18 May Relationship – Our Ultimate Hankering – Part 2
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
Founder-Ācārya His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Relationship – Our Ultimate Hankering Part 2
Seminar given by His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami in Hilsborough, US,
Tuesday 19 May 2009
Today, from our discussions many relevant points came up about relationship. One of the first things we understood is that the relationships that we are hankering for are actually loving relationships. The relationships which will enable us to have loving exchanges. Those relationships are positive relationships or favorable relationships. Why do we need these relationships? It is mainly because of love.
And then it came up that why do we love, why do we want to love somebody and why we want to derive love from these relationships? Because from these loving exchanges we derive happiness or joy from these loving exchanges. And then one very interesting point came up. In the material nature most of these loving exchanges do not really fulfill the ultimate expectations that we want from them. The expectations of love often remain unfulfilled in the material platform. Why? Because those relationships are based on bodily relationships. And no matter how deep, how earnest that loving relationship is, still because the body is temporary, those loving relationships also are temporary. At some point we become separated. That is the love on the material platform.
But then some points came up that there are two kinds of loving relationships: material love and spiritual love. And the spiritual love are the relationships which are centered around Kṛṣṇa or the relationships which are with Kṛṣṇa. Love, when offered to Kṛṣṇa, then the love becomes fulfilled. That relationship achieves the ultimate success of love. And what we want to derive out of that love becomes completely fulfilled and as a result of that our hearts become completely satisfied. And since Kṛṣṇa is the source of everybody, since everyone is parts and parcel of Kṛṣṇa, therefore when we develop a loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa then there is also loving exchange with his parts and parcels. When we love Kṛṣṇa, we also love Kṛṣṇa ’s parts and parcels. It is not that when we love Kṛṣṇa that we hate everybody else, rather when we love Kṛṣṇa then we also learn to love everybody. But that love is different from what we consider to be love in the material platform. And then we came to a point that there is a difference between love and lust. What goes on in the name of love in the material nature is actually lust. But the actual love is when it is offered to Kṛṣṇa . Love is exclusively reserved for Kṛṣṇa . And in that respect we consider a quotation from Sri Caitanya-Caritamrita that the desire to gratify our own senses is considered lust and the desire to give pleasure Kṛṣṇa ’s senses is called love. Therefore there is a big difference between love and lust. And Kṛṣṇa das Kaviraja Goswami goes on to explain that love is brilliant as the sun whereas lust is the deepest darkness. ataeva kāma-preme bahuta Antara kāma — andha-tamaḥ, prema — nirmala bhāskara. Prema … Lust is andho tamah, the deepest darkness, the darkest region is the lust, whereas prema is the nirmala bhaskar, nirmala means spotless, bhaskar means the sun. Prema love, is like the spotless, brilliant sun and lust is like the deepest darkness. So what goes on in the name of love, generally in the material platform is actually lust, it is not love.
So in this way we consider the difference between material love and spiritual love. And when that love is offered towards Kṛṣṇa, then that love is reflected to different parts and parcels of Kṛṣṇa, in different ways. To Kṛṣṇa’s devotees it is reflected in the form of friendship. To the innocent it is reflected in the form of compassion and to the offenders it is reflected in the form of disregard. In this way we analyzed different relationships and the objectives of relationship and the ultimate perfection of relationship. Is it all right? Did I summarize it all right? Yesterday’s class, not class, yesterday we had a very nice session. Did you all like that session? We had different people, different devotees speak. I asked them to speak on different aspects and they brilliantly described and analyzed and defined those points and that’s how we came to this understanding.
Okay, so today we are going to discuss how to make it happen in our own day-to-day life, how we are going to react. Just intellectualizing is not going to serve the purpose. This intellectualizing is just a matter of this part of the body, the head. But what really matters with us is this part of the body: the heart. We love with all our hearts; we don’t love with all our heads. Love is a phenomenon of the heart. And so actually one thing we came to understand is that we all need love. And through that love we want to get the joy. Everyone’s heart is hankering for joy. We all want joy. And in order to experience that joy we need love and in order to develop our loving relationship we need relationship.
