Bad Things Happening to the World
Very sincere gratitude to all of our special guests assembled devotees for so kindly coming this evening to the prerana festival. Thank you for coming. Tonight we are speaking on a topic that is pocked and pounded, debated, contemplated over millenniums, Why do bad things happen to good people. If god is good, then why does is allow for an apparent injustice and evil and pain to come upon even people who are innocent? We have seen here in India, earthquakes, not far from us in Killari, in Latur, in Gujrat. Where tens and thousands of people were killed apparently indiscriminately in a matter of minutes. And hundreds and thousands suffering the loss of loved ones.
Property living with life long painful injuries and most of those people killed didn’t appear to be criminal or impious. Some were little children so young that they haven’t reached the age where they can reason between good and bad. Why did they have to suffer, and die if God is good? In Africa specifically recently in Ethiopia, there has been massive famine, where tens and thousands of people are suffering and dying of starvation. Amongst them are simple people, even tiny little babies are suffering and dying by that thousands disease. You see even the most apparently kind, generous, charitable, pious people suffering horrible disease like cancer, diabetes, alziemers, AIDS. Sometimes even very young. During the middle ages in Europe, it was the black plague, Rhubonic fever, were millions and millions and millions of people died. No one could discriminate who was good and who was bad. Millions died, even small children’s. If god is good, if God is all powerful, How and why would he allow this to happen to people who are apparently are so innocent?
Just about 55 or 60 years ago, there was the north sea regimen, headed by Hitler and from him was the hollow caste. In the hollow caste, according to statistics over 6 million Jewish people died, they were tortured, treated worst than animals, taken away from their home, brought to concentration campus, forced like slaves to do hard labor, emaciated, starving, hundreds and thousands dying with typhoid fever epidemic with absolutely no medical care. And hundreds and thousands of them were tiny little babies, children. Why? If is God is good how could he allow this to happen?
Yes the disasters of human history create many questions , Earthquakes, Famine, Disease, Prosecution, the hollow caste. If god is good, then how could he possibly coexist and do nothing about the evil apparent injustices of this world? This question encapsulates many peoples reason for having great difficulty with the idea of God.
People Becoming Atheist
Yes on the basis of this how bad things happen to good and innocent people, tens and millions of people have given up religion and others trying to somehow or other hold on to their religious faith have struggled in various ways with this dilemma, with this apparent contradiction. Some examples, after the hollow caste of 6 millions Jewish people killed by Hitler and so many more millions suffering diseases and loosing all of their homes and wealth and everything. Their were many Jewish priests who evolved theology to a more realistic and practical level, where there can be religion and spiritual culture without God. After all, if there is a god and he is good where was he when all of these people were being tortured and murdered? Others have struggled with this dilemma in other ways. There are some deep thinkers who influence the society much who claim, Yes there must be a God, cause there must be a cause for everything that exists, but God is not good. God id fundamentally evil. Hare Krishna and Others claim, in order to answer this question we have to accept that there are two Gods. This is reality, that there is an evil god and there is a good god. God and saint and the good god is benevolent, compassionate, and is always trying to uplift and help people. And the evil God is promoting so much of injustice, cruelty and suffering. The competition or the conflict between the good God and the evil God is what is existence is. Hare Krishna.
Now , Dustyosky, he very logically tried to explain how , it doesn’t make sense to say that there is no God and yet try to have more ideals within society. Because after all if the cosmos is nothing but an accidental byproduct of blind evolution then humanity has nothing to complaint about. Because the cosmos is just going on it’s accidental path of evolution and that’s just nature. There is no good and there is no evil. We may have our conception and our and our subjective ideas of what is good and evil but actually everything is just a fact of nature. Without the conception of God there can be no absolute authority of what is good and evil. What is good and bad. Everybody according to their convenience and according to their particular subject instead of consciousness could invent what they want to be good and what that want to be bad. And who is to say what’s right or what’s wrong . There was an author very very big best selling book, when bad things happen to good people._______________________________________. He was a Jewish boy and his son who was just a boy got a disease of premature aging and he became very ugly and died a very miserable death. And his father who supposed to be giving faith in people, to whom so many thousands of people were turning to for their faith in God, he had to struggle with the conception of why did God do this to my son? And why did God do this to my people during the hollow caste? So his hypothesis or let us say his theory which convinced millions and millions of people worldwide, that God does exist and God is good but God is not all powerful . He cannot be all powerful, if he was powerful then he would not allow my son to suffer like this, he may not allow injustices to apparently innocent people. The laws of nature are acting and circumstance prevails beyond the control of God. So therefore it doesn’t make any real sense there is no benefit to try to figure out why things happen. It’s just circumstances that’s all. God has created the world but it has no power to control what happens within the world.
Facts in Scriptures
Now the problem in this , although it kept people’s faith in God, who may had become atheist. But the problem with this is it’s just not supported by any scripture. Because in the Muslim scripture, in the Christian and Jewish scripture, in the Vedas, God is all powerful, God is All Mighty. He is not just Mighty, he is All Mighty. He is sarva-käraëa-käraëam . He is the cause of all causes. He is the efficient cause in which all other causes are relative to. janmädy asya yato .That the absolute truth is from whom everything emanates. Nothing exists outside God. So if God is all powerful. If God is All Mighty, the source of everything , the cause of all causes and nothing exist outside of him. Then why does he allow so much evil and pain within this world?
