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Radhanath Swami on "Krishna accepts our Intent" | Radhanath Swami Lecture Transcripts

Radhanath Swami : Welcome to RadhaGopinath Temple. My sincerest gratitude to all of you for so kindly taking your precious time to be with us this afternoon. Time is precious because with every moment we could be investing in our future of the eternal pastimes with the supreme personality of Godhead or we can invest it in the repeated cycle of birth and death. We all have free will .It is this principle of free will that differentiates us from the lower species. The animals and the birds and the fish, the reptiles, insects, trees and plants their nature is; they simply act according to the dictations of their instincts and every specie is programmed to have a particular type of instinct. There is no freedom to go beyond that. The human life, which is the crescendo of evolution of the soul from eight million four hundred thousand different species is very special because in human life we could realize the very essence of our spiritual existence.

‘ na jäyate mriyate vä kadäcin’. We are eternal, not subject to birth or old age or disease or death and we are sat-chit-ananda. We are full of knowledge, we are full of happiness. We all seek happiness. Why? – Because it is our nature. The ultimate basis of all happiness is the love between the soul and God. Forgetful of that, we try to fill the void of that life in so many ways, with things, with sensual pleasures, with personal relationships, with accomplishments, money, and prestige. But we cannot fill the void. It only distracts our attention away from that void. No pleasure within this world can any way fill the void of the souls desperate who are yearning to be connected with Krishna – the God. All the pleasures, all the accomplishments and all the relationships of this world just divert our attention away from the void that is there. But it is there in our heart. What can we do?

 

Human Beings can choose, make enquiries and use their free will

In order to be loved, there must be free will. Human Life is especially meant for self realization. ‘atatho brahma jigyasa’. This is the beginning of the Brahma sutra. Now you have attained this human life, enquire into your real welfare. Enquire into Brahman. Who am I? Who is God? What is truth? The birds, the animals, and the plants they cannot make this enquiry because they have such minimum free will. But as human beings, we can choose to be anything we want. We could be compassionate instruments of God or we could be cruel, vicious killers. We could be charitable. Philanthropy is to give ourselves to help people who are physically and mentally in need. Paropkar- the greatest charity is to be instruments of God’s love to awaken people souls even at the cost of so much inconvenience. Or we could be greedy with no second thought to exploit anyone, everyone and anywhere to achieve our own purposes. We could be pure vegetarians or we can sponsor the slaughter of innocent animals, cows and sheep. No problem in drinking any type of blood or eating any type of meat; but don’t cause any inconvenience to my dog or my cat. Or we could be Krishnatarians. Prabhupada said we are not vegetarians we are Krishnatarians. That means pure vegetarian food offered to God in love and devotion. So in human life, we have this free will and with this free will we can attain the aspiration that we are all longing to achieve to fill the void within our heart, to actually come face to face with the problem of life, to directly work to resolve it.

 

Precious Time- Human Life

That is why time is so precious because we don’t have much time. Depending on who we are, one third of our life is spent in sleeping. We need sleep. We are not really doing anything; we are just resting so that we can do something. But then what can we do with our life? The scripture tells us there is no greater tragedy than to lose a single moment in this human life. Lose it means waste it. Waste it for the same pleasures, for same purposes as the lower species. Animals are eating, animals are sleeping, animals are mating, and animals are defending. These things are necessities, most of them. So what is our purpose? Our whole civilization practically is just evolving to create and enjoy more sophisticated ways of just enjoying the senses

vayam deho deha vi canda loke

Enjoying the senses any specie of life can do that. And actually many are much better than us. If your enjoyment is eating, how much can you eat? Elephants can eat hundreds of kilos everyday and not getting indigestion. Just keep that flavor on the tongue and feel that going to the belly. Hari, Hari! Sounds like birds are chirping up. But Prabhupada said if you clap your hands the birds fly away. So taking this human life and simply utilizing it to create more elaborate ways of doing what everybody else is doing is not anything very great. Pure greatness is in our purpose and the integrity with which we pursue our purpose. And Krishna; the God gives everyone the opportunity to perfect their lives. Because there are different nationalities, there are different races, there are different sexes who all have different karmas, different religions. There are so many differences between us. Some are rich, some are poor. Some are intellectual, some are illiterate but none of these things are either qualifications or disqualifications for spiritual perfection. All that is required is our sincerity; the sincerity of our intent.

 

Our sincere intent appeals to Krishna

In the scriptures it is said that Krishna is “Bhavagrahi” that means Krishna doesn’t see what you offer. Krishna perceives our intention, the purpose, and the sentiment in which it is offered. And everyone regardless of our situation has the free will to be sincere. Even if you have practically nothing materially, you have the power to offer Krishna the most glorious temples, the most glorious offerings because Krishna sees our heart. If you want to help people even if you don’t have much physical facility to do so, just the intention to help people and just the earnest effort to do so according to your capacity. In God’s eyes that is perfect and complete.

