saḿskārān kartum arhasi
bālayor anayor nṝṇāḿ
janmanā brāhmaṇo guruḥ
My lord, you are the best of the brahmana, especially because you are fully aware of the jyotiḥ-sastra, the astrological science. Therefore you are naturally the spiritual master of every human being this being so, since you have kindly come to my house, kindly execute the reformatory activities for my two sons.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, says in Bhagavad-gita (4.13), catur-varṇyaḿ maya sṛṣṭaḿ guṇa-karma-vibhagasaḥ: the four Varna’s — brahmana, Kshatriya, vaisya and Sudra— must be present in society. The brahmana are required for the guidance of the whole society. If there is no such institution as varṇasrama-dharma and if human society has no such guide as the brahmana, human society will be hellish. In Kali-yuga, especially at the present moment, there is no such thing as a real brahmana, and therefore society is in a chaotic condition. Formerly there were qualified brahmaṇas, but at present, although there are certainly persons who think themselves brahmaṇas, they actually have no ability to guide society. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore very much eager to reintroduce the varṇasrama system into human society so that those who are bewildered or less intelligent will be able to take guidance from qualified brahmaṇas.
Brahmaṇa means Vaisnava. After one becomes a brahmana, the next stage of development in human society is to become a Vaisnava. People in general must be guided to the destination or goal of life, and therefore they must understand Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The whole system of Vedic knowledge is based on this principle, but people have lost the clue (nateviduḥ svartha-gatiḿhiviṣṇum [SB 7.5.31]), and they are simply pursuing sense gratification, with the risk of gliding down to a lower grade of life (mṛtyu–saḿsara–vartmani). It doesn’t matter whether one is born a brahmana or not. No one is born a brahmaṇa; everyone is born a sudra. But by the guidance of a brahmana and by samskara, one can become dvija, twice-born, and then gradually become a brahmana. Brahmanism is not a system meant to create a monopoly for a particular class of men. Everyone should be educated so as to become a brahmana. At least there must be an opportunity to allow everyone to attain the destination of life. Regardless of whether one is born in a brahmana family, a kṣatriya family or a sudra family, one may be guided by a proper brahmana and be promoted to the highest platform of being a Vaisnava. Thus the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement affords an opportunity to develop the right destiny for human society. NandaMaharaja took advantage of the opportunity of Gargamuni’s presence by requesting him to perform the necessary reformatory activities for his sons to guide them toward the destination of life.
Importance of blessings from great personalities:
Nanda Maharaj is truly a loving father who is putting his heart and his soul into pursuing the true welfare of his two beloved children Krishna Balaram. He knows that without the auspicious blessings of great personalities and without the observance of the will of God, that nothing can be auspicious in this world. In fact, one can spend enormous sums of money to perform grand, grand ceremonies – the chanting of Vedic Mantras, the offering of oblations to the sacred fire and so many other of the ritualistic injunctions. But if one does not receive the heartfelt blessings of the great devotees of the Lord then all these things are superficial. They bring us no real connection to Krishna because bhakti means
ataḥ pumbhir dvija-śreṣṭhā
Whatever ones Varna or ashram may be, whether one is a Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya, Sudra, Brahmacari, Grihasta, Vanaprastha or Sanyasi the only goal of our life is to please Krishna. Krishna is not pleased whether we are Brahmana or a Sudra. Our life is simply inauspicious if Krishna is not pleased, whether we are a Sanyasi or a Grihasta or Brahmacari we are making no real spiritual advancement. To please Krishna is the be-all and end-all of life, it is the goal of life (S.B. 7.5.31) na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiḿ hi viṣṇuḿ, that intelligent person always puts the pleasure of Vishnu as the only goal of his life everything else is bondage yajnarta.
The rituals and samskaras are offering to God:
Krishna explains in Gita that, all work that is done for the pleasure of Vishnu that must be performed because every other type of work whatever it may be is only a cause of bondage . Unfortunately today in India people they think that just by paying some money or expecting some professional priest to perform some worship that they will please God. But do you think that God is so impersonal and so much a businessman that he will be pleased by anything other than the humility of our heart, the actual aspiration to please his devotees? There is no other means and of course in the Vedic system there are great Brahmans like Garga Muni and they are being asked by great souls like Nanda Maharaj to perform these reformatory activities but it is done all in the spirit not of business, not of ritual but it is being done in a spirit of devotion. Nanda Maharaj knows that essentially it is not the ritual but it is the blessings of this great soul that will really be the auspicious gift to his children. Of course, the rituals the samskaras they are to be done, purification takes place but if it is not performed by a devotee who is offering it with devotion then it is all a mechanical ritual. That is the problem. People have become so ritualistic that these samskaras these ceremonies they are considered very important which they are but unfortunately people have misunderstood the essence. Unless they are performed by qualified Brahmans they are hollow and a qualified brahmana is not simply one who is academically very astute in chanting the mantras properly but a qualified brahmana is one who is offering it with love and devotion whatever they are doing. A ritual is an offering to God. Whatever the samskara, it is an offering to God and to the extent the brahmana or the priest is offering with love and devotion to the Lord to that extent the Lord is going to reciprocate and bestow his blessings.