This is a question, that some people just don’t want to ask because it seems so impossible and contradictory. And other people they give up their faith or they hold on to a faith that is very superficial and shallow. Because they have no answers or they invent answers that contradict the Holy Scriptures that reveal God. Let us examine what Bhagavad Gita has to say about this subject. Brahman is indestructible and eternal. Brahman never ever changes in its constitution. Superior to Brahman is Parabrahman. Brahman means the eternal living entity, the souls and Parabrahman means the supreme personality the God head. And what is the difference Krishna tells in Bhagavad Gita
That the living entity is part and parcel of the supreme. The Vedic literatures calls the spirit soul sometimes Brahman or sometimes jiavatama. The imperishable, indivisible, eternal, indestructible soul. That is the source of life. That which emanates our bodies with consciousness. But as the part and parcel of the supreme we are called the marginal energy. paräsya çaktir vividhaiva çrüyat. The absolute truth has many diverse energies that are controlling everything. Predominantly there are three, the spiritual energy, which facilitates everlasting, unlimited loving relationships in the spiritual world or the vaikuntha or the kingdom of God. And the material energy. What is the material energy and why?
Need of Free Will
To understand this we must understand that the Jivatatva is marginal energy, that means the part and parcel, fragmental spirit souls that are qualitatively one with God, that are eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss but quantitatively we are only parts. We are always subordinate to the Supreme and in that subordination we are actually exist for the purpose of love. This is the teachings of Vedas and acharyas. We exist to Love. That is the fundamental need within every living being, to find pleasure. And the ultimate pleasure is the pleasure of loving and being loved. If we don’t have that then all the other sensory pleasures will never satisfy the heart. And the perfect Love is the eternal love between the soul and God. But in order for love to be real and satisfying the supreme absolute has created every living being with free will. If we don’t have free will then we are like robots. A robot can do incredible things but cannot have relationships, cannot love. So yes, this is a necessity for love to be true and satisfying that there be free will. Because it is a quality of God he is swarat, fully independent, so we also have our independence. So in order to freely love we must have the freedom not to love. Yes, if someone puts a gun on your head and says, “ Do what I say, please me according to my desire.” You would probably do it, How many of you would do it. You would do or die. But are you really happy doing it? And is that person really happy forcing you to do it? Not really! But if you could do anything. You could beat that person, You could reject that person, you can do anything, but by your own free will you want to please that person, that satisfies the heart of both. Because there is Love. So God has created everything and everyone in such a way that there can be perfect love. Thus he has given us the free will not to love. To accept or to reject. When the living entity wants to enjoy separate from it’s loving relationship with God, when the living entity wants to load it over the resources of material energy, then the spirit souls enters into the material energy and becomes subordinate to the influences of material energy, where there are three modes of nature Goodness, Passion and Ignorance . And according to the choices we make within this material energy, we identify with this body and we engage in various activities.
Laws of Nature
And there are laws of nature. Laws of nature are called the laws of karma. Laws a karma are not subjected to interpretation. They act whether you believe in it or not. Just like there is the law of gravity. If I tell you there is no law of gravity, what goes up doesn’t have to come down, Yes, doesn’t matter what I say. Even if a write a hundred thousand volumes of books in eloquent philosophical language to prove and to convince you that the law of gravity is simply created by a sentimental phynatics who could not cope with the realities of life, the fact is it is going to go down. So there are laws of nature. The law of thermodynamics. For every action there is an equal correspondent reaction. That is scientific. Or just like lord Jesus said very beautifully in bible, As you sow, so shall you reep.The mills of God grind exceedingly fine. But sometimes very slow as well. What ever you do what ever you speak there is going to be a reaction. That is the law of nature. Now, the laws of state you can get away with a certain things, you can kill a hundred people but the law of the state is going to kill you only once. Yes, but if you kill a hundred people, the laws of nature can kill you a hundred times or a thousand times or a million times. So the laws of nature cannot be escaped, you can’t get around it, you can’t bribe Yamaraj, but you can some people here in India, or other parts of world. You can not buy justice in the law of nature. Everyone is equal. These are the laws of karma. So it is very important to understand, how they work and why they work the way they do? Srila Prabhupad our gurumaharaj explains, that in every government there are various departments but they always have a prison department because there is always going to be people, however they grow it, the government is, what ever benefits they give, there is always going to be people that want to be criminals, that cause sufferings to others. So material existence is the prison department of existence and the purpose is to rectify us. Now Srila Prabhupad explains from Bhagavad Gita, that when the living entity misuses it’s independent free will, to want to load it over, rather than serve God in our spiritual nature we want to serve the absolute but in our conditioned state we want to load it over, we want to be the enjoyer, we want to be the controller, we want to be the proprietor. And when you have billions of people all thinking in this way, can there be peace on earth? It’s very difficult. Therefore the Lord descends in this world again and again and again and creates various religious systems according to time place and circumstances and sometimes he comes down and gives the full fledge Santana Dharma, the sum and substance of the absolute. Just to try to create an environment of peace and happiness. Where we are living in harmony with our nature to serve rather than to exploit it. Where we learn to love God and love others, rather than be envious and competitive on the basis of that envy and greed and lust and pride and anger and illusion.
