Badrinarayan Prabhu on SB 4.23.27 – Three Ghosts Haunt us!
Live From Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir!
Date: February 18th, 2012
Topic: Maharaj Prthu’s Going Back Home
Verse: SB 4.23.27
Speaker: HG Badrinarayan Prabhu
tesam durapam kim tv anyan martyanam bhagavat-padam bhuvi lolayuso ye vai naiskarmyam sadhayanty uta
TRANSLATION: In this material world, every human being has a short span of life, but those who are engaged in devotional service go back home, back to Godhead, for they are actually on the path of liberation. For such persons, there is nothing which is not available.
PURPORT: In Bhagavad-gita (9.33) Lord Krsna says: anityam asukham lokam imam prapya bhajasva mam. The Lord here declares that this material world is full of miseries (asukham) and at the same time is very flickering (anityam). Therefore one’s only duty is to engage himself in devotional service. This is the best end to which human life can be put. Those devotees who are constantly engaged in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord achieve not only all material benefits but also all spiritual benefits, for at the end of life they go back home, back to Godhead. Their destination is described in this verse as bhagavat-padam. The word padam means “abode,” and bhagavat means “the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” Thus the destination of the devotees is the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the word naiskarmyam, which means “transcendental knowledge,” is also significant. Unless one comes to the platform of transcendental knowledge and offers devotional service to the Lord, one is not perfect. Generally the processes of jnana, yoga and karma are executed life after life before one gets a chance to render pure devotional service to the Lord. This chance is given by the grace of a pure devotee, and it is in this way only that one can actually attain liberation. In the context of this narration, the wives of the demigods repented because although they had the opportunity of a birth in a higher planetary system, a lifetime spanning millions of years and all material comforts, they were not as fortunate as Prthu Maharaja and his wife, who were actually surpassing them. In other words, Prthu Maharaja and his wife scorned promotion to the higher planetary systems and even to Brahmaloka because the position which they were attaining was incomparable. In Bhagavad-gita (8.16) the Lord affirms, abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ‘rjuna: “From the highest planet in the material world to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place.” In other words, even if one goes to the highest planet, Brahmaloka, he has to return to the miseries of birth and death. In the Ninth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita (9.21), Lord Krsna also asserts: te tam bhuktva svarga-lokam visalam ksine punye martya-lokam visanti “When they have thus enjoyed heavenly sense pleasure, they return to this mortal planet again.” Thus after exhausting the results of pious activities, one has to come again to the lower planetary systems and begin a new chapter of pious activities. It is therefore said in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.5.12), naiskarmyam apy acyuta-bhava-varjitam: “The path of liberation is not at all secure unless one attains the devotional service of the Lord.” Even if one is promoted to the impersonal brahmajyoti, he runs every chance of falling down into this material world. If it is possible to fall down from the brahmajyoti, which is beyond the higher planetary systems in this material world, then what can be said of the ordinary yogis and karmis who can only be elevated to the higher material planets? Thus the wives of the denizens of the higher planetary systems did not very much appreciate the results of karma, jnana and yoga. [End of Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 4.23.27]
HG Badrinarayan Prabhu: There is a mistake in the Sankrit? Mistake in the book? Anyway we will carry on. Krishna will understand. I was in the room onetime. We should chant properly no doubt. At the same time, there was a Sanskrit scholar who was trying to impress Srila Prabhupada and he said is the name prounounced “Kishna”, “Krushna”, or “Krishna”? Prabhupada replied, “Don’t worry. He knows who is calling.” [Laughter] So we will just do our best.
I hope that somehow or the other in spite of my multiple shortcomings I’ll say some things that gives you pleasure. Please may that become true. I was thinking before we started the body of things I appreciated the many wonderful classes but I was thinking of about Bhakti Vaibhava Maharaja class this morning. He was talking about Srila Prabhupada’s mood and his very succinct sutras that sometimes just knocked the life airs right out of people and they had nothing to say.
I have one particular incident that comes to my mind. (If anyone has a cell phone you can shut it off. Bad news will still be
there later on. Don’t worry.) It was the late spring or early summer of 1970 and I was trying to become a bhakta in our Los Angles temple and Prabhupada was invited to speak on a radio show. Anyone who lived in California at that time will know the man’s name was Joe Pyne. So it was the Joe Pyne Show and he was infamous for being sarcastic and just really going after his guest. That was the rasa; he would try to slap around his guest – like a boxing match. So the devotees were thinking Prabhupada shouldn’t go. Why should he subject himself to this? But Prabhupada calculated we will just say Krishna,
Krishna, and we will count how many times we say Krishna and the people out there in Southern California will at least hear Krishna. So Prabhupada went. And sure enough, the man was true to color.
