Radhanath Swami: We are reading today from Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 8 Chapter 16 entitled Executing the Payo vrta process of Worship Text number 6.
As we discussed in previous chapters Bali Maharaj rendered services to the descendents of Brghu, brahmanas and received in reciprocation their heartfelt blessings. Those blessings gave him extraordinary power by which Bali could lead his troops to conquer the Demigods. How he conquered them is quiet extraordinary, he didn’t have to lift a single weapon. He simply marched to Indra’s capital surrounded it and when Indra saw Bali with such unparalleled enthusiasm and confidence, Indra realised that he is endowed with such potency, I cannot stand before him, even with all demigods and with all of their weapons and powers it’s not possible. Indra asked Brihaspati what could be done. Brihaspati said, they have achieved the blessings of great souls. Bali Maharaj has gotten their blessings therefore there is nothing you could do. Better you hide and let him take everything you have and if someday when he displeases the Brahmans, great souls and is cursed by them, then only will you have any hope. So not only a single arrow was put to the bow and yet Indra and all of his people ran away.
They not only ran by their mystic powers they changed their forms so they couldn’t be recognised. Who suffered the most? Their mother Aditi. The nature of Mother’s love. We read in Mahabharath how the Pandavas suffer death threats, humiliation, exile but who suffered the most is Kunti Dev their mother. Even though most of the time she was living in the palace being protected by Bhisma and Vidura, just thinking of her children sleeping in the forest always being hunted by Duryodhana’s people place where there is wild animals and rakshasas so much inconveniences and they had nothing at all and thinking about Karna, she was her own son who made enemies with her other sons and neither side knew that they were brothers yet she couldn’t tell for various reasons. She suffered the most. Krishna would be playing and Yasoda Mayi would always be worrying and her whole life was worrying, blissfully worrying, will He be prick by a thorn, will He be scratched by the claws of a monkey, will he be hit by the horn of a bull or will he fall from a tree so always worrying in ecstatic love.
So in this particular story Aditi she was in many ways a self satisfied person. She lived in the forest with Kasyapa Muni. Demigods lived in a royal opulence but Kasyapa was a sage she followed the line of her husband, she was in his ashram. Kasyapa Muni’s pleasure was meditation, he wasn’t really all that bothered by what happened to demigods. He was the father of both demigods and demons. He wasn’t concerned with any of these. He was absorbed in meditation; he is detached from the face of the world. But Aditi she was severely inflicted with moroseness thinking of her children how they are hiding, penniless, stripped of all their prestige and Kasyapa after long time of meditation he comes home and sees her in this state.
Great sages they don’t only see the state but they see into person’s heart. Kasyapa Muni was very much concerned why you are so unhappy, you are lamenting in such a state and he is asking different questions of why this may have happened, have you not performed your prescribed duties properly? Have you not done your sadhana today? And in this particular verse he is especially asking a very critical question has any uninvited guest come to our ashram and you didn’t treat them properly, you didn’t serve them sufficiently and because of that in a sad state of mind they went away because if a grhastha commits this offense there is a very serious reaction. Kasyapa Muni understood this and he understood how refined and cultured his wife was and how she would suffer if she didn’t properly welcome an uninvited guest what to speak of an invited guest.
Srila Prabhupada in this purport explains the culture of the grhastha ashram, not only the grhastha ashram, the culture of civilized life that we will explain the principle and then the psychology behind the principle and then give some examples and there are thousands of such examples in the scriptures that very nicely give us a picture of that picture exemplified.
The principle is that the greed is the very enemy, the feeling of possessiveness not only is it very much disturb our spiritual progress that’s the cause of conflict, war, hatred and Krishna tells sarva-loka-mahesvaram[SB BG 5.29], I am the proprietor of everything that exists. Srimad Bhagavatam explains that the basic core seed of all material sufferenings is ahaà mameti, this misconception that I am this body, those things in relation with the body are mine. This is the basis of Ignorance. This ‘I’ and ‘mine’. To make spiritual progress we must understand that nothing is mine. This body is not me and it’s not mine.
Everything is a property of God and if we actually believe that then we will utilize everything according to Krishna’s desire. Krishna says in Gita, ahaà béja-pradaù pita[BG14.4], I am the seed giving father of every living being therefore we understand whatever God has entrusted to us is meant to serve others not only my family, of course charity begins at home, but it has to extend beyond the home too. Charity begins at home doesn’t mean the family at home only it means that any guest who come to your home. It’s a sacred duty. In the Vaishnava culture, people are very eager to invite guest to come their home specially guests who would enlighten them in spiritual knowledge and inspiration. This is emphasised again and again in the Holy Scriptures, why? This idea of the Atithi, the uninvited guest practically anywhere in the Vedas where it discusses the grhastha ashram this is always included as one of the duties, the emphasis is to welcome, give hospitality and satisfy the uninvited guests.