Importance of Human Life
So within this material nature according to our activities everything is held, that we are accountable for. And according to our activities there are 8 million thousand species of life. In the lower species because of our particular previous actions we are caste under the control the three modes of material nature. The lower species have very little free will, the soul has free will but it is covered by the ignorance and passion of their previous karmas. Just like you don’t see tigers eating grass and you don’t see deer eating rabbits. They are acting according to their nature. And they hive to wow through so much enjoyment sand sufferings until they finally come to the human form of life which is very very rare. There is plants and fish and insects and lizards and birds and animals and beast and then there is the human life. When the come to the human form of life it’s a very very rare and special privilege.
durlabha mänava-janama lobhiya sansare
Why is it so rare? Because inhuman life the independent free will of the soul can be exercised. And the lower species were imprisoned by goodness, passion and ignorance or stav guna, rajoguna and tamoguna, but it is dictated as puppets by the modes of nature. But human life is the play time where we can make choices. But in human life because we have this opportunity we also have responsibility.
Types of Karma
Every thing you say and everything you do the laws of nature records and you will get reaction that is the laws of karma. There are three types of karma according to Bhagavad Gita. There is Karma, Vikarma and Akarma. Karma means, good action according to the scriptures. That will bring good results to us. If you giving charity you are going to receive fold more, if you are kind to others you are going to receive many fold more kindness. That is karma. If you perform proper sacrifices and religious rights you are going to get good benefits from that. Vikarma means going against the laws of nature. To engage in sinful activities.Vikarma. Now what happens when we engage in sinfull activities.
Cycle of Sinful Reactions
Theres a whole cycle that takes place. Which is to be carefully understood. Sinful activity is called as papam. When you engage in sinful activities due to ignorance. The source of all bondage is ultimately avidya, ignorance. The eternal spirit soul which is meant to love and serve the absolute, the indestructible, eternal, constitutional nature of the soul is source of all the bliss in relation to God. But we have forgotten. We identify with this body, this mind and with this false ego. And on the basis of this misidentification we are acting in sinful ways. So first there is ignorance and then there is sinful activities. The reaction of reaction of sinfull activities is two fold. Prarabdha, prarabdha means the affect of suffering, You do something wrong you get a disease, You get put in the prison, you get smashed people behave with you in such a way that pains your heart. Yes, How many ways are there in this universal creation to suffer, has anyone ever calculated the number? Countless ways to suffer and why are there countless ways to suffer because there are countless ways to sin. HARI BOL!
The eternal soul which is part of god which has such divine energy, when it uses it’s energy for the purpose sinful activities, it can create multi ferrous ways, isn’t that incredible! So Prarabdha means we get the suffering results. The other is aprarabdha which means unmanifested immature sinful activities. This is very very serious what happens. When you engage in sinful activities you may not get the suffering reaction, that’s going to come later, but in the mean time what happens is we create kutam.That means we increase the inclination towards that sinful activity. When we sin, the desire to do that again and again increases.It becomes exaggerated. And when that proclivity becomes very very intense it evolves into bijam or a specific desire to enjoy through sinful acts. And that sinful desire pushes one, forces one,
yatato hy api kaunteya
haranti prasabhaà manaù
( Bhagavad Gita 2.60)
Krishna tells Arjuna, the senses are so strong and impetuous that they forcibly drag one down to abominable activities. And then again we engage in papam, sinful activities. And that then again increases our inclination, increases our desire and we do it again and eventually we are going to have just keep suffering again and again reactions. That is Vikarma, vicious cycle. And practically the whole world is entangled in this cycle of sinful activities.But then there is akarama.Akarama means to engage in activities that neither have good or bad karmic reactions. That is to engage in transcendental activities which is the nature of the soul or service to God. We will speak about that later.
Responsibilities of Human form of Life
This human form of life is so precious you should know that God is not evil, God has not created the evil. God has created the spirit soul, God has created all the species of life, God has created the laws of nature and the reactions but because we have the free will, man is the cause of evil. God simply gives. He is the cause that facilitates us to choose either Good or evil. There is no darkness in the sun. If you look at God, you will see there is only light. But if you look away from God, then you are going to see darkness caused by your shadow. Now, God is ultimately the cause of the shadow because he gives you the free will to turn away from him. Man creates evil, and evil creates suffering. The human being has the ability to discover what is good. But even after discovering it, you have the free will to either act upon it or not act upon it. We also have the free will not even bother about what’s right an what’s wrong. And we are responsible for every action we take. So this is very relevant because if we don’t follow the laws of nature, the laws of god carefully then we can create minor or major disasters. Just like a surgeon, is doing a surgery. If due to laziness or neglect he doesn’t follow the proper procedure , the proper rules, he could kill the patient. Yes, it happens all the time it is called as ,malpractice. Similarly in the pilot. Yes, how many of you have flown in the airplanes raise your hands, please. When you go in the airplane, you are in the hands of the pilot. I mean your life is 100% in the hands of that pilot. And the amazing thing is you are putting your life in the hands of someone you never met, you have never seen him, you don’t even know his name, you don’t even know how he looks like. After the plane is already going you just hear his voice. Yes, that’s faith. Now, if the pilot of the plane ignores to follow the airline rules properlythen what happens, major airline disaster everyone is dead. And if everyone is dead means, hundreds and thousands of people are suffering the loss of their loved ones. So it’s very important to understand in our life if we don’t properly follow the rules of god we could not only cause immense personal injury to our self,our family members and others but there can be one man in a high position who acting recklessly can create the fall of the entire government . we have seen. One person who is acting without the guide to the proper laws of nature and God, can create the entire world war, where tens and thousands and millions of people are killed. Yes, in human life we have responsibility to discover what’s good and to do what’s good.
