Date: February 29, 2008
Verse: Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.13.5-7
Speaker: HG Badrinarayan dasa
By Ananda Tirtha (das) PVS (Mayapur - IN)
You can download the audio file from here
or start the player below to listen
TRANSLATION: Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: The Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna was pleased to place His lotus feet on the lap of Vidura because Vidura was very meek and gentle. The sage Maitreya was very pleased with Vidura’s words, and, being influenced by his spirit, he attempted to speak.
PURPORT: The word sahasra-sirsnah is very significant. One who has diverse energies and activities and a wonderful brain is known as the sahasra-sirsnah. This qualification is applicable only to the Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, and no one else. The Personality of Godhead was pleased to dine sometimes with Vidura at his home, and while resting He placed His lotus feet on the lap of Vidura. Maitreya was inspired by the thought of Vidura’s wonderful fortune. The hairs of his body stood on end, and he was pleased to narrate the topics of the Personality of Godhead with great delight.
TRANSLATION: The sage Maitreya said to Vidura: After his appearance, Manu, the father of mankind, along with his wife, thus addressed the reservoir of Vedic wisdom, Brahma, with obeisances and folded hands.
tvam ekah sarva-bhutanam janma-krd vrttidah pita
tathapi nah prajanam te susrusa kena va bhavet
TRANSLATION: You are the father of all living entities and the source of their subsistence because they are all born of you. Please order us how we may be able to render service unto you.
PURPORT: A son’s duty is not only to make the father the source of supply for all his needs, but also, when he is grown up, to render service unto him. That is the law of creation beginning from the time of Brahma. A father’s duty is to bring up the son until he is grown, and when the son is grown up, it is his duty to render service unto the father.
So a little housekeeping first. I have some notes here so I hope you don’t mind if I may fumble with them. You have very kindly given me your time, I want to make sure I don’t ramble, so I will try to stay focused, so please tolerate that. The other thing is that the bird flies in the sky only up to its ability. Somehow or other, I am sitting here, but I humbly, sincerely ask your prayers that I may say something pleases you at least to some small degree. Hare Krsna.
Here we have a sequence of events in this verse. We are talking about a reciprocal event. According to the mood, there is a certain result, that result produces another result. Here it is describing that Vidura is approaching in a very gentle, humble mood. Just like Bhagavad-gita, same thing. From submissive inquiries, service one pleases the spiritual master. Please the spiritual master, the Supreme Lord is pleased and one gets the mercy. That mercy is not only the realization of Krsna but it also comes in the form of empowerment. Just like you see here, we are talking about Svayambhuva Manu fulfilling his service of filling up the universe. He gets the ability to do that based on his mood and approach. By pleasing his spiritual master by the proper mood, he gets empowerment to perform this service.
To give an example, in San Diego, thatâs where I live. Unfortunately for the devotees there, that is where I spend most of my time. They had a downtown renovation, they redid the downtown area. They spent millions of dollars. Now the problem is, all these fancy restaurants. Of course, they are eating things, Prabhupada says, “unmentionable” in the pages of Bhagavatam, but externally, they are fancy restaurants. The problem was, there are all these homeless people and you are there trying to so-called enjoy with your girlfriend or wife or whatever it is, impress your business partners with this sumptuous, expensive meal and there is some hungry person pressing their nose against the glass. It dampens the mood. So the business council got together, big survey, big discussion what to do, how to solve the problem. Do you know what the answer was? Put curtains. [Laughter]Don’t see them, no problem.
This is not Vaisnava. Prabhupada says a Vaisnava cannot tolerate the suffering. That cry, the cry of the conditioned souls disturbs the Vaisnava. Although the Vaisnava is peaceful, that he cannot tolerate. So people are concerned about the world. Just like here, they are looking out in the future. Svayambhuva Manu, how to fill up the world, what is the future of the creation? How will things go on nicely? How to protect the living entities?