The first thing he said was, “Your coming here to America and you are coming from India, what can you possibly teach us. We already have religious institutions. We have our understanding of God and you are coming from a place where the death rate is so high. What can you teach us?” Prabhupada said, “Death rate is the same everywhere – one hundred percent.” [Laughter]
So the man was a little taken by that. There was a little pause then he came back and he said, “According to your cosmology you say the world is flat.” Now they are actually talking, it is a long story but the plane of the solar system, all the planets, – that is relatively flat. That is what the Vedas are talking about. But this man misunderstood. He thought it meant the planet earth. So he said, “You say the world is flat.” Prabhupada replied,”Everywhere I walk it is.” [Laughter]
So he had a lady assistant. He was a little stunned so she came in as his partner to fill the gap and she said, “Why do you shave your head?” SP replied, “Why do you shave your legs?” [Laughter] Prabhupada said, “Better have warm legs and cool brain.” [Laughter] So the show host had recovered and he came back one last time and in a very exaperated he said, “What would happen if everyone in the world became Krishna conscious?” Prabhupada said, “Don’t worry there will always be fools like you who won’t.” [Laughter] The man was just shut down. That was it. And for the next ten minutes Prabhupadarge spoke uninterupted. He owned the station.”[Laughter]
For us it was like listening to a price fight on the radio and Srila Prabhupada had knocked the man out. When Prabhupada got back to the temple, he told us, “I can speak like this but you cannot. It is the special dispensation for old men and little children. They can go anywhere and say anything.”
Then another time – Prabhupada would chastise us internally. This is the business of a spiritual master to train the disciples – not to just praise you. But Prabhupada would always come to the defence of the devotees. If someone criticised the devotees – he might chastise us later on but he would always come to the defense of the devotees. So the folloiwng is in that mood. Our temple commander, Kesava. Anyone knows Kesava? He was a former Hells Angel. He used to make his living rolling drunks. He was a heavy guy. If you think your temple president is putting on a little too much pressure on you if he asks you, “Please Prabhu could you come on time for mangal arati? Don’t be a member of the fan club, the garden club or the lions club – (arriving when the camara fan is being offered, the devotees are singing the Lord Nrsimhadev prayers or Tulasi Puja has started). Come on time for mangal arati.” But that is nothing compared to Keshava prabhu. He could be very heavy. So rabhupada’s garden if you have been to LA Prabhupada’s garden is here and the building is here. Where the gift shop is now used to be the brahmacari asrama. When Prabhupada would come in the late afternoons – 4 o’clock or 5 o’clock and he would be speaking with very important people – professors, city council men – big people, very wealthy – and all the brahmacaris
if we leaned out the window upstairs we could hear what Prabhupada was saying. Some of us would take turns. I would hold the back of one devotee’s dhoti and he would lean out the window for five minutes and then we would take turns. So imagine this scene. Garden is here and all these brahmacaris and bhaktas hanging out the windows. It looked like a monkey gallery or zoo.
So Kesava said to us, “This is embarrassing. It looks like a zoo up there with you all hanging out and Prabhupada is speaking to respectable people and Prabhupada is such a transcendental gentleman. It is an embarrassment to Prabhupada. So you can’t do that anymore.” So we were heartbroken but we thought what he is saying is true. It does look silly. So the next day
Prabhupada came and sat down in his garden. College professor, state representative, I forget who was there. Prabhupada sat down, looked up , saw that the windows were empty, turned to Kesava and said, “Where are the brahmacaris? Go and get them” [Laughter] He had Kesava go and find us. Prabhupada’s first duty was to train his disciples. This is just a little flavour of Prabhupada’s mood.
So back to the verse and purport.
Let me ask you a question. If a building is on fire what is on your mind? How to get out of the building! If a building is on fire do you stop for a sandwich on the way out? No, you want to get out of the building. So here it is describing if some ones walking – it is said in the Bhagavatam that you don’t pick up one foot unless where to put the other foot is secure. In this way one
moves. Or kids have swings – the ring sets or bars. You don’t let go of one bar until you are certain of having the other one. One can give up something if one is confident of the other thing. Therefore we have to be convinced of “A” before we can focus on “B”.
A bird flies in the sky according to its ability. The verse and purport talk about this world being “flickering” and “full of misery”. And assomeone who has experience of these things I thought I would focus on that because that will give us the conviction to come to steady devotional service.