Reasons for Corruption
But there’s a problem. It’s not always easy or convenient to do what’s good.Infact sometimes there is a heavy cost to do what’s good. You could loose a lot to do what’s good. Because following the will of God, it seems like the results are pale and abstract, Yes, You don’t’ see anything come out of it. You do good the results are very abstract. You just have to kind of believe in it that something in the future is going to happen that’s good. But right now I have this I don’t see anything, But usually when you do evil, when you go against the law of God and act independently there is immediate tangible results. HARI BOL! Have you seen that? You know,You work just an ordinary job and you get just a little money and you are working so hard. You sell this cocaine or some heroin, you will make a million ddollars today. That’s tangible. That’s immediate. All this abstract stuff, just be good do good, we don’t see any thing. So for this reason the general tendency of human society is to become influenced by corruption. To go against the laws of god. And in this age of kali especially it becomes fashionable.Drinking, meat eating, illicit sex, Yes, to some degree in India too. You are cathing up gradually actually quiteor rapidly. But in western countries it’s normal. To be concerened with the lives and happiness of animals and be a vegetarian is wearied. It’s strange,Yes.
To not have boyfriends or girlfriends is antisocial. To not get intoxicated, what they call you are square. That means you are just, you are not with that, people will laugh at you. No, no, you don’t get intoxicated, what is the use of human life with out intoxication. These things are normal even for the biggest politicians and the biggest business people, even sometimes the heads of religions. Intoxication, meat eating are things like fashionable. It has become like that. Why? Because to do good in the will of god is often difficult, inconvenient and costs a lot, there is a high cost. And the results are abstract. But the results of sin is immediate pleasure Yes, it’s tangible, I can hold it, I can taste it, I can enjoy it. This makes sense. Unless we understand the laws of karma.
Cycle of Karmic Reactions
So why dose bad things happen to good people. I was thinking when was given this subject, that in my case the only question I have is why is good thing happening to such a bad person? Yes, that’s what I have to ask. I ask this everyday. Just by Prabhu pad’s inconceivable, causeless mercy so many good things are happening to such a bad person. But tonight we are discussing, why bad things happen to good people? You see karma is such that the laws of action and reaction are often times imperceptible. You must understand the principle, The principle is that the souls is eternal. When we see from the point of view of the soul being eternal and having an ultimate goal, an ultimate destination to achieve, then things begin to make sense. And we understand the transmigration of the souls through various species into this material world then we can understand a little better. Another words the suffering that comes on us is not all of all It’s not the end of the existence. Really what is it. The souls is always perfect because it is part and parcel of the perfect of Krishna or the God. But due to the souls free will, when we want to enjoy separate, from our relationship with the supreme, when we want to exploit rather than serve with love then we identify ourselves with the matter, gross and subtle, which is like a dream. All the pleasures and all the sufferings of the world are a dream to the soul. The soul cannot be cut into pieces by any weapon, the soul cannot be burnt with fire, the souls cannot be insulted by vicious, dagger like tongue. The soul is not subjected to disease, famine, earthquake or hollow caste, or anything else but the body is. When we identify with the body it is like a dream. It is a horrible dream. And when the soul identifies with this dream its experiencing suffering. Yes, but it’s not really all that a serious thing as we make it. If we think we are this body then the suffering is just absolutely horrible. The sufferings of eth world are ultimately meant to rectify the tendencies of eth soul. Now, we understand the principle. When ever we engage in sinful activity we are going to suffer. It may be today, it may be next year or it may be next life time. But it’s going to come. The principles of karma are to be understood properly if we want to progress, but the details of karma are inconceivable often and often times incomprehensible. For example we often use, because it happened to me some years ago. I got malaria. How many of you got malaria. .. very nice very nice. In the west if you say I got malaria, AhaaAhha and you lived through it? It’s like malaria an you live through it But in India practically everybody has malaria, particularly in Bombay. It’s more like a common cold particularly frequency. Anyway but it’s a horrible disease you get high fever you are practically dying, you have chills, sometimes you are freezed,asome times you are burning, sometimes your are freeze and again burning. You cant stand up, you cant walk. Doctors come and put pills in your mouth and you vomit it out. It’s a very learning experience. So now, if someone was going to ask me, “Which mosquito bit you?, on what date?, where were you? And what part of the body?”. Do I know, some people may know, but I don’t know because I get bit with all kinds of mosquitoes and I don’t know. Which one, what date, where was i? There is no way for me to know that, But I know the principle. If I have malaria that means I was bit by a mosquito. I don’t know when, I don’t know why. I don’t know who, but I know I got bit by a mosquito otherwise I would not have malaria. Do you all accept that with your college trained intelligence. So similarly if you are suffering , you know the principle. If I have suffering, I caused suffering to them. I am suffering because I defied my real duties in life as servant of god. I may not know exactly what I did when,or how or to whom but I know the principle. And you know what I did after I got malaria, I din’t know which mosquito, when, which part of the body, but one thing I did know, I am going to use a mosquito net from now on. And I also took the medicine. I have to confess I took chloroquine. It’s the standard medicine for malaria. So similarly when we are suffering, we may not be able to understand exactly why and how, but we know we did something so take the medicine and avoid doing those things that will cause it again. That’s how we deal with the laws of karma. Now sometimes a person may engage in very very sinful activities, but through association, through learning process becomes very pious and becomes very good. Yes, what does that mean all the sufferings of the previous sins have to come upon them. You see, pioty to some extent may neutralize the sinful activities, but in no way does will purify the desire to sinful activities. There is a farmer and he has a cylo, you know cylo, you put some grains, you put it on the top and it comes down. Now the farmer is putting some very cheap, rotten, bad grains in his cylo for several seasons. And then he realizes form eating all those bad grains, I don’t know it’s not good for me , it’s not good for my family. I am going to use good grains. Then he starts putting good grains and d better grains and very very nice grains. What happens. Still the bad grains are there. That means he is suffering for the past. But in future there is going to be great prosperity because of what he is doing now, Yes. And similarly there are people who have been very pious and good in the past and they are getting the good grains of much prosperity and happiness but because they are engaging in sinful activities now, they are putting the rotten grains on the top, and it’s just a matter of time till it all comes upon them.