Now the concept is Krishna tells in the Gita, éçvaraù sarva-bhütänäà håd-deçe ‘rjuna tiñöhati [BG 18.61], He is seated in the heart of every living being and everything is his property and therefore when a guest comes to our home we see the guest is not God but God is there within the heart of the guest. Every living being is a part of God. vidyä-vinaya-sampanne brähmaëe gavi hastini çuni caiva çva-päke ca paëòitäù sama-darçinaù[BG 5.18].
A Grhastha should consider Krishna is coming through this guest to receive my services even if they are my enemies. Prabhupada explains here that when once worst enemy comes to your house you should treat those with such affection welcome them with such genuine enthusiasm, at least momentarily they forget that you are their enemy, they actually enjoy it.
In this case Prabhupada would often use the example of Duryodhana and the Pandavas. In Kurukshetra, on the seventh day of the war, the Pandavas did serious damage to the Kuru army especially Bhéma and Arjuna. They were devastating the various formations that the Kurus had created annihilating the mass numbers of their soldiers. Before the beginning of the war the Kurus had the upper hand just about that time when Pandavas were really becoming enthusiastic with their armies, Duryodhana had a confrontation with Bhéma and he was beaten down and he was bloody and he was covered with wounds, he was really in a bad condition so he went to the tent of Karna. Now Karna, he wanted to fight in that war but he wasn’t allowed to in one sense because Bhisma was so critical of him. Why Bhisma was so critical about him was because Bhisma knew karna was the brother of the Pandavas and he didn’t wanted Kunti to suffer seeing her children killing each other. So he was always insulting Karna and Karna said as long as he is the commander in chief I am not going to fight and Bhisma was very happy but Duryodhana wasn’t happy because after Bhisma, Karna was the best fighter. Bhisma, Drona and Karna were the best fighters.
So Duryodhana went to his friend, Karna’s tent, he was all bloody and beaten by Bhéma. He was saying “we need to unify in this war.” Karna said “Give me the chance. Bhisma has false compassion for the Pandavas. He is not willing to kill them. But I will kill them. Just give me a chance. Get Bhisma to retire from the battle and I will kill them all in one day. You have my word. So Duryodhana went back to the tent of Bhisma. In the Battlefield, tent is your home. So he got the royal physician and have them putting medication on Duryodhana’s wounds and Bhisma himself has got some special herbs that he had from Himalayas. Really he is a Mahajan in the sense that he knew all the different arts and sciences. He relieved Duryodhana of all of his pains. Then Duryodhana very respectfully began but then gradually became more arrogant. He said “I know you are fighting very nicely and everything. But the fact is you have the power to kill the pandavas. They are only five of them. You can destroy whole army. Why are you trying? Is it because of compassion for them or because of hatred for me? You refused to kill them. If that’s the case, then please retire from the battlefield and let me bring Karna in to kill them. Bhisma was extremely insulted by this. His ksatriya nature was very much aroused. He warned Duryodhana again and again and again that as long as Krishna is fighting with Pandavas there is nothing you can do.
But Duryodhana was very very expert. He was really a master of manipulating human nature. So he got Bhisma’s ksatriya tendencies very much inflamed and he promised Duryodhana. He said “I will create five arrows and tomorrow these five arrows will kill pandavas. Only they have chance when Krishna protects them. If Krishna wants to protect them, then nothing I can do. But Krishna has promised that he will not lift any weapon or fight in this battlefield. So as long as he keeps his promise, tomorrow pandavas will die. And Bhisma took from his quiver, 5 arrows with golden shafts covered with jewels and feathers of buzzards and put on a nice silk cloth on the ground. Bhisma sat right there on the ground with those arrows. And for long time, he meditated and chanted mantras. By his power, he invoked within those arrows the power to kill pandavas.
Duryodhana was in jubilation. He saw Bhisma sitting there chanting mantras, praying, meditating invoking this power in those arrows. When Bhisma came out of his trance, he said that there is nothing can save pandavas. Unless Krishna breaks his promise, these arrows will kill them tomorrow.
Duryodhana was attached to those arrows. He told Bhisma “Let me keep those arrows and I will give them to you in the morning. Meanwhile Maharaj Yudhistra was back on the Pandava’s side. He was very happy because for the first time, they were really beginning to win the war. But Arjuna was very sad. He was weeping because one of his sons was killed one day before, Hiravan.
