We have to understand, what really blessing is!

Prabhu was also the first ISKCON president in Bombay, Haribol. He started the first temple here in Bombay. Hare Krishna, I feel this evening very blessed to be amongst you to speak on the subject of the power of blessings. We are very sorry we are late but we were at Bhaktivedanta Hospital and we had some sort of minor surgeries and we got caught in traffic. Many told please don’t go to this program but we could not resist, thank you for being so patient. What is a blessing? Different people had a different understanding of what really a blessing is. One time Srila Prabhupada had just finished a lecture and he was going back in to his room, no actually this was in Indian train I am sorry the same story almost identical but I will tell this one. Prabhupada was in Indian train and this one man just crash right into Prabhupada’s compartment and said Swamiji give me your blessing, please give me your blessing. Prabhupada was busy doing other things so the person kept insisting, give me your blessings. Prabhupada got up, he followed him, Prabhupada came back he followed him back and said Swamiji please give me your blessings. Prabhupada said, I blessed you that your material life is finished and the person literally felt at the floor and started crying and begging not that blessing Swami, Swamiji not that kind of blessing. He said, “No I have already blessed you. So for someone getting a good grade on your exams is blessing of God or getting a nice husband is blessing of God or getting some money is a blessing of God. Actually everything is a potentially a blessing if we recognized it, if we don’t recognize a blessing and reciprocate properly what appears to be blessing could be a curse. Sometimes you begged for some blessing that you really want and then get it and it ruined’s your life, it happens every day.

 

Example of how to take painful situations as blessing in order to perfect our life

One of my God sisters her name was Kunti Devi, she came down with malignant caner, she had six months to live, she had two children’s, extremely painful and because she was looking for the divine love of God in every situation she took her cancer to be a blessing. She was happy and she was growing internally so much so she was in a city in America that all these neighbours who were coming to console her were coming out of the room enlightened and the word was spreading in the television station. A local news station they did a series of shows on her where she is sitting on her wheel chair, she couldn’t talk I mean she couldn’t walk and she is just explaining how her cancer is a blessing, how everything that comes in life is a blessing if you just recognize it. Then I remember at one point I went to visit her and she had no strength to even hold the book. So someone gave her computer with all Prabhupada our gurudev’s books on a computer programme and she would just sit there flipping the pages with one finger click and just pressing the key board. She had all these things supporting her back because she couldn’t sit up otherwise. Yet she was always smiling, so happy and she would tell me this is such a blessing I wouldn’t trade my situation for anyone else in the whole world that is such a blessing because I have never heard my gurudev’s words penetrate my heart so deeply as I am today, every word of his book is just enlightening me, I could feel his love, I could feel presence ever before, even when I was sitting next to her this surely is a blessing.

 

How blessings become curse and curse become blessing  

The real blessing that the soul is looking for is the blessing of a connection with God’s love, that’s the highest blessing to actually connect with the love of God. The love of God is always everywhere in every situation, if we look for it. In Christian bible it is said, seek and you shall find and Krishna say in Bhagavad Gita that, as you approach me I will reveal myself accordingly? In the wonderful, beautiful things that come in your life if you are looking for the love of God in that and you are looking for the opportunity to grow you will find it. But if you are not then even in the most beautiful things of life it will cause you great frustration, anxiety and ruination, yes. I can give too many examples but I am already too late. I had a friend that I grew up very young boy and later on I heard about that something that happened, father died left a huge inheritance, there were two sons each one got half. It was huge relatively to our situation may be two people in Bombay it’s not so big, I don’t know but it was lot of money. So one of the sons brought a beautiful ranch in the state of Oregon, got an airplane, made a airport in his yard, got a beautiful horses to rid, built beautiful house, married a nice lady, had children and the other boy with the same money was blessing, it’s a blessing when a father gives you millions of dollar. He wanted to make it more so he got in wrong association and decided to invest it in cocaine, just one time buy it, sell it triple your money. He got cot and got forty years in prison, he has been in prison twenty five years now, and he is still in prison no one can get him out. So that blessing of the fortune that he got became the greatest curse of his life. Where is the other person the blessing, he was thinking that it was a great blessing but later on his wife divorced him and got everything and he was just living in a small flat, so which one was a better blessing. When we read about Kolavecha Sridhara, he was living very poor just selling Bananas, banana leaves living in a little thatched and lord Caitanya offered him any blessing, any blessing, I will give you wealth, I will give power, I will give mystic Siddhis, yogic powers, I will give liberation, I will give you elevation to the spiritual world. He said, I don’t want any of those things; but I want to give you some blessing ask for something. He said, blessed me that I will always see that beautiful little Nimai you coming to steal my Bananas, blessed be to always be the servant of the servant of the servant of your servants. So every situation is potentially blessing or a curse according to how we perceive it and according to how we respond to the situation. Divine blessing is that which connects us with the love of God and that’s always there. Just like rain, rain falls especially in the monsoon season in Mumbai you can expose yourself to the rain and you can hide from the rain. Now in this case it’s usually better to hide from the rain but when it’s the rain of blessings we can hide from it or we can expose our self to it. This lady Kunti she was in the most painful situation, she was going to die any day, she was paralysed from the waist down, she emaciated, her hair was falling out and she was smiling and whoever came to console her she would end up preaching to them about how wonderful life was. They would start telling her their problems and she would resolve all their problems, they would go in crying and come out smiling, how is that, because she was looking for the blessing even in the most unlikely place and she found it. Not only did she found it but she attains life perfection in that blessing.