Man makes his own destiny. God is the cause of all causes because he has created the system, but he gives us free choice within the system.. If you take a flight to Calcutta and it takes off and then you tell the airline hostess,” I want to go to Delhi.” What is she going to tell you? She is going to say, “You are too late, you are going to Calcutta.” Yes, once you, you have a choice to do anything but once you make a choice and do it, you have no choice of what the reaction is going to be. If you cause pain to another by your free will you have no free will of what the reaction, pain is hundred percent going to come to you, either the same degree or multiplied, depending on your motivation. So that is karma. So yes, some people may have done activities in their past, and when their sinful karma comes upon them, when suffering comes upon them are they going to be well wishful? Then they are just exuberating bad karma for the future. But if we are forgiving, if we are good, what happens is we will pass through the bad karama and then there will be so much happiness and prosperity in life. That is how the laws of nature work. So why do bad things happen to good people? If they are actually good people bad things may be happening due to past karmas, but their future is very bright because they are good. And as we have said, if a person is evil today but enjoying, many things he is going to have to pay for all his evil .An intelligent person doesn’t simply see through their eyes but he sees through the light of knowledge. Yes. If you put poison in kheer it tastes good, but you are going to die. It may take a few days to act, but the poison is there and you have drunk it. So yes, sometimes the sinful activities are very pleasing but the reactions will come.
Message to the Youth
So in your modern generation in Bombay, there is more and more the propaganda to just put aside all the religious conceptions and be modern and enjoy. It’s the modern way of life. Yes, you are all subject to do it. I was talking to some of our devotees they were in very prestigious colleges, and they were telling what kinds of things are going, what kinds of relation they have with women, what kind of music they listen to, what they eat, what they smoke, what they talk about, unbelievable. I hitchhiked from London all the way to India, to get away from all that nonsense and find a culture of piety and spirituality. Its really disheartening to see Indian people stooping to the lowly disgraceful ways of impiety, and thinking it is cooooooooooool. It’s fashionable, it’s modern, it’s the way to be. So sad. There will be crushing effects individually and collectively. And when so many people are engaging in activities that are violently against the mode of nature, I mean laws of nature then there will not only going to be individual results but there is going to be cumulative and massive reactions. Because material nature is reacting according to the collective activities of human society. That’s why there is earthquakes, that’s why there is famine, that’s why there is major disaster. Slaughter houses killing hundreds and thousands of God’s children’s every year. There is not going to be a massive reaction to the planet? Exploiting the resources of the mother earth, just for all kinds of, polluting the ecology of mother earth, just for greed, there is going to be massive reactions. When there is millions of people having illicit sex and taking intoxications every day, not only individual there is going to be massive planet wise reactions. And that’s’ the world we are living in. So one who is wise, one who is the devotee of the lord sees in the spirit of compassion. We understand that what comes upon us is inevitable but how we respond to it is within our power to decide. And that is what is going to create our future and how we affect the world we live. And a devotee of the lord is not judgmental towards others. As it is said we should see the sin but we should love the sinner. Because ultimately everyone is part of God. Everyone is a pure soul. But due to ignorance, due to habituation, due to conditioning and environmental circumstances and influences, people are acting in a ways contradictory to who they are and what their nature is.
Saintly Persons – Good People
When Srila Prabhu pad came to the west. He didn’t judge anyone. He saw people who were criminals, he saw people who were addicted to every kind of sinful lawless activity, but he wept tears of compassion for them, he wanted to enlighten them. Yes, this is the meaning of a saintly person. And there has been through out history saintly persons who are family peoples and occupation. Great kings like Yudhistir, Parikshit they had big families and politics but they were saint, rajrishi, everyone can be saintly. It’s not the matter of changing your hairstyle, or changing your clothes or changing your occupation, you don’t have to live in a cave , you just have to change your heart your consciousness. A saintly person is the one who really wants to live in harmony with God. And a saintly person is one who is willing to ,make sacrifices for others. In western world we have Lord Jesus, who was going to the most incredibly sinful people and teaching them how to live in harmony with God, how to chant the names of God. And even for those who were crucifying him he wad forgiving and praying for there welfare. We have discussed many times about Haridas Thakur. When a physician sees anybody suffering even if that person has done wrong, will the physician judge him. What ever wrong you have done you have done but here is the medicine to save you. Yes, we have done wrong and we are getting the result of the disease. The physician doesn’t care of what we have done. But he is concerned about your future and you’re present. So that is what a saintly person is about. We love the soul and we want to help people and real help just doesn’t mean giving somebody some food, giving them clothing and healing there body and letting them go on with their crazy lifestyle. That’s a little piety. But if we really want to help somebody substantially then we have to educate them. Advancement of civilization comes with spiritual education. Academic education without understanding spiritual values is not going to bring happiness to society. It can bring an artificial superficial sense of prosperity but people are still going to have to suffer the reactions of there sins. Whether you are suffering in a palace or you are suffering in a straw hut, suffering is suffering. Yes, So this is the greatest need that is why Srila Prabhu pad , he wrote these books in languages that people can easily understand and he considered it so important to understand who we are?, who is God, what is our relationship with God? Why we are suffering and how to be free from suffering and experience the greatest happiness, what we are always longing for. Yes, the spirit of compassion is the greatest need in this world today. To help educate people and show people. What ever you have done you are suffering for but here is, here is the a mean by which you can understand it, learn form it and be liberated. Krishna concludes Bhagavad Gita
mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja
ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo
mokñayiñyämi mä çucaù
( Bhagavad Gita 18.66)
Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender to me. I shall reveal you from all sinful reactions, do not fear. This is the universal spiritual principle. Surrendering to the lord, surrendering to Krishna simply means living in harmony with the will of Krishna, out of love out of affection. This is called Akarama. Akarma means no Karma. When we act in the service of the Lord in the spirit of compassion to others, saàsiddhir hari-toñaëam.When we act with conscious desire to please the lord, Krishna.
