Living our life in service of Krishna by Radhanath Swami.
Generally we find that even the most religious personalities who are in the Grihasta Ashram, who are keeping Krishna in centreof all of their responsibilities,family, social, political, occupational that they wait until the dusk of their life, when they are old and they are not able to maintain their particular pace and efficiency then they take to a life of renunciation. In fact thisis standard procedure according to the Varnashrama System. For the first twenty five yearsit is recommended that one is a Brahmacari, one lives very simpleas a student studying the Shastra, learning how to discipline himself properly. And then, if that inclination is strong within one’s mind one takes to the Grihasta Ashram,raises a family, marries a virtuous and chaste woman to share Krishna consciousness life with, produces children, raises them into Krishna consciousness and responsibly takes care of the economic condition of the family as well,often times inheritingsome sort of occupation from one’s forefathersand developing, building, dedicating as far as possible the fruits of their labor for the benefit of the world by assisting in the spreading of Krishna consciousness. And afterthe children are grown and the Grihasta is no longer really at his peak of efficiency,at that time, in a very gracious and respectableway he retires,turns whatever responsibilities there are over to the elder children. Then he takes to Vanaprasthaalong with wife, they both simply utilize all of their time for the purpose of cultivating higher consciousness by serving and associating with Sadhus, by studying SrimadBhagvatam and other Bhakti scriptures, by increasing the chanting of the Holy Names, by engaging in more preaching activities, by visiting holy places of pilgrimage. And at the end of one’s life,perhaps the last years it is recommended for certain orders of society to accept Sanyaas where one lives a life of complete simplicity and renunciation.Especially in the GaudiyaVaishnavamovement as SrilaBhaktisiddhantaand SrilaPrabhupada has presented to us during that time we should preach Krishna consciousness by our example and by our words. And then at the very end of one’s life one should simply be immersed in Bhajan and go back home back to Godhead,if that is what Krishna so desires that we serve. So this is the standard tradition of the true Vedic society. In fact SrilaPrabhupada would sometimes say that the word Hinduism wasa word that was manufactured by the Muslims in Afganistan when they were referring to the people who were living near the Sindhu river. They called them the Sindhus, later became Hindus. Then he explained that the real name for the religion of the Vedas is Varnashrama Dharma, it is the process by which everyone becomes highly elevated in genuine spiritual life and of course the essence of Varnashrama Dharma is Bhagavad Dharma,to learn that our eternal occupation in Varnashrama is to be the servant of the Lord Shri Krishna,
Within the Varnashrama system at every phase of our life,whether we are Brahmacaris,Grihastas, VanaprastasSanyaasis or as far as the social orders,Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas or Shudrasour duties should be performed to please Krishna, to serve Krishna under the direction of a proper spiritual master.
Maharaj Parikshit a perfect Vaishnava
So why isit the sages of Naimasharanyaare enquiring, that emperor Parikshit, he wasat the prime of his life, he was young, he was strong, he had just recently inherited the whole kingdom from his father,there were no troubles. Sometimes people renounce the world because of frustration because they just don’t want to deal with the anxietiesof material life anymore,like we have heardthe story of the Avanti Brahman,he was very successful in his material life and he had no inclination towards renunciation. But when everything was taken away and he was utterly frustrated,his mind was disturbed, he was pretty much in a materially hopeless condition,thenhe took to a life of complete renunciation and accepted TridandaSanyaasand became a perfected soul. But Maharaj Parikshit had no anxieties, no disturbances, no frustrations,he was perfect king, all of the good citizens loved him, he didn’t have any opposing party trying to take the kingdom away from him.The Pandavashad Dhuryodhana, Dhritarashtra,there was so much conflict. The politicians today,in the west there is democrats and the republicans always fighting over who will rule, always blaspheming each other trying to degrade the public image of the other party. Here we have the BJP and Jantadaland the congress one and all these different parties and growing more parties everyday practically, Shivasena, [laughter]and they are always criticizing each other and blaspheming each other and trying to push one another out of office to take the seat. And it’sfrustrating! But Maharaj Parikshit had there was no opposing parties.Everyone agreed that he was best.Can you imagine a country where everyone agrees that the king is best and all the politiciansare his faithful loyal humble servants, they love him, they actually love him all these good citizens of all world loved Maharaj Parikshit as much they would love their own father because he was so kind and gentle and so much a beneficiary of everyone who is good. But for those who were thieves and rogues they feared him worse than Yamaraj,the Lord of death and mostly because of that fear alone they gave up all their sinful ways and became his faithful loving servants. There was practically no crime because everyone was so satisfied with his rule; there was no intoxication because he was teaching everyone to be intoxicated by practicing the principles of God consciousness chanting the Holy NamesHare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama, Rama Hare, Hare. He was also a husband and he was a father and sometimes even people who are very successful in all other aspects of their life their son is rascal or their wife is insubmissiveand it just ruinseverything.Even if you are the greatest politician with all powers or the most successful business man if you come home and your wife is insubmissiveor your son is rascal your life is miserable.It doesn’t matter what elsehappens. But Maharaj Parikshit, his wife was very submissive, very chaste, willingto assist him and stand behind him in every aspect of his life, always kind, generous. Whenever he would come home according to the Shastra,she would present herself in such a way that it was so pleasing that whatever anxieties may have been there in his work he would just forget it, it was like Vaikuntha coming home. This is a Vedic wife’s dutyand this is Maharaj Parikshit had such a lady.And his son was also faithfully very learned, very responsible, very pure in heart and he was also a great devotee. In fact his whole family was completely Krishna consciousness. So why such a person of such a status in his youth, in his prime did he renounce everythingto sit on the bank of the river Ganges to fast until death. Of course the sages of Naimasharanyathey are asking this question not only for their own purification but for the welfare of all living beingsknowing that the answers to these enquirieswerethe greatest welfare for all humanity.
