Live from Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir! HG Anuttama Prabhu
Date: February 20th, 2010 Verse: Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.32.39,40 Speaker: HG Anuttama Prabhu
naitat khalayopadisen navinitaya karhicit na stabdhaya na bhinnaya naiva dharma-dhvajaya ca
TRANSLATION: Lord Kapila continued: This instruction is not meant for the envious, for the agnostics or for persons who are unclean in their behavior. Nor is it for hypocrites or for persons who are proud of material possessions.
TEXT 40 na lolupayopadisen na grharudha-cetase nabhaktaya ca me jatu na mad-bhakta-dvisam api
TRANSLATION: It is not to be instructed to persons who are too greedy and too attached to family life, nor to persons who are nondevotees and who are envious of the devotees and of the Personality of Godhead.
PURPORT: Persons who are always planning to do harm to other living entities are not eligible to understand Krishna consciousness and cannot enter into the realm of transcendental loving service to the Lord. Also, there are so-called disciples who become submissive to a spiritual master most artificially, with an ulterior motive. They also cannot understand what Krishna consciousness or devotional service is. Persons, who, due to being initiated by another sect of religious faith, do not find devotional service as the common platform for approaching the Supreme Personality of Godhead, also cannot understand Krishna consciousness. We have experience that some students come to join us, but because of being biased in some particular type of faith, they leave our camp and become lost in the wilderness. Actually, Krishna consciousness is not a sectarian religious faith; it is a teaching process for understanding the Supreme Lord and our relationship with Him. Anyone can join this movement without prejudice, but unfortunately there are persons who feel differently. It is better, therefore, not to instruct the science of Krishna consciousness to such persons.
Generally, materialistic persons are after some name, fame and material gain, so if someone takes to Krishna consciousness for these reasons, he will never be able to understand this philosophy. Such persons take to religious principles as a social decoration. They admit themselves into some cultural institution for the sake of name only, especially in this age. Such persons also cannot understand the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. Even if one is not greedy for material possessions but is too attached to family life, he also cannot understand Krishna consciousness. Superficially, such persons are not very greedy for material possessions, but they are too attached to wife, children and family improvement. When a person is not contaminated by the above-mentioned faults yet at the ultimate issue is not interested in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or if he is a nondevotee, he also cannot understand the philosophy of Krishna consciousness. [End of Srila Prabhupada’s purport.]
HG Anuttama Prabhu: So here we are nearing the end of Lord Kapila’s instructions and in these two verses he is explaining who is able to receive and understand everything that he has been saying so far, who can appreciate these instructions and who can benefit from these instructions. So today is kind of a NO verses. These are the people who the doors shut to and then tomorrow a much happier verse. Tomorrow’s speaks about who can receive these instructions.
So for instance today it is explained that one who is envious is not qualified to receive these instruction and in tomorrows verse, text 41 explains those who are non envious can actually receive these instructions. So there is a list being given here after Kapiladev has instructed his mother. So he has given his list of people who can understand it. Here I have shared so much knowledge with you but not everyone is going to understand it and not everyone is going to appreciate it.
It is an interesting list. It is worth looking at again. He explains those who are envious, those who are agnostic, those who are unclean, those who are hypocrites, those who are proud of their possessions or too greedy, too attached to family life or who are non devotees or envious of devotees or the personality of Godhead. So these are qualities, Lord Kapiladev is explaining, they block our ability to receive these instructions or to take them seriously or make advancement in spiritual life.
In his purport Prabhupada is speaking in a very personal way. He talks about, he says that, we have experience that some students come to Krishna consciousness artificially. He uses that term that they come with an ulterior motive. It is generally not a very nice thing to say to somebody, “No I think that you have an ulterior motive.” It is kind of a harsh criticism or opening someone’s heart a little bit and trying to see what is inside. So he says that sometimes people even come to him – approaching Srila Prabhupada as a spiritual master to become his disciple or take part in his movement and take artificially to Krishna consciousness or have an artificial motive.
