Date: February 28, 2008
Verse: Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.13.4
Speaker: HG Anuttama dasa
By Ananda Tirtha (das) PVS (Mayapur – IN)
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srutasya pumsam sucira-sramasya
nanv anjasa suribhir idito ‘rthah
padaravindam hrdayesu yesam
TRANSLATION: Persons who hear from a spiritual master with great labor and for a long time must hear from the mouths of pure devotees about the character and activities of pure devotees. Pure devotees always think within their hearts of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, who awards His devotees liberation.
PURPORT: Transcendental students are those who undergo great penance in being trained by hearing the Vedas from a bona fide spiritual master. Not only must they hear about the activities of the Lord, but they must also hear about the transcendental qualities of the devotees who are constantly thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord within their hearts. A pure devotee of the Lord cannot be separated from the lotus feet of the Lord for even a moment. Undoubtedly the Lord is always within the hearts of all living creatures, but they hardly know about it because they are deluded by the illusory material energy. The devotees, however, realize the presence of the Lord, and therefore they can always see the lotus feet of the Lord within their hearts. Such pure devotees of the Lord are as glorious as the Lord; they are, in fact, recommended by the Lord as more worshipable than He Himself. Worship of the devotee is more potent than worship of the Lord. It is therefore the duty of the transcendental students to hear of pure devotees, as explained by similar devotees of the Lord, because one cannot explain about the Lord or His devotee unless one happens to be a pure devotee himself.
So here Sukadeva Goswami is explaining to Maharaja Pariksit what Vidura has asked of Maitreya. Furthermore what we are hearing is from great devotees who are themselves hearing and chanting about the need for hearing and chanting. We are being instructed that we should do it and we are witnessing the action of hearing and chanting. Of course we know the Bhagavatam is full of conversations repeating conversations that are repeating conversations. Our acaryas are not just saying, they are doing and by doing they are saying, etc. They are preaching to us but also they are practicing.
In ISKCON we are also hearing and we are all students of Srila Prabhupada, he is our Founder-Acarya, he will be the siksa guru for our society throughout history, upcoming future history. Here he is instructing us, in this purport, he says “Transcendental students,” we are all trying to be transcendental students. We may not be transcendental students yet, but at least we are students of transcendence, that much we are working on. “Transcendental students are those who undergo great penance in being trained by hearing the Vedas from a bona fide spiritual master.”
So Prabhupada is telling us if we are going to be qualified as students we have to also understand this principle of undergoing penance. Particularly it’s being emphasized to undergo whatever penance is there in hearing and chanting, especially hearing and chanting about the devotees. Particularly, as described here one should be hearing about the activities of the Lord. In this purport, Prabhupada specifically says hearing about the activities of the Lord and then he says the qualities of the devotees, the pure devotees. He makes that specific. Other places say the qualities, activities, etc. but here he particularly says the activities of the Lord and the qualities of the devotees. Why, because unlike the materialists, Prabhupada explains in the purport, they are not deluded by the material energy, they are not in ignorance, they are not acting under the impulses of lust and greed and anger and false ego.
They actually have realized the Lord in their hearts, they are connected with the Lord and therefore by coming in contact with them, we also become cleansed in heart. So this concept of hearing and chanting, we know it is an essential point within our Vaisnava culture. The emphasis on having proper Vaisnava sanga is explained in many, many places in the sastra.
If my battery doesn’t die go out my computer I would like to make reference to a couple of those. There is a very beautiful verse in the Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.25.24 where Lord Kapila explains to his mother:
“O My mother, O virtuous lady, these are the qualities of great devotees who are free from all attachment. You must seek attachment to such holy men, for this counteracts the pernicious effects of material attachment.”
So we are all materially attached. We are all experiencing the pains and the pleasures which means ultimately the pains of material attachment. So here Lord Kapila is explaining further what is being explained in today’s verse, the need to associate with and hear from pure devotees. In this purport in the Third Canto, Prabhupada explains, “Kapila Muni herein advises His mother, Devahuti, that if she wants to be free from material attachment. . .” Anybody here want to be free from material attachment? Don’t you kind of feel like, “Phew, if only I could be free of material attachment.” It’s like a burden, carrying a heavy weight on your shoulders. And every day it manifests in new ways. The material nature is unlimitedly mutable and she provides attachment for us in unlimitedly mutable ways.
