Om namo bhagabate vasudevaya
I sincerely welcome everyone toSriRadhaGopinathTemple, for this very wonderful Prerana festival. Tonight I was asked to speak on the subject, The Power of Prayers. I do not deserve to speak on such a high subject, but I pray to all of you to bear with me as I try.
Effect of Srila Prabhupada’s Prayers
It is due to the power of one mans prayers, that this temple is here. That there are over 500 temples of Krishnaall over the world. It is the power of one mans prayer that we are all gathered together. One man who left Indiawhen he was 69 years old, with 40 rupees on a cargo ship in 1965. He left on Friday the 13th of August. He did not know anyone outside ofIndia, he never did in his whole life. He had several heart attacks, sea sickness on the ship. Which was a probably 32 days sailing at sea. And his idea was to spread the pure teachings of Bhagvad Gita and pure Bhakti all over the world. What were his chances of success. Who travels abroad with 40 rupees on a cargo ship to start a worldwide movement with no contacts and less than 8 dollars. But on that ship, he wrote a beautiful prayer. It was not a prayer, that he ever intended to be published or read by any other human being. It was his personal feel of humility, to lordKrishna from his heart. Praying that I do not know why you have brought me to this place where the modes of passion and ignorance are so high, Will they even understand the language I speak. It is only possible if you empower me, cause you are the lord of all lords and you are seated in everyone’s heart. Only if you give me the power to speak and make them understand, is everything possible. I am a puppet and you have brought me here to dance. Now you could make me dance as you like me to dance, oh! Lord make me dance , me dance
According to your desire. He prayed I have no devotion and I have no knowledge, but you have given me the name Bhaktivedanta, so now it is for you to fulfill the real purport of this name. These poor people like puppets in the strings of passion and ignorance the illusory energy is pushing them forward. But the hope and false prospect of happiness through material adjustments, forgetting their eternal soul and forgetting their ever well wishing lord. Give me the power to help them. It was that prayer, he began in the bowery, a garter ofNew Yorkat that time. And within a few sure years, tens and millions of his translations and purports of Bhagvad Gita in all the major languages of the world were being distributed. Hundreds of temples, tens and thousands of people dedicating their lives. Yes, it is by that one mans prayer that we are here together today.
Shashtric Principles of Prayers
There are nine processes of devotional service according to shastra. One of them is Vandanam. One can attain the perfection of life by properly executing any of these nine processes of devotional services . Beginning with hearing about the lord. Chanting the glories in the names of lord, remembering the lord. Offering prayers, is one of those essential items of bhakti. Simply by learning the proper method of praying in the spirit, we can invoke the mercy of the lord within our lives and know him face to face. The Vedic literatures are filled with hymns and prayers. In fact within the Vedas, so much of the teachings are conveyed through the offerings of prayers of great souls. Srimad Bhagvatam, which is considered the essence, the jewel of all Vedic Literatures, is predominantly manifested through the prayers of the hearts of great souls.
Exemplary Prayers by Great Souls
Gajendra, Gajendra in many ways was taking the role of all of us. It was in the jaws of the crocodile of death. Is anyone an exception to that law of nature? The jaws of death are clasping all of us. The power of time, as soon as the child is born in this world, we know one thing for sure, that some day that child will die. There are many mysteries that even astrologers cannot calculate properly, but any lay man in the street knows that this person will die someday. That is the power of time. Yes, we are all in the jaws of the crocodile of death. Its just the matter when he closes his mouth. Gajendra very powerful, with a wonderful family, so many friends, supporters. But there is nothing he could do, he fought with all of his strength, he called out for help, but no body could help. And in his desperate condition, he remembered prayers that he had learned in his previous life. This is the power of prayer.Krishnatells us in Bhagvad Gita
pratyaväyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
träyate mahato bhayät
(Bhagvad Gita 2.40)
That any activities, any progress we make on the path of real spirituality, is eternal. It is never lost. Even if we forget it sometime it is still an investment that is waiting for us, when ever we turn to it. If you make 70% spiritual progress and your life ends you are guaranteed by the laws of God to begin your next birth at 71%. When prayers are offered from the heart with sincere devotion, they become a very iatrical part of the soul’s journey. So although Gajendra was a completely materialistic person, in his helpless condition when he was most in need, he remembered those prayers. And offered not as a formality, not as a ritual, but with genuine sincerity. Real prayer must come from the heart. Srila Prabhpad, our Guru maharaj, he once said that without affection and love our prayers can not be offered properly. What if we have no affection or love, if we sincerely pray for that love, Srila Prabhupad often explained and he is repeating what great saints have said since time memorial, how should we pray toKrishna, Please give me love. When I have love then I can properly pray. BecauseKrishnahe only really considers our devotion. He does not care for our memory power. He does not care for our poetic skills, if we have those in you and you use those with sincerity then he will accept with great pleasure, but if we have none of that,..
Little Dhruva, he was only five years old. He went to the forest, seeking revenge on his father and mother for mistreating him. But he met Narda muni who taught him prayer and worship and devotion and he became so purified through the process of chanting gods name and offering proper prayers. He became so pure that eth lord stood right before him. But Dhruva didn’t know how to pray, he never went to school. Five years old is before you learn all these things. But he had a desire, he had no poetic skills, he had nothing memorized what so ever but he wanted, he had a grateful heart. The Lord is so kind to me, I want to offer him my love. I want to pray for the benediction of the eternal service. But he had no power to do. But the lord simply seeing his sincerity touched his head with the conch and gave him the power to offer prayers that even today, long after the great scholars and saints have been getting great inspiration. So prayer must come from the heart. We could memorize prayers and that’s very nice, but even when we recite those prayers they have to come form us, not from the person who spoke it thousands of years ago.