He says if one does so he says then they cannot understand Krishna consciousness and then he uses this term, ‘they may leave our camp.’ And again a very visual terminology, ‘be lost in the wilderness.’ I was thinking that just like if you are in the edge of the wilderness but you are in some came, just like if you are going to climb the Himalayas then there are camps every few thousand feet were there is a little bit of shelter there. Even though you are on the side of this very dangerous mountain where many people have lost their lives if you reach a certain camp, I don’t know much about it but you know there is the base camp and the next camp and the next camp. So you have to be part of that camp to be safe from the wilderness. So again Prabhupada uses his personal example saying many have come to us he says but because they were artificial because they had ulterior motives, they were lost in the wilderness.
So as I was reading this I was thinking well this kind of creates a dilemma for me atleast and perhaps other of us here listening to the class because when I read the list – envious, agnostic means you are no quite sure, you are not yet 100% convince that Krishna is there. He is God or you are a little proud of your material possessions. Sometimes you are hypocritical. As I read the verses I was thinking before I get to the purport I hope Prabhupada is kind of soft on this because he just described to me, and I hope he is not too harsh with his criticism. Then he goes right into saying not only those people exist out there. They exist among us, people with those qualities.
I find this in many way very challenging because I think most of us would have to admit that we struggle with these qualities. We sometimes find ourselves feeling envy or we find ourselves feeling greedy or we find ourselves feeling attached to things. Sometimes I kind of visualize that it feels like being in the ocean and waves come at you from different directions. It seems like sometime you are looking a little peaceful in Krishna consciousness and then it is like the season of lust. Here comes the lust wave. And then you just overcome that one and you are trying to recover and out of nowhere comes envy.
Sometimes you may be thinking, “I don’t have a problem with this devotee.” Then the next day you feel envy towards that person or sometimes feeling greedy for things that you never really had a desire for. So these waves they come upon us for different reasons and as a result of this when we hear a verse like this we may feel a little discouraged that, “I don’t think Krishna consciousness is for me. Maybe Prabhupada is talking about me in this verse – people coming with ulterior motives.” As we hear the purport we might feel a little uncomfortable. “I hope nobody is looking at me because it sounds a lot like Prabhupada is talking about me. And then that devotee yesterday I had a quarrel with he is definitely thinking Prabhupada is talking about me.”
So it may cause some discouragement and sometimes we see that that is one of the ways that maya can distract us from Krishna consciousness because we are meant to be analytical as devotees. We are meant to be self-reflective. We are meant to read these purports and look and see how can I apply that to myself. Just like if you go to the doctor if you have some disease the doctor analyzes the disease and he says, “Okay these are the symptoms of this disease. This is what is happening inside you. This is why you are experiencing thee problems. Here is the medicine. Here is how you need to take the medicine. You need to avoid certain types of food. You need to take certain pills. You need to do that a certain number of times a day.” So if you read the description, if you go to the doctor and you hear everything but you don’t apply it well then you are not going to get the benefit.
Here Prabhupada is analyzing for us some of the diseases that are there in our heart but when you go to the doctor and the doctor says, “You have this disease. Here is the medicine.” If you go, “Oh gosh Doctor, that is really bad! I don’t think I should take the medicine. I mean I am so diseased I don’t even have a right to come to this hospital. I don’t even have the right to see you. You are a doctor. You are supposed to make people healthy. Here I am a sick person coming to you. How dare I do that?” It would be foolish to think like that. You go to the doctor, the doctor analyzes. Sometime he is a little blunt. “You have been eating the wrong foods or you are not exercising or if you do not do this or that you may have a heart attack or you have already had an heart attack. You better change your behavior or else this will be the result.
