Radhanath Swami reads out the Translation to SB 2.2.32 – Your Majesty Mahārāja Parīkṣit, know that all that I have described in reply to your proper inquiry is just according to the version of the Vedas, and it is eternal truth. This was described personally by Lord Kṛṣṇa unto Brahmā, with whom the Lord was satisfied upon being properly worshiped.
The two different ways of reaching the spiritual sky and thereby getting emancipation from all material bondage, namely either the direct process of reaching the kingdom of God or the gradual process through the other higher planets of the universe, are set forth exactly according to the version of the Vedas. The Vedic versions in this connection are, yadā sarve pramucyante kāmā ye ‘sya hṛdi śritāḥ/ atha martyo ‘mṛto bhavaty atra brahma samaśnute (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.7) and te ‘rcir abhisambhavanti (Bṛhad-āraṇyaka Upaniṣad 6.2.15): “Those who are free from all material desires, which are diseases of the heart, are able to conquer death and enter the kingdom of God through the Arci planets.” These Vedic versions corroborate the version of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and the latter is further confirmed by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, who affirms that the truth was disclosed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, to Brahmā, the first authority on the Vedas. The disciplic succession holds that the Vedas were uttered by Lord Kṛṣṇa to Brahmā, by Brahmā to Nārada, and by Nārada to Vyāsadeva, and then by Vyāsadeva to Śukadeva Gosvāmī and so on. So there is no difference between the versions of all the authorities. The truth is eternal, and as such there cannot be any new opinion about the truth. That is the way of knowing the knowledge contained in the Vedas. It is not a thing to be understood by one’s erudite scholarship or by the fashionable interpretations of mundane scholars. There is nothing to be added and nothing to be subtracted, because the truth is the truth. One has to accept, after all, some authority. The modern scientists are also authorities for the common man for some scientific truths. The common man follows the version of the scientist. This means that the common man follows the authority. The Vedic knowledge is also received in that way. The common man cannot argue about what is beyond the sky or beyond the universe; he must accept the versions of the Vedas as they are understood by the authorized disciplic succession. In the Bhagavad-gītā also the same process of understanding the Gītā is stated in the Fourth Chapter. If one does not follow the authoritative version of the ācāryas, he will vainly search after the truth mentioned in the Vedas.
Radhanath Swami explains Sukadeva Gosvami’s Brahman Realization
Sukadeva Gosvami is giving, emphasizing, and the importance of hearing from a proper disciplic succession. Although Shukadeva Goswami was certainly a most extraordinary person, he had already realized the transcendental state of Brahman realization while he was still residing within the womb of his mother, for twelve years he remained within the womb, and then when he finally appeared, it was only because Vedavyasa personally had Krishna the Supreme personality of Godhead appear before him and request him to come out of the womb. This is certainly not an ordinary birth. And when he came out of the womb, he had no concern for any of the attachments of this world. He just began to walk away and father, mother in so many ways endeavored to persuade him to remain home, but he was not attached to the securities that most children are very much in need of. He was not attached to any home, to any type of material relationships. He was not even attached to wearing clothes. He just went into the forest without any concern of what he would eat, where he would sleep, who would protect him. He was completely immersed in the sublime process of self realization. But Veda Vyasa very much wanted to enlighten him in higher truths. A higher truth of Bhagavan realization, understanding Krishna is a Supreme person and the process of serving Him and pleasing Him. Because after all Brahman realization may be very nice idea for those who are suffering the dualities of material existence, but such realization gives no pleasure to Krishna. There is no expression of love in such realization and the true devotees of the Lord, they are not concerned with their own liberation. They are concerned with satisfying Krishna. And therefore such Brahman realization is actually considered a great curse. Devotees don’t want it. Kaivalya narkayate. In fact devotees would prefer to be in hell, where there is terrible tormentation. Simply because at least there we can glorify the Lord, we can serve the Lord, we can chant His holy names. So Vedavyasa felt a great-great need to deliver his son to this higher path of bhakti. But what to do? His son was so indifferent that even when he was going by a lake of ladies bathing with no clothes, they didn’t even concerned themselves, because they understood that he did not even see the difference between the body of a male or a female. He simply didn’t even see the external world. He was only seeing Brahman everywhere. He was seeing how everything was in that state of being non-different than the Supreme. There is no duality in that state of consciousness. There is no liking or disliking or pleasure or pain. So what to do to bring Shukadeva Gosvami back to study Vedas under Vyasadeva? So what is said in the Puranas, how Vedavyasa send one of his disciples into the forest and he was cutting wood and he was chanting shlokas from Srimad Bhagvatam. And when Shukadeva Goswami heard that, he was just again and again, he heard this beautiful shlokas describing Krishna in Vrindavan. And he was thinking this is very nice, and he was so attracted. He said where can I learn about these verses? He said you come back. He brought him back to Vedavyasa and there Vedavyasa very-very systematically described him the Srimad Bhagvatam. And this beautiful Bhagvatam, Shukadeva Goswami he was so enlightened in pure love of God upon hearing it, that he simply wanted to share it with the world. But he was in a state of being avadhuta. And ultimately when he came to