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Bhagavad Gita Class – Part 2

Tuesday, 23 September 2008 / Published in Classes, Radhanath Swami / 12,854 views

This is the transcribed second half of the class that Radhanath Maharaja gave on August 22, 2007 in San Jose.
The first part is published here:

By Radhanath Swami

Pundarik Vidyanidhi, when he came to Navadvip, Mukunda Datta told Gadadhar Pandit, “There is a great Vaishnava here. I will take you to see him.” So, they went. The house of Pundarik Vidyanidhi, after entering inside Gadadhara Pandit saw something that was unbelievable, totally unpalatable to him.

He saw this beautiful, opulent setting. And here is a man sitting on a silken bedstead. With beautiful, decorated embroidered silken pillows all around him. And he?s wearing elegant clothing, and ornaments, and jewelry. And his hair: He has long hair that?s just combed back, with expensive, exquisite, fragrant oils. And he has perfumes on his body. And he has these nice brass vessels all around him, with chewing spices, and he?s just eating the spices. And there?s two servants, one on each side of him, fanning him with camaras. And every now and then, he?s looking in the mirror, and going . . [gestures]. . . [Laughter] And admiring the image in the mirror.

And Gadadhara Pandit?s a simple brahmacari, all his life. And he didn?t say anything, because he was such a cultured soul. But he was thinking, “Why did Mukunda bring me here, to meet this materialistic person, who?s just looking in the mirror at his beauty, and he has all kinds of sense gratification all around him?”

So Mukunda Datta understood that this is the way Gadadhara was thinking. So he chanted this verse from Srimad Bhagavatam, where Uddhava is remembering Krishna in separation, and he is remembering how Krishna was approached by the [sister] of Bakasura. Do you know who that is? Putana.

Approached by Putana, who?s a rakshashi witch, [“kecuri” (sp?)] who was killing and drinking the blood and eating the flesh of infant babies, countless… She came to Krishna with one exclusive motive: to murder Him. And so deceiving, she dressed herself up as a beautiful woman, she manifested a form by her mystical powers. Hare Krishna.

And, when she came into Nanda Maharaja?s house, Krishna was only a couple days old. Just a newborn infant. And Yasoda Mayi, everyone . . .Nanda Maharaja was on his way to Mathura to pay some taxes to Kamsa, but all the ladies there, when they saw Putana, they thought, “This must be some divine demigoddess or a goddess of fortune. Look at how beautiful she is.”

And she just picked up Krishna, and put her breast, which was smeared with such deadly poison, in Krishna?s mouth, to kill Him. Krishna sucked.. . . [gesturing]. . . [Laughter]. And He actually got some milk out. Because somehow or other he evoked motherly affection in her. And He liked the milk. And He accepted that as devotional service.

Somehow or another, she . . . for a flash second, she actually became really attracted in a motherly way to Krishna. Krishna just attracted that out of her. And because Krishna saw that motherly little attraction, that spark awaken in her heart, He just focused on that. And He just did away with everything else except that spark.

He sucked, and He sucked, and He sucked, and He kept sucking. [Laughter] Until he was sucking her life out of her. And Putana just started screaming, “Child. Leave me!” And then she ran out of the house, with Krishna just holding on. And she tried to push him off. But Krishna was just . . . grabbed on. And then she couldn?t tolerate it, so she expanded to her normal size, which was eight miles long. Eight miles high. Now that?s high.

Recently I was giving a program in Malibu, and this one person came in, he was an NBA first string basketball star. He was 7-feet tall. And I was like . . . [gesturing] . . . [laughter]. Putana was eight miles tall. You know, these basketball people couldn?t even fit between her toes. [Laughter] She was huge. Couldn?t even reach the top of her toes. And she?s trying to pull Krishna. Krishna didn?t grow, He was like . . . He was just like . . . [gesturing]. And she was trying to pull Him off, and pull Him off with all her strength. And He was just going like this. He was squeezing her breast. And then, with His little lotus feet he was like this. He was kicking her breast. And pulling . . .and . . . Boom. . She just fell to the ground. It was like an earthquake, and she was dead.

But what happened? Krishna was just playing, on that mountain. Can you imagine? And the gopis had to run up. It was like mountain climbing. They had to run up Putana?s body, to bring Krishna down, to Yasoda Mayi, and He was smiling. And Yasoda Mayi was so worried about Him. And she fed Him milk from her breast, and because He drank it very enthusiastically she understood that, “He?s been protected by God, and He?s healthy.”

But as far as Putana goes, she went to Goloka Vrndavana. To be an assistant nurse of Mother Yasoda, who had a motherly vatsalya relationship with Krishna

Now when Pundarik Vidyanidhi heard this, that Uddhava?s telling, “Who could be more merciful than Krishna? That even Putana, who came to . . . as a sorceress, to kill Him, she was awarded the position of Krishna?s mother. Because Krishna was so grateful for that one spark of a sentiment in her heart to serve Him as a mother

And then Pundarik Vidyanidhi just went totally mad in ecstatic love, thinking of Krishna?s causeless mercy. His causeless gratitude. He said, “No other Lord can be so merciful! Who else can we worship but Him?”

And he started . . .His turban just flew off his hair. He started ripping to shreds his fabulous silks, and he started ripping apart his ornaments, all the brass pots were flying in all directions and the pillows were going in different directions. And he just started rolling on the ground, and eight men tried to hold him down, but they could not. And finally his ecstasy just came to a certain limit, where he just . . . went unconscious

And Gadadhara was just watching this. And he said, “I made a big offense by judging this person according to his apparent bodily status. But now I understand.” And he said to Mukunda Datta, “Thank you for saving my life. I was making aparadhas to him.” He said, “The only way that I could atone for my offenses to him, is to accept him as my spiritual master.” Hare Krishna. Here is Gadadhara Pandit, the most simple and austere of all brahmacaris, asking Pundarik Vidyanidhi to be his guru. Because he saw the substance, the essence of what was in his heart, beyond the external appearances.

When Pundarik Vidyanidhi came to consciousness he looked around, and the whole room was in shambles and he became very embarrassed. And then he welcomed Gadadhara Pandit very nicely, “I?m very sorry what I have done.” And Gadadhara said “I want to take initiation from you,” Mukunda Datta told him, “He wants to take initiation.” So they set a date. He got the blessings of Lord Caitanya, and then they said a date, and he was initiated. This is Krishna?s mercy, how Krishna sees the essence.

