(Devotee’s Question not audible)
Maharaj: (Beginning not audible)
The rest Krishna will take care. Just like there was one in Bhakti Rasamirta Sindhu, there is an example. One of cowherd boys, he was fanning Krishna with the Chamar because it was a hot day. As he was fanning Krishna, he was looking at Krishna and Krishna was revealing such beauty to him that he was crying in ecstasy. He was just crying in such love and his limbs were shaking in ecstasy. But that was disturbing, how nicely he could fan Krishna. So he began to curse these ecstasies and he was praying to Krishna to take them away because they were interfering with how he could serve Krishna. So we should not be so much concerned with what we are feeling, whereas, we should be concerned with how we are pleasing Krishna and guru.
Devotee: This question I asked maharaja because I heard from a cassette. This verse was written by Kaikadi Maharaj. He says in this verse “I am getting that smell of Vitthal which is made up of chandan i.e. sandal wood and I am sure it is coming from Vitthal Himself. Because Vitthal is made up of Sandal wood and that smell I am getting. After I listened to that, I was wondering whether this is the various ways Krishna reveals himself by good smell and like that.
Maharaj: Krishna is infinite. He can reveal Himself in infinite ways. Bhakti Siddhant Saraswati Thakur used to say, “Do not try to see Krishna but try to serve Krishna in such a way that He wants to see you. Do not try to enjoy Krishna but try to serve Krishna in such a way that He is enjoying you”. Bhakti Vinoda Thakur prays that, “My Lord, the inconveniences and sufferings that I undergo in your service, those experiences are my greatest pleasures in life. We are not so much concerned with experiencing, as being experienced by Krishna. He is not meant for our pleasure, but we are meant for His pleasure.
Devotee: Maharaj, I have been told since my childhood by my father that those who are in
Devotional path they always dispute. Not dispute, it is a disease that means, they are yet to
wash their karmas. If they are in disease, then how can they be pure devotees?
Maharaj: Sanatana Goswami, he was one of the Manjari, one of the Gopis of Vrindavan. So one full year, his body was covered with excruciating diseases. Vasudev the leper, he was one of the greatest devotee in the whole universe. He spent his whole life in leprosy. Rupa Goswami in nectar of devotion, he explains that when a great devotee, you cannot judge him by material conditions. Even if a great devotee is disfigured, suffering from great diseases, he said, it is like foaming bubbles in the water of Ganges. The Ganges is always pure. But sometimes to our vision it is not a pure pure. But is Ganges ever impure? To a materialistic it is, but to a pure devotee, it cannot be. Jesus Christ was a great devotee. Was he blissful when he was being tortured? Internally you may be blissful, but the material body is the material body.
Srila Prabhupada got three heart attacks. You cannot judge a great devotee by his material conditions. You can only judge a great devotee by the quality of his actions of his consciousness. A person under all circumstances never leaves the lotus feet of Krishna that is sign of a great devotee.
Devotee: In yoga stage, we get affected by the material adversities around us.
Maharaj: Yes, of course. To the degree we are attached to the material body, we are very affected.
Devotee: Maharaj, on the other day in the Sunday lecture, you said that everything what is happening all over the world, a devotee knows that how it is happening and why it is happening? Krishna is telling everything and only thing is that he wants us to remember him. That is okay. When we see devotees suffering like we have our material life still- How will we take it? Because everything is happening around us only He is trying us to remember Him. Then there are many things, like devotees who are very close to God. For a devotee, he is not suffering that is sure, what message actually He wants to convey?
Maharaj: It depends on in particular level of conscious of a devotee. Suffering is meant for our purification. Suffering is the greatest opportunity to come close to Krishna, to take advantage of for a devotee. Queen Kunti prayed for sufferings. The prisoners are sufferings, how much he is desperately crying out for Krishna. When everything is very nice, how casually we take Krishna Consciousness for granted. So therefore Krishna gives suffering to His devotees, to intensify His devotee’s devotion. That is for a neophyte devotee and also for his purification. A neophyte devotee, he may deserve so many sufferings due to his previous Karma. But Krishna minimizes it just to a very small amount, just so that devotee can understand what his sinful activities have done and so he becomes more serious to rectify himself. So that is for his purification.
Now advanced devotees, their suffering is sometimes offered by the Lord to show the world how even in the face of the greatest adversary, a great devotee never gives up his devotion to the lord. Never give up showing compassion to others. And very very great devotees, they suffer because they are accepting the sufferings of others. The spiritual master takes all the karma of the disciples. And sometimes Krishna just to make a disciple serious puts spiritual master in suffering condition knowing that due to their lack of Krishna Consciousness, they are making their guru suffering. That is what it takes to make them serious. When the guru is so kind, he is willing accepting that position. So according to their different levels of elevation of devotional service, there is a different reason, why we suffer?
Devotee: When there is no suffering?
Maharaj: But there will be. In the material level suffering and happiness are the two sides of the same coin. We should not be concerned whether we are suffering or not suffering. We should simply be concerned with our service. How we are pleasing Krishna? If in our suffering, we are remaining fixed in our service during times of great trials and tribulations, if that is pleasing to Krishna and that is our happiness. Krishna puts us in situations of great prosperity in serving him in that condition that also that gives him great pleasure. We should be concerned with the service not with how He feels.
“mäträ-sparçäs tu kaunteya
Krishna says that nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, they appear like the winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception always; one should learn to tolerate them without being disturbed. What does that mean? That means, you forget about your happiness and distress. Tolerate both. Tolerate your happiness and tolerate your distress. If you enjoy your happiness then you will suffer your distress. If you tolerate your happiness, you will also be able to tolerate distress. That means, our consciousness should not be concerned with our own happiness and distress. Our consciousness should be concerned, how we are executing the desire of God. How you are pleasing Krishna? That should be our only standard of happiness. If Krishna is happy then I am happy, even if I am in a miserable condition or even if I am in the most happiness condition. It does not matter; if Krishna is happy then I am happy. If Krishna is unhappy, I am unhappy despite my material situation. We should develop this consciousness.
What is the position of a servant- To give pleasure to the master? A servant cannot be concerned with his own pleasure. A servant must be concerned with the master. Sometimes a servant has to do very very difficult things for master. Does he consider, but I do not like this; I like this. The simple consider is, what the master likes. When the mother is taking care of a child, the mother considers- I like doing this. Is that her consideration? I like rising in the middle of the night to change my baby’s clothes. Does she like that? Does she consider-I like it or I do not like. She does not consider these things. She does it because she loves the child, because she is the servant of the child. How much more is our relationship with God? We are just servant. Forget what you like or do not like. Forget what makes you happy or unhappy. As long as you attached to that you must suffer.
To the degree you are attached to being happy, to that degree you must suffer. That is why Prahlad said, if you want to be happy in this world there is only one way and that is stop trying to be happy. As long as you trying to be happy in this world, you have to be suffer. As soon as you give up that I have to be happy in this world, there is no more suffering. There are no such things of suffering. And how do you give up the desire to be happy in this world. Not just by voiding out all our desires but by making our goal of life – Krishna’s happiness. Even if a parent has to go through such great hardships, if they see the child is happy. Does that let the parents happy- through that love? How much more for Krishna?