the banks of the holy river Ganges, for Maharaja Parikshit, he fasted till death, all the great sages and rishis were assembled. Even his own guru and param guru Vedavyasa, Narada, Devala, Asita, Bharadwaj Muni, they were all there, Vishwamitra muni, Vashishtha muni. The Puranas, the Vedas describe these rishis again and again for their unparalleled realizations of Krishna, and their abilities of tapasya and the great powers and they were all assembled together. Many exhaulted paramhansa pure devotees were there. And when Shukadeva Goswami came, they all requested that you speak; you speak to the king. We are all anxious to hear from you. This is very important to understand. It is not that when we are new bhaktas, we are anxious to hear Srimad Bhagvatam and when we become senior devotees, then we like to speak, we don’t like to hear. Because after all who is qualified to speak to me. It is not like that. In fact it is described in Srimad Bhagavatam itself.
srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah punya-sravana-kirtanah
hrdy antah stho hy abhadrani vidhunoti suhrt satam
That, as you make spiritual advancement, you become more eager to hear, you become more anxious to hear. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In his highest feature with the heart of Srimati Radha Rani he came to this world to taste the sweetness of Krishna. And Krishna wanted to experience what is it that Radha Rani is experiencing and that is Lord Gauranga. And yet Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at Rajmundari on the banks of the holy Godavari river, He sat for many days and He enquired from Sri Ramananda Rai, about the subjects of Krishna consciousness. In this way the Supreme Lord is anxious to hear the glories from His devotees. So all these great sages, they were so anxious, so eager, to hear the glories of the Lord from the devotees. And sometimes even Srila Prabhupada would be very happy to sit in classes, as his disciples would preach Srimad Bhagvatam classes. How is this? Some of these devotees were, very just only few years in Krishna consciousness. And he had descended from the spiritual world. Because they are repeating the truth of disciplic succession, Krishna is coming from them. And a devotee simply wants to hear Krishna, wants to serve Krishna, wants to remember Krishna. So this is the symptom of an advanced devotee. Not only one, who is very expert at speaking and one who is very exemplary in living, but one who is very eager to hear more and more and more from the Vaishnavas. This is the process of becoming advanced and this is the symptom of being advanced, both. In this way the end is the means.
sravanam kirtanam vishnoh
By practicing Krishna consciousness, we become purified, and what is the goal of that purification- to practice the process of Krishna consciousness in ecstatic love. Sukdeva Gosvami was such an exalted personality. Today there are many powerful yogis, great-great-great scholars and they declare themselves to be God or some of them even declare themselves to be Vaisnavas and they explain things simply according to their own realization. Some of them have powers, some of them have tremendous charismatic influence and that qualification induces people to simply believe them on the basis that they are saying it. My Guru Maharaja, it doesn’t matter whatever he says is truth, because he is what he is. Which one of them can compare to Shukadeva Goswami in such extraordinary qualities? But Shukadeva Goswami is here very-very emphatically explaining to Parikshit Maharaja and to the whole world, don’t believe me because I am saying it. Do not believe me because it is my realization. Do not believe me because of who I am and where I coming from, or what I have done? Believe me because this is what is in the Vedas and this is what has been preserved and explained by the disciplic succession of great acaryas. That’s all. That is my authority, that is my credibility that I am simply repeating the truth through disciplic succession. Guru, sadhu and sastra. And if we understand this principle, it illuminates practically ninety nine percent of the great-great so called sadhus, gurus, yogis and bhagavans, that are roaming throughout this planet earth. People say I don’t need disciplic succession. I have received this knowledge directly from Radha and Krishna. I have received this knowledge directly from the Supreme Lord. The fact is Shukadev Goswami actually did, Vedavyasa is the avatara of Krishna, but he is not explaining it like this, that I have received it from the Lord. I have received it through the disciplic succession and it is according to the Vedas. So guru parampara is the honest and true means of receiving transcendental knowledge. And people may go by the hundreds and the thousands and the millions to hear people who can speak very- very eloquently. But their own conclusion, their own ideas, their own interpretations. If Shukadev Goswami wanted to do that he could have attracted the world, but he was not. He was a humble and gentle Vaishnava explaining and Srila Prabhupada also, he would tell us repeatedly, not only out of his own humility and obedience to the previous acharayas, but also he repeated to teach us, what we should value as authorized. What we should value and aspire for. He would explain that my only qualification, I am simply repeating what I have heard from my spiritual master in the system of disciplic succession. He didn’t say my only qualification is that I can fast, or that I can read your mind, or that I can produce all sorts of mystical tricks, or that I can gain millions and millions of followers. My only qualification, I am simply repeating without adding or subtracting what the Vedas teach, as it has been told by the great acharayas in parampara. So Shukadev Goswami so wonderfully explaining it in this way and it says this was described personally by Lord Krishna unto Brahma with whom the Lord was satisfied upon being properly worshiped. He explains here the very essence of what is parampara? Parampara is not just a mechanical process of repeating what you have heard. It is repeating what you have heard through the process of realization and that realization comes by satisfying the previous acharyas. That is Bhakti.
tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya
upadekshyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah
Radhanath Swami explains What is Parampara
Krishna says just try to learn the truth by approaching guru, enquire submissively and render service to him, humble yourself before him. In this way he would reveal the knowledge to you because he knows the truth. So parampara means to become the humble servant. Servant means to satisfy the master. It is not a ritual. It is something very-very sacred, this desire and this endeavor to satisfy ones master, ones spiritual master, to satisfy all of the previous acharyas and ultimately the Supreme personality of Godhead. When we please them, when we have that aspiration, then our heart is actually fertile ground for the seed of knowledge to grow. If you plant a seed in hard, dry ground, the seed may be good, but the environment will not be conducive for it to grow. But if you plant that seed in very soft, fertile, moist ground, the seed will immediately begin to grow, into a wonderful tree with so many flowers and so many fruits. In the same way, we can hear from Srila Prabhupada’s books, we can hear from the great devotees who are repeating this truth. But according to our desire to satisfy such devotees, to humble ourselves, to serve such devotees that will determine to what extent this knowledge actually puts its roots within our heart and begins to grow and to flourish. Shukadeva Goswami, he came back to Vyas Dev, he served him, he heard from him, he pleased him and therefore he realized what is Krishna. And in the same way he is explaining that Narada Muni, how he listen to and pleased and served Lord Brahma. Therefore he was qualified to realize and speak the truth. And even Brahma who is the first original person in the entire universe, he follow the same process. When he was sitting on that beautiful lotus flower, in what appear to be middle of nowhere, Garbhodakshayi Vishnu was way-way down below and from him was the enormous stem in which all the fourteen planetary systems were contained and there on the top was this beautiful lotus, and Brahma was just looking around, where am I? who am I? what am I? what am I suppose to do? He was anxious, he was eager to know and Krishna spoke those words from within, that he should perform tapa. What is tapasya?
tapo divyam putrakā yena sattvam
śuddhyed yasmād brahma-saukhyam tv anantam
Radhanath Swami explains “Real Tapasya means pleasing the Lord”
Tapasya doesn’t means simply to negate the pleasures of the body. Tapasya means to put a side whatever is unfavorable to please Krishna and to accept whatever is favorable to please Krishna. That is real tapasya. Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was sometimes tell his devotees, you eat prasad, go on eating more and more prasad, until they would eat up to their necks. They were filled up with prasad. That was tapasya. And a nice prasad, Krishna Das Kaviraj Goswami explains in great detail some of the preparations. You have heard these preparations. Page after page, Krishna Dass Kaviraj Goswami was a very authority on prasad. And he is describing all these cakes and floating and condense milk and nice-nice subjis and rice with ghee and so many wonderful chutneys and Lord Chaitanya is telling the servers give them more, give them more, give them more and he was telling the devotees eat more, honor more prasad and they were just to satisfy Lord Chaitanya, they were taking more and more prasad. This is tapasya, the perfection of tapasya. They were doing whatever Lord Chaitanya wanted to do to satisfy Him. They were eating not for their sense gratification; they were eating to satisfy Lord. And the Lord was giving them to satisfy them. That is love, tapasya. At the same time Raghunath Das Gosvami, he was taking just little butter milk every day, hardly eating anything. Sometimes every two three days, he would take few drops of butter milk. The rest of the time he was fasting. His body was emaciated, but he was always immersed in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. Therefore that was tapasya. So Krishna consciousness is the highest tapasya, to accept what is favorable to devotional service and to reject what is unfavorable for devotional service. And what is devotional service? It simply means to please Krishna. That’s all. By our sincere humble efforts, we try to serve the Lord in such a way that He is satisfied and we will do anything and we will reject anything if it satisfies Krishna.
