37th Sannyāsa Anniversary Lecture Of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami

37th Sannyāsa Anniversary Lecture Of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami


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

The 37th Sannyāsa Anniversary Lecture Of His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami was given at the house of Dvarakadish Prabhu on 13 June 2014, Yorba Linda, California, US.

Announcer: You use this tumbler, offer little bit water, there is an instrument..Not too much…

Devotees: [laughter]

Announcer: Because … Guru Mahārājais does not want to get cold or whatever…Then offer petals and then offer obeisances. His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Mahārāja ki jaya! Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya! 37th sannyāsa anniverasary ki jaya! Hare Kṛṣṇa Kīrtana.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: should we sit here or …

Devotee: It’s really cold here..

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: No it’s alright. Ask them whether they would like to…

Devotees: His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami Mahārāja ki jaya! Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya! Gaur bhakti vṛndā ki jaya.Nitāi Gaur premānande Hari Haribol.

Devotees asking Guru Mahārāja where he would like to speak.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: It’s alright. It’s okay. Where it would be better here or… since you made arrangement here. Can everybody sit on the floor? Yes. Devotees making arrangements to accommodate all devotees.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: nāma oṁ vishnu-padaya kṛṣṇa-preṣṭhāya bhū-tale śrīmate bhaktivedānta-svāmin iti nāmine

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

śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrṇda

Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, KṛṣṇaKṛṣṇa, Hare Hare HareRāma, Hare Rāma, RāmaRāma, Hare Hare Hare Kṛṣṇa.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Yes, so my 37th sannyāsa anniversary. 37 years ago in Vṛndāvana Śrīla Prabhupāda gave me sannyāsa. It all happened very suddenly. I was serving Śrīla Prabhupāda and one day I got to know that Prabhupāda was thinking of giving me sannyāsa and I just took it on my stride…but then I got to know that there are some objections from some corners, like they were thinking that I was too new in the movement. Actually, I practically had been a few months in the movement and those days in Iskcon, sannyāsa meant a big thing. Those days, you know… Sannyāsa order was (thank you) sannyāsa order was a very big position in Iskcon, the senior most devotees, when Prabhupāda thought that they were qualified, Prabhupāda used to give them sannyāsa. And so the feeling was that I was too new for that, too new in the movement for that. I got to know about it and I was not bothered about it; like it is objection [Unclear]  and I don’t know what actually happened after that. Those days I used to cook for Śrīla Prabhupāda, so, I was cooking for Śrīla Prabhupāda and then in the meantime a contingency, a group of senior devotees went to Śrīla Prabhupāda to request him or to tell him not to give me sannyāsa and…

But then Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja and Bhavānanda Mahārāja just came to the kitchen and they told me that Prabhupāda decided to give me sannyāsa. So when this group of devotees went to Prabhupāda, later on I heard that Prabhupāda actually chastised them.

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And Śrīla Prabhupāda said a few things about me and I don’t want to repeat that, you know like… And the sannyāsa was going to be the day after that or two days after that. I don’t remember like it was actually the snāna-yātrā day, like today is the snāna-yātrā day so it’s an anniversary. And anyway that’s how it happened. Then Prabhupāda gave me the name Bhakti Charu Swami; prior to that I had the name Khirchor Gopīnāth Das; that was the initiation name that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave me. Prior to that Prabhupāda gave me first and second initiation during Māyāpur Gaur pūrṇimā festival; that was in March. So March, April, May so in after two and half, three months Prabhupāda gave me sannyāsa. And he gave me the name Bhakti Charu Swami; and afterwards Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja told me that this was the first time Prabhupāda gave ‘Bhakti’ title to a sannyāsī; like prior to that Prabhupāda didn’t give this ‘Bhakti’ title to anyone. I was serving Prabhupāda with Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja. Mainly I will say Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja’s guidance, Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja was Prabhupāda’s secretary and Prabhupāda made me the secretary for Indian affairs. So we used to live in the same room Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja and I, and Tamal Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja actually one day in a kind of joking way he was telling me which actually he mentioned also in a book that he wrote called Antya Līlā, ‘Prabhupāda Antya Līlā’; it’s a drama; in that book he wrote that – he also told me that he told me that I was like a demigod because the demigods right after their birth they develop their maturity [Laughter]; he said that my situation was like that first, second, sannyāsa in such a short time, becoming Prabhupāda’s secretary and those days only GBC’s used to be Prabhupāda’s secretary and… or the other way round also Prabhupāda’s secretary used to become GBCs. Anyway that’s how it all happened. Prior to that Prabhupāda also told me: One day I was sitting with Prabhupāda. You see I used to reply Prabhupāda’s letters and I used to read out the letters; Prabhupāda used to dictate the points and then I used to compile the letters and then take to Śrīla Prabhupāda and read them out; Prabhupāda used to make the corrections and then I used to write it on Prabhupāda’s letter head and Prabhupāda used to sign. So one day I brought Prabhupāda’s letters to be signed. Prabhupāda was having his oil massage at that time. So Prabhupāda signed the letters and I took the dictations and all. Prabhupāda was having the massage. So I just kept on sitting there thinking to be there as long as I can. And then Prabhupāda just started to speak to me. He told me that just offer this life to Kṛṣṇa. For so many life times you have been trying to enjoy and you can see that you are still not satisfied. So just offer this life to Kṛṣṇa. And then Prabhupāda kept on explaining that how this material nature is a prison house of sex desire. Normally in the prison one is tied down with chains but in this material nature the living entities are tied down with sex desire. Therefore to become free from this material bondage or to become free from this prison house one has to become free from sex desire. And then he explained elaborately what this sex desire is. You know like and in this way Prabhupāda very extensively spoke and then finally Prabhupāda told, “Just offer this life to Kṛṣṇa and see what happens. If nothing happens what’s the loss? It’s just one life out of so many.

