Cooperation : Iskcon Malaga Lecture By His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami

Cooperation : Iskcon Malaga Lecture By His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami

INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS

Founder-Ācārya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda

Lecture By His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami On “Cooperation”

Malaga, Spain, 25 June 2013

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Initially kīrtan for 10:55 minutes

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami:

nāma oṁ viṣṇu-pādāya Kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale
śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine

namas te sārasvate deve gaura- vāṇī-pracāriṇe
nirviśeṣa-śunyavādi-pāścātya-deśa-tāriṇe

Hare Kṛṣṇa. So how is everybody?

Devotees: [Unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay! So, Rahul when did you arrive?

Devotee: Hare Kṛṣṇa. I just arrived now. Just a little before.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You stay near from here?

Devotee: Yes.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Did you take lunch?

Devotee: Yes, I ate something.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: In London or…?

Devotee: No, in Budapest.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Oh you are flying from Budapest. How come? Oh you are studying in Hungary?

Devotee: No, I am studying in Slovakia [unclear due to voices from other devotees]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [unclear]. So, you are flying from there, Budapest?

Devotee: Yes.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So, where are you in Slovakia?

Devotee: It’s in the east of Slovakia in the small city.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Named

Devotee: Kashishter, It’s close to a farm called New Ekacakrā, where there is a, it’s a farm there.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And what are you studying there?

Devotee: I studied medicine for a year. I got a scholarship to study just for one year and then some practices and I just finished now.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You just finished your medicine.

Devotee: No, I will start in Malaga again in September.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Oh it was a one year exchange program.

Devotee: Exchange program. Yes

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay! Very good.

Devotee: So more, so like for one and half year now I am

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Very good.

Devotee: Hopefully.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So two doctors in a family.

Another Devotee: Two doctors and many patients.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [Laughter]

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Two doctors, one physiotherapist. What is [Unclear] doing?

Devotee: I have to think of [unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [Laughter]. That’s a secret. Okay!

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So I am very happy to be here and especially to be with my very dear Godbrother Veda-Vyāsa Prabhu.

Devotees: Haribol! [rejoicing and clapping]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: We are friends for many, many years, early days in Germany

Veda-Vyāsa Prabhu: In Kolkata

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : And in Kolkata [Laughter]. Veda-Vyāsa Prabhu is a very, very wonderful devotee who has dedicated himself to serve Prabhupāda in a very sincere way. He translated many books of Śrīla Prabhupāda in Germany. He also wrote a book The Hare Kṛṣṇa Devotees in Germany. What is the name of the book?

Veda-Vyāsa Prabhu: Śrīla Prabhupāda and his disciples in Germany.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Oh! Śrīla Prabhupāda and his disciples in Germany. Here probably you kind of forgot that Veda-Vyāsa prabhu is actually a German.

Devotees: [Laughter] [Unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [Laughter] Because he speaks Spanish so fluently. He lived in Spain for so many years. He is such a scholarly devotee. I am sure he speaks very wonderfully and so these are the loyal followers of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Śrīla Prabhupāda wanted us to show our love for him through our co-operation to push this movement forward. The other day I was recalling that. Actually, they couldn’t find that quotation, they couldn’t find that quotation in the Vedabase. So, yes, it was towards the end and yes, right, I was just about to…

Devotee: [unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And the other day in the GBC conference it came up like,

actually Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja told that to Satsvarūpa Mahārāja and that’s why Satsvarūpa Mahārāja put it in Līlāmṛta. And so, Badrinaryana wrote in the GBC conference and he asked me and Bhavānanda Prabhu who was also there at that time that we recall. So, I actually wrote back narrating the incident. You see, Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja used to read the letters that Prabhupāda received in the afternoon. You were there also [pointing to some devotee], no you were not there.

Devotee: [Unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Okay!  [unclear] books, I see.

Devotee: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : So, Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja used to, of course those days you know like very few devotees used to go to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s room. Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja used to read out the letters and Prabhupāda used to dictate how to reply to those letters and one devotee wrote a very nice letter actually, very emotional letter, saying that how he wants to offer his life, his longevity to Śrīla Prabhupāda, so that Prabhupāda could stay on.

Devotee: [Unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: But you know what was Prabhupāda’s response? That’s the time Prabhupāda actually said, “Your real love will be shown by how you co-operate with each other” and he said something to the effect also, “these words are nice but you know sentiment is not the thing but the real thing is how you are going to co-operate with each other. That is how  you are going to show your love.” Because this movement, today we can see that the most essential factor for this movement is actually cooperation amongst devotees and unfortunately, not many devotees have been able to cooperate for various reasons, you know. Many reasons may been very justified but then again, you know, this was a challenge, for the sake of Śrīla Prabhupāda, if we love Śrīla Prabhupāda then we will tolerate those difficulties and carry forward. So, always remember that cooperation amongst devotees is the most important thing. How you cooperate with each other that will be the real sign of our love for Śrīla Prabhupāda. And if we can display that kind of love then what will Śrīla Prabhupāda do? Prabhupāda will reciprocate. And how will Prabhupāda reciprocate? Prabhupāda’s reciprocation will be in the form of spiritual advancement, Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, Kṛṣṇa’s prema. That is the most important consideration.