And that is one of the great faults, with religions all over the world. People become very much attached to the external superficial aspects of the spiritual paths and neglect concentration on the essence. The essence is to transform our character. We should become humble compassionate instruments of the Lord. To purify our hearts and develop love for the Lord, that is the essence of every spiritual path. The only, because we get too much attached to externals, even prayers there are people who can memorize and recite even the most glorious prayers. But if it is not built on the foundation of sincere desire of the heart, are just so many words. In their lives they can be cruel, they can be hypocrites, and they can be anything. Gajendra, he was not in the situation to be superficial or artificial. His was life and death, he prayed to the lord with all humility, “I am helpless, I am in such a lowly condition I can’t help my self and no body can help me. My lord you are all merciful, you are the controller of all controllers, You are always above the modes of material nature. I offer my heart to you. Please my Lord, don’t just deliver me from my predicament, deliver me from the material conception of life which is t he cause of all of my problems and accept as me as your eternal servant.” Srimad Bhagvatam, explains in reciprocation to his prayers the Lord reciprocated, descended, deliverd him and brought him to the spiritual world.
What was the power of little Prahlads prayers? His father Hiranyakashipu he was so great. He conquered the worlds. Prahlad was just a small boy. When Lord Narsimha dev appeared to save him, he prayed to Lord Narasimha dev. What was his prayer, he began, you are all merciful, you are all powerful and who am I ? I am just a very lowly, unfortunate son of the demon like Hiranyakashipu and I have so any bad qualities. I have no value what so ever, but you are so kind, you are so merciful that you have send your devotee, Narada Muni to teach me about you. And now, I am so much in ecstasy, so much happiness. The only benediction pray, as long as anyone is forgetfulness or forgetful of you, let me remain in the material world to help them. And although my father tried me to murder me in hundreds of ways, eh hates me more than he hates anything, h heated me, now he is dead by his own sins. If you want to give me a benediction, forgive him. Give him liberation. That was Prahlads prayer.
Queen Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas. She was so humble. She considered I am just an ordinary women. What do I know about high spiritual things and I am so much attached to all kinds of family affairs. But you are so beautiful. Every part of your body is like a lotus flower. You are so kind. It is only by your mercy that we have been saved in so many calamities. Savor my attachments to this world and let the calamities come again and again and again.
vipadaù santu täù çaçvat
tatra tatra jagad-guro
(Prayers of QueenKunti7:25)
Let the calamities come on me again and again so that I feel the necessity to always remember you and never forget you. Causes in remembering you, all the miseries of material existence are gone. This was Kunti’s prayer.
Ambrishe’s prayer. What a great personality Ambrish was. Durvasas Muni tried to murder him for no reason at all and when Durvasa Muni was being punished by the Lord none of Durvasa Muni’s powers could save him. But one thing saved him, what was that? Ambrish prayed for him. Ambrish prayed Lord forgive him. And the power of Ambrish’s prayers was million times powerful than the greatest yogi on the earth that is Durvasa Muni.Tha is power of prayers.
Yes, the Vedas are filled with wonderful, wonderful great souls who have taught us the process of praying. We cannot imitate them, we are not so great but we can study these prayers and enter into the spirit of their devotion. And then we learn how to pray ourselves, to the Lord.
Three Categories of Prayers
Bhagvad Gita categorizes almost everything according to the there modes of material nature and prayer can also be categorized in this way. There is prayer in Tamoguna, the mode of ignorance. Hiranyakashipu, he was praying to lord Brahma, that you are Mighty, you are all supreme, You are great. He was praising Brahma in perfect Sanskrit language but what was his prayer. To conquer others, to defeat his enemies, to be infallible in battle. It was prayer in mode of Ignorance. Ravanna also, eh got his powers through his tapasya and his prayers. And look at today’s world, there are terrorists, who often go right to the house of God and pray for the power to be successful in their terrorist activities. Most of the terrorists today. Have religious motives at least they think they do! And they pray, they pray for the power of torturing and killing people, innocent people. That is the extreme reality in today’s world of prayer in the mode of ignorance.
And how many people pray, in the churches, masjids, temples, in mode of passion. God is my origin supplier, praying for wealth, praying for fame, praying for power, that is prayer in Rajaguana, passion.
And there is prayer in Satvaguna, the mode of goodness. Where we are praying for peace, for happiness, for goodness. We are praying for the welfare of others, for help of others. Look at the power of mother Teresa’s prayer in the mode of goodness. When she came toCalcutta, she was just a tiny little woman fromEastern Europe. She had no money, she didn’t have much education, but she prayed, she prayed from her heart. Let me feed these people. Let me relive these people from the suffering of there diseases, let me help these orphans. She was nota business women. She didn’t have alls kinds of wealthy contacts then. She only had one thing her prayer and by the power of her prayer, that just for her charity she won noble prices. She has tens and thousands of assistance all over the world, dedicated their lives to here mission. That’s prayer in the mode of goodness.
