Very sincere gratitude to all of our special guests, assemble devotees for so kindly coming this evening to the prerana festival. The purpose of this festival is not to convert but to enlighten. The youth of our country are our future leaders. Real leadership that leads the world in a direction that can bring a true enlightenment and prosperity is based on values in character. It is not based on power and money. The subject that I was asked to speak on today, is “The Power of Positive Attitude” as our master of ceremonies Gauranga prabhu has introducing the topic a simply story came to my mind. I would like to serve with you.
Some years ago a very dear friend of mine made some serious choices of his life, how they affected him and how they affected others is quite educating. His name is Matsya Avatar Das. He lives near Pizza in Italy. He is an Italian man, a graduate in art and is a furniture designer by profession and really dedicated himself to the spiritual welfare of others. There was a man, who served at the temple in Italy fro several years. He was unacquainted of Matsya Avatar. Not a family member. He was from a very different background and a simple man. He was dying of cancer. He had no income and there was no one in the position to help him. So Matshya Avatar was under no pressure but by his free will, he gave all the expenses for medical attention to this person and when he was at his last stages, he sent this man with a medical assistant to Vrindavana, where he was surrounded by the devotees chanting the names of god in the holy atmosphere of Vrindavana. Matsya Avatar Prabhu arranged, managed and paid for all the expenses, so that he could leave this world in a grateful enlighten state of consciousness in the land of Krishna.
Sometime after that his wife had cancer; she was on her death bed. Matsya Avatar Prabhu provided all the funds and all the help so that she could leave comfortably as possible in a completely spiritual environment. When she was very close to the inevitable time of death Matsya Avatar asked her, how I can serve you? Please remember he is not a family member, he is not necessarily a very close friend but actually the mess is she was close to his friend and she said, “Because I believe in Krishna. I know I’ll go to Krishna. I know He is waiting for me”. She said, “I have no fear of death, whatsoever. In fact I am looking forward to whatever service Krishna has for me after I leave this world but I do have only one anxiety in my heart. I have a small son, I think he is only about six years old or seven. There is no one proper to take care of him. I want him to be a devotee and love Krishna. If I send him away somewhere else I do not know what will happen to him. This is my only anxiety on life”. Matsya Avatar said to her, “I promise you. I’ll personally accept your son as my own son and I vow to you that your son will never think that I am partial to my own children over him. I’ll take care of him, until he grows up and a necessary for his whole life”. She trusted his words. She smiled and said, “Now I have taking care of all my responsibility in life on the happiest person in the world. I am ready for Krishna to take me, whenever He wants to take me”.
She left this world in grateful and happy state with devotees surrounded her with chanting the holy names. That’s the positive outlook in life to see death as a wonderful opportunity, to see death as a glorious step forward, rather than the bitter inevitable end. Her positive outlook inevitable brought her to Krishna to life’s perfection. In regard to Matsya Avatar this was some years back he took care of that child along with his own two children as his own son. In fact when I go to his house, if I would talk to his own children he would very very concernedly tell me, “Please whatever time and energy, you talked to my children, spend more with this child. He should never ever feel a trace that he is less than my own children or that he is never loveless”.
Now the boy is in college and he is very happy and completely protected. Form the point of view of Matsya Avatar, taking care of this child, disciplining him, when necessary. The whole burden of the finances of the paying for his food, for his clothing, paying for his college and his education in the Western Wrold. You may see it is a burden. But he does not see it is a budern. It is one of the greatest joyous in his life because he sees that he is serving a devotee. He sees that he is maintaining his promise and His vow to two wonderful people, who he promised at the time of their death. It is a joyful fulfilling and enlightening experience for him, why? Because he has a positive outlook.
We are all spirit souls, part of God according to Bhagavad-Gita and Krishna is svarat. That means He is completely independent and as parts of the supreme Lord, we also have independence. People can take away, your money, material nature can take away your health, time will take away your years, everything is taken away from us inevitably but there is one thing that there is no power in all creation that can take away from anyone in this human form of life and that is our free will. This is all important. Life is about, how we choose to use our free will at every moment. According to how we use our free will, we become conditioned to think that way to see the world in that way and to acting that way. We become conditioned by whatever we associated with.
Just gross example. If one uses one’s free will to smoke cigarettes. No one can force it to do it but the association you keep could severely influence you to do it. When you start it taste horrible but by your free will you keep doing it until your free will is so much conditioned to surrendering to that experience that you become addicted and then it practically seems that you do not have a free will anymore. By this addiction, you are practically being forced and crushed that I have to do it and I have to do it. I must do it. I cannot live without it. Alcoholism is same thing, drug addiction is same thing. You use your free will, you do it enough times and soon you become so conditioned by the modes of nature that you willingly surrendered to that. It appears that you lost your free will. But in fact, you haven’t. So whatever our consciousness is, whatever our way of thinking is, we should understand it is not our nature eternally, it is our acquired nature. It is the nature of the characteristics that we have created ourselves according to what and who we choose to we associate with in our lives, in this life and in our previous lives.
According to Bhagavad-Gita, when we take birth according to the characteristics we have acquired, we have a particular state of consciousness in this life. Some people are very dynamic. Yes, we have seeing. Some people they are just really lazy and lethargy. It is not that I am just born that way, what can I do. It is through choosing lethargy in this life may be in previous lives that that becomes your nature to be lazy. Some people by nature they just cannot stop complaining about everything and everyone. Have you ever met anyone like that? They just love to complain. In fact they may not love it, they cannot stop it. It is through complaining and complaining and associating with complainer that you develop that aptitude and that attitude.
Similarly when we associate with people who are positive and when we choose to engage in a positive perspective with positive activities then we reconditioned ourselves in that way. But this is the special virtue of human life is we always have a freedom of choice. You may not be able to control the environment but you do that full controlled of how you are going to respond and react to the environment.
If you are on a boat, you may not have control over which way the wind blows but you do have control over how you want to control the sails of your boat. How you are going to respond? You have a choice. When very unpleasant things or unfair things come upon you, you can either choose to be a victim or you can choose to learn a lesson. You can choose to complain and bring everybody else down. Misery likes company. Or you could choose to see what the positive opportunity is in this apparently miserable condition.
Human intelligence is properly utilized, whatever situations come upon us instead of simply reacting. We made an intelligent choice of what is actually the highest virtue that I can achieve. “Seek you shall find” it is said in Bible. “Knock the door will open”. Every situation is an opportunity. It is said, when opportunity knocks most people complain about the noise. Vision is to see the invisible. To see the positive possibilities in every situation that comes upon us. This whole world as far as perception is a mirror of our own consciousness. Nobody sees the same thing in this world in the same way. Whatever and whoever we come in contact with, we are going to see according to our own state of consciousness. Yes the world is just a mirror of our own attitudes.
One person sees that look at this Rose bush. It is full of thrones, grumbling about the thrones on the rose bush. Another person rejoices look at the throne bush has a rose. So that they are seeing the same thing. But are they seeing the same thing? No. if you have rose colored glasses, everything will look rose colored. If you have yellow colored glasses, everything will look yellow. If you have green colored glasses, everything will look green. If you have cleared colored glasses, you see everything as it is. So yes, according to our state of consciousness, we have certain attitudes and we will perceive reality, according to our acquired attitudes. How we choose, what attitude we choose to adapt an situations is what is going to determined our consciousness and our whole perception of the world.
Ralph Emerson, He explained the mind in this way. He said that the mind is in such a thing that it could make hell into heaven and heaven into hell. So just like today, for some of you this is like heaven being in Krishna’s temple, so nice and hot and what is the heat? The heat is so many sincere wonderful devotees because we are crowded together is creating wonderful auspicious purifying heat. You can see it that way and rejoice and we are hearing nice subject matter and there is Thakurji, Sri Radha Gopinath, presiding over and so many astringed guests. Someone else may be thinking, it is hot and I am tired and god I came here to eat the ice cream, why is he speaking so long? So it is just a matter of attitude. The ice cream is there. Plz, be patient. We could make hell or a heaven or heaven out of hell, with our own mind.
