I’m very grateful for the opportunity to welcome our honored guests. Really you are all our honored guest. Please forgive me for my lack of self confidence in speaking on this subject of the art of self confidence, but I’ll try to speak something that would hopefully give you some sacred food to contemplate within your heart because you all are at an age where the decisions you make in regards to the values, the goals in your life will determine your future, your happiness and what you can do for the world.
It is well known that self confidence is a very essential ingredient for success in any field of life without such confidence we are afraid to take risks we don’t have the courage to explore higher horizons in our capacity to perform our deeds within this world. I would like to speak on this subject of self confidence from a deeper and more foundational platform. Real self confidence is not based on our achievements or our successes in this material world but it is based on the fulfillment of who we are, what our purpose is & what we represent to ourselves, our families & to the world around us. If a person has such self confidence that can generate confidence and faith in others. Actually to fail is not much of a loss, to loose one’s character & integrity is a major loss to our inner life. A person with proper disposition & attitude is willing to accept even major failures in the eyes of the world in order to preserve the high values that he or she believes in. If we’re willing to sell our ideals, our ethics, our character, our integrity, to sell our soul for the adoration of this world our so called self confidence will be built on a foundation of sand. It has no real substance and it can bring us no real fulfillment. Low self esteem is one of the biggest problems in the world not only for the apparent down trodden people, but even for the people in very big big high controlling positions. Low self esteem really means a lack of really finding fulfillment within one’s inner life. What are the characteristics of the person with low self esteem, they like to gossip these are some symptoms according to the particular state of consciousness a person may be in, they like to gossip why because if that what gives you pleasure there is not much inside. Whereas people who are actually self confident they speak of their ideals in life not of the faults of others. A person with low self esteem is critical, easy to criticize others, whereas a person with some inner fulfillment is respectful to others, he is naturally longing to show respect to others, to be caring toward others. A person with low self esteem is arrogant, I’ve done this, I’ve conquered these nations, I’ve made these crores of rupees, I’ve won these tournaments very eager to try to convince other people of how great they are how successful, what they have accomplished within this world. But a person with actual self confidence is humble, why because they simply don’t need to impress people with cheap words of conceit. If you are actually very weak within you have to brag about whatever great or little things you have done to try to get the approval the recognition & the adoration of others. But if you have inner fulfillment, if you have confidence in yourselves you don’t need that. Actually one sage in Himalaya once told me that when you do something good & you tell somebody about what you do then by telling you exhaust most of the credits of what you have done. But in the world today we want to take credit for what we have not done & we want to give blame to others for what we have done. This is another quality of a person with low self esteem makes excuses blames others for their apparent shortcomings whereas a person of self confidence actually takes responsibility doesn’t make excuses doesn’t blame others takes responsibility of what they have done or what they have not done & is always striving to improve themselves.
Persons with low self esteem are dependent on the appreciation & praise & approval of others. whereas as a person with self confidence is willing to speak what is true and do what is right even if it is very unpopular specially the youth in the world today, association is such a powerful influence, most people don’t smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol or do all of these illicit things simply because they really want to do it. They do it because they want to look cool they want to be accepted by the people around them but this is the age of kali to be accepted by the masses in the age of kali means there is something seriously wrong with you. Integrity means we understand what is right & we do it even if people criticize us even if people make jokes or laugh against us eventually those same people would come to us when they are in trouble because they understand that here is a person with integrity. Those with low self esteem are easily jealous about other people successes. What is jealousy that means we are so hollow so empty within there is so lack of fulfillment in our worth our value and who we are that we actually have to feel a type of hatred & jealousy towards others who appears to be better. A person with real self confidence is the well wisher of everyone. He is not so concerned with one’s reputation but concerned with one’s character. He is not so concerned with what one can get & what can one prove to others by one’s fashion by one’s way of speaking & way of talking by the type of furniture one has in one’s home, but is more concerned with what they are giving to others. Actual self conscience doesn’t mean we become absorbed in our egoistic self. The art of real self consciousness is to become selfless, because in becoming selfless there is inner fulfillment.
In the Srimad Bhagvatam there is story of Dhruv maharaj, he was insulted (you know the story,i’ll tell in brief )Dhruv maharaj was only a 5 year old boy & we that a lot of the problems with self esteem is how we are treated when we are a child .If a parent is harsh towards the child always criticizing the child not giving proper encouragement or care to the child,then the child feels worthless no inner value, if a parent shows love for the child even when they make mistake discipline the child but in such a way that the child is always assured and reassured of their love their care & their concern ,invest so many encouraging words ten twenty thirty times before they’ll give one critical word then child feels some value .Parent should also teach the child how to actually make decisions & not depending on others for everything .So anyways, Dhruv maharaj was a little child who went through a major psychological trauma because for a little boy his role model is his father the approval of the father is so deeply meaningful & necessary. So Dhruv maharaj just wanted the affection of his father he was climbing up on his lap as his father was sitting on the throne .he was king ,but king Uttanapada ‘s co-wife who was Dhruv maharaj’s like step mother chastised him you have no right to sit on the throne of your father because you are not born of my womb those words were like a cutting dagger to the soft innocent heart of little Dhruv ,he turned to his father and his father agreed with Suruchi the step mother by not saying anything against her words. He was devastated ,his lips were trembling,tears were pouring from his eyes he was psychologically disturbed .He ran to his mother Suniti couldn’t even speak ,suniti she heard from other ladies of the palace what had happened & she began to cry seeing her child in such a hopeless & helpless state.Dhruv said “i want a kingdom bigger & greater than my father”,he wanted revenge.Suniti said well,she was a very innocent simple & pure hearted lady, she said”I’ve heard that great sages they get all their desires fulfilled by worshipping god lord Vishnu.”