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto ‘pi
Radhanath Swami reveals “Pleasing Krishna means pleasing His devotee”
And Krishna tells us, it is should not be a mystery how to please Me. You just please My devotee. He is teaching you how to please Me. He is satisfied by seeing you make spiritual advancement. If you just follow His instructions and He is satisfied by what you are doing for your own spiritual welfare, Krishna said I am satisfied. To become the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord is disciplic succession. And if we actually try to satisfy and we hear submissively and serve in this way, then our heart is the fertile field for the seed of transcendental knowledge to actually develop. And when such a person speaks, Krishna and the acarayas are speaking through him. And that transcendental sound vibration get completely cleanse our consciousness of all illusion and confusion and awaken our original spiritual consciousness. And one who hears submissively, one who serves the great souls, such a person is fearless. We gradually become fearless through this process. Why? Because we are in contact with the immortal, eternal truth, Krishna.
Radhanath Swami educates “We must learn to deal with the obstacles”
Because everything in this world is temporary, it is always changing, it is always moving, it has no permanence. We keep our consciousness fixed in the permanent. And we deal with this ever changing temporary world, according to the time, the circumstance, in such a way that we can do the best service for Krishna. It is so wonderful. And so many obstacles will come on the path because this is the material world. Material world means obstacles. Material world means duality. If you do not want dualities and obstacles, then you have to go back to Godhead. Because whether you are devotee, whether you are not a devotee, there will be obstacles in this world, especially in the age of kaliyuga. Quarrel, hypocrisy, so much. What to do? Go back to Godhead. But to go back to Godhead, you have to deal with all the obstacles. So actually you have no choice. You have to deal with it. But Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he explained that there will never be a time when obstacles will not come before us.
Radhanath Swami quotes the Obstacles in the life Lord Caitanya
They even came before him at Advaita acharyas house. He wanted to go, Sachimata told Him, that do not go to Vrindavan, because Vrindavan is very far. I will never hear Your past times. I will never see You. Krishna of Vrindavan is living in Jagannath and Puri. Please go there. Then I will hear Your past times. Devotees are always going back and forth from Navadwipa to Puri Dham. So Lord Chaitanya, even though His heart desire was to go to Vrindavan. His stronger desire was to please His pure devotees. This is the Lord. After He took initiation in Gaya from Srila Ishwara Puri, he just began running to Vrindavan. Now I have received Hare Krishna Mahamantra, now I have received Vaisnava diksha. Now I will go to Vrindavan. As he was in the ecstasy of Mahabhava running to Vraja Bhumi. And then that celestial voice came from the sky and said My Lord you have descended into this world to propagate the Harinama Sankirtana movement and Navadvipais the place you should begin the sankirtana movement. You should not go to Vrindavana now. You can go some other time. Now go to Navadvipa . So he said yes. That is correct. And he didn’t go to Vrindavan. Why? Because His compassion upon all following souls. He wanted to give us the Hare Krishna mantra.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
He desisted in His own life from going to Vrindavan, just to give compassion to others, to preach and He began the Sankirtana movement in Navadvipa Dham and he induced everyone to chant Hare Krishna. Except there were certain pundits and very puffed up people who were always criticizing and, blaspheming and saying so many lies against the Lord and His devotees. Srivas Thakur’s house was a temple and there was always wonderful-wonderful kirtan and the innocent people, they were always anxious to somehow purify themselves, so that they could go in and see the beautiful dancing of the Lord. But the envious people they were terrible, they were making up so many lies. Caitanya Bhagvata, Caitanya Caritamrita describes in so many places, so many terrible things they were concocting. That these so called Vaisnavas what are they doing in that temple? You know what they said? They said, they are kidnapping young women, they are having tantric sex with them, they are drinking all kinds of liquors, taking all kinds of intoxication, listening to all kinds of perverted songs. In this way they are simply corrupt, they are sinful, they are rascal, they are rogues and they are trying to present themselves as great Vaisnavas. We know what to do with them. We should destroy them. We should tie them by the hands and the feet and through all these devotees in the Ganges. We should take the whole house of Srivas and throw it in the Ganges. And this was always happening. Sometimes they were saying, these people they are just so materialistic. They are hungry so they are chanting the names of God and they are begging just to exploit people and take their money in the name of being saintly people. And what they do at night? Simply the most illicit, terrible things. These rumors were rampant against Lord Chaitanya and all of His devotees in the beautiful temple of Srivas Thakura. So, if they will speak against the Lord, they will speak against the Lords devotees. It is not something that happens five hundred years ago. It is the nature of material existence. But Lord Chaitanya didn’t care. He just went on chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, and ultimately the truth was revealed. But he was so compassionate, that He took Sannyasa just to reach out to these crazy people. And there were the Brahmans, the Brahmans they were so proud of their high position, they were criticizing Lord Caitanya and his devotees in so many ways, so why are you chanting loudly the holy name? This is not bonafide.