I was telling the story sometime back, when I was in a train in India. It was so crowded. It was third class train. This was in the 1970 and the capacity said something like 60 people and there were probably 300 people in that train. It was during the monsoon rain season and it was so hot and in the middle of the rice pad, there was flood and we just sat there for about eight hours and we could not get out. There was no wind. They turned off the fans and it was very difficult and I was so tired. I was being crushed and somehow I found a place under a seat on a filthy dirty floor and people were eating peanuts above me and blowing the cells and the skins on my face and I was getting ticked in the head by all people in the front and back of me. But I had that little space. It was a space where I could actually lay down after about 40 hours I could finally lay down and I was so happy. I was so grateful. I tell you honestly that there was no person in the penthouse of the Tajmahal Hotel who is happier with their accommodations than I was, why? Because it is the matter of perception. They are taking it for granted. They pay their money, they go to sleep and probably complaining, Oh the air conditioner is not the right temperature like that. But because of the desperate situation, it was heaven. Hell became heaven. It is just the matter of positive attitude.
William black explains, it is famous saying. He made very very famous sayings. One of them was, “We read the Bible, day and night”. You read black and I read white. Reading the same words but according to our attitude we have a whole different idea. Look at the world today. There’s people who read the holy Bible, the holy Koran, the holy Veda, Bhagavad-Gita, and when they read it, what they get out of it? Of all these scriptures, we find that there are people who fond the reading of the same text, some people learn to hate and others learn to love. They are reading the same words. Some people learn from how to despise and take revenge and others learn of the same words of the same book how to be compassionate and to forgive. Some read and find, “I am great. I am the one. We are the chosen. We are better than all others. All others are inferior or to be exterminated and others read the same words and they became humble and respect to all. Same Bible, same Koran, same Vedas. People read Vedas and become “I am brahmana and you are untouchable”. If I even see or face, I’ll bathe and if you touch me then I’ll have to do puja to neutralize the affects. So keep a distance and serve. Someone else
brähmaëe gavi hastini
çuni caiva çva-päke ca
Sees the spirit soul in every living being and part of God in every living being and sees the brahmana, the dog eater, the elephant, the cow, every living being is a part of god and offers all respect love and compassion as an instrument of god, that’s what the Bhagavad-Gita teaches us. Some people become humble and respectful to all and some people become bigoted and sectarian and phonetical reading the same scriptures, why? It is all of basis of our association, our perception, and our particular attitude.
Vision means seeing the invisible, seeing the potential in every situation in which I can do something very meaningful and good. Our spiritual master taught that even if you see a file of ashes, what is the value of ashes? People do not use to buy ashes. If there is one little spark of fire, a person who has real virtue will concentrate on that little atomic part of particle of a spark. Even it is on the entire bed of with this ashes and will concentrate attention on finding that spark and making a blaze fire. Another words seeing the potential rather than seeing the difficulty or the uselessness.
When our gurudeva came to the western world, he came to teach, “No illicit sex, no intoxication, no gambling, no meat eating and complete devotion and surrender to a person god and he was speaking to people who in a generation of free sex in America in 1960s, the most uncurl or unpopular thing you can do is get married because that everybody else does. But not the young generation. Free sex and free drugs intoxication, gambling their life away, total meat eating society, no conception of god amongst so many of these people in the counter culture and these are the people they were coming to swamiji. He could be easily say, you are untouchables, mlechas, Yavans. I do not want to say your faces. Get out. Get out. I am going back to India. He could not even justify to saying like that but he saw, he looked. What you seek, you will find. He looked for that spark and there is a spark in everyone. A spark of potential goodness, even in the most ego person and he just concentrated his full energy on that little spark and encouraged it, fanned it, and made it into a blazing fire that burnt way all of the other vices. That is positive attitude.
Compassion means having a very positive attitude. If a doctor does not have a positive attitude about curing a patient will he even try not with his heart, may be for some money, he may cheat them and say “I cure you” but he know he won’t. But an honest doctor sees the potential to cure this person. So compassion means to see the potential good in someone even if they are in a difficult miserable situation and actually out reached to help them. That is a very very positive attitude, even in this world. If it was not for people with extremely positive attitudes, what we take for granted today would not exist. We are just speaking on a very relativistic platform. I just came here on an airplane and in fact we had to circle around Bombay few times because the airport was over loaded with planes. There was so many airplanes in the run way. How many airplanes do you think take off and land in the world everyday? May be next Prerana Festival, I’ll research you to find out. But it is tens and thousands.
We see airplanes flying by all the time. We fly Delhi to Calcutta to London. How did things that happened? The first college I spoke yet to give a lecture on the philosophy of Bhagavad-Gita was in “Date no hile”. The name of the college was “Right State University”. Because Date no hile is the place where the Right brothers were from. I think – and – Right. They were two brothers. They were farmers. They had this idea that man should fly. Now we take it for granted but in those it was not impossible for them. They were trying to invent a machine that would make man fly and people thought they were crazy. The people thought they were lenitive. The people thought they were unrealistic. Why are you wasting your time? The birds are supposed to fly and the bats are supposed to fly but mans are not supposed to fly. Man cannot fly. You are not birds. So they used to criticize them. They spend hours and hours, days, months, and years working on these machines to fly and absolutely no one respected them, recognize them their thought was possible. They criticize them. You are fools. You are wasting your time. You are crazy. They were the laughing stuck of the area. People would just laugh at them because they kept failing. They call people to watch sometimes and they had this little machine that really look strange and they just be running with little bicycle wheels on it and they were like the wings on it and fall down and everyone just laugh and laugh. Soon they stopped and they did not even call anyone anymore. People just laughed at them, ridicule them but they persist year after year after year and ultimately they flew on the sky only a few yards but they actually one upon in the air and they saw potential and now look the power of their positive attitude. It may be impossible but it became possible, why? Because of the power of the positive attitude of people who believed in the idea of what they were doing and did not care what anyone or everyone said. They had faith in their idea.
What is the said about faith? With faith you can see the invisible, you can believe the incredible and you could receive the impossible. We have so many light boards and we are sitting in the light. We take it for granted. Thomas Edition has such a positive attitude, there are different explanations but what I have read is almost nine thousand times, he failed in experiments in making the light board. Now would you persists, after twenty times, fifty times or thousand times. Nine thousand times he tried and failed and do you know something? In everyone of those times he failed and they did not work, he was never disappointed, he was never depressed and he was enlivened. It is just the matter of your attitude. Thomas Edition’s attitude was not that I failed. Thomas Edition’s attitude was “This is fantastic. I have learned one other way it does not work. This is stepping stones of success. You can see the half empty glass and you can see the half full glass. It is the matter of your attitude.
In this type of positive thinking that gives people the inspiration to carry on, even against all as and succeed. We are driving all these cars, Bombay is a mess may it would been better if they did not invent a cars. But some how or others we used them. We take them for granted. But back in the late 19 the century and early 20th century in America, when Henry Ford and these other people were trying to make everyone was driving in horses or some people even had bicycles. Bicycles were invented by Leonardo Da Vinchi in Italy a long long back about five hundreds years ago. So people riding bicycles and they were riding horses and they did not go anywhere. So many experiments and they were doing anything and do you know what people used to say? When they see Henry Ford trying they said, “Get a horse. Why you are wasting your times with this nonsense, just get a horse. Be reasonable, be practical. Do as possible”. But they have positive attitude.
Practically everything we live today as far as modern technology was a people who born a particular vision a particular perseverance and an attitude that they did not give up”. Now modern psychologist they approach the attitudes of human beings based on the idea that a human being is a biological mental being. Therefore they psychologically try to help people to have a positive attitude accordingly to help people with their physical and emotional conditions. This may be helpful. But it is incomplete. If they are not understanding the spiritual dimension of life. Srimad Bhagavad-Gita especially teaches about the spiritual dimension of life and its relationship with the mental intellectual egoistic and gross of matter. It is the greatest and deepest science of reality. Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita
“bhümir äpo ‘nalo väyuù
khaà mano buddhir eva ca
ahaìkära itéyaà me
bhinnä prakåtir añöadhä”
There are eight basic material elements. There is earth, water, fire, air, and ether. There are basically 24 material elements. The five basic gross elements and then the knowledge acquiring senses, the working senses, the object of the senses, then there is the mahatvatva in which everything is contend and there is three subtle material elements the mind, the intelligence, and the ego. Then Krishna explains in the next verse
“apareyam itas tv anyäà
prakåtià viddhi me paräm
yayedaà dhäryate jagat”
Besides these inferior elements there is a superior nature which is the spirit soul, the conscious life force within all living beings. We are the soul the atma. We are the consciousness and what is the nature of the consciousness. What is the nature of my self?
“na jäyate mriyate vä kadäcin
näyaà bhütvä bhavitä vä na bhüyaù
ajo nityaù çäçvato ‘yaà puräëo
na hanyate hanyamäne çarére”
Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita for the soul there is no birth, death. The soul is eternal and ever lasting primeval. It cannot be moistened by water. It cannot be brunt by fire. It cannot be withered by the wind. The soul is indestructible. The soul is sachidananda, eternal full of knowledge and full of bliss. That is us. What is the relationship with the true self with the mind, the intelligence, and the ego? This is the fundamental basic understanding of truth. What is the relationship between the soul, the mind and the body and material nature that surrounds us?
Bhagavad-Gita teaches us, “How to have a positive blissful attitude in every situation that could come upon us even death”? To understand how the modes of material nature are working and what is our relationship, is knowledge. Bhagavad-Gita was staged on a battle field for very very symbolic reasons. Here is Arjuna, he was on a battle field and he was against his own will confronted within insurmountable perplexity in his life. He was a good man. Why do bad things happen to good people? That is a common question. There is a reason for everything. But a really good person does not see anything is a bad. He sees good opportunity even in the bad.
Let us just take a world view. If we objectively look at the world today, study the News Papers, the magazines, the statistics there is a lot to really be depressed about. The types of pollution, the way people treat each other, so much rudeness, so much selfishness, so much egotism, even families are breaking upon being enemies. There is lot of evil in this world. There is a lot of darkness and cruelty in this world. There is terrorism. There is crime. There are so many terrible diseases. There is so much poverty. There is strife. There are earthquakes. There was about to be a volcano in Washington DC. So many strife’s in this world. There is draughts. There are floods. There are massive forest fires. Recently I was in a very very wealthy part of California, Malibu beach, Laguna beach, and they showed me where just on the verge of the most wealthy houses, there was a massive forest fire and there was very very little they could do. It is just the fans on the winds on the rain, where your house is going to burnt down in out. There is a lot to be depressed about if you really look at the world as it is. Would you agree?
There was a News Paper article in America I saw it. It talked about, how one third of the girls under 25 in South India is suicide. That’s pity serious. That’s depressing. That’s in your country in an area that is supposed to be very highly educated and cultured. One third of girls who die under 25 is suicide. Suicide is the ultimate expression of frustration and hopelessness. It is a growing disease all over the world. So if we objectively look at the world we will not true be very depressed, if we have a heart or we can be like ostrich. Everyone knows, how the ostriches deal with the crises. When the lion comes to eat the ostrich the ostrich runs and when he sees the lion coming up behind him, he digs a whole in the ground and puts his head in the ground and think now I am safe. Rabbit, when the fox is coming to eat the rabbit just his ultimate weapon, he closes his eyes and he just forgets the fox is there. But the fact is the tiger is about to eat the ostrich and the fox is about to eat the rabbit, closing your eyes of seeking your head and hold in the ground is not change situations. So people in the world today, either they just do not wanted hear about the problems of the world adjectively or they just dig their hole in the ground in the form of television or some sport event, whatever just forget it all. Television is very very popular. Sporting events are very very popular. Do you really think, people care so much about who hits the ball or what’s happening tube those just flashing lights? People take those things so seriously because they just want to forget the perplexities and the complexities and the frustrations of life. It’s a way of sticking your head in the ground or closing your eyes.
Arjuna, when he was faced with the severe perplexity, he could not close his eyes or stick his head on the ground. He had to face the reality as it was and he became severely depressed. If a clinical psychologist will read Bhagavad-Gita and see the symptoms of Arjuna, he would say, this man really needs some medications. He was shacking. His bow fell from his hand and he turned white. His dark complexion turned white. His mouth was dried up and tears were bring me from his eyes. He was in a hopeless state. He was depressed. Then he decided, “He wanted Nirvana”. What does that mean? He decided Krishna “I am not going to stay in this battle field. I am not going to face this crisis. I am going to the mountains. Better I just renounced everything and negate the problems all together. Then I’ll be nirvana, peace”. But negation of the negative is not the best solution. What does Krishna teach Arjuna in Bhagavad-Gita? He taught him bhakti. What is bhakti?
Bhakti is the combination of Gyan and Vairagya. He told Arjuna that does not be depressed, do no just artificially close your eyes and escape the problems of life. Do not run away and negate them. See the positive opportunity that you have in this situation and work accordingly. That is the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita. Do your work for the welfare of others in a spirit of compassion to others with consciousness of your relationship with god. That is what Bhagavad-Gita is all about. Developing a very positive attitude. Not on the basis of just physical and emotional but physical, emotional and spiritual. The depth of our positive attitude is very much determined by how much we have knowledge of our spiritual self. You could be very positive about various opportunities to make money and very positive to never give up even despite so many failures to invent something. You can work hard, so hard all your life. Even against all as failure after success.
One famous person says, “Success means one who goes through failure after failure after failure and does not loose enthusiasm”. Another person said, “The only time you fail is the last time you try”. So in that sense somebody who just works really hard and does not give up his hope in what he or she can do that’s positive thinking. But what happens when old age start taking away your facilities and beyond your control people you love start turning against you. It could happen. There is a famous lady in America, who was so famous, everyone knew her name, everyone brought her products. She was in the top of the world in fame and fortune. Now she is imprisoned. I am not going to judge whether she is right or wrong. But one thing we can see objectively is she won’t want to go to prison but somehow or other no matter how good you do, no matter how great you succeed things could turned against you. I remember, when I was a little boy, I saw an article in news paper about one of the son of the – who died a horribly – death, eaten alive by -. He was a -. They were living in New York City but he took a trip for some sociological Phd research on the – of New Ginny. Somehow or other he became the object of food for the object of his study. I remembered reading in the paper, here is the most powerful wealthy man in the entire planet saying, “I’ll never find another again in my life because my son has dead”. So inevitable circumstances can come upon us then we are completely not according to our plan in life and ultimately everyone whoever we are has come closer to death.
A positive attitude based on emotional and biological considerations will not really help you to succeed through that crisis. It is only knowledge of the eternality of the soul. Bhagavad-Gita teaches the detachment in this sense that whatever may happen we should simply be grateful for the opportunity to server in that situation and find happiness, knowing that ultimately “açocyän anvaçocas tvaà” that every living entity is eternal that really is no such things is death. For a materialistic person, when their loved one dies, it is the end of that person’s existence that’s very hard on the heart, is it not? This person seeks to exist, my own child, my lover, or my parent. But Bhagavad-Gita teaches the positive attitude which is not based on sentiment. It is based on truth that there is no death for anyone. We could do something. If our loved one dies, we could do something for them. We could pray for them. We could perform pujas and do service to god in a spirit of compassion to them and their souls will get the benefit.
The tradition of India is, there is sraddha and panda for the departed ancestors but in essence when we perform devotional service to the lord, in Srimad Bhagavatam it is said that one who surrenders to Krishna 21 generations of all relatives past and future get liberated. There something positive that we can do to show our love even for the departed souls. Otherwise, you know, we just burnt a candle and cry because they are dead and gone. So Bhagavad-Gita teaches how there is a positive opportunity in every situation and however bad the role may be as far as all kinds of corruption and pollution and ego, we can always look for the good. We know about the bad. We do not just hide from it. We know about it. We are conscious about it. But we look for the good. We fan this sparks and we try to act as instruments of god’s compassion in this world according to our capacity and that brings us tremendous positive fulfillment in life.
Some people say that when you take to the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita or you become a devotee of Krishna you are escaping the world but that is the most ridiculous misconception. We do not want to escape, we want to face it for what it is. But we want to see it in such a way that we see the goodness, we deal with the badness, we see the goodness, we see the bad but we see the opportunity of how we could try to do something wonderful according to our capacity and that brings us bliss. To know we are trying to actually help brings us inner and true satisfaction and that takes a positive attitude based on knowledge. As long as we are attached to being the enjoyer of this material energy, as long as we have selfishness, greed, envy, and pride within our heart, there is going to be so many frustrations because we are trying to exploit. The actual liberated state is the service attitude. We do not want to posses, we do not want to exploit, we do not want to control but we want to serve. Now if we can serve by controlling our motive is to serve that attitude is free from selfishness is liberating. It is the actual supreme most positive attitude to serve in all situations with complete faith in God. Faith in the goodness of god and the potential in every possible situation and how does that state of consciousness come through association. If you are associates with negative people you will become very very negative.
In fact I was speaking to a very very high level managing consultant and he said that even in a company, one person who seriously negative can spoil the whole operation. Just a bad apple could make all the apples turned bad. It is depressing to be with somebody who is negative and complaining. Is it not? But even in difficult situations when we see somebody is hope full and enthusiastic, it brings life. It brings enthusiasm. It brings hope and happiness, to associate with those people and to associate with those free choices that bring us closer to god that increase our faith in god and simultaneously raise our values in life that will transform our hearts.
I’ll give a couple of examples. Our beloved guru maharja Srila Prabhupada, he had such incredible positive thinking based on faith. Many of you know the story, he left India when he was 70 years old, crossing the Arabian sea on a cargo ship named “N V Jaladuta”. He had two heart attacks, sea sickness and still he had to cross Africa, the Suez Canal, and the entire Atlantic ocean. When he arrived some short stay he was in Butler, Pennsylvania at some stranger’s house and then he was living in the bowery a gate way of New Your. Living in the esteem of the highest saint and around him where drunkards, prostitutes, drug addicts and criminals, the lowest gate way in America in those days was bowery. He had no other places. Someone just let him stay on his floor. He had such a positive attitude. If you read his diary, somebody gave him a tape recorder and he taped himself chanting “Hare Krishna”. Then he taped not only Kirtan but some little speech along with it. He had a program in somebody’s apartment and only about three four people came and he play the tape.
Srila Prabhupada writes in his diary that they came, they could not understand the words, they could not understand what I was saying, but three four people they seemed interested. He writes “Now I know that Haridas Thakur’s prophecy that there holy name will convert and transforms the hearts of people all over the world, will come true”. How many of us, if Goura Gopal prabhu or Gauranga Prabhu travel all across the world and there was some little gate way apartment and three four people came and they could not even understand what they were saying, are they see this is a sign that the mission of Krishna is going to spread all over the world and be ecstatic about it. Most people would be very depressed.
But Srila Prabhupada was positive out look. Any little thing is he saw is Krishna’s sign to encourage him to go on. Any little thing. He would report to his god brothers, what were going on and they were saying back in India, they would just saying “Forget it just come back, it is useless”. Nobody else could see it. He had the positive outlook and then some John Paul invites him to stay in his apartment. It was on the 5th floor dark stairway to get up there. It was just the s loft. It is just the small place that is used for ware houses back in the 19th century, when that had not developed. They are just practically condemn buildings and poor people just make those warehouses into their home. It is the one room, no partition. In that room, the kitchen, the bath room, the bed room the living room, the dinning room, the exercise room and everything. But Srila Prabhupada writing, “We have a temple now in New York City”. He was writing to his God brother, “Come, come, now we have a temple. Now our mission to teach the pure lesson of Bhagavad-Gita. We actually have a center now”.
Now most of us in that place, we would live and think, is this temple. This is a center and few days later that boy Paul got intoxicated with some kind of LSDL threaten to kill Srila Prabhupada and kicked him out of his house. He accused Srila Prabhupada using his soap and actually want to kill him. So Srila Prabhupada was homeless in the streets of New York, why did not even he return? He still saw with the positive attitude that things are unfolding. A little later he writes in his diary, “Today according to the Vedic Calendar it is Gaura Purnima. The appearance day of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. All my god brothers, they are in Vrindavana and Navadvipa celebrating with kirtan and with katha and the association with so many wonderful loving people. He said, “I am all lone in New York City, there is not another vaisnava within ten thousand miles. But I am happy because I am doing the work of my spiritual master. I have no personal self interest, whatever I am doing is in their service. The mission of their compassion. So a situation, where most anybody would be lonely and depressed and what I am doing in this place. On that day, it was snowing and he had no warm cloths. It seems very difficult. But he was in ecstatic. He was happy. He was seeing positive opportunity, “I am selflessly doing. This is a servant. I do not care, whatever inconvenience. I do not care, whatever success or failure may be coming. I am doing this as a service. Because I know I am pleasing Krishna, that’s all that matter. I know I am trying to do good for humanity that’s all that matters.
Then sometime later he was just staying at someone’s bowery flat and they got him a little storefront, in the lowery sides. Some well wishers paid for the first month rent and said, “Swamiji, we won’t be able to help you after this. Anyone would not come, he had no support and he had nothing. He call some well wishers together to registered an religious organization within America, with the government. They called it “The International Society for Krishna Consciousness”. Then few little well wishers who are becoming just barely becoming devotees, just a few people who had no money at all. They said, “Swamiji, Interenational. We do not even know we have money for the next month for this little tinny storefront in the lowery side. What is this internations?” He said, “No no. We have temples all over the world. We have millions of books being distributes. We have farm communities. It is only separated by times” That’s the positive attitude.
Then he did it because with that positive attitude, which was based on his complete faith in the teachings of Bhagavad-Gita, complete faith in Krishna. Krishna told Arjuna “When you fight this battle, whether you win or loose, it is not important. Whats’ important is you are doing it for the right purpose. You are doing it to please me, it is your success. Srila Prabhupada wrote in his prayers to Krishna on that cargo ship that Krishna everything up to you. I am only your puppet. I am coming to do your will and the will of my spiritual master, my guru maharaja, whatever success or failure is in Your hands”. He had that faith. He had positive out look, years later he came back to India and what kind of difficulty he had in this building of the temple in Juhu beach. There was nothing but aggression, persecution and opposition against him on every level. He was just one small swamiji with a few devotees who are totally inexperienced in any of these things of against political parties, wealthy industrialists. What chance do we have? Materially he had no chance. But he had a positive outlook born of his faith and his service attitude. He took the deities of RadhaRasa Bihari and put them in a little straw hurt for them and told the deities this is for you. I am doing this for you, please allow me to build this temple for you. It is against all and it is impossible. Srila Prabhupada had a regular saying that you used to teach us on a regular basis. “Impossible is a word in a fool’s dictionary. Nothing is impossible with the grace of god”.
Impossible is a word in a fool’s dictionary. Nothing is impossible with the grace of god. There are many things impossible for you and me but with the grace of god nothing is impossible. Now we see Radha Rasbihari temple, so many tens and thousands of people go there. It is a beautiful temple. Even Srila Prabhupada’s own disciples completely gave up all faith in the possibility of building that temple. In the middle of this difficult conflict they gave up and said, “Srila Prabhupada it is impossible. We are wasting our time”. Then Srila Prabhupada said, “Impossible is a word in a fool’s dictionary”. He persevered.
I wanted to tell you something else. “Association is contagious”. Srila Prabhupada had such positive attitude, due to faith in Krishna and his desire to show compassion to others, we have here of example of a person who was an instrument of Srila Prabhupada’s enthusiastic positive attitude. His name is Shyamsundar prabhu. Can you please stand up Shyamsundar Prabhu? He won’t stand up and because he is my older god brother, I can only touch at his feet. Please listen to this story. You are all about to the age or older then he was at this time. He was a twenty five year old boy. We are not going to his background before he met Srila Prabhupada. But he did not know much about Bhagavad-Gita or Srimad Bhagavatam or any of these things. But he met Srila Prabhupada in hate aspire district of San Francisco. He saw Srila Prabhupada’s enthusiasm. He saw that Srila Prabhupada saw that everything is possible. If we are working in a spirit of compassion and love for god and humanity. He saw with his own eyes, how Srila Prabhupada came to New York and began with nothing. How he came to San Francisco with nothing? How he was so much enthusiasm and so much hope and so much faith? He was contagious.