This is Vaisnava sentiment, but we are not alone in that. You’ve got other people who want to make the world a great place, how to improve the condition of humankind, what to do. This is not an uncommon experience. My point is this, it will not be solved by Bill Gates and his billions of dollars. He may wipe out mosquitoes, which we are grateful for, but that is not going to solve the problem. There is a big, I think it is one of the biggest chemical concerns in the world, Montanto(?), and their saying is, “Better living through chemicals.” That is not going to solve the problem. You have Al Gore, but the real “inconvenient truth” is that the biggest source of global warming and pollution on the planet is meat eating and Al Gore is raising beef cattle on his farm in Tennessee. How is that for an inconvenient truth?
So they have their plan, they have their ideas. I remember I was just thinking the other day, there was that World Conference for Peace and they all came to Mexico City, so many different swamis and yogis and let’s all hold hands and find our home and om and bring peace to the world. They’re rolling off the success of so many religious leaders. They come to Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada doesn’t say anything. Prabhupada would sometimes say, “Do you want me to bluff. Should I flatter you or should I tell you the truth?” [Laughter] So they come to Prabhupada and Prabhupada says, “There will be no peace. Write it down.” So all of their plans, they will not solve the problem. Diagnosing the disease is ninety percent of the cure. It has to be properly diagnosed.
We’re describing the universe filling up. Prabhupada describes in the first canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, first step of God realization, that it’s natural, a conscious living being looks out at the starry sky and wonders. There are two different primary responses. The atheist looks out at the sky and feels very much alone, feels insignificant, overwhelmed that the random forces of the cosmos and here I am simply being blow by chemical reactions and the laws of physics. It is a very lonely, frustrating, perilous condition or way to see the world. That is one vision.
Now you have another vision, you have the devotee, the theist looks out. It is awe and reverence. This is Krsna’s amazing creation. Prabhupada says the sun and the moon, virata rupa, are the eyes of the Lord and one of them is always seeing our activities. Even if you have one eye closed, the other eye is seeing. Either the sun or the moon sees all our activities. The Vaisnava feels sheltered in that. He feels an obligation not to do any nonsense, but he also feels sheltered.
As a sideline, I gave this example one time at a home program. There was a little kid sitting in the front. The sun and the moon, one of them is always shining, therefore, Krsna sees all of our activities. The kid said, “What about a moonless night?” [Laughter]
I said, “This kid is meant to be a lawyer. Very good. Keep an eye on you, you know?” [Laughter]The point is both experiences at least have a commonalty in that it is humbling. The living entity feels humbled by the creation that actually I am not as big as I think I am.
Tamal Krsna Maharaja told me a story. He said that when he was the temple commander of Los Angeles, New Dwaraka. This is at the old temple when we were at La Cienega. At that time, Prabhupada was staying in LA. It was our world headquarters, so to speak, and Tamal Krsna Maharaja was the temple commander. He was feeling, “This is a very important position and it may give way to illusion. I may be tilted by illusion.” So he was asking Prabhupada, “How do I feel humble in this very important position?”
Prabhupada said, “You can think that Mahavisnu is lying down and from his breathing, so many universes are coming out. In every universe, again he is lying down and from his navel a lotus comes, so many planets are there. On every planet, there are so many continents, every continent, so many nations, every nation, so many states, every state, so many counties, every county, so many cities, every city, so many streets, every street, so many buildings, in every building so many people, and in one of those buildings is Tamal Krsna thinking, ‘I am very important’.” [Laughter]
I just saw a quote the other day, “The graveyard is filled with indispensable men.” So what is our actual position in the world? Here it is described, this is not hyperbole. It is not a mental adjustment. It is a factual analysis of our position in the universe. We are simply dependent on the mercy of the Supreme Lord. We are insignificant and we are dependent on the mercy of the Supreme Lord.
Let’s take the other side of the coin. The essence of the age of Kali, one of the cornerstone principles, it’s in the water, it’s in the Kool-Aid, is that everyone is inherently proud. Prabhupada says that even the pauper is proud of his penny. It is the inherent nature of things. Prabhupada tells the story of the man in the tree. The man is sawing the branch. He is sitting here and he is sawing here. He is sitting on the edge of the branch sawing very enthusiastically. His friend says, “Hey, Buddy, that’s not really the best way to go about that. You’re going to fall and crack your head.”
