01 Jun Uddhava-gītā US Retreat – Day 3 – Concluding Lecture
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
Founder-Ācārya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Day 3 – Concluding Session, Given By His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami – Uddhava-gītā Retreat – Gita-Nagari US, 1 June 2013
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Today is the last day of our retreat and the last session of our seminar. I hope you have appreciated this, or learned something from these sessions. As I mentioned earlier, I started these retreats about five years ago when I had a sort of heart attack. Then the doctor told me not to travel. Now for me not to travel is not possible, was not possible, so at that time I thought that at least I can go to different places and not travel that extensively. I would go to one place and let everybody come there. That is also what I wrote to my disciples and friends, that all this while I have been travelling to meet you. Now you travel to meet me.
The first session we had was in Switzerland in a very beautiful location. It was a skiing resort on top of a mountain. We booked one hotel and turned that hotel into an āśrama and temple. Their banquet hall was our temple room and the dining hall became our classroom. It was very nice and devotees came from different parts of Europe. I think the next one I had was in Orlando in America and many of you came.
That is how I started it. Practically every year I was doing it at different places. Mainly one in Europe, one in America, one in South Africa, one in Australia and one in India. That is how it has been going on for the last five years, or maybe four years. No, I think it is five years. This is the fifth year running. Last year I did not have this retreat in America, so this year we invited you all and you came. I feel very happy.
The topic was a little new topic. All these years I was giving the seminars mainly on story based topics. The first one I did was Rāmāyaṇa then the next one was Mahābhārata. In this way mainly it was story based and the topics were actually rather simple. My basic objective was that you all get to know what we are pursuing, what is our objective and for that Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata were the basis. Mahābhārata is the main topic for us, but I selected Rāmāyaṇa first because if we did Mahābhārata then there would not be any room for Rāmāyaṇa. Therefore I thought Rāmāyaṇa first and then go to Mahābhārata.
This time I selected a topic which is more philosophical, or rather an instruction based topic. Kṛṣṇa’s instructions to Uddhava. I was a little doubtful at the beginning how the response will be, but I must admit I was very impressed with the response. I saw that no one actually fell asleep. Also many nice questions came up and these interactive exchanges were also very beneficial, very effective. Sometimes in the course of questions and answers I may have been a little heavy, I hope you all will not mind it. You see my business is to be heavy. There are two expressions laghu and guru. Laghu means light and guru means heavy. It is a Sanskrit word. That is of course one way to look at it. The other meaning of guru is one who removes darkness. Gu-ru, one who removes darkness. Either way, to remove darkness you have to push darkness out. You have to push the ignorance away. So the pushing means heavy and also when you are assuming the role of a teacher you have to be heavy.
I remember in my school for the teacher who was heavy we were very careful about doing our homework properly, but those who were light we were not very attentive. They were popular but study wise … So I hope I did not offend anybody in the course of my presentation.
I was thinking of doing some more of these chapters from Uddhava-gītā, but then I thought that I would rather take this session for more interactions, questions and answers maybe and emphasise the basic objective of this Uddhava-gītā. Like any other scriptural instructions, these instructions are based on reminding us about what the goal of life is. The ultimate goal of life is pure devotion to Kṛṣṇa. Uddhava-gītā is very, very emphatically making that point. I expect that you will now read this Uddhava-gītā on your own. I hope that all of you have a set of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam at home. So that also includes the Eleventh Canto.