I was thinking there are some misconceptions that we carry within the mind. They are like ghosts that haunt us. We are always hearing their voices in the mind. The head of the Nazi propaganda, Goebels, said – “If you tell a lie loud enough and long enough people will believe it”. He said, “Don’t tell a little lie. If you tell a little lie people will think “what is that?” But if you tell a big lie, they will think “Well they would never lie about that!”
So the material nature in its throwing and covering potency throws out several illusions that we believe – big lies. And I am going to try my best to poke a hole in those balloons. One of those is that the world will be great if we just figure out how to manipulate it. We thinks “Look a this person or that. They are having a good time”. If I just push matter around and put it in the right place I am going to enjoy. I just have to manipulate this place in the right way and I will become happy. So that is one ghost rattling around in the brain.
Another one is that we are entitled to be titillated at every moment – that I have a birth right to be happy. All my senses should be satisfied, my brain should be peaceful. Everything should be happy. I should be happy in this world. Life should just be smooth sailing. But why? Where is this written as a given? Ramesvara told me this. Ramesvara asked Prabhupada, “Where is Krishna’s mercy? Everything is going smoothly and all of a sudden there are disturbances. Why does Krishna allow these disturbances? Where is Krishna’s mercy? We are going smoothly and there are disturbances. Why is that?”
Prabhupada laughed. Prabhupada said, “Actually the real situation is that this world is in constant turmoil and chaos and by Krishna’s mercy alone for a few minutes it goes smoothly.” We are thinking in default mode that it should go smoothly and why does it get disturbed? The reality is that this world is completely full of chaos and distress and by Krishna’s grace alone we get a few minutes of smooth sailing. So this idea that my senses should always be titillated and I should be happy and this is really the goal of life. Why?
Another one of the ghosts and we would be done is that we are making progress, that things are getting better. We have conquered this disease and we have conquered that disease. We have got broadband television. Everything is getting better. But Prabhupada said, “Your progress is like the moth into the flames.” There is motion but where is it going? So progress, we should be titillated at every moment and if we just push matter around in the right way we will become happy.
They say that a language is the verbal manifestation of the consciousness of a people. Language is a verbal manifestation of the consciousness of a people. For example the Eskimos – (I don’t think we have any Eskimos here. That is one place we have to get to – Although we do have somebody reading Prabhupada’s books in the South Pole. That is another story we will tell
some other time.) Assuming there are no Eskimos here you have to take my word for it. There is something like fourteen different words or twenty different words for “snow” in the Eskimo language. That is because it is something they experience. It is a profound part of their constant experience.
I will give you another example: When the Jesuit missionaries went to Japan it was really tough for them to translate the Bible and preach because there was no equivalent word for “God” in the Japanese language. They had impersonal Buddhism. They didn’t have a concept of a personal God. So how in their language can we find the word to express this concept? Dravida Prabhu was telling me that in the Sanskrit language there are twenty four different ways of saying “lotus”. He counted it once. Dravida is there. If you ever get his association, he is like a gulabjamun. You just touch it and so much juice comes out.[Laugther] Take advantage of his association if you get the chance.
So we can understand Sanskrit language, Vedas – twenty four different words for “lotus”. This is a homework assignment for you Prabhus, Matajis, Maharajas. Get to the thesaurus on your iPad, iPhone, computer or whatever and look under
“suffering”. You will find so many different words that describe suffering – pain, distress, misery, agony, anguish – just start with ‘a’ – there’s a whole list right there. That means that this is a profound part of our experience – all the different flavours
of suffering in this world.
Shows you where I am at. I was trying to wash my feet in the room I am in and there is a fancy shower arrangement. So I didn’t want the water to come from the top and spray all over me because I was in my dhoti. I wanted it to get to my feet. Simple thing. Just turn this knob and adjust that on. I turned it on. There was a side sprayer I had not noticed. It completely soaked me! [Laughter] Just see my condition. I want to go back to Godhead without a guru and I can’t even wash my feet without help, clear instructions?
So in this world there are huge disasters that happen to us but it is also a constant stream of petty embarrassments – this material world, from grandiose suffering to petty embarrassments. It is the nature of this place.
Radhanath Maharaj was just saying that somehow or the other his father (His father may have passed away some time ago.) got cable television – satellite TV with a 107 channels. He said that the problem is by the time he clicks through half the channels to see what is going on the different channels – by the time he gets to 60 or 70 or 80 what to speak of 100 he forgot what he saw that he liked amongst the earlier ones. So you forget what you wanted to watch. You are endless like a hamster on a wheel going round and round.