Munayah sadhu pristo’ ham
“That the questions you are asking are glorious”,SutaGoswamisaid,“Because the answer to these questions is the subject of Krishna and Krishna consciousness,therefore it is meant for the ultimate welfare of all living beings.”
Maharaj Parikshit becoming the instrument in the hands of Krishna
Maharaj Parikshit was cursed to die in seven days for a mistake that was very minor and even the mistake that he made was not by his own inadequacy, but it was Krishna within his heart that forced him to make this mistake. He didn’t misuse independence, when we make mistake it’s because we have some ulterior motives and we misuse our good independence and later we regret it,‘What did I do, why? Was it worth it?’ This is the nature of the mind, maya tempts us with some apparent opportunity to enjoy or prosper in a way that is not according to Krishna consciousness and because we are weak, because we still have that propensity to be the enjoyer, to be the controller,we agree with maya and we do the wrong thing and then when we come to our senses,we regret it, and we want to just kick ourselves in the head in feelings of regret, ‘How can I atone, what did I do? Why I am spoiling everything? Krishna and guru have given me so much,why I am contaminating my life in this way.’This is the condition of many neophyte devotees.Sometimes a Brahmacari eats too much and he regrets,‘Why I did do?’, or due to anger we criticize or blaspheme another Vaishnavaand then we regret,`Why didI do it, what came over me. Everything was so nice, now how to get out of this mess, all relations are disturbed,Krishna is displeased.’ Sometimes we even due to social pressures,we deviate from the regulative principles, we eat something or we drink something thatwe know we shouldn’t have and then we regret it,`Why did I dothat, what came over me?Why didn’t I think twice, three times, four times, five times or hundred times before doing?’But Maharaj Parikshit, he was a perfectly self-controlled soul.He had already conquered the six pushings, the Vegams, he had already purified his life through devotional service and he had proven it on innumerable occasions;then why, when he was in the forest overcome with thirst did he give in to disrespecting a Brahman Sage. His whole life was in serving and adoring the Brahmans and the Vaishnavas. We see that he had the capacity to fast from any food and water for seven days without any inconvenience.That was what type of caliber that he was in. He didn’t think twice about fasting till death and the whole time he was hearing SrimadBhagvat philosophy from SrilaSukhadevGoswami.Nowhere did he indicatethe slightest desire for food or water. Of course he was drinking the most nourishing nectar of Krishna Katha but still, if you were have to sit and listenSrimadBhagvatam for seven days even though the mostelixir nectar of all taste is coming into your earsstill you would want some break to take prasäda,because we are not of that caliber of Maharaj Parikshit. Or drink some water at least.But he had this power of self-control then why when he was in the forest, it was not long at the most a few hours that he didn’t have water and he became uncontrollably thirsty. And when he went to the AshramofSamik Muni, the muni was in Samadhi and Maharaj Parikshit was an authority of the Vedas, he could analyzeand understand perfectly well when a person was pretending and when is a person who is genuinely absorbed in meditation on the lotus feet of Krishna because it takes one to know one and he was one. SamikRsi was sitting in meditation on Krishna.Why Parikshit couldn’t recognize that, why he was so overcome with thirst and why he insulted the Brahman with harsh words and then garlanded him with a dead serpent. He was completely out of the character of Maharaj Parikshit to do any of those things because he was a surrendered soul to Krishna; Krishna was just,like a puppet,directing him to do all of these things.
