17 Mar Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Chapter 1, Questions By Vidura, Text 4
THE FOLLOWING LECTURE ON SRIMAD-BHAGAVATAM, CANTO 3, CHAPTER1, QUESTIONS BY VIDURA, TEXT 4, WAS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CARU SWAMI ON 17 MARCH 2008 IN ISKCON UJJAIN, INDIA.
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Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Srimad Bhagavatam, third Canto, chapter one, text four.
na hy alparthodayas tasya
tasmin variyasi prasnah
na – never; hi – certainly; alpa-artha – small (unimportant) purpose; udayah – raised; tasya – his; vidurasya – of Vidura; amala-atmanah – of the saintly man; tasmin – in that; variyasi – highly purposeful; prasnah – question; sadhu-vada – things approved by saints and sages; upabrmhitah – full with.
Saint Vidura was a great and pure devotee of the Lord, and therefore his questions to His Grace Rishi Maitreya must have been very purposeful, on the highest level, and approved by learned circles.
Purport by His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada:
Questions and answers among different classes of men have different value. Inquiries by mercantile men in a business exchange cannot be expected to be highly purposeful in spiritual values. Questions and answers by different classes of men can be guessed by the caliber of the persons concerned. In Bhagavad-gita, the discussion was between Lord Sri Krishna and Arjuna, the Supreme Person and the supreme devotee respectively. The Lord admitted Arjuna to be His devotee and friend (Bg. 4.3), and therefore
[HH BCS:] And what is that sloka, who remembers? Where Krishna declared Arjuna to be His friend and devotee?
sa evayam maya te ‘dya
yogah proktah puratanah
bhakto ‘si me sakha ceti
rahasyam hy etad uttamam
[HH BCS:] Okay, very good. How many of you know? Raise your hands. Okay, very good. And how many should know? [laughs] Okay, and how many of you will make an effort to know? Very good.
and therefore any sane man can guess that the discussion was on the topic of the bhakti-yoga system. Actually the whole Bhagavad-gita is based on the principle of bhakti-yoga. There is a difference between karma and karma-yoga. Karma is regulated action for the enjoyment of the fruit by the performer, but karma-yoga is action performed by the devotee for the satisfaction of the Lord. Karma-yoga is based on bhakti, or pleasing the Lord, whereas karma is based on pleasing the senses of the performer himself. According to Srimad Bhagavatam, one is advised to approach a bona fide spiritual master when one is actually inclined to question from an elevated level of spiritual understanding. A common man who has no interest in spiritual values has no need to approach a spiritual master just as a matter of following fashion.
As a student, Maharaja Parikshit was serious about learning the science of God, and Sukadeva Gosvami was a bona fide spiritual master in the transcendental science. Both of them knew that the topics discussed by Vidura and Rishi Maitreya were elevated, and thus Maharaja Parikshit was very interested in learning from the bona fide spiritual master.
[End of Purport]
na hy alparthodayas tasya
tasmin variyasi prasnah
Saint Vidura was a great and pure devotee of the Lord, and therefore his questions to His Grace Rishi Maitreya must have been very purposeful, on the highest level, and approved by learned circles.
So, who is questioning? Parikshit Maharaja is questioning Sukadeva Gosvami. So here we can see the nature of a pure devotee. Parikshit Maharaja is about to leave his body. He knows that there is only seven days left and he is actually preparing for that. He is preparing himself to leave his body. Generally what do the common people do when they get to know they have only seven days left? Generally people will try to find out the best doctor, or if there is some way that some treatment that can cure him. But a person who is materially detached and spiritually advanced, or spiritually inclined, his tendency will to be more aware about how to leave the body and how to fix the mind on Krishna and so forth. But Parikshit Maharaja, from this question itself we can understand what is Parikshit Maharaja’s level of attachment.