And a devotee is supposed to be saragrahi. A devotee is also, a person who is always looking for the essence. How did Srila Prabhupada make us Krishna conscious? He saw that little, little, tiny spark, of a willingness, to reciprocate with Krishna. That little spark within a massive forest of material attachments, illusions and everything else. And he just focused on that spark and fanned it, and fanned it, and fanned it. Until it grew into a fire that would burn that whole forest of misconception to ashes. That is preaching. That is real preaching.

Srila Prabhupada, his serious compassion for every spirit soul empowered him to awaken their bhakti. And that?s what real preaching is about. We have to repeat the message as it is, but to the degree we really, really access Krishna?s love, Prabhupada?s love, in our life, we can help others.

And how to access? Srila Prabhupada told us, we must be very strict. The next verse, after this, it?s very, very wonderful. First Krishna is saying “Any little thing you do will never be forgotten.” It?s a very, very liberal type of verse. Yes? Krishna?s so grateful. He never forgets.

But in order… you must . . . you know, Krishna?s going to suck the milk out of your body, if you are not … in that direct connection. Eventually, we have to come to the conclusion of the next verse. “Vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru nandana bahu sakha hy anantas ca buddhayo ?vyavasayanam.” Krishna says, “Those who are in this path, they are resolute in purpose. Their aim is one, O beloved child of the Kurus. The intelligence of those who are irresolute, is many branched.” Its wonderful how first, such a lenient, liberal verse, and then . . . very strict!

How do we relate the two? That yes, Krishna never forgets. The great souls are always grateful for anything we have done. But if we actually want to come back home, back to Godhead, Krishna will facilitate and give us the opportunity, but ultimately we have to do what this verse is saying. We have to surrender.

In the end, Hayagriva Prabhu was resolute in purpose. His aim was one. He surrendered. But he did have to suffer massive pain, for what he did in the past. But he welcomed it, with grateful heart. “Tat te ?nukampam su-sumiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya bhak.”

This is the qualification that gives us entrance into the spiritual world. When difficulties come to us, when we with folded palms say “Krishna, I deserve much worse than this. Thank you. I offer my obeisances to you,” and we carry on with our devotional service with great steadiness and determination. That person is fit for the spiritual world. “Ekeha kuru nandana.” We must understand how everything else except devotional service, is an illusion.

We were discussing the other day, about Candra Ray, who was a king dacoit. He was a criminal, a murderer. And because of his sins he was being haunted by a ghost from within who was just beating him and ripping him apart. He had 5,000 infantry men in his gang, with horses, and armies and weapons, and palaces. He had 84,000 gold coins. He was the most powerful man of Bengal. Everybody feared him. The kings feared him. Hare Krishna. Nobody could stand before him. But if karma wants to get you, it gets you.

He had this enemy, a ghost, inside his body, just ripping him apart and terrorizing him, and there was noting he could do, except cry and fall to the ground. He was so emotionally ripped apart and so physically ripped apart from within he was on the verge of death.

Until Narottama Das Thakur was called. And as soon as Narottama Das Thakur came in the room, the ghost screamed out of the mouth of this Candra Raya. Screamed out of his mouth, and said, “Oh Narottama Das Thakur . . .I take shelter of your lotus feet. Thank you for delivering me. I am so frustrated in anxiety. Because of my karma, I have to live in the body of this sinful, rascal demon Candra Ray. It?s totally miserable being here. Please liberate me from my karma, of having to be inside of him.” [Laughter]

And then he said, “And give me this benediction, that in my next life I will be born in Kheturi, the place where Narottama Das Thakur was living, because that is nondifferent from Vrindavana for me because your lotus feet are there, and let me be the servant of your servants.” And Narottama Das Thakur said, “Oh, spirit, leave this man forever.”

And then Candra Ray became more humble than a blade of grass, he surrendered. Haribol! And Narottama Das Thakur initiated him, trained him in the principles of Vaisnavism, took him back to Kheturi with him, taught him how to worship the Deity of Lord Gauranga. And that Deity is also standing like this . . . [gestures]. . . But He is solid gold, and He?s very beautiful.

And his last instructions to Candra Raya before he left, he said, “Always remember this, that Krishna is the only truth, and everything else is illusion.”

“Vyavsayatmika buddhir.” We must be determined.

Srila Prabhupada was once asked, “Prabhupada, what if I don?t have determination?” Prabhupada said, “Then you are an animal.” He said, “The difference between a human being and an animal is determination. Animals just act by their instincts. A human being acts according to the ideals established by God.” “Tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam.” Human life is meant for tapasya. Tapasya means, not doing what we feel, but doing what is, according to the will of God.

Today there?s spiritual societies who claim that you should not suppress, because if you suppress your desires, then eventually they?re gonna come back. They have to come out somehow or other.

Krishna consciousness is not about suppressing. Krishna consciousness is about transforming. But some suppression is there in order to transform. We suppress the negative tendencies we have through the process of channeling them through positive devotional services. Yes?

People like to dance. So suppress your desire to dance in the discotheques, or to dance in front of your televisions when nobody?s around. And dance in kirtan. Dance to kirtan when nobody is around. Dance to kirtan when everybody?s around.

We have a desire to satisfy the palate. Bhagavad Gita says that food that is eaten that is not offered in sacrifice, is eating only sin. So take nice fresh foods that Krishna likes, vegetarian foods that are in the mode of goodness. If you take something in the mode of goodness, like vegetarian foods, then offering to Krishna, it becomes transcendental prasadam. Eat it.

Bhaktivinode [says] in his song, “We take this prasad to our full satisfaction.” Haribol!

Especially when we are at Vaisesika Prabhu?s house, and Nirakula Devi is cooking, it?s to our full satisfaction. In this way.

Anger. Anger is something very, very vicious. And if it offends a Vaisnava, or a Vaisnavi, it?s destructive to our devotional life, tears it apart, like an elephant, that just rips apart a little garden. Mad elephant. We have to suppress that anger, and channel that energy in very positive devotional activities, by just ? “Hare Krishna!” ? chanting our rounds, going out and doing some active service. We have to redirect that energy to something positive that purifies us, and we cannot succumb to offenses, we cannot succumb to sins. We must be determined.