Devotees: [Laughter]

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So why not just see; offer it to Kṛṣṇa and see what happens.” So in this way Prabhupāda kind of indicated, you know and I had… so when I heard that Prabhupāda wanted to give me sannyāsa, I felt it was kind of natural, like Prabhupāda gave me enough indication that he wanted me to, you know, become free from material bondage. So in this way I had various occasions to feel that, you know, Prabhupāda was intending to give me sannyāsa. Then that afternoon, you see like I was cooking for Śrīla Prabhupāda [Laughter], right after the sannyāsa ceremony I went to the kitchen to cook for Śrīla Prabhupāda [Laughter]. So my life didn’t change but the ceremony was very nice. Prabhupāda did not perform the fire sacrifice. The fire sacrifice was performed by senior sannyāsīs. After that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave me the – I went to ŚrīlaPrabhupāda’s room accompanied by all these devotees and then Prabhupāda gave me the daṇḍa, sannyāsa daṇḍa then Prabhupāda gave me the sannyāsa name Bhakti Charu Swami and then he gave me the sannyāsa mantra and he instructed how to chant the mantra and then the devotees had a kīrtan in Prabhupāda’s room and that was a very, very ecstatic kīrtan like devotees were dancing… So anyway right after that I went to the kitchen to cook for Śrīla Prabhupāda. So in the afternoon I was sitting with Śrīla Prabhupāda; You see like, sometimes Prabhupāda used to sit up on his bed; those days Prabhupāda’s health was not very good, he was quite sick. He was sitting on the bed and I was sitting on the floor and Prabhupāda told me, “So now you are a sannyāsī. Sannyāsī means guru. Sannyāsī means guru. So now you can initiate but as long as the spiritual master is alive, one does not give initiation that is a formality. So – anyway that’s one thing and another thing Prabhupāda told, I think the next day or so, you see I was often with Śrīla Prabhupāda and Śrīla Prabhupāda would often speak to me and Prabhupāda said something very, very you know very relevant, you know very wonderful. Prabhupāda said sannyāsī means to be completely free from sex desire. And he said that if he is alone with a woman, alone with a most beautiful woman in an island still he will not feel agitated or he will not feel, yes agitated by sex desire. So this is how Prabhupāda gave the indication like what sannyāsa actually meant.

Another time I asked Prabhupāda; sannyāsa, generally sannyāsa had four stages: kuṭīcaka bahūdaka parivrājaka and paramahaṁsa. So I asked Prabhupāda why don’t we follow these four stages of sannyāsa. Then Prabhupāda said, “Our sannyāsa is for preaching. Our sannyāsa is just meant for preaching. So we don’t need to follow these different stages because it’s just for preaching. I mean our sannyāsa is to commit our body, our mind, and our words for spreading Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.” So that is what Śrīla Prabhupāda told me and that is what I am trying to do [Laughter] since then. And yes by Prabhupāda’s mercy I have been able to maintain that order for last 37 years. Anyway so this is my sannyāsa life. And it’s all I see everything as ŚrīlaPrabhupāda’s mercy. As far as qualification is concerned, I have nothing. It’s Śrīla Prabhupāda’s mercy that what’s I am made of and in a way I can see that Śrīla Prabhupāda gave me everything, like my life actually began after I came to Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. That’s how I look at it. The other life was just waste of time.