So without developing relationship we cannot really survive. The more the merrier. The more is the sphere of our exchange, the more is the sphere of our relationship the greater is the extent of joy. In this respect Prabhupāda made another point. Prabhupāda very beautifully defined the difference between ‘Peace and Joy’. Often people say: “Shanti, shanti” We want shanti, we want peace. But Prabhupāda pointed out: “No, we don’t want peace, we want joy.” Like we may live in a palace in a very beautiful atmosphere all by ourselves. Just alone by myself, not by ourselves. I will be very peaceful there. Or I may be very peaceful there. But when you want to enjoy, what do we do? I call all my friends and I throw a party, I mean a Kṛṣṇa conscious party: we have a Harinam-Sankirtan. So this is the difference, alone we can be peaceful. But when we want to enjoy, then we want others. Because through this exchange we derive joy. By myself, by one’s self one cannot experience joy.
Jaya Sri Sri Radha-Golokananda Ki Jaya!
Isn’t it quite interesting, that Radha-Golokananda Ki Jaya ! And we want ‘Joy’. Everybody wants joy. So how to get that joy? By developing our relationship with Radha-Golokananda. Peace is the neutral point. When there is no suffering, that is peace. Like you consider the graph. On the left-hand side of the axis is the negative kingdom and on the right-hand side of the graph is the positive. And in the middle is the axis. The axis is zero. The axis is zero. You go into the left-hand side, each unit is minus one, minus two and so forth. And you go to the right-hand side it is plus one, plus two, plus three and so forth.
So this is the difference. In the material nature we are in the suffering condition. But when the suffering condition comes to a cessation, when the suffering stops, then that is the state of peace. The zero. No suffering but then you go to the other side of it. Then you come to the state of joy. This world is full of suffering, that world is full of joy. And that joy is experienced out of our loving exchange with Kṛṣṇa and with others with Kṛṣṇa in the center.
Now, a few questions actually came up. A few devotees came to me today and asked me about certain questions about relationship. So I said okay, I will not answer your questions now, I will do it in the evening so that everybody can hear.
So I will just start off with some questions that are here and then I will go to the other questions. And if you all have any questions, either you can verbally ask me or you can write it on a piece of paper. I was told that many devotees are shy to ask questions. They have questions but they feel shy to ask them in front of everybody. So those who feel shy or those who feel it is inconvenient you can write down your question. So I will get into the questions and answers now.
So the first question is: “Devotees lives have become very busy. They have many family responsibilities etc. The temple is no longer the center of their activities. How can we come closer as a spiritual family and work united to push on the movement. It’s a very nice question, it’s a very practical question. We are facing this problem everywhere. Devotees when they are brahmacārī’s or brahmacārīni’s they are fully engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness but then many of them change their ashram, from brahmacārī ashrams they go into the household life. And as householders, often I am just talking about the temple devotees, as householders initially they continue in the temple but then, as the responsibilities begin to grow and the demands keep on increasing, they see that the temple cannot really maintain them, fulfill their requirements, then they have to go out and look for a job, take up a job, then they don’t have any time for the temple. Then gradually it seems that they have drifted away and our relationships become weak. So what to do about that? Like that is the question. How can we come closer as a spiritual family and work united to push on the movement?
Yes, so as you mentioned ‘family’. When we speak of a family then we have to recognize the center of the family, the head of the family. Who is the center of the family? And with him we become related to the other members of the family. Like for example in the family the father is the center. And with the father in the center we become related to each other as brothers and sisters. And then our children become related as cousins and uncles, aunts. So similarly in order to maintain this family feeling we have to find the common center. At least here in the temple we have Kṛṣṇa in the center. We have to, no matter how busy we are, we have to recognize that Kṛṣṇa is the center of our family. If we come closer then we can also see that Prabhupāda is the center of our family. Anyway, I will not go into that now, but I will just stick to that: Kṛṣṇa is the center of the family which nobody can deny that.