Eleventh Canto was not translated by Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda did only up to the Fourteenth Chapter up to the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The rest of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was translated and purported by a group of Śrīla Prabhupāda’s disciples. Mainly it was Gopīparāṇadhana Prabhu one of our Godbrothers. He is very scholarly. Actually it amazes me to see how brilliant these devotees were. Gopīparāṇadhana Prabhu is from America. He is an American. He did not study Sanskrit in school or college. He did not have any exposure to Sanskrit otherwise, but after coming in contact with Śrīla Prabhupāda on his own he started to study Sanskrit and he became a scholar. On his own; it kind of amazes me how it is possible. We also have to remember that Śrīla Prabhupāda pointed out devotees often carry on from their previous life. As you know that Jaḍa Bharata in his previous life he was King Bharata. Similarly Bhīṣmadeva was a Vasu, one of the demigods. It is also like that for devotees. First of all we know the concept of reincarnation. The spirit soul never dies, tathā dehāntara prāptir [BG 2.13]. At the time of death, or after death dehāntara, a spirit soul takes up another body. In this way the spirit soul transmigrates from one body to another body. So many of our devotees must be continuing from their previous life and in the future also many of our devotees will continue into other bodies that will be involved in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Prabhupāda also mentioned, “My Guru Mahārāja sent you all.”
When Prabhupāda was addressing his disciples in America, I think it was in New York City temple. It was Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura’s Vyāsa-pūjā celebration and Prabhupāda mentioned , “My Guru Mahārāja sent you all.”
Not only Prabhupāda said that, but Prabhupāda broke down crying after that, with so much feeling Prabhupāda admitted that. So that means these devotees came to assist Śrīla Prabhupāda. Also many devotees who will continue to assist Śrīla Prabhupāda in his mission are coming from a previous background where they had been devotees. Now they came to assist Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mission and many devotees will continue to assist the ISKCON movement in the future.
So to go back to my previous point, Gopīparāṇadhana Prabhu was the main person who was doing the translation and purporting. These purports were given from the writings of the previous ācāryas. That is what Śrīla Prabhupāda also used to do. Prabhupāda used to read the commentaries of previous ācāryas and based on their commentaries Prabhupāda used to give his commentary. The group of devotees like Gopīparāṇadhana Prabhu, next of course is Hṛdayānanda Mahārāja, Draviḍa Prabhu, Jayādvaita Mahārāja, who was mainly doing the editing, Kesava Bharati Mahārāja, these were the devotees as a team they worked on the purports and translation. So the Eleventh Canto was their presentation. They mainly translated other ācāryas’ commentaries. They hardly gave any commentary themselves. That is why you will notice many of the verses do not have any commentary. That is because the previous ācāryas did not give any commentary, whereas Prabhupāda gave his commentary practically on every single verse. Prabhupāda actually wanted to translate Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam in sixty volumes. With thirty volumes he had done up to Ninth Canto. No, I think up to Ninth Canto is twenty eight volumes. Prabhupāda wanted to translate the Tenth Canto in thirty volumes. He wanted to give extensive commentary on Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in the Tenth Canto and then two or three volumes for the Eleventh and Twelfth Cantos.
Eleventh Canto is very important for us, because Eleventh Canto is giving the essence of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The essence of the entire Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is in the Eleventh Canto. The Tenth Canto ends with Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes. Tenth Canto is quite elaborate. It has ninety chapters. Tenth Canto describes Kṛṣṇa’s vṛndāvana-līlā, mathurā-līlā and dvārakā-līlā, Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes in Vṛndāvana, Mathurā and Dvārakā. Those pastimes are very elaborately described in the Tenth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Tenth Canto is the summum bonum. Tenth Canto is the ultimate point of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Tenth Canto describes the activities and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the Tenth Canto it has been made clear, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Generally people think that Nārāyaṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or Viṣṇu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and Kṛṣṇa was an incarnation of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Actually Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu is the origin of all incarnations in the material nature. All the incarnations are expansions of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, or manifestations of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. The puruṣa-avatāras are Mahā-viṣṇu or Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu is the presence of Viṣṇu in this planet and He is the Supersoul of all living entities. He is also the origin of all the incarnations in the material nature.