Where is Vishnu I want to see him ,many of these great sages go into the forest to find him. So Dhruv maharaj with such determination went into the forest & ultimately when one really wants to find god sincerely from the heart the lord reciprocates and sends a guru to teach the way. So Narada muni appeared and taught Dhruv the process of chanting god’s holy names, worshipping the beautiful form of the lord his personality, offering prayers and performing tapasya. After just about five months he became so purified that he actually saw lord Vishnu within his heart ,actually saw god within his heart ,he was in ecstasy then he opened his eyes & that same form within his heart was standing right in front of him. He was only five years old he didn’t know wat to say but that’s not an impediment because he was surrendering so the lord just touched his head with the conchshell & empowered him to speak such beautiful poetic sanskrit verses that even today milleniums after we are still reading and getting great inspiration from.He offered beautiful prayers to the lord ,the lord told him you want a kingdom greater than your father or even your grandfather or even your great grandfather Brahma,i’ll give .Dhruv said no no I don’t want those things now i’m feeling inner fulfillment ,now i’m feeling actual self confidence ,i see you i just want to be the servant of your servants and never forget you.I just want to live by your principles i was looking for the broken pieces of glass of fame power wealth & control within this world ,but broken pieces of glass look very shiny but they also have the effect of cutting you and making you bleed ,i was looking for that type of broken glass but i found the rare jewel of inner peace ,contentment and love of seeing you and serving you i want nothing else.he didn’t care what anyone thought he was only concerned with living by the truth,living by character & integrity.
So it is very important to understand that real self confidence is not simply that i’ve achieved & i can conquer more ,because that kind of self confidence doesn’t bring any real inner fulfillment, whatever you do you always have to have more….. more and more. Real self confidence is when we’re actually finding fulfillment & satisfaction with who we are and what we represent within this world .Now some fools may think that that type of self confidence that type of inner peace is an impediment to making great strives of achievements in this world ,it is not rather it is just the opposite.The pure our motive the greater courage and faith we have to accomplish things way beyond the horizon of even our imagination.when we have such inner self confidence anything we pursue is actually easy,it may be difficult mentally and it may be difficult physically but when we have the will the confidence and the faith that makes anything easy .
Krishna tells us in Bhagvad Gita “ karmany vadhi karaste…………….”
Bhagvad Gita teaches we should be attached to performing our duty but we should not be attached to the fruits of our actions .
Success failure, honour dishonour ,victory defeat ,if we are too much attached and become depressed by failure we can’t really succeed .
There is a famous story a lady from Tennesse in Americaher name was Wilma Rudof ,she was quite famous ,she was born actually in her early childhood she had very very serious injuries in her legs. it was untretable by medicine in fact the specialist doctors told her without a doubt that you will never be able to put your foot on the floor for your whole life. you will never be able to take a single step, you just have to yourself to a wheel chair till you die .she was just a little child but she told her mother i want to run on these legs and be the fastest lady on earth Hare Krishna !the doctors said ,the imaginations of an ignorant child she was a medically hopeless case. but what did her mother tell her ,her mother told her that one gets one’s abilities from God, just persevere and have faith & do not be discouraged .It took a couple of years and she actually was able to take off all those ,whatever medical facilities cast and everything that was protecting her foot ,she put it on the floor and took her first step she went to school and entered into a race & guess what she lost not only did she lost but she came in last place way way behind everyone else ,people were laughing at her ridiculing her “what are you doing in this race?”.another race ,last place way in the back ,every race last place in the back but she had faith,she had faith that i can do great things by the help of God ,if i persevere.Some years later in 1960’s she won three olympic gold medals & set world records for running.Haribol!so her self confidence was not based upon her successes or her achievements ,her self confidence was based on faith in God and her faith in herself.that whether i win or lose let it be but i’m going to try .Actually every single humanbeing within the world has every reason to find inner fulfillment because we are part of god we have such wonderful value as humanbeings .whether we are big or small we all have the opportunity to do something wonderful.you know the story of when Hanuman & monkeys were building bridge across Indian ocean.
Hanuman was picking up not just stones he was ripping of the peaks of mountains,they were miles big and weighing hundreds of tonnes and he was lifting them and making them float that in itself,hanuman didn’t had the power to make them float but because he was so sincere to build this bridge across the ocean Ram gave him the power to actually defy the laws of gravity.Its an impossible thing however big your muscles are and how much you could lift just like the biggest olympic weight lifters (imitation sound)you have seen and they win gold medals ,but why they are struggling so much because they are fighting against gravity,but Hanuman was just lifting and floating because he was sincere he was perseverent to do this service for Ram ,he was empowered to do something incredible .So while he was putting these big mountain peaks on the ocean ,a little spider whose legs were going(sound),he was just kicking grains of sand ,what can a spider do?he was not one of those big %$*^%**,he was just a little spider(sound ).Hanuman said get out of my way you spider and what was Sri Ram’s response, Sri Ram’s response was to chastise Hanumanji.He said Hanumanji that spider is doing every bit as much as you are because what are you doing this for ,are you doing this to be in Ramayana as the one who build the bridge,didn’t exactly say that but i’m giving a puport ,you are doing it to please me is it not, that’s what bhakti means to please god ,not to get world fame because who cares world fame ,one day you are famous the next day everyone throws stones on you .that’s the wayy the world is Krishna says in Bhagvad Gita that we should not be attached to fame or blame .victory or defeat,we should be attached to doing the right thing and what is the right thing ,pleaseing God samsiddhir hari tosnam,the real successes in life is if we please God .So you are doing it to please me ,but this spider is trying as hard as you and i see his effort ,i see his sincerity,i see his integrity ,therefore i don’t see a difference between him and you ,you are both pleasing me equally.