Recently I was in Switzerland. I went to various places, especially two places where I was last, a place called Langenthal and Zurich. There was a time Zurich was a booming temple. There was about seventy to eighty devotees in the temples. They were the biggest scores, they had in distributing books. In book distribution they were the biggest. Just one devotee there distributed the books that the whole zone could not match, Harinamananda Prabhu. This one devotee distributed four million, no I am sorry, I am sorry, not four millions, he distributed four hundred thousand books and contributed four million dollars, I mean four million Swiss Franc to the temple, just one devotee. It was such a nice, such a booming temple. Like, I used to consider that Zurich temple was the best temple in Iskcon. At least according to my perception, like I used to be very fond of the temple and the devotees there also they were also very fond of me and I used to spend a lot of time but for some unfortunate reasons, that temple today is practically empty. Very few devotees are in the temple. There are congregation devotees. Like yesterday was Snāna Yatra festival, Sunday feast and I was there. So the temple was packed. But that was just once in a while. And there I was actually making the point that even though the devotees don’t live in the temple they should make it a point to help the temple.

What kind of help does this movement need? Okay! Iskcon has a big responsibility. What is that responsibility? To spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world and how will that happen? How will this movement grow and spread all over the world? It needs two things. I will be very frank. Iskcon needs mainly two things: ‘Men and money’. Without manpower this movement can’t grow. To go out and preach and make devotees is the business and in order to do that we need proper arrangements. And that’s why I was very emphatically pointing out to the devotees in the Sunday feast which was the room was packed with congregation devotees I mean many of them were full time devotees at one time very, very committed devotees. But today they are congregation I mean they are not so much involved for various reasons. And I pointed out to them, you know that, you may not be able to give your full time to the temple but at least give some time, give some time. They are struggling so much that I had to send a pūjārī from India and they were very, very happy about that. The boy I sent was a very good boy. And, but otherwise they are struggling; they don’t have enough devotees to do Deity worship and they have very high standard of Deity worship. So I pointed out that, if thirty second initiated devotees give one day service in a month, then thirty days of service will be covered, one month service will be covered, so simple just one day in a month. And I also suggested that, you know like in Switzerland, they are quite opulent, they are quite wealthy, like if they can make some contribution like figuratively I was pointing out just that if one hundred devotees give one hundred dollars, I mean one hundred Swiss Franc a month, that amount to ten thousand Swiss Francs. Then probably the devotees don’t have to go out and worry about how to maintain the temple. Then the devotees can do so many other things for the sake of preaching, book distribution etc.

So this movement is the most important thing happening in this world today. Does it sound rather conceited that I am speaking like that? Iskcon movement is the most important thing happening in the world today. Let us consider: the world has many problems today. The world is full of problems of today. But are those political leaders or other leaders of the society, have they been able to solve these problems? Are the problems increasing or decreasing with time?

Devotees: Increasing.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Increasing. The problems are increasing. They are making so many promises that they will come and they will do this and do that. They haven’t been able to solve the problems. They have been able to probably make life comfortable. Yes, life today is more comfortable than it was say twenty, thirty, forty years back. Forty years back, to have a car was a big thing and today practically everybody has a car. Forty years back, people did not live in such an opulent way, but today, you know, the life has become very opulent. But have they been able to solve all their problems in spite of these material comforts? Their financial problem, their social problem, their political problem, has become much more complex today than it was before.

Now we can see very clearly that these leaders of today’s society have not been able to solve the problem of the society. Prabhupāda used to say when he used to walk by the New York… near the United Nations building in New York, Prabhupāda once commented that each time he passes by, he sees that the number of flags have increased, United Nations. But what are they doing? They are dividing the world. The number of flags are increasing means more nations are becoming divided. So just from that point, just from that comment Prabhupāda pointed out about the situation of this world. Anyway we are, personally I am sure you all are seeing that and I am seeing this world for last six decades, seven decades and I am seeing what is happening to this world and I am sure many of you also have seen. But what can solve the problems of this world? Now let us go back to the root of it. What is the cause of the problem of this world today? Anybody? What is the cause of the problem? The cause of the problem is?

Devotee: Lack of God consciousness.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Because people are not accepting God therefore there is this problem. Therefore, if that is the root of the problem, that is the cause of the problem, then, what is the solution to this problem? Rejecting God led us into this problem; the solution is therefore accepting God, accepting Kṛṣṇa. Okay theoretically we understand that. Let’s look at it practically. How many of you got involved in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, please raise your hands? Practically all of you. Ever since you got involved in Kṛṣṇa consciousness did your problem increase or decrease?

Devotees: Decrease.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Decrease. Did your problem increase or decrease, everybody. How many of you think that your problems have decreased?

Devotees: decreased

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Decreased. Okay. So individually your problems have decreased. So, if everybody accepts Kṛṣṇa consciousness what will happen to this world? Will the world problems increase or decrease? So that is the practical demonstration. Theoretically we can understand what is the root of the problem and what is the solution to the problem and practically we are experiencing it ourselves. You accept Kṛṣṇa, your problems become solved. So the solution to these problems of this world is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Now tell me who is distributing Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. It is Iskcon that is doing that. So that is why I was saying that this is the most important thing happening in this world today because Iskcon  is the only institution that can actually solve the problem of this world. Now of course the movement is very young, only a handful of devotees are participating and accepting Kṛṣṇa consciousness but their lives are changing. How are their lives changing? Because they have found the solution. Sometimes devotees – sometimes people say: “Well you also have problems; yes we don’t deny that we also have problems but the point is that problems don’t affect us; we don’t get affected by those problems.”