When Kṛṣṇa comes to the material nature to serve some purpose, then He expands as incarnations and those incarnations are the expansions of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Many people think that Kṛṣṇa is an incarnation of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, but from the Eleventh Canto, or from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we get to know that Kṛṣṇa is not an incarnation, but Kṛṣṇa is the origin of all incarnations. At the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam this point has been established, ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam [SB 1.3.28]. Kṛṣṇa is svayam bhagavān and ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ, all the incarnations are Kṛṣṇa’s parts and parts of the parts, but Kṛṣṇa is bhagavān svayam the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. So that is how Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is actually revealing the identity of Kṛṣṇa.
What is the relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead? That of a master and servant. Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord and Master, whereas the living entities are His fragmental, or tiny, atomic parts and parcels, very small. Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entities are parts and parcels. So what is their relationship? What is the relationship between the master and his subordinate? Servant. So Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord. He is the master. Then what is our relationship with Him? As that of a servant, jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya-kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’ [CC Mad 20.108]. The living entities are Kṛṣṇa’s eternal servants, nitya-dāsa, that position always remains, that position never changes. Kṛṣṇa is always the Lord and master.
But Vṛndāvana has a different characteristic. Yes, Kṛṣṇa is the Lord and master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Lord and master, but Vṛndāvana is the region where Kṛṣṇa is not the Lord and master and that is why Vṛndāvana is so special. In Vṛndāvana Kṛṣṇa is a friend. In Vṛndāvana Kṛṣṇa is a baby, Kṛṣṇa is a child. In Vṛndāvana Kṛṣṇa is a paramour, a lover, a transcendental Romeo. Actually that is what Kṛṣṇa is. Kṛṣṇa assumes these roles in Vṛndāvana in order to enable His devotees to develop some very special relationships. Those special relationships are relationships as a friend, friendship; relationship as a child, a son. In parental relationship the devotees are treating Kṛṣṇa as their own child just as the parents treat their children. Also a relationship like that of a loving relationship between and young boy and a young girl. Not a young boy with a young girl, rather a young boy with many other young girls.
Now the consideration is friendship takes place between equals, parental relationship is between a superior and subordinate and conjugal relationship is between young boys and young girls. Now friendship, who can become equal to God to become His friend? Can anybody become equal to God? No. In friendship one has to become equal to God, but in parental relationship God has become junior, inferior. How can anybody be superior to God and how can anybody treat God as a boyfriend? These kinds of relationships otherwise are not possible. In Vaikuṇṭha these relationships are not possible. In Vaikuṇṭha no one is Kṛṣṇa’s friend, in Vaikuṇṭha no one is Kṛṣṇa’s father, in Vaikuṇṭha no one is Kṛṣṇa’s girlfriend, but these three relationships are there. So how to develop these relationships?
Now in order to enable His devotees to develop these relationships Kṛṣṇa made a very special arrangement, in a very special area in the spiritual sky called Vṛndāvana. There one cannot become equal to Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa can become equal to somebody. No one can be superior to Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa can become subordinate to somebody. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, if He wants He can do that. So Vṛndāvana is the region where Kṛṣṇa has done that, but in order to do that Kṛṣṇa had to make everybody forget that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because if devotees remember or recognise Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, how could they treat Him in that way.
A simple consideration can be this, friends, what do they do? They wrestle. That is one of the games. At least in India children do that, especially in the villages, they wrestle. In this wrestling bout there is a condition that whoever loses has to carry the winner on his back. In some wrestling bouts Kṛṣṇa loses and then the friend demands that now Kṛṣṇa will have to carry him on His back. Kṛṣṇa refuses to do that saying that He was not defeated, He slipped on a banana peel and the friend jumped on Him and claimed that he won, which is not fair. So Kṛṣṇa refuses to carry him on His back.
Then the friend also will not let Him go and says, “Kṛṣṇa after so much struggle I defeated You and now You are saying You are not defeated. You are giving the excuse that You slipped on a banana peel so You have to carry me.”
Kṛṣṇa says, “Nothing doing, I will not carry you.”