So the doctor sometimes speaks very firmly and strongly. So here in the same mood as I read this Prabhupada is speaking like that to us but not that we should become discouraged but we should understand these are diseases in our hearts and we have become devotees because we want to become healthy. We want to become spiritually healthy. We want to get free from being envious sometimes of those who are very dear to us. We want to become freed from greediness for things that we know are not good for us. We want to become free from doubt that prevents us from surrendering to the one person we have ever heard about in our memory of this life and perhaps past lives, the one person we have ever heard described who seems genuinely more than worthy of our surrender. The person that actually perhaps is or depends whether you agree or have faith – the all-attractive person, but we still have doubts. We want to become free from those doubts. Prabhupada is telling us how to do that.
The other side when we hear this we may think first hand, “Oh I have all these qualities. Prabhupada is talking about me. I am about to be kicked out into the wilderness. There is no hope.” On the other side we may think, “Ah just listen to these godbrothers and godsisters of mine that Krishna is describing. I have noticed all their ulterior motives that they have. When so and so was doing that yesterday and I have seen how jealous he is. I have seen that he is a little hypocritical or she is a little hypocritical. Ahaha she is envious of me. Prabhupada is talking about you. I hope you are paying attention.” That is the other side. Sometimes we can think like that and thus become critical. In many ways that is even worse.
We may think, “Well I am here. Prabhupada is talking about those that can’t listen or can’t practice. So I am hearing philosophy so I am practicing. So obviously very nice! Prabhupada is explaining I must be free from envy or else I couldn’t be here. I must be free from greed. Obviously I am not a hypocrite. He does not mention it here but I am obviously very humble at the same time because otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
So in this way the mind tricks us but actually both concepts are wrong. In Bhagavad-gita Krishna explains there are four different types of persons that come to him and all of them have mixed motives. It is understood that anyone in this material world has some contamination in their heart and I am going to borrow one line or two lines from tomorrows purport. It is a long purport so I am not taking too much of it.
Prabhupada writes, text 42: “In the beginning no one can be elevated to the higher stage of devotional service. Bhakta means one who does not hesitate to accept the reformatory processes for becoming a bhakta.” And then he goes on, “In order to become a devotee one has to accept a spiritual master etc.” So we come to Krishna consciousness with so many problems, so many things in our heart. And the process of Krishna consciousness is a process of cleansing our hearts.
So these instructions Lord Kapiladev is explaining that unless one is free or is becoming free from these different obstacles one cannot make serious spiritual advancement. And Prabhupada to bring that into a very modern context is saying even – because he was writing these purports forty years ago – so even disciples were coming to him because of ulterior motives were not able to stay.
I was thinking of a nice Christian prayer that is similar to this idea. It says, “I was once blind but now I can see.” So in the same way we come blind but we want again to see. We want to see Krishna. We want to make spiritual advancement. So how to do that? Prabhupada is explaining in this purport. He says that Krishna consciousness is not a sectarian religious faith. It is a teaching process for understanding the Supreme Lord and our relationship with him. So he is explaining that we should not be surprised that we have these things in our hearts but we have to be ready to look at those things and be willing to cleanse those things, to be ready to struggle against those things and to be taught to learn to change and to actually transform. Krishna consciousness first and foremost is a transformational process.
Sometime we all have the experience we may be on kind of cruise mode for a certain period of time in our spiritual lives but Prabhupada is warning us if we do that, if we are not intensely focused and desiring to make spiritual advancement it is possible we can again become lost in the wilderness. So he is warning us here and he is giving us advice. I was thinking, I remember hearing years ago how Tamal Krishna Maharaj described when he was studying at the university that he will always sit in the front seat. I remember in school I would always get together with my friends and go to the back seat of the room. And the reason you went to the back seat was very obvious. You wanted to be as far from the teacher as possible so you could get away with as much as possible, ensuring that he or she will call on you as little as possible. In this way you could cruise through the class.
Maharaj was explaining that because he was very focused as a serious devotee of Krishna consciousness. Whatever he learnt he wanted to do it in a very serious and attentive way. So he was going even to these university courses, sitting in the front row, wanting to hear everything, wanting to be very, very enthusiastic. So for us to advance in Krishna consciousness also we have to be – here in this particular purport, there should be some anxiety in our hearts, but there should be some balance there. We should think, Prabhupada is specifically saying here even people that are disciples, they have a spiritual name, live in the temples or live in the community, they live in the congregation and have a spiritual master and wear tilak and put on neckbeads and chant Hare Krishna mantra. Sometimes their motives overwhelm their Krishna consciousness. So there is some continued danger there. So he is warning us of that. We should be very careful.
We should be anxious and concerned about that but also despite the contaminations, the obstacles that are there if I am enthusiastic and if I am endeavoring to improve then Krishna will help me. So when we hear this list we should see that I have so many of these qualities but Krishna, the spiritual master, Lord Caitanya, They have given the process by which I can become purified of these things. But also this should awaken in us a sense of dependence upon Krishna. We should have some sense that the envy in my heart, the greed in my heart, the doubts in my heart, the contamination is there and I cannot overcome it on my own. It is just not possible. Maya is very strong. We are very small.
I have on excerpt from a lecture Prabhupada gave that I kind of cut out and put on my desk at home. I don’t have it exactly memorized but Prabhupada says we should always remember we are very frail. He says we should always pray like that to Krishna, “My dear Lord I am very frail. I am failing. I need your mercy to protect me. And if we don’t have that mood in our heart, if we are not cultivating that mood then we are not actually catching on to that essence of how we will make advancement in spiritual life which is receiving Krishna’s mercy, receiving the Guru’s mercy. Because Prabhupada is saying here lot of people come and they do the external things but they can’t stay because there is no transformation. So therefore it is explained that a pure devotee or we can even say a serious devotee, they are very attentive and they don’t want to waste even a moment of time. They understand how valuable my time is. I have very little time left but I want to use that time to make spiritual advancement.
In that same way we are also very fortunate because we have the chance to come and visit the holy dham. Some of us have the chance to live in the dham for some extended period of time. And this is the home of Lord Caitanya. It is from this place that the most merciful incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead came into this world to start this sankirtan movement. And we should understand that He came specifically for people like us. Just like Prabhupada says there is all these disqualifications. People join a cultural institution in name only especially in this age. Especially in kali-yuga this happens and therefore Lord Caitanya especially came in this age for people like us. He came for people like us. And all that He is asking is that we practice Krishna consciousness with enthusiasm with sincerity and that we accept the cleansing process and that we try to share with others. These are the two things He asks us to do. Just like Prabhupada would sometimes say – it became the title of a book – just chant, dance and be happy.
I can remember the first few times, I mentioned this before I think here when I gave class. I think the very first time that I ever came to Mayapur I was sitting and there was a sannyasi giving the class and he was talking about param drstva nivartate [Bg 2.59] and I was thinking, “My stomach is sick. I haven’t eaten for two days. I am getting burnt up in the daytime. I am on the roof without a mosquito net at nighttime. I can barely make it to prasadam.” When you do you have to fight your way in to the gate to get to take prasadam. When you go on parikrama in those days you were lucky if the Deity gate was still open by the time you got to the front of the line to look in the door when everybody else was about a mile ahead of you down the road.
He was talking about what a wonderful higher taste there is to Krishna consciousness. And I remember thinking all I need to do is to go to the Ganga because I just need to get purified because they may be a taste but all I am tasting right now is purification but somehow or the other few years later I am still getting purified. So sometimes we experience the higher taste in Krishna consciousness. Sometimes when we hear these verses we feel great love for Krishna. Other times we hear these verses we feel very distraught. We think how is it possible I can never become a devotee. I have so many obstacles. So many challenges! Buy we should also remember that when we study the sastra we hear the histories of many, many, many personalities. Many of them had many, many challenges and instructions are given here to help us to understand how we can overcome these challenges. How by calling out to Krishna, praying to Krishna for His mercy how we can overcome these challenges.
In Bhagavad-gita Arjuna faced unlimited challenges but still because he made his will Krishna’s will, “I just want to be an instrument for Krishna.” I just want to try to serve You Lord whatever You want.” Krishna said, “You may succeed, you may fail just serve Me.” And because he did that Krishna protected him.
So we are here in Mayapur. We should try to pray especially because many of us are getting ready to go back to the west. I know I always have the experience that when I am in the west I am a little bit in anxiety about coming to Mayapur, which is kind of purified place. I am kind of comfortable were I am. How much maya is going to test me this time around? How many of my resolutions are going to be shut down in the GBC meetings this year? How sick am I going to get this time around? All these kind of things!
Then when I come here I start to think it is nice seeing the Deities and associating with the devotees. Just snowed two and a half feet deep last week in Washington DC and I am not really sure if I want to go back there either. These are all just foolish thoughts of the mind. We should just pray while we are here even if we have one minute. Some of us may be leaving today, some of us may have just come today but even if we have just one minute we should pray while we are here especially that despite all of the disqualifications we have that Krishna out of His causeless mercy – just like this in this paragraph of Prabhupada’s, “My dear Lord I am so frail. I am not able to approach you. Please you lift me up. You protect me. I have no shelter other than You. I have no reason to be here other than Prabhupada’s causeless mercy, the mercy of my spiritual master, the mercy of the devotees, Your mercy. I have no reason to be here and I have more than enough qualifications to leave this society, the association of devotees but I simply want to become an instrument in Your hands. Please, please You protect me.”
We should pray like that. We should also pray, “Please Lord,” whenever we go back to wherever our missions are whether it is travelling across India or staying here and taking care of the pilgrims that come or going back to our various temples or communities to pray that we can be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. That the same way that He has given us causeless mercy. We didn’t deserve the mercy even now, we have so many dark things in our heart. We didn’t deserve the mercy but He gave it to us.
So in the same way we should feel let us go and give it to others. And we should never think that people are too fallen. They can’t take Krishna’s mercy. They can’t take Lord Caitanya’s mercy because He is making it available to everyone. And He made it available to us so we should help Him, help Prabhupada, help Lord Caitanya in their mission to try to distribute this mercy to others because they like us are lost in the wilderness but like us can be protected and given the opportunity to come to Krishna by the mercy of Lord Caitanya, by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada. So I will stop there, just a few thoughts. Thank you very much for your attentive listening. Srila Prabhupada ki, jai! [Applause.] Question?
Question: Thank you very much Prabhuji. Just an apparent paradox or contradictions here in the purport with Bhagavad-gita’s famous verse that four types of men approach Me Krishna says that they have ulterior motives such as desire for wealth, knowledge or just being distressed, desire for happiness for well being, those people approach Me and they reach Me. In other words Krishna explains how they reach Him. So it is difficult for me to imagine that someone would come to this movement simply with ulterior motives not one of them being to get devotion for Krishna. So who are those people that fall away if Krishna guarantees that they will reach Him even with ulterior motives?
HG Anuttama Prabhu: Yes I think that is the main point here that we all have those ulterior motives and Krishna is offering Himself to us and a lot of things can be said as I am understanding this. If the intensity of our desire to have Krishna, if we can maintain that intense desire he will take away those ulterior motives but we have to cry to Him like that. There is a beautiful section in the prayers of Queen Kunti in the Bhagavatam were Prabhupada talks in the purport of how there is so much potency in the holy name that it alone can deliver us from this material entanglement, but he says in the purport that also there is a quality of feeling that must be there. So that is part of what is being described here. That feeling in part is this realization – this is me – greed, envy, lust – those things they are all in my heart. Pleeeeeeease Krishna! Please deliver me. Please, please, please! And you know sometimes He is so kind if we are not so convinced it is bad He shows us how bad it is just to increase our desire to call out to Him even more sincerely.
So Prabhupada says like that, the quality of prayer is calling out. So he will take away those obstacles. So everybody has ulterior motives and that is part of the vision of a devotee. We are not supposed to discriminate when we go out to preach to give Krishna consciousness to others. We can’t discriminate that here is a nice person, a clean person, an unclean person, an elevated person, a pious person. It is all mixed. It is all mixed but by the mercy of Lord Caitanya the process is so powerful we can be elevated from the lowest to the highest opportunity of service. That is Lord Caitanya’s mercy. Thank you very much. Any other questions?
Question: Does Krishna reveal or ulterior motives to us sometimes the tendency is to lament a lot about these things and think, “Oh I am such a horrible person that I am never going to be a devotee. You talked a little about this but I am wondering if you could speak a little bit more about how to get over that.
HG Anuttama Prabhu: How do we get over that if we sometimes have those insights of lamentation? I think the most important thing is the association of devotees because the process is that we should lament. I mean the play that you were in at Prabhupada’s Samadhi the other day devotees were going and losing the association of great Vaisnavas and thinking, “Oh I am so lost, I am so fallen. What are my hopes?” Through that lamentation that intensifies the devotees desire for Krishna. So that is part of our process. We do lament. We think about how much time I have wasted. We think about all the devotees I have offended. We think about how I have so many stupid desires that keep swelling up like waves. So that lamentation is healthy if it doesn’t go to far.
And part of the way we can keep it from not going to far is that we have to have association of devotees because the devotees are simultaneously helping us to see what is wrong and simultaneously helping us to be strong to go through these challenges. And also part of our duty as devotees sometimes we think, I remember when I first went on traveling sankirtan and a devotee that was away ahead of the party, we were supposed to go for about six weeks. There were about five of us. I wasn’t initiated yet. I was a pretty new devotee. We were about thirty minutes outside the temple and the devotee in charge of the party, I don’t remember what he said but he severely chastised me for something and I thought it was pretty minimal. Severely chastised me and then apparently he could see on my face that I was a little disturbed by that. So I remember him looking in the mirror and saying to me, “You seem a little disturbed by this chastisement.” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Well we are going to be together for six weeks and my duty is to help you get pure.”
So I was very glad I had a warning so the next day I could chant very sincere rounds. “Krishna please help me get through the next six weeks.” Sometimes a little chastisement is helpful but atleast it is important and I would argue more importantly because the chastisement seems to come from a lot of things. You can stub you toe. That is also some kind of chastisements but as devotees so much of it is encouraging each other.
So when we are lamenting, “We are feeling I don’t know if I can do this. I got this problem, that problem.” That is when we have to take shelter of devotees. Part of the six loving exchanges between devotees is to reveal our mind in confidence and to enquire confidentially. I can say that one of the reasons that I was wanting to come to Mayapur is that I am dealing with some issues in my life and I was hoping to see some godbrothers and I was thinking that I am going to ask this Maharaj this question and I want to look for an opportunity and ask this person about this and being able to speak to devotees in that way and share with them our problems.
A lot of times devotees they will say, “You are lamenting because you have this but on the other hand you are such a wonderful actor. That was a wonderful job you did. So many devotees were inspired. Don’t worry about this or that. Those things are there, but Krishna will help you get over those. Stay fixed in His service.” And that is such an important thing for us to do as devotes. And sometimes we fail to understand that is part of our role. We really are meant to appreciate or in the more traditional term, glorify devotees.
When we talk about glorifying devotees it is not just, of course we glorify Prabhupada, we glorify the Supreme Lord, we glorify our initiating spiritual master, various senior devotees but we should also glorify, lift up other devotees.
When a brand new devotee comes and joins our community we all know you just point out, don’t do this, don’t do that, they leave. I remember I was a bhakta leader for some time in the Denver Temple. We had a rule, they only one who could instruct a new person was the bhakta leader. Otherwise they sit down to eat and somebody chastises them, “Not your left hand! Your right hand.” And then they get up and you say, “Don’t just get up, wipe the floor.” “Oh, okay.” Then they go to the bathroom. “Don’t do it like this, do it like that.” Now a day later they are gone because this is too much. “I can’t do this.” But if they have nice care, “Prabhu let me show you this.” We used to have a rule. You can teach him one or two things a day. Meanwhile you got to tolerate watching them not so pukka, but the pukka is not so important as the person. The person is more important.