So here we are living in a community of devotees, we are in a family, a Kṛṣṇa conscious, spiritual family and we have to recognize that Kṛṣṇa is the center of the family. And we have to act accordingly. We have to recognize that whatever we are doing, ideally we should be doing that for Kṛṣṇa . We have to make Kṛṣṇa as the center. If we want to become Kṛṣṇa conscious then we have to do that. Our business is to become Kṛṣṇa conscious and if we put Kṛṣṇa in the center, it is not that we have to do [unclear] everything for Kṛṣṇa , it may not be possible in our household life, but at least we should have a considerable amount of attachment to Kṛṣṇa . Not that because I have become a householder now my attachment for Kṛṣṇa has been given up and all the attachment is for the family. If that is the case, then that is a failure. We shift our attachment from Kṛṣṇa to something else, someone else. On the other hand if we can see others, other relationships in the light of Kṛṣṇa , in relation to Kṛṣṇa , then it is going to enhance our Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Not just me and Kṛṣṇa . Me, others and others through Kṛṣṇa , that is the more advanced stage of spiritual consciousness, which I discussed briefly yesterday. The neophyte devotee thinks that he is a devotee and Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is [unclear] kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs. But who is madhyama-adhikārī, the second class devotee? The one who recognizes Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, therefore he develops his love for Kṛṣṇa , he recognizes those who are in love with Kṛṣṇa also, therefore he develops friendship with them. He recognizes also those who are innocent about Kṛṣṇa , who are ignorant about Kṛṣṇa , he goes and gives them Kṛṣṇa consciousness and those who are offensive to Kṛṣṇa , he just avoids them.
So that is the second class devotee, the more advanced stage is when we see everybody in the light of Kṛṣṇa. So here we have to try to, we have to consciously cultivate this necessity. Not that because I have family responsibilities, because I have a job, because I have to earn money, I cannot maintain my Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That will be a failure. So we have to maintain our Kṛṣṇa consciousness in spite of all our responsibilities. And so many wonderful examples are there. For example Arjuna is fighting a battle, he is in the battlefield fighting a war, it is a question of life and death. One mistake and he can be dead. But even at that stage he is maintaining his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If Arjuna can maintain his Kṛṣṇa consciousness at that situation, then what to speak of us? Why can’t we maintain our Kṛṣṇa consciousness? Rather, the more difficult the situation, the more Kṛṣṇa conscious we should be come. Now this is one side of this… problem, I was trying to find a more suitable expression than problem. But anyway I hope that you understand what I mean. But at the other side when you see that somebody is drifting away for various reasons from Kṛṣṇa consciousness then go and try to remind him that he must maintain his Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Not just that he is drifting away, going away, just let him. That should not be our attitude. If your sister or brother is making a mistake, will you allow them to continue doing that? You will try to stop them. Go and tell them. Similarly, we are actually dealing with our brothers and sisters in our community. So when somebody is facing some problem, facing some difficulty, help him, help her.
Okay, I am going to the next one: “At different times devotees find themselves feeling isolated and not knowing where to connect. How can we reach out to give each other support and spiritual strength and create activities which meet the needs of the devotees? Very good point. So actually this question is leading to the next point. So when a situation like that arises, what should we do? At different times devotees find themselves feeling isolated and not knowing where to go and where to connect they kind of get drifted away.
Just consider so many devotees have drifted away. It is a fortunate soul, out of millions and millions of individuals one becomes a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. After getting this very, very rare opportunity, when one accepts Kṛṣṇa consciousness and maintains, practices the process, then why should we allow them to go away? Okay, due to the force of circumstances they have been in a difficult situation. Now, what are we going to do about that? The first thing I will suggest is that the sincere, concerned and involved devotees should get together and make a plan. How are we going to bring them back, how are we going to help them. That is what I will suggest. Make a program. Okay, they are kind of very, very busy. Make some kind of program and request them. I am seeing Kardama Muni Prabhu. Although he is very busy, he is worshiping the Deities in the temple. And this engagement will keep them enthused. We should create opportunities like that for the devotees. We can also have some get together. Like on Saturdays I am sure they will encouraged, they will feel enlivened. And our mood should be, how can we bring the devotees back. Like yesterday during the discussion one point came up very distinctly, very clearly. At the end of the Bhagavad-Gita what is Kṛṣṇa saying? That those who distribute this message to the people around and bring these souls close to Me, they are the dearest ones very, they are most intimately connected to Me, no one is more dear to Me. So this is how happy Kṛṣṇa becomes when we bring the living entities back to Him. What to speak of those who came to Kṛṣṇa and drifted away. The possibility of their coming back to Kṛṣṇa is so much greater. And the effort can be so much easier to do that. When Satsvarupa Maharaja was the temple president of Boston, he was going out to make programs in the universities and Prabhupāda wrote to him: “No, you emphasize, you put your efforts to cultivate the devotees and train the devotees, those who are already in the temple. Not that those who have come close you neglect them and go out. What’s the point of going out and making new devotees when we are not taking care of our devotees at home. So we must recognize that our first and most important responsibility is to take care of those devotees who are already there. We have to take care of them. And we must help them to maintain their Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the best of our ability.