At that time the most famous influential and difficult people to meet in the entire Western World was a musical band called “The Bitols”. Have you heard about the Bitols? I think the broke up in 1970 that was 34 years ago and even in India, you know about them. Whatever they said, it was like the word of God to the young generation of America. They were the authority. Whatever they wore, people would wear. There were millions of people who wanted to see them, to touch them to meet them, and they were really really isolated in seclusion. By that time they stopped all public concerts because they did not want been your people is too much, just crowds and phonetasism.
So here is Shyamsundar, he was a twenty five year old boy living in San Francisco and Srila Prabhupada writes to Mukunda Maharaj that “Shyamsundar wants to go to London to make the Bitols devotees of Krishna. I thinks it is a good idea”. So Srila Prabhupada said it is a good idea. Shyamsundar Prabhu goes to London with his wife and new born little baby, it is hardly one year old. What was her age? He went to London, when she was only three months old. They did not have a home, they did not know anyone. At times the wife, baby, and husband were living in a cardboard box in a basement of a warehouse. Their mission was to make the Bitols devotees. Now what were the as be. If we are gamblers and they just went to London and landed what will the as be that they would be making the Bitols devotees. Perhaps five billion to one. What do you think? Within about a half of a year they were living in John Lenin’s house through the leaders of the Bitols. They were living in their house and they invited Srila Prabhupada to come and live with them. George Harrison the lead Gitar player became a devotee and they made records for them. Their records The Radha Krishna temple was the number one record album in most of Europe and the single record the “Hare Krishna” mantra was the number one record in any parts of Europe also, including London, top 10 and George Harrison remained a devotee to the rest of his life. That is just one out of so many examples in Shyamsundar Prabhu’s life. Where did he get that enthusiasm? Where he did get that positive attitude to do what was impossible? Because of the association with the person who had deep faith in the eternality of the soul and in a selfless service attitude to god, to Krishna. Association is contagious.
Earlier this year one of our very very dear god brothers who visited this temple, “His Holiness Sridhar Swami Maharaja” he departed from this world. He had a very very difficult disease and physically he suffered for many years. But do you know what name was amongst those you know him? The Jali swami. He was always laughing. He was always thinking everyone happy. This is the positive attitude. He told me in many occasion. He said, “Pain may be inevitable but suffering is optional”. He regularly told me this. Because it is our free choice, whether we want to suffer or not”. The experience of pain is there. That may not be a choice. But how we are going to what our attitude is of how we are going to perceive it, is optional. We could it, it is the grace of god and actually even though the physically were hurting, we can find deep fulfillment in gratitude and so many lessons to learn and we can feel ourselves the bliss have been purified or we can simply suffer. Everything is a matter of choice. What our mood is? How we are going to interpret a particular situation. He was grateful.
I’ll end the class with another story, which really move my heart, of one of my god sisters. Her name is Kuntidevi. Through the course of this story, you will find how Srila Prabhupada gave her a suitable name. She was a devotee of mother of two children. Her husband left her. She remained faithful. She was never a big leader. She was never a person that people honored and respected as being a person of high position. She was a simple mother and very very dedicated devotee of Krishna. Those who know her will, honored her but there were not so many people who knew her will. Then she got cancer of breast. That cancer spread, viciously spread and enter into her spine and her organs and was just crippling her. It was such ferocious case of cancer that the doctors said, “This is absolutely nothing that anyone can do. You have six months to live maximum”. At that she was working in trying to support her children in -. But she loves to read Srila Prabhupada’s books. She loves to chant “Hare Krishna”. She had complete faith in Krishna. She was an American Lady. At that time she was in her 40s, I believe. She was practically paralyzed from the waist down. She was in a wheel chair. According to the medical analysis, she was racked with pain and she was always smiling and always encouraging and making everyone happy. It was so phenomenon. How blissful she was, how positive she was that the local television station heard about it. They met her and they never had seen anything like this in their life.
The deterioration of our body, the doctor’s diagnosis, her physical symptoms, everything was utterly hopeless and miserable except one thing, “Her consciousness”. She was just telling everybody, how beautiful life is, how beautiful Krishna is, how fortunate she is, and how fortunate in everything that happens? I saw the television show. It was incredible. The master of ceremony “The Hostess” was just praising her. It was a half hour program about her, I believe. They just showed her, kirtan, there devotees were chanting, and she was just smiling and chanting and praying. She was talking to people and giving lectures to people about the beauty of life and the beauty of bhakti and the good fortune of anyone who has Krishna. They were interviewing her. The hostess asked, “How could you just so happy, when you are in such a condition”? She said, “Because I know I am the soul. I am eternal. This body is just a temporarily situation and this situation is bringing my soul closer to god. Therefore I am rejoicing and I am happy”.
Now you can say just theoretically in that situation. She was living, what she was speaking. Even just ordinary materialistic people could see that and they were on the television station praising her and glorifying her. She was a Hare Krishna devotee and because of her personal qualities. Later she came to our community and she was in such a state that I’ll just tell you few stories. It is very worth hearing. Even though she was in such a condition and everyone around her is young and strong and full of life and she is giving encouragement and hope to everyone. She could not eat the regular diet of the community. So with her wheel chair she went into cook for herself and she invited anybody else, who wanted to come and she cooked so wonderful. Soon she was cooking for about twenty to thirty people a day. They did not want any food, except hers. So weeks and weeks she was cooking for everybody and she was happy in serving them in a wheel chair. She can hardly move. The disease progressed and she did not even get on and she had to just lay down. She did not even have the strength to pick a book. Some people let her use computer because all Srila Prabhupada’s books are on the Folio on a computer. Where she, instead of lifting a book, she could just press fingers on the buttons on any page of books, she could access. She was laying there like this.
I went into her room and she was smiling. She was glowing with bliss. Kuntidevi told me “Some people are feeling sorry for me. They think I am in unfortunate condition but I am so fortunate. I am not on my death bed. For me this is not just a death bed. I am on the bank of the Ganges. Just like Maharaja Parikshita, listening to Sukadeva Goswami speak through my spiritual master Srila Prabhupada. In my desperate condition I am by reading this message of the scriptures, I am hearing these words like I never heard them before. I feel that Gurudeva and Krishna are directly and personally speaking to me with each word. I never experience this before. If this is what it takes to hear that is a small price. I would not trade the position I am in today with anyone else in the entire world. This is a blessing. This is god’s grace”.
She was grateful and crying in gratitude. At a certain point, her health when really bad and she practically fell unconsciously and brought her to a hospital. When she came out of her unconscious state, some devotees went to try to encourage her. What do you do when a person is dying in a hospital? You try to encourage them. But as soon as she came to consciousness, she was smiling and encouraging everyone else. One man, in his fifty’s went to cheer her up but he was having all kinds of problems. Ended up, she was telling him how to have a positive attitude towards his problems by having faith in Krishna and being detached from the results and having a service attitude and he came out of the room and said, “I came to help her and she just solved my problems”. That’s in the verge of death.
I happen to have the fortune of being at her bedside, when she left this world. She was surrounded by loving devotees, chanting the holy names and she just lovingly just gave her heart and her life to Krishna in a totally positive grateful and happy state. Now you cannot get that consciousness. Even from the best psychologist or psychiatric. They can to their work and they can do good to a certain extent but a real true and deep positive attitude in life. That’s to come by knowledge, realization of the eternal blissful nature of the soul, the all attractive all merciful beautiful nature of the god, our relationship and the beautiful and wonderful opportunities to serve god at every moment.