Parikshit Maharaja is asking, “Please tell me what happened between Vidura and Maitreya.” Apparently it sounds like he is interested to know about some activities of Vidura, a great person. But actually what is Parikshit Maharaja’s inclination? What is Parikshit Maharaja’s attitude at that time? What is the purpose of asking this question? He knew that through this discussion that went on between Vidura and Maitreya he will get the perfect spiritual understanding. Because he knew, when these two personalities met they did not discuss about mundane topics. They did not even discuss about ordinary spiritual topics. They discussed about the highest spiritual topic. Therefore, through these questions and answers between advanced devotees we can understand what spiritual reality actually is like. He was completely convinced about that. That discussion must have been so wonderful.
Because Vidura, by nature we can see, Vidura is so detached and at that time what happened? Vidura was also in a state where he became completely detached from everything. Even if he had a slight bit of attachment, that attachment was gone because he was insulted and he left home. He was so badly insulted by Duryodhana that he just right there he left his home and then while travelling he came across Maitreya Rishi. So when he came across Maitreya Rishi then he found out what actually happened, I mean, he questioned about the actual spiritual subject matter which is he wanted to know about Krishna. So Vidura-Maitreya Samvada [the discussion between Vidura and Maitreya] reveals a very interesting aspect of spiritual knowledge.
So from this we can understand that our degree of advancement will be determined by the questions we ask, the questions we have in our mind, or the way things go on in our mind. Like, as a devotee we come across things that would have never occured to us before. When we were not a devotee we never even thought of considering those matters. As a devotee we sometimes become aware that there is so much envy in our heart. Envy is the last snare of our material bondage. Envy is the last knot with which we are tied down to the material nature. Therefore, at the beginning of the Srimad Bhagavatam it has been pointed out that when the heart becomes free from envy, and free from envy meant free from everything else, all the enemies of the heart. What are the enemies of our spiritual progress? We have six enemies, sad ripu. What are those six enemies? Yes? [devotee: kama, krodha, lobha, moha, matsarya] And? Mada and matsarya. Matsarya, what is the English word for matsarya? Matsarya is the Sanskrit word for envy. Paramo niramatsaranam satam. [SB 1.1.2] So when the heart becomes free from envy, Prabhupada is pointing out, that means the heart has become free from all other impurities. That means lust, greed, anger, illusion and pride have already been removed from the heart. So envy is the last and most difficult one to conquer because the cause of our fall down is our envy of Krishna.
Why we lost our situation in the spiritual sky and became fallen into the material nature? Prabhupada repeatedly pointed out, it is because of envy. And envy towards whom? Envy towards Krishna. We could not tolerate that Krishna is the greatest. We wanted to become the greatest ourselves. We could not tolerate that Krishna is the Supreme Proprietor. We wanted to become the proprietor ourselves. We could not tolerate that Krishna is the Supreme Enjoyer. We wanted to be the supreme enjoyer ourselves. And the result is now we are in the material nature, plenty of opportunity now to become the greatest, to become the supreme proprietor, to become the supreme controller, to become the supreme enjoyer. Yes, you have plenty of opportunity to become the supreme proprietor, the supreme controller, the supreme enjoyer. But the problem is that the more we try to do that the more we suffer. This is Maya’s trick. This is Maya’s punishment. We try to enjoy, what does Maya give us? A punch, not even a punch, a kick. A punch can be tolerated but a kick right on the face, one thing it is painful and it is humiliating. So you try to become the greatest, yes, you have an opportunity, try to become the greatest but what will you get? A solid kick up in the face from Maya, punishment. You want to become the supreme proprietor? Fine, try to become that proprietor. Another kick! You want to become the supreme enjoyer? Another kick! So this is the cause and the effect of our envy towards Krishna. Due to our envy towards Krishna we have fallen down into the material nature. Due to our envy towards Krishna we are suffering in this material nature. Therefore, envy is the last word. And we can see, what is envy? Bhaktivinode Thakura gave a very beautiful definition of envy. The definition of envy is to become happy at others’ distress and being distressed at others’ happiness. Para sukhe dukhi and para dukhe sukhi. When we see that the others are suffering we become very happy. And when we see that others are enjoying then we suffer. Why he is enjoying? Why not me?!