Like today if a devotee gets bankrupt; if a devotee loses all his money, how does he think? Well Kṛṣṇa wanted this [Laughter]. It’s Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. It is not that devotees don’t lose money; devotees don’t face difficulties but devotees don’t get affected by that but a person who doesn’t have Kṛṣṇa what happens to them? Do you know how many families, how many people committed suicide in America when that crisis hit in America? Hundreds, hundreds of people committed suicide. Because they couldn’t tolerate that. Like there have been families, they have, you know, anyway I don’t want to get into… Why? Because they do not have any shelter, they think money is everything. Whereas a devotee knows that money is not everything. He has Kṛṣṇa. Should we get into it, should we get into that again? Okay! Let’s consider you may not have money, but are you getting food to eat? You may not get money but you may have lost a lot of money still you have food to eat.  Still you have water to drink; still you have oxygen to breathe. So what’s the problem? On the other hand let’s consider you are in the middle of the Sahara desert and the last drop of water that you had, you drank it last three hours back and now you are dying of thirst but you have a bag full of money and you have a basket full of gold. Can all that money and all that gold buy you a glass of water? So now tell me what is more valuable, a glass of water or a bag full of money?

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You don’t have, say, consider a person is dying; he can’t breathe. He has a millions of dollars in his bag, with all that money can he buy a lump full of oxygen? But are we paying with money for oxygen? Who is providing all that? Who is providing food, who is providing our drinks and who is providing our oxygen? Who is providing all that? Kṛṣṇa. Now tell me what is more important, money or these things?

Now another way to look at it is, a person has lot of money but his heart is completely devastated because of the situation that he is in. His wife is running away with somebody else, his son has become a drug addict; his daughter God knows what she is doing. How does he feel? He has all the money in the world! But what’s the condition of his consciousness? What is the condition of his heart? On the other hand, you know a person is living in a very simple atmosphere but he has a happy loving wife, very nice caring children, they are doing very well in their studies, very obedient. Now out of these two people who is happier?

Devotees: Second.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Second one. So material success, material achievements, material accomplishments is not important. What is important is our inner state of consciousness and what creates that internal ecstasy, internal joy, the bliss? Our loving relationships with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore we have to take this movement very seriously, we have accepted it at least we have found the value of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and that’s why we have accepted it. So now let us recognize its importance let’s recognize its value let’s recognize its importance and lets commit ourselves to it. It doesn’t matter whether we are living in a temple or whether we are living at home. It doesn’t matter whether we are brahmacārī, sannyāsī or a householder. When we commit ourselves to Kṛṣṇa we must commit ourselves to promote this movement to the best of our ability. A brahmacārī may be living in the temple for twenty four hours and a householder may be able to go just once a week to the temple, doesn’t matter but whatever you can just contribute to the temple; whatever service you can render just render that service to Iskcon. Then just as drops of water fill up the ocean, a little, little service from you will amount to a huge contribution.

So please take this movement seriously. Don’t just think well I have become initiated I have achieved my goal. Not that. Initiation, mind you, is just the beginning. Initiation is not the end. Initiation is the beginning. The consideration is what are you going to do from then onwards? And then onwards means how you are going to render your service to Śrīla Prabhupāda and his institution. And the ultimate point is, at least in this body, what is the ultimate point?

Devotee: [Unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, the ultimate point of this body is death, right? Isn’t it? That is the time when we leave the body. That is the ultimate point. And we have to remember Kṛṣṇa at that time. That is how we have to prepare ourselves. Let us act in such a way that we remember Kṛṣṇa at the time of leaving this body. And how will it happen? It will happen when you will make Kṛṣṇa the most important personality in our life. Kṛṣṇa the most dear object of our love. Then only we will be able to remember Kṛṣṇa at the time of death because at the time of death we will think of the person or object we are most attached to. It is very unfortunate that people nowadays are becoming so fond of their dogs. Literally dog has become many people’s best  friend. Now consider at the time of death who they will think of? Now if they think of such a character at the time of death, what will happen? They will come back in that body. Therefore let us prepare ourselves in such a way that we can make this life successful.

This human form of life is very, very rare; you can’t imagine how rare this human form of life is? Just consider if you did not have this human form of body, this human body, if you had some other body could you question who you are? Could you question whether God exists? Who God is? Could you question how to develop your relationship with God? Could a hog or a dog or a monkey question like that? Does a monkey think: “Who am I?” No! But a human being can and that’s what the human life is meant for “Athāto brahmā jijñāsā” Let’s find out what’s the purpose of my life? Who am I? Who am I? Where did I come from? And what am I supposed to do here? So let us consider it and Iskcon will provide you with all the answers and Iskcon will show you the way. Iskcon will show you the way. That is why Iskcon is there. Isn’t Iskcon showing you the way? We found the way. We didn’t know who God is but today we don’t have any doubt Who God is! And we know what He looks like, we know where He lives, we know what He does and we know how to approach Him. So we got all the information, now let us take full advantage of it. Make it a point that your attachment is only at the Lotus Feet of Kṛṣṇa that your attachment is that you develop your attachment at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Then your life will become perfectly successful. Now Veda-Vyāsa prabhu will speak. Give the mike to Veda-Vyāsa prabhu.