 

Praise to Criticism is like an antidote to Poison

In this regard I would like to share the story of Narsimhananda Brahmacäré, an associate of Lord Chaitanya. When Lord Chaitanya was living in Jagananthpuri, He decided to go to Vrindavan. He went with some of his close associates. They came to Navadweep where Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu stayed in a place called Kuliyagram on the island of Koladweep. There, all those personalities who were hateful, envious and blasphemous came to the Lord to beg forgiveness. Even those who blasphemed and offended the Lord himself, Lord Chaitanya welcomed them. One person said, “With my mouth, I have said so many horrible things against you, against your devotees, against innocent people. Now I regret it. What should I do?” Lord Chaitanya said to criticize others is like drinking poison because blasphemy and criticism is like poison. And when we speak with our tongue, it is not just going out. We think that our word is going outside our mouth for the people who hear. But actually it’s being tasted by the tongue and digested deeply into the heart. And it is like poison, poison in the sense that it corrupts our consciousness, it kills our good qualities. He said there is only one antidote to that poison with your same mouth drink nectar, amrita. And what is that nectar? To praise the qualities of others, not in the matter of flattering for your own agenda, but to genuinely appreciate the good in others. The way we appreciate the Lord’s devotees in devotional activities and especially along with that you cannot separate the truth. Along with speaking the good qualities and appreciating and encouraging others, praising the devotional acts and devotional people, uplifting those who are in trouble, we drink the nectar of the holy name by chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Not only will that neutralize the poisonous effects but it will nourish, it will enrich, it will enlighten the soul and attain the highest perfection. In this way, to person after person after person, very, very evil envious people coming to the Lord, He was giving each and everyone a valuable key to unlock from within their hearts the dormant love of God that is within everyone.

 

In Bhakti, Samadhi means total absorption in the service of the Lord

After leaving hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people in Kuliyagram and leading them all in Nagar sankirtan, Lord Chaitanya continued His travel to Vrindavan, which began with many, many devotees coming with him. But then, every village, every town he came to, people were astounded to see his beauty, to feel his compassion and to participate in this chanting of kirtan, God’s names. Soon hundreds and thousands of people were following him, millions of people were following him. It was ever increasing. This Brahmacäré named Narsimhananda; he was in Kuliya. When he saw Lord Chaitanya leaving Kuliya for Vrindavan, he wanted to do some service. He was a Brahmacäré and traditional Brahmacärés have no money and no possessions. He was very simple. He had nothing. He just lived in a little thatched hut, which had no furniture   and no utensils. For eating he would just go out and beg for some rice or whatever people would give him. He just had a set of clothes. He was so simple. He had nothing. But he wanted to do service for Lord Chaitanya. He was thinking that road is very hard to Vrindavan. The lord will have to walk through forest, into desert like fields. So he decided he would construct a road for the lord to walk on. And today in Bombay it is hard enough for the Government with all the tax payers’ money to construct the road. We have seen houses of the Brahmacärés who have nothing. No government connections! How is he going to construct a road? From Navadweep to Vrindavan is how much? About a thousand kilometers, approximate? How long is it from Bombay to Pune? How many kilometers? So it is probably at least ten times more than that. Yes and it took about twenty years to build that road.

Oh my God! So how is this little skinny Brahmacäré going to build this road? I will tell you. He sat down and closed his eyes. He said,” I’m going to tell the  devotees and build this road for Lord Chaitanya to walk on” and closed his eyes and became totally absorbed. This is real Samadhi. Samadhi doesn’t mean just to blank the mind with nothing but to completely absorb it in the loving service of the God. From the prospective of Bhakti, that is Samadhi. From the prospective of Monism, Samadhi is complete emptiness of the mind and on the path of Bhakti; Samadhi means total absorption, 100 % absorption in the loving remembrance of the Lord and in serving the Lord.

 

The wonderful architectural designer- Narsimhananda Brahmachari

So he began right there. He was very meticulous as meticulous as any architect or engineer who is building a road, but even more. He was building inch by inch. He went right from Lord’s doorstep, the start of the road. It was a wide road, completely flat and he paved it and paved it with jewels, diamonds, emeralds, gold and silver. But then he was thinking that Lord’s lotus feet should be very comfortable, so he got millions and millions of very fragrant flowers. And in his mind he plucked all the flowers; the petals and he covered the road with stem less flowers ,just petals and he meditated on the lord walking on that road and on the sides of the roads, he didn’t have the time to just plant the seeds. He somehow or the other transplanted. He created Bakula trees, there every flower, let us begin, every tree was covered with flowers. And each one was emitting the most ambrosial fragrance. And on each tree there were birds, not crows but cuckoo birds, the nightingales’ , the sweetest bharadwaj birds, the sweetest sound in singing birds, twirling, whirling, chirping all singing beautiful music in harmony with each other.