Now, before we became a devotee these things never really occurred to us, but as a devotee it occurs. We see, we begin to detect that there is envy in our hearts and it is coming out in that way. When I see that others are suffering I feel happy and when we see that others are enjoying I become sad. And this is what Bhaktivinode Thakura is saying in his ‘Saranagati’, in the ‘Dainya’ aspect. Amara jivana sada pape rata nahiko punyera lesa. [Song Four] Para-sukhe duhkhi, sada mithya-bhasi, para-duhkha sukha-karo. Para-duhkha sukha-karo, others’ suffering gives me great delight. Para-duhkha sukha-karo. And para-sukhe duhkhi, when I see others are enjoying, others are happy then I feel sad. Now that is what envy is. Now doesn’t it happen? So often we notice that it happens to us. And as a devotee we do notice that, and then what is the prayer? The more advanced we are, the more intense will be our prayer to Krishna, “Krishna, please let me get rid of this. Why it is happening to me? I can’t free myself from this very difficult influence, very difficult mentality, but You please help me deal with this.” So this is the prayer of a devotee.
One doesn’t become a pure devotee overnight. But going through his life, continuously trying to detect the impurities in the heart and purifying those impurities, he becomes a pure devotee. Of course the pure devotees are there. Sometimes pure devotees come and take birth on this planet to establish Krishna’s mission but people in general, we all are impure in this material nature. And it is not that just by getting a title we will become a pure devotee. “Oh, I am now a spiritual master so I must be a pure devotee because everybody is thinking that I am a pure devotee.” Rather, that will become a trick. That we have to understand, that’s a trick of Maya. The moment we think that we have become a pure devotee Maya will get us. Rather we have to always remember that there are so many impurities in the heart let me deal with that. Let me not become complacent and think that everything is alright. Everything is wonderful. I am getting so much worship, I am getting so many facilities, I have got so many followers, now I must have become a pure devotee. The more distinction, adoration and profit comes we have to understand that Maya is going to become stronger and stronger. The more worship we have, the more vulnerable we are towards Maya. The more adoration we have, we are more vulnerable. In this way we have to see our vulnerable situation all the time. But if we take shelter of Krishna’s lotus feet Krishna will give the protection. Therefore, the prayer of a devotee, including a pure devotee, is always, “Krishna, please, please protect me.” Even Prabhupada is praying to Krishna, “Krishna, please protect me that I do not fall into Maya.” But Prabhupada is teaching us.
Haridasa Thakura is praying. Lord Brahma himself has taken birth in a Muslim family in order to become humble. Lord Brahma, after he offended Krishna by stealing the calves and cowherd boys, Brahma felt so guilty that he not only begged forgiveness from Krishna, but he prayed to Him that, “In Your next pastimes, please don’t give me an exalted birth. Let me be born in a very, very degraded low class family so that I won’t have any pride of my situation of being born in a very high class position.” So, so humble, Haridasa Thakura, born in a Muslim family and he always considered himself to be so fallen. He considered himself so fallen that he would not go anywhere near Jagannatha temple. Haridasa Thakura did not even go inside Jagannatha temple. He would just offer his obeisances to the flag and the chakra on top of the Jagannatha temple from a distance, from a great distance. So humble! Haridasa Thakura is so humble, that when Caitanya Mahaprabhu would take prasada and invite all the devotees to come and sit down, Haridasa Thakura would stay far, far away. He would consider himself to be so fallen that he would stay far away. And when Mahaprabhu would call him, “Haridasa, come here! Sit down, take prasada”, Haridasa Thakura said, “No, let everybody take prasada and then I’ll take the remnants of the devotees.”
