Radhanath Swami: We were discussing yesterday how Bali maharaj was able to accomplish what he did. The devas had already drunk to their full satisfaction that celestial nectar. So incredibly precious! It was so precious that two bitter enemies for many generation – asuras and devas who can never get long on any issue. There were actually willing to work together as allies because there was no other way of getting that nectar. We are little humans crawling around in this earth planet. We are speaking about asura race. The daitas and the devas, they are extremely powerful, for they have extremely long life, greatly learned. This is how much they valued as part of nectar. They were willing to risk their lives, work harder than they ever work before, hand and hand with their worst enemies, because they consider this so valuable. Because it gives such strength, longevity, wisdom, power. And eventually by the grace of the lord, despite so many reversal, obstacles, impossible situations, the devas got off all of it. And they conquered asuras. Infact they killed Bali Maharaj. Shukracharya, descendant of Bhrugu dynasty brought Bali back to life. Bali felt so grateful that he did everything within his power to please the brahmins, saintly people, descendants of Bhrugu. And because he received their blessings, Brahma tejas , he has so much power even the strength that nectar provided that demigods could not stand before him. And Bali maharaj, he was so empowered. Can you imagine? Just by looking at him, just by seeing Bali, he was so effulgent with potency that Indra and all the devatas disguise themselves and ran away and left all their hardened property.
Culture Of Blessings:
Now please understand that the property of Indra is not like you get the job.You work, get something, lifetimes and life times and lifetimes more performing yajnas and tapasyas and austerities. Controlling your senses, living extremely pious, performing hundred Ashwamedh yajnas which was impossible for any one even do want properly unless you conquer all directions. That takes many, many lifetimes in order to get that position and leave it behind and run away! So enemy will take it and enjoy it all. That was the Bali maharaj’s power. By seeing him, his enthusiasm…and how did he get it ? Explained here: because with very very good heart, he pleased great souls and received their blessings. So in material society, culture is very much about respect and receiving blessings. And in the Indian culture, I came from the west, coming from the 1960s, there was war between two generations. Young generations of those in their teens and twenties were having cultural revolution against the older generation. And when I came to India, I entered to homes of cultured families, I would see every morning that children would touch the feet of their parents and bow down and asked for blessings. Not just as formalities but they were really asking for blessings. Parents were giving heartfelt blessings before they went to school; they went to work, before they went to play.
There is certain power of protection receiving blessings from good people. Those blessings were coming from spiritually evolved people. And then it has special potency. Because those who are saintly and spiritually evolved, they have taken the shelter of God. And the greatest power of God is grace. Grace is sweet, grace is gentle and it is more powerful than the wrath of the God. Wrath of God can destroy the planets, universes, to punish people even the greatest rulers to be brought down to their knees. But the grace of God could lift one up even from very fallen, miserable situation. Or from the very elevated situations could actually lift one up and give one entrance into the realm of eternity.
apareyam itas tv anyäà prakåtià viddhi me paräm
jéva-bhütäà mahä-bäho yayedaà dhäryate jagat
Realizing Soul & Love of God:
Krishna tells in Bhagavad Gita that there are eight material elements : earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and ahankar or ego. Many subdivisions of these. But above and beyond that there is another nature, the spiritual nature, which is the atma, the soul. The jiva that gives power and life. This body is like vehicle. Just as we see through the winshield of the car, we see through our eyes. Just we make noise through the horn; we make noise through our tongue. We hear through our ears, feel through our skin, think through our brain, and smell through our nose. Who is it that experiencing? Body is just matter. Matter is not consciousness. But it is that spiritual nature, that spiritual force. Prabhupada would called the living force which is the atma or the soul which animates and experience through this body. And how to realize? In our present condition, since time immemorial, due to the ego, the ahankar, the soul is in dream state. It thinking that I am this mind, I am this body and we are forgetful of own eternal nature. We think that when bodies dead, I am dead. When body’s in pain, I am in pain. We forget the love for God within us, unlimited ecstacy of that love. We are trying to find it somewhere. It is out nature and it is almost our fundamental need to find unlimited love and love unlimitedly. We are searching for it, we are groping for it. Whatever we could find that gives us some pleasure that gives us assembles to that, we attached ourselves to those things. And different people look for different ways. The power of grace can destroy illusion, can destroy ignorance and awaken the true glory of the self, revealed in ecstasy and reveal our relationship with God, reveal our true relationship with all beings. When there is love for the god, then there will be natural compassion for every living being. It can’t be otherwise. Otherwise that love is no awakened.
