From Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir, Srimad Bhagavatam class, February 3, 2018
From Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir Date: February 3, 2018
Speaker: HG Vaisesika Das
Subject: Srimad Bhagavatam 8.8.3-8
tata uccaiḥśravā nāma
hayo ’bhūc candra-pāṇḍuraḥ
tasmin baliḥ spṛhāṁ cakre
Thereafter, a horse named Uccaiḥśravā, which was as white as the moon, was generated. Bali Mahārāja desired to possess this horse, and Indra, the King of heaven, did not protest, for he had previously been so advised by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
tata airāvato nāma
dantaiś caturbhiḥ śvetādrer
haran bhagavato mahim
As the next result of the churning, the king of elephants, named Airāvata, was generated. This elephant was white, and with its four tusks it defied the glories of Kailāsa Mountain, the glorious abode of Lord Śiva. TEXT 5
airāvaṇādayas tv aṣṭau
dig-gajā abhavaṁs tataḥ
abhramu-prabhṛtayo ’ṣṭau ca
kariṇyas tv abhavan nṛpa
Thereafter, O King, eight great elephants, which could go in any direction, were generated. They were headed by Airāvaṇa. Eight she-elephants, headed by Abhramu, were also generated. PURPORT
The names of the eight elephants were Airāvaṇa, Puṇḍarīka, Vāmana, Kumuda, Añjana, Puṣpadanta, Sārvabhauma and Supratīka.
kaustubhākhyam abhūd ratnaṁ
tasmin maṇau spṛhāṁ cakre
tato ’bhavat pārijātaḥ
pūrayaty arthino yo ’rthaiḥ
śaśvad bhuvi yathā bhavān
Generated thereafter from the great ocean were the celebrated gems Kaustubha-maṇi and Padmarāga-maṇi. Lord Viṣṇu, to decorate His chest, desired to possess them. Generated next was the pārijāta flower, which decorates the celestial planets. O King, as you fulfill the desires of everyone on this planet by fulfilling all ambitions, the pārijāta fulfills the desires of everyone.
tataś cāpsaraso jātā
ramaṇyaḥ svargiṇāṁ valgu-
Next there appeared the Apsarās [who are used as prostitutes on the heavenly planets]. They were fully decorated with golden ornaments and lockets and were dressed in fine and attractive clothing. The Apsarās move very slowly in an attractive style that bewilders the inhabitants of the heavenly planets. TEXT 8
tataś cāvirabhūt sākṣāc
chrī ramā bhagavat-parā
rañjayantī diśaḥ kāntyā
vidyut saudāmanī yathā
Then there appeared the goddess of fortune, Ramā, who is absolutely dedicated to being enjoyed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She appeared like electricity, surpassing the lightning that might illuminate a marble mountain. PURPORT
Śrī means opulence. Kṛṣṇa is the owner of all opulences. bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ
jñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
This peace formula for the world is given in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29). When people know that the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, is the supreme enjoyer, the supreme proprietor and the most intimate well-wishing friend of all living entities, peace and prosperity will ensue all over the world. Unfortunately, the conditioned souls, being placed into illusion by the external energy of the Lord, want to fight with one another, and therefore peace is disturbed. The first prerequisite for peace is that all the wealth presented by Śrī, the goddess of fortune, be offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everyone should give up his false proprietorship over worldly possessions and offer everything to Kṛṣṇa. This is the teaching of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. HG Vaisesika Das:
This is an especially auspicious verse because we are here for the appearance of Brahma, the internal potency of the Lord, which is always auspicious, that is, for those who are devotees. There is a principle that, when misused, there is a reversal of fortune that occurs in the lives of the parts and parcels of the Lord. What is normally beneficial becomes a source of misery and distress. The internal potency of the Lord, when translated into the process of creation in the material world becomes a source of distress for the living entities. The various potencies of the Lord which bring knowledge, sustenance, bliss in the spiritual world come in to the material world as the three modes of material nature which binds the living entities to this place. Very particularly we can see here that everyone is after Brahma. It is mentioned in the verse by Karbhajna Muni in the Srimad Bhagavatam eleventh canto. It mentions how Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has walked away from the Goddess of Fortune because He is completely detached. That is the one that everyone is after, everyone is looking for the Goddess of Fortune. When misunderstood and misused, that becomes a source of difficulty. I read some years ago a report about people who had won the state lottery in California and the results afterwards. The idea that they had was that by getting a huge sum of money they would then enjoy life forever. None of it ever worked out. In fact, there was a writer who followed these people specifically and interviewed them and watched their lives. One of them who I particularly remember was one of the biggest winners of all, he had won about a half a billion dollars in this super lotto. There was a description of the huge house that he had bought. When the interviewer had approached the house, he saw that there was a forlorn and skinny horse walking around on the lawn. It wasn’t a proper place for a horse. Obviously the person did not know how to take care of it. When he went inside, he saw similar disarray. He had collected all kinds of game machines and had them lined up in different rooms of the house. The person eventually became an alcoholic and slid into a very desperate situation in life. The idea seemed to be that if I get a lot of money, then I will become happy. Of course, that’s an extreme example, one might say. However, according to the principle that I mentioned, it applies everywhere in the material world. Therefore, Krishna, out of His kindness, gives us the actual formula for happiness in the Bhagavad Gita, yajnarthat karmano ‘nyatra
loko ‘yam karma-bandhanah
tad-artham karma kaunteya
mukta-sangah samacara (Bhagavad Gita 3.9) He said that by yajna we can actually become prosperous and happy. This is counter intuitive but if I sacrifice for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and I give to Him, because as mentioned in this purport bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ, He is the right person to give to.
