I welcome all to Sri Sri Radha Gopinath Temple. I am especially grateful to be back with all of you after being abroad for about six months.
The topic chosen which I was asked to speak on “ Hurricane or Harinam”. The world is presently very saddened and shocked by the great disaster, which has taken place in the New Orleans and southern Mississippi area of United States of America. The Hurricane Katrina is just a very insignificant sample of the power of material nature. The United States of America is the most powerful nation of the world with all its wealth, with all its military diplomatic powers, what could it do in the face of this storm? Through the technological instruments they could see in advance Hurricane Katrina, which was just a minor hurricane in Florida but due to global warming the Gulf of Mexico, is of such warm temperature that when this little hurricane touched it, it became a raging storm.
United States of America with all of its military powers, with its arsenals of mass bombs of destruction, with all of its sophisticated security, with all its immigration laws, the only thing it could do to protect the citizens of New Orleans is plead with them “get out”,“evacuate” …there is absolutely nothing we can do to prevent this disaster. Hundreds and thousands of people evacuated the city of New Orleans, which is one of the most prominent historical cities of United States of America. It is one of the greatest places of international tourism, the birthplace of a very popular music called Dixieland jazz and the home of Mardi Gras, which is an extremely materialistic version of the Rathyatra. For Mardi Gras every year literally hundreds and thousands of people come for this parade, where there are chariots called floats that go along the street and people are singing all kinds of songs and dancing but it is not at all like Rathyatra. Personification of sense gratification and various amazingly absurd sinful activities. But anyways New Orleans is one of the most popular and famous cities of America, hundreds and thousands of people had to evacuate. When the hurricane hit it was devastation…. devastation. It caused the levies to break and it put 80% of the entire city under water, up to 20 feet under water. Over a thousand people dead, hundreds and thousands of people were refugees in other lands desperately looking for shelter. What was left of the city there was looting, robbery, shootings, rapes, mass uncontrollable crime. The United States military by the thousands had to try to stop this crime. People were so frustrated, so depressed by the lack of help that they were receiving. It is devastating.
Now there happens to be an ISCKON Hare Krishna temple near the center of New Orleans. Would you like to know what happened to that temple?
Devotees say… HARIBOL!
After the Hurricane hit, it didn’t seem to do all that much damage to that little area but when the levies broke and the whole city flooded the entire city of New Orleans, no electricity, no plumbing or sewage, sanitation, telephone lines were destroyed, there was no gas lines for cooking, transportation was practically impossible. People were trapped with no facilities and no one could contact devotees in the temple. The devotees in Dallas, Texas, which is many, many hundreds of miles away were very concerned. Two of the devotees of New Orleans somehow or other left before the hurricane came and came to Dallas, were very concerned about their family members and friends in New Orleans. Meanwhile thousand and thousand of refugees from that area were coming into Texas, many to Dallas. The city was trying to cope with all these people. So the devotees who have a lot of facilities in the form of compassionate hard working natures to help others, they went to some government agency and said would you like us to help? And the government agency said, “ if we need you we will call you” and they never called. So the devotees decided that they would focus all their energy on trying to rescue the devotees in New Orleans if they needed help. Finally they got a phone call. Somehow or other one phone call got through from New Orleans. The devotees of the temple were in a crippled condition. They were trapped. They had no way out. And yet there were 14 installed deities on the altar. 19 devotees. Within the house where the temple is no electricity, no gas, no plumbing, no sanitation, no food, no access to get any. It was a horrible mess. The stench was unbearable and inhuman. They were crying for help but they had no nowhere to go. They were trapped. So the devotees in Dallas headed by Nityananda Prabhu the president, he called a meeting that started at 7 ‘oclock in the evening where they were discussing how to help the devotees. They met till 3’oclok in the morning. And they worked out whatever was required . They were going to send 7 devotees with an 18-wheel truck and a van into New Orleans to go right to the heart of the city to where the temple was and resuce the devotees and the deities.
Now calls were coming from all over America telling the president and devotees, ‘do not do this’… ‘there is too much risk’. Even the USA military was afraid to got into New Orleans. There was so much shooting, so much crime, so much danger. But immediately first thing in the morning they started driving with all kinds of supplies and food. Trying to get towards New Orleans, they were stopped at 40 check posts. Because everyone was going the other direction. The only people legally allowed to go into New Orleans was the military and other such government approved agencies. 99% of all were going out of the city. And they just saw hordes of people on the highways and byways just trying begging people to stop and pick them up. Some of them were walking for days with no food, with no facilities, with nothing. They were stranded. The devotees were giving them whatever they had. Some how or other because of their incredible enthusiasm and because of Krishna’s mercy, they got through all 40 check posts. They came into the city. There they were stopped again and detained for many hours. But they somehow or other convinced the military to let them through. And as I said they were the only vehicle going in…(Maharaj laughs) and everyone else going out. And what they saw the destitute, the people, the shootings the crime the starvation. It was pitiable, it was unsightly. And some of the roads were totally flooded and others were barricaded. So how to get to the temple? Somehow or other by Krishna’s arrangement one of the devotees in the truck happened to be previously be a taxi driver in New Orleans. So he knew all the roads. So they were zigzagging and zigzagging and going roundabout ways somehow or another there would be a flooded road and they have to turn around and go another way and there would be barricades and they would go another way then there would be trees lay on the road and they would have to go another way and it took hours and hours and hours and hours and finally the van couldn’t even go because water was so deep. Only a huge truck could get through. They reached the temple.
Devotees say. ……HARIBOL!