Srila Prabhupada in headquarters of Maya
When you surrender to Maya, Maya controls you like her little puppet.She has the strings of the modes of material nature and she wants you to have sex, she just pulls the string and you go (Radhanath Swami Maharaj makes sound of pulling of string), she wants you to eat and you go eat, she wants you to take intoxication you take, she wants you to work like an ass to make money she just pulls the string and you start working like an ass to make money.She wants you to insult people because your prestige is being challenged so she just pulls the string and your mouth starts insulting people. Every limb of your body,all of your ten Indriyasare just your mouth, your power to speak, your power to see, your power to hear, your power to walk, to talk, to move, to think all of those abilitiesIndriyams they are all connected to Maya’s strings and she is just moving the strings and making you say and making you do and making you think in so many crazy ways according to her control
Bewildered souls thinkthat he is doing his activities.Actually they are simply being controlled and orchestrated by Maya,material energy,because of Ahankar, because of our false ego we are surrendering to maya, false ego means surrender to Maya; humility means to surrender to Krishna. Butwhen you surrender to Krishna you become a puppet in Krishna’s hands, our independence is whose puppet we want to be but our constitutional position is a puppet. Do we want to be Krishna’s puppet or do we want to be Maya’s puppet.Do we want to surrender to Krishna through the Acaryasand through Guru and simply do as they like or do we want to surrender to Maya through modern education, through all of the social conventionsand just act according to their dictations? But when we surrender to Krishna we are willing to give whatever Krishna likesto assist in His mission. Our guru Maharaj,when he was requested by his spiritual master to preach in the western world, it was a very difficult thing at such an old age with such little assistance to go to such a strange land as America,but when he was just approaching Boston harborand he saw the sky line he came to a realization, ‘oh! My Lord Krishna, whatis this?Where have You taken me?What am I to do?’ Sometimes Indian people they come to America and when they see New York Cityor Boston Harbor and they see the people and the pace of life and type of sinful activities they are enlivened,because they are going there to enjoy, they are going to find some new taste of material pleasure and it’s so different than a place like India. When Foreigners come to India, if they come for sense gratification,they become sick to their stomachs.‘Where I have come?WhatI am doing in this place? It’sfilthy, it’s dirty, it’sso backward, it’sunproductive, inefficient,people everywhere,the way they drive,everything, the way they dress.’There is no sense gratification for a foreigner here in India. But Indians go to the west I have seen they become enamored, intoxicated, and totally bewildered all by the facilitiesfor enjoyment and all of the incredible types of technology. Prabhupada was coming to the west to try to teach the Americans how to renounce material life and chant the Holy Names of Krishna, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama, Rama Hare, Hare. He came to a civilization where the entire economy is based upon breaking the four regulative principles, the entire economy. In one lecture SrilaPrabhupadasaid and when this country becomes Krishna conscious, no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat eating, so many no’s that demons will die. Even England which is somewhat more cultured and piousand Lord Jetlin was actually a very pious personand this is many decades back,it was not so degraded.When he heard from one of Guru Maharaj’s Godbrothers about these four regulative principles,“can you make me a Brahman?”“yes!you just follow these – no illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat eating.”And Lord Jetlin said “Impossible!how will I live, how will I survive, what will I do?” It is a fact.We talk about celibacyto an American and they say “What!are you crazy?Celibacy?” Giving up intoxications, you become a social outcaste.Stopping eating meat,people will think that within days you will die of starvation. They have no conception of any other diet.No gambling, gambling is one of the greatest addictionseverywhere you go.There’s Casinos, and lotteries, and betting on sporting events.Most people they can’t even sit through a sporting event unless they bet on it because it’s just not interesting. So in this way,so sinful, Prabhupada was coming and he saw the skyline and he could feel the vibration of the place. ‘I am supposed to convince all these nations to follow the four regulative principles, to renounce all their attachments, to all of their material facilitiesand to surrender to Krishna,and they never even heard of Krishna.’So therefore Prabhupada prayed ‘Krishna,GurudevYou sent me here,I didn’t come on my own, I am coming on Your order, I am puppet in Your hands.Make me dance as You like me to dance. I hardly speak proper English.’What to speak of the youth in the 1960’s not a person in this room could have understood a sentence of the youth of America because their Englishwas a completely newly manufacturedform of English.It’s called “slang”.Have you heard the word slang? I won’t speak any for you because you are devotees. But anyways they had their own language, they had terminologies which even the adults, their own parents couldn’t understand what they were talking about, it was like code language that only they could understand. It was a language within thegeneration and yet Prabhupadawas coming and he was thinking,‘I don’t even properly speak their language.How will I convince them of the deep profound philosophy of JivaGoswamiand RupaGoswami?But Krishna, if You give me the words to speak,then they will listen and they will understand and they will be convinced. I am Your puppet Krishna,please give me the words to speak.’ Not only that,but he was so old and he just had heart attacks, sea sickness andrheumatism and all things,how is he going to move about?What to speak of teaching themhow to dance as ShriCaitanyaMahaprabhu taught dancing by his own example. `Krishna I am Your puppet.’