So they get into a fight and then the friend forces his way onto Kṛṣṇa’s back. Now just imagine to force his way onto Kṛṣṇa’s back what he had to do? He had to step on Kṛṣṇa’s body and then climb onto Kṛṣṇa’s back. Now which devotee will ever dare to put his foot on the Deity on the altar, on Kṛṣṇa’s body on the altar. Will anybody even dare to do that? Especially a devotee, will he ever dare to do that? No. Now in Vṛndāvana they can do that because they have forgotten that Kṛṣṇa is God. If they remembered that Kṛṣṇa was God then they could not do that. So that is the speciality of Vṛndāvana.
The parents tell Kṛṣṇa, Nanda Mahārāja says, “Kṛṣṇa can You please bring my shoes?”
Little Kṛṣṇa what He does, He cannot carry them, they are quite big, quite heavy. So He picks them up and puts them on His head and carries them. Now who will ever allow the Supreme Personality of Godhead to carry his shoes on His head? Mother Yaśodā with a stick in her hand chases Him to chastise Him. Who will ever dare to do that to the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Therefore in order to treat the Lord in that way one has to forget that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Now again, forgetfulness is of two types. One is forgetfulness out of ignorance. We do not remember therefore we forget. That is one kind of forgetfulness, out of ignorance, but there is another kind of forgetfulness that is out of love. For example the son has become a state president. But does the mother treat the son like a state president?
No, she treats him like her own son. Not that she does not know that her son is a state president, but it is not important to her. She does not remember that, she does not care for that. This is another kind of forgetfulness. So in Vṛndāvana is not that they do not know Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but to them due to their intense love for Kṛṣṇa, they forget that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If they remembered that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead they could not treat Him the way they do. So that is Vṛndāvana.
Therefore Vṛndāvana is a very special region where love is the predominating factor, not opulence. Opulence means recognising that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the supreme controller, He is the supreme proprietor, He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.
Then automatically what will be the attitude, “O my Lord please accept my humble obeisances . Please allow me to serve You. Please allow me to become Your eternal servant.”
That is the mood in Vaikuṇṭha where the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But in Vṛndāvana He is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is a cowherd boy. We may have a reverential attitude to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but with a cowherd boy? “Hi buddy! How are you doing.”
That is the attitude that one naturally develops because of His situation. He is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is a cowherd boy. That is how they are looking at Him, that is how they seeing Him, that is how they treating Him and then Kṛṣṇa is also reciprocating in that way, “My friend I am prepared to do anything for you. What can I do for you? How can I serve you?”
So that is their attitude in Vṛndāvana. That is why Vṛndāvana is a very special region.
So understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be complete without recognising Him the way He is in Vṛndāvana and that is why Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is so important. The goal of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is not Vaikuṇṭha the goal of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is Vraja, beyond Vaikuṇṭha. Actually Kṛṣṇa Himself considered that now I have revealed My Vṛndāvana pastimes how will anybody ever understand what these pastimes are like? What is the speciality of these pastimes? People will not understand Vṛndāvana. Therefore Kṛṣṇa came as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu to make us understand what is the speciality of Vṛndāvana, how special are these relationships. Is Vṛndāvana below Vaikuṇṭha or above Vaikuṇṭha? That is what Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came to tell us. That is why the understanding of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam cannot be completed without understanding Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
Kṛṣṇa is giving some understanding to Uddhava at the end of His instructions. Kṛṣṇa tells Uddhava very clearly that the goal of life is to serve Him following the residents of Vṛndāvana. Serving, following the mood of the gopīs, that is the highest form of devotion. That point Kṛṣṇa made very very clear. But as I was saying that has been most wonderfully revealed by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. That is why Kṛṣṇa came as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, just to make us understand what vraja-līlā is, what is the speciality of vraja-līlā. So as I mentioned earlier, please make it a point to read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, especially what we discussed in the Eleventh Canto. Please read them carefully and if you have any question you can let me know. You can write to me in my e-mail. Now that we are here, before depending upon the internet, or the postal system, let us just see if you have any questions.