Pleasing the great souls:
So this is the real thing and therefore, Nanda Maharaj, he understood the real essence. He wants to take advantage, obviously so many brahmana could have done like this at any time but he especially wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of the presence of Garga Muni because he knew that Garga Muni was not only very well learned very expert in performing these rites but he was also such a highly elevated realized devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So therefore, Nanda Maharaja’s first business was to please Garga Muni by treating him with great love, by offering him all nice services. He is approaching him with such humility and devotion and then he is asking, if it be so your desire, can you do this great favor for my child?
Srila Prabhupada used to tell us, that without the blessings of the vaisnavas anything we undertake in life is inauspicious, however auspicious it may be in the eyes of men from the point of view of spiritual advancement nothing should be undertaken without the blessings of sincere souls – sincere devotees of the Lord. If we act or behave in any way independent of the blessings of the great souls, Krishna does not care for what we are doing and therefore, there is nothing auspicious about it. This is the basic thing throughout the Sastras.
Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami begins his work after receiving blessing from vaisnavas:
Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami in Caitanya Caritamrita writes how he began his work. He felt himself completely unqualified after all who could possibly be qualified to write about the pastimes of the Supreme Lord in his most munificent merciful incarnation – Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu, How is it possible? It is an impossible task. Kaviraj Goswami explains that even if Ananta Sesa with all of his hoods for the whole span of time of all of creation was using all of his mouths to glorify the pastimes and the teachings of Mahaprabhu, he said, he could not explain the pastimes that the Lord would perform in one moment. That is how unlimited and infinite the pastimes of Mahaprabhu were. Just Kaviraj Goswami explains that he is only trying to describe one particle of one drop from the ocean of the glories of Sri Gaura Sundar. So it is an impossible task. But he was asked by devotees of Vrindavan the Gaudiya Vaisnavas that, “You have heard from Raghunathdas Goswami, who has heard from Swaroop Damodar Goswami, who has personally witnessed the lila of Sri Gauranga, therefore, in the disciplic succession you have submissively received this transcendental information, therefore, you are the most qualified to record his life and teachings. So when Kaviraj Goswami was given this instruction, he understood, without the blessings of Krishna and all the vaisnavas. “I will not even begin”. So he went to each and every vaisnava Vrindavan of the qualified devotees and besieged with all humility their blessings and only after receiving the blessings of all the devotees did he approach the Lord himself in the form of Madan Mohan. At that time even by approaching Mahan Mohan he was so humble, although, he bowed down and prayed to Madan Mohan that, “Your devotees have given me this instruction, they have given me your blessings, now I am approaching you my Lord.” He approached through the pujari because when he bowed down the garland fell from Madan Mohan to the pujari who brought him the garland. So he was receiving the confirmation of the Lord through his devotee. So in this way Krishnadas Kaviraj Goswami felt that, “Yes, now everything is auspicious. Now by their blessings, by their mercy I will be empowered to this great work.”
Srila Haridas Thakur receives blessings of Vaisnavas and Caitanya Mahaprabhu:
When Srila Haridas Thakur decided to leave this world, he approached Sriman Caitanya Mahaprabhu and he told him that, “I do not want to perceive the final chapter of your earthly lila; I know that it is coming soon. Please, take this soul from this body before you leave this world.” That was his humble request.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “Whatever you desire Krishna will fulfill because that is your devotion.”
So the next day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came with many of his most confidential principal devotees to siddha-bakula, the place of Srila Haridas Thakur in Jagannath Puri and Caitanya Mahaprabhu he requested that the kirtan begin and as the devotees were chanting what did Haridas Thakur do? We went to each and every vaisnava to take the dust from their lotus feet, to receive their blessings and after receiving the dust from the feet of every devotee and receiving all of their blessings then he approached Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and placed his lotus feet on his heart and while chanting his holy name ‘Sri Krsna Caitanya’ with his eyes looking upon his moonlike face, at that time Sri Caitanya delivered him and sent him back to the spiritual world.
Devotees give their blessings to Rupa and Sanatana Goswami:
Similarly, when Srila Sanatana Goswami came to Jagannath Puri and also Srila Rupa Goswami, Caitanya Mahaprabhu called off for all the devotees and he told them all that, “Srila Rupa Goswami, Srila Sanatana Goswami, I am giving them a great mission, great work that they are going to extract the essence of bhakti from all of the scriptures and they are going to re-establish all the places of pilgrimage in Vrindavan.”
Only one who is supremely and divinely empowered can perform this work and therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu requested with great humility all the assembled devotees, “Please offer them your blessings.” because without the blessings of the vaisnavas no one can do anything auspicious in this world. So upon seeing the love of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu for Rupa and Sanatana all the devotees of Gaudiya Vaisnavas they all bestowed their heartfelt blessings and prayers and good wishes upon Rupa and Sanatana.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s love for his devotees:
Even the Lord himself who was playing the part of a devotee, even he would not act without the blessings of the vaisnavas. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu decided to go to South India, he brought all of his devotees together and he took them by the hand and
He said, “To give up this body is not a very difficult thing because everyone has to give up their bodies sooner or later but to give up the association of you devotees that is worse than death. That is impossible for me. Therefore I can understand that my love for you is greater than the love for my own self. You are all more dear to me than my very own life.”
