritual, educational institutions. It’s pious to go to a temple and give a donation and walk away. It’s pious, it’s nice but you will not get enlightened by that. Ramanujacarya, Madhvacarya, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu – all these great souls built those places so that people could come and actually learn the science, the philosophy and the culture of purifying their lives, living with morality, integrity and learn how to love God. That’s all-important. Otherwise, all over the world, religion is oftentimes very, very superficial whether it is Christianity, or Judaism, Sikhism or Hinduism or Buddhism or Zoroastrianism. In Kali Yuga, we find for most people, it is very superficial. They go and give some donation or they give some prayer or they take some prasad and they go home and live like everyone else does, maybe a little more piety. But the acaryas, they said that you cannot see the deities with your eyes. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said, “Don’t try to see God, don’t try to see Krishna. Try to serve Krishna in such a way that He is happy to see you”. When we go to the temple, we shouldn’t go to just see. We should go to be seen…that the way in living my intentions, my humility, my begging for forgiveness, my begging for mercy, my sincerity, for which God will be pleased to see me. Yes? That should be the proper attitude that there has to be education, there has to be training.
We have so many educational institutions. My Guru Maharaj went to MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Boston. When he was there so many courses were being held. He said, “You have thousands of courses in your syllabus but there’s not a single course in this whole college that’s teaching people who they are and what the ultimate aim of life is. In all of these great tools that they are learning in MIT, they are only really as valuable as the ideals and intentions of a person’s utilization of them. Yes? The most dangerous people in the world are not the uneducated peasants but the people with big, big, big educations but filthy, dirty hearts filled with envy and pride and hatred. Yes? They are the greatest dangers to the world. Academic knowledge are facilities, they are tools. The more powerful the tool, the more they could either do benefit or harm depending on whose hand it’s in. Yes? So the purpose of religious buildings is to educate people to be first-class human beings, people who can actually be examples of integrity and spiritual principle. When you go to that type of temple, church or mosque or gurdwara, if we go to that place, where we are actually getting that higher consciousness, then our life becomes very deep and substantial. Does that answer your question? Thank you.
Member of audience: Maharaj-ji, being a businessman you are constantly living a dual life, especially if you are a devotee. You are constantly in the association of trying to seek the higher truth or live the higher truth and then when you are out there being a businessman you are constantly bombarded by not being truthful or having to put up a façade in front of you and this duality of existence sometimes extends itself into your normal course of existence. What is the armour that one should be constantly armoured with to be in this mode of existence as a businessman?
Radhanath Swami: The secret of success is to learn to harmonize every aspect of our life, with the sacred ideals that we are striving for. It is not necessary that there’s a sense of duality because duality is a perception. Yes? And unity is a perception and we should be striving to purify our perception. That is why spiritual practice is very important. Sadhu-sangam, association with saintly persons, regular spiritual practices at home, or coming to the temple; it gives us vision, it gives us a philosophical ideal in which we see the world. Just like, for instance, one person is walking and sees a flower and that person is so passionate about going to the cinema, and that person walks past a flower and doesn’t even see it. Another person is like, “So what, a flower.” He doesn’t see anything in a flower; “I want an I-Pod to listen to music”. A botanist looks at the flower and starts digging in terms of what its Latin name is or where it’s origin is. A person who loves a woman sees the flower and says, “Oh, how nice this will look in the hair of my girlfriend or my wife.” Yes? And a nature lover will just say, “Oh, what a nice flower.” Does any two people see the flower with the same perception? Because our consciousness, our motivations of life, are like spectacles or glasses and they all have different colours. If you have green coloured glasses, you see the whole world greenish. If you have yellow coloured glasses, the whole world is yellowish. If you have rose-coloured glasses, the whole world is roseish. The whole idea is to have clear glasses, to actually see things as they are. For that we must purify our consciousness. It means at home, we have … grhastra means that home is an ashram. It is a place to cultivate spiritual versions and purification. Yes? It’s a place to cultivate love of God so when we hear about the Lord, when we read the Holy scriptures, when we chant the Holy names of the Lord, when we associate with spiritually minded people, this transforms our perception. We see everything in terms of our spiritual reality. Even as business people, you may be doing exactly the same thing as some other businessperson who’s motivated by greed but you see with a different vision because of how you are cultivating your heart. Does that make sense?
Member of audience: You are being truthful when you are speaking and you are practising that aspect of your life. But when you are sitting across people who are maybe not on the same platform as you are, so you are trying to lift that platform as that’s what makes the association of a business complete but that means you are living a dual life because you are not being 100% honest with yourself because that’s not what you are practicing or wanting to practise.