And he was so expert. Even the best architectural designer; getting paid most amount of money cannot create breezes, natural breezes. Within his mind there were breezes; that were taking the fragrance of the flowers and raining them to comfort the Lord’s body and incent his nose. And behind the trees, he constructed lakes, large lakes with crystal clear water. It was very sweet water and in those lakes he placed thousands of lotus flowers with bees very serenely buzzing and humming in harmony around the lotus flowers with bees very serenely humming and buzzing around those flowers.

 

The Lord is pleased with our intent to serve

The beautiful thing was as Lord Chaitanya was walking, to everyone else’s eyes, it was just a very, very dusty road path surrounded by some fields or deserts. That’s what everyone else saw. But every single step Lord Chaitanya took, he was seeing, feeling and experiencing the road that Narsimhananda Brahmacäré was constructing in his mind. This is Bhavagrahi, where Lord accepts the sentiment of our willingness and of our intent to serve. Narsimhananda Brahmacäré was keen he had to build the road, at least try. And even if he can’t, he did try with the same meditation. The Lord will see the same thing. What is our intent? And what is the effort we are making according to our intent that is Bhakti; when it is for the pleasure of the Lord, when it is to be the instrument of the compassion of the Lord for others. Hundreds and hundreds of kilometers passed as he was just building the road. One step at a time, he was just building the road putting in another tree, putting in another lake, plucking more flower petals putting more jewels, totally absorbed. He wasn’t even eating or sleeping; he was just building the roads. Days went by, weeks went by and he is completely immersed. The most beautiful thing is he could feel Lord Chaitanya reciprocating with him in his heart. He can experience the Lord’s pleasure. Why?

isvarah sarva-bhutanam
hrd-dese ‘rjuna tisthati
bhramayan sarva-bhutani
yantrarudhani mayaya
(BG_18.61)

Krishna tells everyone in Bhagavad Gita that I’m situated in every ones heart. Lord Krishna is pleased, from within the heart the lord reciprocates. We feel his pleasure; we feel his love in a purified state.

patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
asnami prayatatmanah

(BG 9.26)

Bhagavad Gita teaches us, Krishna says you can offer me a leaf, a flower, some fruit or water. If it is offered with devotion, I will accept it. Krishna is only concerned with our love, with our devotion, if it is without malice, without duplicity, if it is honest, innocent and genuine. And Krishna explains, I am controlled by that love.

So he constructed this road for hundreds of kilometers and at a certain point he came to a place called Kanai natyashala. Now he was going a way ahead of the Lord. Lord was walking and he was paving way ahead of him and at Kanai natyashala, he is sitting in Kuliya and he is not able to build the road beyond that point. His meditation just stops. He is trying, he is struggling but nothing happens beyond there. Narsimhananda Brahmacäré comes out of his meditation and says to all of the people around him with great assertion that the Lord will not go beyond Kanai natyashala. He is not going to Vrindavan; He is coming back to Puri. People said he went to Vrindavan and so many people are going with Him. He said no, you just see he won’t go beyond Kanai natyashala. Everybody understood that he was a very great person, so they did not question him. But they were confused.

Lord Chaitanya came to Ramakeli, it’s a very famous story but in some other class. By the time he came to Ramakeli, there were millions of people chanting the holy names in His kirtan. And Ramakeli happened to be the place of the king; who hated Hindus and outlawed any Hindu practices and Lord Chaitanya just lead millions of people practically right to the door of the palace of the king. He was fearless and ultimately Lord Chaitanya met Rupa and Sanatan Goswami under a tamal tree, a very secluded little garden in Ramakeli. And after humbling himself, although Rupa Goswami and Sanatan goswami were the home minister and prime minister of the entire kingdom, they were multi billionaires, they were highly learned scholars. They were loved, they were famous. They were everything, anyone could want. But they were humble, gentle and kind. They had no arrogance. They presented themselves before the Lord, as the least most insignificant of all beings and prayed for His shelter. The Lord not only gave them His shelter, the Lord gave them His heart. In Bhakti; not only can one attain God, but Lord when he sees humility in devotion, He gives His own heart to that devotee.

After this historical exchange, Sanatan Goswami said to Lord Chaitanya that, “You should not go to Vrindavan with so many people. Its better you go alone or with one or two others. Lord Chaitanya left them and continued on to Vrindavan and where do you think He ultimately came to? Kanai natyashala! It’s not really on the way in one sense and He somehow or the other went there because Narsimhananda Brahmacäré; he paved the road according to that route, so Lord Chaitanya was following the route. The road was only in his mind, the mind is within the heart. Some people think the mind is somewhere in the brain. The mind is actually in our heart. The brain is the mechanism which manifests the thoughts of the minds within the heart. I’m not expert of computers, but we have a screen, yes, we have a hard drive and then you have software and all that kind of stuff. But the mind is like the software and the brain is like the hard stuff and you know it just facilitates is it something like that. It is not like that I’m sorry. Erase that from the tape. The brain is just the physical mechanism which facilitates in grosser level the impressions within the mind that is within the heart. Krishna is seated within the heart of every living being. We may have forgotten Him but He is the witness.