 

Radhanath Swami’s observation on culture of India

So in our life real wisdom is not just getting a degree that’s academic knowledge which could be very helpful but even that economic knowledge it could be a blessing in our life or curse in our life but to see the hand of God and to see how to reciprocate with the hand of God and to be grateful. A grateful heart can recognize the blessings in everything and ungrateful heart can never recognize any blessing and therefore cannot grow in that blessing. Gratitude is one of the most essential human virtues for real inner prosperity and inner happiness and especially connect us to the divine or to Krishna. There is another type of blessing which is very special, the blessing that God bestows to those who love him. Culture is a society where people are always seeking the blessings of their elders or seniors. Now I am from America, United States in the 1960’s which is before some of you were even born but I don’t know how much you have studied American history? In the 1960’s there was, what is called generation gap? Have heard that before, it means a gap of miscommunication between generations and it was at its peak at that time. Where amongst the youth the battle cry was never trust anyone over thirty. So there was not much, what to speak of ask permission from your parents, the cruel thing was to sneak around them, yes. Then I came to India, I was from whole culture where the whole nation was like this and I came to India and I saw young people touching the feet of their mother and father, putting it on their head asking for blessing. I was thinking, what kind of world is this? They are not arguing with their mother and father they are asking for blessing, they touching their feet, this is culture. Culture is to honour respect teachers, parents, elders, and Sadhu’s people who are spiritually advanced. Really, what we are doing when respecting yet shouldn’t just be a ritual, we are really seeking their blessing to guide us, to enrich us, to give us strength, to give us wisdom, to give us hope, to actually succeed in whatever we are doing in life. That same principle of seeking blessings is origin and its perfection is from those who can give us God blessing. When we have the blessing of saintly person magic can happen in our life but what kind of magic it is we have to have some good spiritual education to recognize. Sometimes when we receive a blessing everything starts going wrong because that what we need to go through to grow and sometimes everything starts going right.

 

By just pleasing guru, Sadhu the blessing directly flows from them

Today we have with us his Shyamasundar prabhu, when was the age of most all of you he received the blessing of A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Blessing in the form of, he received his love, he received his prayers, he received his instructions those are blessings. Sometimes people were coming to Prabhupada and say, please give me your blessing, please give me your blessing. Prabhupada would say, follow my instruction, my instructions is my blessing because in following the instruction which is Krishna’s words all blessing will come upon you. The heart blessing of a person doesn’t come just by demanding, give me blessing, when a person is pleased with you they don’t have to say you are blessed. When a person is please with you from their heart, their affection God’s blessing pours through that. There is a beautiful verse sing every morning,

Yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasädo

yasyäprasädän na gatiù kuto ‘pi

When guru is pleased Krishna is pleased and all blessing of God come, if he is pleased and if the guru is not pleased there is no possibility of reaching of accessing the blessings of Krishna. So by actually being serious, sincere and not having ulterior motives and really trying to please God and please his devotees spontaneously and naturally full blessing come to you and you are actually in a consciousness to receive them. When those blessing come that means, the situation that’s just perfect for you is there. It may be something very easy to attain and to fulfil or it may be something that’s very difficult.