Accessing God’s Grace:
So this is the power of God’s grace. It can liberate us forever and bring us to the highest platform of eternal love and eternal fulfillment. So the saintly persons who are connected to that grace of God having taken shelter of Supreme Lord. That’s they have to give to the world. That’s they want to give to the world. But we have to be willing to accept it, to access it, Just like the sun wants to give the light to everyone without discrimination who is fit or unfit. If we hide in cave, we would not get any other benefits of sunlight. We have Vitamin D deficiency ( Laughter). We won’t see anything either. But if we just go out into sunlight, we can get so many other benefits of the sunlight. In the same way, through saintly people, God is giving the light of his grace. And that is their blessings. Blessing of great soul is giving krishna’s blessings. That blessing is beyond the giver. To an instrument of the unlimited is the most fantastic way of the living. There is not all that much fun in doing the best the you can according to what you can do. But to do the best you can and access the grace, power that is far beyond yourself and seeing that manifesting through you. That has to humble you. When you see do something great yourself, you can easily get proud. But when you recognize that it is not me. There is something beyond me happening here. If we actually recognize that , you cant become proud or arrogant. You become humble. Why me? This is the way great saint thinks. Why is this happening through me. And therefore, such personalities, there were always seeking blessings, giving blessings without any giving. All they have to do is to be pleased with you and you get all the blessings. Because we can not demand blessings.
When we actually give satisfaction to a great spiritual personality, then through that satisfaction Krishna or God showers unlimited blessings on you, and if you cause dissatisfaction to the great personalities then just the opposite happens, because God is not very satisfied He withdraws his mercy. Krishna tells in one beautiful verse ‘mad bhakta puja ’ one who serves my devotee is more dear to me than one who serves me. Like a father and mother, if you do something to please the child then the parents are much more happy than if you do something for them, because they love their child so much. In the west there is a saying, ‘love me, love my dog’, because people became very much attached to their dogs, put so much affection on the dogs. If you give them a nice flower, and then kick the dog in the face, then they probably throw the flower in your face. If you give a diamond ring to a mother, and then punch her child, will she be happy with you? If you give the diamond ring to child, then probably she is happier, because there is love. So in this particular verse Bali maharaj, he became such material prosperity simply because he was very eager and anxious to receive the blessings, and we find in the future chapters, he is going to get the highest spiritual reward also, because he had that temperament of being very grateful, in order to receive blessings, first of all the blessings comes through the instructions of the great souls, Guru, saints they are giving the instructions how to live a pious life of good character and devotion to the Lord? And if we accept those instructions, and live by them then we receive the blessings, it is not some supernatural thing, where somebody has to come up and touch your head to give you blessings, that touching head stuff is very cheap blessing, the real blessing is in the words, and when we actually apply their words to our life, and live by that type of pure, humble, and sincerely devotional character then we are accepting the blessings, and with that blessings comes unlimited grace, by which one can overcome all obstacles. Whether you are a criminal or saint, physically you have to die, death is not an impediment for a person who has been illuminated by those blessings, why? Because for such a person consciously we realize that death is a change of clothes that the soul lives on, and ultimately our relationships, when we cultivate spiritual relationships, those relationships, live on. When we love a person’s eternal soul, of course we can’t love a person’s eternal soul unless you recognize their soul, and you can’t recognize their soul, unless you recognize your own soul. When we are self realized then our relationships take on a complete different dimension, they are not limited to the proximity of this body which are going to vanish at any time, and in due course of time, when you are young sometimes you hear it, but it does not really make any difference because we have so much energy, because we think we have so long to live.