Lord Chaitanya who was avatara of Lord Sri Krishna ,the devotees were performing an abhishekam for him in srivas angam in Navadvip Dham and there was a simple servant of a maid servant and she was just way in the background all the great maants and famous devotees they were singing hymns and offering flowers and putting the abhishekam upon the lord they were in an exalted position doing an exalted service,but thsi lady her name was dhukhi ,she was dukhi because of her poverty ,er lack of education & her very insignificant positionof just being the maid servant of a maid servant ,she was called dukhi which means a miserable person,but she was just in the background filling the pots with Ganga water & bringing…….bringing.hse wasn’t concerned with name or fame or reognititon she just wanted to honestly & sincerely assist others in their service to god that’s all,and the lord recognised her .he looked at the back of the room and he began to glorify her .The lord sees within the heart ,what is our honesty,what is our ideal,what is our sincerity, what is our integrity ,andf the lord said the name dukhi is not pleasing to my heart today i give her the name sukhi whch means the happy one ,and upon giving er the name sukhi he also gave her the ultimate perfection of life pure unalloyed love .the manifestation of spiritual perfection was to be seen on every limb of her body as her eart was erupting with ecstatic spiritual emotions not because of her social position but because of her sincerity .real self confidence is based on that sincerity.our Dr Desai, Sri Nathji prabhu in his introduction explained so nicely what is the lower self and what is the higher self .Bhagvad Gita explains bhumir apo nalo vayu ………..astadha,that the material elements of this world are earth ,water ,fire ,air and ether which is the gross elements but then there are the subtle elements the mind,the intelligence and the false ego .they are all temporary ,they are all illusory why, apareyam……….param,because our true self is distinct we are full of knowledge,full of bliss mamevamso jiva……….sanatana,we are all part and parcel of the supreme that’s our real nature,so to build our self confidence on the foundation of the lower self ,the false ego,the false ego ahamkara is foundational to all material illusions which is the cause of all suffering.but most people factually build their confidence on the basis of the lower self.
We want prestige ,We want recognition We want physical enjoyments,We want all the benefits of whatever we do,in both accumulation of wealth facilities and pratishta recognition and prestige the false ego yearns for that longs for that and look at what kind of people strive for those things.What the false ego can do to the pure spirit soul that is part of god. For power people historically kill millions of innocent people men ,women and children, just for power just for control.people cheat,plunder,in the corporate world today there is so much corruption even at the highest levels,these Enron and Worldcom are just examples of who were caught .It’s not that they are the only one cheating the people they just happen to be caught &in politics we have seen dictators like Stalin & Hitler,what this ego can do whan it is looking for the broken glasses of this world .So the real self confidence that brings real inner fulfillment and actually gives us real courage to do the right thing in this world in a wonderful way is confidence in our eternal self.Who are we,what is our real purpose in life ,why are we here ,why are we suffering ,what is really the best thing we can do for ourselves ,our families and for the world.The soul by nature constitutionally and eternally meant to love that’s why the world is so mad to express their love,channel this propensity to love somewhere somehow to someone .yes,you are all college students i believe or atleast you have been college students ,so you know what kind of songs people listen to , you know what kind of novels people read, what kind of cinemas people see in Bollywood or Hollywood,what is the subject of most television stations it’s love stories ,yes!people are trying to find some means to find inner satisfaction through expressing this insatiable energy to love and to be loved that is our nature and that is why Krishna explains in Gita yoginam api sarvesam…………..,that of all types of yogis ,of all processes of yoga the highest is to love,that is the culmination muktanam api…….,that there may be many people who achieve the mukti of impersonal liberation of realizing that i am what i am.and there may be millions of people who attain mystic siddhi people who can have such power and control over the subtle elements of this world that they can perform what common people would interpet as incredible miracles.But Gita tells that the liberated person & mystic yogis what to speak of those who attain higher planet or the great wealth of this world none of them can find real peace.narayanah parayanah…..only one who has awakened the propensity to love within the heart can achieve real peace.So as we come closer to awakening that love we’re actually making real real progress in our life& terefore faith is so very critical.There is a bee called the bumble bee ,they are very big and black & they have tiny little wings,now according to scientists its actually impossible for that bee to fly according to all the laws of aerodynamics because their wings are so tiny and thin and their bodies are so big and heavy they can’t fly, but fortunately the bees they can’t understand what the scientist say therefore the whole life they just fly around effortlessly they fly around .you never see bees going (sound imitation) they just go very happily they smile ,’i’ve seen them how they smile,because they are big you can see their smiles sometimes.Because they have faith ,they have seen their mothers flying & their fathers flying & see all the other bees flying ,so they just fly.but technically scientifically,aerodynamic,education teaching impossible.because they have a natural inner faith faith is so incredible when we have faith in the inner higer self ,when we have faith in the connection with the supreme energy and power of god we can do incredible things with complete confidence ,enthusiasm & perseverance and even if we fail a million times it doesn’t matter because we know we are pleasing the lord by our efforts.