He said, my brother Vishvarupa, he left home many years ago to take Sanyas. It has been heard that he has been travelling somewhere in South India and it is my desire to find him. So now if you all give me your blessings, if you all give me your auspicious prayers of confirmation then I can begin my trip to South India.”
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu would not leave without the blessings of the vaisnavas because he knew as a devotee he had to set the proper example that there is nothing auspicious without the blessing of the vaisnavas. And these blessings if they are not offered with love then they are meaningless, we cannot pay someone for blessings. What is a blessing? Does anyone even know? Blessing is not a mechanical thing blessing is when a genuine and sincere soul prays to the Lord on your behalf, to be merciful and kind upon you. That is what a real blessing is. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked them and they would not give, therefore he would not go. They told him, “You have to wait until this date.” So he waited and of course, ultimately he received their blessings they said, “You are independent, we cannot stop you, whatever you do is perfect. It is only for our own sake. To live in separation is very difficult.” He wanted to go alone they gave him the blessings only under the condition that he take somebody with him because they were so concerned for his welfare.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu would never leave without the blessing of the devotees:
This is their love for him and then later on after he came back, he decided to go to Vrindavan again he approached his devotees and asked their permission, “If you do not give me your auspicious prayers and your blessings to go I cannot go but my life’s desire is to go to Vrindavan. Will you allow me to go?”
And they said, “first wait till after the dola-yatra.”
He said, “Okay.”
Dola-yatra came, and he said, “Now can I go?”
They said, “But Rama Navami is coming, after Rama Navami.”
Then they said, “Narasimha Caturdarshi is coming, just wait till after that.”
“Janamashtami is coming very soon you should wait till after that.”
“Alright, I will wait till after that.
“But now Radhashtami is coming, you should wait until then.”
“Govardhana Puja is coming.”
So in this way years went by and even though it was his heart’s burning desire, his whole heart just engulfed in the flames of longing to be in Vrindavan Dham. But still without the auspicious blessings of the vaisnavas he would not go. Finally they gave and then he left.
Srila Prabhupada is given instruction by his Guru Maharaj:
In this way nothing is auspicious in our life from a spiritual point of view, unless the good wishes and the prayers of sincere devotees are along with that. That is very important to understand. Therefore a sincere devotee who understands this principle will never act independently. Even our own Guru Maharaj Srila Prabhupada before he went to America, it was his guru’s order Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, it was his first order and his last order to Srila Prabhupada to preach in the English language for the benefit of the whole world. When he first met Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati in 1922 at Ulta Danga Junction Road in Calcutta, he was given this instruction that you are an intelligent young man, bring this message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to the whole world through the English language, this will be a great service. It will be good for you and good for the world. And several times after that he was given the same instruction. Srila Prabhupada explains to us I believe it was in 1936 in December that Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati, his health was very weak, he was in Jagannath Puri, his very birth place at the time and Srila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Swami, he was at that time a grihasta and he was feeling, ‘what am I doing’? He was feeling the heaviness in his heart, so he wrote a letter to Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati and in his letter he explained that, “Guru Maharaj, you have so many disciples who are sanyasis and brahmacaris, they are with you practically constantly and they are 24 hours a day immersed in spreading your mission and directly serving your lotus feet but I have wife, I have children I have so many responsibilities I am doing so little for you. Please, instruct me how I can best serve you?”
And Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur wrote back and repeated the original instruction he gave him that, “It will be very good for you and it will be very good for the whole world if you preach the message of Sri Gauranga in the English speaking language.”
Then within two weeks after that letter was written Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur left this world. So Srila Prabhupada knew that this was his final instruction to him. So he began to prepare himself in this way.
Srila Prabhupada begins his voyage by the prayers of vaisnavas:
Before he embarked on the Jaladutta across the Atlantic Ocean, for this very, very historical voyage, he approached so many of his senior god brothers Sanyasis, Grihasta and all and he begged them to give their auspicious instructions and blessings to him before he began his journey. He went to various ashrams he explained the order of his guru, he explained the order of Mahaprabhu and what he was feeling in his plan and they were all very, very happy, both in Vrindavan as well as Mayapur and various places and then he understood that now it is all auspicious. Now whatever the material result is, it is a perfect success that is a fact. A devotee is not concerned with the result a devotee is concerned with the service. If we are following the instruction of gurudeva and if we have the good wishes and the prayers of the vaisnavas behind us and we are trying our level best to execute that order that in-itself is the perfection of our life. Therefore Srila Prabhupada was fearless he had the blessings of the guru and the vaisnavas there was nothing else he needed. Whether he lived or died, whether the whole world became devotees or nobody heard his message, his mission was all auspicious because he had the prayers of the vaisnavas, the good will of the vaisnavas and he had the instruction of his gurudeva.