Uncertainty of Life
But little Prahlada is five years old, and he was teaching the same idea bhagavad dharma to his five year old classmates, and they were revealing their minds to prahlad, why are you telling us, we are only five years old, all this stuff about God and self realization this is for old people, who are about to die, because they don’t have that much life to look forward to listen, but we have whole life ahead of us. Prahlad said, ‘kaumara acita prajyo dharmam bhagavatani ’ it is actually for five year old children, it is for everyone, because you don’t know that you live for one more day, there is no guarantee for anyone, we see it, but we don’t believe it. Few years ago right here in the temple, I remember it is about 4o’clock in the morning then everything started shaking, and windows and the doors, and at the time we have our orphanage downstairs, and they were all screaming, they are screaming Krishna’s names, it was quite sweet, they were really screaming Krishna’s names, did you remember Govinda prabhu? It was not like Krishna. Krishna(in low voice), they were screaming Krishna’s names, because there was an earth quake, and the whole building is trembling and shaking, and felt it was on the verge of collapsing on our heads, so brahmacharis, children everybody was chanting, Krishna was just playing his flute, no problem for him, and it stopped. But a couple of hundred miles away from here, there were 12000 people killed within a few minutes, and the vast majority of them are young people. Housewives, mothers put their idly mix, so in the morning they can easily make their breakfast, they were never thinking that idly mix was never be used. Children had their plans for the next day, school play, no one had any conception that they would never wake up, there was about 12000 people who never woke up, and a couple of years later same thing happened in Gujarat a few hundred miles away, couple of years after that there was tsunami, and everyday people fall of trains, car crashes. So we don’t want to dwell on these negative things, but they should sober us, because unless we understand the eminence of death, we never take the advantage of beauty of life. How precious every moment is, and what real life is about? Accessing that eternal nature which is beyond birth and beyond death, which every great tradition through out history has been focusing on that, on the consciousness beyond matter, that is the animating force, the real you, the real me, so instructions in how to live to live in harmony with our true self that is the God’s blessing to the world. If a person is sick, and you cure them their disease, even by some miracle, that is not much of blessing, as awakening a person’s divine consciousness, because he can get sick again, and he is going to die, so it is a temporary measure. When they asked our Gurudev, Prabhupad, can you show me a miracle, can you make ashes, can you make gold? Can you make jewellery? Can you cure sick people? Prabhupada was very humble, he said ‘I’have gone to the west and made hippies into happies’, another words, these people who were lost , they got connection to their eternal, blissful nature, and to God, to Krishna, rise them above death, that is actually the birth right of every human being, ‘athatho brahma jijnasa’, that is the greatest purpose of human life, it is the greatest opportunity within human life, and accessing blessings is such an important part of this, even when the supreme lord descends, he teaches by his own example, we read about great saints, and greatest Avatars.
Jiva goswami, greatest scholar that ever lived, but yet he considered himself to be just a humble instrument of his guru, rupa goswami’s blessings. There is a beautiful story when, one proud scholar came to defeat Rupa, and sanatan goswami in debate, and get their signature on a certificate that they are formally defeated by him. Then Rupa and Sanatan said there is no need to debate with us, because you are better than us anyway, just give us the certificate we will sign it. They signed it, they didn’t care what people thought, and then he was going around showing everybody. Jiva goswami said, they could have defeated you, they are just not arrogant like you, they don’t want to become famous scholars like you, they want to use their scholarship to understand the truth, not to make themselves prestigious, to defend their name, I will debate with you, and he was their nephew and their student, and he debated and he defeated him, he defeated the scholar. The scholar has to rip up all the signatures, and leave. So Rupa Goswami chastised Jiva goswami, who you did that?, he said ‘I was trying to defend your name Guruji ’, He said, ‘no, you fell into the trap of using your scholarship for your own prestige, now you have defeated him’, and to live in Vrindavan, no one with even a trace of this kind of arrogance should live in Vrindavan, so you should leave. Now he could have just defended himself, but he accepted, may be I don’t understand what my Guru saying, but it must be good for me, he must be right, he must be seen on a deeper level, it was due to pride I did that, and he left. And he started performing tapasya, and eventually Rupa goswami brought him back.