 

How Shyamasundar prabhu received blessings from Srila Prabhupada

We are going to hear from Shyamasundar about how Prabhupada blessed him and his wife and little baby child. How magic happen in their life, unbelievable things happen in their lives? But not without immense struggle, not without unbelievable reversals that was part of the blessings. But through it all, such miraculous results and such inner growth and love was manifesting. Just imagine Prabhupada told go to London, he is going to talk about Sans Francisco but before he talks about Sans Francisco I want to back. He said, I want to talk back about Sans Francisco because I was the same age of these young girls when I was there. I said London also; he said no, no I was too old then. He suppose there in the front road to protect us actually, all these men are suppose to be our body guards, it’s not my idea its brahmacari have appointed them, everyone is ultimately female including our self Krishna is the only male. So Prabhupada said, go to London and London they had no money, how they got in its unbelievable because they needed a certain amount of to get in London, Prabhupada lent one of him a little bit of money and they all went to Amsterdam and they would show that money at the border, get into England and wired the money back to Amsterdam. The second couple would come in, show that money get in, wired back to the third couple. After then all got in and they wired it all back to Prabhupada and they had nothing. He was living with his wife and little baby daughter in card board box in the basement of warehouse for sometimes. Now you may ask what kind of blessing is that. But he was never happier, yes he was never happier and he was just accepting as a blessing and growing and growing and growing and within a few days he is living in the house of John Lenin the leader of the Beatles. Have you heard of the Beatles, not the insects there is some musical band from England. They were the most popular people of the entire western world may be India too I don’t know, but they were so, nobody could see them. They stopped public performances because too many people were coming, they were the first musical band in history to play in a stadium, in those days no one every do that. So many people were screaming it couldn’t even hear. Wherever they would there would be thousands and thousands and thousands of people wanting to see them and touched them. They just decided just record in our studio and send out video’s or something, so nobody could see them and here he was living with them. He just snuck in had nothing, he wasn’t supposed to be there he snuck into some place and George Harrison comes out and said I have been looking all over for you. George Harrison became a devotees his best friend. Few days later they helped to make a record album, now you have CD’s they used have final albums. The Hare Krishna Mantra was the number one song in all of Europe, yes and the record album was in the top ten albums in all of Europe. Sanskrit hymns of devotion, how is that possible? Magic, it wasn’t possible because of his brilliance or his genius; it was because he received the blessing of a great soul. Through that blessing he blessed millions of others. The power of blessing is the power of God, the power of blessing is the power of Krishna its infinite unlimited and it’s everywhere. If we just recognize it and access it with the grateful heart and it is especially present within the heart and the prayers of great devotees. We will hear this now from our beloved God brother Shyamasundar prabhu.

Question: Hare Krishna! Maharaj we heard in this lecture today that once we take up Krishna consciousness or family and all other problems get resolved. When we begin there are lot of opposition we face from family because we have been brought up in some culture and nevertheless it’s a different kind of lifestyle once we become devotees. So many people who just join they have lot of opposition and they have fear that do I really give my life to this process at the cost of my family being upset with me. So sometimes they do not understand what choices to make, so how do we resolve this conflict in the beginning stages?

Answer: Like your family is devotees, but your whole family is devotees so it resolve everything. When Shyamasundar explains how problem are solved when you put Krishna in the centre. It doesn’t mean there are no problems because this world is always problems, the nature of this world is eminent problems at any moment, at any places whoever you are, whether rich or poor, whether you are man or women, whether you are African, American or Indian or Chinese. Whatever your situation problems will come they must come, it’s a world of problem. So when we put Krishna or God in the centre of our lives that doesn’t mean that no more problems on this level, it means we entered into state of consciousness beyond this problems. When we realize that I am the eternal soul and I have relationship with God than all of these material problems cannot affect us. They may affect us in the sense that we have to deal with them and because we are dealing with them through knowledge and through wisdom in the way we deal with this problem were actually solving the ultimate problem of life, birth, old age disease and death. Srila Prabhupada was a great pure devotee but there were so many problems he had to deal with but he was doing it at spiritual platform. Therefore he was always empowered by the blessings of Krishna. So as far young people who want to become Krishna consciousness and their devotees are not favourable, are you speaking about that problem or their family are not favourable? It takes a little bit of sensitivity and intelligence, Vishaka Priya Devi when she first became a devotee her family was extremely unfavourable, very disturbed but now every single member is an initiated devotees. How many others like that? Much of our congregation young people who became devotees, the first reaction is their families became very disturbed but most of the young people, last initiation ceremony so many parents were taking vows and all of them we unfavourable, why? Because Krishna consciousness is a very good thing, parents love you and therefore they are going to be concerned if you do something different than what they don’t understand. So if they are worried about you and they are very negative about what you are doing, it’s usually an expression of their love and their real concern. So instead of fighting against them recognize and appreciate their love and try to give them proper understanding, try to communicate nicely. Show them by being a devotee you are more respectful to them, you are living a higher moral ethical life, you are more charitable, you are more in the mood of service to others; you have a wonderful philosophy and wonderful love for God. As they understand it usually in every case especially in India even in America they not only appreciate but their hearts change. I am form America and being a devotee of Krishna and wearing tilak very, very; in India it’s not uncommon, it’s not strange it’s just they are afraid that you are doing it. But in the west it is really strange; it’s really strange and increase by thousands of times the fear of that the child doing. But you know who my father, my father and mother were very worried but I will tell you honestly who my father’s best friend in the whole world is now, Shyamasundar Prabhu. My father calls him Sam, they are best friends, yes they go for breakfast together whenever he is in Chicago always asking, they love devotees, and they love Krishna. So just be sensitive try to understand what they are going through, if you want to person to understand what you are doing you have to try to put yourself in their shoes to understand what they are going through because of you. You don’t have to compromise your own bhakti but just present it with sensitivity, with respect and its works like magic because if you do it like that behind you will be the power of blessings. Is that answer to your question?