In China there is a type of bamboo tree you have to water it everyday when you plant that seed nothing even comes out of the ground there is no growth for the whole first year and now what would you do if you are planting a bamboo tree & water that bamboo tree for 365 days with nice water and there is not even a slightest movement ,the second year no movement , the third year no movementfourth year nothing. Why waste water anymore on this lazy tree ,the people have faith they keep watering the tree and this particular tree in the fifth year within six weeks it grows 90 feet.Haribol!(something like that).we can understand life verymuch through nature its not that we always get immediate results for what we do ,if we have faith one of the symptoms of faith is patience .In fact Bhakti rasamrita sindhu describes the two symptoms of surrender is enthusiasm and patience ,now how to combine the two is a great art becaue if you don’t have enthusiasm nothing will ever happen but if you don’t have faith you will give up if you do not see immediate results. Just like raising a child you don’t see much results raising a child but little by little if you raise a child by proper disposition with proper values you child can grow up and be a saint or a leader of humanity that’s taken years of patience. In fact, Winston Churchill , whom you have all kicked him out of India for some time , but he did say some nice things Winston Churchill said” that a successful man was a person who goes through failure after failure ……..failure after failure and never loses their enthusiasm.that is the sign of actual success .The success is not the external appearance that i’ve attained this real success is your attitude that you have faith and with that faith if you are doing the right thing you know you are doing something wonderful for God & for the world .and the results will come and how they come that is beyond my control .The example of Pandavas they remained faithful to Krishna although they were banished to the forest for 12 years they lost everything but they always have faith that whatever is meant to be will be and they perseveared when proper time came they perseveared and fought the battle of Kurukshetra and ultimately they were the kings . That’s enthusiasm and patience these stories are given to us in the scriptures historical events that are meant to cultivate the proper consciousness within our lives. There is no greater self confidence than faith in the power ,the glory and grace of the supreme.
Sri Nathji prabhu referred to the Christian Bible actually the original people that Lord Jesus Christ made into his devotees were simple uneducated fishermen ,Peter & Andrew ,they were just fishing . Fishermen are not the people that give lectures in colleges or anyting like that ,they were just simple very very simple people ,but e imbibed within their hearts such faith that they were giving lectures they were defeating all kinds of arguments and they were convincing not only common simple people but even scholars to surrender their lives to their mission and their religion ,how they were able to do that ,you would think how can i speak to these people i’m just a fisherman but you can because you are not the doer Krishna tells us in Sri Bhagvad Gita that i’m the ability in man,i’m the strength of the strong ,i’m the intelligence of the intelligent . If we can just be instruments to access that power that mercy & that love what we can do its simply incredible & the hope to just be such an instrument is incredibly wonderful ,its the ultimate fulfillment in life there is an example sitting before us in this beautiful pink and white shirt ‘Syamsundara prabhu’, should i tell you something about him Haribol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he doesn’t want me to speak that is his humility he doesn’t want recognition but those who don’t want recognition God gives the greatest recognition.that is spiritual logic if you want to be famous and great God will make you famous and great then he will just cut you right down,but if you just want to serve with sincerity God will make you great and famous for the whole world forever,you simply should be sincere. Sri Natji prabhu was explaining Srila Prabhupada how he came to the western world he had forty rupees which in those days were seven dollars that’s it and he was on a cargo ship called Jaladuta ,it took one month over the Arabian sea around Europe Suez canal and then all the way to across the Atlantic ocean in its entirity. and towards the beginning of his trip on the Arabian sea he had several heart attacks ,he was seventy years old and he had no contacts who had any interest in helping him and he was told by his guru and he had complete confidence in his mission whether he succeeds or fails he was going to teach the world about the highest spiritual principles of ethics ,morality and love of God. And practically for almost the first year there was no success everything he did was just taken away . He was living in a little flat with somebody and wanted to make it a temple and that person went crazy and kicked him out , he was doing some typing of some articles and books and his typewriter was stolen and is manuscripts were stolen. He was linving unknown and in poverty and he wsa writing to India to his godbrothers and other saints and well wishers and pious people ” let’s do something wonderful,the great dharma of vedic culture of India can bring so much wisdom and inner enlightenment to the world but these people are covered wit the darkness of ignorance and passion and even the so called religion is so much hypocritical and materialistic”, he was not teaching a sectarean concept he was teaching the essence of all spirituality to realize our eternal self and awaken our eternal love for every living being and for Krishna for God . But you know everybody in India he wrote to politicians,industrialists and even saints they all wrote back and said the same thing ” It’s impossible, just come back”. He had no encouragement from anyone , his life was being risked at that age after having heart attacks but he perseveared why because he had faith.