That is why through the opulence even pursuit of mukti is considered not at all desirable. Because why does a person want mukti? A person wants mukti because a person is tired of suffering. Mukti means no more suffering. Mukti is that state of consciousness where we are beyond three modes of material nature or where we no longer have to suffer happiness or distress. But you are still considering, you are striving for, because you want to be free from suffering. You want to experience that divine state. A devotee does not care for that divine state. A devotee simply wants to please Krishna. To a Bhakta, pursuit of mukti is selfish. We are thinking in terms of my own relief.
There is a story of Gopis. Krishna had headache and He asked his friend Uddhava that the only way I’ll be free from this very painful headache, is if the dust of the feet of my devotees is applied to my head. So Uddhava was first sent to the forest where the great sages were doing the sacrifices. There he said, “Krishna has headache, He wants dust from your feet. Then that will make Him feel better.” They said, “No no. How is this possible? Krishna is God, if we put the dust from our feet on His head, we will go to hell. It is a very suffering condition.” So they refused. Uddhava was thinking very nice. How could they put their feet on Krishna’s head? But still he had to carry out Krishna’s mission.
Then he was sent to the ashram where the great gnyanis were studying the shastra very scrutinizingly. He said, “Lord, Sri Krishna has a headache and He wants the dust from your feet on His head that will make Him feel better.” They said, “Krishna, He is the Supreme Brahman. He is the one that is being spoken of in all the Upanishads. If we put our feet on His head, this will be such an offence, we will go to hell. How could we even consider this? Tell Krishna it is not possible.” Then Krishna said to Uddhava, “It is very nice but still I have my headache. Everyone was very concerned about not going to hell but I still have my headache. So then, you should go to Vrindavan and ask the Gopis. So he asked Gopis, “You know if you put your dust on Krishna’s head, you will go to hell, but He wants your dust for his headache. So they immediately started collecting all particles of dust from their feet and putting them in nice containers and told Uddhava, “Run Go fast, bring this to Krishna. Uddhava was very surprised. How is this possible? They are taking the dust from their feet and they are sending it to for Krishna’s head. He said, “Gopis don’t you know, you are going to hell.” Gopis, they were just saying,” Go, go, and do not worry about us going to hell”. They said, “If it takes going to hell for the rest of eternity to relieve Krishna from His headache that is our greatest pleasure”. This is love.
“Sa bai punsam paro dharmo yato bhakti radhokshaje
Ahaituki apratihata yaya atma samprasidati.”
Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.6
The supreme occupation for all humanity is that which brings one to the loving service of the Lord. Such service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self. What is meant to be unmotivated? That means more desire for happiness or distress, pleasure or pain. No consideration of ourselves, simply consideration of our beloved. That is Bhakti. Of course we cannot out of our artificially pretend to be like that.
We should understand that that is the goal. We should strive for that. Then in our present condition of consciousness, how to strive for that by simply making the desire of our guru and the desire of Krishna is our life and soul. And not be concerned with our own like or dislike. We have to tolerate this. You are a doctor. Sometimes you called in the middle of the night for a patient. Do you like this? But it is your service to the patient. A good doctor has no consideration of his own comforts. His only consideration is what is best for the patient. Is that the good doctor and you are doing that just for some money. What is that money compare to the mercy of god? How much more you should be like that for Krishna and your guru and the devotees. By getting one speck of the blessings of the great souls that is more valuable than all the money in the entire creation because the blessings of the great souls and the mercy of the Krishna is eternal and inexhaustible. You get some money and fear today and tomorrow it is gone. So just for some money you are willing to put aside our own likes and dislikes tolerate all these things to serve another. How much more serve? We should be willing to have that consciousness for the eternal blessings of God in the eternal service of the great souls.
Devotee: It is but the servant of Krishna and if a particular person is supposed to do a particular service, but he has got some suggestions or he feels that he can do some other service in a better way, then in such a situation, what will that person do?
Maharaj: If that person is sincere, he can humbly present his suggestions but then accept whatever the higher authority to decide. We should not be attached to our ideas. After all Arjuna had good suggestions to Krishna also, did he not? In the first chapter of Bhagavad-Gita Arjuna was presenting so many suggestions to Krishna, why he should not fight? Very logical arguments he had. But in the end he said, “Ok Krishna I have spoken now what do you want?” Then Krishna told him to fight. Krishna told him exactly the opposite of everything Arjuna was inclined towards. And Arjuna accepted it. So there is no harm in humbly presenting our ideas and our feelings. But surrender means to ultimately accept the verdict of the higher authorities. You should not be attached to our ideas. We should be attached to Krishna’s desire.
Devotee: How do we know that what the higher authorities’ desire is Krishna’s desire only?
Maharaj: How do you know? You have a spiritual master, you ask, “Should I follow this person or not?”If he says yes, then you must accept. Very simple, you simply enquire. Otherwise there is no question of surrender. As long as you are always evaluating, whether my higher authority has Krishna in mind or not? Whether my higher authority is doing what Krishna wants or not? Then you will always choose those things if you like and reject those things if you don’t like. Which means no surrender? Then you are insincere. Therefore it is not our position to be evaluating. If he tells us to break the regulative principles, if he tells us specifically to go against the order of the spiritual master, then we can reject with the blessings of the spiritual master. Where it is simply a question of serving this way or serving that way, we must accept. It is not our position to evaluate. What is our level of spiritual advancement that we can question, whether this is what Krishna wants or not. What Krishna wants is for us to be the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord. That’s He wants. Even of the details are wrong, even just like Srila Prabhupada, used to tell us, even if I am wrong, I am right. What does that mean? Srila Prabhupada used to say that even if I am wrong, I am right. Which means even by the material standard of the detail, even if I am completely wrong, as far as your concerned I am right because it is the desire of Krishna. Our position is to be the servant of the servant. We are not so concerned with the material details. Often times the spiritual master directly tests his disciples in this way.
One time Srila Prabhupada packed a mail for delivery. That was an important delivery and Srila Prabhupada wrapped in a certain way that it was obviously going to fall to pieces in the mail. So the devotee said Srila Prabhupada, this is going to fall to pieces in the mail. I want to repack it . And Srila Prabhupada said, “No. You leave it as it is and mail it.” So the devotee was thinking that Srila Prabhupada does not understand it’s going to fall to pieces. So he repacked it. Then Srila Prabhupada became very angry with him for his owns spiritual benefit. This is when he said, “Even if the spiritual master is wrong, he is right”. He said, “You cannot be judging Srila Prabhupada, by your material conceptions of what is according to this world right or wrong”. Srila Prabhupada told us that if the spiritual master says a rope is a snake, you have to say, yes it is a snake and it is only due to my defect of material vision that I am seeing a rope. Then you might think as crazy as blind faith. But it is not!