 

Where ever the Lord is, it is Vrindavan

So the same Lord Chaitanya is on the road, is in the heart of Narsimhananda Brahmacäré and because he is paving that road he is making the route of the road in his heart, Lord Chaitanya is seeing and following that route even though he is thousands and hundreds of miles away. So he goes to Kanai natyashala and there Kanai natyashala is a beautiful forest. May be this year in Mayapur we will go there. But if we go there we may have to sing about Lord Chaitanya there because so many people. It’s just like Vrindavan. There are Kadhamba trees, and tamal trees and banyan trees and Bakula trees, jackfruit trees, mango and so many beautiful trees. It’s surrounded on three sides by the river Ganges. Ganga curls around Kanai natyashala and at that place Ganga is no less than one mile wide. You cannot see beyond. From one bank it looks like an ocean. It’s beautiful place. So Lord Chaitanya was there, Kanai natyashala is a place where people regularly go to discuss the topics of Krishna, to perform dramas about Krishna and Lord Chaitanya was absorbed, this is Vrindavan. With all these hundreds and hundreds and thousands of people, they were just walking and making so much noise and breaking in different bushes and the birds were running and flying away. Lord Chaitanya was thinking that what Sanatan Goswami was saying is right. If I really want to appreciate Vrindavan, I shouldn’t go with many people and to everyone’s great surprise, He turned and said I will go back to Jagannathpuri, where I came from. Actually the devotees didn’t hear where the Lord was going? So long as they could be with him. Because whoever He was, as far as they were concerned, wherever you are that is Vrindavan. If you went to Bombay, we will be happy. Lord Chaitanya went back to Puri and devotees were wonder-struck, how did Narsimhananda Brahmacäré know. That is the power of devotion. So whatever our situation, we have complete opportunity. There is no limitation that any material situation could create to impede our spiritual progress, if we are sincere and we have the right intent. Everything begins with our desire. Everything is based on our desire.

 

Lord loves the association of innocent people with intense love of God

Kolavecha Sridhar was so poor. He just had ragged clothes, a little thatched hut. He was emaciated because he did not get enough food. He was very poor man. Lord Chaitanya before He revealed who He was, when He was just a young boy, He would go to Kolavecha Sridhar to a little place where he was selling banana leaves, sometimes he had some banana or banana flowers. And Nimai would say how much is this? He would quote the best price. He was a different kind of businessman. He would calculate how I could somehow rather survive and charge as little as possible, because he wanted to serve people. Have you ever met a business man like this? But he was so honest. He was as honest as Maharaj Yudhishthir, couldn’t even think of telling a lie. He was everyone’s well wisher. He was so unknown; nobody even knew who he was? People would just call him Kolavecha which means banana seller. They didn’t even know his name. So he had no fame, he had no prestige, he had no money, he had nothing except one thing- he had love for God. And therefore he was completely satisfied, absolutely happy within himself.

So if Nimai would come and ask, “How much is this?” He would say, “This much.” “I will give you half.” He would say,” If you give me half, I will go, I will have nothing, its less than what I have paid.” Lord Chaitanya would say, “Don’t try to cheat me, I will give you half. You don’t like that and then I will take it for nothing.” He would pick it up and take it. Everyday Lord Chaitanya would spend two to three hours arguing over the price of the banana with Kolavecha Sridhar. Now, this is the Supreme Lord. This is Jehovah, Allah, Ram, Narsimha, Vishnu, Krishna; the one Supreme God; the master of Vaikuntha, the creator, maintainer and destroyer of all cosmic manifestations. Doesn’t He have better things to do than argue over the price of bananas? So what is He going to get from this person? He is not going to build any big temples for Him. But Lord Chaitanya couldn’t give up the association of this innocent man who just had so much love in his heart. And Kolavecha Sridhar didn’t even know who the Lord was, somehow he loved Him but he didn’t know why. And there was Buddhimanta Khan. When the lord decided to marry, he said I will bear the entire expense of this marriage. It will not be a poor man’s marriage. He had wealth, he used it.

 

The servitor attitude of King Prataprudra

King Prataprudra was the king of Orissa, very powerful, very wealthy, everything was his. But the Lord would not see him because he was in such a materialistic position. King Prataprudra decided to give up his palace, all of his wealth, his position and become a beggar. Because he understood what is real wealth? Real wealth isn’t about the power or control, it isn’t about material acquisition. Real wealth is about love, love for God. Where there is love for God, there is a spontaneous love for every living being that is a part of God. If I’m not pleasing Lord Chaitanya, King Prataprudra was thinking, “All these things are just disturbance to me. I would sleep on the street, go door to door begging and spend the rest of my life like that with the hope that I will get Lord Chaitanya’s mercy. That was his intent; he was actually willing to do it. Lord Chaitanya understood his intent and his willingness. So Lord Chaitanya gave him the most intimate association and unbelievable blessings. King Prataprudra disguised himself under the guidance of the devotees and sang beautiful songs to the Lord, of the Gopis’ separation from Krishna. He massaged the Lord after He danced in the Rath yatra. Lord Chaitanya pretended that He didn’t know who he was? He embraced him and soaked him with His tears.