Now he could have just defended himself but he accepted may be I don’t understand what my Guru is saying but it must be good for me. He must be right may I just don’t. He must be seeing on a deeper level it was due to pride that I did that, so he left and started performing tapasya and eventually Rupa Goswami brought him back when he heard about Sanatana Goswami and Rupa Goswami brought him back. Rupa Goswami was proud of him he revealed it to him the inner most confidential secrets of spiritual truths because he saw that his disciple was just so sincere and he had no ulterior motives.
Blessings in Ramayana
Lord Ram, we read in Ramayan, is the Supreme Lord incarnated in this world. Supreme Lord means Bhagavan, the possessor of all beauty, all knowledge, all fame, all wealth, all renunciation and all strength. That is the definition of God according to Vedic literatures. Bhagavan is the source of all that exists. Krishna tells in Bhagavad Gita, all beautiful and wonderful things that existing within this world are just a spark of My splendour like a ray of the Sun. So when Lord Ram was living in Ayodhya, the great saint Vishwamitra came to the court and King Dasarath was not just a political leader of today. He was actually a king and in those days long ago there wasn’t elections every four years where you to campaign and you have to make alias with enemy parties just to somehow or other get enough seats so that you can be in your situation and you have to compromise with all different types of lobbies otherwise they will withdraw their support and funding. In those days a king is a king until he decided to give hi kingdom to his son or queen or whatever, very powerful person, massive armies, tremendous wealth and it’s for life. Usually people who have that type of power, practically absolute power when you are a king of a massive kingdom and all the citizens loved him because h ruled with such compassion because he had no ulterior motives. He was really there for them because in the vedic system everyone is a servant no one is a master. Only God is a master even God likes to serve. So everyone is a servant. King means you give your life to serve your subjects you have in your kingdom and the subjects are serving each other and serving the king so everyone is serving. The guru is serving the disciples and the disciples are serving the guru. Jivera swarupa hoy, everyone is there in the spirit of service that’s spiritual consciousness.
Dasarath seeks the blessings of Vishwamitra
So here is Dasarath Maharaj who is more than a billionaire, he is the proprietor of everything in his kingdom and he is sitting on his magnificent throne and in comes Vishwamitra. Vishwamitra is just wearing a tree bark. He has no house he lives in the jungle sleeping on the ground no possessions he is only set of clothes is a tree bark around his body. When he came in, because he is a saintly person, he has attained the wealth and power of self realization and Dasarath Maharaj understood that as a king he had attained the wealth and power of the things of this world but he didn’t compare it to what Vishwamitra had. So from his heart, he came off from his throne and put Vishwamitra on his throne and washed his feet. Such a humble position because washing feet is not like if you go to a hospital and you have a cut on your foot and the doctor will wash your feet. It’s not like that. He is not getting paid for it. that’s main thing. He is not doing it to treat Vishwamira Muni. He is doing it actually from the heart that you are great I am small and then he asked for the Vishwamira Muni’s blessings. Dasarath said whatever I have is only due to the blessings of saintly people so please give me instructions and give me blessings.
Blessings may not be palatable always
Now the thing about the blessing stuff is you have to be prepared, if you had just asked expecting what you want, it may not be like that. So Vishwamitra Muni said, Oh yes here is my blessing, Give me your son Ram.