Krishna tells Arjuna in Gita whether you win or lose tat is not important what is important is that you perform your duty with right attitude , Prabhupada lived Gita and soon he was developing a world wide movement and one of his first disciples was Shyamsundara prabhu , he helped open te second temple of te Hare Krishna movement in San Francisco California . Now because many of you are young you may not know the cultural history of te sociological context ofSan Francisco at that time . It was the mecca , the place of pilgrimage for the Flower children better known as hippies looking for something spiritual in that incredibly crazy place he started a center and he got the most famous musical bands in the whole california to perform a free concert to raise funds for Prabhupada, he saw Prabhupada taught that nothing was impossible if you had faith so he was so inspired and encouraged by that association that this gentelman sitting before us considered nothing was impossible if we have faith ,let’s just make the adventure of spirituality and if we succeed the world benefits and if we fail God is pleased that we tried. So Shyamsudara prabhu was thinking most famous people in the entire western world that had the greatest influence on all the youth were the Beatles , have you heard of the Beatles ,how many of you have heard. One kind of beatles is an insect but that’s not what i’m talking ,it was a musical band and they were so powerful that actually every where they would go there would be thousands of beautiful young girls screaming in some kind of emotional state of mundane ecstasy , for their performances they had to have ambulances , rows of ambulances because the girls would be in so much attraction for these beatles they would just (aaaaaaa…) and just fall unconscious they would literally faint , they had to be taken to the hospitals and whatever they said was considered to be the truth for the generation . Now how to meet them you can’t meet them , higest people in the world wanted to meet them so Shyamsundara prabhu was thinking “let’s make the beatles devotees and if they sing songs about Krishna then the world will be very happy with Krishna”. But here he was by material standard an unknown nobody he went to London , he didn’t knew a single person in London ,he had no money , he had no contacts , he had nothing , he was living in cardboard boxes in the basements of warehouses sometimes. Here he is just a penniless practical beggar living in the huge metropolis ofLondon which at that time had about 10 million people and he is just thinking we will make beatles into devotees ofKrishna. He had that confidence, he had faith , faith in the inconceivable power of the lord beyond ourselves. They perseavered month after month after month trying to make some contacts but it was not possible to make a contact. But that bliss of his heart of that confidence the magic, he called the magic of spiritual mercy , he was never discouraged he was confident that it will be done and within a few months he was living in the house of John Lennon, the leader of the beatles and George Harrison , the lead guitar player became a devotee, incredible . He became such a devotee he made records of the devotees singing which bcame the number one record in all ofEurope . They were invited to major concert halls to perform and the most famous bands of the time , not the most famous but famous were second to them to the Hare Krishna’s sitting there and just going Hare krishna…….so much popularity this is the true story . He never asked George Harrison for anything he just gave him the love of Krishna and George Harrison was so grateful his life was dedicated to Krishna, should I continue Haribol!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One day Srila Prabhupada instructed Shyama Sundara Prabhu, I have written the manuscript to the tenth canto of Srimad Bhagvatam, it is a book called Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but I have no money at all to publish it. The manuscript is just sitting, for over a year, and we have no means. Go ask your friend George if he will pay for the publication. Now Shyama Sundara Prabhu, can tell the story better than me, but still I like to tell the story! He was devastated in his heart, “but Prabhupada I’ve never asked him for anything, except to chant Hare Krishna and develop love of God”. Everybody, because when you are rich and famous person, how many people are asking you, I need a loan for this, I need money for this, I’ve done for this in past what I’ll do for you if you give me this. Everybody is asking. Its a terrible disturbance. He loves me only because I am only giving, I am never asking, he will just see me like everyone else if I ask him for anything, I cant ask him Prabhupada. Prabhupada said ‘NO’, Krishna will help you. Krishna will help you. So Prabhupada’s words gave him some degree of confidence. So George Harrison had just donated marble for an alter out of his own inspiration. Beautiful marble…yes! And he was at someone’s house with George, eating dinner. And when the dessert came he understood that after dessert he is going to leave, I am going to leave, I have to ask him this question. Shyam Sundar prayed to Prabhupada and Krishna to help and he said George, Srila Prabhupada is requesting that you can give $19000, which was a lot in those days, $19000 to publish his Krishna book. When he said it George became like Shyam Sundar had never seen him before, he became very grave. About to say, even you are now asking for my money, but before anything could come out of his mouth he was just sitting there silently disturbed by Shyam Sundar’s request. And at that moment, a lightining bolt struck the house. The volume of the thunderous roar of this lightning caused the entire house to shake and all the electricity went off. For several moments it was pitch dark and utterly silent. And then the lights went on. And these two special souls were looking at each other from across the table. And George smiled and said how could I refuse that. And with great happiness he gave $19000 to print Prabhupada’s Krishnabook. And that’s the first book I ever read and it very much transformed my heart, as it did for so many tens and thousands of people.
Actually in my own life when I was a child I was so shy, I would never talk in a public setting. In fact every one of my teachers, in 1st standard, 2ndstandard, 3rd standard all the way through high school graduation, every one of my teachers and every report card practically, they always wrote to my parents, your child is so shy, he never talks. Believe it or not! And when I became a devotee of Krishna, I took the role of a Pujari on the top of a long lonely mountain where I didn’t have to say anything to anyone. I just did puja. But Prabhupada wanted me to preach. Me! I don’t know anything. I left school, only high school graduation and then I went toHimalayas to perform tapasya. I am a shy person. I don’t like to speak to others. I just like to be alone. But by reading Prabhupada’s books and hearing his lectures and understanding his desire to share this love that I am giving you, you must share it with others. So now I am speaking so many things. Where is that self confidence coming from. Not from me. If I have to start thinking of who I am then I’ll be back in a cave in himalayas some where. But when I think of my relationship with the supreme and the will of the supreme, then there is anyone we can speak to, in any circumstance, because our prayer is dependent on not ourselves but that higher power. When we have faith in that higher power, it can carry us across oceans of obstacles and we can never ever ever be discouraged.
In Bhagavatam there is example of Prahalada, five year old boy. What self confidence he had. His father was Hiranyakashipu, you all know the story , he was such a powerful demon. No one of that similarity exist today. How powerful he was and how cruel . It is explained that if he simply raised his eyebrow in a displeased way, then even the devatas would tremble in fear. What to speak of this earthly people of this world. Now if you raise your eyebrows, who cares. Nobody trembles in fear, they will just look at you like, what are you who are you. Such power he had and he was such a confirmed atheist, that he actually hated god! Hated religion, outlawed it and punished anybody severely who followed it. And his little son prahalada, what self confidence he had. He came on to his fathers lap and his father said “what is the best thing you have learned in school today”? And he told his father “My dear father, Oh best of the demons, materialistic people like you are just stuck in a deep, dark, blind well of materialistic ego. You should go to Brindavan forest and worship Krishna.” Haribol! “And unless you take the dust of the feet of the great saints and perform abhishekam, put that dust on your body, you can’t understand the truth of life.” Hiranyakashipu was outraged. He decided to kill prahalada. Such a father, wants to murder his five year old because he his telling him about god. He threw him into pits of snakes, he flew him off cliffs, he threw him in oceans, he threw him in fire, he even poisoned, tried to stab him with tridents and swords and daggers. And Prahalada he was confident, that what ever I am doing Krishna, it’s for you. This is the universal principle of all real spirituality, this type of faith and dependence on a power beyond our own and confidence that’s based on the foundation of that faith.