And then we can consider Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, such an exalted personality! Such an exalted personality that Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pastimes were revealed in his heart and he wrote Caitanya Caritamrta. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was not present when Mahaprabhu was performing His pastimes. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was not in Navadvipa with Mahaprabhu. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was not in Jagannatha Puri with Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami was not with Caitanya Mahaprabhu when He was travelling in places of pilgrimage. But how could Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami write this Caitanya Caritamrta with such details? Let us now remember, how did Valmiki write Ramayana? Do you remember how Valmiki wrote Ramayana? Even before Lord Ramacandra’s pastimes. Before Lord Ramacandra enacted His pastimes Ramayana was written by Valmiki. How? The pastimes of the Lord were revealed in his heart. He was such a great devotee of Lord Ramacandra that the pastimes were revealed in the heart. Just as one watches movies or TV, he was seeing the pastimes of the Lord in his heart and that’s what he wrote. These are the signs of a pure devotee. But Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, how he is displaying his humble situation? Purisera kita haite muni se lagistha, “I am more fallen than the worm in the stool.” Jagai Madhai haite muni se papistha, “I am more fallen than Jagai and Madhai.” [CC Adi 5.205] What a humble disposition! But who is he? He is one of the most exalted devotees of the Lord.
In this way we can see that the more one makes spiritual advancement the more humble he becomes. When one becomes advanced he never thinks that he has become advanced! When one becomes advanced he doesn’t think that, “Now I have become a pure devotee.” No, rather he considers that I am so fallen, I am so degraded. And is it an artificial thing? No, that is how he really feels within his heart. And he prays to Krishna, “Krishna, please protect me. Krishna, please allow me never to leave the shelter of Your lotus feet.”
So these are the signs of an advanced devotee, and in that advanced stage when a devotee asks questions, those question and answer sessions become most relishable. There are two reasons for why we ask questions. One reason for asking questions is to dispel the doubts or to remove the ignorance. One purpose of asking questions is to know. What we do not know we ask questions about that and we get to know. And another purpose of asking questions is to relish the pastimes of the Lord. I am talking about the transcendental questions, the questions pertaining to the transcendental nature. So when great personalities like Vidura meet Maitreya, when great personalities like Parikshit Maharaja meet Sukadeva Gosvami, when great personalities like Saunaka Rishi meet Suta Gosvami, those questions they ask is to simply relish the pastimes of the Lord.
Sometimes we notice that we don’t really have any questions because we already know. Therefore we don’t have any questions. But transcending that situation we come to another situation when we question just to relish. “Please tell me what happened when Vidura met Maitreya”, as Parikshit Maharaja is asking Sukadeva Gosvami. At one point actually Prabhupada told me that Vidura was more advanced than Maitreya. Although Vidura is asking the questions but actually Vidura is more advanced than Maitreya. Why? Because the intimacy that Vidura had with Krishna, which means that Vidura is a more intimate devotee of Krishna than Maitreya. Ultimately, the consideration of one’s advancement is in one’s attachment to Krishna. The more attached one is to Krishna, the greater of a devotee he is.
These personalities are eternal associates of Krishna, Vidura, Arjuna. And what to speak of the associates of Krishna in Vrindavana? What to speak of the gopis of Vrindavana? They are the highest of all devotees. And devotees’ activities are difficult to understand. Like, we are seeing Radharani is worshipping Suryadeva. Radharani is worshipping Katyayani Devi. Radharani is apparently worshipping different demigods. She is offering all Her respect but spiritually who is the highest? When we look at the spiritual calculation, the elevation according to spiritual advancement, then who is the most elevated spiritual personality? Srimati Radharani. I mean, spiritually situated personality. Of course, the most elevated spiritual personality is Krishna, but then is the consideration of Krishna’s devotees. Krishna is the greatest but the next consideration is the greatness according to one’s devotion to Krishna. In Brihad Bhagavatamrta, the first part, it has been very graphically described how Radharani is the greatest devotee. But apparently Radharani is just a cowherd woman, not very educated. Probably She never went to school. [laughs] And what does She do? Throughout the day She churns butter, makes dahi, makes ghee and butter. She is cooking for Krishna. She is tending the cows. But spiritually She is the most advanced personality.