Krishna approached Arjuna and He told him because Krishna knows everything. vedähaà samatétäni vartamänäni cärjuna bhaviñyäëi ca bhütäni mäà tu veda na kaçcana[BG 7.26]. Krishna knows all the things that happened in the past, all the things happening in the present and all the things that are yet to come. He knows all the living entities. He is Paramatma, listening in every heart. Inconceivable are the potencies of the lord. Krishna is there in Kurukshetra but as Paramatma, He is there in Kurukshetra but has the potency to hear every thought and every word and see every action of every living entity in all material and spiritual world and He is not distracted. He has His energies but still He is inconceivable controller of all the energies. He is all knowing. Krishna tells Arjuna “Tomorrow you and your brothers will die unless you do what I say. There are five arrows that Bhisma has consecrated to kill you tomorrow there in the tent of Duryodhana. Now do you remember long ago, when Gandharvas defeated Duryodhana and captured him. At that time, the message came to Pandavas – Gandharvas by their incredible fighting skills, they drove Karna and all other associates of Duryodhana away and they captured him and humiliated him. Only way that they could be saved is Pandavas. So the message came to Yudhisthir Maharaj and Bhéma said “Good for Duryodhana.” After all he had already insulted Draupadi. He already tried to kill Bhéma with poison cakes. He tried to burn them and their mother alive in the house of lac. They cheated them and exiled them to the forest. Duryodhana on that day was coming to humiliate them. He said “ Let Gandharvas do they want to do with Duryodhana.” Yudhisthir maharaj said “We are hundred and five. There are hundred Kurus and five pandavas. Now we are divided. When someone comes from outside to attack, we are hundred and five. We must help them.” So Arjuna went there. When Arjuna came in and fighting, Gandharva’s all offered obeisance and gave Duryodhana back. Duryodhana actually did something, he regretted later. He made a vow to Arjuna “Because you saved my life today, because you saved my integrity, you ask me something and I will give to you. I have to return the favour.” Arjuna laughed and said “You vow, may be sometime later.” Arjuna forgot about it but Krishna reminded him. Duryodhana promised he would do you a favour at that time he asked, he has to do that favour. Go to his tent and ask him for those five arrows.”Now the way it was, wasn’t like today all terrorism, crazy guerrilla warfare. Even the enemies did things with honour. They would fight in the day and as soon as sun sets, then there was no fighting. People can go to other side without any problem. So Arjuna with no armour, with not a single weapon, empty handed got on his white horse and went to the Kuru’s side.
Kuru saw Arjuna without weapons driving through. Nobody tried to hurt him. He was right there to Duryodhana’s tent. Duryodhana had all sorts of best most heroic powerful guards. They saw Arjuna coming and they welcomed him, brought him right into Duryodhana’s tent. Duryodhana was just about to go to sleep and right under his bed, he had five arrows. He was really going to have good night sleep because he was thoroughly convinced that Krishna will not break His promise and he was thoroughly convinced that Bhisma will kill pandavas hundred percent next day and war would be over. So it’s going to be good sleep. Duryodhana was so eager for the next day to come when he would be victorious. Then Arjuna comes in the tent just when Duryodhana was just about to asleep. Duryodhana understood that Arjuna was an atithi, he was an uninvited guest and according to culture, you have to welcome them and make them feel very much loved. Even when Arjuna was the second worst enemy after Bhéma, Duryodhana welcomed him and gave him a seat, water and then he asked Arjuna “You have come and if anything is there to give you, I will give to you. If you want me to end the war right now and give you entire kingdom back, I will do it.” He said that. But he knew that Arjuna wouldn’t do it. Because he was ksatriya, he knew that Arjuna was Kshatriya. When you are in the midst of war, you are going to take favour like that. For Arjuna, this point is integrity was based on winning the war not cowardly asking for kingdom back because once uninvited guest. So he offered him entire kingdom that night because that’s the etiquette. But he knew that Arjuna wouldn’t take it. Then Arjuna asked “I don’t want kingdom. I only want those five arrows”, Duryodhana was shocked. It was just things were happening so fast. He asked “How do you know about these five arrows?”, because in the entire universal creation, only two people knew about that, that was Bhisma and Duryodhana. Nobody told anybody and Krishna. He asked “How did you know about five arrows?” Arjuna said “Krishna told me.”
Duryodhana understood Krishna… Krishna again. Things were happening so fast that Duryodhana really had to maintain the integrity because if you don’t maintain the integrity of welcoming, properly serving uninvited guest, you can lose everything. That in itself could have been such karmic offense that he would lose whole war. Please understand people took things seriously in those days. It was very serious thing. He had to do it. We see in this verse today. Aditi was so morose, she was lamenting like Kasyapa muni practically had never seen before. Kasyapa muni was wondering “Did Aditi not welcomed atithi?” This can ruin person’s life. Also Arjuna came back from Dwarka after Krishna left this world and Yudhisthir saw him in such a lamentable situation. He asked “Someone came to you and asked for charity and you didn’t give it to him. Is that why you are in this state?” very serious thing. So Duryodhana, he would have been cursed even worse, if he didn’t give it. Also Arjuna reminded him “You remember, you vowed after I saved you from Gandharvas, you remember you vowed to grant request. This is my request, “Give me those arrows”. Then he found that Krishna had told him. He became much disoriented. He picked up the arrows and handed them to Arjuna. Arjuna brought them back and showed them to Krishna. Krishna was very happy. Then next day, Bhisma, he asked Duryodhana “Where are the arrows?”