“Kapila Muni herein advises His mother, Devahuti, that if she wants to be free from material attachment, she should increase her attachment for the sadhus, or devotees who are completely freed from all material attachment. In Bhagavad-gita, Fifteenth Chapter, verse 5, it is stated who is qualified to enter into the kingdom of Godhead. It is said there, nirmana-moha jita-sanga-dosah. This refers to one who is completely freed from the puffed-up condition of material possessiveness.”
So if we want to enter the kingdom of God, we have to become free from the puffed up condition of material possessiveness. “A person may be materially very rich, opulent or respectable, but if he at all wants to transfer himself to the spiritual kingdom, back home, back to Godhead, then he has to be freed from the puffed-up condition of material possessiveness, because that is a false position.”
And further down Prabhupada writes: “A pure soul who is prepared to be freed from this material entanglement must first of all be free from the association of the three modes of nature. Our consciousness at the present moment is polluted because of association with the three modes of nature; therefore in Bhagavad-gita the same principle is stated. It is advised, jita-sanga-dosah: one should be freed from the contaminated association of the three modes of material nature. Here also, in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, this is confirmed: a pure devotee, who is preparing to transfer himself to the spiritual kingdom, is also freed from the association of the three modes of material nature. We have to seek the association of such devotees. For this reason we have begun the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.”
Prabhupada makes this point in many places about emphasizing the hearing and chanting, emphasizing the need for association of devotees, especially advanced pure devotees and that this is the purpose for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. By this association we become free from the influence of the three modes of material nature and we actually become qualified to into enter the kingdom of God.
I’m going to try something a little tricky for me at least, please forgive me. Is Kavicandra Maharaja here? He just showed me how to use bookmarks just the other day, so I’m going to see if I can follow his in his parampara. First Canto, third chapter, text forty-four, again, emphasis on hearing and chanting. Suta Goswami is speaking:
“O learned brahmanas, when Sukadeva Gosvami recited Bhagavatam there [in the presence of Emperor Pariksit], I heard him with rapt attention, and thus, by his mercy, I learned the Bhagavatam from that great and powerful sage. Now I shall try to make you hear the very same thing as I learned it from him and as I have realized it.”
And in this purport Prabhupada talks a little bit about the qualifications for proper hearing. He says, “The word nivista means that Suta Gosvami drank the juice of Bhagavatam.” Just like Dravida is reciting these beautiful prayers in the morning, all these wonderful descriptions about Krsna and Radharani and the glories of hearing about them. So “The word nivista means that Suta Gosvami drank the juice of Bhagavatam through his ears. That is the real process of receiving Bhagavatam. One should hear with rapt attention from the real person [this means one who is connected to the parampara] and then he can at once realize the presence of Lord Krsna in every page.” Prabhupada says, very important, “The secret of knowing Bhagavatam is mentioned here.” We are studying Bhagavatam everyday, we are trying to understand what is the inner knowledge, so Prabhupada tells here, the secret (you can tell everybody) “No one can give rapt attention who is not pure in mind.”
Isn’t it? We try to hear and the mind is going in a million different directions. We are trying to chant our japa it’s going in so many different ways. We trying to hear but the mind is distracting so much. So what to do? Prabhupada says, “No one can be pure in mind who is not pure in action.”
Very interesting. We understand that in Kali-yuga we are not responsible when the mind goes. We are not held directly accountable, but if we meditate on that thought, then it can go from thinking to feeling and then willing, but in general the thoughts we are not held responsible for. But the action we are responsible for. Sometimes we think, “Now I have become a Vaisnava, I am not responsible for my actions.” That’s a complete misunderstanding. Now I am a Vaisnava, I should be held MORE responsible for my actions.
In other words, now that I’m a Vaisnava I should be more response-able. You split the word responsible what is it, response-able. If something happens, I respond. If I’m a materialistic person, or if I am not a yogi (we are all trying to be yogis) I don’t have any control. If something happens, I react. Like a dog, you see a dog in the street, something throws a bone, The dog does not stop and think, “Hmm, this is not clean food.” He reacts. So many dogs, one dog reacts, “Rrrh!” What do the other dogs do? One of two things, either they stand there and growl back or they run, “This guy is bigger than me.” So they go away. They are not able to respond differently. They are not response-able, they are not responsible. They don’t have sufficient consciousness.
But as devotees, as it’s described here, we are meant to become gradually cleaned in heart, that means less pushed by the modes of material nature. That means we can make choices. We talk about free will. Free will comes in as we become more cleansed in mind and heart we can make choices. Part of those choices, Prabhupada described in the first purport, transcendental students are those that undergo great penance.