ananyäç cintayanto mäà
ye janäù paryupäsate
yoga-kñemaà vahämy aham
(Bhagavad Gita 9.22)
Krishna will preserve what ever little we have and gives us what we lack. If we simply have that sincerity, Krishna gives us promise in Bhagvad Gita, I will reveal you of all sinful reaction and not only reactions but the all sinful desire and all sinful inclinations, Become purified. Has we developed the desire for devotional service?
Serving the World Rightly
So that is such a great need in this world. Why bad things happen to good people it’s not difficult to understand if we hear form the authority, from God, from the scriptures. Otherwise we loose our faith , we speculate and it becomes inconceivable. We may see innocent children, good people suffering, we may not understand specifically why, but our heart over floods over compassion and we want to help that person in every way, especially by giving them enlightenment. In my own life, practically all of my forefathers were killed by Hitler in hollow caste. Most of my fathers and mother relatives were murdered in concentration camps. Now, that’s difficult, why what did they do? Sri Radha Gopinath Ki jai! We may not understand specifically but one thing we know. Even if they were suffering, if they turn to God in their suffering with sincere heart, then there suffering will cleanse them and they will go back to the spiritual world eternally. Anta-käle ca mäm ev , Krishna tells in Bhagavd Gita,
yaà yaà väpi smaran bhävaà
tyajaty ante kalevaram
( Bhagavd Gita 8.6)
if you remember me at the time of death, you will come to me without fail. If you think that this life is all and all , then things become very very horrible and inconceivable. It is very sorrowful and pitiful for anyone to suffer. But even in that sate if they turn to God they eternally attain that perfect state. If they are just pious and caring to others in that condition, they are going to have a prosperous future. So the most important question is not why we are suffering, the principle we know, but the most important question is how am I going to respond and how am I going to make others respond to their situations, so that there can be a glorious future. And as people ultimately by the power of time every one has to die in this world. The body is subjected to time because it is the prakriti. The inferior form of Prakriti it’s subjected to time. And that’s what the atheist say, that’s what the atheist used to say to Chaitanya mahaprabhu when he was chanting the holy names, whether you are pious or whether you are a saint, you are going to get old and you are going to die. What difference it makes. HARI BOL! That’s a very good argument isn’t it. Its actually a very good argument. That people who are spreading the glories of lord are dying, People who murdering others are dying, people who are pious are dying, everyone is dying, that’s the power of time and suffering is there also, physical suffering. Old age, disease and death, is not pleasing to anyone. However pious you are. That’s material nature. But what is our consciousness, what is our aspiration, what is our value. If we just live with integrity, faithful to the principles of ethics and morality, with faith and devotion to God then we can pass through all these various circumstances and attain the ultimate destination of eternal bliss, eternal love in the lords Lila. So why do bad things happen to good people? It is a great misery, which we tried to analyze with what ever little time we had at our command tonight . But what is most important is to understand the opportunities and the possibilities that everyone has and to give people the knowledge with which they can take that opportunity is so important by our efforts and by our examples. God has appeared in his names and in any situation whether it is prosperity or misery we can connect our consciousness to perfection by simply calling out with sincere feeling his holy names- HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHAN HARE HARE. HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.
Humans Nature Toward God
And unfortunately or fortunately most people really don’t turn to God and his names with feeling unless they suffer. Is that true. Usually when things are going right we don’t have time to chant, because things are going right. Or even if we do chant, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna……. And everything is right. But when there is pain or suffering, we have seen. I saw a devotee, he was just looking at the scenery, he was in the car and he was just” Hare Krishna Hare Krishna… Rama Rama Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Hare Rama Hare Rama……nice tree, did you see that cow?” and then slide on the ice and then car was sliding on the cliff “HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE. HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE .” And then the car rolls on the and bounces off a few hills and “HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE. HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.” And then the car hits the tree stops at the bottom of the hill, the car is destroyed but the devotes in the car are fine. They come out of the car and say, “HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE. HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.” Very seriously.
But a few weeks later, Rama Rama Krishna Krishna, did you see the sign over there, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare. So somehow or other, yes, when your loved ones having some problem you are “Oh god please save them.” But when everything is right, then you watch cricket, isn’t it! So that is just human nature. For sincere people suffering brings them closer to God. Therefore queen Qunti, she prayed, all I want my lord is that I can chant your names with sincere feelings and if that needs calamities coming upon me,
vipadaù santu täù çaçvat
tatra tatra jagad-guro
( Prayers Of Queen Kunti 7.25)
Then let those calamities come upon me. But let me take shelter, because that’s what life is about to make that conscious decision to take shelter of the supreme and give that shelter to others. And the most easy and sublime way of taking that shelter is the chanting of the lords name. “HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE. HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE.” With such knowledge and such faith based on true knowledge we could transform negativity into supreme positivity.