He said, “You are giving me so much of nectar; you are my best friend, I’m completely indebted to you. Who are you?” Now that is serious question. If he says, “I’m King Prataprudra”. But he can’t lie; you can’t lie to the absolute truth and get away with it. So he was completely honest. He said, “Who am I? I am the servant of the servant of your servants. And my only aspiration is to be the servant of your servant of your servants.” Because he said it sincerely from his heart, he meant it. It didn’t matter that he was a king, it didn’t matter anything. Lord Chaitanya revealed to him His divine opulences and awarded him the ultimate perfection of life. King Prataprudra remained as a king. But he utilized everything to uplift others. There was no greed, there was no pride. He used all of his power, all of his wealth in the service of God for the welfare of others.

So in whatever situation, whether we are selling banana leaves or whether we are kings or anything in between, if we just have sincere intent to be instruments of God’s grace in our life and offer whatever we speak, whatever we think and whatever we do for the pleasure of Krishna, Krishna accepts. Krishna reciprocates within our hearts and how does He reciprocate. By showering us with His love and awakening our love. That is Bhakti. The prime benediction for all humanity in this age of kali according to Lord Chaitanya is the way of awakening that dormant state of consciousness that is within us. Through living a life of integrity, through cultivating a spirit of selfless service and in that spirit chanting the holy name Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare!!! Every moment is so precious.

Padam padam yad vipadam na tesham

We do not know how many moments we have and there is danger at every step of the material platform in so many ways, on so many levels. The terrorists’ activities that took place in Bombay were tragic and horrible. But actually what is it; about 300 times more people get killed in India every day, in automobile accidents. When you are driving your car, there is more chance that some innocent people can get killed or injured. So we are afraid of some things which are horrible, we can understand that even if everyone is nice there is still danger at every step. The Srimad Bhagavatam tells us that the human life is especially meant to be focused on quality. There is tree in Sweden that is nine thousand five hundred years old. That tree has been standing there in the same place in Sweden. It’s very cold there. It’s been standing from nine thousand five hundred Swedish winters and summers. That means, Krishna appeared five thousand years ago.   Double the time between us and Krishna the tree was standing there, same place, standing there throughout the history; serve Lord Buddha, Sankaracarya, Jesus Christ, Mohammad, Sir Alexander great in his conquerors and Changez Khan, Hitler and Napoleon, saw the revolutionary war, standing. The same soul is in the same body, with that much history. But before I told you about this tree, how many of people knew about it and even now how many of you care about it. What is he doing, with all respects to the tree? We should respect every living entity. Everyone’s is part of God, so we offer all respect to that tree. But is that a great life- Longevity? Jesus lived 31 years; Sankaracarya lived 32 yrs, Lord Chaitanya 48 years. Prahlad gave all those amazing teachings, when he was five years old. Sukhdev Goswami says; better one moment of pure consciousness than our whole long life wasted in the same old phase.

punah punashca charvita charvananam

This is the same old thing of temporary enjoyment. That is how precious every moment is. If we could just fix one moment of our life in absorption in accessing the love of God we are forever perfect. So we thank you for coming and utilizing your precious time today for hearing some words that we hope will inspire you towards the higher purpose that we are all meant for.

 

Is there any questions?

Yes Prabhu,

Question to Radhanath Swami: Hare Krishna Maharaj, Dandavat. Thank you very much for this wonderful class. It’s a bit side from the class. It happens to me many times that, sentimentally I do some very good devotional acts and I consider myself at that particular time very pure. For example, we should always give credit to others. Sometimes it happens, I do something, but give the credit to others, that’s very nice, but mind cheats in such a way that, it tells, ’See you are such a nice devotee and you are giving credit to others. Wow!’ This is pride and it is such a subtle thing that, it comes even when I try to follow the Vaishnav qualities. So it’s very difficult. And it happens all the time, sometimes here and there I do something good, pride just comes over and completely covers the whole consciousness. Kindly help me Maharaj. Thank You.

Answer by Radhanath Swami: May be you should help me, I wish I could be like that. You are on the right track, just please carry on. Krishna says in Gita that the mind is chancalam, the mind is very frivolous. But the intelligence is meant to keep the mind on track. So most important is, you understand what you really want. You want to help others; you want to bring people closer to God. You want to please the God. You want to not take credit for yourself, because actually when you take credit for your work, you really spoil the sweetness of that work because you get all caught up with the false pride, then you become more arrogant and you think yourself superior to others and that’s like a burning fire in your heart and it’s not a pleasing sensation. But when you recognize that you are just an instrument of a higher power and you share the credit with others it’s painful to      your ego. But it gives great bliss to your soul, to your heart. It waters; it nourishes the plant of love. So you understand that, you want that, that is your intent and you are trying for that. But your mind is doing its thing of just trying to divert your attention. By hearing the truth regularly, by associating with people who remind you of that truth, by doing your sadhana of chanting God’s name nicely, you are giving yourself a strong spiritual foundation. So, whenever the storms of the mind come, your intent, your purpose remains intact and then you just carry on. With your good intelligence, don’t take seriously or pay attention to flickering of the mind, keep focused on your real purpose on your real intent and the virtues and the character that you are trying, aspiring to cultivate. Did that answer your question?