So this is how we have to recognize, the ultimate consideration of spiritual advancement is one’s attachment to Krishna. Our knowledge and our wisdom is not important. As far as knowledge and wisdom is concerned, yes, Maitreya Rishi is very advanced. The rishis are very advanced, very advanced, because they are very wise. They are very learned. They are profound thinkers, the rishis, but devotion is the most important consideration. Not wisdom. Somebody may be very wise but if he is not attached to Krishna what is the value of his wisdom? On the other hand, somebody may be illiterate but if he is attached to Krishna then he is most advanced. There have been so many devotees who are actually apparently illiterate. One such example is Srila Gaurakishore Dasa Babaji Maharaja. He was not educated. He was illiterate, I mean apparently. But he was such an advanced devotee that means the greatest scholar of that time, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura, accepted him as his spiritual master. Was Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura looking at the scholarship of Gaurakishore Dasa Babaji Maharaja? Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakura advised by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakura, looked only at the devotion of Srila Gaurakishore Dasa Babaji Maharaja. So we can see from that, in order to become an advanced devotee, in order to become a good devotee, we do not have to become a big scholar. In order to become a good devotee we simply have to become a big lover. Do we have to become very scholarly in order to become a good lover? No, scholarship has nothing to do with love. Love is just the warmth of the heart, the tenderness of the heart, the feelings of the heart, and that anybody can cultivate. Old, young, rich, poor, wise, ignorant, man, woman, irrespective of all these considerations anybody can develop devotion for Krishna.
So this is what we have to understand, and here we are seeing, Prabhupada is pointing out that one’s spiritual advancement will be determined by the way he asks questions about the spiritual subject matter. And the whole process, the entire process is based on questions and answers. Bhagavad Gita is based on questions and answers between Arjuna and Krishna. Srimad Bhagavatam is based on questions and answers between sets of individuals, like Parikshit Maharaja/Sukadeva Gosvami, Saunaka Rishi and the sages of Naimisaranya and Suta Gosvami, and Narada and Pracinabarhi, Narada and the Pracetas, Vidura and Maitreya and so forth, all questions and answers. But these questions and answers are very, very important because they are in relation to the spiritual topics. They are the very foundation of spiritual advancement.
Yesterday, in relation to Krishna going to Vidura’s house, I was reading from Mahabharata some chapters and I found that everybody was very excited about that. Should we again continue from there? [audience: yes] I was telling Ganganarayana yesterday I’ve never seen the devotees so absorbed in a class like yesterday! [laughs]
BCS: Yes, by serving the devotees we can get rid of our envy by placing ourselves below the devotees and allowing ourselves to be directed by the devotees, we can get rid of our envy.
BCS: Yes, the process of devotional service will purify our heart of envy. So out of that, service to devotees is of course one very important thing. Because we are surrounded by devotees we can become envious of devotees. Now how to get rid of that tendency? By serving the devotees and that helps, and all the other processes, chanting, pure chanting will help. When we chant submissively. By chanting, you see, we will recognize our insignificant position. The more we get to know Krishna the more we become aware of our insignificant position. First of all, to become free from envy we have to get rid of our false ego. Instead of thinking that we are big we have to recognize that we are small. The more we recognize that we are small then, yes, we’ll become free from envy. And, as we said, yes, service to the devotees is one very important thing because that also has to be done in a humble state of mind. Like, sometimes we may render service thinking that we are doing the devotees a great favor, right? I am serving you chapatis, [laughs] if I didn’t give you chapatis you would be starving. So think, recognize what a great well wisher I am of you. You see, the service is being rendered but the attitude is not right. That will not help. It is a matter of being in a proper state of mind, like internally we have to be humble. Internally we have to be free from false ego.