If he tells you something that’s not what Krishna says, then he is not a guru. But he has to take you beyond your attachments to worldly perceptions because as long as you attached to worldly perceptions you can never understand Krishna. It is impossible. You can never understand Krishna from sense perception. You cannot understand Krishna through material logical reasoning. You have to transcend all these things. You can only understand Krishna through faith, through faith in higher power of God. So what’s right is surrender and what’s wrong is not just surrender. That’s our only consideration. We are not concerned with whether something materially falls apart or not. We are concerned with whether we surrender or not surrender, that’s right or wrong from the spiritual level. If making spiritual advancement was attained by manipulating matter in the proper way, then the demons would be the best devotees in the world. They build huge cities and building wonderful computers, right. They do everything just right from that point because they are not surrendered, making no spiritual advancement.
Devotee: They are not doing for God.
Maharaj: But if you are doing for God, that means you are surrendering to God. What does it mean to doing for God? Krishna told Arjuna to kill Radheya, when he was unarmed, off his chariot with both of his hands pulling his chariot out of the mud. Now according to the laws of Kshatriya, it was completely sinful, what Arjuna did? But Arjuna did not want to do it. He knew it would ruin his reputation like anything as a Kshatriya. It would forever be a blemish on his reputation of the Kshatriya. But it would forever glorify his name as a devotee. So the devotees love Arjuna for doing it but Kshatriyas say he made a mistake. Similarly Yudhishthir, when Drona was creating such havoc in the battle field of Kurukshetra. The only way to stop him was to tell a lie. The only way to stop him from completely destroying the entire Pandavas army was that someone had to tell him that his son has dead because he was on fire with anger. He was like a raging fire. He was consuming, he did more damage than even Bhisma. He was killing tens and thousands at a moment and even Arjuna could not even stand before him when he was in this wrath. So Bhima went, he was not so concerned with lying or not. Bhima just wanted to do it, whatever was necessary. Bhima went and told him, “Ashvathama, your son is dead.” And Drona, at first he practically fainted and then he came to his senses and then he said, “I cannot believe, Ashvathama, he has a benediction. He cannot be killed. There is not possibility of his dead.” So he started fighting again. He did not believe Bhima.
Now Yudhishthir never even considered a lie in his mind from the day of his birth and everyone would knew that when Yudhishthir spoke, it was the truth, in all circumstances and Drona had this respect for Yudhishthir. So Krishna told Yudhishthir Maharaj that the only way to save your army is you have to tell Drona that his son is dead. And Yudhishthir said to Krishna I had never lied in my life. This will ruin my whole supreme embodiment of truth and dharma; this will ruin my whole reputation. Krishna said “lie”. But because he was somewhat attached to truth, Bhima, he was such a glorious person. He went right in front of the army and there was an elephant name Ashvathama and Bhima just smashed on the head and killed him and he said so the elephant Ashvathama is dead. So now you are not exactly lying.
So then Yudhishthir approached Drona. He went to his chariot and Drona knew that what Yudhishthir speaks is the truth. He said, “Yudhishthir Maharaj, if you tell me this, I must accept.” Then Yudhishthir said, “Ashvathama is dead” and then he said, “Ashvathama the elephant.” But he said it softly. When he said “the elephant”, Krishna blew His conch shell. So Drona could not hear the elephant. So in this way Drona became very disheartened and lost all his desires to fight.
Now, to this day in India, more than the half the people of India that I talk to, they criticize Yudhishthir for lying. They said, “Yudhishthir ruined all of his moral principles by telling a lie and Krishna was not correct by telling him to lie.” But the devotees they consider that that was the most glorious things in all of Yudhishthir’s life. The devotees consider that moment the most glorious moment in Yudhishthir’s life and the worldly moralist they consider it the absolutely most distasteful blemish in all of Yudhishthir’s life; because from the material point of view, it was sinful. But from the spiritual point of view, he abandoned all varieties of religion and he surrendered. So was he right or wrong? To a materialist, he was wrong. To a devotee, he was right. So we make spiritual advancement not by satisfying the materialist but by satisfying the spiritual master and Krishna and the only way we satisfy them is by surrender. “pari praçnena sevayä” By inquiring submissively and rendering service- that is how we please Guru and Krishna. So it is our duty, if we have certain project that we must inform our authorities of the data that is required. But in the end, the data means nothing. It’s only the surrender that means something. So do not be attached to the data. Be attached to the surrender. It is your service to present it. But ultimately it is your service to accept.
Sometimes the spiritual master purposely, explicitly tells you something that is totally wrong by all material standards. It is to give you the opportunity to surrender beyond your own mental conceptions. If you are not willing to do that you are not the servant. That is the test of our sincerity.
Devotee: What does it means to for the person to lose the faith in higher authorities, in that case what should he do?
Maharaj: What’s the question of losing faith? He doesn’t have any faith. There is nothing to be lost. Faith means acceptance of reality beyond our own mental and sensual perceptions. Faith means beyond what we can perceive. That is why generally in our sampradaya, the great devotees will never perform miracles. The reason is these miracles convince you on the basis of what you can perceive with your senses. But higher than that is to convince you through hearing, through sound vibration, to create faith beyond what you can see. Because as long as your faith is established by what you can see with your senses and your faith always remains on the material platform and ultimately you have to go beyond your sense perception to understand God.
Even Lord Jesus Christ, he performed so many miracles and he himself said ‘this is for the less intelligent’. When he went to one village and he spoke and they accepted his words without him performing miracles. He said, “These are the best people. I need not have to do this. They accepted my words.” So the great souls, they do not convince you by showing miracles. They convince you by speaking the truth. And that truth takes you to a platform where you have faith in something beyond your sense perceptions and God is beyond your sense perception. Factually what the scientist say in many cases, completely contradict with what the Vedas say. But science is always changing. The Vedas said 5000 years ago, the world is round. Go up until 500 years ago all scientists in the western consider the world was flat until someone went around the world, they were not convinced that the world was round. So the Vedas always said but science is always changing. Science has so many theories about the planets, about the universe, about astrology.
And Prabhupada, he specifically would just be so strong, to just keep preaching over and over and over again, something that the Vedas said that contradicted all western science. Devotees said, why is he just emphasizing like that? He would say the moon is farther than the sun, according to the Vedas. Now according to the scientists, it’s completely wrong. But it practically everyone of Srila Prabhupada books and in so many lectures he repeats this. Why does he keep repeating it? It’s the most controversial thing he ever said. Hundreds of devotees left our movement because he said this. It’s a fact! They left our movement because they said, “This is wrong. We cannot accept it.” But Prabhupada said, “whether the sun is closer or the moon is closer is not important. What is important is that you have faith in the scriptures more than the scientist.”
Devotee: Srila Prabhupada must have eliminated those who are less sincerely.