Veda-Vyāsa prabhu: Little I can add… Actually practically all has been said. In one sense we may say Kṛṣṇa consciousness is not very complicated. It’s an easy process in one sense, it’s actually an easy philosophy actually and it just depends well on sincerity of really asking these questions as you said. This is the special feature of human birth. If we don’t use it in that way then it is such a great loss. It is actually incalculable. Who knows how long it will take to again have that opportunity. It may take thousands, may be ten thousands of years or longer to again have that opportunity to not use it what is the word? Kpaa is the word. Somebody has wealth but he only he has it, he never spends it (laughter) he is the poorest person, he is poorer than the poor person who just has a few Euros and actually use it very wisely for a very good purpose. You may have millions or billions and you may just keep it and I don’t want to spend any little amount of it because otherwise I will have less [Laughter]. It’s such an illusion, you don’t really use it. So if the human form of life which offers such an opportunity is not used properly then it’s like a rich man who is actually very poor. So it is the unfortunate circumstance. So at least if we understand the basic principles of Kṛṣṇa conscious philosophy then there is this possibility to become determined that: Yes, this life or whatever life however time I have because that is not even sure. We may become old and maybe if we are young, some of you are still young, you may think I am twenty, twenty five or thirty. Oh I still have another fifty or sixty or even seventy years ahead of me, no guarantee, no guarantee. Some people die very young, so, you may even have only another year, few months. So there is no time to lose actually. Therefore Mahārāja Parīkṣit, he asked that question, What is the duty of that person somebody who is at the verge of death and Sukhadeva Gosvāmī, what was his answer? First of all it is a glorious question it is the best question that could be asked and the answer is going to be good for you and for everybody else because actually everybody is in that same position: on the verge of death. So, what is the answer of that? We should remember Kṛṣṇa ‘ante Nārāyaa smti‘. When the end comes at the end point we have to remember Kṛṣṇa, then all the problems that we are now facing us, they will come and go; they will be solved forever. So therefore, yes, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the solution and is the most important activity to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world. So, that’s what we should try to do [Laughter]. Go from place to place, and like wake up, come on, participate, give your energy in whatever form you can, there is also no limit, whatever you can, even it be small it may be very valuable; quality is better than quantity. So nobody should think oh, I have no qualities oh I don’t know what I could do.  Everybody has some ability that Kṛṣṇa has given everybody. Some ability that he can use in Kṛṣṇa’s service. And if you don’t know you ask. Somebody will tell you right [Laughter].

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Thank you. Thank you very much Veda-Vyāsa Prabhu.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And I was actually thinking like here we have such a wonderful example in Hari-Nārāyaṇa. Like all along he has been supporting this movement in so many ways.  Like wherever there was difficulty Hari-Nārāyaṇa is there to go. Thank you so much Hari-Nārāyaṇa prabhu and I am sure Prabhupāda will reward you in a most wonderful way. He has been such a wonderful example. I must also admit that Vinod-Vihari and Ananda-Vardhana and their family had been very supportive like all along I have seen that although they are householders their hearts were always in the temple and for so many years

Veda-Vyāsa Prabhu: [Unclear] Their first service, serve prasādam, clean the kitchen and then normally somebody would say I am in a different category the śūdras can do this but they are always in upfront.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Also Dharmarāja had been a very big support and a very enthusiastic preacher. I mean we have such wonderful examples here, so many wonderful devotees. Hari-Nārāyaṇa’s family and Dina-bandhu. Hari-Nārāyaṇa sent him to Gurukula to be trained up, you know. I mean it needs a lot of conviction and confidence in the movement to send a young boy.

Veda-Vyāsa prabhu: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You know so, so many nice examples are there. Spain is a beautiful field because Spanish people are basically Catholics. I think they are more receptive to Kṛṣṇa consciousness than others. Now at least we should try to preach. Another thing is that, that Kṛṣṇa has placed all these Indians in these different parts of the world, must be a kind of [Unclear] [Laughter]

Veda-Vyāsa prabhu: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Like I mean especially in America we noticed it. Like our movement is getting such a tremendous support, incredible support from the Indians there and so many young professionals are coming forward. Many young professionals are becoming very, very enthusiastic in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So this is how this movement is going to grow and now we have to simply consider  what am I going to do for this. A grand thing is happening; don’t you want to be a part of it? Because when you become a part of grand success you also become successful, you also get a glory of being a part of it. Such a wonderful thing is happening all over the world.