Ad there is also prayer transcendental to the modes of nature.Krishnaexplains in Bhagvad Gita,
(Bhagvad Gita 2.45)
That the ultimate goal of our life is to transcend the modes of material nature. But we have to come to the platform of goodness before we can transcend the modes. When we are in the mode of goodness then we can go to shuddha satava, pure goodness. Transcendental means that which is eternal, beyond the limitations of material energy. And there are two types of transcendentalists, the impersonalist and the personalists. The Gaynis and the Bhaktas. The Impersonalist, they pray for mukti or liberation. And the bhaktas they pray for prem, or unadulterated, unconditional, eternal, loving service. And we have explained how the shastras, the Holy Scriptures are filled with prayers. And all great acharyas have left behind, so many beautiful prayers. To teach us how to pray. We repeat, we can not imitate them. But we can study how they pray?, what they pray for?, what is their spirit? What is their sincerity? mahäjano yena gataù sa panthäù. The path of perfection is to follow in the foot steps of great souls. To enter into that spirit with great attention and care is the path of perfection.
Elements of Prayer
There are four common elements that we find in the prayers of great souls. One is to glorification of the Lord from the heart, appreciating the mercy of the Lord, the beauty of the Lord, the supreme position of the Lord. In Lord Chaitanya Çikñäñöaka, the prayer she wrote with his hands, the supreme Lord in th role of devotee is teaching us how to pray. He is praying to the Lord in his holy name, he begins by glorifying the holy name, you are so kind, you a re so merciful. You have descended in your holy name. It is the prime benediction for all humanity. Simply by chanting your holy name sincerely it cleans the mirror of the heart, relives us of our miseries, awakens the lotus of good fortune within us. It is te essence of all knowledge and ;earning and ultimately it gives us taste of pure love that we are longing for. And you are so kind my Lord, nämnäm akäri bahudhä nija-sarva-çaktis that you have personally descended in your name and invested all of your powers and energies in your name. All of your beauty, all of your opulence, all of your love and power of within your name. And you are so kind, that in this age of kaliyuga where people are so disqualified spiritually, there are no hard and fast rules for chanting your names. Anyone can chant regardless of caste, nationality, education, social background. This is all irrelevant.
aho bata çva-paco ‘to garéyän
yaj-jihvägre vartate näma tubhyam
(Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi leela)
Even if one is considered by social standards an outcaste, if one sincerely chants your holy names that person cannot only purify his own self but can be a guru for the whole world and deliver everyone. But if a person even born in Brahman family. Who has all the 25 qualities of a perfect Brahman, by social standard, if that person is not chanting your name with devotion, he cannot deliver himself what to speak of anyone else. This is the power of your name my God. So he begins with glorification.
Then there is the second element of prayer, humility and gratitude. Without tense two principles what ever we do is superficial. Can not satisfy the heart. Lord Chaitanya continues by saying, although you have descended with such kind mercy I have no taste for chanting your holy names because of my offences. And then he explains what the qualification to approach the God properly is. Without which it does not matter what you know or who you are, you cannot approach the Lord properly. The second element of prayer, humility and gratitude.
tåëäd api sunécena
taror api sahiñëunä
kértanéyaù sadä hariù
(Çré Çré Çikñäñöaka 3)
One should feel oneself more humble than a blade of grass. One should be more tolerant than the tree. One should be willing and eager to offer all respect to others and expect none in return. Devoid of all prestige in this spirit one can chant your name constantly my Lord.Infact Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu said that this verse teaching us to be humble like a blade of grass. Tolerant like a tree and respectful to all. He said that this rule of this verse should be put on the string of the holy name and worn on ones heart always.
And the third element of prayer is to pray for benediction. All the great souls what are they praying for an what do common people pray for? We pray for good grades, but people who don’t even pray get good grades sometimes. We pray for lots of money, but people who are atheist make lots of money sometimes. We pray for power but sometimes people in the mode of ignorance get tremendous power, they are usually the one who get it. This is the world today. So why shall we pray for these things? When you approach a big person you should ask for something big. So what shall good souls pray? Lord Chaitanya explains in Sikhshastakam, what is the spirit of prayer.
na dhanaà na janaà na sundaréà
kavitäà vä jagad-éça kämaye
mama janmani janmanéçvare
bhavatäd bhaktir ahaituké tvayi
(Çré Çré Çikñäñöaka 4)
What ever anybody wants he is saying I don’t want. He says I do not want money, that’s not why I am approaching you. Now, let me translate this into modern language. It doesn’t mean you don’t earn money. That means that’s not you are approaching God for, its something higher. I do not want money, I do not want to enjoy with the opposite sex. I do not want prestige and fame, I do not even want liberation from suffering, I only want one thing from you my Lord. Please by your mercy, I do not deserve, grant me unconditional, loving service to you, birth after, birth after birth. This is the benediction.
ayi nanda-tanuja kiìkaraà
patitaà mäà viñame bhavämbudhau
kåpayä tava päda-paìkaja-
(Çré Çré Çikñäñöaka 5)
On son of Nanada Maharaj, O Krishna, I am your eternal servant. But somehow or other I have fallen in to this ocean of material existence, and I am suffering. Please pick me up from this ocean of material existence. So what is he praying for. He is just not saying, make me God.. He is saying allow m w to me a atomic particle of dust at your lotus feet. And he is not praying to be the only particle of dust in his lotus feet or the foremost particle of dust at his lotus feet. The Lords lotus feet has billions and trillions of dust particles and just me be one amongst them, clinging to your lotus feet.
vadanaà gadgada-ruddhayä girä
pulakair nicitaà vapuù kadä
(Çré Çré Çikñäñöaka 6)
He is continuing the benediction he is asking for. When will that day be my Lord, when will that day come, when I recite your name, my limbs tremble in ecstasy, my hair stand on end, tears flow from my eyes and my voice gets choked up.