For Dasarath this was worse than death. He loved his son for Dasarath Lord Ram, He may have been the Supreme Lord but for Dasarath Maharaja Ram being the supreme lord was a detail but the real thing is He is my son. He didn’t see Him as the Supreme Lord due to his parental affection he was seeing Him as a boy who is depending on him he was still very young he was only a teenager. You want to take him to the forest to fight against the Rakshasas, very powerful mystic demons. Vishwamitra said yes I want to bring him to the forest these Rakshasas, the demons with super natural powers; they are harassing the saints so I want your son to come. Dasarath said I will come with my whole army but leave Ram at home. Viswamitra said I want Ram, I don’t want you and I don’t want your army.
Dasarath Maharaja tried to talk him out of this blessing. First he asked for a blessing then he was doing everything in his mental power to talk him out of it but Viswamitra Muni was much focussed. So he eventually other sages said Dasarath, don’t displease this great personality. He will protect Ram, don’t worry. So they left.
Supreme Lord takes blessings from elders
Ram the Supreme Lord takes the blessings of His father before He goes and then He takes the blessings of Viswamitra Muni and His mother, Kausalya to go. There are so many stories that happened, a fight took place and Ram received the blessings of Vishwamitra Muni first and although Lord Ram is the Supreme Lord He wanted to teach. They came to one forest place where for the first time they saw the river Ganges and Ram was so enthusiastic. Ram asked Vishwamitra please tell me about the history and greatness of River Ganga. Vishwamitra Muni then for a long time then extolled the power and glories of the River Ganges. Lord Ram was massaging his guru’s feet, doing little services and bringing wood to start fire to keep warm at night in the forest.
Then Vishwmaitra Muni led them towards Mithila, the Kingdom of Janaka. Vishwamitra Muni told Lord Ram and Laxman that in this ancient kingdom there is an ancient bow and anyone who could lift and string this bow can get the hands of the princess, Sita, in marriage. Lord Ram and laxman listened to this. When they came to the Kingdom Janaka Maharaj came to receive Vishwamitra and brought Vishwamitra into his court and put the sage on the throne, washed his feet, honoured him and said how I can I serve you? Please give me your blessings. Vishwamitra said I would like to see that bow. First he introduced who is Ram and laxman, that they are children of Dasarath Maharaj in Ayodhya and immediately Janaka Maharaj was thinking only if he could take Sita my daughter’s hands in marriage. Actually Janak told the story of the bow to Vishwamitra. He said long ago there was a great battle between the devas and the asuras and Lord Siva personally gave his own bow to the devas but there was no need for that time. So the devas gave to my great grandfather and this bow has been worshipped within our kingdom for many many generations. Now one day when I was about to a sacrifice, yajna for the welfare of my citizens, I was ploughing with a golden plough the ground around the sacrificial arena and out from the earth came a beautiful golden girl. Her name is Sita, born of the earth and She is so beautiful in fact Narada Muni told me that She is the Goddess of Fortune herself.
So when she came in their way every great prince and kings wanted to marry Her but She is the Goddess of Fortune. She fixed Her mind only on the Supreme Lord Vishnu. So I decided to put a test that only a person who could lift this bow and string this can take the hands of Sita in marriage and I knew only Vishnu, the supreme Lord could do it. So King after king, prince after prince, warrior after warrior coming and this bow is so heavy that no one is even able to budge it slightly from where it’s lying down, even the mighty Ravana couldn’t take it off the table.