Devotee: Thank you.

Maharaj: You are Welcome.

 

Question to Radhanath Swami: Hare Krishna. Just yesterday evening in your class, you mentioned that the world is in a mess that it has never been ever. That was definitely a very true and a deep statement and we all are experiencing the mess, the world is in and personally for me Maharaj, along with that the wonderful discourses that I am getting to attend at RadhaGopinath temple, specially your wonderful classes is such a relief to the heart. But simultaneously because the world is in such a mess, we are finding a lot of shelter in the discourses, but personally speaking, we are losing the taste to do any service of our duties in the material world because it is such a messy situation outside, we are feeling completely unenthusiastic, we know we are suppose to do it but there is no enthusiasm in doing it. We are finding more taste, more happiness in just hearing Krishna Katha, but I know for sure it is not out of attraction to Krishna, but it is just desperate situation that we are in materially speaking, so Maharaj my two questions are- How do we really, in spite of the material turmoil going outside in the world, maintain our enthusiasm to do our duties as Grihasthas to earn money and to do whatever material activities we need to do because everything is just in front of our eyes getting into mess and getting more and more messier. So how do we really maintain enthusiasm because personally speaking I am losing out on enthusiasm because there is nothing that I can see is of any value materially speaking, so how do we take care of this situation Maharaj?

Radhanath Swami Answers: Thank you for this very insightful question. I can’t give you a very deep realized answer since let me just count for a minute, I haven’t had a job in 39 years, 40 years actually. Does that answer your question?

Devotee: We can’t be like you, Maharaj.

Radhanath Swami: That’s your good fortune. If you are raising your family with spiritual purpose, spiritual intent and you are living by those principles then maintaining your family financially; it is your devotion to God, your contribution to the world. So we don’t say you should love your job, you should love Krishna. But if your job is part of the way you are serving Krishna it is your responsibility, so you should carry on. But at the same time, our joy in life is being invigorated by Hari Katha, by talks about Krishna, by chanting Krishna’s name, by kirtan of Krishna and Krishna’s devotees. By doing direct seva for Krishna, this gives us life, this gives us meaning our foundation and we may have to build on it through our occupational duties. We may not like it, we may like but we do because it’s the right thing to do. Even if the world, everything was nice, if economy was good, if ecology was nice, still you may not like your husband or wife that happens brother. I have never been married either so, I can’t just tell. But I have seen it. Does that mean that just you quit your husband or wife because you know I’m tired of you? No, you stay together because it’s your duty, you work it out to for the higher principle between you and you come to that level even if the economy was nice, the ecology was good and everything else was nice and your favorite person in the world was the PM of India. Still you may have children who are really disobedient, disrespectful to you. That happens. So what do you do? Do you give them up? It’s your duty, it’s your dharma to take care of your child even if it’s inconvenient, even if you don’t like. It is part of your responsibility to God. So we are not concerned necessarily what we like, we are concerned with what is the right thing to do. What is our responsibility as human beings in our particular situation in this world and how to spiritualize it at all? We should perform our work not because we like our work, we should perform our work because of the purpose in which we are doing it. We should maintain our relationships in marriage or whatever not necessarily because we are so compatible with one another because compatibility is always going up and down, sometimes it just goes down. We are here together for higher purpose. And sometimes, the problems force us. If we are going to make this work, we have to come to a higher platform, we have to be doing it for a higher cause and I like you or you like me or I like my job and it is fun or I don’t. Whenever there is a crisis like this, when you are impelled to do either do wrong, to suffer in the same level you are on or to strive, to perform your work, to maintain your relationships on a higher platform- Bhavagrahi- the higher platform of dharma. Even if I feel miserable towards you, I will be kind to you because that is how I show my love for Krishna. I will do my work because that is how I show my love for Krishna. This is not my family, this is Krishna’s family. I’m entrusted with this responsibility and I cannot abandon them. So keep the higher purpose in mind and every aspect of life becomes very exciting, even the most boring things. And because those things are so boring, it will also impel you to go deeper and deeper into the spiritual aspect of life. And will energize you to do what is boring and it will not be boring anymore. Does that make sense? Coming from an unmarried man who hasn’t had a job for 40 years! So is there another question?

