Material world is built upon the blocks of Duality
I am very grateful to be amongst all of you this evening, our special gratitude to Yash and Avanti and their family for opening the doors of their home for about one thousand five hundred friends and devotees. We all look forward to this evening throughout the entire year, do you all agree with that. By graciousness of the hearts of our host we have been coming year as an annual event. I was on one of these higher terraces watching the devotees streaming in; it looks like a river of effulgent personalities entering into the sea of this yard. I was thinking of some lessons we could learn from the river. When we sit on the bank of the river specifically the Ganga and we observe how the current is flowing toward the sea. There are unlimited waves ripples, little whirl pools coming and going. As soon as they come into being they practically immediately cease to be. The great saints have thought us that is the way life is, in this worldly existences everything comes into being and from the perspective of eternity which is reality very soon it disappears. Then there is another wave and it disappears, then there is another wave and it disappear constant change. But the current is forever, the current of truth cannot be changed by any situation in this world, although the phenomenon that takes place on the surface of existences is every changing. Sometimes there is prosperity other time there is recession, depression but then again there will be prosperity but sure enough there will be recession and depression. Sometimes there are some semblances of peace other time there is war, health disease, pleasure pain, honor dishonor, happiness distress. This world is built upon the blocks of duality everything is changing. By the power of time there is birth, childhood, youth, old age and then another change called death.
Maya tries to keep us on superficial level so that we could not dive deep
Gita tells us,
väsäàsi jérëäni yathä vihäya
naväni gåhëäti naro ‘paräëi
That one who goes deeper into life below the surface of superficial existences where all changes is taking place we find the eternal principle of life. Gita explain what is death, it is simply a change na hanyate hanyamäne çarére the soul never cease to exist this is universal principle. In the Bible Lord Jesus what is the gain if you win over the whole world but you lose your immortal soul. Because in this world what really do you get, just a whole bunch of waves on the surface that are every changing and ultimately the wave of your life cease to exist. But the principle of life that who we really are that is ever existing? Due to people thinking, feeling, willing and in fact living on this very superficial level, this very shallow state of consciousness so many problems come about, so much agitation. Just like the ocean on the surface of the ocean or the river there could be big storms, big waves but if you go deep down its very peaceful, very still. So all the agitations disturbances and all corruption that are born of those agitation and disturbances are due to human being not willing to dive deeply into the essence of what life is. Simply remaining habituated to this superficial surface, shallow state of consciousness. Propaganda is so strong, propaganda essentially of Maya that which is not, tries to keep us on that superficial level, practically making superstitious, sentimental, unscientific, uncool to go any deeper. That the real pleasures of life, the real joys are all these little waves, we are swimming around in these waves in the name of progress, in the name of education.
Real education is to understand our relationship with God and each other
Krishna tells in Bhagvad-Gita,
pavitram idam uttamam
Knowledge of the every lasting constant truth is the king of education, otherwise we could engineer’s, we could be politician; we can be industrialist, business people, teachers, housewife, athletes, Bollywood stars. We could be so many things, we could be warriors. But have understood who we are, have we understood the permanent nature of our own existences and the permanent relationships we have with each other. Without that there is very little chance of real character in our lives and if there is anything that is causing disruption and misery in this world it is lack of character. For the cheap things that come and go were willing to compromise morality, ethics and basic secret principles. Integrity is to live by the truth, to live according to sacred ideals even in the face of temptations or great risk. This is the education that should foundational to everything else we learn and this is what Bhagavad-Gita stress so strongly. What is our relationship with God? What is our relationship with each other on the spiritual level?
There is always a situation comes beyond our control; that means we are controlled by some higher powers
To love is the nature of the soul, to love God or Krishna. That love manifest as love and compassion toward every living being. The Bhagavad-Gita tells,
brähmaëe gavi hastini
çuni caiva çvapäke ca
The nature of one who see’s the truth perceives every living being with equal vision because he sees a spark of God in the heart of every one and loves that spark. He wants to honors respect and serve that spark whatever craziness the outer shell is doing. As it said in bible we should hate the sin but we should love the sinner. We may hate the disease but we should love the person who is diseased, if they are own relative and everyone is our relative. So how to deal with the constant changes that is coming in our lives. No matter who we are, we are just not the controller there is always situation comes beyond our control. Whether we are just simple people or whether we are prime minister or kings we are all in the same predicament, whether it’s our health or the economy or how other people deal with us or enemies. What can we the do if the Pakistan pushes the button with the Atomic bombs, there is not much we really have to say about it? As far as terrorist attacking and we could take all precautions and everything else but really certain things are just beyond our control. Earth quakes, droughts, floods. Mumbai is wealthiest city in all of India but almost every year the whole place is flooded. The airports closed, the train’s station, the railway stations closed, and no cars on the road, the whole city stand still under water doesn’t matter who we are.