Pleasing the devotees of Krishna is pleasing Krishna:
This is sum and substance of our life, the instructions of our spiritual master and auspicious blessings of the vaisnavas. There is nothing else, we don’t care for anything else, if we have that we know Krishna is pleased- samsiddhir hari toshanam and if Krishna is pleased our life is successful and if Krishna is displeased and he will not be pleased unless these two things are in order. If Krishna is not pleased then you can independently leave and go to Vrindavan and you can travel through the 12 forest of Vrindavan for the rest of your life but if the guru and the vaisnavas are not pleased, if they do not give you their auspicious blessings then you will not find Krishna in Vrindavan. Sentimentally you may have some idea that I am experiencing the happiness of Krishna but factually the realization of Krishna in truth will not be there. In fact your activities will be a disturbance to Krishna because Krishna receives our love through pleasing his devotees there is no other way mad-bhakta püjyä adhikaù. According to Krishna there is no other way.
When Srila Prabhupada came to the West, he told us that, “What is my position, I have no qualifications, my gurudeva has sent me the vaisnavas have given me their good wishes so what is my role?” He never claimed to be a pure devotee, in never claimed to be a paramhamsa what did he claim?
“That I am the postal peon delivering the message to you.”
He loved to use this word about himself – the postal peon. Do you know what peon is? It is the most menial class of laborers. Peon is someone who gets no distinction no recognition they are just considered very, very lowly servants, doing the most menial dirty jobs. Postal means one who simply delivers the message without adulterations- postal peon. One who considers himself a postal peon from the core of his heart, such a person is actually to be trusted, one who considers himself something else Krishna will not empower him to reveal the truth, may reveal so many other things but not the truth – As it is.
Nanda Maharaj’s longing for a child:
In this way Nanda Maharaj he is seeing that Garga Muni, he is a genuine sadhu a real devotee of the Lord and because Nanda Maharaj obviously loves these two beautiful children more than his own life, you know, Nanda Maharaj he had a hard time having children, they were living in Nandgaon and he was worshiping Lord Shiva, trying to have a child for many, many years and he could not have any children no matter how many times he tried there was no success. So his father and his brothers they all decided that maybe it is not auspicious to have a child here, the Yamuna is very sacred pure river if we relocate close to the Yamuna then perhaps it will be more auspicious atmosphere to have a child. So just for the sake of Nanda Maharaj to have a child after so many years of no success, the whole Vraja community shifted from Nandgaon to Gokul on the banks of Yamuna and it was there that finally Nanda Maharaj had a beautiful child and such a beautiful child – Krishna the Supreme reservoir of all beauty appeared to him and Balaram had just appeared recently before. Although, Balaram was born sometime before, he never had the name giving ceremony or the reformatory activities for Balaram, why? Because he was waiting for such a great saint as Garga Muni to come. So you can imagine finally Nanda Maharaj had this beautiful child. Balaram was born of Rohini, he was Vasudeva’s son, Nanda Maharaj was foster father for him but Krishna was born directly from Yashoda that was his idea. So we can just imagine how this child was more dear and more precious to him than his entire life. That was his only child.
A real brahmana:
He wanted only the best for Krishna, the best of everything and we are about to read how Garga Muni is coming and Garga Muni is going to tell Nanda Maharaj that it is very dangerous for me to perform a ceremony for your child because Kamsa is looking for all baby children. Yogamaya already told him that the son who was to kill you is born somewhere else. So if he hears about this ceremony, he will come to kill your child so it is very dangerous but Nanda Maharaj thought that if my child does not receive your blessings from such a great soul as you and if you do not perform the proper samskaras in that spirit of pure devotion to Lord then my child is bereft of any meaning to his life. Nanda Maharaj had this understanding that if great souls do not pray for my child and if they do not offer these ceremonies for the pleasure of Krishna on behalf of my child then my child’s life is useless there is no meaning. Krishna will not protect him the Supreme Lord will not protect him. So therefore Nanda Maharaj is saying, “Nobody will even know about this, even my relatives will not know. Let us perform it in complete secrecy in the cowshed.” It wasn’t for show, it wasn’t for reputation, it wasn’t to show people to see what a good Vedic person I am, and I am performing all the samskaras. It was sincerely and exclusively out of love and devotion to his children. They had to receive the auspicious blessings from Garga Muni. He wanted these great ceremonies to be performed. So this is the sum and substances of this purport that such a person as Garga Muni although, he was born in a very high brahmana family a person who has this devotion, who has this surrender, who is sacrificing his life in the service of the Lord for the benefit of others, that person is a real brahmana.