Lord Ram Exhibits Humility
So Vishwamitra said bring us to see the bow so the next day they had 300 huge strong men pull this iron case into the center of the court of the King. Then they opened the lid and there was the bow. It was out of celestial woods, gold, diamonds, rubies, emeralds, jewels decorating it. Hundreds of little bells tinkling but nobody could make it tinkle because nobody could move it. It was huge. And the word spread all over Mithila that Rama has come and he is going to try to lift the bow. So everyone was praying. Sita was in the balcony in the special room where the bow was kept. And she saw the beauty of Rama from above. She witnessed hundreds and hundreds of other people come to attempt to lift that bow. And every time she prayed to the Lord “don’t let him lift it”, because she saw that every single one of these kings were arrogant. They were so proud of their powers, of their influence, beauty, high birth, of their wealth. And see understood the greatest of all virtues is humility. She did not want to marry an arrogant person. When she saw Rama, not only his physical beauty absolutely charming, but His demeanor , His character, He did not even go to the bow. Vishvamitra looked at Him and nodded Rama I am blessing you. Go lift that bow. Rama did not take a step towards it till Vishvamitra gave him the instruction and the blessings. Just see the lord would not do it without receiving the blessing of his superior , his senior.
Ram Strings The Bow
After receiving Vishvamitra’s blessing Rama very slowly walked upto the bow and Janaka Maharaj, his heart was palpitating like if Ramacandra does not do it then there is no use in me living any more. The kings, the queens everyone there was just praying from their heart of hearts, “Please Rama pick up this bow” and Sita was watching from the top with tears in her eyes. Her heart was fluttering, praying, pleading, begging, “Give Rama the power to do it. I have already given by heart, my life, my everything to Him.”
Rama did everything very dramatic. He stood in front of the bow for sometime and looked at it. All these emotions were happening in everyone’s heart, and in everyone’s minds because they were looking his hands were very soft like petals of lotus flower and his arms were so tender and smooth and the bow was so heavy and coarse and hard. How is this little prince can possibly be able to do it but he has to do it because no one else is qualified to marry sita and sita her whole life was on the —54.45 line. She already gave her heart and her soul to rama. And janaka had already in his heart felt that there is no other man that could marry my daughter but at the some time they vowed that person has to lift the bow and string it, string it means bend it. So rama stood there looking. The only person who didn’t have any agitation in the mind was vishvamitra muni because vishvamitra muni knew the power of rama he is the supreme lord.very interesting relationship rama asked blessing from vishvamitra muni and vishvamitra muni understood that rama is my supreme lord whatever blessing I have is only coming from him.
Its like the way they worship ganges rivers. You take water from the ganges and offer it to the Ganges. So Vishvamitra taking the grace of the lord and offering it as the blessing to the Lord. Then Rama put that tender hand in the centre of the bow and just stood still holding the centre of the bow. Everybody’s mind was just soaring with anticipation, unbearable anticipation. Vishvamitramuni said lift the bow. Suddenly rama very fast, he picked up the bow with his arm straight held it over his head. Everyone gasped. It was inconceivable , it was incredible. It was unbelievable. Even the greatest, most powerful people of the planet, many of them together could not lift it off the table and this teenage prince lift it right over his head effortlessly. As effortlessly as a person just picks up a little piece of bamboo. Then he placed one end to the ground. Then he took the top end and bent it and put the string and strung the bow. There was absolute total silence during this whole procedure. Rama already did what he was supposed to do- he strung the bow but he wanted to check up what this bow is really made of. So with one hand he held the bow up and with his other hand he pulled the string and he pulled it back back until it was bent like a semicircle and then it cracked. it was thunderous. The entire earth shook. The chandeliers in the palace were going like this and then Sri Rama very gently placed the pieces of the bow back into the chest.
Ram Meets Sita
Meanwhile Janaka’s eyes were filled with tears. It was the happiest moment of his entire life. And sita in the balcony, she was smiling, she just wanted to jump and start dancing. she somehow or other because it was very sober occasion , she remained very still, very slyly looked down as her heart was leaping and jumping, dancing in ultimate ecstasy. She stood and Janaka he gave her blessing- sita come down now. She came down and she had garland of victory. The garland that for years so many people strived for but nobody could get near it. And sita stood opposite rama and she down on the ground very shyly and she very slowly lifted her eyes, beautiful lotus like eyes. They looked up and for the first time the there was eye contact between sita and rama , between their eyes met and at that moment they both totally gave their hearts to each other. Their eternal relationship was reunited and they both gave their absolute love to each other through their glance. Sita then looked down and janakamaharaj said – my beloved sitaoffer the garland of victory to rama. Then she very slowly approached, lifted her arms and placed that golden garland around rama’s neck. At that moment everyone in the kingdom was singing and dancing and praising and flowers were falling from heavens upon sita and rama. Janakamaharaj said to vishvamitra muni – when should we have the marriage. Vishvamitra muni said – immediately.