çünyäyitaà jagat sarvaà
(Çré Çré Çikñäñöaka7)
Oh Govinda, so humble. He is not proclaiming that I see God, I am great. Oh Govinda, feeling your separation a moment seems like a millennium. And tons of tear are flowing form my eyes and the whole world is like a void in your absence.
äçliñya vä päda-ratäà pinañöu mäm
adarçanän marma-hatäà karotu vä
yathä tathä vä vidadhätu lampaöo
mat-präëa-näthas tu sa eva näparaù
(Çré Çré Çikñäñöaka8)
He is praying in this verse, in the spirit of surrender to the will of God. My Lord, I am your eternal servant. You can treat me any way you like. If you like you can bring me the greatest happiness by embarrassing me or f you like me Lord you can trample upon me or you can neglect me totally. You have every right to deal with me in any way you please. And I am happy because I am your servant unconditionally.
In another place, Lord Chaitanya taught us a different prayer. nähaà vipro na ca nara-patir näpi vaiçyo na çüdro. I am not a Brahmin, ksahtriya, vaishva, sudhra, brahmachari, vanaprashtha, grahastha. These are all temporary designations, Man and women, Indian, Pakistani, Russian, African, American, Australian, temporary designations. High caste, low caste , wealthy, poor educated, uneducated. Even Hindu, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist, Jain, Parsi, they are all temporary designations. My Lord, I am praying only for one thing. The essence of life, Sanatan Dharma. gopé-bhartuù pada-kamalayor däsa-däsänudäsaù, I am a das. Let me be the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of your servants. Dhruva Maharaj he was ashamed that he wanted so many material things for himself. But when he saw for the Lord, he said “I was looking for the broken pieces of glass but Hari Bhakti suddhodaya explains in this way, but I have found a rare diamond. I was looking for a kingdom, for power and revenge and I have received your love. Now I want nothing else.” But still the Lord told him you should be king and you should perform your duty, but do it not out of greed, but perform your duty in the spirit of devotion.
And the fourth characteristics it is very common in prayer is the prayer for forgiveness. Forgiveness for our offences, forgiveness for sin’, forgiveness for our laziness, forgiveness for our neglect.This does not mean that we have Psychotic condition of just regret. As Radheshyam prabhu was so beautifully explaining our thought process should be in positive line. Even regret and remorse for things we have done, or whatever we are doing should be in positive spirit of improving, of correcting, of reforming and humbling our self to receive higher powers. Alcoholic synonymous have the most successful organization for curing drug addicts and alcoholics and the basic principle of their whole ideology is prayer. That I am a victim of a power beyond myself, I am helpless, I must access the higher power to help me. Humbling one’s self in the spirit of apologizing and asking forgiveness for what we have done wrong and the power for rectification.
Prayers of Great Acharyas
Rupa and Sanatan Goswami when the approached the Lord, the power of their prayer was they conqueredKrishna. What an example. Sanatan Goswami was the prime minister of thekingdomofBengaland his younger brother Rupa was the Home minister, finance minister as well. Great power, tremendous wealth. But when they approached Lord Chaitanya, they had straw between their teeth. First they expressed the greatness of the Lord, all Glories to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who descended in this world to deliver the most fallen. You are Patit Pavan, you have the power that no one else has to not only rescue us from the ordinary difficulties of the world, but you have the power to rescues us form the clutches of the illusion and awaken our souls identity. But we are so fallen; we are in an abominable association, more sinful than Jagai and Madahai. We have no right to even offer prayer to you, but by your kindness you are hearing us. They prayed in this way with such humility form their heart, with such faith that Lord Chaitanya wept tears. And the Lord had to stop them. Said please stop this humility it’s breaking my heart. He had to pick them up, he placed his hands on his head and they were right down at his lotus feet. Then the Lord picked them up and embraced them, initiated your name is now, Rupa Goswami and Sanatan Goswami. The power of their prayer because of its sincerity and its integrity is, it made the Lord cry in ecstasy and love. And not only that it invoked the Lord to empower them in such a way, that they could establish the highest principles of Bhakti in the whole world for days to come. That is the power of prayer. To follow in the footsteps of such souls is really the perfection of our lives. I would like to conclude by reading the prayers of Srila Prabhu Pad. Many great acharyas have prayed in a way that it is exemplary for all of us. An inspiration as srila prabhupad in these prayers he wanted nothing for himself he was praying for us, praying for the lord to forgive us and to give us highest happiness this is the quality of a actual great soul. When Lord Jesus Christ was crucified he was praying dear lord forgive them they not know what they do. Haridas Thakur, he was being beaten through 22 market places brutally whole time. He was praying lord forgive them, give them your love. Vasudev Dutta prayed that every living being who has Karma may go back to the spiritual world and I will take their karma and suffer perpetually. That’s the only prayer I want that’s my benediction. Please give me this. And the Lord wept tears because he was serious about that. When a great personality prayers for us, the prayers of a sincere soul never go in vain ever for all of the eternity. They may not externally appear to work out according to our preferences but the prayers of great soul never go in vain. And anyone who has some sincerity the Lord hears the prayers. One time our guru Maharaj, Srila Prabhu Pad, he told one of his new disciples, “Pray for me.” And that devotee said, “Swamiji that’s not going to do any good for you if I pray for you.” And Srila Prabhu Pad with all sincerity with folded palms he said,” No, You are a Vaishnava, you are devotee,Krishnawill hear your prayers.”How ever insignificant we are God is in our heart.
håd-deçe ‘rjuna tiñöhati
The Lord is within everyone’s heart. Absolute is sentient thou has proved. The Lord hears Bhagvad Gita tells, every where are his hands, his legs, his eyes, feature, he hears everything, he sees everything. Prayer is in an essential fundamental element of every great religion of every great spiritual path. It is the opportunity for us to come in the presence of God. It’s not just a ritual. But it must be done properly.