Sudarkana: Yesterday you were discussing that some of our scriptures say that if you are a pure soul seven generations of older people were delivered and what is the difference between my soul compared to other peoples’ souls, my son’s soul… (indistinct) … all these things.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: That is a big topic. Maybe I should give a seminar on that topic someday. Briefly, the question is, I want to know about the destiny of a soul, karmic reactions and the relationship between parents and children. How the souls take birth in some parenthood and also how seven generations get delivered. In simple words I will say that about seven generations getting delivered etc. It is better to just accept what the scriptures are telling us, because these are certain things we cannot directly or experimentally verify. Can you travel your seven generations? You will not be able to, neither in the past nor in the future. Therefore at some point we just have to leave it at, “Well the scriptures are saying that so I will accept it.”
The karmic reaction, that it is rather simple to understand. To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. That is not only a principle of physics dealing with matter, but it also applies to living entities. As you sow, so shall you reap, as you act, accordingly you will get the reaction of your action. Based on that, due to that, the living entities are transmigrating from one body to another body.
Then the next thing you asked was about father and children. You see here again is the consideration of karma. A certain individual with his specific karma comes in contact with a specific parentage. As a result of that he gets some specific reaction, or a certain reaction takes him to some parent and makes him act in a certain way. The parent’s souls and the child’s soul do not have any spiritual connection. This connection is karmic connection. The spiritual connection is established only when the activities are on the spiritual platform.
Devotee: Sometimes I have a special relationship with my father.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: What kind of relationship?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Well, somewhere in the past your father did something and you did something and as result of that you are acting in a certain way. When you read this Eleventh Canto you will see that point will become very clear. Whatever is happening to us in this material platform is simply a result of karma being controlled by the guṇas. We are acting and the reactions are taking place due to the modes of material nature. Sometimes it is said that we are helpless, we are not doers. We are actually acting being directed by guṇa and karma. Our situation is like a puppet. We are thinking we are dancing, but it is the puppeteer that makes us dance. Who is the puppeteer? The puppeteers are the demigods and the strings with which they are controlling the puppet are the modes of material nature. We are dancing according to our karma. The karmic reactions are making us dance in a specific way.
In simple words somebody is born in a very opulent family because in his past he has done a lot of pious activities. As a result of pious activities one gets birth in an aristocratic family, an opulent family. He gets a beautiful appearance, he gets opulence, wealth, due to his pious activities and knowledge, janmaiśvarya śruta śrībhir [SB 1.8.26]. On the other hand if one acts in an impious way, a sinful way, then he is subjected to a poverty stricken condition, difficulties in material life and so forth. The main point is that nothing happens by chance or accident. Everything is happening due to the divine arrangement of guṇa and karma. Prakṛteḥ karmāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ [BG 3.27]. Everything is happening according to the arrangement of guṇa and karma, but ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate [BG 3.27], being bewildered by his false ego one thinks that he is the doer.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: That can be a very dangerous venture. It is something like… I will just give you an example. Say you got admitted in a university to study medicine. Then what do you do? The university gives you the syllabus. These are the books that you must study and the teachers direct you according to those books. Now if you disregard those books and the teachings of those teachers and try to get some books from the market, how will you end up? You may think that it is a very wise endeavour, but you will simply complicate your studies. When you are studying a subject in a university follow the course. Why decide your own course? Why think you know better than the university faculty? Give up that attitude, give up that tendency. Be submissive. Submissive means to surrender. Everybody’s main problem is independence. So give up your independence. If you want to pursue spiritual life give up your independence forever. Just submit yourself to the process. Submit yourself to the institution that you are joining. If you do not then you will not get the desired result. You will simply complicate your own life and you will create disturbance to others. Become submissive. Prabhupāda gave the process. Why do you think that you know better than Prabhupāda? If you think you know better than Śrīla Prabhupāda then go your own way. Do not come to ISKCON. Rather if you come to ISKCON submit to ISKCON, submit to the process that ISKCON is propagating. You get my point?