Duryodhana told the story. Bhisma wanted to glorify Krishna. He said “Tomorrow, either Krishna has to break His promise or Krishna is going to break my promise because I am promising to kill Arjuna. If He doesn’t, break His promise and fight.” So the beautiful story from Bhagavatam based on that episode.
Srila Prabhupada would often sight that incident specially to teach us how important hospitality is. It is not just the detail. Hospitality is one of the prominent duties especially of Grhastha. Or for brahmacari living in the ashram, you have the same basic responsibility of hospitality.
Now uninvited guest that quiet obvious if we offend invited guest that’s very serious. But for uninvited guest one who just comes at the least expected time this is a duty. One of the greatest examples is Ranti dev. Ranti dev was the king, but he was so selfless. Always eager to serve others he claimed no proprietor nothing claimed to be his own. He saw everything as property of Krishna. And he saw Krishna in the heart of every living being so he wanted to share whatever he had with everyone and anyone. One day he and his family they want to go to forest and for the welfare of whole kingdom and pleasure of Krishna they fasted for 48 days. And at the end of the fast somebody brought them some food with milk, with ghee, with some water. And they were just at the verge of the death when this food came. They were trembling of hunger they sat down to eat, at that time one brahmana appeared at the door, Atithi- he was an uninvited guest. Ranti dev sat him down fed him to his full satisfaction and the Brahman left. And Ranti dev and his family again at down to eat take Prasad and a Sudra appeared. Now the Brahman didn’t even asked for anything what did the sudra they just happen to come. Ranti dev immediately offered all respects, love and kindness, obeisance’s because he is the guest; he is seeing Krishna in his heart and fed the sudra to his full satisfaction. And at the same time he fed his whole family. So the family was fine and the sudra was happy and he left. There is only a little Prasad left. Family was happy but Ranti dev had not yet anything ate so he sat down to eat Prasad. When this man came with a pack of dogs, and the man cried out I am very hungry and all my dogs are starving please give us some food. So rantidev welcomed them, offered obeisance’s to all of them with great respect; he fed to the full satisfaction of all the dogs as well as the keeper of the dogs. Then dogs can be quite hungry so they ate everything else there was not the morsel left. Then he offered obeisance’s to them and all the dogs left. All Ranti had been enough water for one person left. At that time all of his limbs were trembling of hunger and he was on the verge o death. That water will just keep him alive without that water there was no hope for him. He was just about to drink that water. Now just think about, 48 days without a drop of water. If you ever done Nirjala Ekadashi for one day you know how much thirsty you are. Now if an uninvited guest came to you at that point you can imagine what a challenge that would be. So just he was about to drink the water a chandala comes. And that chandala really looks like he is suffering. He said o sir I am dying of thirst if you have any water please give me this water. And rantidev looked at that chandala with such compassion. And then he spoke, Sukhdev Goswami tells, that his words were like Nector, Amrita. And Srila Prabhupada writes rantidev, he loved people so dearly, he cared about people so much that when he spoke with so much from the heart with compassion that his words were nectar, his words could satisfy anybody. And he spoke a prayer to god. He said I do not pray to the supreme personality of godhead for the eight perfections of mystic yoga, I do not pray for liberation from the suffering of repeated birth and death, I only pray for one thing, let me remain in this material world with all living beings so that I can suffer all kinds of difficulties on their behalf so that they will be free of all sufferings. By giving this water to chandala I will never again be subject to thirst, hunger, lamentation, agitation, moroseness, illusion. And then with the loving grateful heart offering obeisance’s to that chandala he gave him the water, which means he gave him his life. And then just when he was about to die happily the Brahman, the Sudra, the dogs and the chandala they all returned and turned into Brahma and Shiva and other devas and they gave him nice Prasad it appears. They were offering obeisances to him practically because they wanted to see what kind of compassion he had, what was his integrity to serve an uninvited guest. Even at the cost of death and suffering he was willing to do so. Interestingly Srila Prabhupada emphasizes this. When Brahma, Shiva and devas appeared they offered him many benedictions and he knew they can offer. What he did he fix his mind exclusively on the Supreme Personality of Godhead? This is before they gave him any food. He fixed his mind on the supreme Lord; he didn’t want to be diverted from the path. He knew that they can offer him any benediction and he didn’t want any material benediction. He already expressed his lord his prayer. He didn’t want mystic cities, he didn’t want liberation, he didn’t anything of this world, he only wanted to suffer difficulties on behalf of others of they would be free of sufferings. He didn’t want anything for himself and because of that consciousness Krishna gave him everything. He was so compassionate that whole kingdom felt so cared for him that they followed on his footsteps and the entire kingdom practically just like him. There was no question of any poverty because everyone was willing to give anything to anyone.