Prayers from Srila Prabhupada’s Diary
Yes, Srila Prabhu Pad, he was praying for all of us. One of the greatest things you can do for someone is to pray for them. But prayers must also be fortified with action and words. Prabhu Pad just didn’t sit on the boat and pray. If Prabhu Pad would sit on the boat then, Praying for the power to do something. And then he did. From the age of seventy he traveled around the world thirteen times And he was never in good health. And even his young 20 years old American disciples could not keep up with him. This is prayer. And I was with Mother Teresa many years ago and I remember a news a journalist asked he r in my presence. Where do you get your power to do what you do? And she took out her rosary and she said what ever little power i have is by my chanting of Gods names. That’s the power of prayer. So Srila Prabhu Pad, he wrote these prayers as a selfless instrument. Praying for the power to serve, to help other human beings to attain lifes ultimate joy, Love of God. So please do listen carefully.
My dear Lord Krishna, you are so kind upon this useless soul. But I do not know, why you have brought me here. At this time he is atBostonHarborin Jaladutta an old cargo ship. “ I do not know why you have brought me here, now you can do what ever you like with me. But I guess you have some work here. Otherwise why would you bring me to this terrible place.” Most people, from east go to the west with promise of great prosperity. But Prabhu pad saw this a terrible place as he was coming from Vrindavn. He was coming to export the wealth of Vrindavan, to the west. He wasn’t coming to import the automobiles or other technologies toIndia. He was coming to export the Love of God to Vrindavan. Bt Srila Prabhu Pad explained in those daysIndiawas very much seemed in the world as a very materially lame country. AndAmericavery strong. So Prabhu Pad explained that the wealth and technology of the wet combined with the vision and the spirit of purity of the east can do the greatest benediction for the whole world. Like a lame man who can see getting on the shoulders of a blind man who can walk. The two can do great things together. So Prabhu Pad previously in his diary he writes, while he is on Jaladutta in the year of sailing over theArabian sea after his heart attacks , “I am so far from Vrindavan and I am feeling deep separation from Radha Govind, Radha Gopinath, Radha Damodar. But the Lord and my gurudev have sent me on a mission and I am happy.” The next verse ,”Most of the population here is covered by the modes, material modes of ignorance and passion, absorbing material life they think themselves very happy and satisfied. And therefore they have no taste for the transcendental message o Vasudev. I do not know how they will be able to understand it?” Here Srila Prabhu Pad is speaking a philosophical truth. One of the greatest miseries is how a great personality applies that in their life. Even when Prabhu Pad is in the bowery living wit alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, they were the only ones around, he was just given a just a little room. Somebody donated it. Every one loved him, because he was the only person who gave them respect. He was respecting the prostitute he was giving respect and owner to drunkards and thieves, he didn’t agreed he is telling here they are covered by the modes of ignorance and passion and they are very materialistic but still he saw a child within there heart. He had no malice, he had no hatred. He had love, he had compassion and similarly with many very, very wealthy powerful people that he met, he was a friend and a well-wisher to everyone. He was not phonetic, he was not judgmental. He understood the philosophy, he presented the philosophy. You are in disease condition but I love you. Let me try to help you. But I know your causeless mercy can make everything possible because you are the most expert mystic.Bhagvad Gita tells
guëaiù karmäëi sarvaçaù
kartäham iti manyate
(Bhagvad Gita 3.27)
The bewildered spirit souls thinks him or her the doer of activities but ultimately it is been carried out by the nature, Prabhupad was, he never thought even though when he was so successful, he never said “I have done this.”He always gave credit to others, for whatever he did he gave credit to others. He did unbelievable things, he worked hard,he did so many sacrifices and some one complemented him “I have not done anything it is by the mercy of my guru maharaj, it is by mercy of Krishna, it is by the kindness all of these young people who have helped me.” In 1973 I believe it was in LondonEnglandin Bhaktivedanta manor there was a ceremony where they installed the first RadhaGokulananda, first deity in their property and there were the devotees from all over the Europe. Many of them from the all over the world, who were coming to celebrate Prabhupad’s birthday,Vyas puja they all came to honor him, glorify him,to show all the gratitude for all the that he has given to us and in Prabhupad’s speech he gave credit to everyone else said “I have not done anything you all of you have done all the work.” Pradyumna Mahashaya, because of him The Chaitanya Charitamrita is been given and Bhagawan and his wife, I don’t remember her name, but he was glorifying Arundhatti, Pradyumanans wife. He was glorifying all these young boys and girls saying, “You have done everything by the mercy of my Gurumaharaj.” From his heart, he was not asking “Krishnamake me to work, let me just be your instrument but you are the doer my Lord. How will they understand the mellows of devotional service oh, Lord. I am simply praying for your mercy so that I will be able to convince them about your message. All living entities have become under the control of the illusory energy, By your will and therefore if you like by your will they can also be released from the clutches of illusion. I wish that you may deliver them. Therefore if you so desire their deliverance then only will they able to understand your message. They will become liberated from the influence of the modes of ignorance and passion and thus all inauspicious things accumulated in the core of the heart will disappear. How will I make them understand this message of Krishnaconsciousness. I am very unfortunate, unqualified and the most fallen. Therefore I am seeking your benediction so that I can convince them, for I am powerless, powerless to do so on my own. Somehow or other oh Lord, you have brought me here to speak about you, now my Lord it is up to you, to make me a success or a failure as you like. Oh spiritual master of all the worlds I can simply repeat your message. So if you like , you can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding. Only by your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts they will certainly feel gladdened I and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life. Oh Lord, I am just like a puppet in your hands, so if you have brought me here to dance, then make me dance, make me dance oh Lord make me dance as you like. I have no devotion, nor do I have any knowledge, but I have strong faith in the holy name of Krishna. I have been designated Bhaktivedanta and now if you like you can fulfill the real purport of Bhaktivedanta. “Signed, the most unfortunate, insignificant beggar, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami. On board ship Jaladutta, common wealth fair, Boston Masscecutes, U.S.A, and Dated 18th September 1965.