Also because they have remote control you don’t have to get out of the chair – fantastic! But now everybody dies from obesity because they don’t get any exercise. They sit in the chair on Facebook or alternative reality games – they get no exercise and they drop dead from that. Not to worry. There is a devotee – I won’t mention his name – he has this raw food diet (I am not criticising. Whatever works for you take it. Hare Krishna.) But he practically gets mugged by the squirrels when he walks down the street with all this raw food stuff. [Laughter] He said, “If you eat like this Prabhu you will live seven years longer.” I said, “Yes. But if I eat like that and live seven years longer it means that I will have to eat this for seven more years. Better to
die eating prasadam!” [Laughter] You can’t win. It is a no win game.
We are not talking magical thinking. We are not talking that you have to have blind faith and believe in a transcendent reality, that Krishna is blue and playing His flute. We haven’t even gotten there yet. This is not magical thinking, rather it is
common sense – just a dispassionate study of reality. That is all we are asking you to do now. Look at this body. If you ask a small child where is Radha Sundari and Ananda Tirtha’s Vraj Mohan? I don’t want to embarrass him but if you ask him how old are you? You take any child and ask how old they are. Suppose the kid is eight years old and you say, “How old are you? Wait,
wait…Let me guess.” And if you say a higher number – say ten, twelve – how does the kid feel? He feels great. Swells his chest, steps up a little – I am big time.
Ask someone who is older. Someone for whom Yamaraj has already sent his signals – glasses, cane and grey hair. Ask him how old you are? Suppose the man is sixty five and you say, “I was thinking that you are sixty or fifty five.” How does he feel?
Very nice! It is almost good as saying, “You have lost weight.” They feel happy about themselves.
So I have done a field study – older, older, older. Kids want to be older, older, older until about twenty two, twenty three or twenty four. Twentyfour is when Caitanya Mahaprabhu took sannyas. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur also. It is said that the body is at its apex at twenty four. It is all downhill after that. Prabhupada said Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura
took sannyasa at twenty four years old and kicked on the face of maya. So I have done a study – 22, 23, and coming from the other side they want to be younger and younger – 26, 27 to 22. That means out of an average lifespan of 75 years there are only five years that you are actually happy with the state of your body. Think about it. 5 out of 75, whatever the percentage is.
Let’s take another one. Look at the mind. When I was a kid – I am the youngest in my family. My brother went to school first. My sister went to school first. I wanted to go to school like anything. I went to school, was there for a few days and then thought “Been there, done that – I want to go home”. No. No You are strapped into it. You are not going anywhere. I thought, what is this? I didn’t sign anything. I thought okay I will get out here and then be in middle school. I can play sports. It will be cool.
I got into middle school, I was playing sports and immediately I broke my collar bone playing football. That was it. I was off the field. But I was thinking OK, it will be better in high school. I will drive, there are girls, so many things. You are in high school. You love it. But at the end you can’t wait to get out. You think. OK End of high school you going to go to college. I will be away from my parents. They will just send money. I can have a car. Fantastic! You talk to freshman. They love it. You talk to a senior in college – they just want to get out. Unless it is those who want to get a Master’s Degree or permanent head damage in the for of a PhD. [Laughter] But the rest of us – you want to get out. The students say I just want to get out into the real world. In other words they are looking forward. In the future I will be happy.
Prabhupada met a junior executive at Dai Nippon. That is another story how Prabhupada completely blew their mind. He had Tamal Krishna Maharaj play the bad cop while Srila Prabhupada played the good cop. The result was that SP got a fantastic price for printing the books – just blew their minds. So while the senior executives were sorting out their reply to Prabhupada’s offer, they had a young executive stay with Prabhupada. The senior executives were trying to get their lives together after Prabhupada had blown their mind…the price he was offered. Prabhupada asked the young executive what is your goal in life? Everyone had put their business card on the table. Picture a big table in the meeting room… So the young executive did not speak English very well. Therefore, to make his point, he collected all the business cards and he stacked them up and then very ceremoniously he took his card out and put it on the top. That was his goal – to become the top executive.
But when they finally get to the top what are they looking forward to? When they can retire! – sit on the porch, drink lemonade. And if you talk to them , what are they talking about when they are retired? “Oh when I was in high school, oh when I was in college, oh when I was a young buck starting out in business.” My point is they spent their whole time looking forward or their whole time looking back for happiness.
So when was the body in a happy state, when was the mind in a happy state?