And the devotees were desperately joyful. They were praying to Krishna, they were chanting the Holy Names of Krishna and they were doing worship of the deities. They had little or no food to offer them for Bhoga. It was a horrible condition for the deities and the devotees. And the devotees in Dallas made special insulated comfortable bed like boxes for all the deities to go into. They brought them on the truck and they boarded and then somehow or other they drove all the way back to Dallas, Texas. It was not easy. When they got to the temple there were military helicopters going back and forth. They thought that they were doing to take their trucks for some other purpose. They were trying to do that, very difficult. When they finally reached Dallas days later, there was a kirtan of 30 devotees to greet the vaishnavas and the Lordships of New Orleans and off from the back of the truck came the Murti of Srila Prabhupada, Lord Nityananda Prabhu, marble deities Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Jagannath, Baladev, Subhadra and then Sree Radharani and Sree Radhakanta, the presiding deities and many Vijay utsav murtis. There was a big festival and a big feast in which the starving devotees very much enjoyed and they set up the whole New Orleans temple in Srila Prabhupada’s quarters in Dallas Texas where he would personally sit and guide devotees.
According to what people have said minimum six months before they could move back but more likely it will be several years. This was a very wonderful exhibition of the love and servitude of vaishnavas towards each other in a very family spirit. As it is said “ a friend in need is a friend in deed”. And really those who love Krishna, those who have the compassion of the spirit of Krishna consciousness, they are representatives of the Supreme ultimate friend GOD himself to make sacrifices. At the end of this incredible very very very dangerous excursion the devotees from Dallas who went on this expedition consider it one of the most fulfilling experiences of their lives because they took such risk, they underwent so many austerities and sacrifices to serve the Lord and his devotees. They put themselves really on the line.
Yes, Hurricane Katrina was just a small sample of the devastation power of material nature. As we are speaking right now another Hurricane is ravaging in nearby area …Hurricane Rita. She has just hit the coastline of southern Texas and the US government has already evacuated 3 million people from their homes. And since August 29th when Katrina hit New Orleans they have been spending millions and millions and millions of dollars trying to clean up the city. The hurricane Rita despite coming close by caused the levies again to break. The city of New Orleans is again flooded and the city officials have said, ” We are back to square one. It’s like we have to start all over again in our efforts.” Therefore all these hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people cannot return to their homes. An estimated 60 billion dollars of insured damage has been inflicted by Hurricane Katrina. The most costly disaster in America’s history.
In 1999, there was hurricane Floyd that hit Florida and did 30 billion dollars of insured damage. I am sorry that was hurricane Andrew in 1992. 30 billion dollars of insured damage wiped out thousands of homes and businesses. In 1999 hurricane Floyd was heading toward the JFK Space centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the home of NASA. Powerful technology. But when they saw this hurricane what could NASA do? Tell all there employees to evacuate. 16 thousand employees evacuated, they kept 120 back to somehow or other to try to deal with the situation. This is the power of material nature. The ecologists and scientists who are sensitive to this issue they tell us that what we are experiencing now is just a small sample of the result of consuming recklessly mass quantities of fossil fuels and creating the syndrome of global warming. This year at the beginning of the winter there was a huge snowstorm in Los Angeles, California, which is in south that has never happened before in history. In the mid west there was such intensive drought that the Missouri river, which is at its lowest water level in history, trillions of dollars of property and inconvenience. In Spain the worst wildfires in history and here in Mumbai in one day 37inches of rain. According to the news agencies a 1000 people or more were killed, so many rendered in homeless conditions. What is happening in the world?
Kaliyuga is an age where it was predicted that because of man and woman’s exploitation of material nature and accumulation of negative karma the seasons would become irregular and things that simply do not make sense will happen and create natural disasters. “Padam padam yad vipadam na tesam” This is the world where there is danger at every step. Tsunami’s, earthquakes, terrorism. According to the scriptures there are three fold miseries: adhyātmika (miseries caused by one’s own body and mind), adhidaivika (miseries caused by other living beings) and adhibhautika (miseries caused by natural disturbances). Can we see how all three of these are escalating to such degree!! According to many medical researchers they claim that in the near future one third of the population will die of cancer. And cancer is a very suffering form of death. And that’s not even including AIDS, Hepatitis c, heart disease and other such practically epidemic diseases. But the World Health Organization claims that putting all this aside the disease that is going to cause the most suffering and the most deaths is mental illness…depression. Everything is escalating. This is adhyātmika, adhidaivika – miseries caused by other living beings that are often the cause of all the depression. So much terrorism, so many problems so much mistrust.
I was raised in a village where nobody locked their doors. It was just, you don’t even think in those terms. But now in the same village there are all kinds of security all over the place. Security devices in each house. What’s happening? How are we really progressing? And if you are of an Indian origin if you go to the United States of America now see what you have to go through at the immigration tables. They are so suspicious. Why?
World Trade Centre, 3000 people ruthlessly killed in a matter of minutes due to senseless sectarian hatred. Nothing to do with GOD. Simply hatred and envy. And terrorism in so many places, in London. The city was emotionally practically crippled when they saw what happened there. Bomb blasts, massive damage, deaths, horrible. Yes, these are samples of adidaivika …”dog eat dog world” or as ‘jiva jivasya jivanam’ – one living being is food for another living being. The human beings are supposed to be above that scale of survival of the fittest. Human beings are supposed to be living creatures who have compassion and discrimination and laws, moral and ethical laws to follow. What’s happening? Adidaivika. In the ways of association even a good person in society today is often just drawn by the association of bad people into bad habits. And we have discussed some of adibhautika. How the miseries of the disasters caused by material nature itself is increasing. Why is kaliyuga like this? Because in kaliyuga people engage in so many unethical, egoistic, selfish activities. And there are laws of nature. It is called “karma”. There is individual karma, there is collective karma. “As you sow so shall you reap”. “For every action there is an equal corresponding reaction.” Cannot escape.