Lord Ram’s Marriage
So they sent messangers to ayodhya .it took three days to reach there. In those days it wasn’t like internet. Now people would be watching on satellite tv live performance of rama. No body knew about it. Three days later messangers came to king dashrath in ayodhya and told him what happened. This is the amazing thing. He and his wife were thinking so intensely about who could possibly be a fit wife for rama. They could not conceive of who would be the proper wife for rama and just the day when vishvamitra muni came they were just discussing and talking about it. What appeared to be the worst possible thing that vishvamitra muni was taking him away, because eventhough what appears to be reversals in this life, because he reciprocated with the grace , blessing of the sage , ultimately his innermost desire was fulfilled by rama leaving.
Dashratha said immediately we will bring our armies, we will bring our ministers and we will go for the wedding. It took five days to reach there. Dashratha and janaka old friends, they sat down together and made all the arrangements for the marriage. Visista muni was there as the head priest. Vishvamitra muni looks at janaka and said as long as rama is getting married, his three brothers lakshaman, bharat and satrugna, they should get married too. Infactsita has a sister urmila, she could marry laksaman and your brotherkusadwaja he has two daughters. Mandvi could marry bharata and sutikirti could marry satrugna and as soon he said that janaka kept saying very good, very good again and again. So dashratha comes to satrugna and bharata, and laksaman –would you like to get marry- very good, very good. It was beautiful. There was a magnificently opulent tent that was decorated and was 4 miles across. These were the days when the kings were kings! They could do these things, there weren’t like the pandal that we use. They were gorgeous and more beautiful than the palace itself. And the marriage took place and Janaka, Kushadwaja, performed the kanyadaan. Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki Jai!
So the blessings of great personalities, blessings of our parents, blessings of our elders, blessings of gurus it is a very very scared part of the culture of spirituality. Thank you very much.
Is there any questions?
Question to Radhanath Swami: Thank you Maharaj for the wonderful class. Should we aspire to have the blessings of those who are not necessarily qualified or even demoniac if our parents are so?
Answer by Radhanath Swami: Yes! We should be looking for blessings everywhere.
Question to Radhanath Swami: Even if their blessing go against our Krishna Consciousness?
Answer by Radhanath Swami: Why are you asking this question? Its very obvious, we want blessings from our parents but at the same time we have our path. Since I’ve been on this path my parents have given me millions of times more blessings than before. So we should always be eager but at the same time the path of truth has to be followed. After all your parents have raised you, they have given you so much, we have a debt to them. Is there any other questions?
Question to Radhanath Swami: This pastime of Bali Maharaj seems to be bit confusing in spite of the purports clarifying, in terms of few things like, how when Bali was performed the Viswajit yajna to conquer Indra, the Brahmanas and Prahalad Maharaj also offered his blessings to fight against the demigods. Are they really brahmanas? Was Bali actually a mahajan or he became mahajan at that particular instance?