Let me give you another. I mentioned this before but I am going to say it again. I have got a new audience here. I was flying he
from New York to Puerto Rico. At the New York airport there is a big sign, ‘Going nuts in this city… tired of the cacophony of noise, the chaos and turmoil? Go to Puerto Rico.’ And it showed a beautiful beach. Because we are inherently persons there
were two sets of footsteps – not one. Looks good, looks peaceful, tranquil. Let me go there. But when I arrived at the airport in Puerto Rico before I even got to customs there was a big sign: ‘Going nuts on this little island with nothing to do? Go to New York where the action is.’ [Laughter] I was in New York they weren’t happy. I am in Puerto Rico and they are not happy. Was it at 30,000 feet 3,000 miles into the trip, somewhere over Atlanta, because I flew right passed it? I didn’t find happiness.
Look at our little toe. Anyone here wake up this morning and find great titilation from their little toe? O little toe, little toe please thrill me today. Anybody getting any juice out of the little toe right now? Maybe you have a mosquito bite and you itch it but other than that anything else happening? So its potential for pleasure is practically nil.
I was in a hurry. I was born seven days early. My mother says I have been in hurry ever since. [Laughter] And I came around the corner of the San Diego temple and I broke my little toe – snap! Anyone ever broken their toe? It was perpendicular and extremely painful. Put the comparaison on the pan balance, potential for pleasure practically minimal but potential for pain unlimited. It can become scratched and infected without penicillin or medical cure— You can die from a scratch on your little toe. So let us just step back and look at the situation for a moment.
They have something in archaeology called “function from form”. … You put together the pot chards – little chips of pots or or other objects and they figure out it is a funeary vessel and they must have had a belief in an afterlife. They create some impression of the people from the form of the item. Based on the form of the item they figure out its function. This is for storing seed. They must have been an agrarian society. You get the idea? From the form they determine its function.
Carefully study this body. It is not designed for eating. The elephants have beaten us, the cows have beaten us. Anaconda can swallow any of you like a tasty pakora snack item. So it is not designed for eating. You eat a little too much or too little you get indigestion or disease. It is not designed for eating. We can go through all four but I want to save time. It is not designed for mating. Rabbits have defeated us. I can tell you a rabbit joke some other time. Hogs they don’t have to discriminate. So if you take defending – is there anyone who has got a black belt in karate? No black belts in karate in the house? There usually is one. Be very nice to them, be careful. [Laughter]
If somebody has a black belt in karate and on this side I have a Bengal tiger and they are together in the cage. Who are you going to bet on? [Laughter] I mean one slap and the black belt is finished. So we are not designed for eating. We are not designed for sleeping. We are not designed for defending. If you look at it what is this body designed for? Man is called the rational animal. “I think therefore I am”. ‘ke ami’ Sanatan Goswami asked, “Who am I and why am I suffering?” Atatho brahma-jijnasa. This is what the human form of life is designed for. It is not designed for these foolish, petty, pale, insufficient activities.
There was a man – I don’t want to mention who it was, it. Tukurama if he is here can confirm. He had a little cough. The guy was fifty years old and super healthy and supposed to have the heart rate of a thirty five year old. He had a little cough. He went to the doctor because it wasn’t going away. Turns out he had some kind of lung cancer. Doctor said, “You have six weeks to live.” It actually turned out that he didn’t even have six weeks. He was gone in ten days. They brought his ashes here. A little cough.
It is described that we are like a drop of water on a lotus leaf. That is our actual situation. Govinda dasa says at any minute it can tilt and we are finished. And where do we go in the next life? The purport is describing – it says about material benefits – Tamal Krishna Maharaj told me this personally. That when they were in the court case in Bombay trying to get the permit for constructing the Juhu temple they had to go to court so many times. When they were sitting on the benches, the benches in the court room were full on bench bugs. So the bench bugs were biting and the devotees came out with big bites all over their legs. So Tamal Krishna Maharaj mentioned this to Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada said, “You should take court briefs
and sit on court briefs.” Prabhupada said, “These bench bugs were lawyers in their past lives who squeezed all the blood out of their clients and they have come back as bench bugs. Because they are attached to the law they have come back as bench bugs in the court and they are still squeezing blood.” But Prabhupada said if you sit on the court briefs they still respect the
law.” [Laughter] Actually they can’t burrow through the think paper. So where do we go in our next lives?
I was listening to a tape – it is in India and this man is going on, the same consciousness is everywhere – I am not picking on India – but the man was saying, “O my father did this and my father did this and by my father’s mercy we have this house and by my father’s mercy we have this business.” On the one hand we should respect our father – no doubt about it. But he was going on and on and Prabhupada was trying to explain what are you doing your human form of life and the man just went on and on and on. Finally Prabhupada said, “Where is your father now?” Prabhupada said, “He may be a cockroach in the …”
And there was dead silence[Laughter] Again later on Prabhupada said, “I can say these things but you cannot.” The question is, “What is our future life? What is our next destination?” What is our condition in this life and what is our next destination?