So in this respect I will request the senior devotees to create a kind of a committee or a body to work on this. May I request mother Kṛṣṇa Priya and mother Golokananda Priya to take care of that? And Dayavir prabhu also? Please get together and work on that. Also Locana Prabhu, Batu Gopala Prabhu, the senior devotees, please get together and do something about it. Make a plan, make a strategy. How to continue the involvement of the devotees who are already there? How can you facilitate them to execute their Kṛṣṇa consciousness?
The next question is: “Devotees sometimes feel hurt over past incidents and they begin to not have trust. They lose their [unclear]… often our relationships in the past have been, I am talking in the early days, the late seventies, the early eighties… We have come a long way. Today the atmosphere in Iskcon has become quite tolerant, quite understanding and quite welcoming. (It’s all right, Chandrashekara, just sit down and don’t worry, don’t worry… Because it kind of breaks the line of thoughts) There have been times that many, many devotees have been driven out of the movement. Because they could not line up with the leadership. They could not treat the leaders as good as Srila Prabhupāda. It was demanded out of them. Today the situation is much better and I feel happy about that, that’s a good sign. In a way… I am just being very frank about these discussions. There were about ten thousand devotees. Prabhupāda had about ten thousand disciples. Where are those devotees? How many Prabhupāda disciples are there in ISKCON today? Is it not painful? How will Prabhupāda feel? I have seen myself. Prabhupāda would come to Mayapura and Prabhupāda would ask: “Where is he? Where is this person, where is that person? And then Prabhupāda was told that they left… once I heard Prabhupāda saying: “I am bringing them and you are driving them out.”
So we have to recognize that these devotees are coming here for the sake of Srila Prabhupāda. They are Prabhupāda’s property, they are Prabhupāda’s assets. And our duty, our solemn responsibility is to take care of them, maintain them on behalf of Srila Prabhupāda. Yes, sometimes also for various reasons devotees go away. It’s also understandable. But the leaders have to seriously consider why these devotees are going away and how can I keep them. Leader means one who has the responsibility. “How can we keep them?” It is them who have to figure out. And that is what Prabhupāda is expecting out of the leaders of this movement. How to bring devotees and how to keep them? And prepare them for the spiritual sky.
In short I will simply say that we have to keep our doors wide open and we have to go out and try to bring them back. Not consider: “O, he has left, he has gone away. He has blooped, we don’t have anything to do with him. Let us not become so insensitive and heartless. Let us rather become broad-minded, kind-hearted and have compassion for them, bring them back. Let us seriously consider: “How can we not only keep everyone here but those who have gone out, bring them also back to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And yes, they will not have trust, they will have doubts, but with our kindness with our genuine and earnest display of compassion and love, we can win their confidence over again. And that is how we can create a society based on love and trust. And love and trust are reciprocal. You love and they will trust you. It is natural.
Guru Gauranga, you have a question or a comment?
Guru Gauranga: Yes, I have a question. I was thinking about the relationships in the family situation. And we see that the relationships of families sometimes break down amongst the devotees, there is a lot of divorce etc. And my question is: “In the philosophy we are trained to put Kṛṣṇa in the center and the living entities are all prakriti, they are all enjoyed by Kṛṣṇa and they are pretending to be the puruṣa. Even the ladies, they try to be the puruṣa of their household, men [unclear] the puruṣa. How do you reconcile…? What is the dynamics of the relationship between husband and wife when both of them know that Kṛṣṇa is the beloved. How is that to become a healthy relationship? As far as the wife is concerned, is she supposed to be in the illusion that my husband is my dharma-patni and he is my beloved and I go to Kṛṣṇa through him? Or is he supposed to be the guru? What is the dynamic of these relationships in regard to the philosophy?”