Another point I thought of making is… I was saying is: “How these leaders of the world today won’t be able to solve the problems.” Iskcon is the only institution that can actually solve the problems. Iskcon means Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. The reason is everyone is thinking that they will solve the problems by some material means. But material means to solve problems simply increases problems. It doesn’t solve the problems, especially when the problem is caused due to materialistic mentality. Today’s world is facing all the problems due to intense and acute materialistic attitude. So what is the solution? Solution is the spiritual involvement. And what is the spiritual involvement? Three simple considerations. Spiritual understanding consists of three simple factors. First factor is:  “Our actual identity is not this body but what is our actual identity? Our actual identity is spiritual.” That is the first consideration. And Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Spirit, we are minute spirits, Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the Supreme Spirit from all these minute spirits have come. And because we had severed our relationships with Kṛṣṇa because we had gone away from Kṛṣṇa we have fallen to this material nature which is a place of suffering. Therefore the solution to this problem is, to reestablish our connection with Kṛṣṇa. We are suffering because we have become isolated from Kṛṣṇa. Now if we can become connected to Kṛṣṇa, our problems and suffering conditions will be over. So this very simple consideration… And how to develop our relationship with Kṛṣṇa? Develop your love for Him. How do you develop your love for Him? By hearing about Him and singing His glories. You hear about Kṛṣṇa, that’s how you get to know who Kṛṣṇa is. And when you get to know Kṛṣṇa, when you love somebody, then what happens? Don’t you want to speak about the person all the time? Like a mother loves the baby and what does the mother do? Mother tells everybody, you know my baby did this, my baby did that and not only about the baby, when the son grows also. The father and mother feel so proud. You know my son has done so well in his studies. My son has become such a good boy. So this is how we sing the glory of the person whom we love. So if we love Kṛṣṇa then what would we like to do naturally? Won’t we want to simply sing His glory? Oh you know, Kṛṣṇa is this; Kṛṣṇa is that; Kṛṣṇa has done this; Kṛṣṇa can do this and that is, that comes out in the form of preaching. We go out and tell people that means we remind them also about the greatness of Kṛṣṇa. It’s such a wonderful process. Anyway so please, as I was suggesting, I am requesting you all to do a very simple thing. A big thing is happening in this world today. By Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mercy Iskcon has been established and Iskcon is there, help this movement, get involved in this movement, accept the process that Śrīla Prabhupāda has given and make your life successful. Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Does anybody have any question? Yes Ananda-Vardhana.

Devotee: Mahārāja, one question which is said that the devotees takes the, when they are suffering, they take it as the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. But sometimes some other devotees say that identity if something is taken away Kṛṣṇa is pleased so He is giving you the mercy. So sometimes devotees get scared to approach Kṛṣṇa because it is said Kṛṣṇa you know He takes away all the material possessions [Unclear]. So how far is it is true and how we can explain this to materialistic persons because they will be scared too?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay! Very good point. Yes, Kṛṣṇa may take away, Kṛṣṇa may take away, when you approach Him, He may. But have you considered how much Kṛṣṇa has given you already? You may be worried that Kṛṣṇa may take away but you are not considering what Kṛṣṇa has given you. Where do you get all the food from? Who gave you all the food? Who gave you all the water to drink? Who gave you all the oxygen to breathe? Who gave you all these?

Devotee: Kṛṣṇa

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : And now you are worried Kṛṣṇa will take away if I approach Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa will take away, you know when? When one makes considerable advancement Kṛṣṇa prepares him“ yasya aham anugrhanami” Upon whom I bestow my unusual favor “hariye tad dhanam ” I take away. What do I take away? His material attachments so that he can depend upon Me more. And you are afraid that Kṛṣṇa will take away? Someday Kṛṣṇa will take away everything from you. At the time of death, you can rest assured, Kṛṣṇa will take everything away from you. Right? So if Kṛṣṇa prepares you before, is it not better? [Laughter]

Like Kṛṣṇa took something away and I think: “Okay Kṛṣṇa may have taken this much away but there is so much more there. Kṛṣṇa may have taken some more but still so much more is there, still so much more is there, still so much more is there. Similarly at the time of death, we will see that Kṛṣṇa may take away everything from us. That is material, but Kṛṣṇa is offering me the entire spiritual sky. So, what’s the loss? Therefore we should not think how much Kṛṣṇa may take away. We must always consider how much Kṛṣṇa has given me even if Kṛṣṇa takes away. Okay, fine. Say a person, he lost few million dollars but still he has his family; still he has his house; still he has his food to eat; The main thing is, still he has his oxygen to breathe, still he has life, still he has his opportunity to function in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Therefore when Kṛṣṇa takes we should be happy. Oh! Kṛṣṇa this was an unnecessary attachment that You are taking away from me. Can you imagine if somebody is still feeling so bad because he lost a few million euros right? How he is going to feel at the time of death where not only a few million dollars but everything will be taken away from him. How will he feel? So isn’t it better to get prepared? Therefore a devotee’s attitude is: “Am I ready? That is the devotee’s attitude. If death comes now, am I ready to go or am I going to look back and say I still have some attachments. Do I still have some attachment? That is the test, that is the thing a devotee always puts himself into, that is the test a devotee always put himself into. If death comes now, am I ready to go? Right?

Therefore when Kṛṣṇa, if at all Kṛṣṇa takes something away from a devotee, the devotee doesn’t get affected by that. In this respect, I will just give you one example that Prabhupāda gave. Prabhupāda actually quoted this verse “yasyāham anugṛhṇāmi hariṣye tad-dhanaḿ śanaiḥ”. Because you know, apparently Prabhupāda went through quite a lot of material difficulties but Prabhupāda considered how much Kṛṣṇa gave him and one example Prabhupāda said: “I left my family but look at the family that Kṛṣṇa gave me today. I left my three children but Kṛṣṇa gave me so many sons and daughters all over the world.” So that is how Kṛṣṇa rewards His devotee.