What is part of the penance? The penance is making the right choice. The dog just goes, the dog just reacts. If somebody barks he can only bark back or run. He can’t stop and say, “Excuse me, can we talk about this? I’m noticing you seem to be upset. Do you want to talk about it? Is there anything I can do to help? Perhaps I caused any of this difficulty? Please help me to understand what I can do to alleviate your distress.” A dog can’t think like that and dog-like people can’t think like that. Therefore the world is full of people acting like dogs at each other’s throats. They haven’t developed this pure mind. Then Prabhupada goes a little further. “Noone can be pure in mind. . . .”
We are wanting to be pure in mind: “Dear Krsna, please let me focus on your holy name. Dear Krsna, let me become fixed at your lotus feet. Dear Lord Krsna lease let me serve my spiritual master and previous acaryas.” We want those thoughts in our minds. “No one can be pure in mind who is not pure in action. No one can be pure in action who is not pure in eating, sleeping, fearing and mating.”
Therefore the four regulative principles are there, the foundation to help us, the beginning, Prabhupada sometimes says the beginning of human life, because that’s when we start being able to control ourselves to go further. “But somehow or other if someone hears with rapt attention from the right person, at the very beginning one can assuredly see Lord Sri Krsna in person in the pages of Bhagavatam.”
So we are not seeing Lord Krsna in person in the pages of Bhagavatam because we haven’t developed these qualities. But we’re meant to, weren’t meant to develop this consciousness. By the mercy of the pure devotee, he is telling us this is what we are supposed to do. How? In part he is saying by undergoing great penance, by being trained by the spiritual master.
So Suta Goswami is explaining the quality, the need for hearing with rapt attention. Prabhupada is explaining to us in order to hear properly, we have to be pure in our activities, pure in our methodology of associating with people. Not just that we think, “OK, I’m hearing. Krsna, I’m hearing, fix me.” There are a few other spiritual philosophies in the world that have developed this idea now: “OK, now I accept you. You fix me. Thank you very much. I’m going to go have a cigarette or whatever.”
That’s not our philosophy. Our philosophy is based on the relationship. We disappointed Krsna, we took the wrong path. We came here. Out of his causeless mercy, he stayed with us in our hearts. Somehow or other, he’s allowed us the association of his devotees who are canvassing in this world, giving people the opportunity to return back to him. Now he is revealing to us that all along he wants a relationship with us. What does a relationship mean? Relationship means two. It means you give a little, I give a little. You have entered into some relationship with me, now I have to enter into a relationship with you. You ask something of me, I reciprocate.
Krsna is asking each and every one of us through the sastra, through the instructions of Suta Goswami, Sukadeva Goswami, Srila Prabhupada, our spiritual masters, “OK, now you take this up, you become response-able. You respond differently to the opportunities that are there in life.” And how we do this, Suta is explaining to us.
So this emphasis on hearing and chanting, associating with devotees. As Prabhupada says this is the purpose of the Krsna consciousness movement. This is why ISKCON was provided. Srila Prabhupada told us that he wanted devotees from all around the world to come to Sridham Mayapur every year (of course we have our temples in so many places, same purpose is there to come together) but he said particularly here come together once a year to associate, to discuss Krsna, Krsna’s pastimes, to understand the mood of Lord Caitanya, to understand his advent, why he came, to reawaken our Krsna consciousness and to become inspired to preach.
We come here, we get reinvigorated. Now they are building different environmental cars. Some of the cars you don’t put gas in, you plug them in. So we come here to get plugged in again, to get recharged and then go out once we’re strengthened to preach to other people.
What does that mean, preaching? It means giving people the opportunity to hear and then to chant about Krsna. That’s what preaching means, it’s hearing and chanting. We all know what ineffective preaching is. Ineffective preaching is it’s all hearing for them and it’s all chanting for me or vice versa. If it’s all chanting from you and no hearing. . . in other words if preaching is just you should, you should, you should—not very effective. There may be some little potency in the sound, but it is not received properly.
I have the good fortune of serving the society in the Communications department and much of what we try to understand and put into practice is you can only speak if you are also willing to hear. Just like the book distributors, there some very illustrious book distributors in the audience; I take the dust of your feet for your sacrifices for the society. When you approach somebody, you say something, and dependent on their response you say something different. You don’t just keep saying the same thing. You don’t just roll the same mantra off of your tongue because people are different, you have to respond, reciprocate with them differently.