BCS: It is quite nice that you brought it up because there was a question which also came up today. Like the question was: “What is the dharma of a woman, what is the dharma of a man? If one does not follow his dharma, does it give the other the right to also give up his dharma?” You see, there are two considerations. There are two considerations only, Kṛṣṇa or me. Our consciousness can work only on these two aspects. Either the consciousness is projected towards Kṛṣṇa or the consciousness is projected through my senses, which is actually me-consciousness, right? Me and mine. And that concept of me and mine is the Maya. So, when I put me and mine in the center, then what happens is that we begin to see things in that light: ‘My home, my family, my relatives, my property and… It centers around me and it extends into mine. And that is actually the illusory energy of the Lord. “When we do that, we become entrapped by the illusory energy of the Lord. And that will lead to the endless sufferings which is the cycle of birth and death.”
Most of the people in the material nature, practically all the living entities in the material nature, practically all the living entities in the material nature are in that condition. Their consciousness is projected away from Kṛṣṇa and therefore it is being projected through their body, through their senses and into the world of the senses, the world of sense perception. Now as I am sure everybody knows by reading Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books, that is the cause of our suffering condition.
The other consideration is to project our consciousness unto Kṛṣṇa. When you project your consciousness unto Kṛṣṇa, as I said, it is a ray of consciousness, right? So this ray of consciousness is projected unto Kṛṣṇa and through Kṛṣṇa it is being projected or reflected unto others. It is not directly me and you. It is me and Kṛṣṇa and you. In this way all the relationships are centered around Kṛṣṇa or based upon Kṛṣṇa . In that situation what will happen? The husband will not see his wife as his wife. It is Kṛṣṇa to her. He will see that how she is a part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore she has to become engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa. So as a husband he guides her and facilitates her in the service of Kṛṣṇa. He sees his son and daughter in the same light. Kṛṣṇa’s parts and parcels. How they can be engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa. Because the ultimate goal of life is to become engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa. In this way whoever we come across, because we are seeing him in the light of Kṛṣṇa consciousness it gets a spiritual dimension. And not only living entities but also inert objects are seen in that light. Say for example my house is not my house, it is Kṛṣṇa’s house. My possessions are not my possessions, they are Kṛṣṇa’s assets. I am simply a care taker. And that is the very sum and substance of the Vedic understanding. Therefore in the Vedic society even the kings never considered that He used to take care of Kṛṣṇa’s citizens, Kṛṣṇa ’s children and facilitate everybody to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. And in order to do that he was prepared even to give up his life. So that is the ideal situation.
Guru Gauranga Das: In the neophyte stage one has to see Kṛṣṇa , we are the servant of Kṛṣṇa. But some living entities are hankering for [unclear] love. And wanting to fulfill that, not wanting to become a sahajiya, they get into the illusion and they take a wife or vice versa they take a husband? And the mentality that you are saying that we have to project our consciousness, we have to give that up now. We are servants of Kṛṣṇa .
BC: Yes, he sees himself as a servant of Kṛṣṇa. And he sees everyone else as a servant of Kṛṣṇa . And he tries to facilitate others, at least those who are in his jurisdiction, to facilitate them with the service to Kṛṣṇa and assist them in their service to Kṛṣṇa .
Guru Gauranga Das: What if somebody argues that “I want love.” A lot of ladies want to have love, they want to have romance.