dheyshan nityabhiyoktanam yogagakskheemam mahamyaham
Shrimad Bhagavad Gita tells us that for those who are sincerely serving me I preserve what they want and I carry what they lack.Kaunteya pratijaneyna mey bhaktyay pranasyati – I always protect those who are my sincere devotees. How the lord protects may be inconceivable to our intelligence, but with faith we can understand it. And faith is not based on blind acceptance. Faith is based on logic, philosophy and authority. Through such divine faith we can see what is invisible to the eyes, at every moment of everyday. We can strive for what is inconceivable and unapproachable, and attain it. So little prahalada was happy and ultimately his father was so frustrated, he said prahalada where do you get your power? And prahalada said “dear father, I get my power from the same place where you get your power, from the same place everyone gets their own power…from God! ” god is like a power house, electrical powerhouse. Here we are all like different light bulbs. There is 50w light bulbs, 100w light bulbs and there is 500w light bulbs, 1000w light bulbs. (-43) And yes, according to our gunas, and according to our karmas and according to our perseverance, we may be very small light we may be very great light. You may be Ph.D scholar Nobel laureate or you may just know basic arithmetic. But what ever power we have at any level its coming from the janmadyashayathaha from the ultimate source, that current is flowing. And every living being in the human form of life has the independent free will to use that energy and channelize it according to our desire. We could channelize it motivated by greed, lust, envy, anger, pride and illusion, we could channel that same energy with compassion, with love, with general concern and devotion. But the energy everyone has is coming from the original source janma dyasha yathaha.So prahalada said this to his father, “ I am getting my power from the same place you are getting your power, from God from Vishnu!” Now thats not what you say to Hiranyakashipu. By all materialistic considerations he was so angry with that, that was the ultimate insult. There could be no more penetrating, painful insult to Hiranyakashipu than that. And prahalada was saying with folded palms with great respect and affection. “you say god, where is your god? Show me your god”, this is what atheists do, “ show me your god, let me see him. Is he in this pillar?”, he says he is every where, he is in the pillar also. So he punched the pillar with his fist and he picked up his sword, about to kill prahalada and then the pillar trembled. And Narsimhadev appeared. And performed the first major surgical operation in the history of this world, and actually it was a successful operation. He cured the disease in Hiranyakashipu’s heart and Hiranyakashipu got liberation. Haribol! So this was prahalada’s self confidence. But his self confidence was not based on arrogance that I am great, his confidence was based on God is great. And when he prayed to lord Narsimhadev, he prayed in this way, he said “I was in the darkness of ignorance so weak being controlled by the lower modes of nature. I was in a helpless condition of life, but by your mercy, my Gurudev, Shri Narada muni came, and picked me up and delivered me. Therefore what ever I have, who ever I am, what ever is by the mercy of your grace coming through my gurudev.” yes prahalada had complete self confidence, but you have to actually be genuinely humble to have that confidence. Sometimes the people in this world are under the misconception, to have self confidence is to be arrogant, conceded. Yes that is a type of self confidence, lowered self confidence.
You can achieve so much but no inner self satisfaction or love. But prahalada’s confidence was in his humble understanding of the lords mercy. I’ll give one more example, Draupati, she was a simple lady, stripped of her cloth by dushhasana. She tried to hold on with all of her power, but he is a kshtriya warrior and she is a lady. He was hopeless. She turned to the people in the room but they were unable to help her. She was in a hopeless condition. But she had self confidence, she had faith. she had faith that Krishna, that god, always protects those who call out for him sincerely. In her confidence she lifted her arms and cried out “Hey Krishna, Hey Govinda”, and Krishna incarnated within her sari and made it unlimited. This a very important story to understand, if our confidence is in atchyuta, ajita, the unconquerable, inconceivable then we can not lose. We can’t lose our character our integrity, we can’t lose the real battle against immorality, unethical behavior and illusion. Yes! It is very important to understand that it is better to fail in the eyes of the world and protect the integrity of your character and the ideals that you hold sacred in you life. That itself is victory, that you are willing to fail in the eyes of the world. You pass the test and you maintain your spiritual and ethical dignity. That is victory. But if you sell that off for the broken glass of material success, then what have you gained? Something hollow with out substance, without meaning, without real inner heart satisfaction. And ultimately if we maintain our ideals with faith and confidence in our own inner value, in our own efforts, in our own sincerity’s, in our own dignity, and in our connection to the supreme, then in the end your life will be glorious.(-35) and many of the greatest accomplishments achieved within this world have been obtained through that faith. But those accomplishments enlighten illuminate the society rather than further the darkness.
So that is our choice the soul is like brilliant sun and all our egoistic obstacles that come are like dark clouds, if we associate with people who sincerely strive to live by these spiritual ideals, who sincerely try to cultivate faith in the highest truths, who don’t hypocritically sell their values out for the cheap distinctions of the world, that association will elevate us. In that association we learn how to cultivate inner self awareness spiritual awareness. We hear the histories of the great personalities like Prahalada or Draupati or Shyam Sundar Prabhu, and it gives us confidence we want to follow in the foot prints of these great literatures and the personalities, and we want to follow in the foot steps of those who are striving to follow in this world amongst, we want to be amongst them. It is a real principle. George washington, the first president of united states, he was the general, he was like the Subash Chandra Bose of America, he was the general of the American army who fought against the British. To somehow or the other get independence. He said something, that we must keep the company of people who will enliven and aspire character and high ideals. He explained, better than associating with anyone who has low integrity, is to just remain alone for the rest of your life. Association is so important.