In the same way with our preaching we are trying to facilitate people’s hearing and chanting about Krsna. And as described here that means we also have to help provide so they can have association. Hearing is described, chanting is described, but also association with devotees. But there’s a catch here, this is where it gets a little tricky. Prabhupada says the purpose of the Krsna consciousness movement is to provide association so that people can hear and chant. That means we have to provide people opportunities to hear and chant in such a way that they want our association. If we act in a way they don’t want our association or we even discourage their association in the name of hearing and chanting, “preaching,” what is this preaching?
There was some description with some book distributors at one point in time, Prabhupada said, “If by your exchange with people [I don’t remember the exact quote] they go away upset, you’re nonsense.” We have to be able to facilitate people’s association. Just like as was described in a couple of recent classes, Prabhupada when he came here was so concerned to make sure there were nice facilities for the devotees. It doesn’t just mean physical facilities, it means psychological facilities have to be there too. Are people comfortable, do they feel welcome, do they feel appreciated? Then if people experience this, then they want to take up the association.
How do we do that? It’s described here: we have to be ourselves pure in action. We so much push ourselves that we want to preach to people, but sometimes the very things we do discourage them from hearing about Krsna. We’re not pure, we all make mistakes. One nice thing the Christians have is this idea, all are fallen short of the glory of God. We all have sins in our heart, so many things. But we are meant to take those out. We are meant to undergo great penance pulling those things out. We are meant to pray to Lord Nrsimhadeva, “Please enter my heart with your lotuslike nails and rip the filth out of my heart so you can come into my heart.”
If we want to preach and if we want to teach, we also have to be aware of the need to provide facility to people which means as a society, we also have to act properly. Prabhupada said nothing can stop this society except what? If we deviate within. Sometimes we think, “Oh, Prabhupada said the leaders, if the leaders deviate, that’s him or her.” That’s bogus. If you’ve been there twenty-four hours, every time someone walks in the door and meets you, you’re the leader. If you’ve been there a week, you’re that much more of a leader. If you chant a round, you’re that much more of a leader, if you chant four you’re that much more of a leader. If you chant sixteen you’re REALLY a leader. Now you’ve got a name and the whole thing, your name’s not Fred anymore, there’s obviously something different about you. You seem to represent this place. And on the basis of how we represent people will be attracted to Krsna or unattracted to Krsna.
So our duty is to come here to get inspired and then to inspire other people, and it can’t just be by our words. We’re meant to help people develop faith in Krsna. It is described here one who is pure can see Krsna. We’ve been chanting, so many of us have been chanting thirty years, forty years, we see the Deity of course. We get a little taste, but we don’t see Krsna. Somebody walks in the door, they certainly don’t see Krsna. We have to help them develop faith. If they can’t see Krsna who are they going to develop faith in? You. You may say, “No, my Guru Maharaja is going to come in six months. Ignore the rest of us, when he comes, you’ll see what it’s all about.”
“Well, sorry, I have six months of my life to get on with and six months of the allurements the material energy is going to offer me. Maybe I’ll come back, maybe I won’t.”
We have to become more responsible to take credit for them. People look at us, they look at devotees. We preach, we all know our philosophy is so profound. It’s so profound. Sometimes I think, even if it’s not true, I can’t imagine anything I’d rather be true. The supreme reality is a beautiful person who wants every itsy bitsy tiny insignificant soul to live with him eternally in happiness and enjoy ever-increasing unlimited varieties of loving pastimes. And he’s so kind, sometimes he even lets you think you’re the only one there. Even though there are innumerable billions of souls, he gives that much intimacy. The whole material world, with all the hellish conditions that exist here, actually it’s temporary. It’s just an illusion. As soon as you wake up you’re free from it. And the only purpose it’s there is to get you to wake up. And it gets worse because sometimes we need little harsher messages. But it’s all meant for goodness. And no matter how far you fall, you never can be forever separated from God. It’s just like, wow. I have to argue with my materialistic mind sometimes. It’s like wow. I mean whoever made this up is really smart.
Sometimes I think even if it’s wrong, what would I rather do with my life? I think George Harrison one time said when he was associating with devotees, he just realized, I’d rather be with these guys than those guys. I’d rather be with the devotees.
How can we help other people have that same desire: “Geez, I just want to be with the devotees”? Sometimes we think if we convince people philosophically, they’ll become devotees. They have done lots and lots of studies why people become inclined to different religious traditions. It’s usually not the philosophy, it takes them months sometimes to understand the philosophy. I honestly don’t remember when I finally realized looking at the altar, “Oh, there’s a person up there.” I thought it was a bunch of flowers. I couldn’t quite see what was there. And after a certain period of time, “Oh, you mean he really is god and I’m meant to serve him and I’m not going to merge?” It took me a while to figure that all out.