Bhagavad-Gita teaches us, how we can prosper and grow even when such afflictions come upon us within our life which is in fact beyond our control. We must try our best to keep good health, we must try our best to keep peace and security and prosperity and everything else. But we have also humble of enough to know that I am not the controller there is powers beyond my own. But one thing we also do have control of if we choose to do so and that to grow, to become and deeper and wiser no matter what may happen and ultimately that what life is for. The animals are meant for making temporary arrangements for their survival and for their enjoyment, athäto brahma jijïäsä human life is meant for self realization. Every situation is an opportunity and difficult situation could be the greatest opportunity.
Gajendra being animal, he dived deeply for the shelter of Krishna
We read Srimad Bhagvatam about Gajendra, Gajendra was a king in his own region, he was powerful he had a wonderful family; he had everything a person like him could possibly want. He went into a lake to enjoy with his family when he was bit by a crocodile that just wouldn’t let him go. As powerful his he was this crocodile just kept biting harder and harder and harder and he fought, he fought valiantly. But ultimately he realizes neither him his family nor anyone else could save him. In that condition when losing hope in any of his own physical or mental abilities he turned to God. He cried out beautiful prayers of shelter, of surrender to the Lord. In those moments he attains supreme perfection. If it wasn’t for that crocodile he would have just lived an ordinary, superficial life and died an ordinary superficial death. But by the grace of the crocodile he achieved spiritual perfection, realize his eternal self he entered into the kingdom of God. Was at the crocodile, wasn’t the crocodile that helped him it was his own free will he chose to grow in a crisis, crisis will come sometimes minor sometimes severe. On the surface of the river, I mean all the rippling waves of all our relationship, all our accomplishments will come and go but to dive deep that is what life is really for. We see in the world today, how this greed, envy, arrogance, lust, anger they are inducing people to incriminate themselves and incriminated other people in so many complications, so many problems. But if we dive deeply we could go beyond all of these things and that is where the real treasure of life really is. Just by seeing a river Krishna is revealing all of these truths if we only open our eyes and open our hearts to hear.
Radhanath swami Maharaj’s last moments with Bhakti Tirtha swami Maharaj
My dear God brother Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaj I have often explained, I was with him for the last eight weeks of his life. He was diagnosed with melanoma cancer. One day I was sitting with him holding his hand and his body was in the worst condition I have ever seen it. Just like waves of pain sometimes would come upon him his whole body was trembling, he could hardly talk. I would be reading to from Srimad Bhagvatam but I could see he couldn’t concentrate so I just started chanting, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Suddenly he looked at me and smiled; how he smiled beautiful, bliss smile a super human smile it was from his heart, it was from his soul, he was smiling. His eyes were twinkling with such light and he said Maharaj it doesn’t get any better than this. He said I would not change my position for any other person in the entire world, what I am experiencing right now is perfect. He said, because in this condition I am hearing God’s name so intensely and I am tasting the sweetness of that name so intensely. He said, I can’t think of any other place or any other situation at rather be. That a matter of choice. You could suffer in a situation like that or you could be in bliss in a situation. The bliss was not his body; his body was in exact same predicament it would be for anybody else was in pain. But internally he chose to dive deep below the waves of the pains of the body, below the pains of the disturbances of the mind. He dove deeply and this is what the holy name of the Lord does for us. Mantra means to relieve the mind of its anxiety, by taking our consciousness deeper and deeper and deeper into our very soul, into our relationship with God or Krishna. Just like a vehicle moves us from one place to another, if we attentively hear the mantra it transport our consciousness deeper and deeper and deeper into that state not only of complete peace but of divine love. He was experiencing it, he was realizing it you can’t theoretically talk like that and smile when you are in that kind of situation, unless you are really there. That is the opportunity we all have by our spiritual practice. Bhakti is the path of devotion; Bhakti is the path where through our sincerity and our efforts we attract a power beyond our own. Like Gajendra he had no power to escape that crocodile but he cried for the power beyond his own the power of God. He not only escaped crocodile in the water but he was released forever from the crocodile of birth and death. Bhakti is the path where we humble our self, understanding our own limitations and do the best we can in whoever we are and whatever our duty may be but to access the supreme divine power of Krishna and to be an instrument of that power. To acquire wealth, fame, prestige is a small thing but to actually have the privilege of being the instrument of the unlimited everlasting love of God is the greatest fulfillment of the heart that is divine wealth. In whatever situation we are in, we can access that through Bhakti, through sincere devotion.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu pleased by the devotion of Çuklämbara Brahmachari