I remember once being in a darshan with Srila Prabhupada. It was an outside. . . and there was about 30 people sitting on the grass around him, And one of our godbrothers said to Prabhupada. . . . Oh, I?ll never forget this. It?s on tape too. It was like a thunderbolt that just crashed in all of our hearts.

Would you like to hear it? [“Haribol!”] Maybe you don?t, because when you hear something you are responsible to follow. How many want to hear it? [Hands raised] How many do not want to hear it? [No hands raised] Okay, I don?t know if I want to say it, actually. [Chuckling]

But this one devotee said to Srila Prabhupada, “Srila Prabhupada, what if we, you know, take initiation, and then, you know, due to our weaknesses, we don?t follow?” And Srila Prabhupada was like a lion. He roared. He said, “WEAKNESS?? RECTIFY IT!!” He was not sympathetic. And we were like ….

And then he went on. He said, “This is the difference between . . . Otherwise, you are like an animal.” He says, “If you have a weakness, then with determination you must rectify it. That is a sign of sincerity.” That is what Prabhupada expected of us. Because until we do that, we can?t really make spiritual progress, beyond a certain degree.

Yes, if we make a little advancement, if we make 5 % advancement, and we die,

we start our next life from 6 percent. If you lose a million dollars, or a billion dollars in this life. . . You can?t take one penny with you. You can?t even take a paisa with you. Nothing. But any progress you make in bhakti, you take it with you.

But Prabhupada said, “Why not in this life?” If you are just determined and sincere to follow this process, in this life by the mercy of Krishna you will attain perfection, you will attain prema bhakti, you will be elevated to the spiritual world.

“Man mana bhava mad bhakto mad yaji mam namaskuru mam evaisyasi satyam te patijane priyo ?si me.” It is Krishna?s promise. If we sincerely try to remember Him by chanting His names, by hearing about him If we are sincerely trying to be His devotee, with a nice sincere service attitude. Its not a matter of being big or small, it?s only a matter of being sincere.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not differentiate between big devotees and small devotees. In fact in Caitanya Bhagavat it says, if one discriminates between a so-called big devotee and small devotee, that person is making great offenses. Anyone who is sincerely serving, is dear to Krishna.

Can I tell one more story, in this regard? [“Haribol, please tell!”] There was a little brahmacari. Nobody knew who he was. He was living in Navadvip, on the bank of the Ganges.

His name was Suklambara. He was a beggar, dressed in real simple, raggedy brahmacari clothes. They were always clean, but they were old. He had a little thatched hut he stayed in. And every day he would go out with a little . . . he didn?t even have a bowl, he just had a little cloth bag. And he would go house to house begging.

And what do people give beggars? How many of you have ever begged in India, raise your hand. . . . [chuckles] When you beg in India, either you get chastised for being a beggar. Or, if somebody is really charitable, to give you something, they give you the cheapest possible thing they have. [Laughter] Yes? Because they?re not going to get their name in the newspaper, for giving charity to you. [Laughs] They?re not going to get any tax deductions.

So, in Bengal, at the time, in Nabadvip, if someone wanted to give something to a beggar, they would give the cheapest, broken pieces of rice. Just throw it in the bag. The parts of the rice, after sifting out for the family, the parts that, you know, you just don?t want to cook. They just kind of keep that aside and, if a beggar comes, or maybe they?ll give it to the animals. If a beggar comes before you feed it to the animals, you give him a handful.

That?s all Suklambar was getting. Just some old . . . some such kind of half, broken up pieces of chips of rice. And he would bring it home. Start a little fire, cook it. With devotion. Offer it to Krishna. The whole time he would be begging, he would be chanting Krishna?s names, in ecstasy. When he was cooking, when he was offering, he was chanting Krishna?s names, in ecstasy. Nobody knew who he was. They just thought he was some insignificant, useless beggar.

But Lord Caitanya invited him to the kirtans in Srivas Thakur?s house. Which was an ultimate honor. Which even the greatest scholars and brahmanas and pandits, were not given entrance. But Suklambar Brahmacari was given entrance.

And one day the devotees . . . Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in a very rare mood was revealing Himself as the Supreme Lord, and He sat on the throne of Vishnu. And the devotees were in ecstasy to see this, and they were having Nama sankirtan, dancing and chanting and Mahaprabhu with His beautiful, lotus-like eyes which extended almost to His ears. He was gazing at the devotees, and His gaze was just empowering them with so much happiness as they were chanting the holy names.

And then He looked at Suklambara brahmacari, who was just so simple. He had no ego whatsoever. He had no agenda. He just loved to chant Hare Krishna and please Krishna. And loved to just, whatever he did was an offering to Krishna. Caitanya Mahaprabhu saw him, he was dancing like a gleeful little child, so innocent, and his cloth shoulder bag was just flying, swinging to and fro, and Lord Caitanya said, “Suklambara come here.”

All the devotees were watching. Suklambara came before the Lord. And the Lord said, “Suklambar, I am always hungry, for whatever you are offering me.” And then Caitanya Mahaprabhu stuck, He thrust His hand, into Suklambar?s tattered beggar?s bag, and grabbed a handful of this cheap, discarded, rejected, broken pieces of rice. Ane he took a handful of that, and pushed it right into His mouth and ate it, right in front of everybody, on the throne of Vishnu.

And then He thrust His had in again and took another handful, and one after another He was eating Suklambara?s rice. And Suklambara was weeping and crying “My Lord, that is not fit for you. It is not fit for you.”

Lord Caitanya was so happy. He was weeping in ecstasy, that “Eating the rice of Suklambar brahmacari I am tasting pure love of God.” Hare Krishna. He said, “Suklambara birth after birth after birth you have been My beggar servant. Previously you were Sudama Vipra, and you came to My house in Dwaraka, and you had some broken rice just like this then, too. And you were ashamed to give it to me just like you are today, but I stole it from you, and I ate it! Haribol!”