Maharaj: That’s exactly what he did. Can your faith in the scientist ever give understanding of God? But your faith in the scriptures can. They perceive everything with their eyes, with their gross minds and with their gross eyes and they are coming to certain conclusions, that you can never ever ever ever in the million and billion times ever perceive God with your gross eyes and your gross minds. “trimanjane carito bhaktivilocanena”. It is said that you can only perceive Krishna when you eyes are decorated with the ointment of divinity of love. When Krishna wanted to show Arjuna His universal form, He said first I must give you the divine eyes, you cannot see spirit with material vision. You can only see spirit when God reveals that spirit to you. So the scientist their conception is, what is real and what is true are what they figure out with their gross senses and their gross mind. So they have one conception of reality. But the devotee has a totally different idea of reality. He considers it completely unimportant what the gross mind and senses tell us because all we can do is understand the temporary things which are all dying. To understand what life is you have to go beyond your senses. Therefore you have to put your faith in the word of God. Not in the word of the materialist. If you are not willing to do that you will never ever see God.
After all it says in the scripture, that Krishna had 16108 palaces and Dwaraka was just a little Island. So how will so many hundreds and millions of people fit on such a little Island, not possible? So people said it is not true. This is all mythology. How is it true? Why did Vedas talk like this? Why did Krishna reveal like that? He specifically did it just to bewilder the materialist. If Krishna wants to put 10 billion people on the head of a needle, he can put 10 billion people on the head of the needle and they will all have nice homes with many of rooms to grow their own food and everything. Is that possible? According to the scientist it is impossible but according to the devotees it is fully possible. Because Krishna is a achintya Shakti. He is inconceivable. If you do not accept Krishna’s inconceivable nature, you cannot understand Krishna. Inconceivable means you have to accept with faith, not by your own material senses. So it is the duty of the great souls to shake loose our attachment to material reasoning and place our faith in what is beyond.
Devotee: (Question Not Audible)
Maharaj: Spiritual master is Krishna, one who repeats Krishna is His representative. Krishna is Jagad Guru. He is the supreme Guru and the bona fide spiritual master; he is simply repeating what Krishna has said. He is not adding or he is not subtracting. He is simply delivering the message. So Krishna has revealed his divine form. He has explained in Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad Bhagavatam, Upanishads, and many of the Shastras that He has an impersonal form and He has an impersonal existence and He has a personal form and He has both. But of the two, the personal form; He explains is more exclusively as higher. You cannot love the impersonal.
Bhakti or love is the highest realization of God. Love can only be an exchange between Jivatma and the Paramatma. In conditional Mukti, there is no loving exchange. There is simply eternal existence which is one aspect of Krishna. But it is not the force of sublime aspect of Krishna. Krishna says abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender to me. So the guru, who is teaching the highest level of consciousness, is teaching that- “abandon all varieties of religion and surrender to Krishna”. So there may be gurus in the school of impersonal and there may be gurus in the school of personal and they are both teaching the different levels of absolute truth and they both may be bona fide according to that particular level of consciousness that is being strived for. So we should understand what the highest realization is and how to attain it. Krishna says,
“bhaktyä mäm abhijänäti
yävän yaç cäsmi tattvataù
tato mäà tattvato jïätvä
Only by pure devotion, can one understand me, as I am standing before you.
Devotee: Maharaj, by all others means of worship that means, they can’t reach the highest realization?
Maharaj: It means that they can eventually but not until they graduate beyond that particular school of realization.
Devotee:That is like “Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Maharaj: Three realizations- “Brahman paramatma bhagavan”. If you realize Brahman, it does not mean, you cannot realize bhagavan. But you have to graduate from that realization to paramatma and bhagavan. It is so long. It is a very long process.
“bahünäà janmanäm ante
jïänavän mäà prapadyate
väsudevaù sarvam iti
sa mahätmä su-durlabhaù”
Krishna says “After many births and deaths of practicing the various religions, when one finally comes to the platform of knowledge, he surrenders to Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is.”
Devotee: So he must have in the past life gone through all these things and finally come to?
Maharaj: Very likely you have. Generally for a person to come to the path of Bhakti, he is already gone through all the process of Karma, gyan, astanga, and all other yoga systems until he finally comes to that platform of surrendering to Krishna. But sometimes, simply by the causeless mercy of a pure devotee one is immediately elevated to this position, even with no previous quality. But either way, it does not make any difference. If we accept that mercy, whether we are qualified or unqualified we become qualified. The only qualification is simply accept the causeless mercy of Krishna, coming through the great soul. But it is the only qualification required.
Devotee: Is it difficult for Christians to come into Bhakti?
Maharaj: But Jesus taught Bhakti. He taught the path of Bhakti. He taught the path of devotion. But his Bhakti was simply giving a more preliminary understanding of the nature of the God. It is the basic principle as a saint. It is only through love, only through faith, only through devotion, you can approach the Lord.
Devotee: Krishna cannot be attained, the highest realization without Bhakti?
Maharaj: That is between Him and Jesus. That is not for us to judge. If he is surrendering to his guru, then he is on the path of devotion. We should not judge. What realization? Krishna will decide. Of course, our guru Maharaja Srila Prabhupada told us that those who are pure Christians, they go to Satya-Loka, where Jesus resides. There, Jesus will continue giving them more information of Krishna and ultimately they will go back to Golok Vrindavan.
Devotee: It is in the spiritual world. It is not in the material world?
Maharaj: Satya-Loka? Satya-Loka is the very divine planet within this Universe.
Devotee: (Question not audible)
Maharaj: That is why the Vedas, the great acharyas, they explain that the Bible and the Koran is specifically scriptures meant for malechas and Youvanas. This is not a criticism. This is actually the great mercy of these souls that they are willing to preach to such people. Look at the culture of these people. They are all barbarians practically. They practically had no real sense of religion. So therefore, this was a completely meat eating society. By Vedic standards, they are completely uncivilized society. They are trying to bring them closer to God. That was the mission of the great souls. So they did not emphasize many details. They let them go on their own way with certain ways. They try to bring them to a higher platform of faith and devotion to their guru and to God. In the Markendaya Purana recommends that you offer goat to Goddess Kali and eat it. Recommends it! Even such Kali is supreme. So what does that mean? I mean for that class of people, you need to just somehow or other get them to take to a process by which they can become more advanced. They cannot expect everyone to come to the highest level. So at that time, everyone was eating like this. So therefore, Jesus was not so much emphasizing vegetarianism. Although, there is also there in the Bible, there are many sects. There are many monasteries of Christians that were never touch meat. They know it is better not to.
In America, every Friday, all Christians were not allowed to eat any meat and all Catholics. Up until some years ago they stopped that. When I was a child, restaurants would never serve meat on Friday because it is against the laws of Catholics. But then the Vatican said this, “People are leaving the church because of this.” Therefore they said, “Okay, you can eat meat on Friday. No problems.” And everyone knew the reason why it was that it is not good to eat meat at all. So this one day let me abstain. Why? At least one day a week. But now, they can’t do even one day a week. Also they were living in a desert or on the sea. So what you eat if you are on the desert or on the sea? Fish was practically their whole livelihoods. It was practically everything there was. So under those circumstances if there is nothing else, it is not simple to eat. So taking all these things into consideration, we should not be so concerned with Jesus.