Until people recognize the impurities in their own hearts and try to clean it, there can be no real solutions in the world today. Bhagavad-Gita explains in this regard, what is the cause of the disease of material suffering. What is the original hurricane that is the cause of all other hurricanes? Arjuna asked Krishna, that you are telling me to control the mind but as far as I can see Krishna, the mind is more difficult to control than the raging wind. Yes, the internal hurricane of our passionate desires strikes our consciousness and lays waste to our property and our lives. Just as Katrina did to New Orleans. That hurricane of the mind, with egoistic passionate selfish desire. How does it waylay to our property? What is the most sacred property of human life? The power of discrimination. That is the difference between man and the lower species. The lower species simply act according to their instincts. They have no power to reflect contemplate or question what is actually the best thing for me to do and why?
Human being life we are blessed with intelligence. Intelligence has that power to discriminate between what is right and what is wrong. That is the wealth of human civilization. But this hurricane of the mind filled with the winds of passionate desires and the storms of so many ambitions, the storms of envy and greed and anger and illusion and lust. They devastate the most sacred property we have…our power of discrimination and our moral ethical integrity. And they devastate our lives. What is our life- our relationship with GOD, our devotion to the Supreme, and our compassion to other living beings, that is the nature of the soul, that is our life. Our very life is just covered by mass deluge of this sewage of materialistic consciousness.
Yes, there is a Hurricane Katrina taking place practically in everybody’s lives, practically every day and what takes place internally is naturally manifested externally. Through the karmic situations that we collectively and individually create. Bhagavad-Gita explains, that the mind is the driving instrument for the chariot of this body and the intelligence is the driver. The soul is the passenger and the senses are the five horses of this chariot.
yatato hy api kaunteya
haranti prasabham manah (Bhagavad Gita 2.60)
The senses are so strong and impetuous that they can forcibly carry away the intelligence even if the man of discrimination who is endeavoring to control them and the king of all the senses is the MIND.
Srila Prabhupada writes that, “ Just as an acute infection surpasses the efficacy of good medicine, in the same way, the mind overcomes the power of the intelligence, like a raging wind, like Katrina the hurricane.”
And after one storm passes in our mind, then hurricane Rita will come another day and create another disaster, flood our consciousness with the deluge of desires and cover our original nature. Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita (2.67)
indriyanam hi caratam
yan mano ’nuvidhiyate
tad asya harati prajnam
vayur navam ivambhasi
As a boat on the water is swept away by a strong wind even one of this senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.
What happens when a man’s intelligence is lost? Second chapter of gita Krishna explains (2.62
dhyayato visayan pumsah
When one contemplates the objects of the senses one develops attachement. from such attachment kama (lust). When lust is frustrated krodha (anger). When there is anger what kind of hurricane is lust. An then the next hurricane comes of anger. That devastates. We lose our memory of what is right and what is wrong. We lose our power or discrimination, our intelligence is lost. When our intelligence is lost we fall down deeply into the pool of materialistic sinful life.
All the scriptures throughout the world has warned us but how to deal with it. Krishna tells us in the Gita for one who controls the mind the mind is your lifelong best friend. But for one who does not control the mind, the mind is your worst enemy.
In fact Srimad Bhagawatam declares that for one who does not control the mind the mind is the only enemy. Krishna tells
tani sarvani samyamya
yukta asita mat-parah
vase hi yasyendriyani
tasya prajna pratisthita (Bhagavad Gita 2.61)
The process of yoga is to restrain our mind and senses with our intelligence from unfavorable activities and words. And to fix our consciousness on a higher nature.
The Native American Indians, they have a very interesting way of explaining what is scientifically described in Bhagavad-Gita. Would you like to hear?
Maharaj continues: It’s very basic but to the point. They say that within every human being within our consciousness live two dogs. A good dog and a bad dog. And they are both barking…. (Barking sounds made by Maharaj). They both want food. The bad dog is our lower nature, the egoistic nature, the envious nature, the lusty nature, the greedy nature, and the angry nature. And the good dog is our higher nature, the nature that is inclined for devotion to GOD, towards piety, morality, compassion for others, forgiveness. So these two dogs are barking. Which dog is going to overcome the other? The one that you decide to feed the most. When we feed the dictations of that bad dog, it gets stronger and stronger and stronger. And as it gets stronger the good dog gets weaker and weaker and weaker. But if we feed the good dog and starve the bad dog, then the good dog conquers over, our higher nature reigns supreme.
Sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh
What does this mean: to always engage the mind, the senses in the loving service of the Lord because it is said ‘the idle mind is the devil’s workshop.’ When mind is idle, oh that bad dog is going to really bark. And you are going to be just impelled to feed it more and more and more and more. And as we feed that bad dog, we become more greedy, more revengeful, more passionate for pleasures, for distinction, for power.
Rupa Goswami says very simple, we must accept what is favourable for devotional service and reject what is unfavourable. In other words we must nourish our Krishna consciousness. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives a similar analogy that when you are working in a garden, you are watering the seed of bhakti but along with the seed of bhakti there are many weeds, which are also seeds. If you allow the water to fall on the weeds, if you don’t root out those weeds, if you water the weeds then the weed is going to choke and cripple the plant of the flower of devotion.