Srila Prabhupada refers to Vasudev datta in comparison, that was his prayer. Let me suffer hellish condition perpetually and let all the karma of everyone in universe come on my head so that they could be liberated. Vasudev datta was so detached especially in this charitable way just on regular day to day basis; you can imagine what he was like if overall he was willing to go to hell forever so that everyone can go back to godhead. Now Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is a sannyasi and He was really a strict sannyasi. All the details of sannyas he was very much adhering to be an example for others. But even Mahaprabhu Sri Chaitanya he was worried about Vasudev Datta. And we read in Chaitanya Charitamruta and Chaitanya Bhagavat also how Mahaprabhu , he instructed Sivananda Sen to take care of Vasudev Datta’ s financial accounts at home. For a simple reason Vasudev Datta had a family and anybody whoever needed anything Vasudev Datta would given everything. Whatever he had if he saw anybody in need he would give it. And he didn’t give in a calculating way. Most charitable people are very calculating. Vasudev datta would just give whatever a person needed and if there were few people that means he give everything he had. And he was doing that every day and he had nothing left. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Sivananda seen that he need something for himself, I am a sannyasi I have nothing, but I have more than him because people give me donation. He is crest jewel of all sannyasi and He is worried about His grhastha because he is giving everything away. Can you imagine what a blessing to have a god warring about you and having His most dear servants taking care of your accounts? So Vasudev datta shouldn’t suffer so much because of his compassion. You take care of his accounts and you always keep something for him. Now living here in the 21st century in Bombay we may thing this is quite impractical and for us it is. But the spirit and the principle is all we must follow on the footsteps of. The principle is not only practical it is essential to actually imbibe the vedic culture and the Vaishnav culture.
Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said the etiquette of devotee is what make is the ornament that makes him beautiful in the eyes of God. Vaishnav etiquette is about respect, respect to others according to their position. And that respect is always done in service attitude as the servant of the servant of the servant this is what Vaishnav Etiquette is about. Being the servant of the servant of the servant and offering all respect according to the time, place and person– kal, desh, patra. Now according to what we have its meant to be given to others. If we have knowledge what is that example I think of if you have knowledge but if you don’t share with others then it doesn’t even have a realistic effect on the person who has it that’s the purpose of knowledge is to serve others by our example and by our words. Not sharing the knowledge we have, we cannot get the realization of that knowledge. Even if we saw Srila Prabhupada example whatever he had nothing. He would be sitting there in the Bowery, you know somebody let him use the little corner of their one room flat, there was no dividing just one room, the kitchen, the bathroom everything was in small room practically and there was no curtain to the toilet practically but other than that this is one room Prabhupada living with some hippy in corner of the room. He would invite people to come he had nothing. Somebody may give him an apple and he would cut it off according to how many people was there and give everyone one piece of apple and he would give his knowledge and he would give his love such hospitality. 26 second avenue, he was a sannyasi but even guest would come he would cook for them , he would serve them, he would wash the pots for them he would give the class for them, give them knowledge , do the kirtan for them, give them hospitality, love, welcome them everything. If we have wealth we should understand our wealth is meant to be shared with others. If we have skills our skills are meant to be shared with others. Whatever god gives us we can’t claim possession of it, it’s not mine. Krishna is the intelligence of the intelligent, Krishna is the strength of the strong, and Krishna is the ability in men and women. When Krishna entrust us it is our responsibility to use it for the welfare of the others like Rantidev not like Duryodhana. Like Vasudeva Datta and all others. Whatever prestige or honour we may have even that shouldn’t be used to enjoy by oneself. If somehow or other in our life we have some prestige or we have some recognition or honour we should understand this is not meant for me. God is entrusting this so that this prestige can be utilized to relieve other people of suffering. In Bhagavad Gita, it explains the charity in the mode of Ignorance, Passion, goodness and then transcendental goodness. Charity in the mode of Ignorance is given to the wrong person the wrong thing at the wrong time at the wrong place. Somebody may ask for an example, I don’t know what it’s like in India well I know it’s in India I have been for 40 years but an example in the west, you down street some people who are homeless, they will come up to you and say, Can you give me a cigarette? That’s usually what they ask for, people use to give them. They think themselves compassionate. That’s a charity in the mode of Ignorance it is the wrong thing to the wrong person at a wrong time at a wrong place. When you give them money and they use it for drugs, then that’s in the mode of Ignorance. You may think that oh I am giving it to them for some food and everything but if they use it for that purpose for drugs, for bidis and whatever, then they are transforming your charity into mode of ignorance. Charity in the mode of passion is when we are giving it with the desire for prestige, when we are doing it for some material gain. Sometimes more you give charity, more people think that you are charitable and buy your product and then you become wealthier so it’s a good investment. Or you get your tax write off or you get popularity and prestige that is in the mode of passion. Charity in sattva guna, goodness is to give the right thing to right person at right time at right place without ulterior motives. Completely unselfishly, mode of goodness means unselfish. We are really doing to help someone and we are actually helping them.