 

Question: Maharaj you mentioned that when we get blessings many times things go wrong, so how to understand whether it is a blessing or it is a reaction of our Karma and offenses?

Answer: Even the reaction of the Karma and offenses are blessings, if you respond properly, yes because if you do something wrong and then you get back Karma that’s a blessing to purify you of your past Karma. If you respond by doing more Bad Karma then its good as a curse but if you respond by doing the right thing then it’s actually a blessing. So we required knowledge and we required guidance, therefore guru is very important and Sadhu’s other devotees who are helping to guide you to actually transform difficult situation in to blessings is very important. Is that answer of your question? He also, he is Radharani Devi’s brother, everyone knows Radharani Devi she is giving the Chetana lecture next month, can you please stand up. She is Radharani and her mother is Kirtida Devi and her father is Vrishabhanu prabhu and they used to come to me from time to time and say please blessed our son to become a devotee because he doesn’t like Krishna consciousness, yes. These people the mother, the father, the sister they prayed and through those prayers came Krishna blessings and on the power of those blessings we now have his Grace Shridama Sakha prabhu who is the master of ceremonies for all Radha Gopinath’s event. I am sorry to embarrass you but its good fun doing so.

Thank you very much!

Hare Krishna!

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

  • Vinay Malani

    Thank you Radhnath Swamiji for sharing the inspiring story of Kunti Devi. It teaches us how to convert painful situations into blessings & perfect our life.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Well said. It’s very inspiring!

  • Piyush Singh

    Wonderful talk by HH Radhanath Swami revealing us the power of blessings. Interesting to read that how different people have different understanding about blessings. The incident about Srila Prabhupada blessing that seeker is really funny but also instructive. Thanks for publishing this transcription.

    • Umesh

      Agreed. We should understand the real meaning of the “blessing” and accept it from the self-realised souls

      • Piyush Singh

        Actually yes, often the problem is that we ask for anything and everything in name of blessings not even knowing that that will be good or bad for us. For example there are examples in scriptures where one demon asked for such harmful boon that to destroy anyone on whose head he would keep his hand, now what good can such a harmful boon do? But still people are often bewildered by material powers.

        • Umesh

          Yes. And the example of how to accept everything that comes in life as a blessing is Kunti devi as explained by Radhanath swami. She was feeling the situation to be blessing despite the fact that she was infected with malignant cancer!!!

          • Piyush Singh

            True. The example of Kunti devi is too extreme at least for me. It must take a lot of courage, determination and conviction on Lord’s protection to pray to the Lord to keep on sending miseries as that helped her to remember him more. In my case it is the other way round :(, when any problems strike I get so disturbed and lost in making my own arrangements that seldom there is a thought to better remember Krishna :(.

          • Gopinath Chandra

            One more story that Radhanath Swami frequently quotes nowadays is that of Mekhala Dasi. On her death bed she said, “I have infinite value because Krishna loves me.” Have you heard this story? It is interesting.

            One more story is that of a devotee called Radhanath Prabhu. He left his body sometime around 2002. Even he had a degenerative disease. But through it all he was always grateful. In one lecture, during that period, Radhanath Swami, speaks an entire class about him. Do try to find that class and hear it. It is extremely inspiring.

            I am sorry, I missed commenting last 2 days because I was working on another website about which I chatted with you on whatsapp.

          • Piyush Singh

            The cases you shared are really inspiring. It is interesting to see that from where the people in these extreme cases get their conviction and courage to face the somewhat cruel situations in life. However on second thought I understand that it must be their surrender to Lord that makes it happen.

            I’d try to search for the lecture that you mentioned, but any key words from the lecture title will help me find the lecture quicker.

            No problems about the delay in responding on my comment. I can understand that we all get caught up with other things here and there.

          • Gopinath Chandra

            I will surely try and find that lectures for you.