So we must good intelligence, we must discriminate at every moment, we have the power to make choices. The future of life is dependant on the choices we make at every moment. And we have our lower nature and our higher nature. There is the good dog and growling envious bad dog. Who are we going to feed? Who are we going to give our attention to? When you contemplate the objects of the senses you are feeding the bad dog. When you are speaking “prajalpa” unnecessary criticism and gossip about others you are feeding the bad dog. When we are looking for entertainment in the form of useless sense gratification we are feeding the bad dog.
The path of bhakti is so sublime it teaches us how to be fully engaged
Sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh
That our mind and senses are everything, keep them engaged in positive activities. Otherwise they are bound to be captured by lower activities because we’re conditioned in that way. Life is like a river, if you are not struggling to upstream you are going to be imperceptibly and simultaneously driven downstream. You can’t stay in one place. Your are either going up or down in this world. To go up is a struggle. If you are not struggling to go up, you are going down. Isn’t it true? It’s difficult to do the right thing in this world. You have to go against so many odds, you have to go against so much social pressure, and you have to go against your own mind and senses. It’s fashionable to do the wrong thing in the age of Kali and you are considered some sort of an “outcaste” if you really try to do the right thing. It is very difficult to curb the dictation of the mind and senses, is difficult. To surrender to them is easy. The fact is that we have been feeding this bad dog since time immemorial, it’s very hungry very powerful and it barks so loud. Perhaps you have had the experience of that loud barking within your mind. But to say “no”. How could we say “no”? We must say, “yes” to our higher self, to the good dog, to our divine nature.
As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he has recommended that the easiest way to keep the mind fixed on divinity is to chant the Holy Names of the Lord with all humility. Arjuna explains that this mind is like a hurricane, a raging turbulent wind. In fact he says, it’s worse it’s more difficult to control. But Krishna tells what is the essence of yoga. We must learn to control this mind through constant practice and detachment. And the easiest way is to fix the mind on Krishna’s Holy Name because all the opulence’s, all the powers and all the sweetness of GOD is manifested within Harinam. So are we going to feed the hurricane of the mind or are we going to nourish Harinam that is the title of today’s lecture…Hurricane or Harinam.
That is really our choice. Are we going to just give more fuel to this hurricane of the mind, which is like a turbulent raging wind, or are we going to fix the same mind with our intelligence on Krishna, which is so easy by chanting his names
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare.
Lord Caitanya taught,
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamritaswadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krishna-sankirtanam
(Sri Siksastakam verse 1)
The congregational chanting of the Holy Names is meant to clean the mirror of the mind, to nourish the lotus flower of our divine qualities, anandambudhi-vardhanam: to bring up the awakening of the higher taste, to experience the ecstasy which everyone is longing for. Anandamayo ‘bhyasat – everyone is looking for pleasure. When the mind is not experienced unlimited ecstatic sweetness of the pleasure of loving service to the Supreme, then the mind becomes like a hurricane, raging and howling to try to find material pleasures. But Krishna tells in Gita that it is not possible to satisfy the mind. This kama, this hurricane of kama, hurricane kama, hurricane krodha, hurricane lobha, hurricane mada, hurricane matsarya…so many hurricanes are their in our mind. They are never satisfied, the more you feed them the more they demand. And they leave devastation in their pathways. But Krishna has so kindly appeared in the Name to cleanse the heart of all of these “anarthas” or unwanted conditions and bring about real happiness, real pleasure.
When Krishna was living in Vrindavana, he was approximately one year old, when an asura came named Trnavarta. He came as a hurricane, as a whirlwind, powerful whirlwind, Hurricane Trnavarta. He came into Vrindavan, he created havoc, nobody could see anything in front of them. This massive dust storm, total darkness. And he picked up Krishna with the sole purpose of killing him, took him high in the sky. Now actually Krishna was sitting on the lap of Yashoda Ma and somehow or other he became very heavy. And Yashoda ma couldn’t tolerate, so she had to put him down. Now why did he do that? Because he knew Trnvarta was coming and Krishna understood that if I am in Yashoda’s arms then Trnvarta is going to come and cause too much suffering to mother Yashoda. So he separated himself from her. But when Krishna was missing and Yashoda could not find him anywhere it was worse than death for her. That is the nature of love. The nature of love is the welfare of the object of our love is more sacred and dear to us than ourselves. And when that love is for GOD the all attractive it is the most intense all encompassing complete and perfect form of love. So what was Yashoda ma’s condition?
Due to the Yogamaya potency of the Lord, she was thinking that Krishna is my own son. She was not seeing him as the all-powerful. And when he was picked up and taken away from her by this powerful mystic yogi in the form of a whirlwind and he went higher and higher and higher into the sky, and Krishna, little Krishna only one year old child, he actually wanted to see his creation from high above. So he let Trnvarta take him higher and higher to get really nice view. He saw the whole Braj bhumi from an aerial perspective and also there were so many ladies of the heavenly planets, that really wanted his darshan…going up and all of them. In this way he fulfilled his own desires and so many other peoples desires. But then he realized the havoc that Trnvarta was causing so he assumed a heavy weight. So much heavy that Trnvarta was…he was massive, he was a massive whirlwind. He couldn’t go any higher. In fact he was about to come crashing down so with all of his strength he was trying to push off of himself, just push him down to the ground but little Krishna had his arm around Trnvarta and was squeezing his neck and actually choking him. And Trnvarta was choking and ultimately chocked to death…(and sound of crash) and he crashed down to the ground. Now the entire economy, all the bankers, all the military, all the bombs of America could not stop that one hurricane. But Krishna is all-powerful. He defeated Trnvarta, delivered him, he gave him liberation and ultimately gave unlimited satisfaction to all of his devotees.