Radhanath Swami explains the Obstacles in life of Haridas Thakur
One Brahmans said this to Haridas Thakur, that you should chant silently in your mind. This loud chanting is irreligious. Haridas Thakur began to explain from the shastra, how chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, Krishna’s name, loudly is one hundred times more powerful than chanting silently within one’s mind. And he explained why? When you chant silently with in your mind you become purified, but everyone else remains in ignorance. But when you chant very loudly-
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
then everyone who hears becomes purified. All the people, all the animals with four legs, all the reptiles and mosquitoes, insects, all the grass and the trees and the plants, everyone becomes delivered by hearing the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. And ultimately we make advancement by satisfying Krishna. And Krishna is most satisfied, when we have others become Krishna conscious. So for this reason the loud chanting is more powerful and more purifying then silent chanting because it pleases Krishna more. Because Krishna is more pleased when you help others become Krishna conscious, then when you simply try to do it yourself. In fact Prahlad Maharaja says in the Narada Purana, one hundred times more powerful is loud chanting, then silent because it is one hundred times more satisfying to Krishna. So in this way Haridas Thakur told this Brahman and there were assembly of so many Brahman. He said this is the conclusion, that we should very loudly chant the holy names.
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
And this Brahman upon hearing it, he became so angry. He said what is this? Just see how kaliyuga has come. It appears that the very end portion of Kaliyuga is already here. We have here a man less than a shudra, an untouchable explaining the Vedas, misinterpreting, concocting. This is a great offence. We cannot hear this. This is a great injustice and he began to blaspheme him and he said Hari Das Thakur you are a low class man, you have no right and you are taking the Vedas and you are misrepresenting and you are polluting society and if such loud chanting is more powerful then silent chanting as I am explaining, impossible. If what you are saying is wrong, I will cut of your nose. So Hari Das Thakur understood, nothing else to say to this man. He just smiled and just walked away. Chanting
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Even the best preachers, sometimes if people don’t want to hear, they will not hear. Any ways after a few days this Brahman, he contracted smallpox and his nose fell off. So ultimately Krishna makes everyone accept the reaction of their particular words and activities. But the devotees, they try their best and they go on with their preaching. No problem.