            I am reminded of a lecture by kadamba kanana swami. He was explaining how life is full of surprises, most of them unpleasant ones. Only one who sincerely chants the holy names is equipped to respond in the right way when surprises come their way.

          • Piyush Singh

            Thank you for your care.

            The point about surprises seems so true. Most of the times surprises break us like anything, but this wisdom should certainly inspire us to sincerely chant and be prepared to handle the surprises as keep coming.

          • Umesh

            That’s wonderful quote. It shows how much important it is to take shelter of the chanting of the holy names. Thank you. How could we chant it in the proper mood ?

          • Gopinath Chandra

            By regularly studying Prabhupada’s books, we understand the importance and urgency of chanting the holy names.
            Prabhupada’s books are so crucial for our spiritual progress

          • Umesh

            Thank you.

          • Anand Patil

            I totally agree with you. Prabhupada toiled for so many years to translate so many wonderful books, just for our sake. So we can at least show this much gratitude by reading his books regularly. That way we can attract his mercy and blessings. Thank you.

    • Sumit Sharma

      Great thoughts! I also got impressed with Srila Prabhupad’s approach to bless the seeker.

      • Piyush Singh

        Yes Sumit. This is really impressing.

  • Kalpana Kulkarni

    Amazing lecture on blessings. Sometimes it’s so hilarious to read what people consider as blessings. We should just pray and perform devotional service to get the blessings of the Spiritual Master and vaishnavas.

    • Piyush Singh

      So well said. Really….few people have very weird conceptions about blessings. Fortunately we get to know the real blessings from the saints like HH Radhanath Swami.

  • Satya Kama Das

    Wonderful lecture. Inspiring story of Kunti Devi. Thank you very much.

  • Sumit Sharma

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful lecture by Radhanath Swami Maharaj. I particularly liked the section where he mentions about how to receive reversals in ones like as Lord’s mercy. It’s very difficult to live the life with that concept, however one who can do it, will really get Lord’s mercy.

    • Piyush Singh

      Yes, this point is really very striking though a bit difficult to practice but once this understanding is there nothing in life hurts as one is already beyond the point pf experiencing pleasure and pain at a superficial level. At that stage one is always grateful to the Lord for everything that comes his way.

  • vidya karekar

    Wonderful lecture on blessings

  • Vinay Malani

    It is a great blessing to have the association of exalted Vaishnavas & to be able to hear the holy scriptures from them. Thank you Radhanath Swamiji for all your blessings, guidance, instructions & inspiration to transform from within.

    • Piyush Singh

      Well said Vinay, it is really a great blessing and we are fortunate to hear/ read HH Radhanath Swami.

  • Umesh

    The real blessing that the soul is looking for is the blessing of a connection with God’s love, that’s the highest blessing to actually connect with the love of God.

    This point from the above transcript of Radhanath Swami is also very nice definition of “real blessing”.

    • Piyush Singh

      So well said.

  • Vinay Malani

    It was very interesting to know from Radhanath Swami as to how blessings can become curse and a curse can become a blessing.

    • Piyush Singh

      Yes, this is really very interesting wisdom to know.

  • Umesh

    A grateful heart can recognize the blessings in everything and ungrateful heart can never recognize any blessing and therefore cannot grow in that blessing.

    This is yet another wonderful statement by Radhanath Swami.It shows the necessity of the gratitude in our life.

    • Piyush Singh

      True. Really wonderful statement.

  • Umesh

    When a person is pleased with you from their heart, their affection God’s blessing pours through that.
    This is the secret of getting the real blessings by pleasing the seniors,guru. Then naturally their blessing will come out. Thanks Radhanath swami for explaining this.

    • Piyush Singh

      So well said Umesh. This is very much the case.

  • Umesh

    The struggle of Shyamsundar and his wife is wonderfully explained by Radhanath swami. And it is unbelievable to see their sacrifices for the man whom they just knew for few years are amazing.

    • Piyush Singh

      Really Umesh, this is really unbelievable. And somewhat similar dedication was exhibited by thousands of disciples of Srila Prabhupada specially in the initial days of ISKCON. By this we can only understand this this was all staged nicely by Lord Krishna to bring glories to his devotees.

      But overall this is simply amazing.

  • Piyush Singh

    The point of blessings and curses is so much striking. How interesting is to understand that every situation is potentially blessing or a curse according to how we perceive it and according to how we respond to the situation.

  • Jerry Richard

    A grateful heart can recognize the blessings in everything and ungrateful heart can never recognize any blessing and therefore cannot grow in that blessing. Gratitude is one of the most essential human virtues for real inner prosperity and inner happiness and especially connect us to the divine

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.