Why Shall We Pray?
Krishnaknows everything, people say why should we pray if God already knows everything. He already knows our thoughts, why should we say anything?, why should we do anything either? Because life is about reciprocation. Love is about reciprocation. Yes the Lord knows our heart and the Lord knows our mind but it pleases the Lord when by our free will we express ourselves. With the proper intention, proper honesty and integrity. And the Lord will reciprocate. In personal prayer, whether we are repeating the words of the shashtric prayers or whether we take the spirit of the shashtric prayers and put it on our own words, help me to give up this envy, help me give me this lust, help me to give up this greed, help me to overcome this anger, help me to serve you, please you, to be an instrument to your compassion. When we offer these prayers with sincerity we enter into the presence of Lord. And our lives are transformed. And what is the greatest of all prayers. How may I serve you? How may I love you? This Hare Krishna mantra has been explained by the acharyas in the spirit of prayer. Brhyhad Naradiya Purana, declares,
harer näma harer näma
harer nämaiva kevalam
kalau nästy eva nästy eva
nästy eva gatir anyathä
In this age of kali, the most powerful of all ways of purifying eth heart and awakening our original spiritual consciousness is the chanting of Lords names and God has many names. When we chant Gods names with sincerity without offences the name of God awakens our original spiritual essence. Prem Bhakti. But the achryas have told us, that we should the particular prayer for state of our motives is how the name reciprocates with us. If we are chanting the name of God with the intention of desiring some material benediction we may get some material benediction. If we are chanting the name of God hoping for liberation, in the impersonal existence of the lord, we may attain that.
Meaning of the Mahamantra
Hare is the name of Sri Radha, the all powerful, all sweet, all loving feminine aspect of the absolute. The mother of devotion. Krishnais the name of God, universal name of the God, that the Lord is all attractive, the object of everyone’s hearts love and Rama means that the Lord is the reservoir of all pleasure. What ever pleasure we are seeking, the ultimate source of all pleasure, the infinite pleasure is in our loving devotion to the supreme Lord, Sri Ram. And when we chant in the spirit, Oh Radha, Oh Krishna please engage me in pleasing you through my sincere service that is the ultimate prayer. Grant me your loving service eternally Lord. When we invoke the presence of the Lord through his holy names in this spirit very quickly we experience the mercy of lord, the presence of the lord. So this is the prayer of all prayers. According to the Vedic literatures the Mahamantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. But not mechanically, not sectarianly, with the real spirit of integrity we must chant. Humble like the blade of the grass, tolerant like a tree, eager to offer respect to all others and not expect for oneself. In this way we can always be happy and we can always feel Gods love as we chant his holy names.
Thank You very much!
Q: Hare Krishna, my question is that you just now said that what ever is to be done has to be done with lots of devotion the prayer has to be done with lots of sincerity and feeling. But when we meet great souls like you the devotion develops, but after that when we go back in the real world again again that thing develops so how do you keep that spark developed in you? That is my question.
A: I am not a great soul but I will try to answer your question any way. Just like we eat to get strength, yes, it’s not that you just eat on Monday and then comeback the next Sunday and eat again. Because we get weak, we have to regularly nourish your self. So regular association with people who uplift us is all important and regular connection with the Lord of our heart is very important. Chanting Gods name everyday, reading through the scriptures, offering sincere prayers in the footsteps of good souls regularly, associating with people who inspire us. If we make this a priority ten spiritual life becomes very simple and very happy. Otherwise it’s just very difficult. Because we get spiritually nourished and when we eat spiritual food stuff which is in the form of what we have discussed we gradually weaker and weaker because there is a lot of opposition to a pure life in this world. Especially inBombay, Mumbai. Even more in Mumbai than inBombay.
Q: Hare Krishna Prabhuji, my question is according to Iskcon tradition, all the woman are called matajis. So if the entire women are called mataji, how can we marry one?
A: For that reason I never married. But if you do decide to get married then you may not call her, that particular lady, Mataji anyway. But I don’t know what you call her. Might be only the two of you know.
Q: Hare Krishna, Prabhuji said just know, one no need to become a Brahmin no need of 24 qualities. It’s exactly right. Swami Vivekananda also said no need to become a Brahmin whether one needs to become Brahma, no need to become a Brahmin. And in Bhagvatam, Sri Krishna also said, in order to reach God, if through Vedas not possible you at least do Karma. Through Karma you reach to God. That’s all Hare Krishna.
A: Your question what is the need to become a Brahmin is, is that your question or are you giving a comment?
Q: I am commenting.
A: Ok! Thank You.