Radhanth Swami explains “Obstacles are servants of the Lord”
So Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu took Sannyasa to try to get some respect, so these type of people will listen to them. And he went to Katwa and there He took the vows of a Sannyasi and accepted the mantra from Sri Kesava Bharti Maharaja, and after that wonderful-wonderful yajna was performed. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu began dancing in transcendental ecstasy and Keshava Bharti began dancing with him and their dandas went flying around and they were just completely oblivious, their water pots went another direction and they were all chanting the holy names and all the devotees were just so blissful seeing Mahaprabhu and His sannyas guru dancing together. And then Lord Chaitanya said now I will go to Vrindavan. So He started going to Vrindavan. Just a thought of going to Vrindavana, He was in transcendental madness. But Nitya Nanda Prabhu, he understood the devotees in Navadwipa, they will die in separation of Lord Chaitanya, goes to Vrindavan. They already made up their mind to commit suicide in the Ganga in separation. And Nitya Nanda Prabhu knew the hearts, the heart of the Lord, that ultimately pleasing His devotee is His ultimate desire. So He convinced other people on the side of the road and cowherd boys, to give wrong directions to Lord Chaitanya. Here in Mumbai everyone gives wrong directions. Some months back we were going to Radhakanta prabhu’s house in Borivali and nobody in the car knew where to go. Some vague ideas. There were some directions and we asked somebody on the road, you go this way. We start going this way and then we asked somebody else, which way, you go this way. So we thought three people all gave us the same direction and so we are thinking we are going the right way. Then the fourth person said the opposite direction. So we started going the opposite direction. We asked the next person, yes-yes go on like this. Then next person say yes-yes go on like this. We think we must be going on in the right direction. Then the next person says the opposite direction. Then we if anybody know where is the parampara. This is the problem. Everyone has their own ideas. Finally we realize we passed it twice. So wrong directions is part of life in Kaliyuga. So Nitya Nanda Prabhu told the cowherd boys to give wrong directions to Lord Chaitanya. Of course this is different wrong directions. This was authorized by Lord Nitya Nanda Prabhu, the original spiritual master and Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to the Ganga. He met with Advaita acharya. He was brought to Advaita’s house. And then He was, to meet His mother Sachidevi. She saw Him with no beautiful hairs, shaved head, no beautiful jewellery and garlands and bright coloured clothes, but just saffron sannyas robes. It was very-very difficult. Everyone knows, what a mother goes through, when a son takes to the renounced order. It’s very painful. And Sachimata explained to Lord Chaitanya then, Jagannath is in Puri, go there. So Lord Chaitanya decided I will not go to Vrindavana, I will go to Puri, because this will make My devotee happy. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us, there is no higher religious principle than please His devotees. Nothing else. Even the desire to go back to Godhead is not a sacred to the Lord as pleasing His devotees. And He manifested this so many times in His own transcendental pastimes and example. So the devotee said to Lord Chaitanya, You should not go to Puri now, it’s very dangerous, there are fighting kings and dacoits and there are wars going on and the soldiers of these sides are so suspicious, that if anyone is caught, they are captured, imprisoned, tortured and killed. So you should wait until it become safe. There are too many obstacles. And Chaitanya Mahaprabhu replied, when will there ever be a time in this material world where there are no obstacles. There are always obstacles. So I will go now. And Advaita acharya, he was very ecstatic, when he heard this. He said Yes, You are the Supreme controller, what obstacle can stand on Your path? All obstacles are Your servants. And it is a fact. All obstacles are the servants of the Lord. They are actually there, in order to purify and to uplift the Lord and uplift the mission of the Lord. That is why obstacles come.
Radhanath Swami cites the practical obstacles at Bhaktivedanta Manor
We will give you an example, practical example. I just came yesterday from Bhaktivedanta Manor in London, England. Very Very special place. It was one of Srila Prabhupada’s most favorite temples. He spent so many weeks and months at that holy place. And it’s a small community of a few acres and it became so popular, it became the biggest Hindu place of pilgrimage in all of England, and for Janmastami and Rama-navami, and these other festivals, tens and thousands of people will come to see the Deities, to take prasad, to hear kirtan, to see dramas, to have satsanga with Vaisnavas. It was wonderful. Very powerful preaching and we should know Prabhupada wonders. He said, you will know when your preaching is powerful when the demons try to destroy you. Because when you become a threat to maya, maya just doesn’t say dandavats prabhus, you are very good. She will fight. She will sent her representatives, to test what kind of devotion you have, but ultimately those tests are only to glorify the devotees, if they just remain with faith and persevere and fight as Krishna explains in Gita, fight for truth. If devotees are living purely and exemplary, then they have nothing to fear. Devotees are not living purely, they have everything to fear. That is all we have to know, that we are living by the truth and then we can just move forward without any inhibition. So Bhakti Vedanta Manor, year after year was becoming so popular, so many people coming, that the government and the local people, they made so many complaints and they made an order to close it down, that no one can come there to do worship or puja ever again. That means finished. They said devotees can live there, but nobody can come to visit, nobody can come to worship, no guest. That means no preaching. Prabhupada’s temples are for preaching. They are not just for us to live and be happy, they should preach. Because to satisfy the Lord means to be compassionate to others. So what did the devotees do? Everything was against them. The central government, the federal government, every government said closed. So they just began to fight like the spharrow fighting against the ocean. They just did it and gradually more and more people got involved and people of the congregation who were basically just coming to visit every Sunday, they started coming to meetings, three four five times a week, starting to raise all kinds of funds for defenses and so many hundreds and hundreds of people were getting involved in the temple that never get involved before. And then certainly for the first time in history, all the Hindu organizations of all of England united to help, before that they were all like, don’t go to this place, come to my place. There was actually unity. Everyone was fighting together and there was national media and international media and this fight went on for one year and two year and three year and four year and five years and then there was an ultimate case and they lost. Then they appealed and more time was going on and on and there was campaigns. They had tens and thousands of people in the streets having kirtan with picket signs, marching, so many demonstrations, protest, everything. Five years, six years, seven years, eight years, nine years, ten years they were battling and fighting and ultimately this year, Krishna, as He explains in Gita,
yatra yogesvarah krishno
yatra partho dhanur-dharah
That wherever there is Krishna and Arjuna, wherever they stay, there is the devotion according to Bhagvad Gita, there will be victory.