Prabhupada talks about the cow patties. The two cow patties talking to each other. If we stop just for one moment and think the wonderful, colorful worldview that Srila Prabhupada has given us through his Bhaktivedanta purports it is om ajnana in a genuine sense. It lights up the whole world. One cow patty is burning in the fire and the other cow patty is laughing, Hahahah.” What does the burning cow patty say to the laughing cow patty? He says, “You are next.” And we should see that we are next. Time and tide wait for no one.
You want to do another sociological study – talk to anyone who is sixty five to seventy year older and ask them about how fast time goes. The older youget the faster time goes. My son was talking to my father and he said,”Gramps can I have got a new cell phone number?” My father said let me write it down. My son said, “Gramps just memorise it.” My father said, “Oh no, no,
no. At my age if something goes into my brain I know that it will also pushe something out.” My son said,”Yes. That is true. I lost a whole year because time was going so fast.’ My father said, “You lost a whole year. I lost ten years – a decade. I can’t figure out what happened to it. The older you get the faster time goes.” So we have to be intelligent. Prahlad Maharaj says right now is the time! Anyone knows according to the Bhagavatam what is the definition of old age? What is old age? Just before death. Anyone here have a certificate from Yamaraj? So there it is!
It says in the verse that we achieve all material benefits – by devotional service on achieves all material benefits. Prabhupada was walking out here in the field – you can hear the tape – and Prabhupada says – this was the first year that we all came to Mayapur. I think it was 1973. It was tough. We were innocents abroad, we didn’t know how to live in India – everybody was sick. We were all laid low by the Mahatma Gandhi weight loss program. We were in bad shape. [Laughter] There were a few of us less ill who managed to struggle out in these fields on Prabhupada’s morning walk. Out of the blue Prabhupada says, “Devotees don’t suffer.” There is a long pause and finally Panca Dravida asked, “Well than Prabhupada, what exactly are the devotees doing?” What are devotees doing if devotees don’t suffer because apparently we were in fact suffering. And you
hear Prabhupada laugh and he says, “That is all right. But back home back to Godhead at the end of this life.”
I have seen this and we have all seen this. I remember Jayadvaita Maharaj, a wonderful wordsmith, saying that as Prabhupada was the acarya in life he was also the acarya in death. Like a coconut. You know a ripe coconut – there is the husk and there is the pulp inside it rattling loose – they are independent of each other. For a devotee actually Krishna conscious becomes free from all this fear of death. Prabhupada was lying on his disappearance bed. He was not like Voltaire who at the end of death changed his mind and called for a priest after claiming to be an atheist all of his life. Prabhupada on his disappearance bed and Dr Khurana , Prabhupada had stayed at his house, life member from Dehli, his son called him and said, “Can you please go check on Prabhupada?” So Dr. Khurana called different specialists. They all got into a caravan – I think there were two types of
cars in India in those days – black or white Ambassadors. There were also some very funky Fiats. – so they got a little chain of Ambassadors and they all came down to Vrindavan. They walked into Prabhupada’s room. Dr Khurana, I know him well. He just passed away now but he was a very sober man. He was not one to express emotion easily.
He saw Prabhupada lying on his bed. He said that Prabhupada looked like Bhismadeva. He said there was no fatty tissue. The skin was pushing the nerves right onto the bones. He said that an ordinary man would have been writhing in pain but Prabhupada was asking for a little massage. When he came into Prabhupada’s room Prabhupada said, “Ahhhh Dr Khurana are you? You have come such a long distance. You must be tired. Take some rest, take some prasadam then come back and talk.” Dr Kharana was stunned to the point of tears. He said as a doctor when he would walk in the patient will be calling for
morphine, their mother – “Give me seven more years.” They would be in complete anxiety and here is someone who is externally in a very difficult painful situation, but completely transcendent, a perfect gentleman and simply asking about the welfare of others. How is it possible?
Prabhupada when he was leaving Brooklyn temple came down in his elevator. He was obliviously already sick. Devotees were begging Srila Prabhupada, “Please go to Gita Nagari. Rest for a month. We will take care of everything. Please!” Prabhupada turned and said, “I am praying for the the benediction that I can fight like Arjuna until my last breath.” And you see
Prabhupada lying on his bed literally to his last breath speaking his purports – his Bhagavatam. Krishna gave him that benediction to fight like Arjuna until his last breath.