“And today I am doing it again, because I cannot resist. I am longing for your rice. I have no appetite whatsoever for . . .materialistic people or egoistic people who offer Me luscious, luscious food, soaked with ghee and nice spices, and opulent subjis and grains of the highest quality, served to Me in gold and silver dishes, ornamented with emeralds and rubies and lapiz lazulis and diamonds. I have no desire for that. I have no appetite. But the raw broken pieces of rice from the tattered, little bag of Suklambar Brahmacari. I am starving and longing for that. Why? Because of your humility and your devotion.”

Vrndavan Das Thakur explains in this regard, that Suklambara Brahmacari didn?t even offer it. Usually you?re supposed to offer things for Krishna to take it. Krishna stole it from him before he could even offer it! According to the Vedic principles there?s all kind of nice rituals and devotional regulations to offer food to the Lord. Suklambar Brahmacari, he did not offer any mantras or tantras or yantras or mudras or pujas. Nothing.

Krishna doesn?t care about your mantra, tantra, yantra, mudra or puja. He?s only concerned with bhakti. He only tastes the love and the devotion. And the purpose of all the rituals is just as an expression of the substance of our bhakti. But if there?s no bhakti the rituals are just . . . useless, from Krishna?s perspective. All the rituals we perform are very, very important, because it gives us a form and a structure by which we can regulate ourselves and express our devotion.

But what does Krishna accept? Not the ritual. We cannot drink the glass. We can only drink the substance within the glass. Whatever rituals we perform is a vessel. Vessels are required, sometimes, in order to present something. But the something is the substance. The sincerity, the purpose, the aspiration, the devotion. “Vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru nandana bahu sakha hy anantas ca buddhayo ?vyvasayana” We should be resolute in purpose. Our aim should be, one.

Satyadeva Prabhu and Vaisesika Prabhu were bringing up something we spoke last night, I think perhaps you wanted me to say it tonight also, about . . . the American Revolutionary War. [Laughter] I?m sorry but we are skipping around to a lot of topics, with your permission. [Haribol!]

The American Revolutionary War . . . America didn?t have a chance, actually, if you read the history of it. They declared independence, and they didn?t even have an army. They were not even organized. It was just like little militias, which means, like, you know, just, a gang of farmers from some area would just pick up their hatchets and their knives and they tried to somehow or another get whatever guns they could get and they made some swords. And they went and attacked the British army.

Thousands of thousands and tens of thousands of troops were sent by Britain with the best ammunition, well organized strategies. Generals . . . They knew how to fight. Most modern weaponry, cannons, guns. And they?re fighting these farmers, just running around, just making their own little armies. Uncoordinated. They were trying to coordinate it, but they were trying to coordinate things in the middle of a war. And they were getting crushed. And they really became dispirited.

Meanwhile Benjamin Franklin was in France, trying to convince the French to help. Because the French hated England. [Chuckles] And actually the war really turned when the French came, with thousands and thousands of soldiers and weapons and money and, you know, joined up. Then the British could not stand. But before they came it was really a bloody loss.

But one of the things that really turned it, was one man named Thomas Paine. He wrote an essay, and in that essay, he was preaching to the American people. It began, “These are the times that try men?s souls. We are now facing a great disaster. We are being challenged by a power beyond ourselves. This is not a time for sunshine patriots or fair weather military. This is a time where we must be determined.” It was like a patriotic translation to “vyavasayatmika buddhir.” [Laughter] Against all odds we have to be determined to fight and to win. Not casual.

Same principle is in the Bible. Lord Jesus said, “Be hot or be cold, but if you are lukewarm, I spit you out.” Hare Krishna. Now that doesn?t mean to become a fanatic. In the Bible it?s also said, if you knock on the door on the kingdom of God, the Lord will say, “It is not those who just say ?Lord, Lord? that I accept. It?s those who will do my will.”

And the beautiful thing about this world is no matter what you do . . . you?re going to suffer. [Laughter] Isn?t that wonderful? Because you?re not the controller. That?s a big problem. You?re just not the controller. Whether you?re the wealthiest man in the world, whether you?re the most powerful man in the world, whether you?re the most beautiful woman in the world ? whatever you are ? there are going to be obstacles that are just beyond your control. Tests will come. Tests from within. Tests from without.

When I was with His Holiness Giriraja Swami Maharaja a couple of weeks ago, he took me to a chiropractor. And on the wall of the chiropractor?s office, I saw this essay framed, that I really liked. What was the name of it? . . .Um…something like, “The price of being a leader.” And its all about how if anybody does anything substantial, there are going to be envious people that try to destroy them, in whatever field it is. And if envious people are not trying to destroy you, it means you are not doing much substantial. [Laughter]

And this is not written by the Hare Krishna movement. [Laughter] This is in a chiropractor?s office. It said, if you do something mediocre, nobody cares. But if you do something substantial, they will try to destroy it. And then it gave many examples. It is a reality.

There?s obstacles within this world, whatever we try to do. And we?re at war against maya. An internal . . . Bhakavad Gita was the war against. . . between the Kurus and the Pandavas. And it is historical. But it very much represents the battle within our hearts, between the demoniac and divine nature. We all have this divine and demoniac nature within us. And there?s a battle going on. And it?s not easy.

Bhakti Tirtha Swami Maharaja cited one story. It is like two dogs within your heart. There?s the good dog, and the . . . bad . . .dog. And they?re both barking, they?re both howling, and they?re fighting with each other. Yes? Whose going to win?

Whichever dog you feed the most is going to be the strongest. So in this material civilization of Kali Yuga, since time immemorial we have been feeding that bad dog. And we?ve have been starving the good dog. Yes?

So now the bad dog is just like huge, and ferocious. And it?s howling, “AAAOOOO AAOOO! [Laughter] Give me prestige! Give me sex! Give me drugs! Give me television! Give me movies! Give me the food that I want! AAaaooooooo!”

“This man is not cooperating! Blaspheme him! You?re envious, envy, envy, envy, envy, more, more, more, more envy toward this person. Destroy him! Destroy her! Aaaaooooo!” [Laughter] How many of you have heard this dog within you?

And the good dog is like, [in a tiny voice] “Arf arf arf. Ruf ruf. I?m starving. Give me something to eat. Forgive this person, please, please forgive this person.” And the bad dog is going, “NO!! NO!!! REVENGE!!!”