Radhanath Swami: We all have to define in our own life what our ideals are. If you are cheating and you are lying for selfish motives then you are going to have to suffer the karmic reactions. Is that what we want? But if we are trying to be honest and we are trying to do our work because it is our duty to our family and to our society, but we have to do certain things just because it has to be done with ethics, with morality, with integrity, then it’s different. So once again, what is your ideal? What is your motivation? If you don’t eat you will be weak. Yes? If you don’t eat properly, nourishing foods, then you will be weak. Like Gary is a physical fitness trainer and people come to his Malibu gym to get trained. Now what happens if someone is starving? How much could they actually work? How much could they build their bodies? Gary will tell them the types of food they will have to eat, to have the nutrition by which they will get strength to do it properly. Yes? So spiritually, we need food. Otherwise we may have big bodies, and we may have very very profoundly acute intelligence to do business but spiritually we are just feeble weaklings. Yes? That’s what most big people are today. They are just feeble weaklings.
Maya, with one finger, just pushes them and they give in to greed, they give in to envy and they give in to their selfish passion and motivations and they give into their lust. They are just spiritual weaklings. They are starving. And the saintly person will pity such an ignorant fool although the world is bowing at their feet as being great. Yes? So what I’m saying is, we need food to have strength and that strength will give us the proper perception. And what is the food we need? Offering prayers, chanting God’s names, hearing the truth, associating with saintly persons, doing proper puja with the proper state of consciousness. These are all spiritual practices that are like food, especially hearing and chanting in the association of saintly persons. It gives us food, it gives us strength in which we can maintain our spiritual, moral and ethical integrity under all circumstances and we are fixed in our goal. And everyone can do that. We just have to stop making excuses that we can’t do it. If you don’t eat and you are weak, then eat. That’s what religion is about actually, the process of purifying our perceptions. The process of purifying our hearts so that we can do our work with the integrity that will bring us spiritually upward rather than downward. Does that answer your question? In other words, we have to become very serious.
Member of audience: Maharaja, thank you so much. Already I feel inspired as he’s my nephew. After getting inspiration from you, I’d like to share something. In fact I find that when we find difficulties in our job or our business, that is an opportunity when I find a stimulus to grow. The example today, a child came to me whose elder brother had died under me. The older child had died under me and still the family brought his second child under my care and I was very grateful to God. Maybe when I worked with that earlier child that inspiration was there that you do your duty to the best and you communicate that love for the child and to the family. I also remember an incident when I was working in a public hospital and at eleven o’clock, my outpatient department ends, between nine to eleven I work. At eleven o’clock a mother comes with three children. At eleven o’clock I am supposed to end my work and she comes with three children and I gave her a big lecture on small families, happy families. Next morning, when I am reading my Bhagavad-Gita and after that I sit quietly that woman comes to my mind. It was very clear that you gave her a big lecture on small families, happy families not for her sake but because your cup of tea was delayed because after 11 we will go to the staff room and have tea together. Now how do you do prayaschit for that? The thought comes, do this, the next time when I go to the outpatients department, I ask the nurse, “Sister, what is your religion?” And she said she was a Christian. I said lets just imagine that every child who comes … I am a child specialist…every child who comes today is Jesus coming in the lap of Mother Mary. Would you like to give your best…shall we try that? And with her eyes widely open, she says, “Of course sir, we will do that”. And I must say that by the time our work finished, we might have seen the same number of patients but it was a different day. So I find that whether in business or in another profession if such difficulties come, if such moments come, perhaps if we again remember the Lord, He helps us grow and gives us way when both parties’ win and nobody is a loser and that atleast we happen to grow.
Radhanath Swami: Thank you very much. Spiritual perception. Thank you very much. And I wish to thank all of you very much. Would you like to speak something Maharaja?
Danavir Goswami: I think that you spoke so thoroughly there is no need to….Inaudible
Radhanath Swami: We are very, very happy to have had this chance to be amongst all of you this evening. Especially happy my old friend, Gary, has come. Do all of you know him? How many people do not know him? OK, for Agnivesh, we’ll introduce. Could we give the microphone to Gary, he can tell you about who Gary is?
Gary: Does anyone have any questions to Gary? Yes?
Member of audience: I have a question. We love Maharaja so much, All of us. Maharaja, to all of us, is a spiritual inspiration and he inspires us by so many wonderful qualities. I was very impressed yesterday, or the other day, when you were telling us that story about the vest and somehow how much Maharaja had impacted you in a very loving relationship. I am wondering what are the things that you saw in Maharaja then that inspired you so much? I am wondering if it is perhaps some of the same things that inspire us now. I was just curious about that.
Gary: Maharaja speaks all the time about the right association with people and I saw in Swami Radhanath Maharaja, at a very early age, the qualities of love and kindness and compassion and a love and joy for life, you know. He’s just always been a great person, fun to be around and an inspiration. I think the qualities that you see in him are the same ones that I’ve seen in him, you know, for forty-five years. I mean, he’s just that kind of person, always has been.