Radhanath Swami explains How Detachment from material life makes attachment to Krishna
So we find that the great devotees, to serve the mission of the Lord, the Lord controlstheir life,and works through them to reveal His divinegrace. So Maharaj Parikshit in a very inconceivable way,he was being utilized by the Lord. To set the stage for the SrimadBhagvatamto be spoken,he became uncontrollably thirst and he became disrespectful to the very object of his worship, the Brahmans.And he was cursed to die in seven days. And when he understood what had taken place,he understood this was the will of Krishna and he didn’t have even the slightest second taught to renounce everything. He took his young son and coronatedhim as king; he arranged that this would all be done. He himself did everything very quickly, he just arranged that this be done, his faithful chaste wife, all of his ministers,who worshiped him and loved him. You know, this is very rare. These days,nobody is very loyal to each other unless you pay them sufficient money. Then they become loyal.But that’s not loyalty. Loyalty means even if you give them nothing,they will do anything for you.Even if you lose everything,they will be willing to lose everything along with you.That’s loyalty. Rama was supposed to be king of Ayodhya.AndSita was going to be the queen.WhenShe married Rama,that was the understanding that She would be the queen, She was marrying the eldest son of Dasaratha, the Yuvaraj. When Rama lost everything Sita showed Her loyalty, if You lose everything I also lose everything but I am with You. That is loyalty.That is a loyal friend.That is a real servant. So, Maharaj Parikshit, he had awhole kingdom of such loyal followers, but he left them all by the arrangement of Lord Krishna.And he went to the bank of Ganges not only for his own salvation, but as an example for all the world to see.
Tat tad evetarojanaù
Lokas tad anuvartate
What the great men do the common men follow and if you take the position of a leader, then it’s your responsibility you have to step this highest standard. If you are a mother or you are a father then you are a leader. You have children who are going to follow you. It is your duty; you must be willing to sacrifice everything and anything to establish a high standard for them to follow. If you are an employer you are a leader.It’s your duty to set a very high Spiritual standard for others to follow. If you are a teacher, people look up to you, what to speak if you are a sadhu a Brahman or a king. So, Maharaj Parikshit, he understood that his duty is to guide everyone in Krishna consciousness and this was his greatest opportunity to serve all of humanity by showing this example that ultimately there is no other purpose to life than realizing Krishna and we should be willing to give up everything if that’s what is required. We should not be attached to anything that interferes with our service to Krishna. AsRupaGoswami explains real detachment means to accept what is favorable for devotional service and to reject whatever is unfavorable. Maharaj Parikshit was an Acarya, he was teaching by his example that for Krishna consciousness there is nothing that we are willing to put between us and Krishna. And he wanted to show to the world to such an extreme thathe left it all. Most people when they hear that death is coming they want to arrange a nice comfortable situation. Just like most of the Grihasta’s do now. They work their life so that they can retire in luxury and die comfortably. HariBol!! They work like asses. They can’t even enjoy what they are working for because they have so many anxieties and so many pressures. So, why you are doing it, so that when I am old I will have security and comfort and I can have nice bed and nice servants and everybody around me so that I can I die in peace and luxury without any needs with all sorts of nice arrangements around me. If you examine society, people work for that. They work for their retirement. Or today when one of our devotees becomes a Brahmacari to dedicate his whole life to the highest service to humanity, to cure the suffering of people’s hearts and souls, but their parents they say, “We are about to retire and when we retire, you must protect us and maintain us and provide luxuries for us.” According to Vedic system when you retire you are supposed to abandon all desires for luxuries and maintenance and all these other things. That’s retirement means. Vanaprasta, according to Shastras when you are Vanaprasta you are only supposed to wear barks of trees, you are only supposed to sleep on hard ground, you are supposed to only eat the herbs and the roots that grow. You are not even supposed to eat cooked food. That was the traditional standard when you are retire but now we want our children to work so hard to provide soft beds and nice homes and succulent foods and servants and everything else, so that we can very nicely and comfortably spoil our entire human existence. What to speak of when we die we have to have our status quo, that are fellow caste members will be proud of us and say nice things about us at our funeral. This is material condition of life. But Maharaj Parikshit wanted to set the standard that at the dusk of one’s life we should be willing to do whatever is required to detach ourselves from everything except Krishna; to make Krishna’s mission our life and soul. And what is greatest virtue?To hear and chant the glories of the Lord in the association of His devotees. That is the greatest opulence. That is what human life is ultimately all about, to hear and chant glories of the Lord in the presence of His devotees. And at the end of our life we should exclusivelybe doing only
brahma yat tat sanätanam
jijñāsitam—deliberated fully well; adhītam—the knowledge obtained; ca—and; brahma—the Absolute; yat—what; tat—that; sanātanam—eternal; tathāpi—in spite of that; śocasi—lamenting; ātmānam—unto the self; akṛta-arthaḥ—undone; iva—like; prabho—my dear sir.