People go shopping for blessings:
Srila Prabhupada is explaining that in today’s society there are practically no real Brahmans therefore the society is in chaotic condition because there is no such guidance. People are not leading their lives according to the auspicious direction of such great souls. In previous times even great kings they would not do anything without getting the auspicious blessings of the great souls. That didn’t mean that they would just approach some professional astrologer that and ask if this is the right time, nowhere to be seen in the Vedas such a thing. They would approach very, very elevated and exalted vaisnava devotees real Brahmans asking their permission. The Brahmans may or may not astrologically calculate but it was not the astrological calculation it was important; it was the guidance of the great souls that were important. The astrological calculations that’s for the great souls to decide whether they want to refer to that but if you have the blessings of the great souls that’s all you need. If they want to make calculations that’s their business but if we try to simply approach the calculations on our own without the blessings and the permission of the great souls, all these astrological calculations by only following those instructions will only further incriminate us in the laws of karma. It is a fact. It is to please Krishna by humbling our self to his true devotees that is the only means of success in our life. Not order but pleasing them. Some people they go shopping for blessings. If this sadhu says “No” and this sadhu says “No” they will just keep shopping, ultimately they will find someone who will say “Yes”. Therefore we need guru parampara. We have guru we have the representatives of guru if we do not have their blessings we do not go anywhere else. If you look hard enough you can get permission for anything but this is cheap. That means you are not trying to please Krishna, you are just trying to find someone to give you the justification to please your own mind and senses. So the instruction of guru and the blessings of the vaisnavas, but the blessings of the vaisnavas should be those who are in line with gurudeva otherwise it is all cheap.
Answer : Generally what it means is if it has assigned to you by one of his devotees then you already have it. Usually it happens when you are given an assignment by someone else, one of his representatives and then you ask him for blessings, usually that’s when he gives that answer. But you already have the permission and the instruction of my representatives so you already have my blessings. There is no need to come to me directly which means he wants to train us to be the servant of the servant of the servants.
Answer : If not pleasing to the vaisnavas and pleasing to the guru then it is all mechanical, then it is not from their heart, if they are not coming from the heart then they are not coming from Krishna. Krishna is in the heart of these great souls.
Answer : He never said “no”. If they said, “No” he wouldn’t have gone. They never said, “No”, they just kept postponing it. It wasn’t he was pestering them, they would say “after dola-yatra”, so then dola-yatra came, then they said now after this, after this, so he was going just according to their instructions by asking them again after each time. He could have just left after one time, he didn’t want to unless he got very directly at that moment he was leaving. So it was not that they ever said, “No” and he was begging them, he was actually following their instructions. Do you understand?
“You do it after Janamashtami” he said, “Okay”. He could have left but he didn’t do it. He wanted a reconfirmation that’s how careful he was.
“Now Janamashtami is finished”
“Oh! Tomorrow is Nandatsava”
“Nandatsava is finished”
“Oh! But Karthik is coming you should be in Puri during Karthik”
In this way he was not going against their will, he was following their will but they were just tricking him in this way as an expression of love.
Answer : Because I am a rascal (devotees all laugh). Okay, I ask your permission but because my visa ends, if you do not give me permission the Government will never give me permission to come back. So under these conditions I am asking your permission. I guess I am supposed to practice what I preach. Of course, in New Vrindavan there are about 300 blessings I can get.
Answer : His gurudeva confirmed with Prabhupada that the way he was going about was perfect and complete. In Bombay Sridhar Maharaj, Bhakti Saranga Maharaj 2 very exalted powerful Sanyasis of Bhakti Siddhanta came to Bombay to start a centre here and at that time Srila Prabhupada was doing business, so they approached him and he was working very hard. Prabhupada is the one who found this place just about 10 minutes away – Gaudiya Mission. They didn’t know anyone in Bombay but Prabhupada had many contacts, so Prabhupada was taking these sanyasis house to house to have programs. Prabhupada would often lead the kirtan, Sridhar Maharaj would speak give lecture, Bhakti Saranga Maharaj would canvas for the mission and in this way they started a temple. And because Srila Prabhupada was really so instrumental for everything to get done that they asked Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati, if he would instruct Prabhupada to be the President and give his full time to the mission. Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati said at that time that, “What he is doing is just what I want him to do and he will do everything in due course of time. You just wait and see.” So Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur had this vision that Srila Prabhupada was perfectly following that vision. If Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati even once told him, “Move into this temple and preach only”. Prabhupada would have done it in a second, he wouldn’t have thought twice of anything or anyone else. But Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati knew that how he was going about his life was the best possible way he could serve Krishna.
Answer : Because it is the guru’s order to be the servant of the servant of the servant. That is the reason that is the most essential part of his order which underlies the particular instruction is to be the servant of the servant of the servant because even in executing the order of our guru we are not pleasing his devotees then it is not going to be very pleasing to him.
Answer : It is not that every little instruction we have to go seeking blessings from everyone. You just follow the order of guru that is enough. What we are speaking is major undertakings, for that we should have the instruction of guru and the blessings of the vaisnavas before any major decision or major undertaking in our life. That is real humility. To underscore either one of these our spiritual endeavor will be incomplete. This is Mahaprabhu philosophy – servant of the servant of the servant. This is the only way to truly please the guru’s heart otherwise he will be satisfied with you but to really please his heart, he wants to see the servant of the servant of the servant. If I personally want to please Prabhupada I have to become the servant of everyone of you. I cannot approach Prabhupada directly. If I do not become servant of all of these devotees I cannot please them properly, it is not possible and that is your position also.