I thank you very much.
Q: Hare Krishna Maharaj, maharaj what if vikarma is done mentally? You told that if vikarma is done it is recorded in law of karma, what if vikarma is done mentally.
A: In this age of kali we are not consciously responsible for mental sinful activities or mental sinful thoughts. However if we don’t replace those sinful thoughts with positive thoughts then contemplation or pondering those sinful thoughts will inevitably drive us in acting or speaking according to that dictation and then there will be a karmic reaction. All sins begin within the mind. The Kutum, the sinful inclination is of the mind and that develops into bijam the sinful desire specific that is in the mind. Now it is said that ideal mind is a devils workshop. If we do not keep our body and our mind occupied with positive activities, especially positive spiritual activities, then these negative thoughts will impel us to act according to their dictations and then reaction will come.
Anything good or anything bad in this world begins with a thought. Does it not! The thoughts that we cultivate is what is going to determine our life’s state. Sri RadhaGopinath Ki Jai!.
Q. Hare Krishna Maharaj, are the modes of material nature already fixed or do we acquire them after we come into the material world?
A: The modes of nature are ever existing within the cosmic manifestation, goodness, passion and ignorance. But we have the free will, the soul is beyond the three modes of nature. But when we identify with material nature then we come under the control of the material nature and according to the choices we make we become more and more bound by particular mode of nature. If we act piously we become more under the control of mode of goodness, if we act with lust and greed then we come under control of, influence of mode of passion and if we act either cruelly or desire to intoxication, laziness then we become more and more bound and controlled and influenced by the modes of ignorance. So according to the decisions we make we become more and more entangled with a particular mode of nature.
daivé hy eñä guëa-mayé
mama mäyä duratyayä
mäm eva ye prapadyante
mäyäm etäà taranti te
Krishna say in Bhagavad-gétä that this material nature is very difficult to overcome because it is being influenced by these three modes of nature which are like ropes that bind us. But Krishna says, one who surrenders to me, Krishna personally delivers us, removes us for the modes of material nature and they can be easily overcome.
Q: Hare Krishna Maharaj, please accept my humble obeisance.
A: My Obeisance unto you.
Q: Ya, I have a question; after reading some spiritual books it becomes very difficult to read academic books. What shall I do for that?
A: I had the same problem and you see where I ended up.
However if we want to use our academic knowledge in the service of God, then the accomplymentationof the two can be very very effective. The Holy Scriptures and the messages of the acharyas teach us what we shall strive for and how to strive for it. What our values should be, what our moralities should be and what our conscious should be, spirit of service an devotion. And academic books can give us skills. Skills that can be used to do wonderful things for the society, if we have the proper values, proper aspirations. Academic education is like a tool. You can use the tool for destructive purposes or for constructive in purposes depending on in whose hands is the tool. A doctor may use a knife to cut some or do a surgery to save a persons life, but a murderer may use the knife to kill someone or rob someone for their belongings for their own selfish purpose. So the knife is good or bad? The knife is only as good or bad as the person operating it. So academic knowledge is like that, It’s a tool which could be very very helpful if it’s used in the service of God. The greatest need of the world is people who have such tool, is to use them for the benefit of human society.
Does that answer your question? So, you may not like it, but if you can use it in Gods service you should not be concerned with what you like. You should be concerned with how best you can serve. And being an ideal example of a student, and living by proper example is a very very great service. So please, don’t simply,, Someday you may not like reading spiritual books too, but you do it because it is right. Because it is the best way you serve the Lord.
Prabhupad had a disciple, Bhaktiswaroop damodar Goswami, he was working on getting his PhD done in the university of California. And he was no very interested anal this physics and science, he was interested in bhakti. But Prabhupad said, no you become a scientist and use the tool of all that knowledge to help enlighten people through the knowledge of science and the principles of pure love. And he has done that in a wonderful way. So you can be like that or you can be useless like me. But somehow Krishna is so kind that he accepts all of our efforts.
Q: Hare Krishna Prabhuji, many a times it has so happened in y life that I have killed so many small mosquitoes and insects inn ignorance. But now, after coming in Krishna conscious, I see Krishna in them. And now many times while walking small small insects come under my legs and they die, is it all because of my previous karmas?
A:The important thing is whether that insect is coming under your feet because of its own previous karma or because of your previous karma, or because of its ancestors previous karma. These are all technical points may not be understood in a pin point way, but the principle as a servant of God, to avoid engaging in vikarma or sinful activities we should avoid causing pain or death to any living entity, that should be our sensitivity. We should be concerned with everyone right to live. Every living being is gods child and the should in that body has every right to live its life an we should not cause how may pain. So if you accidentally step and you are chanting Hare Krishna and you step on that insect, then that insect will get great benefits. Of course that doesn’t mean that we chant hare Krishna and deliberately kill the insects. So you should always chant hare Krishna and then what ever accidentally happen is for good benefit. And if you are going and you are going for your sense gratification, then you are accidentally killing of that insect will be in pursuit of your sense gratification, there will then be a special karma, but if you are going to the temple to worship the lord or going somewhere to serve the lord then the accidental killing of the insect will be in the line of service so it will not be much held against you.
Does that answer your question? But we should be careful. We should be in the sprit of compassion, But in this world it is inevitable that even f we try our best we will cause pain and death to certain people. If it’s done un intentionally when we chant the holy names, we render service to the vaishnavas it will be purified and forgiven otherwise that Karma will be upon you. Hari!