Devotee: What was special about Arjuna? Externally, we don’t see anything, but he was surrendered to God’s love. We don’t see any of those devotional in Arjuna, we look at him as a Kshatriya. What was that that Krishna saw?
Maharaj: A devotee does not see Arjuna so much of Kshatriya. A devotee sees Arjuna for his surrender. As a Kshatriya, he did a lot of things. Do you know how he killed Jayadratha? In a few days, in a few weeks, in Mahabharata you will see. He cheated. He did not have the power to kill Jayadratha. He made a vow that by the sunset tomorrow I’ll kill Jayadratha and the sun was about to set and there was no chance of him killing Jayadratha. Because everyone was around Jayadratha defending him and Jayadratha was defending himself. There was no time, there were only seconds to go before sunset and Arjuna realized that it is not possible and Krishna also realized that it is impossible for Arjuna to do it. Now what would be the honorable thing for Arjuna to do? To just admit, “I cannot do it and enter into fire”. That will be the honorable Kshatriya thing to do. Correct? But what did Arjuna do? Krishna took His Sudarshan Chakra and blocked the sun. So everyone thought the sun set. Then all the Kuru got off their chariot and started saying, “Haribol, Arjuna has to go in to fire.” And Jayadratha put down his weapons and looked up toward the sun. It was looking the other way and he saw that the sun has set and started feeling great relief. Then Krishna told Arjuna you take your crescent arrow; Pashupat weapon and cut off his head now. And Arjuna took his Pashupat; the crescent shaped arrow and sliced off his head. Then Krishna said, “Do not let his head touch the ground, but take another arrow and send his head where his father was sitting and it fell on his father’s lap. Krishna said, “I’ll tell you about it later. You just do it now.” He did it. And then when everyone saw that Jayadratha was killed by Arjuna after the sunset. They were completely disgusted with him. Absolutely disgusted! They were thinking as a Kshatriya, he is of low standard and that is what he has done. And then, Krishna removed the Sudarshan Chakra and Sun appeared for about a few seconds of a minute. They realized that it never set. But it was all a trick. He killed Jayadratha, when Jayadratha was completely unarmed and looking into the sky. Does a Kshatriya ever kill a man like that in the battlefield, against all the code of conduct? Now these incidents are the most glorified activities of Arjuna for the devotees. We relish this pastime more than when Arjuna was killing everybody fair and square because when he was killing everybody fair and square, that was his own ability. But this was the proof of his unmotivated surrender to Krishna because he was not willing to surrender for his own name and fame. Not only that after Krishna left this planet, Arjuna became a worthless warrior. He went to Dwaraka and he tried to protect Krishna’s queens and a band of cowherd men defeated him in battle. Do you know that? Arjuna lost to some band of simple cowherd men. They attacked Arjuna. Here Arjuna killed Bhisma, killed Karna, killed the greatest warriors on earth and he could not even fight against the simple men. Then Arjuna realized that after Krishna left the world, Krishna had no need for Arjuna to be a great warrior. So Krishna took away all of his ability.
So therefore, a devotee understands that whatever greatness was Arjuna’s was by the mercy of Krishna because he was a surrendered soul and because he was Krishna’s friend. So Arjuna’s only glory was his devotion. In fact for a devotee, there is nothing else worth anything except devotion.
Devotee: In the life of Jesus, in the last Supper, he gives wine and bread. First he gives bread and says it is my life and then he raises wine and says it is my blood. What is the significance of that toast, I did not understand?
Maharaj: It is the Jewish custom on pass over. To take little wine and take baked bread.
Devotee: What is the meaning of pass over?
Maharaj: Pass over means; it is a very long story. But it is the highest quality among the Jews and it is a supper for pass over. So Jesus was saying this is the luke amenent between god and man, which means he was the representative of God. To accept him, is to accept God. This last supper was, Jesus was ceremonialising the inner movement of the heart to accept him. You accept this bread as my body and you accept this wine as my blood. What does blood mean? It means he died for you. He shed his blood for you. Are you willing to accept that? A Christian must accept that. Of course, you have to accept it in your heart. But the same ceremonial expression of that acceptance is to take one sip of that wine which is his blood and to take a morsel of that bread, and love his bread as his body.
Devotee: He said, all of you will have eternal life, if they eat this bread.
Maharaj: Yes, that means accepting his life, accepting his mercy, accepting him as the representative of God. That is what it means. Doesn’t mean, just eating bread. The ritual is only a means to express something within. Simply by eating the bread, you do not attain eternal life. But if you accept that, if you eat that bread in that spirit then you will attain eternal life. That is if you drink that wine in that spirit.
Devotee: In these today’s time, a person should offer the bread to Jesus Christ and then accept it and the wine also. In the church, do they do that?
Maharaj: In the church, they do that. In Catholic Church unless you are a priest, you are not allowed to do that. Nobody except the priest is allowed to perform that ceremony.
Devotee: You said that a pure devotee never uses a word unless he sees that any other pure devotee carry on the mission. Is that true?
Maharaj: He does whatever God wants him to do. He does not act independent. If God wants him to leave, he will leave anytime.
Devotee: But it is said that God always keeps the pure devotees.
Maharaj: That’s for God to decide, not for the pure devotee to decide. Pure devotee simply surrenders to the love of God.
Devotee: The problem with Christianity is that they are not pure devotees.
Maharaj: The system of Christianity was a disciplic succession. Peter was the first guru. Jesus said, he would build on the Rock of Peter; the house of Christianity. And the idea of the Pope, the Pope was supposed to be the disciplic representative of Peter. He was the first guru appointed by Jesus. Now of course, because the Popes became very corrupt at one time, people lost faith in the church and that’s why they protestants and nominations. Protestants means protesting. They protested against the Catholic Church because they considered the Pope to be a political person rather than a representative of Peter. So they started their own churches. But the need of the guru is always essential; a living guru. Without a living guru, so many denominations of Christianity and so many opinions of what Christ meant. There is almost as many or perhaps even more opinions of what Bhagavad-Gita teaches. How many different gurus are there? They have different interpretation of Bhagavad-Gita. Therefore Srila Prabhupada said, “You must read Bhagavad-Gita as it is”. As it is means, as it has been preserved in disciplic succession. Otherwise the real spirit of the Gita is lost. We cannot understand the true spirit of Bhagavad-Gita without a bona fide spiritual master. It is not possible. And that’s all through the all scriptures.
Even in the Vedas, it is said that the essence of the Vedas can never ever, ever be understood, unless it is revealed by a pure devotee.
Devotee: Is there a shlok, which tells this?