Question to Radhanath Swami: Maharaj, you are giving an example of Kolavecha Sridhar and Narsimhananda Brahmacäré that even if you are materially not having anything but what that is required in Krishna Consciousness is your sincerity. If you are sincere enough in Krishna Consciousness, you can achieve the goal whatever you want to achieve and you finish your business of going back to Godhead. In our household life, we feel it that sincerity is important but at the same time we feel we have to do the needful. We have to plan our life, we have to see that everything goes alright, at certain point of time as far as finance is concerned, family duties are concerned, everything is going on in proper sequence and while doing all those things we become so much engrossed that we forget that sincerity is so important then doing the needful as such. At that time we miss the bus rather than thinking about all sincerity thing and all other things we become so engrossed that the focus is becoming compromise. So how to see to it that we keep that focus very clear whether we do the needful, of course we have to do the needful but even if we don’t do the needful some time or the other, we keep the focus very clear that more important is sincerity and not all other things as such. And we see that we finish our goal as such.

Answer by Radhanath Swami: Thank you for your very sincere question.

naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu 
nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā 
bhagavaty uttama-śloke
bhaktir bhavati naiṣṭhikī
(SB_1.2.18)

In Chaitanya Charitamrita, it is said that in order for a person to do the work in this world you have to eat. Yes. You have to eat food. If you do not eat food then you will be weak, you won’t be able to do anything. Food is fuel; food is nourishment to this physical body. Now emotionally, for people to be strong usually they need to feel appreciated and encouraged. That gives us emotional strength to carry on. Spiritually, you also have to be strong. The food grains that give strength to us spiritually to maintain that sincere and devoted disposition while you are trying to the needful in this world is our sadhana. Hearing the discourses, reading from spiritual books, chanting God’s holy names, performing the pooja – these spiritual activities, if they are done with the right intent that will give us a spiritual strength, that is behind our own. Krishna tells us in Gita, that I’m the intelligence of the intelligent. I’m the ability in man and woman; I’m the strength of the strong. Our sadhana is to access the grace and mercy behind to empower us. Yes, and just as we don’t eat one day and then come for Prasad one month later. If you want to do your work, you have to eat every day. Some of us three times a day. Yes, so our spiritual needs, our spiritual nourishment, it is just not a matter of eating once a time on Sunday. You are not going to be spiritually strong like that. Everyday some special time should be put aside to focus on our spiritual needs and that will keep our sincerity and our purpose very flattened. And then even if the mind and the environment around us may distract us from time to time, we will have the strength to bring it back. The lust and envy and anger and greed and pride and elusion and all these things attack, if you are spiritually strong, you will be able to deal with it. You will be able to take shelter of something higher. Yes. Nishahar nivatante nirahaar……..

It is very difficult to remain a good character; it is very difficult to remain on the path of devotion. Bhagavad Gita says, the mind and the senses are so strong and impetuous they can carry away even the consciousness of a person who is very strong spiritually, if you are not well nourished. Yes, so we must keep that focus on a regular basis. Does that answer your question? And this humble disposition you have, that I want sincerity, but I don’t have enough of it. That is also the way of attaining it. When you are hungry for something, when it comes you can digest it. If you have just eaten a huge meal and someone just offers you very nutritious gulab jamun, you can’t eat it. And even if you do, you can’t digest it properly. Hunger is required for good digestion. Yes. So in order to digest the grace of God, we have to be hungry for it. And that hunger is really what you are asking about- I want that sincerity. In this ever changing world, I want that sincerity, dealing with this ever changing mind, I need that sincerity because you want it, because you need it, you can pursue it and when you pursue it you will digest it, you will be nourished by it and you will become empowered by it.

One more question? Do Ladies have any question?

Devotee: Hare Krishna. Dandavat Pranam

Maharaj: Hare Krishna Dandavat Pranam

Question to Radhanath Swami: There is great saying in English that says that- ‘One great action is better than thousand good intentions’. So the story of the brahmin building a road for Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. How do you differentiate between these two- the statement and what he did?

Answer by Radhanath Swami: That is a brilliant question. Now I have to revaluate the whole class I just gave.

One great action is better than the thousand good intentions- It is very obvious what that means. That means you are not willing to do it, if your intention isn’t very good. Yes? A real intention is something if you are willing to do. Narsimhananda Brahmacäré did it according to his capacity. But I don’t know any sayings about actions with bad intentions. So lot of that stuff going is around too. If your actions are bad, your intentions are pretty bad too. So yes, we must have proper actions with good intentions. It is the intentions that give the actions substance spiritually. What is your motive? Are you giving in charity? – Because you want name and fame. Are you giving in charity? – Because you really care about people or are you giving in charity because you want to be an instrument of God’s Love? These are three different platforms of doing the same thing and God is going to reciprocate accordingly. If you are doing it for name and fame, God will give you name and fame. If you are giving in charity because you really care about people’s physical suffering, God will help you to elevate people’s physical sufferings. If you are giving in charity because you really want to become an instrument of love, God will give you his love. So if you have good intentions and not willing to act on it, that means your intention is empty, hallow and void of real sincerity.