And the good dog is saying, “chant . . . chant Hare Krishna.” And the bad dog is saying, “NO! NO TIME! MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!”

And the good dog is saying, “Ruf ruf ruf, go to . . .go to the temple. Ruf ruf . . . Please feed me, go to the temple. Radha-Madanamohan is . . . I want to see them.” And the bad dog is saying, “NOOOO! FOOTBALL GAME TODAY!”

So, like that. The dog we feed the most is what?s going to be stronger. So what?s the process of Krishna consciousness? We have to … ?Tams titiksasva bharata.” We have to tolerate the howlings and the callings of our materialistic nature. We have to tolerate it. And at the same time, we have to feed that good dog. We have to feed our divine nature, more and more and more, until it becomes stronger and stronger and stronger and stronger until . . . the bad … dog … dies. [Cheers of Haribol! And clapping]

And the best method of doing that, is the chanting of the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.”

So yes, obstacles are there. Difficulties are there. But we must be determined. We must be patient, we must be tolerant, we must be determined. And determination is there within us. Krishna will give it. We simply have to try our best. Krishna tells in Gita, “ananyas cintayanto mam ye janah paryupasate tesam nityabhiyuktanam yogah ksemam vahamy aham. If you just sincerely try to do My will, I will preserve whatever little you have, and I will provide whatever you don?t.” That is Krishna consciousness, just be determined. Give it your best, and Krishna will be there to help. Prabhupada gave us that promise. Caitanya Mahaprabhu gave us that promise. And that is our life and soul.

And I am so, forever grateful to Vaisesika Prabhu, for giving his life and his soul, to helping each and every one of you. And living in his house, I have seen. Many of you do not see what he has to do every day. Because each of you only knows what he is doing for you. But every day, we see: devotees with so many problems, difficult problems. He is extending himself, and Nirakula, they?re extending themselves like anything. Just to nourish your Krishna consciousness.

And to have the association of Vaisnavas like this, is the greatest blessing that can be found anywhere within the fourteen worlds. Because, yes, Srila Prabhupada, his causeless mercy is very much alive and accessible through those who love him, through those who make efforts to be an instrument of his mercy toward others. And in his books, and in our willingness to follow those teachings and chant the holy names, Srila Prabhupada is alive and well in our hearts.

Satyadeva Prabhu, Akruranatha Prabhu, Jagarini Mataji Prabhu, my very, very dear godbrothers and godsisters are here in this assembly of Vaisnavas, and I feel very purified and blessed in your association. And all of you please, be grateful. Be grateful, and open your hearts to receive what they are giving, and your lives will achieve Krishna?s love. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna. [Applause]

Y.s., Akruranatha dasa

14 Responses to “Bhagavad Gita Class – Part 2”

  1. This idea of not discriminating between “big devotees” and “small devotees,” as described in the story of Suklambara Brahmacari, sounds revolutionary (in the good sense of “tad vag visargo janatagha viplavo”)

    Vrndavana Das Thakur enjoins us not to commit the offense of discriminating against “small devotees,” who are dear to Krishna due to their sincere service.

    But how is it really applied? On the one hand, we have our etiquette. New devotees do have to learn to properly respect their seniors. Due respect should be given to devotees who have taken on large responsibilities for preaching, and proper regard for rank, position and place is required even in material organizations in order to get things done efficiently and smoothly.

    In addition, there is a kind of formal (if external) hierarchy in a spiritual society, which reflects the true, spontaneous, blissful and envy-free hierarchy in the spiritual world (where everyone actually aspires to be a servant of a servant of a servant). [It is kind of an inverted hierarchy, isn’t it? Ranks and gradations are there, but devotees aspire for the privilege of serving each other according to their positions.]

    Genuine devotion has to be distinguished from maya, too. That was the underlying background in these stories. Pundarik in his way, and Suklambar in his way, only appeared at first to be unworthy of respect, but because of their actual pure devotion, it was offensive to think of them in that way. It is kind of understood as a given that a materialistic, wealthy, sensual man is ordinarily not expected to be a great devotee, and that just being an insignificant beggar, without pure-hearted devotion to Krishna like Suklambara’s, is not a very extraordinary or great qualification.

    But there is the built-in warning that if even Gadadhara Pandit could be initially deceived by appearances, we should be careful not to judge others too quickly. It is safer to assume the best about them. A devotee has to be “ready to offer all respect to others” and to expect none in return. We should not be looking for a license to disrespect anyone, especially a devotee. It is disastrous to offend *any* devotee.

    Of course the overriding theme is that the saragrahi devotee learns to appreciate the spark of devotion in everyone, even if it is hidden within a forest of misconceptions. Neophytes are concerned with externals. We have to learn this art of knowing what to appreciate and what to overlook.

  2. Japa Jim says :

    I think it is a little improper and unfair that the author of an article published on this website becomes the first person to respond to the article.
    The author should just stand back and let the response from the devotee community come on it’s own.
    Hare Krishna.

  3. Bhojadeva dasa says :

    Dandavats Prabhus. Thanks very much for posting this wonderful class. It’s transcendentally refreshing to be reminded so eloquently of the mood of real devotion beyond any externals, as exemplified and taught to us by Srila Prabhupada, and also revealed by the other examples given in Maharaj’s class.

    When Maharaja mentioned they were talking about the determination of the participants during the U.S. revolutionary struggle, it’s also interesting to note that Srila Prabhupada first arrived at Boston harbor, a very significant site in revolutionary history.

    As you may recall, the Boston Tea Party sparked the revolution, as it was the first revolt against the British. The colonist, dressed as Indians (so they couldn’t be identified), created havoc at the harbor, in protest of excessive British taxation.

    It’s interesting that Srila Prabhupada first arrived at Boston Harbor about 200 years later, to spark a transcendental revolution.

    This revolution was to be felt and heard around the wolrd (like the first shot of the american revolution), aimed at rejecting the heavy tax toll taken on the pure soul who identifies with matter. Prabhupada also had his soldier’s dress in devotional clothing, which externally appears to be “Indian” to wage the first battle. ;-)

    Transcendental revolutionaires ki jaya!
    Gaura Bhakta-Vrinda Ki Jaya!
    Bhojadeva dasa

  4. Dear Japa Jim,

    Please accept my humble obeisances.