Maharaj: In Caitanya-caritamrita, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu talking about Madhavendra Puri, He is describing this also. In the Vedas, there are so many shlokas. “tad vigyanam tam sugru ädigacchati” This is from the manduka Upanishad. It said, if you want to understand Vedas, ädigacchati means it is absolutely essential, you must have a guru. “tasmäd guruà prapadyeta jijïäsuù çreya uttamam” (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.3.21). Srimad Bhagavatam says, “If you want to understand the knowledge of the Vedas, you must humbly hear from the spiritual master. And Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita says,
“tad viddhi praëipätena
upadekñyanti te jïänaà
If you want to learn the truth, you must approach the spiritual master. Inquire submissively and render service to him. The self realized soul can impart knowledge unto because he has seen the truth. So throughout the Vedic literature, it is very important and also by the example of God Himself. Krishna accepted a Guru, Rama accepted a Guru, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted a Guru, why? Do they need guru? Just to teach us. They wanted to teach us by their example that however great you are, without guru you cannot understand the truth. Krishna studied the Vedas under Sandipani Muni, just to show us by His example.
Devotee: Now that the topic of guru is there, you were saying about giving initiation, which delivers us from?
Maharaj: What does it meant to initiate something?
Devotee: To start something.
Maharaj: To start something. So many people think that initiation is the goal. People say, “once I get initiated, then I have attained a great position”. But actually when we accept initiation, that’s when you begin your spiritual life. It is not the end. It is the beginning. Before that you are just preparing yourself to begin. Some people say that means everything I do before initiation is useless. No, you have to prepare yourself to begin. Just like when an athlete goes to a race. When they pull the trigger the race begins. It is not that the race ends. That’s the beginning of the race. But he has to do all the training to prepare himself before he goes to that race. So that preparing has directly nothing to do with the race. But indirectly, it is essential because he cannot begin properly unless he prepares or trains himself. So therefore one must first in association of devotees train oneself to qualify himself to begin a spiritual life and then upon initiation, the beginning is when we make formal confirm vows to the Lord and to the spiritual master. It is very serious, when making vows.
The external vows are that we must attentively chant 16 rounds everyday and must follow the four regulative principles. But that is not the spirit of initiation. Those are just the most preliminary qualification but from within one’s heart one is making a lifelong commitment, that I am accepting this person as the representative of God in my life and I’ll never leave him, I’ll never betray him, I’ll always follow him and serve him. That is the vow that is taken on initiation. It’s a vow of your loyalty, your commitment and your conviction, that you will follow the spiritual master as a God’s representative throughout your life. And to break to your vow to God is very serious thing. So we should be very serious about initiation.
At the same time, the spiritual master is taking even more severe vow. He is taking the vow that I’ll come back to the world birth after birth, whatever it takes to bring this child back to Godhead. I’ll accept all his karma on my own head, then I’ll like a father, nurse this child back to Krishna. So at the time of initiation, the guru and the disciple make eternal vows. Now that exchange of vows is absolutely essential for spiritual advancement beyond a certain level. You can make a spiritual advancement to a certain point on your own. But then to progress beyond that, you must be willing to accept these vows to accept the initiation, either ways you have to commit yourself before God. So it should be done very sincerely. It should not be taken just like that.
Just like Srila Prabhupada would often say, “Do not accept a Guru as a fashion. Some people they accept the guru like a fashion. Yes, yes I have my guru. Then I have my picture of my guru on the wall. Just like I have my nice vases of flowers on the wall and also have so many nice decorations in my house. This is another one of my decorations. This is my guru. Guru is not a fashion. Guru is a very serious relationship with commitment. But it is necessary for one who is sincere. The real initiation is not the form of ceremony, it’s the heart. We consider that fire sacrifice and put the grains in fire and put the banana in the fire and externally with your mouth say a vow. You may not be initiated; your heart is not conforming, what you are externally performing with your body. So therefore the real initiation is in the heart. But the expression of that must be shown with the acceptance of performing a ceremony.
Devotee:If a disciple after taking initiation, starts breaking the laws, intoxication, meat eating, or does not follow the instructions. Then is that true, to that degree he is not a disciple of guru maharaja and the guru is not obliged to take him to back to godhead.
Maharaj: The guru is still obliged. Every time a disciple sins that karma has to go upon the guru. But at the same time, Krishna will give a reaction to the disciple to teach him a lesson too. So they both have to suffer. The guru suffers and the disciple suffers. The karma has to come to the guru also. But committing such an offence to guru, Krishna will smash that disciple. Just like one time in New Vrindavan, there was one devotee and he was actually breaking the principles. He was an initiated disciple and he asked Srila Prabhupad. I was sitting right next to the Srila Prabhupad and nobody; who was sitting there, will ever forget this. It had such an impact in our hearts. A devotee said to Srila Prabhupad, “Prabhupad, what if after taking initiation, a disciple falls down”. Then Srila Prabhupada became like a lion. He spoke with a very deep thunderous voice. He said, “What is this nonsense?” What is this rascaldom? Fall down.” He said, “There is no question of falling down after initiation. There is no question of it.” He said, “You have given your promise before the deities, before the guru, before the assembly of Vaishnavas, before the sacred fire.” He said, “How you can ever break such a promise.” He said, “No gentleman will ever break such a promise. There is no question of falling down.” Of course, this devotee was already falling down. He felt very embarrassed. And the rest of us, our hearts were shaking on hearing Srila Prabhupad’s words.
Srila Prabhupada took it very serious and many of us realized how we did not even know how to take things seriously was until we heard Srila Prabhupad speak.
Devotee: How can they fall down? (Rest of the Question not audible)
Maharaj: That means they haven’t understood, Srila Prabhupad’s level of the expectation of the sincerity that a disciple should have. This is Srila Prabhupad’s view, of how serious initiation is? And if we haven’t understood that, therefore we are still falling down. So therefore if you fall down, you have to just like a crab, we have to get back up again and we have to keep trying. But there will be a reaction. When we break a vow before God, you can expect there is going to be a reaction.
Devotee: Guru is also taking a vow that he is going to look after him and going to make us relax. So he is going to show me a way?
Maharaj: God helps those who help themselves. He is looking after you by showing you the way. But He can’t take you the way; He can only show you the way. You have to do it yourself. You have to hold on to his lotus feet. He can take you back to Godhead but you have to hold on to His lotus feet. If you let go, He cannot hold on for you. You have to hold on for yourself. If you hold on, he will take you back to Godhead. But if you let go there is nothing he can do.
Devotee: External manifestation is not important but one should be from the heart.
Maharaj: It must be from the heart. It must be from the heart. But the external manifestation is important because if something is in your heart you have to externally manifest it, otherwise it is useless. Just like there are many Christians who say, “It is not by works, but it is by faith”. But then they say it also that faith without works, it is dead. It is actually in your heart. Why won’t you make the vow? You won’t make the vow that means it is not in your heart. So they are both important.
Devotee: (Question not audible)
Maharaj: Why it is difficult is not the question because why we do not devote. Difficult or not difficult that is not our concern. Our concern is must be done. Is it difficult to raise your child?
Devotee: It is difficult to me today and I grumble about it.