“Who are you? Are you a wood cutter? What do you know? I’ve been doing this. My father’s been doing. . . .” Like that. When he falls and cracks his head, rather than admit, he says, “Oh, you’re a great astrologer, you can see the future.” This is the nature of pride in the age of Kali. It is inherent in them.
What is it? The best laid plans of mice and men, they oft go astray. There was Jimmy Carter, who was supposed to be, of course, compared to George Bush, you could put a chained monkey in there [Laughter], anyway, he was supposed to be the most intelligent president. He was literally, the one president can’t even say “nuclear”, the other one was a nuclear scientist. He was. And you know, US economy is taking a dip. Someone was saying the other day, I think Devamrta Maharaja, “It’s the economy, stupid,” you know. One politician who won the election, his campaign slogan was “Two cars in every garage, a chicken in every pot, and a good five cent cigar”. [Laughter] Hey, vote for him!
The point I am making is, what to do about the economy? So, the best brains, the best and brightest, all with their PhDs, which is Prabhupada said is “piled higher and deeper”, [Laughter] all their PhDs, except for Yadu. Bachelor of Science, BS, speaks for itself. [Laughter] All of them gathered together chalked out their plan, their great plan.
They were going to give tax money back, a rebate. Then all of the foolish sudras, you give them money, immediately they squander it. They would all go out and spend it on items, prime the pump. This way the economy get a boost and everything gets cyclical and ki jaya. It is a little bit of a risk because the government is giving up some taxes, some risk is there. Foolproof plan, gave the money back. Coincidentally, all it took was some little deva, not little, I don’t want to commit offense, but some deva just, on the east coast, tapped the thermostat down a little bit - coldest winter in ten years. On the west coast, maybe same deva, maybe different department, tapped the thermometer up a little bit - hottest winter in whatever, blazing hot. All the money that was back in the pockets of the people, wound up being spent on heating oil on the east coast and on the west coast, for the utility bills for the AC. Lost their caste and didn’t fill their belly. The money wasn’t spent. They lost the tax money and it didn’t solve the problem. All it took was out of the thirty-three million demigods, one of them to just touch the thermostat.
The simple point I am trying to make is, this pride, it happens in our own life. I am going to mention my own in a second so that I am not picking on others. I apologize to the translators, wherever you are. I speak quickly. I apologize. [Laughter] I was born about two weeks prematurely. [Laughter] And my mother says I’ve been like that ever since, so thank you for your tolerance. [Laughter]
There was a devotee, who will remain nameless. He was adamant to have two wives. He had all these reasons, it was good for spiritual life, he was offering them shelter, the whole thing. Everyone was saying, “You know, Prabhu, I’m really telling you, one wife, do a good job on one, that will do just fine.” No, he wanted two wives. Somehow or other, true story, he actually got two wives. The two wives fell in love with each other, left him with the kids and the bills, and ran off. [Laughter] It’s true.
In my own case, I was speaking some years ago. I was even more arrogant then than I am now. All glories to the Holy Name and the mercy of the Vaisnavas. I was speaking and I thought, “Oh, I am speaking very nicely. I am representing Prabhupada. I am making this point, I am making that point. Just see.” It was a college class. I got through speaking, but I didn’t realize that my legs had fallen sleep. I stood up to step off the vyasasana, I collapsed like a puppet with its strings cut. Two students had to come and pick me up. I could not walk. I thought, “I can’t take a step without the mercy of the Supreme Lord and I am thinking, ‘Oh, just see how I am speaking’.” Krsna has his own sense of humor. Immediately and appropriately, he brought me to task.
So the point I’m trying to make is that when one looks out at the universe and considers our honest position, a sense of humility and dependence is the only intelligent conclusion. If you say, oh this is dependency, this is somehow or other demeaning mentality, religion is a crutch, let me ask you a question. To say that I am dependent on air, is that a crutch? “I am independent. I will not depend on air.” What do you think? Go for it Badri, see how long you make it.