You have fully delineated the subject of impersonal Brahman as well as the knowledge derived there from. Why should you be despondent in spite of all this, thinking that you are undone, my dear prabhu?
The Vedänta-sütra, or Brahma-sütra, compiled by ÇréVyäsadeva is the full deliberation of the impersonal absolute feature, and it is accepted as the most exalted philosophical exposition in the world. It covers the subject of eternity, and the methods are scholarly. So there cannot be any doubt about the transcendental scholarship of Vyäsadeva. So why should he lament?
You have fully delineated the subject of impersonal Brahman as well as the knowledge derived there from. Why should you be despondent in spite of all this, thinking that you are undone, my dear prabhu?
If we are satisfied with where we are at, we cannot progress by Radhanath Swami
Vedavyas is here being addressedby his spiritual master SrilaNarada Muni. In the Bhagavad Gita JagatGuruBhagavan Sri Krishna in a similar way spoke with His beloved disciple Arjunaenquiring to see what was the mind of His disciple waiting for that moment when the higher truths could be revealed. So Narada is in one sense praising Vedavyas for all that he has done but in the same time on another platform he is waiting and hoping for Vedavyas to come to his own conclusion of his deficiency. Vyasadeva sitting in his Badrikashrama was feeling greatly despondent.But by all material standards he had done the greatest work that has ever been seen in the literally field. In this world people become proud and enlivened when they accomplish something great in whatever field they may be in. If an athletebecomes a champion he becomes very enlivened, very happy at his accomplishment. If a businessman successfully closes a big deal or gets a big promotion or gets great recognition,he feels a sense of self satisfaction.If a scholar writes a wonderful work which is applauded by other scholars, received some degree he feels inner satisfaction, if a surgeon performs a successful operation or a doctor cures a patient there is some self-satisfaction. If an actor gets a big applause, win some award there is some satisfaction. Ifa musician makes a record that becomes no.1 he is satisfied. If a Brahmacari successfully fulfills NirjalaEkadashi, feels some satisfaction. In this way everyone according to their particular life when they successfully accomplish something there is satisfaction and when there is failure there is despondency. But herein we find Vedavyas as a literally writer accomplished what was impossible to anyone to accomplish.He had already written the four Vedas the AtharvaVeda, the Yajur Veda, the SamaVeda, the Rig Veda.To this day, five thousand years later people are doing Yajnas, reciting these four Vedas, people are spending their whole lives just to study these four Vedas. Just like SripadSankaracarya, when he appeared in this world, he established four Maths;Principal learning centers which are still existing today – Badrikashrama, Dwarka, JagannathPuriand Sringeri Mutt in Karnataka and these four Maths were entrusted to four of his most important original discipleswho he had given Sanyaasto, and each of these four Maths was meant to specialize in the study and the distribution of the knowledge of one of these four original Vedas– the Rig Veda,Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, Atharva Veda and to this day over thousand years later, still in these four Mathsthere is the scrutinizing study and recitation of these four Vedas written by Vedavyas. He also wrote the hundred and eight Upanishads.These Upanishads are considered by so many millions and millions upon people to be the authority by which we can know the truth.They are being recited, chanted, they are such deeply, intenselyscholarly works in such eloquent Sanskrit prose. He also wrote the Puranas, theLingaPurana, the Shiva Purana, the VarahaPurana,Brahma-vaivartaPurana, Vishnu Purana, Padma Puranawhich explains incredibly deep study of history since the beginning of this creation and also histories of other creations at other timesand other universes.Nowhere is such depth and elaborate history have ever been revealed to the world is in these Puranas. And everything that is spoken in these history booksof the Puranasis absolutely perfectly correct historically. All the histories books we find by mundane scholars have defects.There is always certainslant or opinion of history but how do we know whether it is actually true. But Vedavyas is Trikalagyani.That means he knows past, present and future, he is actually seeing the historiesand writing what he is envisioning therefore it is perfectly true. It is one of the offensesto the Holy Name to consider these literatureswritten by Vedavyas to beexaggerations or to simply be something symbolic.It is fact. No doubt great symbolism and great learning is to be understood but historically it is all factual. He also compiled the Mahabharata as is being explained here. Even to this day scholars and poets throughout the world they cannot fathom how such a literature could have ever been written. Its over one hundred thousand slokasand its all in perfect rhyme and perfect meter, perfectly presenting historical incidents and presenting the highest philosophy as well as speaking in such a way that every class of men according to their interpretation will greatly benefit.For the Karmis, those who are fruitiveworkers, how much they study the Mahabharata and the Gita to get a proper higher understanding of the Karma-kanda philosophy. And for the Yogisthe Mahabharata is one of the most important literatures for all Yogis because it teaches them and inspires them to develop greater and deeper potenciesand the ways and the means how. And for the worshipers of Demi-gods, karmisand the jnaniswho are seeking liberation – Muktithrough their particular interpretation of Mahabharata and Gitathey can find the treasure of everything they are looking for in life. For those who are looking for economic development, sense gratification, religiosity, or liberation,the Mahabharata is a scripture which includes the instructions for all classes of men and enlivens them. What type of literature is this Mahabharata?Nothing like it can be written by a mortal man.Only God Himself could create such a work. And then he took all these Vedic literatures and did what is so difficult, he condensed them all into small Sutras, super powerful concentrated codes which reveal all the truths of all the Vedas.And the greatest Acaryasof all the Sampradayas, they have all considered it great necessity to study the Vedanta Sutra and to present commentaries on it. We find Sankaracarya, Ramanujacarya, and Madhvacarya,they have all given their commentaries on Vedanta Sutra,and that is their statement to the world. So after accomplishing such super excellent, superhuman contribution to the world from the material level, from the spiritual level Vedavyas is feeling despondent.He feels like he has failed. And this was his qualification to hear from his spiritual master Naradaabout the fulfillment of the ultimate goal of his life and his mission. If we are satisfied with where we are at,we cannot progress.