So yes, this hurricane within the mind that is so turbulent and causes so much havoc to the countryside of our consciousness and tries to devastate and plunder our wealth our property, everything that is sacred. Krishna explains
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
mokshayisyami ma sucah (Bhagavad- Gita 18.66)
man-mana bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yaji mam namaskuru
mam evaishyasi satyam te
pratijane priyo ’si me (Bhagavad-Gita 18.65)
It can be overcome by remembering Krishna. In fact Krishna explains,
daivi hy esa guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante
mayam etam taranti te
“This material nature constituted of three modes goodness passion and ignorance. It is very very powerful, very difficult to overcome. For one who takes shelter of Me can easily cross beyond it.”
And Harinam is the sublime method of taking shelter of Krishna.
kaler dosa-nidhe rajann. asti hy eko mahan gunah. kirtanad eva krsnasya. mukta-sanga param vrajet.
The scripture tells that in this age of Kali, which is an ocean of faults, there is one benediction, that anyone and everyone regardless of their past background, regardless their status in society, if they simply take shelter of the name of Krishna they can attain supreme perfection of liberation. The Kali Santarana Upanishad explains in this age of Kali there is one great benediction. The Mahamantra, which is perfect medicine for this time. And what is that medicine? The sixteen word 32-letter mantra
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare.
The Kali Santarana Upanishad declares there is no superior method of self-realization and purification in the age of Kali than this Mahamantra. Why is it called Mahamantra?
There are many Mantras, namnam akari bahudha nija-sarva-shaktis, (Sri Siksastakam verse 2), all the names of GOD have the power and sweetness of GOD and all these mantras are purifying and divine. The Mahamantra include all other mantras. Therefore it is considered the greatest perfect medicine for the condition of people’s consciousness in the world today.
‘enechi ausadhi maya nasibaro lagi’ hari-nama maha-mantra lao tumi magi’.
Lord Caitanya proclaimed in this way, “in this age of Kali you are all suffering from the disease of uncontrolled mind and senses and so many immoral propensities. But I have the medicine the perfect medicine that can cure your illness. Take this Hare Krishna Mahamantra cleanse your heart, curb the hurricane of the mind and through our works of compassion in this world try to do “para upkaar”…the greatest welfare activities.”
When the heart is pure when there is Love of GOD awakened then compassion for every living being becomes our inherent nature. What is more desperately needed in this world than loving compassionate hearts, hearts that are humble, tolerant, forgiving, respectful to all, hearts that are actually well wishing hearts to our friends and our enemies. That is the nature of the Soul. That is what naturally comes about to the awakening of our love of GOD or Krishna prem. According to our capacity every human being is meant to do good for others. For the body for the mind for the soul. Thus kali-kale nama-rupe krishna-avatara. Krishna has given us all facilities to do just that because the Lord has descended in his Holy Names. Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!
Thank you very much!
Question: Is chanting Hare Krishna enough or do I also need a physical guru for my spiritual progress?
Maharaj: In order to chant properly, we must cultivate proper knowledge. If we engage in immoral unethical activities the Bhagawat purana describes it is like an elephant taking bath in the river and then coming out and rolling in the dirt. It is a very very slow process. So therefore we try to follow four regulative principles. No illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat eating which are just basic moral codes and we try to develop a proper service attitude. If we do not have a proper service attitude for GOD and towards others, in fact for every living being we should try to develop such service attitude, then our chanting will have minimal effect. And the purpose of the spiritual master or a guru is to guide us and teach us how to live with a proper service attitude, how to properly discriminate between what is favorable and unfavorable for our spiritual lives and how to chant the Holy Names. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave us simple formula
trinad api sunichena
taror api sahishnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih (Sri Siksastakam verse 3)
This is the mood we must cultivate if we want our chanting of the Holy Name to actually purify our hearts. We must strive to be more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant and forgiving than a tree, eager to offer all respect to others and expect none in return. If we develop this attitude then we will taste the sweetness of the Holy Names and kirtaniya sada hari, we will find great happiness in chanting constantly. Everything we do should be an extension of the love that we are striving to achieve through the Holy Names. Therefore compassion to other living beings, service to the vaishnavas are inseparable to the chanting of the Holy Names of Krishna.
Is there any other question?
Question: How can I inculcate discipline? What is the importance of discipline like getting up early and chanting the Holy Names?
Maharaj: Krishna explains in the Gita without controlling the mind and the senses there is no question of real yoga or real spiritual practice. Disciple means one who is willing to accept discipline. To do anything good in life and succeed discipline is required. To be a good musician you have to discipline yourself and practice for so many hours and so many years…Yes. To be a good student you have to discipline yourself to study the books to go to the classes. To be good athlete you have to discipline yourself to train your body to become very much expert at that particular sport that you are playing. Great labor to be a great artist there must be discipline of practicing the form of art…yes. To really, in business there must be certain amount of discipline, in politics there must be a certain amt of discipline. But the highest gain the highest ideal that a human being can strive for is self-realization, spiritual enlightenment which culminates in prem bhakti, love of GOD and for that there must be discipline. It is called “vaidhi bhakti” . Within the realm of sadhana bhakti there are two sections of ‘vaidhi bhakti’ and ‘raganuga bhakti’. Vaidhi bhakti means we discipline ourselves. We accept what is favorable for spiritual advancement and we reject what is unfavorable. The mind wants to speak all nonsense things, we discipline it by speaking proper, the minds wants the body to engage in immoral activities we discipline it by saying no and engaging it in proper activities…Yes. The mind wants to sleep .we discipline it why oversleep, why waste our time. Krishna explains in Gita those who are in this path they neither sleep too much or sleep too little, they neither ear too much or eat too little. We should regulate ourselves in such a way that we can actually make progress. So yes discipline is very important. In kaliyuga there are many philosophers and even teachers. In the name of spirituality who say that there is no need for discipline, just be as you are and do as you like and just do some technique.