It is a sign of neurosis or psychosis, it is a sign of mental illness to not recognize an honest dependence. So t o recognize that we are dependent. . . . Prabhupada said, “You think you are sitting on the floor. I am sitting on hand of Krsna.” To recognize that we are completely dependent on the mercy of the Supreme Lord, that is not simply a mental adjustment or a construct or some kind of weakness or a lack of self-identity. It is simple reality.
From that, just like the universal form, meditation, from that recognition of insignificance and dependence and design and order, comes a natural affection, affection for the mercy of the Supreme Lord. From affection, anyone here, what is the natural response after affection for someone? Service. You want to serve them.
As a sideline, I just wanted to mention a little bit about Srila Prabhupada. Like I said, a bird flies in the sky according to its ability, so if I can tell some glorification of Prabhupada, then maybe I’ve done something for you.
I have personal experience with Prabhupada’s humility. Prabhupada was in the Detroit temple, the new temple, and behind his asana in his room, his darsana room, was a big picture of Lord Nrismhadeva. He had seen a picture of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur in the temple room. Prabhupada wanted that picture of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur put behind him. He wanted that picture, so he said that to the temple President.
I was simply a sankirtan devotee. I had the good fortune to be walking by the door and Govardhana Prabhu, my senior Prabhu, Govardhana said, “Hey, Badri, help me with this. We have to get this picture.” You know, big gold frame, big, heavy painting. So we moved it. We went into Prabhupada’s room, both of us struggling.
Prabhupada was sitting behind his desk. We thought Prabhupada was out sunning or whatever Prabhupada was doing. So Govardhana said, “Oh, sorry, Prabhupada, I’ll come back later.”
Prabhupada saw we had the painting. He said, “No, no, bring it in.”
We said, Govardhana said, I didn’t say a thing. Govardhana said, “No, Prabhupada you are there, you are working at the desk. Putting this behind you, we are afraid we are going to knock you.” Prabhupada kept working. So we are trying to move this big painting from behind Prabhupada. And again, especially seeing me, that his assistant is totally incompetent, understanding the situation, Govardhana said again, “Prabhupada we are afraid we are going to knock you. Do you want to move?”
Prabhupada said, “What? For service, you can stand on my head.” We are his disciples, yet this was Prabhupada’s mood.
It was either Detroit or Chicago, later on. Devotees came from all over the Midwest to see Srila Prabhupada. Prabhupada was in the airport. All the devotees, many seeing Prabhupada for the first time, offering full pranams, offering full mangalacarana prayers. So you had devotees like cords of wood stretched out like sticks literally all over the terminal. The passengers couldn’t get out of their gates. There was a big, long jam. Some businessman pushing the brahmacaris. Brahmacari was pushing, “Don’t you understand, you’re so fortunate to see.” Devotees are sprinkling conch water. Just picture the scene, flower petals. [Laughter] The whole thing became jammed. It was just about to blow. Somebody was going to haul off and whack somebody very soon.
Rupanuga Prabhu was the GBC at the time, chairman of the GBC. He stood up. He said, “All ISKCON devotees, all ISKCON devotees, please clear the terminal!” [Laughter]
The only devotee who stood up and moved was Srila Prabhupada. Everybody else shined on the announcement completely, but Prabhupada very dutifully got his little bag and got ready to move. He was thinking, “I am simply an ISKCON devotee, one of my leaders is making. . . .” Immediately he was compliant.
We can go on, but just some simple examples. Oh, Harivilasa Prahbu gave a nice example. He said he was walking in Paris with Prabhupada. You know, Prabhupada has now opened temples all over the world, so many books, so many things, beautiful Deities installed all over the world. So Harivilasa said to Prabhupada, “Prabhupada, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati sent some of your Godbrothers to Europe. Others went to others parts of Asia and England, the capital of the educational world at the time, so many things. Why did you come to America?”
Now we know Prabhupada is senapati bhakta sent by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, executor of the plan of the acaryas. Prabhupada said where America goes the rest of the world follows. Prabhupada had, “Let me make some western devotees, bring them back to India because India is chasing after America.” Prabhupada had a very transcendental, sublime, and proven, effective plan. Yet, Prabhupada’s answer to why did you come to America, he said, “Well, my Godbrothers, some of them went to Germany, didn’t do anything. Some of them went to England, didn’t do anything. I thought that if I am going to fail, let me at least fail in a new place.” [Laughter] This gives you some example of Prabhupada’s heart, and with that humility, how he became empowered.