Member of audience: You said that he’s a great person. I think a great person is one who reciprocates love and draws you to it and I think you’ve had that experience.
Gary: Absolutely you know. He’s been my best friend for almost my whole life. I wouldn’t just say that about anybody. I love him the same as I love my brother. There’s no difference. He’s my family and I hope he feels somewhat similar about me… I don’t know what else you guys want to hear. If anyone has got any more questions, I will answer them to the best of my ability.
Member of audience: Sometimes the love is not communicated well and some misunderstanding develops, how do you come out of it? How in a love and hate relationship, you come out of it? You like to be honest? How do you communicate? Inaudible – 1:09:49-1:10:22
Gary: A man like Swami, there is never the hate part. I can honestly say that I can never remember a time when I was angry with Swami Radhanath. And I can’t say that about anybody in my life, no women I’ve ever known, not my mother, my father, I mean, I’ve never been angry with him because he’s never done anything to make me feel that way, you know. So, if we are lucky, we will meet lots of people that we feel this way about, but in reality, I think most people will have a love-hate relationship, you’re right. How do you deal with it? I guess you have to focus on the principles that Swami teaches you about doing everything in the service of the Lord. That’s my guess. He would know more than I would do about that. Is there anything else anyone wants to know about me or Swami that I can help enlighten you?
Member of audience: I have been told beautifully that as Maharaja described that you build the body and Maharaja puts things inside. Inaudible – 1:11:31-1:11:45
Gary: That’s correct. I help build the body and he tells people that we’re not the body. Somehow it works out and we reconcile the differences. What Swami told me was that the body is a temple, the vehicle which gets us through this life and so you want to take care of your temple and keep it healthy and strong and then when you go into the temple, he takes over from there and teaches you how to live right. So we speak and work together on this … Swami had an example, a good example, of people who have taken different paths in life yet the love they have always had for each other hasn’t diminished in the least so if everyone in the world interacted the way we do, it would be a great place. There wouldn’t be all the wars, the hatred and everything.
Member of audience: Inaudible – 1:12:48-1:13:10
Radhanath Swami: Would you like to answer that one?
Gary: That’s more your area of expertise.
Radhanath Swami: That is a very complicated question: what is Hinduism? In today’s world, Hinduism can mean anything. The word ‘Hindu’ is not found anywhere in any of the authorized scriptures. The word is sanatana dharma. Those who follow the Vedic culture follow the principles of sanatana dharma. Dharma means occupation. Dharma also means the intrinsic nature of a thing or a person. Intrinsic nature of sugar is that it is sweet. The intrinsic nature of chilli is to be hot. Yes? The intrinsic nature of water is liquidity. If you put it in an artificial circumstance, it can turn solid ice but as soon as it comes to a natural setting it immediately melts into liquidity. So the intrinsic nature of every living being is to serve. You cannot live without serving. You are either serving your family, serving your boss, serving your country, serving the government or serving your mind or serving your senses. Yes? Everyone is serving. So the nature of everyone is to serve. And sanatana means eternal. The eternal nature of every living being is to serve God because we are part and parcel of God. Some are serving His external energy or maya or illusion and some are serving His internal energy in love and devotion. But that is our constitutional nature, to serve God. So this is actually what Hinduism is. Because this is actually what the Vedas teach. It is the essence of every religion to actually live in harmony with the laws of God, to cultivate a purification of the heart. And Jesus in the Bible said you can judge a tree by its fruit. A person may call himself a Hindu or a Jew or a Christian, whatever, but actually what is the fruit? If the fruit is love and peace and self-control and compassion, then we understand that the tree is good. That we are actually connected properly. So you can explain like this. What is Hinduism? Hinduism means to know that we are the eternal soul, to know that we are a part of God and to cultivate a spirit of love and devotion to God in everything we say, in everything we think and everything we do and to live in a spirit of compassion to other living beings. That is a Hindu, and essentially, that is a real Christian and that is a real Muslim. Sanatana dharma is not sectarian. Is that a good answer? Haribol. Then you can tell them about King Ashok also.
Gary is such a wonderful, wonderful person. He was speaking something about me which I don’t really believe. But his open-mindedness, because to many conventional Americans I’m quite a strange creature, but yet, because of our relationship and because of his open heart, he has so much affection and so much respect and we’ve always had that for each other even through many phases of transformations in our lives. And if you go to where he lives today, I see with my eyes that same spirit that he had as a child is still very much there, always wanting to do things for others, always wanting to be very fair, always wanting to be very helpful, always wanting to be the best friend of whoever he’s with and everybody who he knows, practically, they tell me he’s their best friend. People really love him because he really loves to help people. He always respects people and makes people happy. He’s always been of that nature and we used to try to be like that together and now when I come to visit him at Malibu beach he really brings all his close associates, his clients and his friends and opens their hearts just like we are here today and hears about spiritual truths and about Krishna. And by the time I get there, they are all ready … like their ears are open and their hearts are open and they are eager to hear. This is because of the way that Gary expresses his affection toward me and … so we have a very extraordinary relationship in that sense. But friendship and love goes beyond sectarian differences.