Maharaj: But do you do it?
Devotee: I have to do it.
Maharaj: You have to throw your arms. You do not have to do it. Many mothers do not do it. Do you know, many disciples do not chant their rounds! What is the difference? That means some mothers are useless and some disciples are useless. A good mother is a mother whether it is difficult or not makes no difference, she does it. A good disciple; whether it is difficult or not he does it. And a useless mother, when it is difficult, she just leaves the child to do whatever it wants. A useless disciple, when it is difficult, he does whatever he wants. That is a question of responsibility. So Srila Prabhupada said, “To the degree you accept responsibility to that degree you make spiritual advancement.
Devotee: He also mentioned about the four principles- Intoxication, illicit sex?
Maharaj: What is the question?
Devotee: (Question not audible)
Maharaj: It is a question of love. First of all, do you eat anything that you do not offer to your guru? Everything must be offered. Otherwise you are eating sin. This is in Bhagavad-Gita
bhuïjate te tv aghaà päpä
ye pacanty ätma-käraëät”
It is eating only sin. Vegetarian food that is not offered to God is sin. Meat is worse sin- sins of different gradation. Just like stealing from a rich man is a sin but killing a rich man is a bigger sin. But they are both sins. It is a lesser sin but it is also sinful. The only food that is not sinful is food that is offered to Krishna and offered to Guru. Now what do you offer to Krishna and guru. What you like or what they like. The spiritual master and Krishna say, “Do not ever give me onion and garlic”. So you have a choice either do not offer and eat only sin and pollute your consciousness or offer it and say, “Krishna I do not care whether you like it or not. I like it.” What kind of mentality is that? That means you are not eating prasad, you are eating food. A devotee only wants prasad. He does not want food. The animals eat food. Human beings are meant to eat prasad. So if it causes pain to your guru to offer him onion and garlic, why do you want to do that to him? If it displeases Krishna, why do you want to do that to him? These are the food that is in the mode of ignorance. These are tamoguna foods. They are vegetarian but they are in tamoguna. And we only offer Krishna, what is in the mode of goodness or satvaguna. So, if it’s absolutely beyond your control, that is the only food that possibly is and then the guru will accept it. He won’t like it but looks up to it, simply so that you can go on living. But if there is a choice and you choose this then it is not correct.
Devotee: (Question Not audible)
Maharaj: You just do what the best you can.
Devotee: (Question Not audible)
Maharaj: If you can get out of the party that is best, come to the temple instead. If you cannot get out of the party, then why cannot you explain to them that my religious training is that I do not take these food. Is there something without these foods? There would be something without those foods. You do not have to take everything. But if it is too impossible, then you should just very humble beg forgiveness of your spiritual master and like that. If it is very difficult, very impossible, then you just have to beg forgiveness of your spiritual master and you should not enjoy it. You should take it as an austerity. But as far as possible you should choose that which is without. I remember, I was one time traveling on South India with one devotee. There was nothing to eat and so we went to this temple and they were serving sambhar and rice. The sambhar had all onions in it. So he said this is all there is, so you should just take it. I said, “But there is onion in it.” Because we did not have any Prasad for a whole day, so he said, “You just take the onions out.”So I said, “Alright.” So I took all the onions out. Half the bowl of sambhar was onions, it was a full bowl and by the time, we took the onions out of it, it was half the bowl. So then my friend, he took all the onions and put it in his sambhar. I said, “What are you doing, I am taking it out and you are putting it in. He said, “What to do? It is time and circumstance”. So this idea of time and circumstance can be taken advantage of. You really have to be very honest. Sometimes according to time and circumstance, we have to do things, what are not according to the strict principles. We should not unnecessarily go beyond what is necessary in this regard.
Devotee: Maharaj, once while I was chanting there was a phone call and I was told that one doctor had come from Detroit to Bombay for a meeting. And his son had met with an accident and was admitted to the hospital. Can he immediate call? So I was in dual mind. What to do? I sat for a while. Shall I continue with the chanting for an hour and then go to the person and inform him that his son had been admitted for an accident or stop chanting and go to him first and inform him. But by that time I comeback, I will not be able to chant and I’ll be required to go to the office. If I go to inform the person that his son has met with an accident and he is serious, I will miss the chanting. But if I chant for an hour, that will be one hour late for that person, because he has to rush to the site as soon as possible. So what to do in this situation?
Maharaj: God has given you intelligence. You should use it.
Devotee: I went to the person and informed the person. But I do not know what I did was right or wrong.
Maharaj: What to do in those circumstances is, you have to pray to Krishna. In this situation Krishna, how can I best serve you? And if you honestly choose, what you believe is the best way you could serve Krishna and that is the correct way. If you are thinking, yes very nice; I do not have to chant now, then that is wrong. But if you are thinking “I wish I could chant but this is a very important service, I must render, I will have to chant later”. Then that is correct. So your every act should be motivated by how I can best serve. How I can best serve my guru now?
Devotee: How to overcome temptations?
Maharaj: The first thing is that, you should situate yourself in such a way that there is as few temptation as possible. It is hard enough to avoid the temptations that come of their own accord, rather than inviting more. You should avoid putting yourself in a situation where there is unnecessary temptation. That means you should associate with saintly persons. Just like, if you are trying to give up drinking, you should not sit and meet your friends in the liquor store. If you are trying to be a vegetarian, you do not go into a hotel where they serve meat. If you are trying to give up drugs, you do not go to the parties where everyone smoking drugs and taking drugs. So the first gesture of your sincerity is that you as far as possible according to your power you avoid exposing yourself to those temptations. Now in the line of your duty, if the temptations come beyond your control then you have to be very strict in your sadhana, when you are not under those temptations. Another way if you are very strictly chanting the holy names when you are at home, if you are very strictly worshiping the deity, if you are associating with the devotees and hearing their words with attentive and receptive heart, this will give spiritual strength. And that spiritual strength will give you the power to withstand the temptations and tolerate them, when they come before you. You see, it is like a war with Maya. Maya is constantly throwing her weapons and those weapons are in the form of temptations to defeat us. Like in the battle of Kurukshetra, they were fighting with arrows. But Maya’s arrow is temptations. Just like cupid is pictured; kamadev with his bow and arrow and that arrow is his weapon. What is this weapon? Lust; it is material attachment, material attraction, temptation. So this is the weapon of Maya. She is constantly shooting the arrows of material temptations at us. Now before going into the battle field you have to train. Just like in India, you have an army, do they just drag people and immediately make them stand on to the battle field? First, they give them 6 months to a year in training. They teach them how to shoot their guns. How to discipline oneself under this treacherous condition at the battle? They train them in physical fitness. They give them strength and then they go into the battle field. So our training camp is every morning, when we are chanting the holy names. Every morning, when we are worshiping the deities, when we reading the scriptures. We are getting spiritual strength and spiritual depth. Every evening we are associating with the devotees as far as possible or hearing from them or strengthening our spiritual principles in life. Then when we go out in to the field of our work, when the temptations come, we will be strong enough to tolerate the temptations. So first of all, we must prepare through sadhana the spiritual discipline. And second of all, you have to avoid unnecessary temptations. And ultimately when the temptations come, you have to cry out to Krishna to save you. You have to cry out for the mercy of your guru maharaja, please save me! Please give me the strength! And Krishna will give you the strength.