I want to get to the point of coming to empowerment, but another feature of this pride is that we all have our plans. Just like Prabhupada said, “I only asked my spiritual master one question: âHow can I serve you.â”
Here we see Svayambhuva Manu, what is he asking Lord Brahma? “How can I serve you?” If we are insignificant, not insignificant, but if we are not so important in this world, every devotee, every jiva is significant. If we are not big, big what we think we are, if we are completely dependent on the mercy of the Supreme Lord, if some natural affection develops, and if we understand the simple nature of this place, then “how can I serve” is the only question to ask.
Prabhupada says the birds get up in the morning, you know, questions and answers, everyone is reading the newspaper, the bird’s asking, Where is the worm, where is the worm, where is the worm?” The businessman is asking, “Where is money, where is money, where is money?”
I remember my father reading the Wall Street Journal. I was visiting. China was just opening up for Krsna consciousness. I think one of the first. . . Chinese names, Bin Tu Fat, [unclear], So Wut. [Laughter] One of the first Chinese devotees was Yu Chan Ting. [Laughter] It was just opening up. Devotees, we were feeling some ecstasy. My father had retired recently from his business and he said, “I retired too soon.”
I said, “Why?”
He said, “China, just think of it, so many,” whatever the numbers, “billion of consumer units”. So he was thinking consumer units, all those senses to titillate. We were thinking how to deliver them. So we have our plans, how to make money, how to do this, how to enjoy, but the Vaisnava has one plan, one question: “How can I serve you?”
Now if we think about it, Prahlada Maharaja makes a very nice point. Prahlada says, we all know it, nobody looks for distress, and yet, distress is coming unsought. Prthu Maharaja says, you may have an expert physician, and yet, sometimes the patient dies. You can have a strong boat and the ship sinks. You can have first-class parents and the kid goes bad.
Krsna says there are different factors. But in Bhagavad-gita, the ultimate factor is the sanctioning agent of the Supreme Lord. So we all have our plans, but happiness is going to come, distress is going to come. That is automatic. We should do our duties, we have responsibilities, but that should not be the focus of our psychology, of our plan making. We should be asking, “How can I serve?”
Prabhupada said, he was talking about the material world that, [unclear] Prabhupada asked, “What is that sound?”
Devotees said, you know how the trash comes, “errrrrrrrr”, throws the whole thing in the dumpster like that. They told Prabhupada. Prabhupada said, “The whole material world should go like that.” [Laughter] You should just throw it in the dumpster.
I was on a morning walk with Srila Prabhupada, we were walking in Beverly Hills, big, beautiful houses. I was looking, as some of us were, at these big, beautiful houses. Maybe we were thinking, “What a nice temple we could build for Krsna.” Some of us were thinking, “Well maybe I could have had a house like that.” [Laughter]
I don’t know what Prabhupada was thinking. I can simply give you the on the ground report. Prabhupada looked at the building, looked at us, spat on the ground, and walked on. [Laughter] Later on in a lecture, Prabhupada said, because we were walking in the park and it was very beautiful, and we appreciate Krsna’s aesthetic beauty, no doubt, but Prabhupada said, “The demigods would not even come to pass urine on this planet.” [Laughter] We think it’s great. We’ve got all our plans, but the actual status, if one sees. . . .
There was a devotee who, underage, joined the Hare Krsna movement. This used to happen in the old days. And the parents, because he was underage, committed him. You can get forty-eight hours or whatever, so they had him committed to a mental institution. So the doctor came, requisite beard, “How do you feel?” And asked him, “I heard that you are seeing things.” I guess the devotee described Vrindavan or Krsna or the Deities, something to his parents, so they thought, magical thinking.” So, you are seeing things?”
The devotee said, “Well, I don’t know about seeing things like hallucinations, but I don’t see what you see.
Immediately the doctor, “Hmmm. . . .” Repeats the formula: “How does that make you feel?” [Laugther] “What do you mean? Explain what you mean.”