This prerana festival is to try to provide some opportunity for people to come together to associate with people who are sincerely striving for higher values in life , the highest values of life, and apply them to their occupation, to their family, to their whole vision. A person who has faith looks for positive opportunities in every situation. One with low self esteem is only seeing negativity. Or one who has self confidence and faith that person is always seeing a positive opportunity in every circumstance that comes upon him. And that gives us life, enthusiasm, happiness. I’d like to end by reading the prayer Srila Praphupada wrote on jaladuta, upon coming to the western world in 1965. (-30) Srila Praphupada was a very great saint, whom we explained, came with nothing and no one, but had the ideal to spread Krishna’s holy name through out the whole world. At the age of 70, after having heart attacks just a couple of weeks before, where did he get the self confidence to pursue such an absolutely impossible mission by material standards. Not that I am a great saint I am a scholor I will conquer them. It was in is humility and in his faith that he had this power. And here are some of the things that he wrote in his private prayer to the lord in his most helpless moment of life. “My dear lord Krishna you are so kind upon this useless soul. But I don’t know why you brought me here, now you can do what ever you like with me, but I guess you have some business here, otherwise why would you bring me to this terrible place? ”, and I know many of you are very much longing for an opportunity to get a job in America. Prabhupada said why have you brought me to this terrible place! Its a place where 70% divorce within three years, a place of so much drug addiction, alcoholism, meat eating, dating, illicit sex, to a stable person its a terrible place. For a person looking for material comforts its Heaven…for a while! Most of the population here is covered by the material modes of ignorance and passion, absorbed in material life. They think themselves to be happy and satisfied and therefore have no taste for the transcendental message of Vasudev. I do not know how they will be able to understand your message, but I know your causeless mercy can make everything possible, because you are the most expert mystic. How will they understand the mellows of pure love. Oh lord! I am simply praying for your mercy so that i will be able to convince them about your message. All living entities have become under the control of the illusory energy by your will. And therefore if you like by your will, they can also be released from the clutches of illusion. I wish that you will deliver them. Therefore if you so desire their deleverance than only will they understand your message. How will I make them understand this message of Krishna Consciousness?
I am very unfortunate, unqualified and the most fallen, therefore i am seeking your benediction so that i can convince them for i am powerless to do so on my own. Somehow or the other oh lord you have brought me here to speak about you, now my lord its up to you to make me a successes or a failure as you like. Oh spiritual master of all the worlds, i can simply repeat your message, so you like you can make my power of speaking suitable for their understanding. Only by your causeless mercy will my words become pure. I am sure that when this transcendental message penetrates their hearts they will certainly feel engladend and thus become liberated from all unhappy conditions of life. Oh lord! Please listen, oh lord! I am just a puppet in your hands, so if you have brought me here to dance than make me dance, make me dance oh lord, make me dance as you like. I have no devotion, nor do i have any knowledge, but i have strong faith in the holy name of Krishna. I have been designated as Bhakti Vedanta, and now if you like you can fulfill the real purport of Bhakti Vedanta. Signed the most unfortunate insignificant beggar A.C.Bhakti Vedanta Swamy, on board the ship Jaladuta common wealth peer Boston, Massachusetts, USA, dated 18th of September 1965. Shrila Prabupada, who first came let us say/let astray his Indian accent of English, he was old, he was preaching to a generation that absolutely rejected the culture of anyone above them in age. I remember i was brought up in that generation. There was a war cry, never trust anyone above thirty. (Yes shyam sundara prabhu, chandra mouli prabhu, remember…) never trust anyone above thirty because they are fools they don’t understand, they just don’t get it, their time is gone, their conceptions are outdated. They can’t understand who we are or what we are or why we are doing or what we are doing. And here comes somebody, seventy, telling them to give up illicit sex and intoxication, gambling, meat eating and surrender to Krishna, and they never even heard the name Krishna before. What a difficult situation. But prabhupada had complete confidence, total self-confidence based on his faith, based on his humility.
No self confidence doesn’t mean being arrogant. Real self confidence can be born in the heart, that’s simple, honest, sincere and humble. In confidence in the power, that can carry across the vast ocean of material existence and bring us to the eternally liberated state of divine love. And can empower us, as small and insignificant as we may be, to actually bring other people to that destination. And to make us glorious successes in what ever we strive to do, with the proper ideals. That is the true art of self confidence. And these are contemporary real examples that it is real, it is true and it is for everyone. I thank you very much. When we chant the holy names, we are invoking the presence of that divine grace of Krishna, of God. Krishna has many names according to various religions, but here is one god. Krishna means the all attractive, object of everyones love. When we chant he Holy name sincerely we access the presence the power and the grace of that one supreme lord. And the lord teaches us the most suitable way to access that current of love, trinaadhapi sunicheena teror evaseechana ammananey……(shikshaastakam). The full perfection of self confidence comes through this. To feel ones self humble like the blade of grass, to be tolerant like a tree, to offer all respects to others and to expect no respect for ones self , in this spirit one can constantly chant the holy names HK………….HH. Thank you very much.(-17)
Questions & Answers:
Q: Hare Krishna, prabhuji how will you distinguish between self confidence and over confidence?