Devotee: (Question not audible)
Maharaj: The soul is painful. It is pleasing to the senses, but it is painful to the soul. And tapasya is painful to the sense and pleasing to the soul. Why it is painful to the soul- because it separates the soul from God. Sense gratification separates our consciousness from Krishna and there is nothing more painful to the soul than separation from Krishna.
Devotee: (Question not audible)
Maharaj: Beauty of Krishna. That is why we worship the deity. That is why we decorate the deities so nicely. We decorate the deities so nicely. We come to the temple, so that our eyes will find pleasure in seeing the beauty of God and when we learn how to find pleasure in seeing the beauty of God then gradually the forms of beauty in this world becomes very insignificant. So this is the test of our sincerity that we only listen to those things which purify our consciousness. We only look at those things beyond what is necessary that purify our consciousness. Krishna says in the third chapter of Bhagavad-Gita, “One must control the lower self with the higher self”. The lower self is the mind and the senses and higher self is your intelligence. So by hearing you gain intelligence, what helps my spiritual life and what hurts my spiritual life. Mind and senses are always telling one thing and the intelligence is always telling something else. So the question is- are you going to listen to your mind and senses or are you going to act according to your intelligence. You must control your lower self with your higher self. By hearing we understand, what is good to look at and what is not good to look at. What is good to eat? What is not good to eat? What is good to hear and what is not good to hear? This is our intelligence. Our mind and senses are telling us, usually the opposite. So we are torn between our intelligence, our mind and our senses. This is the mind. The mind is caught between the intelligence and the senses. When the mind chooses to follow the senses, the mind becomes our worst enemy. When the mind chooses to follow the intelligence, the mind becomes our best friend. This is why yoga means to control the mind. Yoga means not to let the mind go towards senses but let the mind go towards intelligence. Now the intelligence is telling us which sense object we should be attracted to and which we should avoid. So if we follow the detections of the intelligence that is coming from guru and sadhu, then our mind is our best friend. Then, we are always engaging our senses in Krishna’s service. The same mind, the same senses which is now the cause of bondage, when it follows the directions of our good intelligence coming from guru and engages in Krishna’s service, the same mind and senses engaging in the same types of activities become purifying. Just like you like to eat, if you eat the right thing, you become purified, if you eat the wrong thing you become degraded. If you hear the right thing, you become purified. If you hear the wrong thing you become degraded. If you look at the right thing, you become purified. If you look at the wrong thing, you become degraded. So Bhakti means to be active, to be dynamic, but always in Krishna’s service with the guidelines of the intelligence directing us. We never become the servant of the senses. We become the servant of guru and Krishna.
Devotee: While I am chanting and when I reach 8 rounds, I am fatigued and that is enough for me.
Maharaj: But is it not enough for Krishna? Your son, probably at a certain point, your wife says, it’s enough for me. Does that mean she just throws him out from the house? It’s your duty. Why are you thinking in terms of enough for you? Are you doing it for you or for Krishna? Is that enough for Krishna? You have patients, as a doctor sometimes you feel, it is enough I don’t want to deal with this person any more. That means you are telling me to get out from your office, in the middle of your operation. This is enough. Did you do that while you treating a patient? Are you doing it for you or for Him?
Devotee: There we are aware of the situation.
Maharaj: AM: You should be aware of situation too. If Krishna wants you to chant 16 rounds, 8 rounds is not enough for Krishna. It may be enough for you but it is not enough for Krishna. So there is the question of, “Am I doing it for me or doing it for Krishna. Am I serving what I want or am I serving what my guru and Krishna want? Whose servant am I? I am my own servant or Krishna’s servant. My mind is telling me it is enough. But Krishna is telling me to do more. So I am the servant of my mind or I am the servant of Krishna, which one.
Devotee: That means I am the servant of my mind.
Maharaj: We should become Krishna’s servant. Surrender means it is not enough until you please Krishna.
Devotee: (Question not audible)
Maharaj: If we are thinking to glorify others then that is very good. Thinking oh, he is doing such a wonderful service. I just want to hear more and more about his glories. Then that is very nice. But if we are competing with them with the desire that this competition will help us both to do more service then that is also very good- because we are encouraging that person, encouraging yourself. But if you are trying to outdo a person for our own prestigious position then that is due to envy. And that should be overcome by becoming the servant of that devotee.
Devotee: (Question not audible)
Maharaj: You should know that the defects are in you, not in him. We only see the faults in others, when we are honeycombed with thousands and thousands of faults within ourselves. It is what we hate the most within our self; we can’t tolerate seeing in another. We do not want what admits in me. We are very anxious to point it out to another. A person who has a pure heart sees the good in everyone. But a person who has bad within him, he sees that bad within outside. He is not willing to admit that within him. He is very anxious to admit it in somebody else. That when you point your finger at other, how many of fingers pointed towards you?
Devotee: At least three.
Maharaj: That means you should before finding one fault within other, you should find three faults in yourself. Did you like that, probably you will not find many faults in others anymore. We understand how many faults in our own heart will be kept fully engaged. We won’t have time to find faults in others. We should rectify our own problems.
Devotee: (Question not audible)
Maharaj: It should begin with the devotees. We should not find the faults with the karmis. We should be like a doctor, who is willing to diagnose their problems but it is not in a fault finding way, in a constructive way. We do not desire to find faults in anyone or anything. If we do point out fault, it’s only for that person’s betterment. So when we point out faults in karmis it’s to educate ourselves of what we must be careful to avoid. Therefore we have to point out faults. Otherwise we will be like them. We have to know what they are doing wrong and why. We are not doing it to make ourselves the better than them. We are not doing it to discredit them. We are simply like a doctor diagnosing a disease for the benefit of those who want to prevent having that disease and also for the cure of those who have these diseases. So the devotee’s criticisms are on the level of a diagnosis. They should never be on the level of fault finding ever, ever to anyone.
Devotee: Maharaj, can a guru speak through a non devotee or a karmi?
Maharaj: If a non devotee or a karmi speak the same thing the guru speaks then you should accept it. It is said, you can accept gold even from a filthy place. Gold is gold; whether you find it in the Garbage can or you find it in the gold mine. Gold is always gold. So when karmi comes up to one and said, you should chant Hare Krishna. You should accept, “Yes, he is correct. My guru is speaking through him.” To Bilvamangala Thakur; a prostitute told him to surrender to Krishna and on the basis of that direction, he accepted, “My guru is speaking through her” and he surrendered to Krishna. Whoever tells you to surrender to Krishna it is good. His spiritual life was reawakened by the words of a prostitute, who told him to surrender to Krishna.