When you give to Krishna, because we are parts and parcels of Krishna, then we also become enriched simultaneously. This is a principle that Prahlad Maharaj mentions in the ninth chapter of the Bhagavatam. He gives the example that when you decorate your face and you look in the mirror, the reflection is also decorated. How about that? In a similar way he said that when we give to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we, ourselves, become decorated. This is a great revelation to have. The big mistake in the material world is to think that I’m out for myself and that I can somehow or another get ahead independently. If one discovers the principle that I am actually an eternal giver, that is what I am meant to do, I am meant to give. By giving I grow and by giving I become happy. Then of course we might not find the right person to take who can actually satisfy us when we do give. People are all the time complaining about unrequited love, aren’t they? Practically every culture has myriad of songs about how I gave and gave and gave and then they took off in a pick up truck and took the dog with them. There they go off into the sunset. This is the norm in the material world. Living entities want to give. We see this around us. People are always looking for place. If you go anywhere there is a little pool of water, people say, throw money in there. But why? Because that’s the nature of the living entities, they want to throw money in somewhere. It’s Sri, it’s Laksmi, so maybe if I just throw it in there something good will happen. But nothing really good happens. They just mess up the pool. But it shows that the living entity has this inclination that it wants to give somewhere. So Krishna says, you give to Me, I can take it, I’ll take everything. In fact Caitanya Mahaprabhu during the Mahaprakash as He sat down on the thrown of Vishnu revealed that He was the supreme enjoyer. He told devotees to Him things to eat. They started bringing bananas, not just a few bananas, but hundreds and then thousands and then tens of thousands of bananas. How many bananas could you eat? When I was younger, I could eat a lot of bananas. But Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was eating tens of thousands of bananas, and then pots of yogurt and milk and Ganga water. He was just drinking them all. Everything that they could bring, He would take. It was the same when Krishna manifested as Goverdhana Hill. He was saying feed Me. They were running around bringing more and more and more and He was taking it. This is what brings happiness to the living entities, to find a place where I can actually give, because I am inherently a giver. Then find someone who can take and then who reciprocates because I’m part and parcel of Krishna. Just as when the stomach takes the food it gets distributed to different parts of the body, so the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When we find that person to whom we can give ourselves then we become greatly fortunate. To go on with the discrepancies of the material world, there are many observations given about how one can’t even keep wealth at all here. I’m thinking of the fifth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam when Jada Bharata is speaking to Maharaj Rahugana. He brings up how man figures out how to steal some money from someone. Steals the money and gets away with it. And then another man, Devadatta, comes along and he steals it from the man who stole. He thinks, very good. And then a man, Vishnumitra, he comes along and steals from Devadatta. All of this stealing and keeping is going along, the money is the same, it’s just changing hands from one man to another. All this time, it actually belongs to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Each person holds it for a few seconds and thinks that this is mine. Similarly, in the Srimad Bhagavatam twelfth canto, in the Bhumi Gita, a short and very powerful chapter or perspective on this subject, Bhumi herself, who could be a better witness to the insanity of trying to hold on to material wealth for oneself, sees that kings come and fight over the land. They come and try to conquer pieces of land. They want to conquer the whole world. She says that they fight and fight and finally to some degree they are successful. They conquer part of the world or the whole world. But that’s not enough. They want the oceans, too, she says. That has always seemed even more ridiculous. Practically speaking how do you measure whose water it is up to which point. In fact, in New York there are air rights because you can build upwards. You can own the air. In Colorado, they might have changed the law, but there were water rights. You couldn’t catch water from the sky, you would be arrested because that belonged to somebody else. There were laws against that. There are all these ways in which Bhumi was saying that people were fighting over these things. She’s saying that it’s ridiculous. I’ve watched millions of them come and go. It’s infantile the way they fight over these things. So Krishna says to Uddhava in the eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagavatam that one should be observant about this condition of the world and look at the different kinds of evidence. We hear from the srutti that the material world is a temporary place.