There is a beautiful story of a Brahmachari named Çuklämbara, he was a simple beggar. He would go every day house to house with a little cloth bag around his shoulder. What did people give baggers, they usually don’t give the best things they have, and they usually don’t give them anything. But if they give something it usually the cheapest thing, they would give him the broken pieces of rice and throw it in his bag. Every day he would just be chanting Krishna name, completely in happiness. He would take that rice cook it, offer it to Krishna and eat it in great happiness. Nobody knew that he was wealthiest person on earth, he was a saint. How wealthy was he, even the Lord wanted his wealth, Lord Caitanya Krishna himself the husband of Goddess of fortune Laxmi. When the devotees were doing Nama-sankirtaan chanting Lord Caitanya was there he was watching the devotees Çuklämbara would be dancing in his little cloth bag would be swing to and fro with few handfuls of broken rice. Lord Caitanya told him to come closer and plunged his hand right in Çuklämbara bag and took entire handful of rice and immediately ate it. Çuklämbara fell to the ground my Lord this is unbroken, uncooked rice it is not fit for you, now I am finished. Lord Caitanya just plunged his hand in and took another handful ate it. He said for me this is nectar, the Lord is not tasting rice the rice the Lord is tasting his love.
patraà puñpaà phalaà toyaà
yo me bhaktyä prayacchati
Krishna says in Gita, you offer me a fruit, flower, or a little water I will accept it if it is offered with real devotion. Çuklämbara has such devotion, the Lord didn’t even wait for him to offer it, and he couldn’t even wait for him to cook it. He wanted to taste that devotion to intensely he stole it from him. Now usually if you make an offering to the Lord you cook it very nicely, you take your bath then you offer with Yanta, Tantra, Mantra, Puja mudra he didn’t do any of that. He didn’t say a single mantra, he didn’t offer it, he didn’t cook it the Lord was so eager to eat it to taste the love of his devotee. Lord Caitanya said that what I am eating from your bag is like nectar but even the most opulent food stuffs not cooked with love I will never accept it, he Lord is Bhaktavatsal.
Krishna is pleased with chipped rice if it is offer with devotion
Sudama Vipra is another example Sudama Vipra, he had that chipped that his went out and begged for him, they had wrapped up just in a pieces of old cloth. Sudama Vipra went to Dwarka and the Lord was offering finest food in a beautiful palatial palace and Sudama Vipra was thinking how I can offer him this. So he didn’t offer it. Krishna said Sudama did you bring something for me; Sudama said no, no I didn’t bring anything for you. The Lord said I think you did, he said no, no I didn’t bring anything. So the Lord reached behind Sudama and grabbed that dirty old pieces of cloth with cheapest of all food chipped rice that was receive from begging and Lord Caitanya ate it. Sudama Vipra was embarrassed. Rukmini said my Lord don’t take any more of this you have already satisfied him. After eating that Sudama who was very much in poverty when he went home he found that his little fetched hut had become a palace more beautiful than that of Indra with lakes and garden, waterfalls and beautiful trees. Everything was made marble and gold and silver, diamonds and rubies and emerald. His wife came out well dress and Sudama Vipra thought that he was lost; his wife said no, no she said you see because you satisfy Krishna he gave us all of these. Then he realize, just because Krishna accepted that little chipped rice he reciprocated with all these. But the most beautiful part of this whole story is Sudama and his wife lived in the most luxuries situation on all of earth with the same simplicity and devotion as they lived in their fetched hut. Poverty is not a disqualification; tremendous wealth is not a disqualification they were happy in either situation. Because they had gone deep into the river of life, they had experienced the essence of love for God, love for God, service to God, service to others that is satisfying. Whether we serve with some chipped rice or we serve with beautiful magnificent palaces that a detail for one who goes deep. Bhakti is the process of accessing that innate dormant love what everyone longs for, what everyone needs, what everyone in society is searching for in all of their endeavors, in all of their pleasures. premä pumartho mahän, it is that love that is the essence of life.