BCS: Well, but what if somebody becomes envious of his guru? [laughs] You see, the guru is the teacher and the guru guides the disciple on the spiritual path, and as one advances on the spiritual path one becomes free from the anarthas and begins to get taste. These are all actually preliminary things. Like, Bhagavatam at the beginning has pointed out that unless one is free from envy one will not be able to understand Srimad Bhagavatam. The first qualification of Srimad Bhagavatam is that one has to be free from envy. So that is the prerequisite. But then again, like the other thing is that as we read Srimad Bhagavatam we become free from envy. Even though we may have envy in our hearts, but by reading Srimad Bhagavatam under proper direction and guidance we’ll become free from envy.
Devotee: I have three questions.
BCS: Three questions?
BCS: Well, it depends what is the state of one’s advancement. There is no need to artificially display something because the artificial display of something will not work. It will rather become detrimental. You see, if we are not naturally free from certain traits within ourselves but if we are artificially doing it, we will do it only for the time being, but then it will be off. because if we do it artificially then the grievances, the resentment keeps on penting up within because it is artificially done. And for how long can we keep it inside ourselves? At some point it comes out. Why do you think devotees bloop after so many years of service? Because they are practicing devotional service artificially. They are doing things artificially, not naturally. That’s why it is penting up in the form of resentment, in the form of frustration. Therefore we’ll notice when somebody leaves the movement he becomes so inimical, so critical towards the movement because it has been annoying him within his heart for so many years. Therefore execute devotional service happily, non-artificially. It shouldn’t be a burden. It should be a delight. And that’s why right association from devotees is so important, because in the association of devotees you begin to appreciate it, you begin to relish it, you begin to enjoy it.
So we don’t have to become artificially, rather let’s do it naturally. But at the same time, some sort of restrain should be there, that is the vaidhi bhakti aspect. But it should be done under proper guidance and in a proper way. And even if somebody leaves the association of devotees and becomes resentful, sometimes we notice that after that when he comes back he becomes humble. Because now, by going through all that, you know the steam inside that exploded, now that it is out, okay, he is spiritually [unclear] And as I was mentioning the other day, nature has its hard way of purifying us. Like our mentality when we were in the prime of our youth and our mentality when we are old are not the same. Our attitude, our aspirations, our mentality is not the same. Therefore it doesn’t matter in whatever circumstances we are, the consideration is that remain attached to Krishna. Just remain attached to Krishna. Do whatever you are doing, remain attached to Krishna. And that is the meaning of yukta vairagya. Do whatever you are doing. You like to do something, do it, but do it for Krishna! The problem is if you like to do something but you are doing something else, because you think that that is actually real advanced state. But what is the bottom line? The bottom line is you are looking for distinction, adoration and profit. But what difference does it make how others are seeing us? What really matters is how I am here and how Krishna is seeing me. Not how the rest of the world is seeing me. How Krishna is seeing me that is the most important consideration. And when we allow ourselves to go in that direction then everything will become wonderful. Therefore, one of the first considerations is that don’t execute your devotional service in an artificial way. Do it in a natural way that is making you appreciate it. Then there won’t be any question of leaving it at any moment because when you appreciate it then you will be relishing it more and more as you continue the process. Answered your question? Okay, you said three questions. This is just one?
BCS: Okay. If you have any doubt, question, ask the other devotees. And that’s why you need a spiritual master. The mind is there and spontaneous devotion is there. Now how to figure out which is the spontaneous attraction. Therefore you need to verify it from a spiritual master. So what does a disciple do when one takes a spiritual master? He says goodbye to his mind and he replaces the mind with the spiritual master’s instruction. No mind. No matter, never mind. [laughs] And then, as we make advancement, as we become adept in the process, then the spiritual master actually begins to guide us from within as caitya guru, the spiritual master from the heart. But as long as the spiritual master is present just take advantage of the spiritual master, and the spiritual master becomes ‘aprakat’ [meaning: unmanifest, leaves his body] then we can listen to caitya guru. But that also must be done at an advanced stage and if there is any doubt it should be verified by other advanced devotees.