Nīlamaṇi Dasa: Mahārāja you were explaining about Vṛndāvana in the spiritual world and I was wondering what is the difference between Kṛṣṇa’s līlās in the spiritual Vṛndāvana and those in bhūmi-Vṛndāvana?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Very nice, very nice point. No difference.
Nilamani Dasa: Specifically are Devakī and Vasudeva also there in Vṛndāvana and Mathurā?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Devakī and Vasudeva are there in Dvārakā and Mathurā not in Vṛndāvana. Only Rohiṇī-devī is there in Vṛndāvana. The only difference between that Vṛndāvana and earthly Vṛndāvana is that in that Vṛndāvana, in spiritual Vṛndāvana, in Goloka Vṛndāvana, Kṛṣṇa’s childhood pastimes are not there. Only in earthly Vṛndāvana Kṛṣṇa’s childhood pastimes are there. In earthly Vṛndāvana Kṛṣṇa takes birth and grows up to become nava-kiśora. That happens only in earthly Vṛndāvana. That is why some of our ācāryas have commented that earthly Vṛndāvana therefore is superior to Goloka Vṛndāvana, because certain things that are available in earthly Vṛndāvana are not available there. They are there as an impression.
It is like, “Oh, you know when Kṛṣṇa was a little boy He used to that.”
That is the mood there, because Kṛṣṇa is not present there as a child. Kṛṣṇa is nava-kiśora there. You know, just fifteen going on seventeen, or going on sixteen.
Nīlamaṇi Dasa: Does Kṛṣṇa leave to go to Mathurā?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: There He does not leave, but they have a feeling that Kṛṣṇa may go to Mathura to kill Kamsa. That is a feeling there, but in this Vṛndāvana that happens. Then also Jīva Gosvāmī pointed out that Kṛṣṇa does not leave Vṛndāvana. Kṛṣṇa does not even take a step out of Vṛndāvana. Kṛṣṇa is always in Vṛndāvana, but they have a feeling as if Kṛṣṇa left and even when they see Kṛṣṇa face to face they feel that they were dreaming. That is the only difference, but otherwise it is transported. From there Vṛndāvana came down to this planet.
Nandulal Dasa: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja first of all … (indistinct) … you took so much trouble to come and give us your association also you actually brought us from the material energy … (indistinct) … to this Kṛṣṇa concept that we are living the last three days. I have two questions, one is how to … (indistinct) … the devotees all the time and the second thing is that you mentioned about varṇāśrama yesterday and it did perturb me a little bit because I was born in vraja-bhūmi and I have seen that … (indistinct) … grandfather and mother I should not say that … had separate for other people, for muslims … (indistinct) … and that actually resulted in my mind … (indistinct) … as you have … (indistinct) … in some other classes … (indistinct) … that way you don’t have to go through this … (indistinct) …
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, you answered your point. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is the answer. This caste system has destroyed the Vedic culture. The brāhmaṇas lost their brahmanical qualities and they still claimed that they are the brāhmaṇas. As a result of that they distorted the whole system. As a result of that the kṣatriyas lost respect for the brāhmaṇas and decided not to follow their instructions. That is how the whole thing started, but fortunately Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu came. What did Caitanya Mahāprabhu teach? Does not matter in which family you are born. Does not matter in which caste you are born. Does not matter in which country you are born. You have your birthright, your eternal right to develop your loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa and that is the ultimate goal of life. Does not matter whatever your birth is, caṇḍālo ‘pi dvija śreṣṭho hari-bhakti-parāyaṇaḥ [SB 4.31.10 Purport]. A caṇḍāla, who is the lowest kind of person, even he can become superior to a brāhmaṇa if he develops his loving relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
Pallavi Dasi: What measures to take to prepare our children towards brahmacarya? Do we have a responsibility to do that and if so what steps should we take?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Very good. If possible at least guide your children with proper Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As a mother that is your first responsibility. Then let the father guide him. Then let the spiritual master guide him, but all the guidance should be directed towards Kṛṣṇa. Up to the age of six to eight by the mother, not beyond eight. Do you know what happens then? The child will become effeminate. He will become too much influenced by the mother. He will develop mother’s qualities. So this is how to guide your children nicely.