Answer : You don’t ask blessing to disobey the order of guru you do that you go to hell. That is all nonsense. That is what I mean. This is a cheap follower. You want to disobey the order of guru and you shop around for someone who will give their blessings for that, therefore, two things have to be there – it has to be perfectly in line with the order of guru with the love of the vaisnavas. If it is out of the line of guru then whoever gives whatever blessings it is all sinful. So this person is creating a great, great offense not only to Prabhupada but Bhakti Siddhanta, Bhakti Vinod and the entire parampara by cheaply going to another guru after taking vows to one in the name of getting higher realizations. That’s what he said, “That this person is giving higher realizations and higher understandings and what you are giving Prabhupada. So I am begging your blessing to go.”
Prabhupada said, “This is such an intense offense to the whole parampara that if you do this you are going to go to hell. You are asking my blessings to go to hell.”
This is taking it all cheaply. The spiritual master is giving us what we need, we thing we are so advanced that we need higher realizations higher instructions. These people are still on the bodily concept of life and they want Gopi bhava. They want the rushes of ecstatic ecstasy in the mood of Gopis in madhurya rasa and they haven’t even learned to control the demands of their physical body. This is all cheap it’s all nonsense. But there were people telling these devotees that your guru is not telling you the highest I am telling you the highest. I am going to engage you directly in Radha Krishna’s love affair in Vraja. What is your guru teaching? He is just teaching Bhagvad Gita the basic principles. That is what they told I know the whole story. That is what they told this devotee and he listened to them and the fact that he submissively listened to them was the original offense that destroyed his spiritual life because he was listening submissively to offenses and blasphemes against his guru and the parampara. And because he did that Krishna because he submissively listened Krishna took away all that persons intelligence and he said, “Oh! Yes, this is great. My guru is not giving me the highest my guru is not the highest. I want something more I want something higher and he actually went to Prabhupada and asked him.”
Prabhupada understood that this neophyte crazy devotee is thinking like this and these foolish people are telling him these things, follow them go to hell. What can I say you have already made up your mind? What was the result? You think by offending someone who is given his life to serving the Lord in spreading the mission, you think by committing an offense to such a person, by neglecting his instruction, by breaking your vows to him do you think Krishna is going to be pleased in the name of getting higher realizations? What do you think?
Answer : You do not know basic instructions? Chant your rounds every day follow the regulative principles, read Prabhupada’s books every day. Every single day you should read these books, associate with the devotees, help the mission, ask Devamrita, ask Vishvarupa, ask any of these senior devotees how can I serve? The problem is not that we do not know the problem is we do not want to know. ‘Seek and you shall find’. If you go to unauthorized representatives then that means you really don’t want to know, but it is really clear cut through the authorized representatives of gurudeva. So if you want to know you ask and then it is clear but if you do not want to know then you don’t ask then you say, “Oh! I don’t know”. Then you have to start looking here there and everywhere else for some instructions. That means you want to cheat so Krishna will give you the intelligence how to cheat.
It’s like I was speaking yesterday, if someone is speaking something bad about another devotee, the biggest problem is not that the person speaking, the problem is that you want to hear it. If you don’t want to hear it you won’t listen to it but the problem is we like to hear these things. We like the fascination the sensationalism of hearing these things and our whole mind becomes completely polluted. So whose fault is this? Nobody should be finding faults in other devotees. That person is going to have to suffer tremendous reactions for what he is doing but as far as you are concerned the problem was not in him but you. Why did want to hear it, why did you listen? Similarly we don’t know what to do why we want to do because we don’t want to know what we are supposed to do because we are afraid we might have to surrender. Therefore, we shop around with the excuse that I don’t have really any specific instruction. If you ask for one you will get one. That is the problem.
Answer : In the disciplic line. You may not be able to give pleasure to all the vaisnavas but at least you should be aspiring to give pleasure to those who are in the line of gurudeva and you should try according to your power to give pleasure to all but sometimes the way it is some people will like some people will not like. You have to do your best.
Answer : You have to approach someone who is in an authorized position to find out whether this is really what I am supposed to be hearing about this person or not. Not just any devotees talking. So many devotees may be talking you should not listen to this, if it is rumor and gossip. We should go to a recognized authority and ask that means we are sincere. If we want to believe everyone talking that means we are just cheapskate rascals. Somebody is saying anything about a devotee to warn us, we should not listen we should immediately go to someone who is in an authorized position and say, “Is this what I am supposed to hear or not”. If he says, “No” just don’t listen to it ever again but if we want to listen to these things and we are just listening to these devotees who like to talk like to gossip like to spread rumors then we are just committing spiritual suicide upon us.
Answer : It means engaging in the glorification of Krishna, pursuing the order of the spiritual master amongst people who have a common interest to come together to chant the holy names, to come together to cook prasad, to come together to preach, to come together to glorify the Lord in so many wonderful ways, to come together to assist in devotional service this is association of devotees. But to sit and watch karmi television with people with neck beads is not the association of devotees. To come together to gossip and to talk nonsense and find faults in others with people who are initiated that is not the association of devotees. They may be devotees but they are not creating that association in that situation. So 2 things are required for proper association of devotees:
- The right people- people who are sincerely dedicating themselves that’s the first thing.