We all come with different conceptions, it takes us a while. We may have or people may have very little philosophical understanding but what really draws people in is the desire to associate with those people. That’s our most important preaching. Philosophy is essential; we have to be fixed in the philosophy, we have to share the philosophy, we have to share the association. Perhaps more important, we have to live what we say the philosophy teaches. Again, we can’t just point, “Oh, he’s the president, he’s the advanced one. He’ll be nice to you. Don’t expect anything from me.” That’s not preaching, that’s not teaching properly.
Sometimes we think, yes, this is the philosophy of love. People say, “OK, philosophy of love? How are you acting, you big, big preachers about the philosophy of love? Show me the love.” And we think, “No, no, don’t look at me.” In our humility we may think like that. We should pray as we know the fact that everything depends on Lord Krsna, but if we are preachers we should act in the mood that it depends upon me. Why? Because I have been asked to do so by my spiritual master, not any qualification that I have. It’s my duty.
We say to people become free from false ego. Then they look at us: are you free from pride? How much pride rots at the core of religion in the world and it hurts us, everyone one of us. I am certainly not an example of these things, I am just trying to repeat what I’ve heard, but if we try to preach about pure living but we manifest pride, people are not stupid.
When I was a new devotee on sankirtan I was taught people are stupid, you have to manipulate almost. Even back then, the devotees who were most effective in book distribution, those were the ones who gave an example of compassion and people picked it up in their hearts. Those were the people who kept selling books while the other prabhus, a lot of them had to go out and learn a lot of lessons in society before they could come back in a humble mood.
People are looking. Sometimes we hear of devotees doing some kind of nonsense, devotees breaking the law, mistreating others. Actually I missed an example. Let me go back. We say to people, “You should be a servant, you should serve God.” And then they look at us and say, “How do you treat women? You tell me I should be a servant, let’s see what you do? How do you treat women, how do you treat children, how do you treat those entities in the material world who are often pushed down. You say you are a servant, shouldn’t those people be lifted up in your society. How do you treat others?”
This is what they are watching. You can speak all day long, but how we actually manifest it will inspire faith in people’s hearts. When they see that we believe and they see that we are practicing, this will inspire faith. Sometimes we see devotees, somebody is breaking the law, mistreating others, and then we say that is OK, he is preaching. Now we have to be merciful. We have to be merciful to ourselves, we have to be merciful to others, but we also have to understand, we are meant to set an example for people. That means we have to undergo great penance and austerity to control our senses, and as Prabhupada said, first and foremost, act like perfect ladies and gentlemen. At least that. And if we act like that then people will gain more faith in us. Sometimes we say, “Well, someone’s doing nonsense, but they’re preaching.”
What are they preaching? The nonsense they are doing is their preaching! Is that what we want to preach? Is that what our philosophy is about? We’re meant to preach. It says here, you act right, and when you act right then you can hear. Then again, I’m not a perfect example, I have so many flaws. I can only preach like this when I am 5000 miles from home because there’s nobody here to say, “Wait a minute, Anuttama. . . .”
But anyway, I’m trying to repeat what Prabhupada is saying here. People will ignore our words if our actions don’t manifest the purport of that. So if we want to attract people we have to be very careful. There are leaders here, presidents, sankirtana leaders, there are devotees who have no position but actually are the spiritual pillars of your communities from around the world. We have to understand that trying to expand doesn’t mean just more books, it means inspiring people to read the books. It doesn’t mean just big buildings, it means we have to build community. It doesn’t just mean telling people you come and you be a devotee, it means we have to develop care for the devotees.
I had an experience just the other day, very nice devotee he was trying to do something very nice. But I was standing to the side of Nrsimhadeva’s altar offering some prayers and one nice Vaisnava came up (if you are here in the room, don’t take this as personal criticism, it was Krsna’s arrangement I think), but he started pushing people to the side so that I would have ten feet of space for my darshan. I stopped him and said, “What are you doing?” He said, “I am arranging darshan.” I said, “Well why?” He said, “Prabhuji, you are big devotee.” OK, I am six foot three, that’s true, but putting that aside, I was thinking what does it mean to be a big devotee? What does it really mean to be a big devotee? I was thinking what it really means is the bigger a devotee you are, the more care you have for little devotees. Isn’t it? The more you care, the more you are developing Vaisnava concern for others, that means you are advancing. If you are really caring for more and more and more devotees, whatever your position may be, you are a big devotee, you are an advanced devotee. It’s not some external thing.