When you give transcendental knowledge, when we give Mahaprasad, when we give holy name, when we give Krishna, when we add Krishna to the charity in mode of goodness, it becomes transcendental. It becomes divine. It is charity to body, mind and soul. It uplifts the heart. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explains the highest of all charity is to give people facility by which they can awaken their love for Krishna especially to induce people to chant the holy name. So whether it is our temple or Govinda restaurant or Bhakti Vedanta hospital, Gopal’s garden or any of our homes, Brahmacari ashram, this is the principle. It’s universal principle. It applies to everyone hospitality
vaishnav hospitality really loving concerned desire to make people happy and serve people to relieve people of suffering especially when they come to your home , temple or your place. It opens people’s heart. Actually Srila Prabhupada books answers every question anyone can have the siddhanta of Prabhupad’s books are so practical and so deep and so comprehensive and so empowered by Radharani, Krishna and previous Acharyas.
When people come to our places, whether it is our homes, or our temples and they really feel that genuine hospitality. Srila Prabhupada told us how we should think. Anyone who comes to our temple, we should feel Krishna has sent them here. And how I treat this person is how I treat Krishna. And that’s the way we should feel our homes too. That type of compassion is not a detailed, it is one of the most emphasized prominent points of vaishnav life style is hospitality. Just the other day during prasadam, the lunch we were reading from Prabhupada lilamrita and Prabhupada wrote a letter to every temple in the world giving an order that anyone coming to the temple must get full Prasad. He even made the menu. Remember poori, sabji, and halva and as soon as people come and eat it you start making again and again and he said if anything is leftover at night then the brahmacaris can get something. So don’t worry about having too much about the logic, the spirit that we have to understand is hospitality. People’s hearts melt. They believe the philosophy because they see it in action when they feel the love and compassion and devotees hospitality. So we have put tremendous efforts in guest reception department Sankirtan Prabhu, Gokulananda Prabhu, so many grhastha now are helping , it’s extremely important. This is really so much what our temple is here for. So anybody who ever, whenever they come they feel the loving reception, welcoming and hospitality of devotee’s hearts and this should extend in every aspect of our life. In fact these days even in business, in some of the greatest experts, in analyzing successful businesses are often breaks or makes a business is their hospitality. People would rather go to a place with good hospitality where they feel love and wanted and cared for. To a place where they get good product. They have a choice. It’s a human nature. Because human nature is that everyone essentially wants to be loved and everyone wants to love and when you love someone if they are reasonably good people which most people are, if you love someone they reciprocate and they start to love you. If you show affection people open up and give affection, you disarm them. There are some bad people who you showed kindness to them and they think you are doing only to exploit them and they devise the way to exploit you.
But most people if they feel loved and cared for, they want to reciprocate and we want to give the charity of pure devotional service. Ranti dev wanted to free people from suffering. By giving people the holy name, Prabhupad’s books, by giving people the vaishnav life style, we can actually give them the charity of the body, mind and soul by which they never have to suffer again. They can experience Krishna, Krishna’s love. There is no greater thing but to open people’s heart we really have to fill our heart with the desire to give them this charity, the need to give them this charity and very much our hospitality, how we welcome people, how we treat people is how they are going to open their hearts to receive it. As the story goes on we see this idea of charity developing more and more when Vamana dev approaches Bali Maharaj. Near Narmada River they were performing massive yajna and Vamana dev comes in little dwarf form of a Brahman and he comes and Bali Maharaj understands he is an uninvited guest. He is atithi. He is an uninvited guest I have to serve him, I have to please him, I have to welcome him and he was willing to give everything he had without reservation. Did he loose? He gained infinitely more than he had before. He gave whatever he had conquered. Not an easy thing. We have to read the scriptures putting ourselves in the position of these people. Bali had just through all kinds of defeats; through all kinds of setbacks finally he did it. He conquered the universe and now he is about to give all away just to keep his promise of giving a charity to an uninvited guest.
He lost the material world but he gained the spiritual world. He got a spiritual planet where Vishnu lived with him, pure devotional service eternal fame for Atma Nivedanam and then in his next birth temporarily before he went back to godhead forever he was given a position of Indra. So he got all back. He gave it away. He got whole spiritual world and then he got whole material world back. He had everything. He really had best of both worlds as they say. Are there any questions
Question to Radhanath Swami: In Ramayana, Ravana came to take some fruits from Sita and Sita because of hospitality gave everything to Ravana and problem happened after that. So when someone comes with different motivation and tries to take undue advantage of our hospitality, should we still do hospitality or become practical and do the needful for that?