Frustration makes a person to hear SrimadBhagvatam submissively
SrilaPrabhupada used to tell us if a person is under such dense thick illusion intoxicated by the modes of material nature that he really thinks that he is happy in this world and he is really under this conception that he is satisfied,Prabhupada said there is no use trying to preach such a person.Because even if they listen, they will not hear because they don’t feel there is a need for anything beyond or anything else. The person who can hear Krishna Katha properly is a person who is frustrated with material life.And therefore for a devotee, when he sees common materialistic people enjoying material lifehe sees that they are in a hopeless state and he is praying that their material life would be crushed so that they are frustrated, so they are dissatisfied because only then can they properly and attentively aspire to hear higher purpose of the truth. Of course it is not always that we have to be crushed but we have to be dissatisfied, we have to be willing to understand the futility of all of our materialistic endeavors before we can open our ears with eagerness to understand what is beyond.Because study of the Vedas is not just an academic form of research. We have seen great scholars in the east and the west who perfectly have mastered the Sanskrit language from a material point of view and they do research in the Vedas. But the quality of their lives and the condition of their heart does not change even after fifty or sixty years of all day long practically studyingand researching the Vedic literaturesin the original Sanskrit. And even we have seen such persons they study the commentaries of the great Acaryas as the matter of research but they get no realization. SrilaPrabhupada wrote so many wonderful books and there have been tens and millions of these books distributed all over the world and there is no doubt that millions of people read them to some extent or other and no doubt there is a super natural connection to Krishna that’s being made.But why so few people actually have their hearts transformed? Because they are just not ready to hear.They are still under the false hope that through material prosperity and sense gratification they will be happy, they haven’t come to that level of enough frustration. Sometimes people are frustrated but they still can’t hear because in their frustration they are so anxiously and intensely striving with the hope that by some material arrangement their frustrations will be resolved. So they are not really materially frustrated because they still think that there is a way by material arrangement therefore they cannot hear. Just like you can take the best type of fire but if you throw it on grass that is soaked and saturated with water that fire will have some effect but practically none. But if you take that same piece of fire and place it on grass that is utterly dry,then immediately it will begin to create wonderful flames.And if you put the fire on grass that is slightly damped it will just little by little start to catch. So in the same way if we are saturated with hopes for material prosperity in our life and we are satisfied with those ideas,our consciousness is like wet grass, the fire of transcendental knowledge might touch us, might come right into our minds but it has very little effect. Some of us we are thinking maybethere is something better but still material life is what I really have faith in then there will little more effect but not much. But when a person is akiïcana-gocaram,when a person is actually materially exhausted,he is giving up hope, he is really looking for something beyond then that person when he hears transcendental knowledge thatknowledge immediately enlightens that life and he is immediately ready to take to the process whole heartedly. So devotees have a vision which materialists cannot understand because devotees are actually praying and hoping for the materialists to become frustrated that doesn’t sound so much like compassion but actually it is.It is the greatest compassion. Just like if a doctor has a patient, if a patient has a disease but he won’t take the medicinebecause he doesn’t believe he has a disease then the doctor is praying let the symptoms intensify so that he will take the medicine, so that he will believe me, is this true? Otherwise he will die.So in the same way devotees want to see the world become Krishna conscious, want to see the world joyful, blissful, chanting God’s Holy Names living according to their constitutional position.And theyknow that the word of God can save them ultimately from repetitionof birth and death. Sometimesdevotees,they take to Krishna consciousness, they develop some material skills and abilities and because their Sadhana is not proper they actually think ‘Now I can really enjoy the world. When I first came to Krishna consciousness I was pretty useless, I was frustrated, I really didn’t have the capacity to succeed or prosper in society so I took to this path to give me some alternative, some refuge but now that I have achieved the refuge of Krishna and my mind is clear and I have given up all these bad habits I have developed skills. And these skills actually are very much needed in society and I can make lots of money and I can become very much well known and I could be happy and now