Devotee interrupts…but your holiness!!
Maharaj continues: since I am not Holy, I am going to continue. (Laughter)
But the problem is there is no scripture there is no past acarya that has ever taught such thing. Just do a technique and then live an undisciplined life. Discipline is required but discipline is not a painful dry thing if we are doing it with the proper idea. We should be dynamic, we should be energetic, and we should be enthusiastic for the right things. To nourish the good dog, to nourish our higher nature. Prabhupada would say that Krishna consciousness is positive alternative to give up the lower things, by accepting the higher principle and keeping our mind focused on that. Focusing the mind is discipline. But it’s the road to eternal happiness …yes any other question.
Question: Why is it, your Holiness, when calamities occur it the is poor who suffer the most, they don’t have the money to pay for the bus, like in Katrina hurricane they don’t have money to pay for gas, they get trapped and suffer the most be it in New Orleans or Mumbai?
Maharaj: That is the sad condition of the leadership of countries all over the world. The duty of leadership is to make every possible arrangement to protect those who are helpless…yes. From the social point of view and this is something that we can do something about…yes. We want to be practical. People who are poor people are in helpless conditions there should be extra compassion and concern and arrangements made for them, for their welfare, for their safety, for their happiness…yes. But unfortunately those are not the priorities of today’s world and that is a serious problem. It’s due to a lack of spiritual ethics. Why should we discriminate? What about the animals? How many millions of cows are being sent to the slaughterhouse every year? And other such animals. They are also innocent and helpless. They are also poor. We are murdering them because we like their taste. So no this is problem and therefore there should be all help for those who are helpless and poor. That is compassion. We should all be striving in our own lives to live by that principle. If we go to a higher level we were speaking about global warming. According to ecologists it is very very illogical to separate these continuous natural disasters from that. This green house effect of the carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from massive use of fossil fuels is creating a heating of the planet. The oceans, I was told are 2 degrees higher than they were some time ago. And it’s scientifically understood that such global warming causes droughts, severe storms, and hurricanes, heat waves, just extremes. And yet one of the greatest international oil companies recently spent 13 million dollars making counter propaganda against the idea of global warming. That’s a problem. There was, this is an oil company. Some years ago one million dollars were spent by a coal and oil company to pay off four scientists who were presenting to the world the ecological disaster of global warming just to keep their mouths shut. Even presidents of United States of America are being approached by scientists and ecologist to do something but for the sake of votes and funding which they were specially getting from these oil companies, they say the minimal and do less than that. It’s a problem and who suffers. It’s usually not the President, it is usually not the board of directors of the oil companies, and it’s usually the simple and poor people. So a transformation of consciousness is very essential in the world today and we should all be in our own way according to our own capacity trying to be part of the solution rather than the problem, by living in our own lives and promoting according to our own abilities what is right. Does that answer your question?
Thank you very much.
Question: Hare Krishna Maharaj, I have been wondering about this question since my childhood till today and because of this two of my friends could not come for the last Prerna festival. The thought is, I have been seeing in all the families that if anyone dies their family members and relatives they hesitate to go to temple for some duration and it is become a trend sort of. When I asked one of my friends to come, he said I don’t know the reason but my ancestors have been following this and if I come to temple for the festival then I will be committing a big sin. I was answerless. So I just wanted to know what exactly the thing is?
Maharaj: You can encourage them to come after the duration is complete…. (Laughter). It is not our position to interfere with traditions that are held sacred in different communities but the doors of the temple are always open to everyone.
Is there any other question?
Question: Hello you have just informed us that every of every action of human being should be followed so as to help others so as to benefit others. I was trying to start on a business distributing French wine…. (Maharaj interrupts to ask him to repeat the question.) Every action of a human being should be directed towards helping others. I was planning to start on a business in distributing French wine across the nation….
Maharaj: French wine? …
Question: That’s right…. after this I was a little confused whether this action of mine helps in any matter to the nature of human beings. Does it help to grow? I hope you understand the question…
Maharaj: Can I ask you a question?
Maharaj: What is your opinion? Your honest opinion.
A: It is a passion to do business. This is an opportunity, which I have got after a lot of struggle. But I don’t know if it’s correct or not. That is where the bad dog and good dog comes in. It is hard to distinguish between what is bad and what is good.
Maharaj repeats his question…. what is your opinion?
A: Until now yes…. I would have gone with it
Maharaj: I am not asking what …but search your consciousness. Is it helping humanity or is it potentially creating a disturbance to humanity.
A: How does one decide upon that, whether it is helping humanity or not…shall all our decisions be inclined towards helping humanity?