Pallavi Dasi: What is the role of the mother for a child who is eight?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: After eight let the father take over and then allow him to develop relationships with other devotees of ISKCON. Get them guidance and wherever you are try to make arrangements there is Sunday school for children where some devotees can guide them. Make it a point that children below eight will be taken care of by mothers and children above eight will be taken care of by prabhus.
Pallavi Dasi: Mahārāja I have another question. How can we apply Rūpa Gosvāmī’s standard of giving fifty percent of our income to Iskcon?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Good point. Recently I had been faced with that question. You see considering today’s situation nobody will be able to give fifty percent of his income. Prabhupāda was very practical he did not say something like that. Maybe somebody who is living in the temple, where his expenses are taken care of by the temple, he can probably afford to give fifty percent, but not those who are living outside. So here we have to understand that after taking care of all their needs, after they have taken care of their maintenance, whatever is left over from that, fifty percent can be given to Kṛṣṇa conscious cause and so forth. Not just fifty percent from your income. To begin with government is practically taking away fifty percent. In the Vedic society that could have been possible. The king would take fifty percent, but use it in Kṛṣṇa consciousness propagation instead of taking the tax.
Kṛṣṇapriyā Dasī: First of all thank you for this wonderful seminar and the wonderful association of devotees.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Thank you for coming and blessing us.
Kṛṣṇapriyā Dasī: … (indistinct) … my question pertains to yesterday’s discussion about developing the spiritual qualities and how we have a gross and subtle body and how the subtle body disappears so … (indistinct) … are we actually at that time are we actually dissolving the subtle body.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: The process is helping us to dissolve because meditating on Kṛṣṇa the mind is absorbed in Kṛṣṇa. That is one consideration and another consideration is that it is a part of vaidhī-bhakti, practicing the process of devotional service in order to get purified.
Kṛṣṇapriyā Dasī: I have one other point. There seems to be now, just like His Holiness Bir Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja has discussed it also, that nowadays it seems to be that there is so much propaganda. He said that now you meet devotees that are just in the movement a few years and already they are thinking that they know what their siddha-deha is and what their position is. What is the best way to explain that? Then there are people that say that unless you have unless you have a … (indistinct) … guru then you will know, but didn’t Śrīla Prabhupāda guarantee us that if we engage in devotional service then naturally everything will lead to … (indistinct) … Will you speak on that.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, that is there, but following the process also is important, like ādau gurv-āśrayam [BRS 1.1.74] accepting a bona fide spiritual master is also part of the process. The actual objective is to surrender. Now, I will surrender to Kṛṣṇa, I will surrender to Prabhupāda, but I will not surrender to anybody else. No one is qualified. That is in a way saying that I am not going to surrender to anybody. That I will surrender to Prabhupāda is just an excuse, because now that Prabhupāda is not here I am not subjecting myself to his chastisement. If I surrender to somebody he will find my faults and he will chastise me. Prabhupāda is not going to do that, or if anybody has to do that let Śrīla Prabhupāda come and do that. So no, we need to surrender to somebody who is there. We may take our time to find that person, but at some point in time we have to find the person and surrender. Thank you.
Sraddha, do you have anything to say? You did not have any question? I was wondering.
Sraddha Dasi: … (indistinct) … I want to express my appreciation … (indistinct) … some of us were saying … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Was it helpful?
Sraddha Dasi: It was very helpful.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Thank you. Thanks for coming
Devotee: … (indistinct) … why is there so much emphasis on … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Let us deal with the first question. The importance of Bhagavad-gītā is there naturally, but then from Bhagavad-gītā where are we going? From Bhagavad-gītā we are going to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and at the end of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we are getting the Uddhava-gītā. In that we are getting the essence of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Is that all right? What is the next question?