Srila Prabhupada gave so many examples, Lord Caitanya gave so many, as someone mentioned the other day, Lord Caitanya in the Jagannatha temple, the old lady stepped on his back. He didn’t mind: “Look at the devotion she has.” This was his vision. He wasn’t making any kind of material calculation. In strict Jagannath Puri culture, he’s a sannyasa and a lady steps on him? Unheard of. He didn’t mind.
Srila Prabhupada said ISKCON is meant to provide association, a place for hearing and chanting. If that’s going to happen we have to strive, we have to endeavour individually and as a community as a great penance to act properly to demonstrate bhakti, to demonstrate our conviction that all souls are Krsna’s parts and parcel, and to give up envy of others. If we are going to really make a difference in the world, we are just starting. Sometimes we get so comfortable. Like we heard the pastime recently, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur saying how I built this big temple and everyone is fighting, “Where’s my room?”
We have to see that as a warning signal to us. We’ve got 100 temples, 400 temples. How many billions of people are in the world? We’re supposed to touch all these people’s lives. We’re just starting. How many millions of books we have distributed? How many millions or billions of people have never even heard of the Hare Krishna movement? There is so much more work to be done.
We just have to be careful. As I’m understanding, the purport here is explaining the need for hearing and chanting and make sure we don’t do it mechanically. And to understand that we have to reach out, we have to really manifest the qualities as Vasinavas, we have to act properly as everyone’s servant. Just like the six Goswamis, we hear that although they were in Vrindavan writing such exalted literatures in such a high level of Krsna consciousness, their mood was, “Where is Krsna?” Prabhupada says in our line we should never think “I have attained Krsna,” but “When can I attain Krsna?”
In the same way we should never think “Oh, we’ve achieved so much.” That is not our line. Our line is “When can we do more for Prabhupada? When can we actually touch the lives of more people?” Whether we are thirty years old or forty or fifty or sixty; at eighty we should still be thinking “When can I do more?” Not that we should ever become complacent.
If we do so, if we are attentive in the way we are acting, in our hearing and in our chanting, we can actually become the force in the world that Srila Prabhupada wanted us to. We have to do that. Whatever little time we have left, however old we are, we may have more time or less time, but it’s not a lot of time. And each and every one of us, when we go back to our communities, or stay here in this community, we should try to ourselves manifest those qualities of Vaisnavas, manifest what it means to actually care for others, to be concerned. Just like there are signs around here every year, it really gets me, it says “Only devotees allowed.”
Who comes way out here that’s not a devotee of some sort?
Anyway, we should learn that vision: everyone is a devotee, let me serve them, let me try to set a proper example, let me try to encourage them. Encouraging people is the most essential element of our preaching because then if we create a nice environment, they will want to read the books. They’ll say, “I want to be like you. How do I become like you guys? When I walk into this temple and I see the way you care for one another, it’s so wonderful. Can I stay here, how can I become like you people?” Not like “You guys talk such big stuff and then I walk in the door and everyone’s pushing each other aside because the bigger devotee’s there. That’s not what it’s about. Everybody is trying to get out of the way because they realize everyone else is a bigger devotee than me. That’s what we really should be thinking.
And the person who walks through the door, and I’ll end with this thought, sometimes I have the good fortune of associating and hearing from senior devotees and sometimes they’ll talk to one another, so-and-so Swami will say to the other so-and-so Swami, “Yes, I remember when you were Bhakta Dan” or something like that. Whereas most of us just see the swami. But it made me think, we are not going to be here forever, if somebody walks in the door today, who is that person? Do we know? Maybe that person is going to become a big, big preacher. Maybe that person is a future GBC or Temple President. Maybe this lady, she is a humble lady, maybe one of her children is going to become a pure devotee that’s going to make this movement really expand, wherever they are from. How do I know? Maybe this simple guy walking in the door becomes a big sannyasi. I don’t know who these people are. If I am thinking, “My God, you might be a really powerful servant of Srila Prabhupada and I’m just a humble Vaisnava, I better serve you. How can I help you make some spiritual advancement?”
If everybody who walks in the door of our temple feels like that, there’ll be a lot of people walking in the door. And they won’t walk out. Maybe just to go home and sleep, but they’ll come back. Let’s try and create that environment. That’s the way Prabhupada made devotees feel. We should try to do that on his behalf.
Thank you very much for your rapt attention. Srila Prabhupada ki jai!