Q: Hare Krishna Prabhuji, actually I have heard from lots of people, suicide is one of the greatest sin. Is it true?
A: Yes, it the horrible sinful activity.
Q:Then what was the principle behind Sati system..
A: Sati, that system was very different. In olden times the husband and the e wife were considered one body, the were so interdependent on one another in affection, in duty and in dharma and when the husband were to leave than the wife with her free will, out of love and dependence on her husband wanted to be with the husbands soul where ever he goes so it was an expression of chastity an deep affection. And then the wife would attain the same destination as the husband. However in modern days, where women are thrown into the fire with their husband, that’s considered murder. Yes, that’s nothing less that the murder. And the karma if killing the women goes to whoever throws the women into the fire. But it is not recommended at this time. The Sati right. But we can understand the exalted consciousness of the relation between husband and wife in the past and that is to be respected.
Does that answer your question?
Q: Hare Krishna, we are not doing anything. According to Gita, we are actually not doing anything, whatever is done is done by lord Krishna, then why are we affected by karma?
A: You are not doing anything! Then you are very lazy if you are not doing anything. Actually you are responsible of your own actions. However you cant do anything without GODS HELP. But what we do with his help is what we are doing, Yes, just like god gives you the ability to think, speak, act. Gods given you everything. You cannot see or even breathe without the help of God. So how could we take credit for what we do. So God has given us all this energy and all of these abilities but than what we do with it. We are responsible for what we do with it. God tells you in the Bhagvad Gita, he tells you in the Quran, he tells you in the Bible, through the sages and through the rishsis essentially what he wants you to do with the gita that he has given you. He has given you the gifts, he is telling you what to do with it and if you do it that way, we understand that really I am not the doer, I am just a n instrument. But if we do opposite, we contradict what he wants, is he doing it, no you are doing it. You are the instrument of your envy and your ego and you are using Gods energies in the service of your envy and your ego. An you have done it and you are responsible. God just gives you the facility, Your mother gives you one lakh of rupees and says now, bring this an donate it to Radhagopinath temple. Yes, that’s very good. And you, take that money and you buy, heroin for one lakh of rupees and you try to sell it for one crore of rupees. But you get caught and you are brought to the judge and the judge gives you thirty years of imprisonment. And you say, “ I am not the doer, my mother is the doer.Becaue it wasn’t my money it was her money.” What will the judge say, tell, What will your mother say?
Q: No. I am the doer.
A: So, similarly Krishna gives us everything an choice what to do with it. And we are responsible. Yes.
Q: Hare Krishna Prabhuji,I wanted to know whether this world is illusion or real?
A:What do you think?
A: real, you thin the world is real not illusory! Lets take a vote. How many of you think the world is real, say HARI BOL!
How many of you think the world is illusion, say HARI BOL!
The world is real Hari bol! But your conception of the world is an illusion, that is the problem. The world is real how can you say its illusion. For example, if you mistake for a snake to be a rope, that’s an illusion, yes, There is a snake and there you think it’s a rope and you pick it up and tie it around your throat that is illusion, but when you get bite by it that’s not illusion, that’s real. So the illusion is the misconception. The fact that you think it’s a rope. There is a rope and there is a snake but you are misidentifying the two. When you are walking you see a rope and you become afraid aaaaa….. it’s a snake, but it’s a rope. So the illusion is the misconception and but factually in order to think that the snake is a rope and the rope is a snake means there is a reality to the rope and there is a reality to the snake. But when you misidentify the two that is the illusion. So this world I real and you are real. You are an eternal soul but when you identify yourself with the matter of this world that is an illusion. That is the source of all bondage. oà pürëam adaù pürëam idam. All imitations of the absolute are perfect, this material creation is perfect. It is come from God, Janmadi asya yato.Gita says
ahaà sarvasya prabhavo
mattaù sarvaà pravartate
iti matvä bhajante mäà
I am the source of all material world and everything emanate from me. So anything that emanates from god is real cause God is real. Illusion is when we misidentify. When we think that matter and I am matter and my happiness is to enjoy matter that is an illusion. But when we see matter and we think How can I use it in the Gods service that is knowledge. This microphone is real. To use it to song about my lost love that’s illusion, but to chant the holy names of the lord that is understanding its relationship with the God. Matter to use matter in the service of God is truth. Yes.
Q: There are many Gurus who are taken Samadhi. Is it a suicide in this modern age?
A: What do you mean by Samadhi?
Q:Samadhi means putting oneself in a tomb and they don’t have anything and they surrender to lord, lord. Like Guru Raghvendra, Shankaracharya, Sant Tukaram.
A: I never met anyone who did like that. Samadhi is actually a state of consciousness. when you are completely immersed in thoughts of Go. You can live in Samadhi.
Q: But they burry themselves and go into the tomb and they don’t have anything and they go towards death accepting it.
A: I never met anyone who did like that. To take ones life is suicide. Actually Samadhi does not mean killing oneself. Samadhi means completely exclusive absorption in meditating on the supreme that is Samadhi. Any other use of the word is not accurate. I am not concerned with any other type of Samadhi except what real Samadhi means totally absorbing your self and immersing yourself in thoughts of the supreme. The gopis were in Samadhi they were totally absorbed in Krishna. And lord Chaitanya taught us we can all be in Samadhi by absorbing ourselves in the chanting of the holy name.
This body is a sacred temple of god and should be kept as fit as possible for the service of the god, that is Samadhi.
Thank You. Should we have kirtan now?
So now we will have Sankirtan, I wish to thank you all very very much, for your wonderful questions and your wonderful participation.