- When we come together we are engaging in positive spiritual activities for the purification of our hearts.
If these two things are in order then you are in perfect association, if either one of those are not in order then we should be very cautious.
Answer : Very careful, so many examples like this. One devotee was doing all things that were very much not according to Prabhupada and he was a leader and the devotees were condemning him like anything and Prabhupada didn’t chastise him, he chastised the people condemning him. He said, “He may have been a little off but that could have been corrected with compassion but you have driven him out of our movement permanently by your criticisms”. On many occasions I have heard Prabhupada say things like that. What I say is you should approach a proper authority and ask how we should deal with it? So this person was not criticizing, condemning and offending vaisnavas, he was just doing things differently. Someone who is teaching another philosophy that is offensive to our spiritual master and Krishna, you can have nothing to do with such a person let’s cut-and-dry but somebody who may be following in certain ways or deviating in another way, you should not criticize them. You should never criticize and you should not talk about them behind their backs. You should approach an authority and ask how can we help this person? If you are not willing to do that then you are not sincere.
Just like this particular devotee, he was not offending vaisnavas in the sense but he was doing things much differently than Prabhupada and he was actually not pleasing Prabhupada at all and everyone knew that so some of the leaders were condemning him, condemning him behind his back condemning him to his face. That person he just wrote to Prabhupada, he said, “I love you but I’ll never be with these devotees again.” That person was not right. But Prabhupada said, “I could have straighten him out and you could have too, if you were little compassionate. He was wrong but you were more wrong by criticizing him because you have driven a good man away from our movement. So even if someone is behaving wrong we have no business to talk against them talk behind their back criticize them or make rumors. The only time is if somebody is directly speaking a philosophy or speaking blaspheme that’s diverting people’s attention away from guru’s seva that we have to find out and cut it. If a person does any other breaking of regulative principles or anything else we shouldn’t talk about it, we should leave it to the higher authorities to deal with it and we should try to be compassionate and raise that person up. But if we spread all rumors and everything that person his position will be so shameful that it will be very difficult for him to ever make any advancement again. Understand the difference? That is very important it is none of our business to talk about these things. So all these rumors which is only going to hurt that person altogether and hurt us hurt our whole mission, for things to be spoken like this which will destroy the fiber of this spirit of our whole mission. Okay, if a person is having some problems let’s try to help him, it is none of our business to be talking about it to others. Let’s try to help, let’s go to advanced authority and find, “I have heard this, I don’t want to repeat it, I don’t want to talk about it. Is there some way I can help”. That should be our mood.
Answer : The type of devotees, that you should seek blessings from are the ones who are most humble, sincere servant of the servant of the servant. Others you should offer all respects but you don’t want to follow them. As far as looking faults in others, we have so many faults within ourselves. We have enough faults to find in our self to keep us busy for many lifetimes without going elsewhere. Would you agree? So stick to your own business. Krishna says better to perform one’s own duty even imperfectly than another’s perfectly. Better to find your own imperfections than to try to look for another’s imperfections. Even if you can find another’s imperfections perfectly, it is better to find your own imperfections perfectly. That is our duty. You have enough service cleaning your own anarthas to keep you busy for a long time. You agree? So we shouldn’t have time to be looking for others.
Answer : Since when are we concerned whether something is difficult? Is your studies difficult but you are doing it because your guru wants you to do it. The question is not whether it is difficult the question is what is our duty? What is our service? Difficult or easy is not the matter of consideration, whether it pleases Krishna that is the only matter of consideration.
Answer : Of course, it is the nature of the mind the tendency of the mind is to not want to surrender. So the mind will always be looking for an alternative to justify not surrendering to this. It is not that another philosophy is better. In the name of higher realizations ultimately the reason why people leave this movement, it is because they don’t want to surrender to this. They want an alternative and they want the dignity and the glorification of others that I am leaving this mission because I am seeking out higher realizations higher taste. But really what it is, it is a justification to seek an alternative to surrendering to the Bonafide process of parampara. That’s all cut-and-dry that’s all it is. We are attracted to other philosophies only for that reason because it frees me it liberates me from my duty to gurudeva which I do not want to perform because it is difficult. It is like one particular devotee that left later on he said, it was for higher taste but when he first left it he said, because it was difficult here. That was his first reason for leaving because it was so difficult here. There is so much pressure here, so he was looking for something, he was looking for a philosophy that he could justify as a higher taste. But initially it was cut-and-dry. He was looking for an alternative to surrendering and Maya will present millions of philosophies as alternatives to surrendering and unfortunately our mind is very attracted to not surrendering. Therefore, we have to use our intelligence and guide it properly.