Description of guest by Radhanath Swami Maharaj
I was just reflecting on a few of these thoughts as I was watching coming all of you coming here in tonight, so beautiful in this most charming environment. So wonderful, Krishna has given this family so many nice beautiful things and they share it with all of us to help us all to come closer to Krishna, it’s a beautiful experience and we are so grateful. We have some special guest tonight; actually every one of you is a special guest tonight. But we have once again my very dear old lifelong friend Garry, please standup Garry, everyone please welcome him back to Bombay. I have already told him stories about him I think all of you know if you want to know more there is an opportunity to do so if you so desire which you learn about in few minutes. Also one of my dear most friends, first time he has ever been amongst us in Bombay I could speak for many hours, weeks, months years about my respect and my gratitude and my affection for this person, he is my senior God brother. He has deep for Krishna and my guru Maharaj Srila Prabhupada, he is married with two children’s. He was producing children’s book for many years and then he went into making documentaries. He produces award winning documentaries to enlighten human society to educate people about mistakes of the past. The holocaust, the Nazi regime and Hitler concentration camps, the tragedies, the pain, the deaths of millions and millions of people he wanted to give the world a real message of what lack of character can do to the human mind. He had made several such documentaries which were shown on national television in America and won awards. He also recently wrote a book about a spiritual biography of George Harrison of beetles, which is a best for sometimes in America “to know him is to love him”. Let us all welcome Yogeshwar Prabhu, would you please stand, everyone very loudly. We also have with once again Rinay is Garry’s fiancée, wonderful lady first time in India. She is having a wonderful, wonderful experience, very wonderful lady; very dear friend could you standup. Let us welcome her to Bombay, have you ever been welcomed like that before, it’s very historical moment. We have back with us Raghunath Prabhu and Kastuba Prabhu and Gita Priya Devi can all three of you stand up, they are very, very great devotees who are also accomplished Yoga teachers in New York City and very dear friends, please stay standing; let us very enthusiastically welcomed them. We have Venkatabhatta, krishangi his good mother can you all stand up please; he is lawyer from New York City who has gone from legal work to being the co-director of ISKCON communication for the International society and he is also doing wonderful at Princeton University. He is Chaplin for the students of Princeton University, wonderful family, please let us welcome them. Oh! His Holiness Chandramauli Swami Maharaj, he is very humble, learned, and pure hearted saintly person, please stand up for a moment Maharaj.
His Grace Gaur Gopal Prabhu, His Grace Govinda Prabhu, His Grace Gauranga Prabhu speak some few words in appreciation of Maharaj book.
Gary Prabhu speaks: As everybody else who has read the book has told you, it a unbelievably inspirational story and I am so honored and humble to be an a small, may be not so small to be in a part of Maharaj’s journey. That he has always accepted me into his life and included me his part of his life, its biggest honor of my life, thank you so much. Even today he still accepts me as I am and I am very humble by that. I read this the rough manuscript of this book last year when Yash and Avanti were so gracious us to allow me to stay at their home in Hrisikesh I sat on the banks of the Ganga River and read his book. It was thrower it brought me back all those years and when you read it exactly the way it happened as I remember it. Maharaj has an unbelievable memory for fax may be you are going to read somewhere and think it couldn’t have happen like this, it’s not possible but believe me to the best of my knowledge everything you will read in that book happen just a way Maharaj wrote it. I can’t wait to read it again I am so forward to getting a final draft to the book and I know you are going to love it. You don’t have to be ISKCON devotee to love this book it’s just such a revering story. Is made a fact I can see it being made into a movie one day, I am trying to decide. I was trying to decide who will play the young Maharaj may Brad pith but he is not quite good enough looking to play a young Maharaj. But still I think it will make an unbelievable movie I am know all of you agree with me. It was better than slum dog Millionaire, also before I finish taking I wanted to once again thank all of you for the warm welcome is given to myself and Rinay and our trip to Mumbai. Once again you made us feel part of family so much love, so much sharing of your lives, thank you Maharaj always inviting me here. Banke Bihari and Raj Priya to opening their home and hearts to us and treating us like family. Rinay was telling me in her whole she is never met so much kindness, so many loving people and we are humbled and honored to be part of this community even it for the few days each year, Thank you very much, Hare Krishna!
Maharaj speaks: I don’t know anything about this whole thing. Hare Krishna it’s a really strange book, I don’t know if anyone would like it. I sincerely pray to all of you to bless this humble endeavor that it could have a positive effect on people hearts to bring them closer to God. With your blessings I am hopeful that this may be possible, thank you very much. Yash, would you like it, my humble offering to your family.
Thank you very much!
Srila Prabhupada ki jai!