Sukadeva Goswami says, better one moment of full consciousness than on whole long life of just very ordinary relativistic mundane consciousness. Human life is meant for quality and what is important to achieve that quality of real good character is we must have positive attitude. We must never give up. We must understand what is really valuable in life and cultivate the faith through proper activity and association in which we could live by that idea and that will betray that idea. A great person is a person who lives within integrity. To be truthful with others is honesty. To be truthful to you is integrity. To be truthful to god to be honest and without hypocrisy before god is to be truthful to you. That is real integrity. Proper association, hearing positive enlightening spiritual subject matter, cleanses the heart and awakens a positive out look that comes from the very depth of the soul. Actually that is the reason we chant the God’s names. It is not just they superstitious, ritualistic religious activities. The chanting of the God’s names is a scientific process of cleaning the heart, of hypocrisy of darkness, of envy, greed, pride, lust, and illusion. Actually accessing the beautiful spiritual qualities of our original nature and to live with such a positive attitude through accessing our very essence through the chanting of the holy names. “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare”.
Question and Answer
Question : Positive attitude, who may loose many things. So is it a passivity approach? What do you say about this?
Maharaja: We should have discrimination and we should use our intelligence in a very positive way. It really depends on the particular situation but we can have a very positive attitude with intelligence and discrimination as well. Intelligence and discrimination is very important and also to use one of the most uncommon things within the world today, called common sense.
Just like we were speaking about Srila Prabhupada. He had his hopes and he had his plan that he would not let people cheat him. He was very very much careful but his idea was going to be fulfilled. He was going to give his life. He was going to live in die for with complete faith in Krishna. But at the same time he did not indiscriminately waste time or allow himself to be cheated. He was intelligent. So having faith and having positive attitude does not mean just foolishly rushing into situations. It means to use our intelligence to use our god given discussion and to purse it in a very positive hopeful way with faith and integrity and detachment.
What does Krishna saying Bhagavad-Gita about detachment. Detachment does not mean, detachment from trying your best. He told Arjuna, you must fight with all of your power, intelligence, discrimination but do not be attached to enjoying the result yourself. Be attached to the service. If you win, you will get the world. If you loose you will go to the spiritual world. If you have the right ambition, you cannot fail. Failure means to give into evil. If you become multimillionaire or billionaire through evil waves, you have failed. From the point of view of the soul, you are going to suffer all the reactions of everything you have done to get to that place. That’s not success. Whether you attain your idea, or let us say you attain your goal or not. Real success is you preserve your integrity and your character and you do it by right means. Then whether you win or loose by material vision if won the battle against maya or illusion. So that’s what all important.
If with faith, integrity and proper character, we work as had as we can to fulfill our duties and the effort itself is our success. For Arjuna, whether he won or lost, he was successful. For Duryodhana, whether he win or lost, he was a failure. Because one had the right motives and one had the wrong motives. One had a service attitude, a spirit of compassion and devotion and the other was motivated by greed and envy. The world has enough greedy and envious people. They are not making a better place. We need people who are using their intelligence and their abilities to their full capacity in a spirit of devotion and service.
“yad yad äcarati çreñöhas
tat tad evetaro janaù
sa yat pramäëaà kurute
lokas tad anuvartate”
We need leaders who are going to teach people by their example the path of dharma, not that we sell our souls for the cheap glittering ornaments of this world. That is important.
So yes, use your discrimination, use your intelligence, and use your valor with the right motive, the right idea and with the pure heart. That is your success. God sees the purpose in which we act. Is that your answer of your question?
Question : You mentioned the importance of association in the people with positive attitude. Sometimes it is very hard to find a positive association. What do we will do in that situation? How do we develop our positive attitude?
Maharaj : Jesus said, “Seek you shall find”. If you seek you will find and even if it is not so greater available then you be that association. You can get it in positive books, you can get it in positive tapes. You can get it in corresponding with positive people. Whenever possible to be in the physical association with positive people. If you wanted you will find. It is there.
I know somebody who is living in a completely far away place and send one book the Bhagavad-Gita and just immerged himself so much in that Bhagavad-Gita as it is that his whole life transformed. He gave up illicit sex, intoxication, gambling, and meat eating. He was chanting Krishna’s name throughout the day. He was working a very dangerous job. He was a welder. But he was working on a very very highly dangerous petrochemical plants for years like fixing things way way of many stories high and highly explosive facilities. He get paid but a lot to do that, risking life. He was working in those situations. He never met a devotee. He did not even know devotee’s existing.
This is a true story. One day he was just at a Laundromat, a place where you get your cloths washed and he was eating a watermelon and he was spitting the seed into the garbage bin and accidentally the watermelon slipped out of his hand and went into the garbage bin. He did not want to loose that watermelon. So he reached into the garbage bin and picked up that piece of watermelon right out of the garbage and looked at and there was Bhagavad-Gita as it is. So he said, “God must want me to read this”. So he started reading it for couple years. That was his only association, one book. Then he became saintly, gentle and humble. He was intoxicated with Krishna.
So positive attitude means to be grateful to what we have, to be grateful whatever god gives us. That’s enough, if we are just sincere and honest. So association is there, if we look for to want it.
Question : We are coming to the temple and we are listening the lectures and listening that surrendered to the god. But we are getting the difficulties surrendering fully. So what is the solution for that and how to be determined?
Maharaja : Before you could run across country you have to learn how to crawl and then after learning how to crawl, you have to learn how to take your first step. Any destination begins with the first step. Man can move mountains by beginning with the first stone. We have to simply persevere from whatever position we are act with honesty and sincerity. Krishna tells us in Bhagavad-Gita
“ananyäç cintayanto mäà
ye janäù paryupäsate
yoga-kñemaà vahämy aham”
If we are just honest and sincere, god will help us. God will help us in every way. How he helps us? He may put in many impediments on the path but if we understand that with the positive attitude that yes this is a good things that is happening. This obstacle, this tragedy, is a good that something from me to learn, there something for me to grow through this process, then we will grow and we will learn. Association is important to maintain that proper attitude, even at the beginning stages where we are just learning to crawl spiritually and if you just have that positive attitude and nice association and the perseverance then soon you will be running to Krishna. Is that answer of your question? Every journey begins with first step but there has to be faith for us to continue on. We are not speaking of blind faith. We are speaking faith based on philosophy, logic and authority. That faith is real faith. That faith can carry us through our obstacles and inspire us to carry on even when we are so very very far away. If we just have that faith and that sincerity, the only thing that separates us from our ultimate aspiration is a little bit of time. Because where there is faith, sincerity, honesty that attracts mercy and through mercy everything is possible.
Question : Hare Krishna. What is better looking at the object as it is as an observer or looking at the object with positive attitude? For example, “Gautam Buddha would have he turned to look at the miseries of the life”.
Maharaja : Actually He had very positive attitude. That’s how he became Bhddha. He saw the realistic problems of birth, old age, disease and death. He had faith that he could over come those miseries and he could teach the world to how to overcome those miseries. That is a positive outlook. He saw the problem but he had that faith that I could do it and I will do it. Otherwise what kept him going. He could have just gone into depression or committed suicide. He saw, old people, sick people, and dead people. That broke his heart. It was intolerable for him. I must find the solution and I will. He did asceticism and for years and years he did asceticism with a positive attitude that I am going to become free from this and teach the world. But he failed. He actually failed miserably. All his asceticism and all the people who were teaching him in asceticism, he came to the conclusion after years and years of torturing his body through fasting and subjecting his entire body to grossly painful elements. He came to the conclusion that I am not getting anywhere. The only result I am getting of all these tortures is more torture. So he left them all and he persevered and did not give up. He went to that the Pipal tree on Bodhagaya today. How many of you been there? I used to live there, a long ago. He was under that Pipal tree called the Bodi tree and he just vowed, “I am not going to get up until I attain that state of enlightenment, where I can teach the world how to be free from miseries”. That’s positive out look. He did not give up.