Maharaj: That is your choice. Because intoxication is one of the largest causes of suffering and death in the world. Most people killed in automobile accidents all over the world, about 90% are people under the influence of alcohol. That is the statistic. And alcoholism has created havoc in people’s lives. Some years ago I was regularly a key note speaker at the alcoholic anonymous chapters of Mumbai. I, probably 30 organizations all over the city I was addressing. But before I would speak I would hear people give their testimonies. Alcoholism, every alcohoicl begins with a glass of wine or glass of beer and they never ever think that they will ever be an alcoholic. And when people warn them they think that you are crazy, you are out of touch with reality, it’s just to feel a little good, it’s just for social purposes but you do feel a little good. And it does take the edge off the anxieties of life, superficially but usually when you get big problem you are already conditioned to take shelter of that relief that you get and if problems get bigger you need more to drink and then you are hooked. Alcoholism is one of the biggest problems in the world today. It is a fact. I am not here to tell you what to do in business but we must all search our consciousness to see that what we are doing how it is going to affect the world. To promote intoxication and alcohol. There’s going to be little kids drinking it in the streets of Mumbai, there’s going to people driving drinking it. There’s gong to be people who are influenced to becoming alcoholic drinking it. Now it’s their choice. It’s not your purpose but still you are part of the facilitation of promoting that. If that’s what you want to do, you have your free choice. It’s not for us to judge you but it is for us to speak the facts in the reality of the scenario of intoxication of alcohol. Do we want to promote and participate in influencing people in that way for our own profit? My humble request is contemplate that.
Thank you for your honest question.
Question: Maharaj, is it possible to achieve social equality through Krishna consciousness movement?
Maharaj: Social equality?
Maharaj: Is it possible to achieve that?
Maharaj: Certainly. Krishna tells in Gita that a Krishna consciousness person “panditah sama-darsinah” that he sees every one with equal vision. Whether one be a learned Brahman, or a cow, or an elephant, or a dog, or a “chandala” (a person who is considered in society to be an outcaste). A learned person
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
panditah sama-darsinah (Bhagavad Gita. 5.18)
How does a person see with an equal vision? Because the person sees the eternal soul within the heart of every living being. When we realize our own soul we can perceive the soul in others, the sacred diving spark of life, the part of GOD ,the ATMA. And there can be nothing but love and respect for every living entity and we find great saints and great traditions throughout history how they were offering respect love and compassion to all living beings. Mrgari the hunter he was a cruel hunter. Not only would he kill but he was expert in slowly killing so that the animals would suffer at his merciless hands. But after associating with a great devotee Narada Muni and understanding the truth from him, he became such a loving devotee of Krishna that he would meticulously go out of his way so he would not show disrespect or even the slightest harm to an insignificant ant. This is the sensitivity of one who loves GOD. So yes, social equality is only real when it actually on the spiritual platform. Because on the spiritual platform there is total equality because we are not these bodies. We are not black or white or yellow, we are are not Indian, Pakistani, American, Russian, African or Chinese. We are not men or women, we are not rich or poor, and we are not Brahmans, kshatriyas, vaishyas, shudras or untouchables. These are all temporary designations.
prakriti-sthani karshati (Bhagavad Gita 15.7)
One who has properly controlled the mind, when the mind is still then the glorious virtues of the soul are manifested. And then we see every living being in their true perspective that we are all the children of GOD. We don’t see the “vipada’s” the temporary designations. We see the eternal truth within everyone. Universal brotherhood spontaneously is manifested in the heart when we know our father and mother.
Sri Sri Radha Gopinath ki Jai!!!
When we understand our eternal mother and father, then we understand every living being in perspective as our eternal brothers and sisters. Otherwise through political propaganda or philanthropic propaganda to try to create equality has such limitations. Does that answer your question?
Martin Luther King in his famous address at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC he proclaimed that “when will that day be, I have a dream, I have a dream that people will be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” He was a religious man. Sree Caitanya Mahaprabhu to show the world, he made an untouchable outcaste Haridas Thakur the Naam acharya, the highest position of the teacher of the whole world of the most sacred religious principle. That is social equality.
Question: Can you expect a poor mother who is not having food to feed her child, to not be a hurricane and be a good dog? It can’t be possible for a poor mother to be a good dog. Otherwise she will become a bad dog for feeding her child.
Maharaj: A good mother? Is that what you said?
Yes, a mother poor mother is not having food to feed her child. Can you expect her to be a good dog? To have good qualities, not having hurricane qualities…what do you say?
Maharaj: When we are talking about feeding the good dog and bad dog we are not speaking about material food. We are talking about feeding by our actions, by our words, by our thoughts, to cultivate higher consciousness. If the mother is trying to give the child the best that she can give and if the mother is trying to cultivate the goodness within her own heart, rather than vices within her own heart then she will be saintly mother. It has nothing to do with material qualifications or disqualifications. I remember when I was child, there was a song I listened to. It’s called “all my trials Lord will soon be over” and there is one verse in this song. ‘If religion is that a thing that money could buy, the rich would live and the poor would die’. Religion is not for the rich or for the poor. Religion is for the sincere. And whatever situation we are in we could make the best. We were discussing the other day Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaj. He was born in a violent ghetto. Violent…poverty striken, he was African American a minority, who was suppressed and depressed. He never had more than a few pieces of clothes to wear. His father left before he was born, a single widowed mother had to raise him and the other children in a very depressed, suppressed poverty stricken condition. But yet whenever a friend of his came to his house, if she saw that his clothes were torn or too old she would give her own son’s clothes to that neighbor or that friend and she had no money to buy him something else, because she wanted to teach him the virtue of compassion. She wanted to teach him, because she was a GOD conscious woman, a Christian woman. Making sacrifices, to do good for others, to help others, to show compassion that is real wealth. A poverty stricken person with a sincere, honest and compassionate heart has billions of times more wealth than a billionaire or a millionaire who is greedy and egoistic. Real wealth is internal, real wealth is not simply how much you can accumulate.