A person is drowning and you know how to swim. I have the intention that the person should be saved, but I am eating my samosa and it tastes really good, so what is the use of that intention? If your intention is sincere, you will put down your samosa and jump into the water and save that person. Narsimhananda Brahmacäré didn’t just say, ‘Oh, I intent to build a road for the Lord.’ He did it according to his capacity and according to what he had. But, as I said if he was a millionaire, his intentions had to be manifested by actually doing something on that road. The point of the story is that there is no limitation in our spiritual mind to the material circumstances, if our intention is actually sincere. Does that actually answer your question?

Devotee: Thank you Maharaj

Maharaj: Thank you for your good intentions.

Devotee: Hare Krishna Maharaj. Narsimhananda Brahmacäré is a simple Brahmacäré….

Maharaj: Something like you. (Every one laugh)

Devotee: Something like but also different because he had great love for Lord Chaitanya and I do not have it.

Maharaj: But you play the trumpet. (Everyone laugh)

Question to Radhanath Swami: He had no attachments and he had Chaitanya Mahaprabhu travel towards Vrindavan with thousands of devotees and this Narsimhananda Brahmacäré stayed back in Puri. Why did he stay back? What can we learn from this for our own endeavor in devotional service?

Answer by Radhanath Swami: He stayed back in Kuliya, in Navadweep. He stayed back because he was more concerned with serving the Lord than going with the Lord. He felt he could do better service by building a road than just along the dusty road with the Lord. Service is more important than just physically being with someone. We often give the example of Srila Prabhupad’s statement, when devotees were asking Prabhupad about, ‘How, we really want to be with you, close to you physically.’ Prabhupad said, ‘In this room, who is closest to me? Devotees were looking at each other and saying, ‘Oh! He is pretty close and he is pretty close.’ Prabhupad said, ‘The closest person in this room is this mosquito on my arm. He is simply causing me anxiety or this fly that is buzzing around me and landing in my eyes.’ So just being close is not very important. What is important is our selfless attitude. Are we pleasing the Lord? Rupa and Sanatan Goswami would have been very, very happy to stay in Puri with the Lord Chaitanya for the rest of their lives. Lokanath Goswami was told by Lord Chaitanya that he was going to take sanyäs and it would be too painful to see it. So go to Vrindavan, prepare for my arrival and I will come and meet you there. So Lokanath Goswami went all the way to Vrindavan, thousands of kilometers and more and waited for the Lord. The Lord did take sanyäs. But then, he decided to go to South India instead. First he went to Puri and then he went to South India. Lokanath Goswami heard that the Lord went to South India instead; he couldn’t tolerate being separated physically from the Lord. So he walked by foot, all the way to South India. When he got the news that the Lord had returned to Puri, he walked by foot all the way up to Puri. This is thousands and thousands of kilometers. And in Puri, he heard that the Lord had left Puri and gone to Vrindavan. He thought, ‘I am supposed to be waiting for him there, preparing his way.’ So as fast as he could walk, he rushed to Vrindavan and when he arrived in Vrindavan, he heard the news that Lord Chaitanya in two months in Vrindavan, travelling through the twelve forests in Vrindavan had already left and he is in Prayagh. Lokanath Goswami could have been with the Lord for those two months, going through the twelve forests of Vrindavan, sitting and chatting with him in Imli tala, living with him in Akrura Ghat, bathing with him in Kesi Ghat, so he decided that, ‘Tomorrow morning, I am going to Prayagh. Lord Chaitanya appeared to him in the dream and he said, ‘ I want you to stay in Vrindavan. I need you to serve me there.’ So he stayed in Vrindavan for the rest of the life. He never physically saw the Lord again. Can you believe! Before the Lord took sanyäs, he was instructed to go to Vrindavan and he never saw the Lord physically again. But because he was serving the will of the Lord, he always felt the presence of the Lord in his heart. And Narottam Das Thakur wanted him to be his Guru because of his love for Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. So Narsimhananda Brahmacäré- his mood was how could I best serve? That is why he stayed back. One more question?

Question to Radhanath Swami: Hare Krishna Maharaj, Thank you for your wonderful answer. In continuation to Ekalavya Prabhu’s question, there is sometimes doubt in the mind, in regards to association. Sometimes mind says, ‘No, No, you need more association.’ Sometimes it says, ‘You need to render service.’ Say we are in Pune, always the dilemma comes that sometimes service is there or sometimes we should take more association and come here. So we want to know from you how we should prioritize things like that.

Answer by Radhanath Swami: You should discuss this subject with Radheshyam Prabhu. It is good to balance the two. Srila Prabhupad, when he would come, he wanted the devotees to come and see him, otherwise what is the use of he coming somewhere and taking the trouble to speak-, if people don’t take advantage of that. He is offering his heart, his love when he is speaking. Reciprocation is to come and listen and follow. But he didn’t want his devotees to follow him around everywhere. So when opportunities are there, we should serve and be very eager to come for physical association of the senior devotees but at the same time we have our service and to the degree, we are sincere and dedicated to performing our service, to that degree we are going to be receptive to what we hear. The message we are going to hear from the great souls is going to affect our heart according to our service attitude. So there should be a careful balance between the two.

Thank you very much

Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.