Member of audience: Inaudible – 1:20:00-1:20:25 You cannot reach anywhere with differences but.. me and Ajay go back 40 years together and we were talking the other day …. you people are together, this is a great inspiration to us. How this friendship can be maintained!
Radhanath Swami: I congratulate both of you. What a wonderful, wonderful…Would you like to speak something else?
Danavir Goswami: With Gary describing you and you describing Gary, although he’s saying that there’s so much difference it seems that there’s a common quality that you both see other people in terms of their desires rather than your own, which is basically the nature of loving. So what I wanted to ask you is how does that quality relate to spirituality?
Radhanath Swami: You know better than me Maharaja.
Danavir Goswami: I don’t know better than you. I am narcissistic. I see everything in terms of my own desires and fears. That’s why I am asking this because I am seeing two people who have such wonderful spirits and I need to be helped. One of the qualities of Maharaja and you may have noticed is that you can never defeat him in an argument. I don’t know if you have had the same experience.
Radhanath Swami: You have just defeated me.
Danavir Goswami: And he just defeated me.
Member of audience: Have you ever had an argument?
Danavir Goswami: Let me put it this way. Sometimes I try to out love Maharaja and that’s impossible.
Member of audience: He has enough love for anyone, right?
Radhanath Swami: Actually Gary and I have always had differences especially travelling together. But whenever there’s a difference we are respectful. You do your thing and I’ll do my thing and we’ll meet this evening. We’ve never had arguments. Yes? Something like that?
Gary: Exactly. Are you waiting for an answer to something?
Member of audience: No, I am just enjoying.
Gary: I found that all over the world people have this view of serving others and selfless compassion. It’s not just the people in this room but everywhere I’ve been, that’s a quality you find all over. I’ve experienced that in my stay here in Bombay so far. The people have been so nice to me. I got very ill on my way here from Moscow … And I’m starting to get better because of Radhapriya. This woman has taken care of me. My own mother couldn’t have done a better job. She hovers over me all day making me food and medicine.
Radhanath Swami: I can confirm because I know his mother.
Gary: She embodies selfless giving and compassion, as strong as I have ever seen in any person wherever I’ve been. That’s just one example. I’m sure everyone here has the same story, you know. So, as Swami Radhanath says, if you do something, you should do it for the right reasons, in the service of God. If you do it in the service of God, you can’t go wrong, right? Every time I’ve spoken, I’ve thanked these people here for making me feel so welcome in my trip to Bombay but I have to keep doing it. I am so overwhelmed by the acceptance and the love that I’ve experienced here. I wasn’t quite expecting that kind of reception and I want to thank all of you so much. You’ve made my stay…it’s not that I wanted to come here and get sick but if wanted to do it anywhere I would want to do it here mostly because of Radhapriya. Thank you so much, thank you. Are there any more questions that I can help answer?
Member of audience: Inaudible – 1:25:29-1:25:50
Gary: My personal feeling is that we are all the product of the experiences of our lives and the most formative years of my life were the years I spent travelling around the world and the best part of that trip was the year that I spent with Swami Radhanath. When you travel with him, you don’t just travel but you see it through spiritual eyes. I absolutely think that who I am today is greatly enhanced by the experiences of my travels. Absolutely, you know. So yes, does that answer your question? Any other questions? Do you have any questions Swami Radhanath?
Radhanath Swami: Yes, please accept me as your servant…So now we can all have prasad. Thank you very, very much. Can everyone please give Gary your nice company and accept his nice company and that will be very special. And especially grateful for the darshan of His Holiness Danavir Goswami Maharaja who is one of my very, very, very dearest friends in life. We’ve also gone through many transformations but he’s always seeing the positive. Always seeing Krishna’s hand in every situation. Very deeply learned in the scriptures, very deeply realized and is a person who really, really loves Krishna and loves everyone. Thank you Danavir Goswami Maharaja. It’s always blissful to be close to Maharaja and my special thanks to you sir. Your good name sir, I’m sorry?
Member of audience: My name is Raj Kumar Anand.
Radhanath Swami: Dr Anand, very grateful that you came and thank you for your wonderful experience that you shared with us, very special. And thank you Anil, Kiran, Priya and Agvinesh Prabhu and to everyone that has assembled tonight. Please enjoy this nice prasadam. Thank you. Hare Krishna.