Answer by Radhanath Swami: You should be practical and do the needful. Because Ranti dev and these devotees were motivated by compassion and Sita actually was also motivated by compassion. If she knew it was Ravana, she would not have done it. But she thought he was sage. So we cannot —1-14-27—she was just trying to do service to a sadhus. But we have to have intelligence. Everything should be done with intelligence. Intelligence essentially means to accept what is favourable for devotional service and to reject what is unfavourable for devotional service. if somebody is coming to exploit us we should not allow them to exploit us. Charity means hospitality. Doesn’t mean you give everything. Necessarily hospitality means you do what is actually beneficial for the person. Somebody comes to the temple and they say I want Prabhupad’s Vyasasan; it will look so good in my bedroom. Radharani’s crown that will look good on my wife, monkeys on the altar, my children will have fun playing with them. So it’s not that Gokulananda says yes of course. We give them little Prasad, we give them the holy name, we give them the kindness. It can’t be done with foolishness. Otherwise it becomes in the mode of ignorance for giving something that could be utilized greatly by so many people to someone who is going to misuse it.
So hospitality doesn’t mean that you become exploited. Ranti dev knew who to give what. If somebody is coming to exploit, he would not do it. He was giving to people who are actually suffering and he knew that they were suffering and he wanted to help them. And this was also Ravana’s brilliance. He knew that Sita’s hospitality especially towards sages and Brahmans was something that he wanted to exploit. This is brilliance but ultimately he was destroyed for trying to exploit her goodness. So yes you should be practical and do the needful. You should not let people exploit us for their own greedy and selfish purposes but we should be trying to uplift people and give people benefit in Krishna consciousness.
Question to Radhanath Swami: I read in Srimad Bhagavatam that even if you glare at a guest then you are sent to hellish planet where your eyes will be plucked by ruru bird. What do we learn from this because sometimes we may glare at devotees also?
Answer by Radhanath Swami: Did you ever see a ruru bird they make vultures look like parrots, very fearsome birds and not only they pluck out eyes and you go through that whole thing but then after you go through all that pain of our eyes plucked out, then new eyes grow back and only for the purpose so that they can pluck them again. Srimad Bhagavatam is giving the principle. We should try to live by that principle and should try to be in the spirit of servant of the servant of the servant. We should be compassionate and if someone tries to take advantage of us, of course we shouldn’t allow them to do that for their own selfish purposes because that impedes us from being helping people whom we could actually can help. As far as glaring and eyes all that stuff, we should understand the principle, we should actually people feel welcomed, we shouldn’t make them feel uncomfortable and unwelcomed and that’s an austerity even for invited guest what to speak of uninvited guest.
Question to Radhanath Swami: Maharaj there was two questions. First is about the beautiful story that you mentioned Duryodhana, its quiet bewildering because in the past he practically wanted to disrobe Draupadi so he had done the most horrible thing that a person can do and here he acts just to follow some principle which when compared to what he had done earlier appears to be very silly because disrobing a lady and here he just wants to be a hospitable person and gives Arjuna, that’s very bewildering how sastras quote the same person doing two completely bewildering and the second thing is sometimes in being very hospitable to the guest the devotees are very cruel to their family members, I mean the husband could be cruel to the wife just to be hospitable to the guest, so how do we really balance this hospitable behaviour in the Grhastha Ashram not causing trouble to the family members?
Answer by Radhanath Swami: As far as Duryodhana, the way Kshatriyas lived especially at that time they had certain sense of honour, even Ravana had a certain sense of honour as a Kshatriya and they lived by those principles even though they were the most dishonourable persons there were certain Kshatriya codes that were sacred. Ravana wanted to kill Hanuman, but according to the Kshatriya code if a person comes as messenger cannot be killed. He followed that. So Duryodhana he found every possible loop hole but still there were certain things that he followed. In the battle of Kurukshetra, when Dronocarya continued fighting even after sunset that was a very sinful and he had to die for that eventually, he got so carried away with his fighting and anger broke a very serious rule so in the sense of Draupadi, these Kshatiryas like Duryodhana were extremely cunning and therefore he was splitting the hairs of the rules and regulations to justify what he did. The fact is he previously won Draupadi in the gambling match so that means she was his property, she belonged to him. He convinced Yudhistra to bet her and he lost, so in that way even though from the humane side of the heart it was a terribly cruel despicable thing he was doing on a very literal level he wasn’t break any Kshatriya code because she was his and he could do whatever he want and that was his plan. But he gave his word of honour, he gave vow to Arjuna that he would give him something and that’s something a Kshatriya cannot go back on even though Duryodhana and he came as a guest in the middle night and to give him hospitality like that is a very cardinal principle of a Kshatirya. On the battle field, he will cheat a million times, you go around the rules but hospitality to a guest who comes without a weapons he couldn’t go around that rule because it’s a common Kshatriya rule. That clarifies your question?