BCS: Dainya aspect? You see, Saranagati has got six aspects: dainya, atma-nivedana, gopatrtve- varana, avasya raksibe Krishna visvasa palana, bhakti-anukula-matra karyera svikara, bhakti-pratikula-bhava varjanangikara. Out of these the first is dainya, which is the humble disposition. You see, we are saranagati, we are taking shelter. Can we take shelter if we are puffed up? So in order to take shelter, even of Krishna, we have to get rid of our puffed up attitude and recognize how small, how fallen, how incompetent and incapable we are. That is the dainya aspect.
Devotee: Can you please give a seminar on Saranagati?
BCS: Yes, yeah sure, maybe we can do that because now I decided not to go to the West. I was supposed to go in April, end of this month. So I will be here for another month. [devotees: Haribol!] So I can give a seminar on Saranagati.
BCS: Okay, very important. Krishna’s friendship with Arjuna is in Hastinapura, and Krishna’s friendship with Uddhava is in Dwaraka. So from that calculation, like degree of intimacy, Krishna’s friendship with Uddhava is more intimate than Krishna’s friendship with Arjuna. Dwaraka is above Hastinapura, and in Dwaraka Uddhava is the most intimate devotee of Krishna. He is the most intimate devotee. But then when Krishna sent Uddhava to Vrindavana, when Uddhava saw the advancement or intimacy of devotion of the residents of Vrindavana, Uddhava realized how insignificant is his devotion. And therefore he desired to be just a creeper, vrindavane kim api gulma-lataushadhinam [SB 10.47.61]: “I wish to become a creeper in Vrindavana so that I can get the dust of the gopis’ lotus feet.” So this is how different levels of advancement have been described by our acaryas.
BCS: That we don’t have to decide ourselves. Let it be decided by others. It is not a matter of competition: let me ask the question in such a way that I will be recognized as the most advanced. It is not that. That question is asked, pranipatena pariprasnena, sincere inquiring in a humble state of mind. Just like Sanatana Gosvami, such an advanced devotee, but what is he asking Caitanya Mahaprabhu? Ke ami, kena amaya jare tapa-traya.[CC Madhya 20.102] “Who am I and why am I being afflicted by the threefold miseries of this material nature? So please tell me what will be beneficial for me.” And Sanatana Gosvami is not asking, “Please tell me what happened between Krishna and the gopis in the groves of Vrindavana.” That is not the consideration. The consideration is a sincere question. And what is Caitanya Mahaprabhu responding? He responded in such a wonderful way. So here we have to understand that these devotees are asking all these questions for our benefit. Through these questions and answers common people will benefit. But at the same time they are also relishing. When Sanatana Gosvami was asking, “Who am I? Why am I being afflicted by the threefold miseries of the material nature?”, he means it. It is not that he is artificially asking a question. He means it. The question can be anything, of any nature, but the intensity, sincerity, these are what is going to determine the state of his advancement. It is not that those who are asking about Radha Krishna’s pastimes in Vrindavana are the most advanced devotees. It is not something that is artificially done. Rather, somebody with all sincerity asks the question, “I get angry so often. Please tell me what I should do.” If this simple question, which is very basic, if with the intensity or sincerity he asked the question, that will be the indication of his advancement.
BCS: yeah, right. That reply was not very.., so that’s why I did not really delve into that. So the point is that just we can question ourselves. Say, if I have something, should I keep it for my enjoyment or should I offer it to Krishna? A simple question like that.. Don’t take it personally, I’ll ask a simple question. Don’t take it personally. The money that you have in the bank, are you keeping it for yourself or are you ready to give it to Krishna? [reply inaudible] Yes, right, right, so that is an honest answer. Now that indicates that our love for ourselves and our family is greater than our love for Krishna, isn’t it? But if some day our love becomes greater for Krishna then ourselves and our family then we will offer everything that we have to Krishna. And people do that, but my point is don’t do it artificially. When you develop that love then only do it. You are replying her question. If you do it artificially then it will become counteractive. Do it naturally. So the consideration is not what you are doing for Krishna or giving to Krishna. The consideration is how much love you have developed for Krishna. That is the most important consideration and that is actually THE consideration.