They were sitting in a solarium, sealed, you couldn’t get out. There was a table, there was a vase with some flowers. The devotee said, “I look at this vase of flowers. You look at this vase of flowers. We are both seeing the same object. You see this vase of flowers, you think it is something beautiful to enjoy, you could take it to seduce your girlfriend or charm your wife. It has some purpose for you. But I look at it, I see earth, water, fire, air, ether. . . he began to explain sankhya yoga. The psychologist stopped, he said, âYou’re not crazy, you’re the first sane person I have met in my life. I see [unclear].” [Laughter]It’s a true story. He checked the devotee out. While the devotee was being checked out at the front desk, the father came. The father saw the son standing with the doctor. He said, “What are you doing? What’s my son. . . ?”
He said, “Oh, your son doesn’t have a problem. I wish I had a son like this.”
The father began hyperventilating. The doctor said, “You seem to have some undue attachments and unresolved issues with your father.” And he committed the father. [Laughter] [Unclear]
The question is, how do we see this world? Do we see this world full of pride, full of independence, full of arrogance, full of material desires, or do we see this world that I am simply dependent on the Supreme Lord? Canakya Pandit says, and Srila Prabhupada quoted, as soon as the baby is born, the mother’s breast fills with milk. The conclusion is, what is it?
nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam eko bahunam yo vidadhati Kaman
That the Supreme Lord is supplying for every living entity. No doubt about it.
So that should not be our business. If you have loving parents, children go out and play during the day, they come home at night. If the child comes home and says, “My dear father, my dear mother, can I have can I have dinner here tonight? Can I spend the night? I’ll be very good. I’ll do my homework. I promise. Can I just spend one night? Will you please feed me?”
How do the parents feel? They think, “Why does my son feel like this? Have I offended you? Have we disturbed you? You’re my son. Of course you can stay. Where is the question?”
So here, “O God, give us our daily bread. God me this, God give me that.” He is automatically supplying. Where is the question of asking? There is no necessity of asking. Krsna is supplying according to our karma, according to our destiny. According to what is best for us, Krsna is supplying. Therefore, “how can I serve you” should be the question.
I came with a friend, so-called friend, associate would be better, the only friend would be a devotee, to the temple for the first time. This person I was with had the idea that he wouldn’t bow down to anyone, weâre all made equally why subordinate yourself, we are all one. We are equal, at least in that regard. So he came to see Srila Prabhupada with me. I bowed down. He didn’t bow down. He looked at me very disdainful like, “Brainwashed idiot. [Laughter]We’ve lost him. So much for that guy. He’ll be no fun anymore.”
And Prabhupada said in his lecture, “It’s all right that you don’t bow down. We all have our independence, we all have our free will. It’s all right.” He said, “You have a choice. You can bow down to the Supreme Lord out of love, out of respect, out of affection, out of intelligence, out of duty, bow down. Otherwise, don’t. You can have your head pushed down at the time of death. Either way, you have to bow down.”
Bhaktivinod Thakur says, [unclear] as you will, we all have to surrender. You can argue, you can quibble, you can try to wiggle out of it, but ultimately, time and tide wait for no man. We are at a crossroads in life. We have a choice. (I’m thinking of the time factor and empowering.)
If we have the, Prabhupada calls it reciprocity, reciprocal law, ye yatha mam prapadyante, as you surrender, I will reciprocate accordingly. Prabhupada gave a wonderful example. Prabhupada said different things have different degrees of conductivity. If I want to carry electricity, rubber is an insulator, it doesn’t carry at all. Little bit better is wood. Little bit better is water. Little bit better would be copper, or steel, ultimately you get the platinum. Now they have, I don’t know what they have. They have some fiber optic, I don’t know what it is. Each has progressively less resistance. To the degree the resistance is gone, the current flows. To the degree we surrender to Krsna, Krsna’s mercy, Krsna’s empowerment flows.