actually I can enjoy by Krishna’s grace, now I can enjoy like anything and be successful. And then their hope for being happy for material prosperity is awakened in their heart and then such people they can’t hear the SrimadBhagvatam anymore, they can listen but they cannot hear. Even when they are chanting the Holy Names they can’t even hear the Name anymore,hardly. To the degree we still want to lord it over material nature and enjoy we cannot hear Krishna’s Name, we cannot hear SrimadBhagvatam. The message can penetrate our heart to the degree we are desperately eager and anxious for that medicine.RupaGoswami said we must become eager what he calls greed Lobha.It is not the kind of greed like in the material world; it is a greedwhere we are feeling so desperate that we have to have it, there is no other alternative, there is nothing else that can possibly benefit my life except hearing the glories of the Lord, serving the devotees of the Lord and chanting the Names of the Lord.
Krishna explaining about His special mercy by Radhanath Swami
Krishna told Maharaj Yudisthira, Yudisthira Maharaj was enquiring from Krishna that we are Your devotees, we are always thinking of You, we are good friends and You are the husband of Goddess of fortune. Why,why we have to go through such difficulties?Why our Mother Kunti, she had to live so many long years with her heart being broken moment after moment by what we were going through? And why we lost our kingdom, we lost our wealth, we lost our dignity, our reputation, we were living like beggars?We are Your devotees. Of course Yudisthira Maharaj in his heart of hearts, he knew the nature of Krishna’s mercy but for our benefit he askedand Krishna’s reply was this:
When I want to show My mercy to My devotee, I will give that devotee whatever he wants.But when I want to show Myspecialist mercy to the devotee, I take everything away. I take away all of his wealth, all of his distinction.Even his own family member’sturn against him and then that devotee has nowhere else and no one else to turn to, except Me.That is special mercy. And He spoke this to Maharaj Yudisthira.And similarly queen Kunti, she prayed in this way,
That those who are too much proud due to the possession of good wealth, good education, physical beauty, high parentage,they are unfortunate.They are attached,they areproud,they cannot feelingly call out Your Name.They cannot feelingly, intensely with hunger in their hearts associate with Your devotees and hear from them. Therefore they are in the most lamentable condition of life. Sometimes successful people come before Sadhus to show off what they have done, what they have accomplished, what they have achieved in life to try to impress us and we look at them and our heart is just breaking to see what a lamentable and what a unfortunate condition they are in.
What is day for a materialistis night for a devotee.Devotees they don’t take seriously, they are notimpressed by any material achievements.In fact they areappalled.They feel sorry for those who are materially successful and they rejoice for those who are frustrated and hungry to hear the truth. This is the society of Vaishnavas.
Materialistic people are unable to understand the hidden wealth of Vaishnavas
At Navadwip at the time of ShriCaitanyaMahaprabhuNavadwip was the most flourishing town.It was fabulously wealthy and it was their highest seat of Scholarship in all of India.Therewas great Pandits, deeply learned scholars of the scriptures.There were people who were very, very well off with luxurious clothes and jewelry, educational degrees, beautiful homes, succulent, opulent food, eating whenever they like and they were enjoying all sorts of social events and the Vaishnavas used to come together to cry and weep to see what a lamentable condition they were in. The materialists,they used to think the Vaishnavaswere total failures in life.KolavechaSridhar,he lived so simple, he had practically nothing and yet he would never cheat anyone. He had such a simple occupation.With his intelligence he could have become a very rich man if he so desired,but he just didn’t desire it.He was content just selling some Banana leaves and making just enough to worship mother Ganges as the servant of the servant of the Lord and provide not even the basic necessities. Lord CaitanyaMahaprabhu, when He sawKolavecha Sridhar, He said,“I know you have a great treasure that you are hiding from everyone, you are just pretending to be in poverty.” Sridhar said, “what do I need?”When Sridhar was sometimes accused by people, “you have nothing!” he said, “look I have my cloth,it may have holes in it, it may besownin so many different places,but its covering my body.What’s the difference between this and the kings cloth? serves the function and as far as food,I may be skinny but somehow other I am surviving, I have no need. I have no wants.”God is providing everything because he was always chanting God’s name and the materialistic people who are very, very well off, very opulent, performing their religious ceremoniesfor the purpose of material life they used to just think that this Sridharis a total failure. ‘He is chanting the names of God all night long why, because he doesn’t have enough to eat, he is feeling the pains of hunger and he is just screaming out due to his agony of hunger.’ So they used to actually take vegetables and throw them at his house and tell him to shut up.“Here take some food and eat it and shut up you stupidmaterially useless people.”This is the way they thought of all the Vaishnavas, just useless. But when the Vaishnavas would see them reveling and enjoying all of theirsocial forms of entertainment and all of their wealth and prosperitythe Vaishnavas would simply weep and cry and pray to Krishna to save them. This is the difference between material life and spiritual life.Vishvarupa,the elder brother of ShriCaitanyaMahaprabhu upon seeing the materialistic people so much endeavoring to enjoy material life and enjoying it as well,he was so depressed he couldn’t tolerate to even see their faces.It was just too excruciatingly painful to see the face of spirit souls, part of God,in the most embarrassing shameless condition of trying to enjoy material life.And what was worse is they were enjoying it.