Ans: We should have faith and intelligence also, We should be realistic at the same time we should be willing to take risks and have courage to go beyond what we feel we can do. But is has to be realistic. Enthusiasm and patience are necessary for real achievement on the spiritual platform. Over confidence can be defined in many ways , one way is when over confidence when we are depending on our ability that are far beyond our own abilities. That is a type of arrogance. In one sense we should not be afraid of being over confident, if it is based on the proper foundation of confidence and faith. We should not be stupid, like Srila Praphupada gave an example that you shouldn’t go to the forest and embrace the tiger, knowing that Krishnais in the heart of the tiger. That is type of over confidence, its just beyond your level of reality, tiger will kill you. Or you shouldn’t lovingly kiss the lips of a cobra, thinking that he is my brother, he is a child of God. You have to be intelligent. Does that answer your question? So there must be proper utilization of intelligence and at the same time enthusiasm and patience, without arrogance.(-14) but don’t be afraid to strive for things beyond the horizon of your ideals, Shyam Sundara Prabhu taught us that. A penny less beggar in the streets of London, making the lead guitarist of the Beatles a devotee and living in his house with him as his best friend, in fact when George Harrison just a couple of years ago was passing from this world on his death bed he only asked for a few people to come. The whole world, he had tens of millions of fans if not hundreds of millions of fans, who screamed for him or bought his records or idolized him, but he asked for one Bengali musician, sitar player named Ravi Shankar, who was George Harrison’s musical Guru, a very elderly gentleman and he asked for Shyam Sundara Prabhu and Mukunda Goswamy, two devotees to be at his bed side chanting the name of Hare Krishna, when he passed from this world. That was the faith he had in these devotees. And on Praphupada’s inspiration he wrote a song, that has tens of millions of people chanting Hare Krishna, number one song most of the world, called my sweet lord based on praphupada’s teachings of singing in a mood of separation longing for the mercy of the lord, as a person. So he strived for something that was beyond his own capacity with faith, with patience and with intelligence.
So any other questions……..
Q: Hare Krishna! There is one question which I’ve had since my childhood. The question is… when i am traveling in trains i see many children begging, they are very hungry and i couldn’t bear the sight. I feel very courteous about them but they ask for money and one side of my heart says with my education says i should not give them money but one side says GIVE IT ! He is very hungry. What should i do?
Ans: Actually real joy comes through service. Real joy comes through serving without expecting any thing material in return, that’s what real happiness touches the heart. When we do something we get something in return, it gives satisfaction to the mind and to the senses but it does little for the heart. Actual inner wealth is the propensity to serve, not to exploit not to take, but to serve. There are different levels to service, that give different levels of inner fulfillment. Philanthropy is to serve those who are in physical or mental need. That is the mode of goodness if it is done properly. And that gives a higher sense of gratification than just making and taking, because it gives us a chance to express selfless spirit of servitude which is a type of love. To give with out expecting any thing in return is a type of love and ultimately it is love that we are all looking for. But he greatest service is to the needs of persons soul. To give a person inner enlightenment, we are not just solving temporary need which will come back in a few hours. We are actually giving them inner eternal wealth. So when these little children come to beg from you in my opinion as far as possible you should give them something. If you are afraid that they are going to misuse your money then bring some prasad with you where ever you go, have a little bag of prasad or a big bag of prasad and give them prasad and they are HAPPY! We have, not every one follows it, we have an instruction for all our congregation, that where ever you go in our car, have prasad in your compartment. If your walking have some prasad in your bag and never leave a beggar empty handed. If you give them money, yes, they may spend it on food or they may spend it on cigarettes or alcohol or drugs, you dont know or they may give it to some mafia person who’s hiring them. You don’t know, but then YOU DON”T KNOW! They may give it for food. So no harm in giving them money. But if you want sure thing of really helping them give them some prasad, and then they will be very happy. In fact when ever we drive now all these little children at the stop lights they run, surround our car saying “Prasad, Prasad, Hare Krishna Prasad”, and they are jumping and laughing and they are happy and we give them prasad and they are Haribol! Very happy. And they are getting some nourishment, bodies are getting some fulfillment and they are also getting spiritually enlightened through the process. So there is a certain natural guilt in our heart if you just refuse a beggar and that guilt in the heart is your higher nature saying, “somebody has come, you should help them if you can.”
does that answer your question? That is my opinion.
Q: Prabhuji my question is related to his. So you were saying that we should give money or prasad. But won’t it encourage them and how much can we serve, we can give for one day. They can live on our prasad or on our money for one day. But one thing always comes in my mind that for how much and for how long will they survive on this prasad or money. And the most important thing. Giving prasad and more importantly money to small children, wont it encourage them to beg even further and further. So how can they become successful in life? So i think it is better to give this prasad or money to very old and elderly beggars rather giving to small children.
Ans: Haribol! Very nice observation. Actually giving prasad is not temporary. This prasad connects their soul to god, to Krishna. It has ever lasting benefit on the spiritual platform in their lives. It is all together different from giving them ordinary food. Give thempatram, pushpam, phalam, toyam….. when we offer the proper food in the mode of goodness to Thakurji, Bhagavan, it becomes prasad, that prasad has spiritual benefit and that is ever lasting. That is a great thing. Now when you are speaking of little children, can little children get jobs? You may say they should be working, but little children 5, 6 years old, if their parents aren’t taking care of them, I don’t think its necessarily teaching them to be lazy. Ultimately the society should create facilities to encourage people, not to be beggars. We should encourage people to actually work and earn an honest and ethical living. That’s really the duty of the society at large, to provide that education that encouragement and those opportunities, otherwise people become lazy. They are seen by society as parasites, they don’t want to work, they just beg. And that is unfortunate. But he is talking about little children, to give them God’s mercy in the form of prasad is an act of mercy. I don’t think it encourages them to remain as beggars. At least we are doing something. Does that answer your question? Haribol! Otherwise you can become a member of parliament, you create jobs. Which is the best thing. But even if you create jobs there is no spiritual benefit to that. So if you really want to show them mercy create jobs but give them prasad and give them the holy names. Then you give them the best of both worlds.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH