01 Nov The Spirit Of Sacrifice
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
Founder-Ācārya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
The Following Lecture On “The Spirit Of Sacrifice”, Was Given By His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami in November 2005 at ISKCON Bhaktivedanta Manor, London.
Today’s topic is, ‘The Spirit of Sacrifice’. There is a quotation of Śrīla Prabhupāda, “The Krishna consciousness movement needs many exalted, learned persons who will sacrifice their lives to revive God consciousness throughout the world. We therefore invite all men and women, advanced in knowledge to join the Krishna consciousness movement”. This quotation reminds me of an incidence which happened during my initial meetings with Śrīla Prabhupāda. Śrīla Prabhupāda told me, “Offer this life to Kṛṣṇa”. He said, “For many lifetimes you have been trying to enjoy but you can see that you are still not satisfied! So offer this life to Kṛṣṇa and just see what happens. If there is no gain, if nothing is achieved out of it, then what’s the loss? It’s just one life out of so many.” That left a very deep impression on my mind. I realized what Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted me to do, ‘just offer this life to Kṛṣṇa’. Śrīla Prabhupāda also added something, he said, “Don’t get involved with any woman”, and soon after that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave me sannyāsa.
So here after Śrīla Prabhupāda is making the same point that this Krishna consciousness movement needs many individual’s total involvement in reviving this movement throughout the world. That means sacrifice. Yesterday we mentioned that when we become entrapped in material nature then naturally we develop a tendency to lord over. We try to posses everything in order to exploit for our sense gratification. That means self centered life, selfish life. And that selfishness in the material nature extends from the individuals to the immediate family members, then to the extended family and it goes on and on. It extends to community, race, nation, religion and so forth. But Krishna consciousness is meant to reverse that attitude and how do we do that? Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave a very simple principle for that. He said,
“bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya-janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra”
One who is born in the land of Bhārata-varṣa, in order to make his human form of life successful, he must do good to others. And Prabhupāda explained that this para-upakāra ‘benefiting others’ literally means sacrifice. Doing good to others means benefiting others without caring for ourselves, and that is what Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu actually meant. Although He mentioned bhārata-bhūmite, ‘in the land of India’; but Śrīla Prabhupāda actually extended this Krishna consciousness movement throughout the world. So anyone who came across Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s saṅkīrtana movement must learn to sacrifice. And what is the ultimate sacrifice? The ultimate sacrifice is the sacrifice of the self. Although we start off in a certain way, as sacrificing ourselves is the most difficult thing. Therefore we start our first sacrifice with sacrificing our time, doing something with the time that we could have utilized for our sense gratification. When we utilize this time for spreading Krishna consciousness or practicing Krishna consciousness, then we learn to sacrifice our money. In this way it goes deeper and deeper. And finally, the ultimate sacrifice is the sacrifice of the self to Kṛṣṇa. And when one does that in a real sense, then one becomes situated in the spiritual platform. Then he is not in the material platform any more, he has been transported to the spiritual sky. So we must understand that this Krishna consciousness movement is here to teach us how to sacrifice, how to learn to sacrifice for the sake of our own benefit. And Vedic culture is based on this principle of sacrifice. You read Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa, and the Purāṇas. What do you find? The series of anecdotes describing the glorious sacrifices that the great personalities made and those sacrifices were made completely unconditionally. The first consideration was, “This is the principle of dharma therefore we must do it”, and the ultimate consideration was, “This is what will please the Supreme Personality of Godhead therefore we must do it”. Dharma! The purpose of dharma is to lead us to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Initially we may not understand that, we may not know Who Kṛṣṇa is, we may not understand what is the benefit of surrendering to Kṛṣṇa and sacrificing everything to Kṛṣṇa; but at least the understanding must be there that this is for the sake of dharma. And what is the benefit of practicing dharma or remaining on the path of dharma? We acquire piety. And what is piety? Piety is like subtle wealth. Gross wealth is money, the subtle wealth is piety. Just like if you have money you can go and buy anything you want, similarly if you have piety you can get anything you want. Therefore there was so much emphasis on remaining on the path of dharma and acquiring piety. So that is dharma and artha.
Then kāma, the fulfillment of all desires. The basic understanding is that happiness is the ability to fulfill your desires, when you fulfill your desires you become happy and when you can’t fulfill your desires you become sad. But eventually after fulfilling all his desires, when one realizes, “Inspite of fulfilling all my desires I am still that unhappy individual that I was”, then comes the mokṣa, ‘get out of this material nature, this is the place of suffering, so get out of here’. So these are the four basic principles of Vedic way of life dharma, artha, kāma, and mokṣa. But, just liberation, ‘getting out of the miserable condition of material nature’, is not enough. Beyond mokṣa is the world of joy, ānanda; and the basis of that ānanda is prema, ‘love’. So Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s actually came to give us the taste of that love, the taste of that joy, ānandam; and not only in just some mere taste of that joy or ānanda, but he actually came to drown us in an ocean of joy.
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
That is why Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came. And what is the price we have to pay to enter into that realm of ānanda? Sacrifice.
So I was mentioning that the Vedic culture, the Vedic history is full of these wonderful incidences of sacrifice. One such sacrifice was made by a great sage called Dadhīchi. Citraketu was cursed by Pārvati and became a demon, ‘Vritrasura’. He was so powerful that he defeated and drove Indra out of heavenly planet, and became the king of the heaven. So, the devās in the heavenly planet, Indra, Candra, Varuṇa, being perturbed, approached the Supreme Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa. They explained Him their condition and asked what they should do to regain their kingdom. Kṛṣṇa then told them that the only way Vritrasura can be killed is, if a vajra ‘thunder’ is created by Viśvakarmā with the bones of Dadhīchi. Therefore, Indra and other demigods approached Dadhīchi and told him, “Vritrasura has taken our heavenly planet and the only way Vritrasura can be defeated is, if vajra is created out of your bones. So you please give us your bones”. Dadhīchi was such an exalted, self realized soul. He reasoned, “After all what’s the use of this body? Eventually it will become the food for worms and insects! It’s going to rot, it’s going to disintegrate. So if this body can be used for some noble cause, I must take this opportunity”. He said, “Fine, take this body”. This used to be the attitude of exalted personalities in the Vedic age. First of all, they knew that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa and nothing belongs to them. Therefore they knew that this tendency to possess, the tendency to own, is Māyā.
īśāvāsyamidaṁ sarvaṁ yatkiñcajagatyāṁ jagat
Everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, ‘īśāvāsyamidaṁ sarvaṁ’. Everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, but very mercifully Kṛṣṇa has given us a quota. Whatever we need, Kṛṣṇa is providing. Therefore what is the use of unnecessarily trying to possess? Look at a bird, look at the animal in the forest, look at the insects, worms; no one has any scarcity in this world. Why? Because the Lord is taking care of everyone. It’s only in the human society that we have this problem, why? Because we want to posses, we want to unnecessarily claim things for ourselves, for the sake of our future security. Prabhupāda gives an example, “Take a bag of rice and put it in the middle of the road at night. In the morning some birds will come, they will eat as much rice as they need from it, then some goats and cows will come they will also eat as much as they need and then they will go. But as soon as the first man comes, what will happen? He will pick up the whole bag and walk away”. Man doesn’t have the faith in Kṛṣṇa that He will provide and that’s why he is so concerned about what’s going to happen to him tomorrow, day after tomorrow, years after years, life after life, generation after generation! So he wants to accumulate and the more he tries to accumulate the more he binds himself to this miserable material condition.
So Krishna consciousness movement is here to teach us the benefit of sacrifice, which eventually means to depend upon Kṛṣṇa. What’s the point in possessing? What’s the point in trying to posses when we know that Kṛṣṇa is already there taking care of all our needs? In this respect Cāṇakya Paṇḍita is making a point, that why worry about your tomorrow? Why worry about your needs for tomorrow? Don’t you remember that just as soon as you were born, your mother’s breast became filled with milk as food for you? Who provided that? Who made that arrangement? Just from the time of your birth Kṛṣṇa is taking care of you. So why worry about tomorrow and why worry about your security? Why try to unnecessarily possess? So depend upon Kṛṣṇa, and this depending upon Kṛṣṇa will be synonymous to our mood of sacrifice. Like Dadhīchi gave his body, but what did he gain in return? He offered his material body, but do you know what Dadhīchi’s reward was? He was elevated to the spiritual sky. So if by sacrificing our material body we can have entry to the spiritual sky, why shouldn’t we do that? And that is the principle of Vedic sacrifice. Symbolically the sacrifice is made in the fire which is representation of Kṛṣṇa. How does one make the Vedic sacrifice? He throws grains and ghee in the sacrificial fire. And what is the mantra? ‘idam kṛṣṇāya namaḥ, ‘this is to Kṛṣṇa, this is not mine’. And in this way a man learns to consider at every step whether something belongs to him or it belongs to Kṛṣṇa, ‘idam kṛṣṇāya namaḥ’, ‘nothing is mine’ and in this way one gradually makes natural spiritual advancement. So to be in Krishna consciousness means to learn to sacrifice and the principle of sacrifice is, “Nothing belongs to me so why should I unnecessarily establish my claim on that. Eventually even my body is not mine”. As it was demonstrated by sage Dadhīchi, “after all this body is Kṛṣṇa’s, it’s not mine. So why should I try to establish my proprietorship over this body? Now if by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, the body can be used in a great cause, let me sacrifice for that purpose”. It is difficult to give up our body because the body is our first and last material bondage. Everything is related to the body. The body has the senses and our consciousness has become centered on our senses. Our identity has therefore become centered on the bodies.
Another wonderful example of sacrifice is Hāḍāi Paṇḍita, the father of Nityānanda Prabhu. Hāḍāi Paṇḍita was a very exalted brāhmaṇa. We can well imagine how exalted he must have been that the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as his Son. Extremely exalted personality! And he was perfectly situated on truthfulness. He considered that in this age dharma is standing on one leg, ‘truthfulness’. So I am not going to deviate from truthfulness, no matter what happens. And Nityānanda Prabhu, ‘Lord Balarāma’ appeared as his son. He, being the father, was naturally attached to Nityānanda Prabhu. He was so attached to Nityānanda Prabhu that he could not bear the separation of Nityānanda Prabhu even for a moment. Wherever Nityānanda Prabhu would go, he would just follow him. His eyes were completely fixed on Nityānanda Prabhu’s beautiful form and wherever Nityānanda Prabhu moved, he moved there. Wherever he went he took Nityānanda Prabhu with him. He went to the market he took Nityānanda Prabhu with him; he went to take bath in the river he took Nityānanda Prabhu. That’s how attached he was to Nityānanda Prabhu. Then one day a sannyāsi came and became Hāḍāi Paṇḍita’s guest. Hāḍāi Paṇḍita took care of him very nicely. Generally the sannyāsis those days would be just wandering from place to place and they would take food only in the house of the brāhmaṇas. And the brāhmaṇas also, when they would see a sannyāsi, they would invite him to their house. So Hāḍāi Paṇḍita invited this brāhmaṇa to his house. The brāhmaṇa accepted his invitation, stayed in his house for that day. Next morning when he was about to leave Hāḍāi Paṇḍita asked him, “What can we offer to you?” and the sannyāsi said, “If you really want to offer me something, offer your son to me”. That literally broke Hāḍāi Paṇḍita’s heart into thousands of pieces, shattered his heart. He was shocked to hear that this sannyāsi wants his son! But still he did not deviate from dharma, ‘truthfulness’; he said, “Please take him”. Nityānanda Prabhu’s mother Padmāvati Devī was telling him, “How can you do that? How can you offer your son? It’s totally unfair that he is asking for such a little boy to go with him. What does he want to gainout of that, by taking this little boy away from us?” Hāḍāi Paṇḍita said, “No, I wanted to offer him something and that’s what he wants, so I will offer it to him”. And it has been described that when Nityānanda Prabhu was leaving with the sannyāsi, Hāḍāi Paṇḍita’s condition was like that of Daśaratha when Rāmacandra was leaving Ayodhyā to go to the forest. Daśaratha actually was running after Rāmacandra’s chariot, calling out! And he gave up his body in separation of Lord Rāmacandra.
So these are the wonderful example of the sacrifices that we have in front of us and that is what makes the Vedic culture so profound, so great. Therefore, we must understand that we are here in ISKCON to sacrifice and by doing that we are going to derive the highest benefit. The more we offer ourselves to Kṛṣṇa, the more we sacrifice to Kṛṣṇa, the more Kṛṣṇa will become indebted to us. That is one of the qualities of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is extremely grateful, if you do something for Kṛṣṇa, He will never forget. You offer something to Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa will say, “Oh! How am I going to return, how am I going to reciprocate?” So that is the mood of Kṛṣṇa, He is extremely grateful. Therefore when you do something for Kṛṣṇa, when you offer something to Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa becomes grateful and considers how He is going to reciprocate.
Sudāma vipra went to Dvārakā to meet Kṛṣṇa. Actually his wife told him to go to Kṛṣṇa and ask for some material wealth. She was distressed because of the poverty stricken condition. So she told him, “Kṛṣṇa is your friend and He is the king of Dvārakā, so why don’t you go and ask for something from your Friend?” Although Sudāma vipra didn’t want to go and ask anything from Kṛṣṇa, but he thought it’s a good opportunity to go and meet Kṛṣṇa. So still he went to Dvārakā to meet Kṛṣṇa. It is a custom that when somebody goes to meet somebody he should carry something as a token of offering. Sudāma was so poor that he could not carry anything but some flat rice. He took that flat rice tied up in the corner of his cādar and took it to Dvārakā. But when he met Kṛṣṇa, he saw Kṛṣṇa’s opulence, He is a prince! Dvārakā’s opulence cannot be described. It is absolutely indescribable, the beauty and opulence of the place. Sudāma was completely awestruck. He was wondering that he brought just some chipped rice, how can he offer the chipped rice to Kṛṣṇa? But Kṛṣṇa being the Supersoul of everybody knew what was going on in Sudāma’s heart. So Kṛṣṇa asked Sudāma, “Didn’t you bring something for me?” Then Sudāma hesitatingly opened the knot of the cādar and offered the chipped rice to Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa became extremely excited, “Oh! Flat rice! I didn’t have flat rice for so many years”. In Dvārakā, Kṛṣṇa was having everything but no flat rice. Because no one offered flat rice to Kṛṣṇa in Dvārakā, Kṛṣṇa was very excited. He took first bite and then the second bite; and when Kṛṣṇa was about to take the third bite, Rukmiṇī-devī caught His hand and said, “Kṛṣṇa don’t take anymore, because just by taking these two bytes, ‘two handful of flat rice’, I don’t not know, how I am going to reciprocate, how I am going to pay back the debt that I have incurred due to Your taking of two handful of chipped rice, that I cannot pay him back”. So that is how Kṛṣṇa reciprocates. That’s how Mahā-LakṣmīRukmiṇī-devī reciprocates when you do something for Kṛṣṇa.
Therefore to sacrifice for Kṛṣṇa and to sacrifice for the sake of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s saṅkīrtana movement is the most intelligent thing that we can do. This is the most lucrative business, ‘little investment and unlimited return’. Isn’t that’s the principle of good business? Little investment and considerable return. That’s what happens when we offer something to Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa reciprocates in such an inconceivable way that we cannot even imagine. Therefore there is a saying,
jei jana Kṛṣṇa bhaje śe baḍo catur
One who serves Kṛṣṇa, one who make sacrifices for the sake of Kṛṣṇa is extremely smart. Catur means extremely intelligent, extremely smart. So the most intelligent thing to do is to sacrifice for Kṛṣṇa. Let’s just try to analyze the consideration of that sacrifice, the consequences of that sacrifice. Kṛṣṇa has made a condition with us, “whatever you give I will reciprocate”. So when we offer something to Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa reciprocates, and we see what a wonderful return we got; we want to offer more to Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa reciprocates even more. And finally, we offer ourselves to Kṛṣṇa. Do you know how Kṛṣṇa reciprocates? Kṛṣṇa reciprocates by offering Himself to us. That is why Kṛṣṇa gives liberation, Kṛṣṇa gives material enjoyment, Kṛṣṇa gives everything; but Kṛṣṇa doesn’t want to give devotion. That is why devotion is so rare, because out of devotion Kṛṣṇa becomes sold out to the devotee! Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is the Supreme Proprietor, He is the Supreme Enjoyer; but Kṛṣṇa becomes subservient to His devotee. Now is there any loss in offering something to Kṛṣṇa in sacrifice? Or are we going to derive the greatest benefit by doing that? Therefore Krishna consciousness is the process of sacrifice, para-upakāra and those who are intelligent should understand it and act on that principle.
Questions by devotees and Answers by His Holiness Bhakti Chāru Swāmi Gurumahārāja
Devotee: In the material nature which is based on exploitation, the employer tries to exploit the employees and employees try to exploit the employer. Now sometimes, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the devotees may have to take a job and they get a salary. How should that be seen?
BCS: This question is in reference to yesterday’s class. I mentioned that in the material nature which is based on exploitation, the employer tries to exploit the employees and employees try to exploit the employer. So it’s not that out of their love they are helping or serving each other. It is the matter of just exploitation. So the question is sometimes in Krishna consciousness, devotees may have to take a job and they get a salary. Now how should that be seen?
Well you see the difference here, in Krishna consciousness is, that a devotee wants to render service unconditionally, without expecting any return. And the leaders of the movement take it upon themselves to take care of the devotees. It’s a two-way traffic, it’s a reciprocal thing. It will be a mistake to think that the devotees will just continue to render service and we do not have any obligation towards them. On the other hand, our attitude should be that we are representing Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa is giving us an assurance, “If you do this much for me, I will reciprocate by giving this much”. So if we are representing Kṛṣṇa then our response also should be somewhat like that. That if you do this much for our movement, there will be at least this much return, right? So that is how we will inspire individuals to become engaged in devotional service. Otherwise people may think that we are exploiting them. Now, you see, when one is a brahmacārī or brahmacāriṇī, their expenses are not that much. All they need is some prasādam and some place to crash out. But when one becomes a householder then actually the trouble starts. I won’t say trouble; the so called burden becomes a little overwhelming.
Devotee: Increased responsibility.
BCS: Yes, increased responsibility. Therefore the management considers, “Well, he is a householder, he is rendering service, he has his expenses, he has to maintain his family; so we can offer him so much every month”. So it’s not that he is serving because he is getting paid, but it is a kind of mutual reciprocation, “You are doing so much for Kṛṣṇa, on behalf of Kṛṣṇa, let us do something for you” and that way the householders will be relieved of their anxiety of maintaining their houses. And especially in this age. This world today has become complex, everything has become so expensive. That’s why in order to expand the movement, the management has to take it upon themselves, that the householder devotees must be maintained and it is their way of maintaining them that they are actually offering something every month. Hare Kṛṣṇa!
Devotee: Once I heard Tamāl Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja, saying that there were devotees with Śrīla Prabhupāda, like His Grace Hari Sauri Prabhu and others, whenever they came to Śrīla Prabhupāda after accomplishing their service, Śrīla Prabhupāda will always make a point of giving them some money. Obviously they were with Prabhupāda!
BCS: Yes. Well, I mean that is how Prabhupāda will reciprocate. Not only money, you know when somebody would do something for Prabhupada, Prabhupada would give him something. Not always money, sometimes cādar, some of his prasādam, sometimes he even gave his ring, sometimes he just took off his wrist watch and gave it. So you see that is love. Love is reciprocal, it’s not that we just take and take and take and don’t feel any obligation or any need to reciprocate. Rather love is reciprocal, as Kṛṣṇa says that you do this much for Him, and He offers, He reciprocates by giving this much. And that inspires the devotees. You know if by offering this much, he gets this much, then he thinks why don’t I offer this much and then Kṛṣṇa offers this much and it goes on and on. It eternally increases, ever increases. And that is what inspires an individual to ultimately offer everything that he has: his body, his mind and finally his soul and pure devotional service actually is the surrendered offering of the soul. Hare Kṛṣṇa!
Devotee: When somebody offers something to Kṛṣṇa, and if the family members resent it, how to deal with it?
BCS: Well how do you deal with someone who is in ignorance? By enlightening them. So that is also an opportunity to preach, that here I am. Now explain to them why you are doing that and tell them. Hari Vaṁśa was telling me that ever since he became a devotee and started to offer to Kṛṣṇa, his business started to expand. So I mean speak out of your own experience, what you benefited by becoming a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, by offering to Kṛṣṇa. Let’s say, if by offering five pounds, you know, you get fifty pounds in return, then isn’t it a good business? So you tell them. I mean they want to hear about the material gain, right? They are just seeing that you are just losing by offering, but they are not aware of the gains that you are deriving out of it. So tell them about the gains that you are deriving out of it, and ultimately what do you gain? Ultimately you gain something money cannot buy, right? I mean where do you get a family like this, where everyone is for everyone else? If something happens to you, what happens? Immediately, the whole society just stands beside you and says, “Prabhu, don’t worry, we are here” right. So you should make them aware of that. They are just seeing one half; they are getting one half of the picture and the other half of the picture they cannot see. So you have to expose them to that.
Devotee: If I do some sacrifice, but if it’s not pure, how Kṛṣṇa takes it? How is He grateful to it?
BCS: Yes, what did Kṛṣṇa say in Bhagavad-gītā?
ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham
As one surrenders unto me accordingly I reciprocate. If there is some hidden agenda behind that surrender, Kṛṣṇa also will have his hidden agenda and Kṛṣṇa’s hidden agendas can be very tricky. Hare Kṛṣṇa!
Devotee: Mahārāja when we talk about sacrifice, it seems that it is easy when the service is direct, like the jewelry seva or the kitchen seva, and there’s no need for people to know. But what about the relationships, let’s say husband-wife, friends and sometimes if a sincere devotee performs a mistake, and in some field he may be better than them, but if he is not satisfied and they doubt him, whatever. So how do you do this?
BCS: Well I just theoretically answer the question; I mean if it happened to me, I don’t know how I would have reacted. But at least I can speak about the principle. Taking it from the Vedic context, the understanding is that whatever we are doing actually it’s for Kṛṣṇa. I will give you an example, say, we are serving in the temple and whole heartedly offered ourselves, but unfortunately some temple authority may not be that kind and generous. He may be taking advantage of us, which may cause us distress, “I am doing so much and look what he is doing to me?” So the best way to avoid that kind of discontentment is by realizing, “Whatever I am doing, is for Kṛṣṇa. In this situation, he is Kṛṣṇa’s representative and I am offering it through him to Kṛṣṇa. And if he is not properly utilizing and reciprocating that, then Kṛṣṇa, who is the Supersoul, He will see it, and He will see my sincere attitude and He will reciprocate. And if there is some difficulty, if there is no proper reciprocation or reward, or rather instead of reciprocation and reward if we get disappointed, if we get mistreated, then we can consider that it is actually Kṛṣṇa’s test of my sincerity, my surrender. So in this we must look at everything in a Kṛṣṇa conscious way. Whatever we are doing is for Kṛṣṇa, not for anyone else and if he misuses it then that is his business, not mine. I offered it to Kṛṣṇa and if he misused it, Kṛṣṇa will see it. Let me not worry about it. And when we develop this attitude or rather when we make spiritual advancement, this attitude will keep enhancing, increasing. As a result of that we will see a great satisfaction in the heart, in spite of all impediments and difficulties.
Devotee: What if we are making a sacrifice, but sometimes we do it happily, sometimes we do it grudgingly; what attitude or consciousness should we develop while sacrificing?
BCS: Well at least we can consider since I have to do it let me do with the happy mood. If I have to do it, then why do it grudgingly?
Devotee: Gurumahārāja, yesterday you mentioned that when we are trying to do service we should think ourselves small, but many a times we see that even though we do menial service, we become very much puffed up, for example, we start to think, “Oh, I cleaned the toilets very nicely” and so forth. So what to do in that situation?
BCS: You see this kind of feeling of pride in Krishna consciousness is positive, that, “Why I am feeling pride is not because I have done something great, but because I have been able to render some service to Kṛṣṇa”. So this elation, this joy, is positive. And let’s become happy, let’s become joyful, let’s become proud as a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. The devotees of Kṛṣṇa have that kind of pride which materialistic people cannot understand. Like, Locan Dāsa Thākura is saying, “One who does not accept Nityānanda Prabhu, I kick him on his head”. And people ask, “What kind of Vaiśnava is he? He is talking about kicking on the head?” But Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thākura is saying, that ‘kick on the head’ is actually His mercy! Without recognizing Nityānanda Prabhu’s greatness, one is completely doomed. If one does not recognize Nityānanda Prabhu’s greatness, he is doomed. Now, he is very mercifully reminding him the importance of recognizing the Nityānanda Prabhu’s greatness and surrendering unto him. For his own benefit Locan Dāsa Thākura is displaying that kind of attitude. So another thing is that, everything is perfect in Krishna consciousness. If it is Kṛṣṇa conscious, if it is centered around Kṛṣṇa, if it is for the sake of Kṛṣṇa; then everything is perfectly alright.
Once, at some time, Calcutta was going through a big communistic upheaval, there was a violent group, they were actually terrorists, in the name of communists. So, someone asked Śrīla Prabhupāda, “What do you think of communism?” Prabhupāda said that if it is centered around Kṛṣṇa, it is good. So even communism can be accepted, if it is centered around Kṛṣṇa and Prabhupāda actually wrote, “The Vedic communism”. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the perfect communism. The perfect equality in perfect harmony can be established only with Kṛṣṇa in the center. Prabhupāda gives the example, in a family there may be elder brother and younger brother, but aren’t they all equal in the family? And what does the elder brother do? The elder brother does not exploit the younger brother; elder brother takes care of the younger brother. So that kind of atmosphere must be most beautiful.
Devotee: [not clear].
BCS: Hari Bol! Mother Kalīgnā is one of the most wonderful examples of sacrifice. And I just want to comment [to Mother Kalīgnā], “You know why they didn’t want to make the sandeśa? Because they know that you make the best sandeśa. And they knew if they made the sandeśa instead of you then Kṛṣṇa would have been unhappy. Kṛṣṇa will say, ‘Why did you not let mother Kalīgnā make the sandeśa? Don’t you know I like her sandeśa the most?’ Thank you mother Kalīgnā!”
Devotee: Is this process a sacrifice or a privilege?
BCS: Well it is a privilege as well as it’s a sacrifice. Sacrificing means, voluntarily giving up something which you think is yours, for someone. But ultimate consideration of sacrifice in Krishna consciousness is that everything belongs to Kṛṣṇa, therefore we must offer it back to Kṛṣṇa. And, by doing that we become free from Māyā. Therefore it is a privilege. So by this opportunity to sacrifice you are actually becoming free from the material bondage, which is the source of misery.
Devotee: Is it possible to do service without expecting anything else in return?
BCS: Very good point, yes. It is a natural human tendency to expect something in return for doing something with certain expectation. The sacrifice in Krishna consciousness is also made with an expectation, but that expectation is spiritual not selfish. Generally people do something to get something material in return. But, in the spiritual platform, why are we rendering service? Why are we making sacrifices? We have some objective naturally, and what is that objective? That objective is to give pleasure to Kṛṣṇa. “This will please Kṛṣṇa, that’s why I am doing it.” So that is the expectation, Kṛṣṇa’s pleasure is the expectation. ‘hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate’. When the senses are engaged in giving pleasure to the Lord of the senses, it’s called devotional service. So we are rendering service with an expectation, naturally. But what is that expectation? To give pleasure to Kṛṣṇa’s senses.
Devotee (Śruti Dharma Prabhu): [not clear].
BCS: I will just take a few more minutes. A reminder to you all. All of you have this book? Who didn’t have one? Okay good. Now the questions for personal reflection, just a reminder…
What is the definition of sacrifice in my dictionary? So please reflect on that. Just a little hint. We are not really sacrificing anything, we are giving back the objects to the rightful Owner from Whom we actually stole it. That is our definition of sacrifice. We are not doing a great favor by giving it back to Kṛṣṇa, but we are getting rid of our guilt feeling that we stole something from Him, so at least let’s give it back to Him.
What are my three greatest obstacles in relation to developing a spirit of sacrifice? Think about it, write it down. This you have to figure out.
What sacrifices could I be making in order to bring people closer to Kṛṣṇa? Another wonderful reflection. What sacrifice are you going to make to bring people closer to Kṛṣṇa?
All Glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda!
And also today is Śrila Śrīvāsa Thākura’s appearance day. Śrīvāsa Thākura is one of the Pañca-tattvas.
śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vånda
Śrīvāsa Thākura is the bhakta avatāra.
pañca-tattvātmakaṁ kṛṣṇaṁ bhakta-rūpa-svarūpakam
bhaktāvatāraṁ bhaktākhyaṁ namāmi bhakta-śaktikam
Śrīvāsa Thākura is the incarnation of devotion. He is Nārada Muni in previous pastimes, Nārada Muni appeared as Śrīvāsa Thākura. He actually appeared before Śri Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He was of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s father’s age. He had a very wonderful relationship with Śri Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīvāsa Thākura used to lament that this Nimāi Paṇḍita is so brilliant, is so intelligent, is so wonderful; but He is not a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. In the early life of Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He was not displaying His devotional mood, rather He was a ‘nayāyik’, He was very fond of debate, arguments. And He used to challenge everybody, all the learned scholars. And it has been described that Caitanya Mahāprabhu challenged that day is actually night. He would prove logic, that day is actually night, and then he would prove that day is actually day. So this is how with his wonderful reasoning ability, he used to defeat everybody. So sometimes he would even challenge Śrīvāsa Thākura. In order to face Caitanya Mahāprabhu in this kind of unnecessary wasting of time, Śrīvāsa Thākura sometimes used to avoid Caitanya Mahāprabhu, he would see Caitanya Mahāprabhu coming and quickly take another route, and Caitanya Mahāprabhu would run after him and ask, “Hey! Why are you avoiding me?” and Śrīvāsa Thākura would tell Him, “Nimāi, why are you wasting your time in this unnecessary arguments and debates? Why don’t you become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa? Don’t you realize that devotion to Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal of life?” Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu used to say, “Śrīvāsa Thākura, someday I will become such a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa that you will become awestruck.” That’s what happened after Mahāprabhu took initiation from Iśvara Puri in Gayā. Then He started to display His devotion to Kṛṣṇa. So, this is how wonderfully Śri Caitanya Mahāprabhu had so many pastimes with Śrīvāsa Thākura. Another beautiful pastime with Śrīvāsa Thākura was that after Caitanya Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa, Śrīvāsa Thākura couldn’t live in Navadvīpa. He couldn’t stay in Navadvīpa any longer, so he left and came to a place which is near Iśvara Puri’s birth place. And when Caitanya Mahāprabhu was going to Vrindāvan from Jagannātha Puri, He was travelling through Bengal, and He came to see Śrīvāsa Thākura. And He saw that Śrīvāsa Thākura has become completely withdrawn, he was not doing anything, just crying all the time, chanting the holy name of the Lord all the time. So Mahāprabhu asked Śrīvāsa, “Why are you doing this? Why are you in this state? Don’t you even realize that you have many other responsibilities to take care of? Then Śrīvāsa Thākura told, “You used to be my everything, since You left I do not have any attachment or any inclination to anything else. So Mahāprabhu asked, “Then how do you maintain your family?” Śrīvāsa Thākura said, “I don’t care for my family, I don’t care for myself, I don’t care for anything.” Then Caitanya Mahāprabhu told him, “Śrīvāsa, Lakśmi Devī may go around begging with a begging bowl, but you will not have any scarcity, you will never have any scarcity.” So that is how Mahāprabhu takes care of his devotees. Śrīvāsa Thākura, today is Śrīvāsa Thākura’s appearance day. And today is also the day when Śridhar Mahārāja, one of our very dear Godbrother, left his body last year, on this day; in the morning, right after maṅgala-ārati. On this very auspicious day of Śrīvāsa Thākura’s appearance, in the holy dhāma of Māyāpur, Śridhar Mahārāja left his body.
Śrila Śrīvāsa Thākura’s ki jay!
Transcription : Radha Piyari Dasi
Editing : Radha Piyari Dasi & Rāmānanda Rāya Dāsa