Three classes of intelligent people
The most highly respected personality in all of the Jungle of Trikutabut then when the crocodile attacked him and all of his material pursuits were in vain and he was on the verge of death, right in front of all of his family he was totally defeated. That hurts; when you are trying to impress your family members right before their eyes you are totally defeated and helpless. So at that time he was in a desperate conditionand then the remembranceof his previous life of studying the scriptures and learning prayers came to his heart and he beganto offerthose prayers to the supreme Lord Vishnu with pure unalloyed devotion and he became perfect.Within minutes Lord Narayan personally appeared before him.Not only did He save him from the crocodile but He saved him from the crocodile of birth and death once and for all. The Lord personally put him on a carrier that brought him back to Vaikunthain his original spiritual body. So it is true that whatever we are learning if we are sincerely hearing from proper sources then that impression will always be there when we need it the most. But at the same time there is a saying;SrilaPrabhupada actually explained,there are three types of people.One just by hearing understands and learns the truth of material life. It’s not necessary that you have to go through frustration and suffering.It’s not necessary that you have to lose everything and all your family members have to hate you.It may be necessary,depends on your receptivity. If just by hearing SrimadBhagvatamwith the sincere heart you learn the futility of material life even when all success is around you,and you can go back to Godhead in that situation. So that is first class intelligence – one who learns byhearingthe truth. Second class is one who hears but really doesn’t have so much faith or believe it.He may externally believe it but he still wants to try for himself. And such a person,he knows what the truth is but he’s still too attached to actually follow it.So that person eventually gets kicked, he gets smashed, he suffers and then he runs to the truth and he says, “Isurrender Krishna, I am Yours.”That is second class intelligent.First class -no need for change in your life condition.Just by hearing you accept it and you follow it.Second class -you hear it sounds right but you still go on with your materialistic ways until you are smashed and then you say,“Yes, this is right. I will follow”.That is called second class intelligence. Experience is the best teacher and a fool learns by no other way.That is the actual entirety of that saying.Most people like to leave out the second part. ‘Experience is the best teacher, I have heard it but I must experience it myself. I have heard this yes but I have to go out and experience it.’ So many of our young children that are born in Krishna consciousness,they hear the truth but they feel ‘I have to go out and experience it otherwise I will never understand it,what is material life. I have heard that drugs are bad, it’s too theoretical.I need realization so I mustexperience what is drugs. I hear illicit sex is miserable but I don’t have any realization of it because it looks very nice so I believe it but I have to experience what is illicit sex and gambling and meat eating and all sorts of other activities. They say experience is the best teacher and a fool learns by no other way.So that is called second class intelligence. And third class intelligence, is we hear, we know it’s true but we don’t have the determination,we still think let me try, let me see maybe I can do it, maybe I will be the one exception in the history of the whole creation who can actually enjoy material life.And then we get kicked, we get smashed; we get frustrated but still try, try again. ‘The reason why I am smashed and kicked andpulverized and miserable is because I just didn’t do it right.So let me try it again and do it right.’And then every time we get smashed, we think `oh, now I am getting fine- tuned, next time I will do better.’ This way we hear, we get kicked and we never learn our lesson.Because basicallywe are simply insincere. So the best thing is just to have faith. Krishna and the great AcaryasThey know what is this material world They are explaining, “duùkhälayamaçäçvatam.(Bhagavad-Gita 8.15) Believe it!Don’t put anymore hopes here. Padaàpadaàyadvipadäànateñäm. (SrimadBhagavatam 10.14.58)”