In fact, recently while we were in Goverdhana for the Kartik month, we sat in a room of about fifteen devotees and we read the whole third and fourth canto straight through. Afterwards, one of the brahmacaris went to his guru and said, what was I thinking? There is such shocking evidence there about the futility of trying to enjoy in the material world. The verse says FIX LATER you, sruti, and pratyaksa, see for yourself, idiam, traditional wisdom, anuman, be reasonable. Then he said to see that the material world is not substantial therefore don’t become attached to it because you can’t keep it.
That’s a lot on the negative side about how the world is temporary and how trying to hold on the wealth is futile and so forth. On the positive side, Krishna is so kind that even a little bit of yajna… Prabhupada writes about the verse patram pushpam phalam toyam that these are insignificant things. If one makes a sacrifice, I mean, where can you get a leaf, a flower, a fruit or water? Anywhere and everywhere, it’s not expensive. But if you just offer it to Krishna with some gratitude, then He will accept it. And the yajna is complete because of that. Krishna will bless the person because of that. On the positive side, Krishna is the supreme reciprocator and gives everyone an opportunity to worship Him in even the most simple way. That will take a few reflections. That means if anything that you heard so far has stuck in your mind.
My reflection is that I heard you speak about the principle of the eternal giver and that the living entity, our nature is that we always want to give something to someone but we don’t always know who is the right person that we can give to.
HG Vaisesika Das:
Yes, that’s why we are created. The one becomes many for His personal enjoyment. The living entities are little appreciators. They cooperate and they appreciate. By appreciating the Supreme Personality of Godhead then they become full and happy. By giving, they become filled up. This is the perfect arrangement. I was saying earlier that if one realizes this, then one’s life can turn around. Then they think, how can I give? How can I give more to Krishna. One’s studies very deeply, what are the ways that I can give myself? Give my resources? Give my mind to Krishna?
Devotee: Queen Kunti warns us about the perils of opulences that may become bestowed upon a devotee. We all know the beautiful prayer that these thing can make us mad, one can become completely maddened by it. We’ve all probably seen examples of devotees that were doing ok in spiritual life and then somehow material opulences can be bestowed upon them, either physically or even accolades, becoming a leader, those types of opulences as well. How do we protect ourselves when opulences comes upon a devotee, to be sure to not use them for our own gratification but to turn them all back to offer them to Krishna’s lotus feet? HG Vaisesika Das:
I’ve always found it helpful to be around more advanced association, especially people who are willing to correct me. There is nothing like a good chastisement, a good smack up side the head to get you sober. If you can find that it’s a really good situation to be in, senior devotees who are more advanced and who will correct you. It’s very helpful. They can watch out for that kind of thing. Also, Srila Prabhupada mentions that it’s a regulative principle not to fall down. He said that the way to achieve that is to be very careful. So one can, at regular intervals, check in and see why am I doing certain things, why am I keeping certain things, and so forth.
Prabhu, you mentioned earlier that our nature is to be eternal givers. But then, we look for the right person to give it to. But if our nature is to be a giver, then why isn’t it that when we give, whether there is reciprocation or not, we’re not still satisfied. Why can’t we give and just be satisfied with that nature? HG Vaisesika Das:
Well, you can to a certain degree. In the twelfth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna talks about the levels of service. He says always think of Me, give everything to Me. If you can’t do that, then practice doing that, the regulations of devotional service. Then He said, if you can’t do that then just try and work for Me and give the fruitive result. If you can’t do that, then just try to be charitable, give somewhere. If you give anywhere you will feel the same thing. When you give something away you realize hey, I’m still alive. I survived that one. Then you’ll see that people do reciprocate in some way. The best of all circumstances is when one learns how to direct all of ones energy to Krishna. Krishna even recommends the idea of being charitable because you will see from that that you are not your body. Devotee:
Hare Krishna. That’s such a good attitude for me because what I try to do is I have projects in mind. Like the Laguna Beach Temple needs help. We have this big project next door, the TOVP. To think that when money comes, I already know what I’m going to do with it. When money comes, give to there first even if things get a little difficult. Some people might be crying because yesterday the American stock market went down by two percent and I think India went down by almost six. But, people who have money can be thinking I’d better give now while I still have an opportunity to give. Then you get the eternal benefit. HG Vaisesika Das:
It’s called preemptive giving. That once happened to me at Radha Kunda. It was the first day that I’d gotten to Goverdhana, I stay there during Kartika each year. I went to take my bath at Radha Kunda. I put my gampsa on, left my clothes on the bank of Radha Kunda along with everything else that I had. I went in, took my snana, said gayatri, came out and my stuff was gone. So then we asked the monkeys. They said we didn’t take it, we don’t do stuff like that. I looked into the crowd of people and thought, in India, when it’s gone it’s gone. Then I realized, here I am, I have a gampsa, and I have about six miles to walk. So I just pretended that I was a sadhu, I’m an American Sadhu, this is how I roll! I walked all the way to the ashram. Of course, it wasn’t all of my stuff. It was just my kurta, I had some cash, my notebook and pen, things like that. Normally, before I would leave that place, I would give a donation. But this time, I went straight to my locker got the donation out, and I went to Asit Krishna and I said, here’s my donation now.