As far as your wife or anybody else’s wife, whether for husband or wife, for the husband and wife and children were entrusted to us by Krishna to take care, to respect, to honour, to be kind. If you are unkind to your husband or wife or children in order to show hospitality to others then you are missing the whole point of the principle that you are entrusted with whatever you have by Krishna to serve those who are coming to you. Once wife, husband and children, especially if they are Vaishnavas, then it’s a Vaishnava Aparadha if you mistreat them, you can’t get around that and even if a person is not a Vaishnava it’s a serious offense to mistreat family members. The idea is the family should be a team in giving charity but if the team mates are beating each other or misusing each other how are they going to win the game. There should be unity and the unity comes through respect, care and through honouring each other. That’s the critical foundation for attached with the grhastha ashram, if Krishna is in the center, Grhastha means Krishna in the center and Krishna in the center means this is Krishna’s daughter and entrusted in my care. If I mistreat her, I offend her because she is Krishna’s child entrusted in my care. If I mistreat them, I mistreat Krishna. This is Krishna’s son in my care, if I mistreat my husband I mistreat Krishna and from that base of the respect from within a family we can actually be charitable and giving especially pure Bhakti to them. Is that answering your second question?
Question to Radhanath Swami: Thank you for your class Maharaj. I have a question on practical application. Where we live, my wife and me, the landlord is not a gentleman by any stretch. He drinks alcohol and complains that his family doesn’t allow him to drink in the morning so he starts from the evening. They don’t wash their clothes. They don’t bath every day. They eat meat every day. Not so wonderful smell of their cooking comes out of their house and every now and again they come to our house for asking money for something or else like the electricity bill. Those are the dealings that we have with them but nevertheless I wonder how one should approach such a person? Should we consider him as an atithi or should one just dealing with him as little time as possible and he doesn’t come really to exploit us the problem is exactly having possibly one should handle them?
Answer by Radhanath Swami: tamo-dväraà yoñitäà saìgi-saìgam[SB 5.5.2]. The path of perfection is to associate with great souls and render service to them and very avoid association with people who are very much materially sinful and attached. We associate with is what we become. Being kind and hospitable and giving charity to them doesn’t mean we are seeking associating with fallen people. When people come to our home we are king to them. Hospitality and somebody, if a robber comes to steal from you, doesn’t mean you will put a garland on him and say take whatever you want, Prabhu. We have to be realistic in these principles, the heart that is important so in a situation like that you can honour Krishna within the core of his heart but you don’t want to associate beyond necessity to stay in his house although you are his tenant. You can respect and honour Krishna in his heart and electricity bill you have to pay no matter what whether he drinks alcohol or drinks some gulab jamun juice, he is your land lord, you have to pay. In a situation like that, Ananda Vrindavan Prabhu said do whatever is required and don’t associate with people who are in a fallen state. You can give him Krishna, you can give him Prasad, you can pray for him, do loud kirtans. Unless if you feel that you can really uplift him, then you should try otherwise don’t do it.
Question to Radhanath Swami: Wonderful class on athithi and as usually on the subject of Humility which is your guidelines for everybody. Hearing such wonderful classes but when it comes to the siddhanta which you are telling us for last 20 years, we read them, we hear your lectures, we come and hear them, we fight to come to the class. We strive so that even some rule is broken but we should attend the class. but when we will reach to that stage ; When we can, after hearing these classes, apply even 10% of these classes in our life.
Answer by Radhanath Swami: Whenever we take it seriously. Srila Prabhupada would plead with us please take this Krishna Consciousness seriously. To the degree we take it seriously to that degree we benefit actually. It’s actually Krishna. Hearing itself is a spiritual activity. The first of the nine processes of devotional service. But really hearing means we take it seriously and what does it mean to take something seriously, it means to apply whatever we hear without ulterior motives in our lives. That is seriousness. Seriousness doesn’t mean I am sitting in class like this with a very serious expression in the face. Anyone could do that? Any Bollywood actor could do that. Seriousness means with all of our capacity we apply these teaching to our lives without ulterior motives and accordingly how we take Krishna Consciousness seriously we advance in Krishna Consciousness. Otherwise we can follow and follow, year after year and not make much advancement at all. On must take it seriously and Srila Prabhupada just didn’t wanted us to hear, Prabhupada wanted us to love Krishna, so that’s why he would plead with tears in his eyes. Please just take it seriously. Chant with sincerity, Serve with sincerity, Hear with sincerity and the material nature is set up in such a way that there is enough frustration, enough reversals, for us to really examine the actual content of our heart. Am I taking Krishna Consciousness seriously or is it a form of enjoyment is it like a crutch so that I have religious life so that I have some sense of confidence that God will save me despite our materialistic ways or we are taking it very seriously. That means according to our capacity putting the philosophy into practice. Sometimes people who know so much philosophy they get caught up in their intellectual aspect of the philosophy they don’t really take any of it seriously. They just want to know more and more. Prabhupada said even if you know very few things the basis of Krishna Consciousness and you take them seriously and practically apply it in your life you will attain perfection. It’s guaranteed. It’s 100% unconditionally guaranteed by Krishna, by Prabhupada if we just take these teachings seriously by trying our ardent best to apply them in our life without hypocrisy or ulterior motives we will go back home back to godhead. Krishna will dance within our hearts. So on Prabhupada’s behalf we all should be pleading others to take this Bhakti seriously.
Srila Prabhupada ki jay. Thank you very much.