So I think that is the most important thing, to associate with devotees. And we should also understand we all have different limitations. We have different modes of nature. Some people are in the rasa of chastising me. Very nice! I don’t necessarily go to that person when I am in need of a little help. I will accept their instruction but maybe not right now. I need somebody to put his or her arm around my shoulder and say, “It is okay. You are all right. You are going to make it.” We should have one or two friends like that and if we don’t we should pray to Krishna to show us one or two friends like that because they are all here. That is why we are here to appreciate those friends. I would suggest we all take advantage of those friends while we are all here.
In the communications course there is a whole section on devotee appreciation. One of the things we leave devotees with and it is a beautiful thought. And I would suggest that it is a nice thing to try and it is not artificial if we understand the spirit of it. Everyday we try to appreciate atleast two people. Go out of your way. Look for the opportunity. Even if it is the smallest thing because that little bit of appreciation that often can mean the difference between that devotee staying in the camp or going into the wilderness.
I have a memory again years and years ago I was sitting at breakfast with some devotee who didn’t talk and seemed kind of depressed and I remember I didn’t speak to him. I just took prasadam and left. And the next day he was gone. Afterwards I was realizing well maybe if I said something to him, “How are you? You seem a little upset today. Is something bothering you?” At the very least maybe he would have moved out of the temple as everybody was in the temple in those days. Maybe he would have moved out of the temple but still come back and felt some love on Sunday but I was not open enough to see his need. Maybe if I just said little something to him!
We should look for those opportunities. Sometime we are so focused on our service we forget that our service is to serve the Vaisnavas, all the Vaisnavas. That is another such important thing. Sometimes, it is getting a little better, every once in a while you get bumped out of the way but and enthusiastic brahmacari who is carving a path for his Guru Maharaj. And you know darn well that his Guru Maharaj will be distraught that even a new bhakta was pushed out of the way so that he can get to the front. He is a Guru. He knows he is a servant of Krishna. He knows everyone else is a servant of Krishna. His whole life is to help that new bhakta come to Krishna consciousness and you are pushing him out of the way in service for the Guru. Something is wrong. So we are learning gradually but we should be attentive to those things. Every living entity we should feel compassion for.
When new devotees or new people come when they experience that they can’t go away. They just can’t leave. Okay? Yes Prabhu? This is nice. I usually talk so long they just throw me out the stage. It is important I get to hear everybody else speak for a few minutes.
Question: Thank you for such a practical and encouraging class. I got the impression from Prabhupada’s purport that he is saying that our previous connection with the sectarian religions can be and agency for bringing us out to Krishna consciousness? I wonder if you say something about how we can successfully deal with our previous connection.
HG Anuttama Prabhu: I do a lot of interfaith work and it is one of the things I like the most in my Krishna consciousness because I see an opportunity as I believe Prabhupada wants me to, to see Krishna in that practice in that culture, that tradition. Prabhupada says in many places in human society, even in aboriginal society there is some sense of religion, some sense of the Supreme. Sectarian means separate. So Prabhupada is saying here Krishna consciousness is not a sectarian religious faith. It is not something for this little group or for that little group. It is for every living entity and there is a couple beautiful purports. There was one just a few verses ago and I remember thinking that this would be a great point for an interfaith meeting.
Anyway the idea that sectarian means separate and our view really is universal but we understand that there are different degrees of knowledge and revelation of Krishna are given according to time and place. So dealing with whatever our particular past is different traditions emphasize certain aspects of bhakti. There are little glimpses of what we understand as the highest revelation of Krishna. So we should value those. We don’t give those up. Take those with us. I mentioned a Christian prayer. It is a beautiful prayer. It is a famous song, ‘Amazing Grace’ Actually it makes the point that I was blind, I was lost but now I can see. Why? Amazing Grace. Isn’t it amazing how much grace God has to save a sinner like me?