    I know I talk too much. Honestly, I am just enthusiastic. I probably am making a fool of myself.

    But believe me, it is not that I want to “hog” the conversation or preempt what other people say. In fact, it is embarrassing and disappointing to me that I write so many comments compared to other devotees on Dandavats, at least lately. But I am really feeling like, “Why don’t they write more?” “I hope they write more.”

    I really love to read what other devotees write here. I see myself surrounded by a community of highly qualified, God-like devotees, and I just want to hear more and more of them, of what they have to say.

    [One thing is though that I get uncomfortable whenever devotees start quarreling. I find Dandavats to be, among other things, like a giant worldwide istagosthi in which Krishna will supply the answer to all questions if we just remain open and sincere and respectful.]

    Obviously, I did not write this article. I simply transcribed an amazing class given by Radhanatha Swami, to share with all of you.

    But I take your point. It seems like I am getting the “jump” on other devotees’ reaction. Please believe me that was not my intention.

    Still, I think, “Just because I have made a comment, even if it is the first comment, that should not discourage other devotees from commenting on any aspect of this wonderful class. Why is it ‘unfair’ if I happen to go first?”

    What if nobody says anything for two days, days, four days, a week? How long should I wait before it becomes proper to say something? Dandavats discussions seem to die down after new articles appear. Maybe I’ll wait two days from now on, but waiting will be hard for me.

    You cannot imagine how truly eager I am to hear people comment on this description of the killing of Putana (and how Krishna will “suck away” our material nonsense if we try to remain attached to it), or about feeding the good dog and tolerating the demands of the bad dog (wasn’t that an excellent description of our internal struggle?), or about so many other aspects of this class.

    I sincerely hope that by commenting, I do not discourage others from also commenting. On the contrary, I hope my comments might spark some response from those who might otherwise not have commented. And of course everyone should (and I think does) feel free to just comment directly on the article without responding to my comments.

  5. Dear Bhojadeva Prabhu,

    Yes, Prabhupada was a transcendental revolutionary. Literature that glorifies Krishna is revolutionary.

    tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo
    yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
    namany anantasya yaso ‘nkitani yat
    srnvanti gayanti grnani sadhavah

    “On the other hand [as opposed to crow literature described in the previous verse], that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Suich transcendental literatures, even though perfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”

    Wow! I have been meditating on this stunning verse a lot lately.

    “Viplavah” means “revolutionary.” Once we get that spark of Bhagavata (it took a Maha-Bhagavat, like Srila Prabhupada, to find and fan that “little, little, tiny spark” in us), it eventually must burn our forest of misconceptions to ashes. It’s like a “shot heard round the world”, a “declaration of independence” from our engagement in illusionary nonsense.

    “abaddhavaty api” (in spite of being irregularly composed). Why does Narada say that? Vyasadeva is an incarnation of God who can compose flawlessly. (Still, Vyasa may feel humble, as Prabhupada did in the Purport, stating that his attempt to present Bhagavatam in a foreign language would have “so many literary discrepancies despite our honest attempt to present it in the proper way.”)

    It is an instruction (isn’t it?) about the quality of saragrahi devotees. They will hear, sing and accept literature about the names, forms, etc. of Krishna, even if there is some “literary discrepancy” in the composition. They know what to overlook, and what to accept.

    Because they are “thoroughly honest”. Real sadhus. They are “nirmatsaranam satam.” They are not envious of the speaker, not trying to put him down due to some external flaws. They are looking for the real thing, Krishna consciousness, and they will find the bit of nectar in a stock of poison. But the Bhagavatam is just all nectar. Wow!

    This is really revolutionary. What a revolution this Krishna consciousness movement will make in this Kali yuga world when people hear Prabhupada’s Bhagavatam commentary from real sadhus like H. H. Radhanatha Swami!

  6. “All the rituals we perform are very, very important, because it gives us a form and a structure by which we can regulate ourselves and express our devotion.

    “But what does Krishna accept? Not the ritual. We cannot drink the glass. We can only drink the substance within the glass. Whatever rituals we perform is a vessel. Vessels are required, sometimes, in order to present something. But the something is the substance. The sincerity, the purpose, the aspiration, the devotion.”

    This is an important point expressed in a clear and succinct way. Neophytes from different religions spend a lot of time arguing over rituals, over what kind of vessel we should use when making an offering to the Lord.

    And we do not say rituals are unimportant. Maharaja says the rituals we perform are very important because they give us a form and structure by which to regulate ourselves and express our devotion. But without substance they’re useless.

    Only the more advanced, saintly saragrahis from the different traditions can clearly distinguish the vessel from the substance, the purpose, the devotion. It is not an easy thing to distinguish, although Maharaja’s explanation makes it clearer.

    Prabhupada writes, in NOI (Text 6, Purport):

    “Sudha bhakti, the activity of the soul proper — in other words, engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord — is performed in a liberated condition . . .”

    “Avyabhicarini bhakti means unalloyed devotion. A person egaged in devotional service must be free from material motives . . .”

    “Unless one is actually a devotee, he cannot see another devotee perfectly. . . The kanistha-adhikari cannot distinguish between a devotee and a nondevotee. He is simply concerned with worshiping the Deity in the temple. A madhyama-adhikari, however, can distinguish between the devotee and nondevotee, as well as between the devotee and the Lord. Thus he treats the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the devotee and the nondevotee in different ways.”

    “One should therefore [i.e., because seeing a devotee from a material point of view is injurious] avoid seeing a pure devotee externally, but should try to see the internal features and understand how he is engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord.”

    In Law there is often a question of motive, or intent. It is usually hard to prove, because our senses only observe externals.

    To discern the transcendental purpose, one must be at least a madhyama devotee.

  7. scooty.ram says :

    While i completely respect Jim pr’s comment/opinion, i must say i had come across many posts from akruranath prabhu that are more interesting than the original article.

    Pl Keep writing.


  8. Bhojadeva dasa says :

    Dear Akruranatha Prabhu,

    Thank you for noting the powerful verse
    (* with a typo corrected):

    tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo
    yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api
    namany anantasya yaso ‘nkitani yat
    srnvanti gayanti grnani sadhavah

    “On the other hand, that literature which is full of descriptions of the transcendental glories of the name, fame, forms, pastimes, etc., of the unlimited Supreme Lord is a different creation, full of transcendental words directed toward bringing about a revolution in the impious lives of this world’s misdirected civilization. Such transcendental literatures, even though *perfectly composed, are heard, sung and accepted by purified men who are thoroughly honest.”