Devotee: Thank you Mahārāja. Another question.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Yes

Devotee: Because when we are preaching to the people, many times we tell them to take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, come to the temple and most of them, they answer the same thing that Kṛṣṇa advised, Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna to do his duty and that’s what we are doing. We are doing our business, we have to feed our family, we have to take care of our house, the mortgage, our prime duties is to take care of this because we are ghasthas. So if we come to the temple then who will take care of all this? So what should be our response to that?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: First of all you know those who want to argue like that, it’s better to leave them because no matter how much, how logically, how reasonably you speak to them they are not going to listen, right? But if they are willing to listen, then at least one thing we can point out, that, what is the duty, what is our actual duty? You may say, you may think that maintaining your family is your duty. Fine, do that, but is there something more than that you have to do also? Won’t you have to consider how your family members are behaving, what your family members are doing? Don’t you want to consider that it is your duty to bring up your children in such a way that they become an asset to the society?

Now tell me, what is the best way to train up your children? That they become a real asset to the society. And we are not saying give up your family. We are saying okay! While you are maintaining your family, do something for Kṛṣṇa that is your main duty. Why are you neglecting that duty? You are saying maintaining your family it’s a duty, well it’s a duty, no doubt about that. Yes, do that, take care of that duty but isn’t it a greater duty that a person who is providing you with everything, to do something for Him? So that is our main duty and now let’s go one step forward. What will happen to your family when you die? Say, you know, I mean just in case, if you die, what will happen to your family?

Some Devotee: Nobody

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Nobody, at least you want be here to take care of them. But their life will go. But what are you going to do for yourself that when you die? Then you can at least consider that I have done something that will have its benefit even beyond this body and that is what Kṛṣṇa consciousness provides with. It gives you the asset to fall back onto after death.

So, yes, take I mean nobody is saying that, don’t take care of your family. Take care of your family. But take care of your family in a proper way, that your children, your wife, everybody at home, become engaged in Kṛṣṇa, then your life will become happy and Kṛṣṇa will be happy. So everybody please become serious about your spiritual life and just make it the most important mission, most important business. Become serious. Make at least this life successful. Thank you.

Any more questions? I won’t expect that actually. I am expecting a lot of questions. Please feel free to ask questions.

Yes Dharmarāja

Devotee: Kasa stopped the sacrifice of the brāhmaa and [unclear] also stop the milk. You please tell us about these many, many, many products for the people they stopped the milk. Do they have some relation?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: No I did not get the question, may be you speak Spanish and then Vinod Vihari can…

Question: Kasa stopped Vedic sacrifices and today there are all these programs to stop all these people from drinking milk, is there a connection, is there a similarity between the two?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Yes, because the small small Kasa’s are dominating this world today. Five thousand years ago, Kasa was ruling and today also. Those days there was one Kasa, these days there are many Kasa’s. And they are promoting this kind of things, kill the cows and stop drinking milk. You get my point? So that means, again this is a demoniac, this society has become a very very demoniac society, it is a demoniac society. Killing cows, you know millions of cows are being slaughtered all over the world. Cow’s meat has become the main food in today’s world. So from that only we can see in what kind of world we are living today and as you were saying and they are promoting that stop drinking milk. They are saying, stop drinking milk because they can’t digest milk. In the stomach where you put the cows meat, how can that stomach tolerate the affection and love of the cow that comes in the form of milk. Does it answer your question Dharmarāja?

Devotee: [Unclear]

Devotee: Mahārāja, in connection with the question Dharmarāja prabhu asked, you know there is one industry they are killing cow for the meat. Now there is a Vedānta society, the Vedānta society wants people to stop drinking milk because the calves are taken away from the mother cow, the calves are deprived of mother’s milk. On this grounds the Vedānta society is promoting that stop drinking milk of the cow. The milk of the cow is meant for the calf and the calf is deprived of the milk. On this basis the Vedānta society is making lot of propaganda and like you know, they are trying to influence the government also.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You see they are just trying to address the problem partially. Do you think if they stop drinking milk, they will stop killing cows? You get my point? And let us go back. You see, our way to look at things is the way Prabhupāda did things. You know Prabhupāda did not address the cow killing, although “go brāhmaa hitāya ca” because if Prabhupāda… Prabhupāda knew, if he addressed the cow killing issue, he will be facing such a huge problem that his main purpose will not be solved. Therefore Prabhupāda knew how to stop cow killing, spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness, make people aware of the importance of cows all over the world, then automatically cow killing will be stopped. But by saying I won’t drink milk that is not going to stop the cow killing. Because they are not concerned about the milk, they are concerned about the flesh. One thing they may say that well, how can you drink cow’s milk, milk of the cows that is going to be slaughtered by same people who are selling the milk? That’s a point but what to do? Does it mean that we should deprive the human society of the most important food stuff, milk? That is not going to be the real solution. The real solution is to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness in such a way, create awareness all over the world in such a way, that the majority of the people will go against it and it is the majority who creates the government. In democratic society it is the number that counts. If most of the people in the world become Kṛṣṇa conscious, they will elect a Kṛṣṇa conscious government and a Kṛṣṇa conscious government when it comes, it will stop cow killing. You and I won’t be able to stop the cow killing but the government can stop cow killing. And government will become Kṛṣṇa conscious when majority of the people in the world become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Okay! Do you have question? You have. Yes