So this year the appeal was made and then another appeal was made and ultimately the government decided, that never again will there ever be the order to close this temple, it is open to the public forever. But what happened out of this? In order to get this to pass, they have to procure what was it about thirty acres more, fifty acres more of land, that’s a lot of land. A direct access road from the main highway to the temple, before cars had to go miles and miles, to this little tiny roads through villages, just to get there. So now Bhakti Vedanta Manor, through fighting, their property is about fifty times as big, they have made beautiful-beautiful road, that goes direct from the highway to the lotus feet of the Deities. They never would have had any of this if it wasn’t for these obstacles. They will still be in their same little plot of land chanting Hare Krishna. Now the access, the property, everything, it is multiply by anything, like anything, because the people were so fired up to help, they raise so much money to buy all this land, just to make it happen. They would have never done this. Save and except by the help of Maya. Because maya made it difficult, devotees worked and now Bhakti Vedanta Manor is more prosperous, has more facility to preach, then it ever has had in history. Why? Because the great servants in the form of obstacles came to glorify their mission. Srila Prabhupada ki Jai.
Radhanath Swami inspires “Maintain your purity and Krishna will bless you”
So in this way devotees, we know the future. We know that if we simply remain pure in our vows, if we remain faithful to our guru maharaja’s mission, then what ever comes before us, however it appears it is only meant to ultimately serve our mission. If it wasn’t for the conflict between the Kurus and the Pandavas, there would be no Bhagvat Gita. So this type of conflict is very nice. When I heard the news there was some conflict here. I was thinking that this temple has been so sweet with devotion. The mood of this temple has been beautiful kirtans in the mood of Caitanya Caritamrta, beautiful Hari katha and Vaisnava seva in the mood of Srimad Bhagvatam. But then I was thinking, Krishna wants us to live a little according to Bhagvad Gita also. So we will live according to Bhagvad Gita. The basics of Krishna consciousness. But the most important thing is we just have to remain pure. If we are pure and we are determined, Krishna will empower us to do anything. And this is the type of service that pleases Srila Prabhupada and pleases all the acharyas, to be willing to give our life and never give up the mission of compassion to other beings. Hari Das Thakur was lashed in twenty two market places because he would not give up his preaching. And he was blasphemed and so many lies against him, but he wouldn’t give up his preaching. And ultimately how he was glorified? How Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu personally protected him and personally empowered him? So to satisfy the great souls, is our life and soul and we should take every situations as an opportunity to satisfy the great souls. And in this way we can realize the transcendental message that has been passed down through parampara in the form of Srimad Bhagvatam, Bhagavad Gita and we can create a beautiful-beautiful facility for so many people to love Krishna. Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki Jai.
Question to Radhanath Swami: The question is about the life of Srila Shukadeva Swami Maharaja. There are three stories which are mentioned, the first one is that he was in the womb of the mother and then he was not willing to come out, because he was thinking that he will fall into illusion, it’s better to be inside and then Vyas Dev recited the past times of Krishna and then he came out. Then after coming out it is also said that he went to the forest, Vyasadeva was chasing after him and he never came back but there was a illusory Sukadeva who came back and got married and had a children. And there is another story which you told just now that he went to the forest and there was a wood cutter and he was reciting the Bhagvatam. How do you co-relate that they are simultaneously true?
Radhanath Swami Answers: It is one story in various divisions. When we say that he heard Bhagvatam from his father, that is short cut. Ultimately it is, but it’s without the details in between. Because ninth canto of Bhagvat explains, that actually Vedavyasa brought Krishna from Dvaraka, to ask Sukadeva to come out. Then he came out, but still he was in his transcendental condition of being aloof. And then he went to the forest and his father was trying to get him back and he manifested the illusory Sukadeva Gosvami who got married and had children and descendants but the other thing Vyasadeva who knows past, present and future that he was fooled by that. He understood what is this. He accepted the dynasty of people after him, but at the same time he sent his disciples to attract Sukadeva back. the atmarama verse. The great souls who are in this self satisfied condition of Brahman realization, even they are attracted to the hearing the names and glories and serving the Lord. So it is one story, but sometimes it is told in a brief way, sometimes it is told in a more detailed way. But there is no contradiction there. Like that.