I don’t know if you know the history of that famous hymn. The man who wrote the hymn used to be a slave merchant. I think there is something like he was lost at sea and almost died. You may know this. Correct me if I am wrong. I think he almost died in a sea wreck. He called out to God and became a Christian. So he wrote this song and it has become a famous hymn for at least a couple hundred years. That I was at least completely blind and now I can see amazing grace. So we don’t have to give that up but there maybe other things we do.
So these things should be an impetus. We are organizing Washington DC next month. I think it is the first. There may have been others. At least in America it is the first, Vaisnava Muslim dialogue. We are doing that because we want to share our understanding of God with very nice Muslim friends. And we want to hear from them their revelation of Krishna, as they understand in their tradition. Certainly there are differences. There are certain things they don’t like that we do and there are things we don’t like about what they do but that is not the point of it.
The point of it is to build some understanding and look to deepen our own spiritual experience. I get to do a whole lot of fun things. I was just thinking about this morning and I think we all have this experience if we look at it, it is really so much fun being a devotee. I remember when I was young I lived in the Denver temple and I used to get to do things like go to Aspen in Colorado to distribute books. There were all those people who were paying five thousand dollars a night for some penthouse and eating what they thought was fancy expensive food but so much anxiety. And I just got to sleep in a tent, get up in the morning and chant Hare Krishna, look at the sunrise and then go tell people about Krishna.
I was the happiest person in the whole of Aspen, Colorado. It didn’t cost me a penny. As Prabhupada says we don’t really have to give anything up to be Krishna conscious. I am eating wonderful vegetarian food offered to Krishna out in the open air and these people are eating dead bodies and other unmentionable things. We devotees get to travel around the world. We meet people who say, “You people travel so much!” A lot of people can’t wait ’til they turn sixty-five. They live in America. Maybe they can get to Mexico at the end of forty years of working. We travel all around the world. How many people in the world have friends from ten, twenty, thirty countries? Even things like that, we are very, very fortunate. So we should take on board what helps us, what inspires us and leave those other things aside. One other question. Anything else from the ladies?
I will make one other comment which was in the .. It is interesting Lord Kapiladev says, “Those who are too greedy.” So apparently you can be somewhat greedy but not too greedy. Then he says, “Too attached to family life.” So obliviously it is a fact family life. Just to mention as devotees we have a misunderstanding about family life. So we ready this, okay we not supposed to have any attachment. Prabhupada says in other places attachment to family members is natural. And also when your family members are devotees it is very important.
Queen Kunti prays, “Dear Lord severe my family attachments.” Prabhupada says both sides are families of glorious illustrious dynasties. So she prayed to severe, only focus on Krishna but in our status we should understand that balance needs to be there. Those who are still in family life, that our family members are devotees. We have a responsibility to care for them, to protect them. In the spirit of Bhakti Tirtha Maharaj who was very expert in teaching us that this is a good world. We have a duty to love our family members, but love isn’t just a feeling. Love means service. Family members the wife means you are supposed to love, serve, help co-operate, take care of the husband, certainly the children. The husband supposed to love care, protect etc. serve the wife and the children. Why? Because they are devotees! We are all not just devotees but we have some material obligations. We should be careful when we hear this description and we don’t want to bend the balance. Don’t become too attached to family. Make sure our family attachment doesn’t take us away from Krishna but we can utilize that natural attachment to bring us to Krishna consciousness.
This morning some devotee came through from some country. I paid obeisances right behind him so a little six year old girl with two pigtails she is paying obeisances front of Prabhupada. Then he walked a few more feet and paid obeisances to Swami then she paid obeisances to swami. This is perfection of family life. It is a beautiful thing. So we should remember that and keep everything in balance. If we are not in family life then we are very fortunate because we can preach to those who are in family life to keep focused on Krishna but if we are in family life we should remember that, that is also a sacred duty. Do it nicely, do it balanced, do it out of respect for our marriage partner, do it out of a genuine desire to protect the children both materially and spiritually and life can be very peaceful. So thank you all very much. I’ll stop there. Srila Prabhupada ki, jai! [Applause.}