Devotee: Mahārāja, when we meet our friends, what they see, is a strong wall in what we are doing you know the things that we have to leave. Before they do anything the first thing is okay this person is not eating out and not doing all things because when you are young you know you are kind of materially opulent and doing well. We say ‘dukhalayam aśāśvatam‘ where is the misery I don’t realize? So, one thing is that we don’t realize like you know it’s an emergency situation and the second is that as soon as they come this close they see this you know those principles that we are following and it becomes a wall in front. So, how do we especially for the younger?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Well, if they are not willing to go that deep, then there is no need to put so much importance on these principles, right? Rather make them understand that at least you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and if they chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and read Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books then gradually they will come to a point when they will give up these four sinful activities. Now the other consideration is, I mean, if one thinks about it little deeply, let us consider is meat eating good? Is taking intoxication good? Are immoral relationships good? Is gambling good? So if they are not good why should we indulge in those activities? If something is bad why should we go out of our way to do that? But unfortunately today’s world is revolving around those sinful activities. That has become the part of life: eating meat, taking intoxication, illicit relationship and gambling has become, you know, the most important thing for many people or that has become the source of enjoyment for them. That is the unfortunate state of affairs in today’s world. But those you know, who are thoughtful they understand that and we have to logically convince others also, convince people also, why these things shouldn’t be done. Does it answer your question?

Devotee: Like for example as you told we should not tell them you know the four regulative principles, once they go into deep its fine but last time they meet you like, for example, I will give you an example people in my office they see me, you know, like I don’t eat out even if I go out with them, I forgo, even then I may have to go, I don’t believe that or I don’t drink indulge in those so whether I am saying it or not saying it they…

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You can tell them that my wife is the best cook in the world that’s why I don’t feel like eating anything outside [Laughter].

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And you can invite them at home and give them the taste of it. It can be a big party, right? But other things you know, you can tell them that, you know like taking intoxication, getting drunk, ruining your mind, is it desirable? You can tell them, you know, I drank once but the next day I got such a big headache, I decided not to drink anymore. So in this way, there is no need to kind of you know like give an answer that may create some negativity but you can present it in a way that they can understand. Because every one of them knows the day you drink, the next day you get a hangover, right? And you feel so miserable. So any thoughtful person will think why will I indulge in something that’s going to end up in a misery like that [Laughter] Alright? Yes.

Devotee: Coming back to [Unclear] Ananda prabhu’s point, like you were talking about opulence and you know how much has Kṛṣṇa given us and in a way even if He takes away we should not like worry but then if He gives you a lot of material opulence, is that, does it mean that He is less merciful on us?

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You see, no, it’s not that. You see Kṛṣṇa gives us what we need. And Kṛṣṇa takes away what we don’t need that’s how we have to look at it. Like for example the child, at some age, it needs the toys but then he gives up the toys and he gets stuck with the computer. Then he grows up with the computer and gets involved with his girl friend, right? Like you see, his life goes through different phases. Similarly a person’s life also goes through different phases and you know. Kṛṣṇa is like a caring Father and He provides: Okay! You need, you are attached to money? Okay, take the money. But then you know like at some point the child himself thinks: “Well I don’t need the money anymore, now I need something else and like that, you know, Kṛṣṇa will.” You see when you surrender to Kṛṣṇa, then Kṛṣṇa guides you through your life through. So that a devotee understands, a non devotee does not understand and that’s why a devotee always accepts everything as Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. Not only he just blindly, or like a parrot says: “Oh its Kṛṣṇa’s mercy,” he feels it, how its Kṛṣṇa’s mercy because at every step he sees how it’s Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. He goes through some difficulty but going through the difficulty, he sees that this was actually Kṛṣṇa’s divine arrangement to free him from that attachment. And make him more attached to His Lotus Feet because at the time of distress you remember Kṛṣṇa more than at the time of happiness. So if you are able to remember Kṛṣṇa more at the time of distress, won’t that distressful situation become more desirable, right?

Like just consider, in a way it’s true. Kṛṣṇa puts His devotees through lots of difficulties. Like, if you compare the life of Duryodhana and Yuddhistira Mahārāja, materially Duryodhana is very, very well off. But Yuddhistira Mahārāja and the Pāṇḍavas materially, they were facing one after another difficulties but who do you want to follow, who becomes your ideal hero, why? Because they are the real noble individuals, whereas, Duryodhana is an abominable personality, right? So in this way you can see the material prosperity is not the ultimate consideration. To a gross materialistic person it may be, but to a wise, honest and sincere person, material difficulties are not actually his problems or material difficulties doesn’t shine him away because he sees through these material difficulties, he becomes a better person. Another way to look at it is you know what purifies gold?

Devotee: Fire.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Fire. You know what purifies heart? Sufferings [Laughter]. Just as fire purifies gold, burning away the impurities, sufferings actually purifies the heart of a devotee. Right? Therefore they are desirable for a person who wants to make spiritual advancement and then the final consideration is: What is our real destination? This world or that world? Okay. So if that is your real destination, is it desirable to get stuck here? So if you become too attached here, then how will you go there? If the prisoner becomes too attached to the prison, will he ever think of going out of the prison? So that’s our situation. We are in a prison house, now should we get out of the prison or should we just get stuck here? Yes.