BCS: Well, that we dealt with at the beginning. It is not love, it is lust. Don’t bluff. If you want love then develop your relationship with Kṛṣṇa. And those who have developed their relationship with Kṛṣṇa, they know how painful all these affairs are. I mean what to speak of Kṛṣṇa conscious devotees, even George Bernard Shaw, in Big Million he is writing: “Let a woman in your life and you are plunging in an eternal strife.” Even he figured out. Anyway, with all due respect to the women. We are Kṛṣṇa conscious we are not in the bodily platform. The point is that the moment one tries to enjoy in that way, he is opening himself up for an endless strife, eternal struggle. And in the light of scriptures it becomes clear. From Srimad-Bhagavatam we get to know, what is the actual purpose of sex life: procreation. But because it is an extremely painful affair certain amount of pleasure has been added to that. But today what is happening is that just because there is a moment of pleasure everybody is running for that. That has become the ultimate goal of their existence, the ultimate purpose of their existence, the sole purpose of their existence. And the result is we can see how they are suffering. Therefore when one takes to spiritual life automatically he becomes situated in the brahmacārī platform. Prabhupāda says that in ISKCON even the householders are brahmacārīs. Not only the brahmacārīs and vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs are brahmacārīs. Even the householders are brahmacārīs. Because they got the higher taste they are not running after the lower taste.
Well I will also, since that came up, I will also briefly elaborate on that point. The dharma of a woman and the dharma of a man. How they should actually become situated in that dharma and help each other in that dharma.
You see, Brahma, when he came, Brahma actually had the responsibility to procreate progeny. The universe was empty. In order to fill up the universe he needed living entities. So that needed procreation. Brahma was able to procreate from his mind. Just from his mind he could produce children. He could give a living entity a body just from his mind. In this way the first phase of creation took place, directly from Brahma because he was the only one here. Then from the right hand side of Brahma’s body came Manu. And from his left hand side of his body came Satarupa. These Manu and Satarupa are the first couple. And from them started the procreation through the union of this couple. That’s why Manu is considered to be the father of mankind. We can see from the name also. From the Manu came the word mānavāḥ. We can see in English also man, mankind, do you find the link coming from Manu? That is how it started. This objective of copulation is that from the father the spirit soul is transplanted in the womb of the mother. And in the womb of the mother that spirit soul develops the body. This is how they have been designed. The man is meant to perform certain function and a woman was meant to perform certain function. And accordingly they developed their nature. In that sense man’s nature is like that of an enjoyer. And a woman’s nature is like that of an enjoyed. That is the arrangement of nature.
That is why the Vedic understanding is that the man’s business is to give protection. And the woman’s business is to remain submissive to the husband. In the Vedic wedding a whole lot of conditions are made. One actually is that the husband has to take some vows that: “I am going to take care of this woman throughout my life, I will give her protection in all respects, I will provide for her in all respects. These are the conditions, these are the vows they are taking. And a woman also is taking the vow, I will remain faithful to him all my life, I will bear his offspring. I will bring them up. I will remain completely submissive to him and so forth. And once somebody challenged Śrīla Prabhupāda, that Prabhupāda was making discrimination about women. Prabhupāda said: “No, I am not making discrimination, nature is making discrimination.” Nature made the discrimination. By nature they are like that, so what can be done? It is nature’s arrangement.
Today’s conditions are different. Due to mechanical advancement and all that life has become very artificial. In normal conditions, nature, life is not like that. You cannot just switch on and immediately light comes in, the heather comes in. You open the tap, the water comes. These are all very, very recent arrangements. Generally when people lived in nature, to even fetch water was a big thing, a big struggle. To collect wood from the forest was a big struggle. And women were not meant for that. Men had to go out and do that. Cultivate the field, men had to do that. Fight with the enemies, men had to do that. And the women by their nature, they are delicate. They used to stay at home and take care of the household affairs. Due to the advancement of Kali-yuga the situation has become considerably different. And that’s why there is this confusion. What is actually happening? Men are becoming like women and the women are becoming like men. When you have to rough it out in nature, you have to be rugged, strong, powerful. But when men are sitting in front of their computer, punching the keys, how will they have this vigor and vitality? As a result of that, like what is happening? Because men are not really behaving like men, the women are saying why should I submit myself to you. You are weaker than me. You are supposed to give me protection but I have to give you protection. As a result of that a huge confusion is prevailing.