So my simple point is that we should appreciate the assurances we have. I will say it again – we should appreciate the assurances we have. The cowherd boys when they met Aghasura, they made an analytical study, is this a cave? Are the teeth stalactites and stalagmites? They studied the whole thing. They concluded that from the fishy bad smell it is some type of giant serpent ready to swallow us. What was their conclusion? Run for the hills?”No, they thought “Krishna will protect us.” Prabhupada said devotees are fearless but we are not fools. So don’t take advantage of this. But they were fearless— at play
in the hand of God. We know that Krishna will take care of things and if it doesn’t work out the way I want – this is the wonderful sweet nature of the devotees, they use this word “purification”. Devotees are aspiring for purification. Some difficulty comes, some austerity, things don’t work out -it is Krishna’s mercy to purify me. The karmis don’t do that. They curse and they swear.
We had a devotee. The brahmacari asrama in San Diego plumbing broke underneath and for days the raw sewage flowed out. Dravida will confirm it. It was really nasty. We hired a plumber to climb under the house and tell us what it would cost. This guy climbed under there. Three feet of raw sewage pooled under the house. We heard words that would embarrass a sailor – a drunken sailor, came out of this guy. They were combinations of blue terms I never heard inmmy life. [Laughter] He came out and told us his price $6000. We were not going to spend that kind of money. We had a devotee who was a plumber. So
the devotee went under the house in the same circumstance but he was – O Krishna, Govinda – he chanted the whole Visnu sahasra nam under the house. [Laughter] Same situation but completely different – totally different consciousness.
A man dies – pearly gates, beautiful gardens, celestial buildings, serene music, fragrant air wafting this side and that. He hears beautiful music coming from this one celestial building and he goes in there. Everyone is inside. It is meal time. Everything you could possibly imagine, Krishna prasada is laid out there on the table. The only problem is that everybody at the table has their hands chained and can’t reach their mouth. He realises, “I am in hell.” Like Yudisthira Maharaj going to hell! The next moment he wakes up and he is in another place but it is the same layout – beautiful gates, beautiful streets, beautiful buildings, gardens and everything like that. He goes to the house and same thing everyone is chained but they are feeding each other. That is heaven. You see? The only difference is the mentality.
We should consider the great good fortune, the fearlessness we have got that Krishna will protect us – yoga-ksemam vahamy
aham. [Bg 9.22] And if something doesn’t work out according to our plan, that is Krishna’s mercy. It is for our purification. At the end of this life back home back to Godhead.
For us as it says here n the purport our problems are solved – green mango, ripe mango – only time is separating – our problems are solved. There is a law in the USA. It is called the good Samaritan law. If you see an accident, a car accident and if you are a first responder, if you are a doctor or a paramedic or something like that, then by law if you see it and don’t stop you can
be penalised. It is a first responder that if you see it you have to stop if you have some ability to help. So even the karmis have that. What should be our compassion for the suffering conditioned souls? We should not live a life of no consequence. We should exorcise these ghosts I have been talking about and focus on our real business.
I remember seeing a figure that we only use a certain percentage of our brain. One time a man said just chanting is brain washing. Prabhupada said, “If the brain is dirty shouldn’t it be washed?” Then the man said, “Well I have a brain.” Prabhupada said, “If you have a brain, it is cow dung.” What do you say if somebody says that to you? So even assuming you have a brain and it is not cow dung and there is a whole percentage of the brain that you are not using. I used to think as a kid “what will we think if we could use our full brain?” In a similar fashion what will we think if our brain is not full of plans for our own selfish sense gratification? What will we think of? What we will think of is compassion for the suffering conditioned souls. I am speaking to myself as well here. We should not live lives of no consequence. Prabhupada talks about the bugs flying the light and in the morning you just sweep them all up and throw them in the dust bin. If I have a bucket of water and I put my hand in the bucket of water what happens to the water line in that bucket of water? It goes up. What happens when I pull my hand
out? It goes to the exact same place. Should our presence in the world be like that? We take up space and then when we are gone everything is the same as it was? We make no difference in this world? Is that what the human form of life meant for? To life like this is pale and pathetic.
Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita, “I am adventure.” If we go out and preach -you read in Caitanya-caritamrta Haridas Thakura, Lord Nityananda, Advaita Acarya – all the adventures they would have. Just two quick stories. One Prabhupada story and we will be done. We will be a few minutes over time. We used to go out in Detroit. We had a map of the city of Detroit and the idea was to knock on every door in the city of Detroit. They have been working on it for six to seven years. We had a map and we were working our way through. Has anyone been to Detroit? The joke is that it was a good place to be from. It is a rough city. It has pervasive poverty and crime. It has areas that the police don’t even go to at night. After eight o’clock pm they won’t even go in. If you call they will come at seven o’clock the next morning to see if the house is still standing.