There is one question on paper.
Q: When only in distress one is able to pray from the heart, otherwise it springs from the mind and is mechanical. Why is it so? But it is only in distress that the mind shuts down and allows us to pray from the heart.
A: Does anyone else have this experience? By Gods grace, there is plenty of distress within the world. That is exactly what queen Kunti prayed.
vipadaù santu täù çaçvat
tatra tatra jagad-guro
Queen Kunti said when these calamities we have no alternative but to pray to you form the heart. But when things are going very nicely then, spirituality sometimes just becomes a formality. We just go through the motions. That is sometimes human nature. But we should cultivate a higher standard. Whether we are happy or distressed we should be grateful. You don’t have to be in suffering to pray form the heart. You could also, in good times be grateful from your heart. And that is even better. When you are successful and everything is going your way, it’s a sunny day, you could thank God for the blessings. I don’t deserve this so much you are giving. You are giving me the air to breathe, you are giving me food to eat, you are giving me your holy name, and you are giving me the association of great personalities. You are giving me so much. We should rejoice. That is also perfect prayer. In happiness or distress, honor or dishonor, success to failure, victory or defeat, hot or cold health or disease, we can pray form our hearts, we can chant the name of the God form our heart. Sometime calling out for help, when we are in distress and sometimes in deep gratitude when things are very nice. But you should know neither one will last for long. So you should be ready. Does that answer your question?
Q: Hare Krishna Maharaj, Maharaj please accept my humble obeisance. Maharaj you said that when we pray we should have humility involved in it. So what exactly is this humility?
A: In the prayer that we read of Srila Prabhu Pad, I believe it’s very beautifully illustrated. Humility really means honesty. Humility is about simply being truthful. What do we have to brag about? If God does not make the sun rise. What will you do? Did you create your brain? Did you create your eyes to see? Did you create your heart to beat? Did you create your arms to act? AS they say, in British pardons do not be proud of borrowed looms. What ever we have is not ours. We have the free will to use what God gives us either in a good way or in an evil way or in spiritual way we have the free will and according to what we do and what we say the Karma is going to come back to us. But still all the facility we have to either use properly or misuse is coming form the power way beyond our own. You may be young and strong but by the power of time how long will you remain young and strong, The body is under the control of nature, the mind is under the control of nature, So humility really means to be honest.
“nityo nityänäà cetanaç cetanänäm, eko yo bahünäà vidadhäti kämän” (Kaöha Upaniñad 2.2.13).
This is spoken in the Upanishads. What does it mean? That there is one supreme eternal and all others are subordinate to that supreme eternal SO the fact is we are always subordinate to the supreme. Hitler was subordinate to the supreme. The Lord gave him that mind and the body and he totally misused it, exploited it, killed others tortured others and accumulated mountains and oceans of abdominal karmas for himself. But ultimately, he was dead and gone and his soul has to go to the next place to meet his karmas. Alexander the great, he can am d conquered the parts ofIndia. Where is he now, he was conquered by time. So everyone is subordinate to the power of God. So to be humble means to be realistic and honest. To be proud is to simply be dishonest, ungrateful and unrealistic. To be proud is an illusion. Of c course in the world today is a very cool situation. People like proud people. But eth fact is its an illusion. And it’s a miserable condition to the heart. So humility means to have enough integrity to be honest with the reality of our life before Lord. Does that answer your question? But it has to be practiced and cultivated.
Q: Hare Krishna Maharaja, I want to ask two questions. What is the difference between eth wordsOmand Hare?
Q: No, onlyOmand Hare?
A: Om, Hare, essentially ether is no difference. Bhagvad Gita Krishna tells praëavaù sarva-vedeñu. Lord hari says I am the syllableOm in the Vedic mantras. Om is name of God, there is no difference between Hari andOm. But our consciousness is what makes the difference. If you are thinking the three fold bended form of Gopinath when you chant Om, then Om will appear as Gopinath but if you are thinking of the impersonal all pervading existence of the Lord then Om will reveal in that way. So the name is one in one sense but eth conscious just in which we approach the name I show the name will reveal to us.Om denotes the all pervading foundational aspect of Gods supreme existence. And Hari is a very personal description of Gods nature. Hari means that one that steals away all the inauspicious things from our hearts and reveals him self. That is Hari.
Any other questions.
Q: Hare Krishna, Please accept my humble obeisance’s. Maharaj, you explained that when you pray it should come from heart. But many times it is mechanical. So in that case shall we try to artificially try to cry or should we wait and it will come from heart?
A: WE should not artificially but we should sincerely. IF we do not have sincerity and affection then we can honestly pray for honesty and affection. Our Gurumaharaj said, “everything is based on our desire, our whole life is built up on the foundation of our desires. If you desire God you will get God according to the nature of that desire” So someone said to Prabhu pad what if we have no desire. So that’s not a problem, desire the desire to desire. And if you cant do that, then desire the desire to desire the desire. And if you can’t do that, then desire the desire to desire the desire to desire the desire. But we all have the power to desire and no one can take that away from us. It’s the question of what we desire. We should not make a show, that is hypocrisy. We should not pray for people to honor us as saintly persons. That is another type of false pride. That is Fasad. That lord sees the honesty and sincerity of our intention. For as explained in Chaitanya charitamrita, the Lord accepts the purpose in which everything is offered. The lord does not accept the thing cause the Lord need no things, he already has everything. sarva-loka-maheçvaram. He is all the proprietor of anything that exits. What can you give God? Does he need your monkey, does he need your intelligence. He is giving it all to you. But if you offer any of these things with sincere devotion the lord accepts. He accepts the purpose in which we offer anything if we offer. Not the thing but the intention. And great persons will never think I pray very perfectly. We have just read Rupa and Sanatan Goswami they are saying we don’t know how to pray, we don’t deserve to pray to you, But we have no recourse, we have no where else to come, so we are speaking what ever little we can and those prayers are celebrated through forever. Because of their sincerity because of the purity of the purpose.