At least we should stick to the Vedic understanding, no matter whatever our surroundings or circumstances is, the intelligent proposal, the intelligent way to do things is to stick to the Vedic concept because that is the perfect concept, that is the perfect society. That’s the perfect way to lead your life. And we see in the families where the women are submissive and the men are taking care, those are happy families. But unfortunately because there is a lack of spiritual understanding, because there is no understanding about higher authority observing our activities. Because our society has become atheistic, therefore people have become reckless. They don’t have any consideration for morality. They don’t have any consideration for piety and sin. They don’t consider that because of their wrong actions they have to suffer. Because they don’t have that understanding the society has become promiscuous. There is no consideration for morality. Men are running after women and also women are following the suit, they are also doing the same thing. That is not the civilized human society. This is not the civilized human behavior. At least we the devotees of Iskcon, those who have a clear understanding of spiritual wisdom, those who have access to the Vedic wisdom, they must become situated in that platform and act accordingly. And morality is one of the most important considerations. You lead a life based on morality you will feel happiness. You lead a promiscuous life, you are inviting endless suffering for yourselves. You think that you are going to enjoy, no. That is not going to lead you to enjoyment, that is going to lead you to endless suffering. And that’s what we have to remind everybody. And we should not be hesitant to speak about that in ISKCON. And I see that there is a lot of sensitivity no one wants to speak about it. And as a result of that, what’s happening ? The whole society is going berserk.
Any other question? Yes.
Devotee: Maharaja, may I make a comment on Guru Gauranga’s question? I think that what the women want love and romance and we kind of road it off as Maya.
BCS: As if men do not.
Devotee: But when you said that women have to be protected in all circumstances. That is a big part of it. Because a woman doesn’t give up the attention of many men for the inattention of one but when she gets the attention of one she will be satisfied and if you don’t give it to her, somebody else will. That part of attention… Like sage Priyavratta, he did not want to get married but he pretended that he really loved his wife. He spoke a few words to her and he made her feel loved. So if you are going to get married that part of attention that you make your wife feel that she is loved and it is very easy. Just [unclear] To say thank you sometimes, notice her.
Guru Gauranga Das: Don’t you think that this is a real … A woman’s business is always to remain chaste in a society where she
BCS: Anyway, what she is saying is that when a woman is treated with care and attention and love then she will not feel like…
Guru Gauranga Das: I mean, Maharaja, like after twenty five years of marriage, when now we are thinking of vānaprasthas. And now your wife is getting fifty… “O honey, you look so beautiful “ I think we have to give that up [unclear]
BCS: But the point is if you that for twenty years in your marriage life for the last years you have to be worried about it. Yes, Dayavir Prabhu
Dayavir Das: I agree with what [unclear] … is saying. You cannot make exceptions to the rule. The general rule is correct, that if you want your wife to act femininely then you have to create the environment in which she can act as a feminine person. And that is the duty of the husband, that is the main duty.
BCS: Good, yes.
Dayavir Das: You are going to act like this for twenty five to thirty years, still it is the duty of a man to create this environment.
BCS: Yes, Locana Prabhu.
Locana Das: I feel like the marriage has to be very sensitive, both parties. Man has to take care of his wife not in terms of what she does but in terms of what she needs. Of course she needs Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but she also has material needs, emotional needs. You have to be sensitive to that and to respect her in that. [Unclear] It is kind of an ongoing sensitivity.
Guru Gauranga Das: I would argue that the duty of the husband is to deliver his children and to liberate his wife. And your attachment to me will end in great suffering. At the same time if you did not throw ghee on the fire of this passion and romance, I think at the end of the day they will take birth again, I mean that is my opinion.
BCS: Yes, Sudayananda Prabhu.
Sudayananda Das: I think she is saying, just be nice. In other words, just like everyone wants to be treated in a decent matter. She is my friend, even if you’re thinking, she is not the most beautiful vapuh, ultimately we are not interested in the body. At least you can be kind to your friend. I try to be nice to my friends. At the end of the day, just be kind.