Devotee: The second question is when the soul goes back to Godhead does he have to find his relationship with Kṛṣṇa … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Before you go back to godhead while you are practicing devotional service, through that practice your relationship with Kṛṣṇa will automatically be established. Then according to that relationship you will find yourself in the spiritual sky. That is the soul’s relationship with Kṛṣṇa and those relationships will be based on one of the five mellows that is why they are called sthāyi-rasa permanent mellows, śānta – neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parental and conjugal. In one of the five mellows the relationship will be established with Kṛṣṇa
Ashank: Guru Mahārāja thank you so much for making this retreat and I am seeing the importance of understanding Kṛṣṇa’s Vṛndāvana-līlā. So based on what you saying, what is the qualification required to begin studying of Kṛṣṇa’s vraja-līlā?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: What is the qualification to study Kṛṣṇa’s vraja-līlā? Go according to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s syllabus Bhagavad gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, gradually from First Canto go up to Ninth Canto and then enter into the Tenth Canto describing vraja-līlā. That is the qualification. Not jump from nowhere to Tenth Canto. No, Bhagavad-gītā, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, step by step come to the Tenth Canto.
Suresh: Mahārāja yesterday you were describing about the vānaprastha and the sannyāsī. There is a large difference between … (indistinct) … and what is being followed, so how do we understand this?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Because we in a different age in Kali-yuga. In Kali-yuga no one has the qualification to act like that. In Kali-yuga the arrangements are very different. In Kali-yuga we are used to just turn the switch and light comes up, open the tap water comes out and so forth. So we are leading a life in such a way that from there to just going to the forest, they will not survive for more than two days. Either they will run back to the city, to their home, or they will be eaten up by some animals there, because they are not accustomed to that kind of life. So the process presented by the ācāryas is very practical to the consideration of the people of that time. In Satya-yuga therefore the process was in a certain way. Tretā-yuga in some other way, Dvārapa-yuga in some other way and in Kali-yuga in another way. Therefore if you want to take vānaprastha, as I mentioned, you do not have to go to forest, just go to ISKCON temple and spend your vānaprastha there.
If you want to be a brahmacārī you do not have to behave in a certain way, like matted hair, wearing deerskin or tree bark and not brushing your teeth. These are the requirements for brahmacārīs. No, just join ISKCON and lead the life as a brahmacārī – distributing books, cleaning the temple and so forth. The main thing is not how we are living. The main consideration is how we are acting. The consideration is to shift your mind from matter to Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet. That is the goal of all āśramas and varṇas.
So just become Kṛṣṇa conscious and once again I will say Prabhupāda gave the process. Just follow the process. Although the scriptures are saying certain things, but Prabhupāda is saying something else and sometimes trouble starts in that way actually. Somebody thinks… It happened actually, that what Prabhupāda gave was not good enough. We went to India and we saw how the sādhus live. So they tried to introduce that standard and Prabhupāda was furious. Why Prabhupāda was furious? Because Prabhupāda knew what is going to be practical for these people in America and Prabhupāda gave the process accordingly. Not even the way people live in the āśramas in India. Prabhupāda created ISKCON in such a way that the people from the west will feel comfortably situated and execute their spiritual life. Therefore, just follow Śrīla Prabhupāda’s process. What Śrīla Prabhupāda gave is perfect. Just follow that and no change. There should not be any changing that system. This system should continue for generations after generations. Maṅgala-āratik at four-thirty. That is the ISKCON standard, all over the world. It is not that now it is at four-thirty, but twenty years after it is going to be five-thirty and then it will be six-thirty. No, four-thirty maṅgala-āratik. Chant sixteen rounds, Deity greeting, guru-pūjā, prasādam – breakfast. That is the standard that is being followed all over the world and that standard will continue as long as ISKCON will be there.
All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Transcription & Editing: Transcription & Editing : His Grace Śyāmānanda Kṛṣṇa Dāsa