Is there any other question?
Question: Why do different human beings have different nature?
Maharaj repeats the question: Because we each have our free will and according to how we utilize our free will we will act in different ways, we will speak in different ways and every time we engage in any activity we are conditioning our own consciousness…yes. You have a choice to smoke cigarettes or not smoke cigarettes but if you smoke for so many years then you are going to be addicted, it’s going to be your conditioned nature … I NEED CIGARETTES…right? And somebody else chooses not to smoke, he doesn’t need cigarettes so why is the conditioned nature different. Because they have made choices and they have conditioned themselves according to their choices and every living being within this entire cosmic manifestation has a unique karmic situation according to how the choices we made and how we conditioned our consciousness by those choices. There’s no two living beings in the entire creation that are equal, karmically, physically, emotionally. The only equality is on the spiritual platform, true equality. So every living being is uniquely conditioned in a very different and special way according to how we have made choices in this life and in the past lives.
Question: I understand that all the actions that we do come under the laws of nature. But what about the thoughts in our mind. The bad thoughts that we don’t accept.
Maharaj: According to shastra, in the Satya yuga, Treta yuga and Dwapara yuga, men and women in human species are karmically responsible for every thought. Because we have such power over the mind in those ages. But in kaliyuga this mind is so hurricane like, it’s very difficult to control the desires and thoughts come to our mind, so we are not karmically responsible for our thoughts. But we are karmically responsible for our words and actions. However, we have the free will to contemplate on either good thoughts or bad thoughts or holy thoughts ….yes. Krishna says if we contemplate sinful thoughts, selfish egoistic thoughts then the mind will force us, impel us to speak and act accordingly. But when those thoughts come and when those desires appear within our mind if we neglect them by our intelligence and choose to focus our mind on that which is virtuous and most importantly choose to focus our mind on GOD by keeping our mind busy for GOD, then we can overcome those negative thoughts and not have to suffer karmic reactions. And the easiest way to fix our mind on Krishna whenever a bad thought may come, is to take shelter of his Holy Names,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare.
Question: Maharaj, as you told that solution to all problems is chant the holy name of Lord with all humility. First of all there is no understanding of humility and as I have heard from devotees that is very high platform that chanting in humility. Apart from that basic thing is that to bring the mind under the control of self. So when chanting is there then mind goes here and there and that is no remembering that mind has to be brought back.
Maharaj: We have our free will, the quality or sincerity …Krishna explains in Gita “whenever and wherever the mind wanders due to it’s flickering and unsteady nature one must certainly draw it back and bring it back under the control of the self. The mind is a small child. Small children are, there nature is to get into trouble. One of my friends was telling me they have a little child, just learning to run around and they try to keep everything safe in the room and they would get so many soft toys for the child to play with, so many nice little soft beds for the child to lay in, everything is good. They scrutinizingly made arrangements that everything in the room was safe but somehow or other the child just..They came in the room and child went to the drawer and was playing with a little razor blade. How did he find that little razor blade? Why did he choose that razor blade out of all the dozens and dozens of nice things in the room? It’s the nature. Therefore the mother, her love is to keep bringing the child back to a safe place even when if the child is running to dangerous situations the mother keeps bringing the child back. Just like in automobiles now many manufacturers, they make, the rear windows do not go down all the way, because so many little children just jump off the window from the moving car.(laughter)…
It’s happened so many times all the over the world now they are making windows that you cannot make them go down all the way. Just half way. So many nice things in the car but they choose to jump off the window. So the nature of the mother is wherever the child runs, whatever dangerous situations the mother keeps bringing it back to safety. So the intelligence is like mother and the mind is like the child. The mother has to keep bringing, the intelligence has to keep bringing the mind back. We are chanting Hare Krishna, which is the safest situation. Bhakti Vinod Thakur says, ‘ I have seen and considered the whole fourteen worlds of the universe and my conclusion is the safest place is wherever there is chanting of the Holy Names. And we are sitting to chant and mind…it’s conditioned to do that. Don’t be surprised, don’t be discouraged. But the mother the intelligence,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare (Maharaj makes the sound of a wandering mind)
Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare (Maharaj makes the sound of the returning mind)
Thank you very much.
Question: Sir last question please?…laughter
Why GOD created this world? Why Lord Krishna has created this world?
Maharaj: Because he loves you….(laughter). We have chosen to live independent of GOD’s will, so GOD has created a world where we can exercise our free will but in the process, gradually learn a good lesson and go back to our eternal home, back home, back to Godhead.
The living entity rejects the Lord and comes into this material existence by own sweet will but the Lord is so kind..
yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
tadatmanam srjamy aham (Bhagavad Gita 4.7)
The Lord comes to this world again and again and again personally through his incarnations, through his prophets, his sons, his devotees just to remind us of what is our real happiness, our real best interest, just to remind us that our real home is with our eternal mother and father. …Yes. Giving us every opportunity, every chance birth after birth after birth. Whatever the Lord does is motivated only by pure love, unadulterated, spiritual love and as we make spiritual progress we can not only understand but deeply appreciate GOD’s love in every situation. The disasters and calamities that people bring about upon themselves is our doing. But the Lord is always trying to intervene and bring us back to the right path. That is his love. The Lord never gives upon anyone.
Shall we have kirtan?
I wish to thank everyone very very much!!