Impossible for him is the word in the fool’s dictionary and he did it and he taught the world what he found. So having a positive outlook does not mean being unrealistic or not objective. In spiritual conscious really means the opportunity to see the grace of god in that situation. The opportunity to see how can I serve, how can I learn, and how I can help others in better my own life in the situation and that opportunity is always there in every possible situation in this world, if we look for. Our consciousness can transform tragedy into something. There may still tragedy on one level. But it can also transform that into something beautiful. Because to be an instrument of compassion in a tragic situation is a beautiful thing, is it not? When there is a tragedy and people come out of the genuine spirit of selfless compassion to help those people, is not that something good? Yes, the situation may be apparently horrible but we could do something good in that situation. We could do something positive in that situation. That opportunity is always there.
Question : My question is guruji. As far as I know and as far as I have read in the religious books, it is said that ultimate aim of a person should be soul perfection and I would like to know how it is done. It is done through reading religious books. It is also said that a person can not be troubled free, tension free, or fearless until and unless you do not do soul perception or it is also said in hindi, it is known as atmasakshatkar. So how it is done that? What is the actual meaning of this soul perception?
Maharaj : Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita
“näsato vidyate bhävo
näbhävo vidyate sataù
ubhayor api dåñöo ‘ntas
tv anayos tattva-darçibhiù”
The great seers of the truth, they understand that what is temporary is not true reality. What is eternal is true reality. “na jayate mriyate va kadacin” the true is the soul is eternal. Reality is to understand our original spiritual substance, which is consciousness and which is part of god.
Now to live in harmony with our nature is sanatana dharma. There are many types of dharma. Dharma means that which is inseparable form one’s nature. The dharma of sugar is sweet. The dharma of chilli paper is to be hot. What is the dharma of every living being? Our dharma is to serve. Everyone has to serve. We have to serve the government. We have to serve our family members. We have to serve our employers or we have to serve our employees. We are always serving our senses. We are serving our mind. We cannot live without serving. What is sanatana dharma? That means the eternal original service of every living being and that is service to god. So real soul perception is not only the gyan of understanding that I am the eternal soul. But what is the nature of the soul? What is the quality of the soul? What it activity of the soul?
mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja
ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo
mokñayiñyämi mä çucaù”
The eternal nature of the soul is to please god, to serve god. Krishna explains in Bhagavad-Gita, the greatest service to god, we can do in this world is to be an instrument of His compassion to enlighten others. Not an fundamentalist sectarian way but in a compassionate way. So we hear about god, we read the holy words of god, we chant the names of god, to purify our heart and access the grace of god within our own lives, for what purpose. So that our words and actions will be pure and we can do wonderful things.
“yat karoñi yad açnäsi
yaj juhoñi dadäsi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kuruñva mad-arpaëam”
Bhagavad-Gita says, “All that you do, all that you offer or give away, all that you eat, all charity you perform, it should all be done as an offering to Me”. What is that mean? It should be done in a spirit of being instrument of god’s love in this world in service and to please. That is practical soul perception and that is the means of attaining soul perception.
This chanting of mantra, which delivers the mind form the egoistic contaminated pursuits, actually gives us realization of our eternal nature. We are also must act according to that nature and speak according to that nature. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught
“tåëäd api sunécena
taror iva sahiñëunä
kértanéyaù sadä hariù”
If the world will only fallows this principle, what a wonderful place we live in. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu said that to chant the name of the lord in proper consciousness we should be humble like the blade of grass, tolerant like a tree. We should be eager to offer all respects to everyone and expect no respect for oneself, no false prestige. If we practice these principles in a service attitude and chant god’s names then by the mercy of the absolute we will have realization of the eternal beauty of life at every moment. Is that answer your question?
Question : Hare Krishna. Why everything is not possible……..?
Maharaja : Very nice question. It depends on the particular time, place and circumstances you are speaking up. But in a general principle, we have to use our intelligence and we have to work hard. If you are positive and lazy, then say, “Everything is alright. Everything is good. Everything is beautiful. I am just going to sleep. There is no reason to work and everything is nice”. What is that use of that positiveness? We should not be positive to justify your laziness. Some people are very positive about sinful activities, saying, “Everything is alright. Just take this heroin and you will be happy. No problem. All the worlds problems will be solved. It is the grace of god. Actual positive attitude that we are speaking of today, is positive attitude based on truth, based on real human spiritual values.
Krishna explains there are two very very serious enemies on the spiritual path. One is egoism and other is laziness. We cannot be lazy. We must be dynamic, we must be enthusiastic, and we must work hard for our purposes and in performance our duties and balance our domestic occupation and our spiritual duties in such a way that will please god, through morality, ethics, and through spiritual cultivation. That is important. So positive attitude must be with proper disposition. If we have this proper disposition and we are enthusiastic to do the right thing and the right way, then even if we fail, we do not fail.
You know the story about the race between the rabbit and the turtle. Everyone knows that story. Who won the race? Turtle or the rabbit. How many vote for the rabbit? Who many vote for turtle? That story gives me a lot of hope, since I have been a little child, because I was never been very good at anything. But the rabbit really knows how to run a race and the turtle is just slow. Now what is the difference between the rabbit and the turtle? The rabbit was proud. The rabbit ran and the turtle just according to his very very minimal capacity just persevered, just did not stop. Just kept going and going and going and the rabbit was sporadic run and then sleep, run and sleep. Then the turtle won.
So at first you do not succeed, try again. I am sure there are other inventors who during the nine thousand failures like Thomas edition and other inventors inventing other things and succeeded but he did not give up on his pursed and ultimately we never heard about the others but we heard of him. Because he did not give up and he actually attain this goal. So as long as you have the right consciousness and right attitude and the right integrity and the right spiritual principles then just keep trying. There is no question of failure. It may just be a matter of time to be succeeded. It may be that your failure is what you need for your growing and in that case it is a success.
If we learn from our failure that lesson is a success in itself and may be more valuable than getting the glory in the credit in the income of this world. Failures are stepping stones to greater success. If we have positive attitude based on the principles of real values.
Question of Guest : Sir, I have two questions for you. First one, what is niskam karma? Second one, when you reach the state of realization of god, when your frequency matches with god’s frequency, that means yourself becomes god, at that stage you have no wants which you have in practical life, in material world say attraction towards anything. Those wishes, nothing is remained to be achieved at that stage and you have something, which you do not want means you want nothing, then at this stage you does that, means your mind becomes totally pure. Because at this stage you want is to want nothing. These two questions are for you. Thank.
Maharaja: Thank you.
The answer to both can be spoken together that to work without selfish desires, to work without fruitive attachment is niskam karma. But what is that mean? According to Bhagavad-Gita, Isoponishad, Srimad Bhagavatam, Ramayana, and Mahabharata that means to work in a spirit of surrender and to work in a spirit of love. It does not mean to become god. No one can become god. Either you are god or you are not god. God does not become god. If I am think that I am god but I am forgot that I am god, but when I remember then I’ll god again. God does not forgot. Krishna says in Bhagavad-Gita “sarvasya cähaà hådi sanniviñöo mattaù småtir jïänam apohanaà ca”. Krishna says, “I am the source of remembrance of knowledge and forgetfulness”. If God is supreme, how can god forgetful that he was god. That forgetfulness is supreme. God never falls under the control of His energies. He is supreme. So how could be the god?
Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita,
We are part and parcel of god. Qualitatively we are one with god. We are eternal full of knowledge and bliss, sachidananda. But the relation between the soul in god is like the sunray in the sun. The sunray is qualitatively one is to sun that it gives heat and light but the sunray is the sunray is the particle of the sun. In one sense it is the sun but in another sense it is only a part. It is not the sun. If a sunray comes into your room, we are happy. If sun planet comes into the room would be a different experience. So to realize our godliness and to realize our relationship, our identity with god is to love god. To love god means to love every part of god. When you love the god, you love the every part. Universal love is, when you love Krishna, you will see every living being as part of Krishna, so there will be natural spontaneous intimate love for every living being, even those who come to kill you. Hate the disease but not the diseased person. Hat the sin but not the sinner. Because everyone is good. Everyone is essentially part of god. But according to people’s misuse of their free will and making bad choices, people become so conditioned and habituated, sometimes to very evolve in horrible things. He may be rapist, terrorist, and murderer. But essentially they are part of god. They are good. They are just so totally covered over by Rajaguna and tamaguna. But if you love god, you even love them. You feel compassion and sympathy even for them. So this is actual, to work in a spirit of love for god and love for all living entities in a spirit of servant is actually the highest perfection and the original nature of consciousness.