    *should read “imperfectly composed”

    Srila Prabhupada Room Conversation Including Discussion on SB 1.5.11
    Jaipur, January 19, 1972

    Prabhupada: These people or this revolution is meant for killing the sinful resultant actions of the people. This revolution. Janata agha, agha means resultant action of sinful life. Janata agha viplavah. Viplavah means revolution, this very word is used. Tad-vag-visargo janatagha-viplavo yasmin prati-slokam abaddhavaty api[ SB 1.5.11].
    Such revolutionary literature, even they are not properly composed. Yasmin prati-slokam abaddham. Not according to the grammatical rules and other rhetorical rules, but the, I mean to say, thoughts and the effects of such revolutionary literature is required. Not the grammatical. The so-called rascals, they are concerned with the grammatical. But those who are actually worker, they are concerned with the thoughts. What is the thought is there? ………. Yes. Grnanti srnvanti, hear with attention, and gayanti, and chant also. This is the principle. The only center is whether it is meant for awakening God consciousness. That is the central point, not the language(?). But it does not mean that it should not be correctly written. Correctly or incorrectly, if it is spoken by realized soul, that is important.”

    As you said Prabhu, this is a wonderful verse, with Prabhupada’s comments / purport to meditate on, on so many levels.

    The revolution first takes place within our own hearts. If by the grace of Guru, we can first purge our own demoniac qualities (or starve the bad dog as Maharaj mentions), then we may eligible to be utilized to some degree as an instrument in the hands of Sri Sri Guru and Gauranga. This is my hope, against all odds, as Srila Prabhupada is an ocean of mercy

  9. Thanks, Bhojadeva Prabhu, for correcting my typo and also for posting that Room Conversation. That is an amazing verse, isn’t it? So many of those First Canto verses and purports have such a majestic, profound and prophetic literary ring to them, as if they are meant to change the entire course of history (and they will). Don’t they?

    As for the Boston Tea Party, Vaisnavas also shun tea, so that is another similarity. :-)

    As for Radhanath Maharaj’s class, it is such an important and well-composed class, I feel as if I could go on talking about it for pages and pages. It is full of little profound observations that could go by unnoticed.

    For example, in Part I, there was the way Srila Prabhupada was so excited about what seemed to others to be small, or even insignificant successes. Eight people came to class and enjoyed listening to a tape recorded kirtan. A little, dingy, top floor walk-up loft in the Bowery was to him a “center in NYC”. This is in keeping with the entire theme of seeing the essence. Was it irrational enthusiasm on Prabhupada’s part, or his superior vision, his ability to see that the small, initial successes were destined to grow into big successes?

    The synchronicity of how Kirtanananda and Hayagriva went to Calcutta on the return voyage of Jaladuta, and unknowingly brought back a poster of Lord Caitanya’s Sadbuja form was amazing. It reminds me of how Lord Jagannatha self-manifested when Malati unknowingly brought a small murtti to Prabhupada in San Francisco.

    Prabhupada was always looking for the spark of Krishna consciousness everywhere and he was getting assurances from Krishna, he was seeing these confirmations appear.

    And he knew how to fan the sparks. When Prabhupada met Hayagriva he engaged him in service by humbly asking for guidance. Wasn’t that interesting? It is a technique we have to learn, how to somehow or another humbly engage people in voluntary service according to their capacity.

    And the part where Prabhupada told Hayagriva that because he had once chanted sincerely in Vrindavan Krishna would take him back to godhead. Wow! Doesn’t it make us all feel that we must somehow or other at least once chant sincerely? And to drop everything to go on pilgrimage to Vrindavan?

    The story about Pundarik is so instructive. The verse that Mukunda Datta recited, where Uddhava marveled at Krishna’s mercy to Putana, was perfectly suited to how Gadadhara initially misjudged Pundarika . . .

  10. Maharaja’s class illuminates the connecting link between the verse that drove Pundarik Vidyanidhi into uncontrolable ecstasy and the lesson not to judge a Vaisnava by external appearances.

    Krishna awarded Putana a motherly spiritual position because of a little spark of motherly affection, even though she came as a sorceress murderer to kill the little infant Krishna. He accepted that little spark, which was real, eternal, devotional service, and He destroyed everything else. That was his unbelievable mercy.

    Similarly, a devotee sees the devotional motivation, which is real and eternal, and overlooks what is external. Externally Pundarik appeared to be too opulent to be a Vaisnava. Gadadhara’s initial mistake was to judge him based on the external appearances (of course it was lila, and for our instruction, because really he is Radharani and Pundarik is Vrsabhanu.)

    Now what about Hayagriva while he was not following the principles? He had a real, eternal and deep loving relationship with Srila Prabhupada, but externally he was misbehaving and appeared like a sinful man.

    It is not exactly the same as Pundarik Vidyanidhi (or is it?), because Pundarik was already a perfect, eternally-liberated pure devotee who only appeared to be a wealthy sense enjoyer. Whereas Hayagriva was (I have to admit I am not sure what he was) still an immature devotee who, through lack of determination, had allowed himself to stop his sadhana and even violate ordinary morality. (?)

    Maharaja tells us, Hayagriva did have to pay for his sins, in the form of painful cancer, but in his purified state he was able to accept this suffering as the grace of Krishna and to go on offering obeisances from the core of his heart. This showed the real substance and quality of his devotional service (he had once chanted Hare Krishna sincerely, in Vrindavan!), and whatever nonsense, foolish things he did should just be overlooked as insignificant.

    I for one have difficulty distinguishing external from internal, the vessel from the substance. Yet it is the real substance that makes favorable association with devotees so relishable.

    We are trying to cultivate that substance within ourselves, and in the association of devotees, in kirtan, at class, serving together in the kitchen, on book distribution, on Dandavats, we perceive that substance in each other. It’s real. There is no denying it.

    Whatever is real has no cessation, and of the false there is no endurance

  11. The story of how Prabhupada roared, “WEAKNESS?? RECTIFY IT!!” was very powerful. It was shocking actually, and struck fear in my heart, and seriousness to at least try to become determined.