IS there another Question. Tell me whenever I have to end and I will be happy to end.
Q: Hare Krishna maharaj, sometimes we start chanting for some self interest. Or in form of prayer for somebody else. But sometimes it happens that it is not fulfilled ad again we ten to stop chanting or loose the mood of chanting. How can we cope up with this?
A: Its not fruitful, you mean.
Q: Its actually not fruitful yes,.
A: That is why we have explained that we learn how to pray from the scriptures and from the great personalities. Jesus was happily praying on the cross. Have you ever been through that. Srila Prabhu Pad was offering his prayers after several heart attacks and even after that when he was in New York citywhat ever little he had he was robbed, everything was stolen. So ye we should learn form these great souls. Prahlad Maharaja was praying when he was being thrown in the pits of snake, blazing fire, thrown in oceans, fed poison. We have read the prayers of Lord Chaitanya,
äçliñya vä päda-ratäà pinañöu mäm
adarçanän marma-hatäà karotu vä
Krishnaconsciousness is the science of unconditional love. We are enthusiastic for the sake of service to the supreme not for the sake of getting our way. Because the God knows what is best for us. We shouldn’t be like a spoiled child where the child when he doesn’t get from the parents what he wants, he just holds a tension. The parents knows what we should have and what we shouldn’t have and we may not understand our selves. When you were a child did you always understand why your parents did not give you something. Its very difficult. But we have faith tat they know what’s best for us. And in the case the God knows what’s best for us. He is our perfect parent. Radharani is a perfect mother,Krishnais the perfect father. So all this comes with the development of proper faith and faith is not just a superficial belief. Real faith is scientifically, philosophically, substantiated by authority, realization of others, ourselves and evidence, that can be practically perceived an proven in our lives, that is faith. A person who has got real faith in God it can be established on scientific, philosophical, logical basis. Wherein Atheism can never hold ground on this basis. Faith comes by associating with people who have faith and engaging in activities that nourish faith. And when we have that faith even when things are not going our way we are equally enthusiastic. Because it really doesn’t matter whether things go our way, what really matters is our integrity and our sincerity. And sometimes if Prabhu Pad didn’t go through all these crises that we are going through we wouldn’t appreciate him as much. If he was given a free ticket on AirIndiathroughNew York cityand he had thousand followers with Mercedes waiting for procession for him. We will say, Oh very nice, but he came on a cargo ship and there was just no body waiting for him, and he was just walking looking this way and that way onNew Yorkharbor. But because he just passed through those difficulties it makes him great. And similarly with you, what makes you great is both the successes and the failures. When you get want to and when you don’t get what you want if you maintain your integrity, your enthusiasm, that’s what makes a person great. Even in the material sense that’s what makes a person great. And especially in the spiritual sense. To not give up, cause we have faith. We are not getting what we want in fact we are getting exactly the opposite. Thank You Krishna, Hare Krishna, we just go on. That what gives us inner substance and strength. Even an athlete, an athlete gets strong through the process of resistance. Yes, if you want to actually gain strength, the more resistance the more you can gain. When you lift weights, you are resisting eth laws of gravity. The weight is pushing down and you are pushing up and then you become strong in that dealing with the resistance. If you say its too heavy just forget it, you will never become strong.. Why to just lay down and eat potato chips and watch television .That as the best. But you will never become strong with that. AAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaa…. Then you become strong. A runner is running and ahhhhhhahhhhhhhhhh… and the mind id just saying stop, stop just go to sleep. And the intelligence is saying no I am, so you are resisting fatigue, you are resisting weight. And studies is all about resistance. Is it not. The mind id forced to think about the girl next to you or something like that and you ammmmmmmmmmmm. Mathematics. You have to just resist. I have to just resist their and focus on this mathematical equation. Yes. That’s how you become intelligence through resistance. So in spiritual life there is much resistance coming from both with in and with out and we become powerful. We become empowered to the degree we are willing to face that resistance and grow with it.
Does that answer your question.
Q: Prabhuji why is it required to do sixteen rounds of chanting rather than you know doing 1 or 2 rounds in a day?
A: You can do two rounds also.
Q: I am doing two rounds but one of my means from where I got inspired, like you eat two to three times a day. You should do chanting of hare Krishna for.
A: That is based on your free will.
Q: But why is it required to do 16 rounds and not just two or three? Why is this standard.
A: Because the great souls , the self realized souls. They know better than us. Its like if a doctor tells you take two tablets there times a day and you say, well why not five tablets eight times a day. Because if you were so knowledgeable you wouldn’t be sick.So same thing eth great personalities. They know what medicine is good.
enechi auñadhi mäyä näçibära lägi’
hari-näma-mahä-mantra lao tumi mägi’
The best medicine in this age of kali is the holy name. And the great souls know what doses have the best effect. So it is the recommendation of the self realized souls who has realized the truths. Who are telling us chant at least 16 rounds this will be most beneficial for you. But if you can’t chant 16 then chant at least 1,that is ok! But if you want more benefit this how you can do. Does that answer your question?