Question to Radhanath Swami: If one inadvently also hears blaspheming of Vaisnavas is implicated. There are so many innocent people who hear such blaspheming news which is not at all true. So do they have to face reaction and if so how it is without their desire?
Radhanath Swami Answers: Yes, that is why when a devotee is personally blasphemed, the devotee says yes, correct. If you only knew how worse I am then you would be acknowledge. Devotees do not defend themselves. But devotees will give their life’s to defend other Vaisnavas. What to speak of defend the integrity of the Lords mission, Lord Chaitanya’s mission, so yes people who hear are very-very seriously inflicted and contaminated. Therefore it is the duty of the devotees to create counter propaganda, so that people do not believe such things. It is actually an act not of defense but of compassion. We don’t want to defend ourselves, but if people have the wrong idea of Srila Prabhupada, they have the wrong idea of Bhakti Siddhanta, Lord Chaitanya, Radha and Gopinatha, people are thinking bad of them and what they are doing, then this is a terrible-terrible infliction in their life. They have to suffer very bad reactions. Those who propagated will suffer and those hear it will also suffer. So therefore to try to create a favorable impression, is actually an act of mercy and compassion, to protect such innocent souls from believing something and holding something in their heart. That is so unfortunate.
Question to Radhanath Swami: Compare to listening from a devotee who is following Vedas and from a disciplic succession. We find lot of people are attracting many-many crowd, big-big crowd. That is not from a disciplic succession. In that case, will the listener have any reaction because they may not be following disciplic succession, they are not from quoting Vedas. They are just pleasing people and making very interesting.
Radhanath Swami Answers: It depends what is being spoken, the real connection to Krishna and the real means by which we learn the process of surrendering to Krishna is through disciplic succession. And those who are speaking to whatever degree they are speaking the truth, people will get benefit. If they are speaking something that is untruth people will be mislead, confused. If they are speaking about moral, pious, principles, people will become moral and pious. So it is not that it is bad if there is not blasphemes or distortions of philosophy too much, but we should understand there is a distinction, because often times the conclusions are very much mixed up with mayavad, if not coming through a pure disciplic succession. And this will at one level, it will give people a sense of religiosity, but on another level it will confuse people of the real conclusions and the real goal of life.
Question to Radhanath Swami: Explain that when obstacles come for devotees, then devotees should try their best to fight against that obstacles. But sometimes it may happen that an obstacle comes before a devotee and he does not know up to what stage he should fight. He could be thinking it all Krishna’s arrangement and whatever Krishna wants is happening, so up to what point of time should he keep on fighting and finally surrender the face of obstacles?
Radhanath Swami Answers: We must discriminate between fighting for our own spiritual purification and for the mission of the Lord and fighting for our own domestic affairs in the name of Krishna consciousness. There is a difference. And in order to make the discrimination, we should follow the footsteps of Arjuna. He asked his guru Krishna, if we asked advanced devotees, then they will give us the understanding. The reason why the society of Vaisnavas is so important, is so that you never had such a question. What to do? How to do? We can ask and get direction. Those who have more maturity and realizations of how to serve Krishna, can impart to us a proper guidance by which we can fight for Krishna and live for Krishna.
Question to Radhanath Swami: Maharaja you said that obstacles on the path of devotional service are finally meant for our spiritual advancement, but sometimes we have obstacles in our material life which are not directly connected to devotional service at least apparently. So are these obstacles also meant indirectly to bring about our spiritual advancement or how do we look at these obstacles. Do we look at them as karmic reaction or do we look all the obstacles in our life.
Radhanath Swami Answers: You should accept what is favorable for devotional service and reject what is unfavorable for devotional service. If we over endeavor for material things that is unfavorable for devotional service. We have to discriminate. Obstacles that are not directly involving our devotional service, the question is by fighting to overcome these obstacles, is it favorable for my devotional service or is it unfavorable? If it is favorable we should fight to death, if it’s not favorable we should just give it up. We should make no endeavor. So how it will help my service. And by enquiring we can understand these things very nicely. We should never be in a state of confusion. Things should always be clear to us