Question of Guest : Sorry to interrupt. But you just said about rajoguna and tamaguna. There are three types of gunas, Satvaguna, Rajoguna, and Tamaguna. But when you reach the state as the Gauttam Buddha reached and in that state of enlightenment state of self realization then it is all above all those Satva Rajo and Tama. The basic three, Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswara, are the symbols of Satva, Rajo and Tama. When you reach the state as the Gauttambuddha reached, then you are above all these states. Then how can you say that how pure you are. You are actually nothing. You are knowledgeable and at the same time you are not knowing anything. Means that is a contradiction.
Question of Maharaja: Where did you get your information about Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva?
Answer of Guest: I am hardcore mad of all these topics. I am really gets fascinated toward all these things.
Maharaja : Yes, yes. Where did you get the information?
Guest : I read the books of Swami Vivekananda. Swami Sri Ramakrishna paramhamsa. Who tells us that when, someone reached that state, you are above all these things like Satva, Rajo, and Tamo. Brahma is the symbol of Satva, Krishna is the symbol of Raja, and Mahes is the symbol of tama. When you reach the state actually these three gods they are also meditating towards that …..
Maharaja : I understand. So let us take from the Vedas, from the scriptures. What is actually said? Krishna tells in Bhagavad-Gita.
Krishna tells Arjuna, through Arjuna, everyone that the Vedas mainly deal with the three modes of material nature. Satva guna, Raja guna, and Tama guna. Krishna says, you must rise above all these three modes of nature. You must transcend all the three modes of nature. But what happens when you transcend all the modes of nature. Krishna says you surrender to me. “Om Tadvisnoh paramampadam satah”. It is explained that Vishnu is transcendental to this entire cosmic manifestation. Even shankarshan at top that. “narayano parovyakta”. He is transcendent to these modes of nature. He is transcendent to the world. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Vishnu descends into this world as an expansion specifically to oversee the mode of goodness but ultimately beyond this world Lord Vishnu is existing eternally in Vaikuntha and the Vedas describe the plant call Vaikuntha, spiritual planet in the spiritual sky.
Yes there are two realizations of the absolute. There are impersonal and personal and they are both true. It is just depends on, what we aspire for. For those who want simple impersonal liberation or what the nirvana of negation of material dualities and sufferings they can enter into the brahma Jyoti, where the spirit soul just enters as a spark of light and that spark of light simply exists with the sunlight of the spiritual sky or the brahmana. You can attain that destination but Krishna says, “It is very very difficult”. But within that spiritual sky there are planets called Vaikuntha. Where the supreme Lord is living as Krishna, as Rama, as Narashima in His various forms and living in these beautiful planets and engaging in the lila. Lila is not temporary. Lila is not a thing under modes of material nature. Lila is transcendent.
“janma karma ca me divyam
evaà yo vetti tattvataù
tyaktvä dehaà punar janma
naiti mäm eti so ‘rjuna”
This is the basis of Bhagavad-Gita. Krishna says, one who understands the transcendental divyam, nature of my appearance and activities, never takes birth in this material world again. Transcendental means above beyond the modes of nature. Krishna’s birth is transcendental the gunas of nature. Krishna’s lila or activities are eternal and spiritual. They are taking place in the spiritual world. They just descendent to this world to attract our heart again to his loving service. So we have that choice.
We can worship the impersonal aspect of the supreme and enter into brahman as a spark within the spiritual sky of light, or we can enter in that spiritual sky the abodes of Vaikuntha’s of the Lord, where our eternal original natural spiritual body is resumed or awakened and we have intimate loving relationship with the supreme, where we can enter into His lilas. One is santi or peace and the other is prema or love. That is our choice. But in Bhagavad-Gita Krishna very strongly, let us say advertises or encourages us
mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja
ahaà tväà sarva-päpebhyo
mokñayiñyämi mä çucaù”
Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender to the Supreme Truth.
“bhaktyä tv ananyayä çakya
aham evaà-vidho ‘rjuna
jïätuà drañöuà ca tattvena
praveñöuà ca parantapa”
Krishna says it is only through bhakti. It is only through loving devotional service that I can be understood as I am standing here before you.
So yes, they are both right. You can achieve the impersonal existence of the lord and attain peace or you can attain the loving service of the lord and that is ananda or love. So we can never become god. We could be a little spark within the impersonal existence of the lord or we can enter into the eternal pastimes of the lord but becoming god either you are god or you are not god.
“avajänanti mäà müòhä
mänuñéà tanum äçritam”
Krishna is supreme. God never forgets, He is god. We are eternal servants of god and that is real humility to understand I am eternally servant of god and to serve god means to be an instruments of god’s will, love, and everything we do in our life. To have that positive aspiration, we can overcome every possible obstacle.
In Srimad Bhagavatam, I’ll end the class with this little narration of Dhruva maharaja. He was just the five year old boy. He was insulted by his father and his step mother in such a way that was so intolerable, his heart was broken. He was devastated and anger and he just could not even speak to his mother. He was weeping. He was trembling. His mother was broken hearted. His mother said, “There is nothing I can do for you. Your father has another wife, besides me and he favors her”. His step mother said, “You wanted to sit on your father’s lap, if you are going to have to take birth in my womb. You are not worthy of it”. So Dhurva said, “I want the kingdom of my father. How can I get it? Then his mother said, “Well, if you worship Vishnu, you can attain everything, that’s what I have heard”. So he went into the forest at five years old with so much determination and Narada Muni came.
If you are really sincere about god, then god sends your guru. By the mercy of Krishna one gets guru and by the mercy of guru one gets Krishna. So Narada Muni came and tested Dhruva. He said, “Dhruva you are just a boy. Do not take these things so seriously. Just go home. Dhurva Maharaja basically said, “Your words do not sit in my heart. I am seeking the supreme lord. Tell me how or stand aside”. So Narada Muni told him, “You chant “Om namo bhagavate Vasudevaya”. You cant the name of the god. You worship the form of the lord and you perform these austerities. He did it, so much determination. Lord Vishnu in his deep meditation, he saw the beautiful super excellent all merciful beautiful form of god within his heart. Then he opened his eyes and saw that the lord was standing outside of himself. He wanted to offer prayers. Beautiful prayers of gratitude and love but he was uneducated. So Lord touched his head with his conchshell and empowered Dhruva to recite such beautiful prayers and even today millennium later we are reading and praying according to Dhruva’s prayers.
He became completely, self realized and lord told him to go back home and cooperate with his family and he became the king. He was the king for long time. When that was time a beautiful airship from the spiritual world descended to bring him not to the brahma jyoti but to Vaikuntha, to be in the loving service eternally. It is beyond mukti. Prema is beyond mukti. Dhruva maharaja said, “I can’t go. What about my mother? My mother that poor innocent lady she is the one that inspired me on the path of devotion. I cannot live without her. They pointed upward and he saw that she was already before him on her way to Vaikuntha. When you become pure in your heart in devotion to god that all of your loved ones and friends they receive the benefit of god’s grace. So when he was about to step on the airship death personified became the step that he stepped upon to board the plane. Even death itself becomes a very very positive stepping stone to our ultimate destination, if we have faith. If we have realization based on the power of positive service attitude.
Thank you, very much.
The grace of goddess Durga, it is the Navaratir season.
So we allowed chanting till eleven o’ clock but we won’t chant till eleven clock but we can chant little later than usual.
I would like to sincerely thank all of you very much. Please detect this humble offering or whatever words I have tried to speak through heart in positive attitude in life, the proper faith in association can definitely help us to overcome all obstacles and find real happiness and offer others real happiness. The chanting of god’s names actually fills our consciousness with the supreme most positive energy of god’s presence and god’s grace. So now let us chant together.
Thank you, very much.