Guru Gauranga Das: I am not against being kind. Attention should be used in a positive manner. You are too fanatic prabhu. Every day we are reading the same thing Prabhupāda The pressure of this idea that you do not give me attention. Just like you have to be sensitive to a woman, a woman should be sensitive to her man. You don’t have to slap your wife every day or just ignore her. The whole idea of relationship is to be centered around Kṛṣṇa. The pressure of this idea that you don’t give me. Okay, if this is your attitude. Just like a man should be attentive to a woman, a woman should be attentive to her man The example is
BCS: I think is that Jagat Purusha prabhu has to say something.
Sudayananda Das: My understanding is that the husband’s responsibility in the marital relationship should become an example. Because real leadership comes from example. It does not come from a choice of words. Male, female relationships I believe that if the wife is sincere and appreciates Kṛṣṇa consciousness and accepts that Śrīla Prabhupāda is our guiding father. You have to be very, very patient because ultimately we are all conditioned souls. My view is that the ultimate responsibility. I believe that if the wife is sincere, however whatever situation in the modes of nature she may be, ultimately if the husband sets the example.
BCS: So you mean that the onus the onus actually lies on the husband.
Kṛṣṇa -Priya Dasi: Appreciation and respect. They just want to be appreciated and respected. At the same time
Lilasuka Dasi: I really appreciated when you made the point that we see ourselves as servants of Kṛṣṇa and everyone else as servants of Kṛṣṇa.
Chandrasekhara Das: my observation from someone who has no experience but has traveled extensively around the world. My observation is that in the world where this particular subject.
BCS: Because America is the most advanced country.
Chandrasekhara Das: We should ask ourselves how much we are influenced by the culture. Is this the result of conditioning of is it the result of being influenced by the country we are living in. We happen to be the most vocal about this issue whereas other countries people and devotees don’t make a big deal out of it. It is just
BCS: Yes, Sudhayananda Prabhu.
Sudhayananda Das: Srila Prabhupāda said: “I was thinking when I went to America and I will tell them: “No intoxication, no illicit sex, no gambling and no meat eating, they will say: “Go Home”. But Prabhupāda came just to deliver this message
BCS: So, we are here to practice the vedic culture and promote vedic culture in the world which has become very degraded. In one hand the world has become very degraded but Caitanya Mahaprabhu came to distribute the most spiritual That is our good fortune, let’s take advantage of our good fortune, let us not become victims of the age of Kali-yuga. Many individuals are become victims. How to save them, how to protect them? How to create an atmosphere where Kali’s influence… Because we in a very real sense but even when we never thought that Kṛṣṇa will give that back to that other person. Because if we are giving our heart to Kṛṣṇa. Then we don’t have to figure out.
BCS: Thank you Jayasri. So, now we will wrap it up. I think we had quite a nice session. Did you like it?
BCS: Now the question is that the points we discussed are you going to implement it? As I said, I am leaving it up to the senior leading devotees here to create some opportunities, to make some arrangements that the points that came up can be effectively implemented. I mentioned a few names, I just indicated the devotees I saw. One name I did not mention is Lilasuka’s name she can play a very important role in this, she is a very dymanic personality with a lot of leadership qualities.Mother Golukananda Priya and Mahamantra as temple presidents you are the leaders of this temple and you figure out what to do. Because unless we make a sincere and consulted effort, the desired result will not be there. Kardama Muni also, you all are leaders of this yatra. Jayasri, you also very powerful leader, figure out how to uplift the society here. Mother Satvi also. The personalities are becoming clearly visible. We have to take it upon ourselves. We cannot say somebody else will do it. Our attitude should be: “What can I do?” No matter how insignificant it may be, let me do whatever I can do. There is a very small four line poetry quatrain by Ravindra Tagore: “When the sun was setting, the setting sun asked who is going to take up my responsibility, the whole world was silent. There was a small lamp in the corner of the room, it said whatever little I can I will do.” So now that Srila Prabhupāda is not with us the world has become dark. We dispel the darkness we can simply do whatever little we can, we may become like the sun or the moon but at least we can become a small lamp and give out whatever little light we can and that is going to benefit this world in an incredible way. We may not be able to give out light like the sun or the moon but at least
Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa . All glories to Srila Prabhupāda!
Transcription: Rāmānanda Rāya Dāsa; Editing: Hemavati Radhika dasi
Audio-link: click here