Answer : These are all so many excuses of course, we should try to generate so much love that no one will ever be able to have that idea, that there is not enough love. That is our duty, every devotee’s duty is to generate our capacity of care and love and affection for another vaisnavas. That is absolutely essential. But even with all that if a person does not want to surrender and is looking for an alternative Maya will give so many excuses Oh! This philosophy is higher or there is not enough love here. They are all justifications for that simple principle that we do not want to please Krishna, we want to please our own mind and senses. It comes down to that. There are so many loving devotees. If you want to find love of devotees, you’ll go to those devotees who are loving but generally such a person avoids the loving devotees. Specifically and deliberately avoids devotees who can show them love because usually their love is also coded with the philosophy of what they should do. They want the love of someone telling them to do what they want to do. So the devotees that really love them, they avoid them like the plague they hide from them and then they leave saying that there is no love. I have never seen it any other way.
It is a fact but we should be thinking that we are so defective and that we are not giving enough of Krishna’s love to these devotees to every devotee. There are devotees, if you seek them out you will get all love but every devotees should be thinking that nobody can escape the love of devotees if we are all giving so much love to each other. That should be our goal as a congregation. But of course, Krishna conscious philosophy means not to be loved as much as to seek to love. Generally, we find if we are giving love to another, people will naturally reciprocate and give love back to us but if we are not in any way attempting or desiring to give any love to another then generally, we won’t see any love coming back to us. Generally, that person who says, there is no love in this movement is person who has never really attempted to give love to his god brothers therefore, he is not seeing any love coming from his god brothers because the whole world is a mirror, if we are showing love we will see love everywhere if we are not showing love we won’t see it anywhere. Do you understand what I mean? If a devotee really is trying to show love to others, he will see so much love coming back. So generally, this is the problem 2 things – we avoid those who are going to give us love and we don’t want to give love we only want to take and even if it is there Krishna will blind us, so we don’t even see it because we are not willing to reciprocate.
If someone is having hard time, how much are we caring for them? if we are not willing to care for someone who is having a hard time by showing them our affection our concern then when we are having a hard time we will not even be able to see someone who is caring for us – it is a Reaction. So show love, don’t be concerned with everybody giving to you. What are you giving to them? You give it you will see it. You give you receive if you are only taking you will receive nothing. Krishna will make you unable to receive. That is the fact. So actually these are all justifications to not surrender there is no other explanation.
Just like President John F. Kennedy, he said, “Ask not what the country can do for you. Ask what you can do for the country.” So every devotee should feel “Ask not what the vaisnavas will do for you. You ask what you will do for the vaisnavas.” The more you do the more you’ll see they’ll be doing. The more you are not doing the more you will not see them doing because the whole world is a mirror of our own consciousness. Every time you see a devotee, you are seeing yourself in the mirror. Whatever good qualities you see in another, it is reflecting the goodness in your own heart. Whatever faults you see in another, the face of that devotee is only reflecting the dirt in your own heart.
Answer : Krishna explains in the Gita twelfth chapter that if you cannot do this, you do this, if you cannot do this you do this, you do this. So it is a gradual progression only a very advanced devotees completely surrendering but everyone is aspiring for that. That is the goal, we don’t compromise the goal and everyone is aspiring for that position but if you are not on that level at this time then there are so many other levels that you can act according to your capacity. But our surrender according to whatever level we are is trying to on that stage follow particular instructions. One will simply want to be independent and you want to be in this movement then you just should admit that I am just not a very good devotee, I am a fallen soul but by the best mercy of the vaisnavas maybe someday I will become advanced. That’s being honorable. But if you want to act independent and you seek another path another philosophy just to justify that just see I am actually a great soul that’s why I am acting independently. You understand? If you can’t follow, just be humble enough,
‘Okay I am a fallen soul. I can’t do it but I will try but by the mercy of devotees I’ll do a little, I’ll do something as much as I can.’ That’s an honorable devotee.
A dishonorable devotee will say, ‘No I am a great soul, I am very serious and I am going to follow this other path because this one isn’t good enough.’
But I am finding so many faults, ‘There is no love, therefore I can act independently I can do what I want and I have such faith and devotion I am so advanced this is why I am acting independently.’
Why not just admit, ‘I am just a jivatma that is really struggling and I am not a very serious devotee but by the mercy of guru and Krishna little by little I am going to try.’ Why not be like that?
People go elsewhere because they want to justify in their own minds and the minds of others their own exalted position and not willing to admit their unwillingness to be sincere and therefore such a person is not pleasing Krishna at all. And we with great love and compassion shouldn’t condemn but we should try to help as much as we can. The only time we condemn when people start poisoning other then we must come right out.
Even Srila Prabhupada, when one of his own god brothers this was a beloved god brother of Prabhupada, when he was speaking in such a way to bewilder his disciples to lose their faith, Prabhupada called him a black snake and said, “Nobody talk to him anymore.” But then after everything was settled out Prabhupada apologized to the person and said, “Sometimes in preaching we have to say these things to protect our disciples.” He had to do that otherwise the devotees wouldn’t be able to discriminate. Then he apologized after, he said, “Please forgive me if I have made any offenses but I had to protect my disciples. That is my service to guru and that’s my life and soul to protect these devotees faith.”