Devotee: Prabhupada wanted to translate Mahabharata [inaudible] So I just wanted to ask you if you sometime would like to translate Mahabharata?
BCS: Not really. You see, Krishna Dharma prabhu has done that already. It’s a beautiful translation of Mahabharata. It is done by a devotee, Krishna Dharma prabhu.
Devotee: And the Gosvamis’ books?
BCS: The Gosvamis’ books, now if we consider: Gosvami books or Ujjain projects? [laughter] Actually many devotees are asking me, but the thing is my answer to that is, actually sometimes some of my Godbrothers get very upset with me. For example, Jayadvaita Maharaja gets really upset with me. He thinks that I should be just translating the books. But my answer to that is there are many devotees who are actually translating and able to translate those books. But what I am doing here, not many devotees can do. Therefore I am doing it here. Another consideration is, is it important what I am doing here? What do you think? [laughter] If you all think this project is not important, I should translate Gosvami literatures, I am prepared to do that! [laughs] Actually, I have been translating for how many years? ’77 to ’95, that was my main service. So for eighteen years I have been translating. But then in ’95 I embarked on Abhaya Carana, and when Abhaya Carana was complete now I embarked to the Ujjain project. And let us see what happens now. If some day Krishna says go back to translating Gosvami literatures and He gives enough indications, yes, probably I will do that. And if you can take over this project and handle it, fine, then I’ll just go to [unclear] Nagara Road [laughter] Often I think that, I can make a ‘kutiya’ [ a hut] on the bank of the Gambhira river it will be so wonderful. [laughter]
BCS: Yeah, well, to be frankly, I haven’t been able to read Krishna Dharma prabhu’s Mahabharata fully.
BCS: Yeah, this I read long time ago. That is by Kamala Subramaniam, very beautifully written, simple. But prior to that I read the Bengali translation of Mahabharata, and prior to that my aunt used to read Mahabharata to us when we were children. [laughs]
BCS: Oh yeah, Krishna Dharma’s is better because it is written by a devotee.
BCS: She is not she is a devotee of some sort but she is not a disciple of Prabhupada, or she is not an ISKCON devotee. She may be a devotee, but she is not an ISKCON devotee. That makes a big difference.
Devotee: What about a TV serial of Mahabharata?
BCS: TV serial, yeah maybe Chiranjiva will do that. [laughs] I am actually setting up Chiranjiva so that he can pursue that direction. He is very talented in that way and he has his passion. We are setting up our production unit. And I will give him the assistance. Probably what we will do is, anyway let us see how it goes. When we do the TV serial on Mahabharata, that will be IT! So it will take probably some time. That’s why actually I sent Chiranjiva to Calcutta, so that they can give him all the help.
Devotee: Guru Maharaja, yesterday I saw ‘Sri Krishna’ and when we saw the end of the serial there was the acknowledgement of ISKCON. Did Prabhupadaji meet Ramananda Sagar?
BCS: I think Ramananda Sagar may no, he didn’t meet Prabhupada, but he came and spent some time with us in Mayapura. Ramananda Sagar came to Mayapura before doing Krishna. He spent some time. And the credit that has been given is for the paintings that they used and they may have taken some aspects of Prabhupada’s books.
Okay, so should we end now, or should we just read from Mahabharata? [audience: read Mahabharata]
[Audio recording discontinued]
Transcription : Her Grace Ranga Radhika Dasi
Editing : Ramananda Raya DasaAudio reference: : click here