Prabhupada said very clearly that this movement is not meant for small things. We look at Srila Prabhupada, this bhakti is a contradiction. It is a world of apparent contradictions. Take a random selection of people, wake them up at four o’clock in the morning. Toss them into a shower, ideally cold. Tell them no sex, no intoxication, if they’re in India, tell them no cricket on top it. [Laughter] Get them to chant the same three words. I was thinking, they have hundreds of channels and they’re not happy. We have three words, Hare, Krsna, Rama, and we’re happy. Take a slice of people, put them in that circumstance and yet they’re happy. Something different, it’s an apparent contradiction. There is another current. There is a transcendental spiritual nature. There is another dimension to us and a dimension to reality. It is the spiritual perspective, the world of bhakti.
Srila Prabhupada sailed to the West. All the factors were against him. “Dogs run free and why can’t we.” This was the tone of the youth. Prabhupada says, “Shave your head, no illicit sex. No intoxication.” We know the story. I remember telling people I was a vegetarian, they didn’t know what that was. Was it a disease? [Laughter] Is it a political party? When we first went out and sold books, you know, Perfection of Yoga. Someone said, âHell man, I’ll eat yogurt.” [Laughter]
We said, “No, no, no. Hang on here. Back up. Try it again.” [Laughter]
The point I’m trying to make, empowerment. Tarun Kanti Ghosh was a Bengali Vaisnava, used to visit Prabhupada. I think he was a newspaper publisher. Correct me if I’m wrong, but something like that. He had been to see some yogi who had prapti siddhi. Let’s give him that. Let’s say it wasn’t sleight of hand. Let’s give the yogi that. He had produced some apple. Tarun Kanti Ghosh came to Prabhupada impressed that this man made an apple. Prabhupada, while humility personified, to make a point, had to speak. Prabhupada said, “Frankly, I came to the west with only the order of my Guru Maharaja.”
Prabhupada had forty rupees, which in those days, they would not even exchange in New York. It was paper. Couldn’t do anything with it. He sat in Tompkins Square Park, or Washington Square, whatever it was. He sat on the grass and one of New York’s finest said, “Hey buddy, get off the grass.” He sat on the sidewalk with nothing and simply chanting the Holy Name, dependent on the order of his Guru Maharaja. Prabhupada made this point. He said, “And from that, all over the world, so many devotees have come. And from those devotees, so many temples have come. And in every temple, there are so many apples.” [Laughter] He made one apple, what is that? All over the world, temples pumping out apple chutney at the Sunday Feast, now we’re talking. Now we’ve got something.
The simple point I am trying to make is that we are at a crossroads, all of us. What to do with our life? We have the independence. Once somebody said to Prabhupada, “Sooner or later I will surrender to Krsna.”
Prabhupada said, “Better sooner. Do you know you have a later?” On one hand, we have some time and we have some independence. If we look out at this world, what are we going to do with it? If we use it, if we decide, let me serve. Let me serve the mission of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Let me serve the previous acaryas. Let me serve my Guru Maharaja. Let me deliver the conditioned souls. Let these be the questions. If these are the questions, then our life becomes completely ecstatic and we are able to perform beyond our wildest dreams, just as Svayambhuva Manu filled up the universe.
Prabhupada said this movement, ISKCON, is not meant for small things. I was in Prabhupada’s room. A man asked Prabhupada, “Can you describe Krsna lila, Vrindavan?” So many different things.
Prabhupada said, “Yes, this ISKCON movement is the incarnation of Krsna and he has come again to save the world.” I heard it with my own ears. So this ISKCON movement in not meant for small things. Now the question is, just like churning the Ocean of Milk, all those things were there to come out of the Ocean of Milk. Or just like when the Ganga came down, the proper receptacle had to be there to catch it. Otherwise, it would have fallen down to the hellish planets. The question is, the Ocean of Milk is there, the potency is lying dormant, ready to manifest. It is certainly the will of Krsna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The question is, we, certainly including myself, have to become qualified. That qualification is when we become meek and humble and surrender to the order of our Guru Maharaja, our spiritual master, the previous acaryas. Then that potency will flow. And in this movement, the crying conditioned souls will finally find shelter.
So thank you very much. All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
. . . . we can end class because I am afraid of our GBC chair. [Laughter]
All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Thank you for listening so patiently.