    It is so perfect how Maharaja told the “other side of the coin”, that although Krishna is so merciful and appreciates whatever little real, sincere service we do, that we have to become totally determined, with one-pointed intelligence.

    We shouldn’t think, “I have done a little, now I can wallow in maya and pick up later from where I left off. Maybe I will be like Hayagriva or Sudama and will become serious before I die.” If we think like that, we are not sincere, and our future is very uncertain.

    (“These are the times that try men’s souls.” We can’t be “fair weather patriots and sunshine soldiers.”)

    It seems to be a good policy in spiritual life, that we are tolerant of the weakness in others, overlooking their faults but seeing even little sparks of devotional qualities, whereas we have to be “very strict” with ourselves.

    I have sometimes thought this a kind of double standard, or neurotic, but I think this lecture teaches how it is actually the factual way to see things.

    The real double standard is the hypocrisy of the nondevotees. They are quick to excuse their own faults, and to condemn the faults of others (especially when others interfere with their sense enjoyment).

    Even if they have very polished and refined manners, the nondevotees’ outlook is based on the false conception (ahankara) that they are something other than the servants of Krishna. Thus one way or another they are trying to be the false enjoyers and rulers of the world.

    In a world where everyone stopped being hypocrites, if we could all somehow live like the nonenvious, honest devotees (nirmatsaranam satam), seeing the substance, the spiritual value in others, and being completely determined and honest with ourselves, there would be no wars, no lawsuits, no quarrels (or at least, whatever quarrels existed would have a very different quality).

    That is not to say we should be blind to others faults. As Maharaja says, we might need to avoid someone, so we do not get dragged into their maya. But we have to appreciate the substance and see how their nonsense is temporary.

    This is not a matter of “faking ourselves out” or low self esteem, pretense. Those who see eternal truth, real substance, are naturally humble. That is their clear vision of reality.

  12. Dear Scooty.ram (Dasan),

    Thank you for your encouragement to keep writing. I sometimes feel embarrassed that I am writing too much, and certainly I am not writing as clearly or concisely as I could, but I do keep meeting people who tell me they saw some comment of mine on Dandavats, and it inspired them, and they liked it, and that I should continue.

    [Of course, there may be other people who are thinking, “Why doesn’t this fool just shut up?”, but are too polite to say anything. Sometimes a real friend will tell you about the spinach in your teeth when a disinterested person will not bother . . . ]

    I have to admit, I do not remember who you are from San Jose. It would be nice to see your photo so I could recognize you. :-)

    I think the way Vaish makes the classes in San Jose interactive and encourages everyone to share insights and observations might contribute to my relative talkativeness. I am in the habit of trying to find something further to say, and am not too inhibited about saying something not quite right. If I make a mistake, somehow Krishna will help me see the error of my ways. I am really trying to learn in the company of devotees. I am not pretending to be a big authority, but trying to submissively discuss what we have heard from the authorities.

    I remember a story (I am not sure I have it right), about Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur desiring to publish a daily spiritual newspaper (maybe he wanted to bring out a daily edition of “The Harmonist”), and someone questioned, “Will there be enough material to publish a daily spiritual paper?” He observed, the mundane daily papers have no lack of material, and the spiritual world is more vast than the spiritual world, so certainly there is more subject matter for a spiritual paper.

    SBSST gave class, I think, on the first verse of the Bhagavatam for 30 days straight. Each word of some of these verses could inspire whole treatises.

    I feel the same way about this class by Radhanatha Maharaja. I know I still do not get it, but I feel that I could discuss it for days and days.

    “The beautiful thing about this world is that, no matter what you do, you’re gonna suffer.” (!)

    Only the Vaisnavas can see the truth and beauty of this, because they see the essence, that devotional service is the only real value. Cheating religion says, “Be good, and God will give you material happiness,” but Hari says “To favor you I will take away all your attachments!” (!)

  13. We could write whole books about that point, about how the Vaisnavas see how the suffering of the material world is a sign of Krishna’s mercy (tat te ‘nukampam susumiksamano).

    Other theologians are bewildered by the so-called “problem of evil.” “If God is all merciful and all powerful, why did He make a world so full of suffering?”

    They do not see how vast He really is, how the material creation is just like a dark corner of His creation — 1/4th of the whole — meant as a place for those who have to be reformed. Until we can see how temporary material suffering is God’s mercy, we are not fit to enter the real realms of His creation where no one has any anxiety and all desires are met without hindrance.

    The story of “The Deliverance of Lord Shiva” from Krishna book (one of the last chapters of the Tenth Canto) is really amazing. Sukadeva Goswami answers Parikshit Maharaja’s question about why the devotees of Lord Narayana, the opulent King of Vaikuntha, husband of the Goddess of Fortune, are often poverty-stricken, whereas devotees of Lord Shiva, who goes around like a naked penitent, tapasvin with matted hair and ashes on his body and no possessions, are often very wealthy and opulent.

    The simple answer is that if we approach Vishnu, or Krishna, He will be so kind to us that He will not give us something bad for us, even if we think we need it.

    For example, how often do we dream, “If I just came into a huge inheritance, or hit the Super Lottery or something, how I would improve my service? I would pay off the mortgage on the temple, build a big new temple, buy opulent clothes and altarpieces for the Deities, publish lots of books. Oh, I would quit my job and start chanting 64 rounds each day, and study Prabhupada’s books at least 4 hours each day in an assembly of learned devotees, if only I had enough money!” I know I am not the only fool who sometimes thinks like that.

    But the truth is, if I had all that money, I would probably get distracted from Krishna consciousness. I might think I need a better house, better car, maybe a boat, ski vacation, who knows?

    There is no reason on earth that I cannot chant 64 rounds and study 4 hours a day right now, except for my own lack of taste, and that is a fact.

    Krishna is so merciful, he does not satisfy our foolish desires that will not be good for us. Even if we approach him with some silly material desire, like Dhruva Maharaja, He will give us the real thing, devotional service.

  14. Hari Bol says :

    Thank you Prabhu. This is brilliant. I am deeply touched by this article. I thank Dandavats for bringing up such nice articles. Hari Haribol.

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