Answer by Radhanath Swami: He became a mahajan after he did atma nivedanam. We should understand that Prahlada could understand the will of the Lord, what was going to happen. Its a mystery that we can understand that these great souls, they could see into what was actual going to transpire. Prahlada wasn’t giving him this blessing for the purpose of winning a war. It may appear that. But actually Prahlada doesn’t care about those things. Prahlada was giving the blessing of getting the shelter of Supreme Lord and attaining the perfection of spiritual life. That was Prahlada’s blessing. Look what happened? He got the opportunity to attain that perfection, and he took it. Prahlada’s blessing is very powerful. The blessing of a pure devotee – It opened the doors for Bali maharaj to attain the highest perfection. When Vamana came to beg from Bali, it wasn’t just because a duty before the prior vrata of the children. It was also because Prahlada maharaja was praying for his grandson to get pure devotional service. And Bali maharaj was humbling himself to receive Prahlada’s blessing. Its actually very very deep story. We can’t just see this in a superficial way. Prahlada gave his blessing and the immediate thing that happened is Bali maharaj conquered, but if he didn’t conquer, there would be no reason for Vamana dev to take everything away. So, really what Prahlada was blessing him for is ultimately to go through whatever he has to go through to get the Supreme Lord’s grace. And how much the Lord hears the prayers of someone like Prahlada Maharaj? Even Hiranyakasipu was liberated. What to speak of Bali. 4he was actually a great soul.
Question to Radhanath Swami: Often times we receive respect and we offer respect to others. How to ensure that it never becomes a ritual but a heartfelt true spiritual activity, and not mechanical?
Answer by Radhanath Swami: that genuineness develops according to our own realizations. Certainly we should consciously whatever we do on the path of Bhakti, it should be from our heart. It shouldn’t simply be a mechanical thing. And through developing deep realizations from within ourselves, then whatever we do, whatever we say will come from that place, where there is very very deep sublime feeling. Essentially, unless we have a grateful heart, we can’t really be respectful from the heart. Gratitude is all important. Otherwise, respect is just a mechanical formality. But if we are actually grateful, and to be grateful, we have to be humble. If you think i deserve so much, then you are not grateful for anything that happens. We may go through the formalities of “Thank you”, but are you really thankful? If we just eat a massive feast and someone comes and give you some food, you are not that grateful. But if you are starving, and if someone gives you some food, you are really grateful. So, if we have an arrogant disposition, then people may say Thank you and they may not, as a formality. But we are not really grateful, we don’t really mean it. But when we have a humble disposition, we are really grateful – not only for the good things, but even for the reversals and the difficulties. As we see, in every situation, there is an opportunity to grow. There is an opportunity to learn. There is an opportunity for wisdom. There is an opportunity to turn to God and take shelter, even in the difficult times, as well as good times. So, a grateful heart sees an opportunity in every situation – a humble heart, and he is grateful for that. And is actually thankful. So, even if we are following a spiritual path, and even if our parents may not agree, we are still grateful to them, and still thankful to them. We may be following a higher principle, but still there is love, there is gratitude, there is thankfulness. What to speak of others?
Srila Prabhupada, even when drug addicts laying in the street in Bowry, would open the doors for him, from his heart of hearts, he would say, “Thank you.” And he meant it. He was thankful to them, because, they did something for him. They helped him in his service to God by opening that door. He was probably more thankful to those drug addicts and prostitutes who were sleeping on the streets of Bowry, who opened the door for him, he was more thankful from his heart to them, than when saints give us things for us. Because he had that humility. And he could access God’s blessings even in those situations. Because, he had a grateful heart. But to achieve that first we need to want it. And when we cultivate it through our actions, through our words, and most of all, we access that through cleansing our own hearts. By making that spiritual connection within ourselves. In this age of Kali, the most direct way of making that spiritual connection is the chanting of the names of God.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
Even if we don’t have realization, if we are respectful, because we really want that realization, because we want to please people, because we want to enrich ourselves, and we want to show compassion and actually honour other people, if we have that desire, then its not mechanical. Its again a ritual if we are just performing ritual without a serious spiritual intention, then its nothing but a mechanical ritual. But if we are performing that same ritual as an expression of our desire to love God, to purify our own consciousness, then its not mechanical. Because machines can’t think like that. It shouldn’t be mindless, it should be mindful. And this is the way we should chant God’s names.
Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare
Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare
Thank you very much.