Which reminded me of a joke I heard about two guys walking down the street in Omaha, Nebraska. I hope nobody’s from there… I tried to pick a town. So there are two friends, and the gunman jumps out and says give me all of your money. They raise there hands and one guy says to the gunman, ok, no problem. Just give me one second, ok? He pulls out his wallet, turns to his friend, and he says, Larry, here’s the twenty dollars I owe you! If one is wise enough to see that, as Dadici, it’s a similar principle. Dadici, when he was asked he relied on that principle. He said that it’s going to be taken anyways, at any time. Better I give it away. You don’t get any credit when it’s taken away. People go, hahaha, what a fool, it was stolen. But when you give it away before it’s taken away then you become memorialized.
Bali Maharaj said, ok, I’ll give it. His guru maharaj said, don’t do it, this is not a good idea. He said, I think I’ll do it. Because of that, he became famous.
The principle is so powerful that if one learns how to honor Brahma properly and utilize whatever wealth one has for the service of Krishna, then ones life becomes auspicious. Devotee:
I like the point that you said when we decorate Krishna, we also become decorated. I was just thinking how in America especially but in many places it’s a multi million dollar business buying creams and lotions and all kinds of make up and things, jewelry, unbelievable amounts. You could save every hungry person in the world ten times over on make up. The only way really, when we see the Deities looking so beautiful, you feel satisfied. You don’t need to do that. But it’s all to stay young and be Radharani or something. It just sort of struck me that that’s our true satisfaction. We’re so fortunate that we have that opportunity. HG Vaisesika Das:
Yes. So just in closing, Srila Prabhupada points out that everyone should give up his false proprietorship of the world, possessions and everything and offer them to Krishna. This is the teaching of the Krishna Conscious movement. And it’s so satisfying.
I’ve noticed in ISKCON Temples after the morning program, like, fairly recently I was in Chicago. Right after the morning program before the next events were going to happen most of the devotees had cleared out. People who were on their way to work would come to the Temple. They’d just sit there in front of the Deity and just look at Them. I’m thinking, who are these people that they can sit there for fifteen or twenty minutes and just gaze at the Deity. I was thinking that this is the only place in Chicago where you can come and sit and look at Krishna. Also, I think the same thing in Silicone Valley where we live. I just notice that there’s a car dealership, it must be an Asian car dealership, they put up a huge statue of Buddha facing the 101 Freeway. When you go by the car dealership Buddha is there giving a benediction. I always offer my obeisances when I go by. I was thinking that it’s the only spiritual image along the freeway anywhere. You could drive to Los Angeles 600 miles and you won’t see another spiritual image. Maybe a cross, which doesn’t invoke a lot of rasa. People don’t see these things. They don’t get it. They don’t have a target. They don’t know where to put their resources. So that’s why we go out. Because for Lord Caitanya and the sankirtan movement it’s a huge yajna pit, gigantic. It grows and grows and grows. It’s like a fire that can consume unlimited amounts of peoples contributions. And people don’t know at first the principle of giving. That’s why Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His associates went out and They’d meet people. They’d invite them to come in and give. When we go out for sankirtana, we invite each person to give. In fact, when I teach book distribution, I tell the devotees that we are training to not deprive people of the opportunity to give a donation because that’s where they start to feel that they have connected to Krishna. When I ask people on the street or door to door or anywhere else for donations, I always say that we don’t sell the book like in a book store, we only ask for donation. We don’t need the money, but it’s an ancient principle to give something in return for spiritual knowledge. It connects you to the previous teachers who have passed it down over many generations and allows you to enter deeply into the knowledge. And out of thousands of people who I’ve told that to, I can think of maybe three who haven’t given a donation based on that. It’s because it’s true. When you tell people that, they say yes, that makes a lot of sense that I’m giving for myself because I’m going to get benefit. In our movement we’ve established Temples so that people will come. They’ll bring in a melon, they’ll put it on the alter. That’s nice. They come and give their time and their resources. For the rest of the world we go out and we invite people to participate in the yajna. Jump in somehow or other and take advantage. This is the great task of the Krishna Conscious movement, to give everyone the chance to contribute, to feed Krishna by giving their resources and they will become happy. Gaura premanande haribol!