Devotee: Mahārāja, you were talking about the point of mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa if something is taken away, so it’s a mercy of Lord Kṛṣṇa some material things are taken away from a devotee but at the same time you said that it is for those devotees who are highly advanced for example, Prabhupāda. Now for those devotees who are not highly advanced, those who are in neophyte stage or may be madhyama adhikārī or, now Kṛṣṇa has given us this intelligence, so one has to use the intelligence in the right perspective and use whatever things given by Lord Kṛṣṇa in His service, but due to, if the devotee does any foolish thing, due to his not using the intelligence in the right way and he does foolish things and he loses the material thing it can be anything. So, in this, how can this be taken, how can this be seen? Will this be seen as the mercy of Kṛṣṇa?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You see the first consideration is… It is not how others are thinking; the question is how you are thinking yourself; the person who is going through, how he thinks, how he feels, that’s what really matters. You see how the world is seeing that’s not important. Like how the world was looking at Yuddhistira Mahārāja didn’t matter to him. How he was feeling himself that’s what really mattered to him. Another thing is, if something is bad for you and if it is taken away from you, is it good or bad? Say you have a disease and if that disease is taken away from you, is it desirable or not? So, Kṛṣṇa takes away the diseased condition. Ultimately what Kṛṣṇa takes away is the diseased condition but others may not recognize that. They may think that disease is the desirable object. Or say another way to look at it is more appropriate way to put it to make you understand, if a person is addicted to one thing…

Devotee: Mahārāja just one point

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Just let me finish. If somebody is addicted to something, say somebody is addicted to heroin, he can’t stay without heroin. Now, if somebody comes and takes away his addiction from the heroin, how will he feel? But his other friends may think, oh, look he doesn’t take anymore addiction, anymore heroin. The guy is gone, right [Laughter]? So, our material condition is like that. Prabhupāda used to use the expression inebriated, drunken, intoxicated. Our condition in the material nature is like a bunch of drunkards. Now if our drunken [Unclear] is taken out of us, is it desirable or not? Okay, now you can tell me what you wanted to ask.

Devotee: Mahārāja, you gave this example of taking drugs, now but one point, one example comes in my mind. Yuddhistira, he played this gambling match with Duryodhana that was unintelligent, that he even bet Draupadī in the match, in the gambling match. So how should we…

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Through that Kṛṣṇa is teaching us what we shouldn’t do. Through His devotee, Kṛṣṇa is teaching us what one shouldn’t do. If you get into the gambling this is the consequence. You like get into a frenzy, you completely lose your sanity and you keep on staking and staking and staking. Yes.

Devotee: But for me personally sometimes, I think in a more, when I am working or I am doing some work, sending an email for example, at that moment that I am, you know, I am not thinking of Kṛṣṇa because I am thinking of doing that work and sometimes I feel that if I leave my body at that instant how is it possible that 24 hours a day or 365 days a year, all the activities, even that instead I am not thinking of Kṛṣṇa but I am doing that other work you know

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Very good point, it’s a very good point. You see on your part you surrender yourself to Kṛṣṇa. And Kṛṣṇa never forgets. When Kṛṣṇa sees that you have surrendered yourself to Him then He will hold Himself responsible. Like even an honest person, just consider a good man, if somebody comes and takes his shelter, look I am surrendering unto you, and won’t he give him protection? If that person is in difficulty won’t that person come out and help him out? Now can you imagine if an ordinary human being can be so grateful how Kṛṣṇa will feel? Therefore on your part you just surrender yourself to Kṛṣṇa and depend upon His mercy and you can rest assured that at the time of difficulty Kṛṣṇa will come and rescue you. You may not remember Him but if He comes and stands in front of you, will you not remember Him?

So that is how Kṛṣṇa reciprocates. That’s why Kṛṣṇa gave that assurance: just surrender unto Me and I will take care of you, don’t worry about it and don’t worry about it, that’s the assurance Kṛṣṇa is giving ‘mā śucah’. It’s good that you are thinking in that way that I am not able to remember Kṛṣṇa 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but at least in your heart you harbor that attitude that: “Kṛṣṇa I am surrendered unto You and now You please decide what you want to do.” You have a question [Laughter]

Okay. Any other question? Rahul do you have a question or you haven’t started asking as yet?

Devotee: Once I start I won’t stop.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [Laughter] [Unclear].

Devotee: [unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay!

Devotee: [unclear]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yeah, let’s see if you have a question.

Devotee: I am saying let’s have a kīrtan.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: No I am saying, okay! If there is no question we can have some kīrtan rather I lead a kīrtan. Let Veda-Vyāsa lead a kīrtan. Take the mike. So, still you want me to come every year?

Devotees: Yes.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: after hearing.

Devotee: more than once.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [Laughter]

End of lecture. Lecture duration 1:36:00

Kīrtan by Veda-Vyāsa Prabhu.

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Audio-reference : click here

Transcription : Anonymous Helper
Editing : Rāmānanda Rāya Dāsa