We were going door to door. We found out that a certain group of people did not like sweets. We used to have peanut butter burfi but they did not like it so we made simple popcorn and put it in bags. We had been going for years through this part of town with popcorn prasadam in bags. One day we were there chanting. I think it was in ’72 or ’73. The Detroit riots were just about to break. This is when they burnt down the whole city. Turns out that the riots broke out right where we were that afternoon. We looked this way and there was Detroit’s police coming this way with tear gas masks, tear gas guns, shield, riot protection. And they were moving like a Roman legion coming down the street right to us. Okay we can’t go that way.
We looked the other way and coming down the other end of the street were the locals – broken beer bottles, baseball bats, Molotov coaktails, and they were coming our way. We were sandwiched right in the middle of a situation was that just about to explode. We took a quick analysis of the situtaion – these guys have guns and these other guys don’t have guns so we
will go that way. Now the crowd of locals was very angry. They did not friendly or accommodating. They were out for blood. angry. But when we got up close so that they could see us, all of a sudden someone yelled out , “Hey, it is the popcorn people.” [Laughter] They parted the crowd, welcomed us, and we chanted our way right through. [Applause]
On the other end of the scale there was a devotee Dayal Nitai from Los Angeles – a real nice devotee. Many years ago he was in LA. He was very shy, very introverted. I used to tell him, “Prabhu you got to go out on sankirtana. It is so much fun and it is our duty. You receive mercy. It is your duty to give otherwise you are a miser.” I tried every different angle. He was a very shy guy. In those days we had a kirtan party going down the street and then other devotees were going door to door on either side of the street. So I convinced him to go out.
First day out, first door he knocks on – I was there with him just to bolster his courage – we knock on this door. We hear all the different locks sliding open and then the door opens and it is a little old lady. I hd told him to put the book in their hand because then they develop a sense of ownership. So he doesn’t say a word, she doesn’t say a word. He puts the book in her hand. It was a Sri Isopanisad with beautiful Krishna on the cover. She looked at the book – little old lady – looked at him, looked at the book, looked at him and fell over dead. [Laughter] We had to get the neighbours and we had to get the police and an ambulence but she was gone.
After the whole scene had calmed down Dayal Nitai prabhu asked me “Is it like this every day?” [Laughter] I said, “No I have never had this happen before.” But when you think about it I said, “That little old lady was just waiting for you. She had a whole life of suffering. She left her body looking at Visnu, looking at a Vaisnava and again looking at Lord Vishnu.” I said, “May I be so fortunate to go in this way .”
Prabhupada said he asked for the benediction to fight like Arjuna until his last breath. Prabhupada was walking here in Calcutta. He was going past the Victoria memorial. I looked it up online. The Victoria memorial is two hundred feet high. We have an architect here? How high is two hundred feet high? Let’s be conservative and say twenty storeys high. You
know India and other places in the world – bamboo scaffolding – those things sway in the wind. So picture bamboo scaffolding twenty storeys high. Prabhupada said, “As a young boy I climbed to the top during construction.” So you can imagine, young boy – all the way to the top. The devotees said, “Prabhupada you must have been very brave.” Prabhupada stopped and said strongly, “And I am still brave. Otherwise how have I come to your country all alone?” [Laughter]
So this is the mood of our acarya. One devotee said, “Prabhupada I feel so sorry for these people sometimes.” Prabhupada said, “Why just sometimes?” The pure devotee’s heart is always like nectar. It is always flowing. So our problems are solved. Trying to enjoy in this material world is petty, pale and pathetic. We have the answer. We have our assurances. We have seen it with our own eyes. We have seen so many devotees transcend very difficult positions what to speak of our founder acarya. We have the alternative of a blissful adventurous life of sankirtan. Therefore, serve the mission, distribute books, worship the Deities. Put your shoulder to the wheel and push the mission forward and all things will come to you—and at the end – Back home, back to Godhead.
Thank you very much. [Applause] And now another austerity is upon us. We have been chanting, had the darshan of beautiful Sri Sri Radha-Madhava, and now we get to take prasadam. It is such a rough life! [Laughter and applause.] [To receive Mayapurlive lectures by email, write to firstname.lastname@example.org] Listen or download at http://www.mayapurtvarchives.com