Once I told Prabhupāda about that. I was telling Prabhupāda and like I was telling about the difficulties; like you see my mother died when I was very young, I was eight years old and since then you know, life was completely different you know that; like my father lost interest in everything he was a successful person but after my mother’s death you know, he lost interest in everything and actually I was brought up in the house of my aunts. Anyway so I was… Then Prabhupāda just mentioned that whatever happened it was Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement to bring me here [Laughter]. It was all Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement and in a way I can see that; you know like you know starting from that point: had my mother not died young, you know life would have been completely different. And probably it would not have been possible for me to… I didn’t have a family life, much of a family life and anyway so I feel extremely fortunate that I came to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s lotus feet and not only got the shelter but got so much from him. Like I was telling Dvarkadish when he was driving here. Like I get to hear devotees, you know so many devotees they are Prabhupāda ‘s disciples but didn’t get a chance to speak to Śrīla Prabhupāda. You know they went, they flew all the way from America to India just to have a glimpse of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Just to get to see Śrīla Prabhupāda especially the last few months and at that time I had the opportunity to be with Śrīla Prabhupāda twenty four hours a day. And not only that every night one of us used to be with Śrīla Prabhupāda those of us who were serving him and my shift was from 12 to 2 and often Śrīla Prabhupāda couldn’t sleep at night and those nights Prabhupāda would just speak and when I recall those instructions, those speeches of Śrīla Prabhupāda, I see that they are such inconceivable spiritual wealth that I received from Śrīla Prabhupāda.

One night Śrīla Prabhupāda couldn’t sleep; I actually narrated it in one of the Vyāsa pūjā offering, I think 2012 or 2011 Vyāsa pūjā offerings. You see I was with Śrīla Prabhupāda and Śrīla Prabhupāda couldn’t sleep and Śrīla Prabhupāda was lamenting that there is so much to be done and he is so sick. So I naturally felt, like you know and I told Prabhupāda, “Prabhupāda what you have done is inconceivable. No one has ever achieved what you have achieved, so you should not think that something more to be done. You should relax.” Prabhupāda said, “No, what I have done is 50 percent and the other 50 percent is to establish varṇāśrama.” And then he started to explain that… he said Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is… he said that not everybody will become devotees. Those who will not become devotees for them we need varṇāśrama. Engaging people according to their propensities, that is going to gradually bring them to the platform of devotional service. And then he explained that in a mass the general population will act under guṇa and karma. Like they have their inherent karmic reactions and they will function accordingly in the modes. Those who are in the mode of goodness, those who are in the mode of passion, those who are in mixed mode of passion and ignorance and those who are in mode of ignorance. These are the four classes of people, four varṇas. Those who won’t become devotees we need to structure them, that’s how the society will have its structure and so this is how in this way Śrīla Prabhupāda gave so many wonderful instructions and that’s why my understanding is…

The way people think of varṇāśrama in Iskcon is very different from my understanding of varṇāśrama. My understanding was Prabhupāda was speaking of varṇāśrama you know, across the nation, like it’s the whole world, like you know it’s not just farm community with twenty five families you know, making varṇāśrama system like that is not what is going to match Śrīla Prabhupāda’s achievement. What Śrīla Prabhupāda achieved you know, to match that you know we have to think of or the match…what will match it? The whole world has to become you know the whole world is following varṇāśrama or at least you know one country is following varṇāśrama.

Then Prabhupāda, anyway the king you know Prabhupāda pointed out that in democratic society you can’t have varṇāśrama. varṇāśrama means you know the kings are ruling the country. So see in democracy there is no room for varṇāśrama. So in order to establish varṇāśrama democracy has to go. And in a way I saw later on like when Prabhupāda went to meet Indira Gandhi, Prabhupāda carried a proposal and you know what the proposal was: the ministers are Brahmins, only the brahminical people are ministers. Then Prabhupāda pointed out that let Sañjaya Gandhi become the king [laughter]. You know…but Prabhupāda could not discuss with her. You know he took the notes. The notes were there you know the day before that Mujibur Rehman got assassinated. So Indira Gandhi was in a very disturbed mood you know. So she met him but they couldn’t have a discussion. So here we can see Prabhupāda was proposing you know to establish monarchy. Okay so that is what happened to me and

Devotee: why did Prabhupāda give you the name Khirchor Gopīnāth?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: When or why?

Devotee: Why?

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Why! I didn’t ask Prabhupāda [Laughter] because that’s the name of Kṛṣṇa. Generally you get the… you become a servant of Kṛṣṇa. And Khirchor Gopīnāth is Gopīnāth who stole khīr for Madhvendrapurī in Remuṇā. So that shows how the Lord is so kind to his devotees. His devotee wanted to have the taste of the kkir means condensed milk, you know cooked milk, cooked down milk, khīr but then MadhvendraPurī realized that even before the offering was made, he desired to have the khīr so he felt so bad that he left the temple and went to the marketplace and slept there. Market place means in the villages in India one area they have kind of a small you know shades where people come with their commodities during the day, twice a week actually they come and is called haat. So those places at night are completely empty, so Madhvendra Purī went there to take rest. In the meantime the pūjārī had a dream at night. Gopīnātha woke him up and told him that, “There is Madhvendra Purī; take a pot of sweet rice, I mean not sweet rice, khīr to give him.” He said, “All the khirs have been distributed.” He said, “No I kept one aside. It’s behind my cloth, behind my dhotī.” So the pūjārī took bath and went to the temple room and he found that behind Gopīnātha’sdhotī there is a pot of khīr. So he took the khīr and went out and started to call out Madhvendra Purī and told him what happened. So because Gopīnāth stole khīr for Madhvendrapurī so Gopīnāth is known as Khirchor Gopīnāth. Chor means ‘thief’; the one who stole khīr, that Gopīnāth.

Devotee: Should …for example the new devotees who are joining the movement in the congregation should we train them according to their capacity …. His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: They are devotees you know and Prabhupāda said, “Not that everyone will become devotees. Those who will not become devotees for them we need varṇāśrama.” So those who are becoming devotees they are above varṇāśrama. Whether one is in congregation or temple, they are above varṇāśrama but those who won’t become devotees. Now who will structure that? That’s the point. So therefore we need a king. Brahamanas will not structure that. The king will structure that. He will recognize the brāhmaṇas. And they.you know will be treated with utmost respect. And those who will be traders those who wil…l the warriors they are kṣatriyas; those who are traders the king will give them protection and they will pay tax. And the rest will be śūdras. Whereas in democratic structure there is no room for that. Everybody is the boss. Who will decide the varṇa? Somebody has to structure that. So that responsibility comes to the government. But in democracy the government can’t do that. Democracy is by the people, for the people, and so forth. But if there is a king, you know the king can decide. Okay you are vaiśya and you know he will provide opportunities for them. Like those who want to do trading, supply the need they will be the vaiśyas and the thing is the king will give them support and facilities and they have to pay tax to the king. And the śūdras they will be just working and the scriptures are actually saying that you know. Prabhupāda also elaborately explains that in his purport. He is describing Bhīṣmadeva’s passing away. Bhīṣmadeva is instructing Yuddhistir Mahārāja. Prabhupāda elaborated that from Mahābhārata, taking it from Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata have that thing more extensive. And that is saying about the śūdras. The śūdras shouldn’t have money. The śūdras shouldn’t get money. They should simply have their necessities fulfilled and Prabhupāda said that, “If the śūdras get money then they will use it in intoxication, gambling and women.” That’s what is happening because they are not intelligent enough; they don’t know what to do what not to do which means if they have the facility then they will end up doing wrong things. Like today’s world you can see what’s happening: all the śūdras have so much money. And where they are spending the money? In casinos, in brothels and in wine shops, bars. So you know these are the three most, you know intoxication, illicit sex and gambling. So he is saying that and today you can see the bigger the śūdra, the more successful he is. The movie stars they are śūdras, actors and actresses, entertainers. Entertainers you know they are śūdras and they are the most prominent people, right? Then you know athletes [laughter]; you know they are like all these baseball players, football players, rugby players, they make so much money. And people are just you know because they are śūdras, all they understand is entertainment. Their entertainment is you know watching these kinds of games of frivolous activities. Whereas a real kṣatriya you know he won’t get into frivolous activity; he will get into battle field and fight, not play with balls and bats [laughter]; he will fight, he will play with swords, you know with spears and bows and arrows. And the vaiśyas, you know they are interested in making money, in making profit. And they will earn it. They will go to one place, buy the thing, collect the thing and bring it to the place where it is needed. Like they will run a lot of risk in doing that and the king will give them protection and that’s why they will give the tax. So that is the real human society, varṇāśrama. But look at today’s society what is happening? Only Kṛṣṇa is bringing some sanity in the society otherwise there is no sanity in the society. Okay. Devotees: clapping and rejoicing.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Any question?

Devotee: very personal, I mean you were cooking for Prabhupāda. Did you learn all the cooking from him or did you learn from somebody else? His

Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Well most of the things I learnt from Śrīla Prabhupāda. Prabhupāda used to tell what he wanted to have. You know in the morning I used to ask Śrīla Prabhupāda what he would like to have and I would cook it and he would tell me what to cook and how to cook. And sometimes he told me to repeat what he told me to cook and if I didn’t cook properly then he would chastise me. He would tell me that personally I taught you how to cook it and you forgot. Yes Prakāśānanda you have a question.

Devotee: Guru Mahārāja I am having a question but I was thinking you are having a cold you might want to go inside.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: It’s okay.

Devotee: I have seen Guru Mahārāja in Abhay Charan… sannyāsīs when they have been given the initiations, they have a.. daṇḍa and I wanted to understand the significance of that and I have also observed that when sannyāsīs go to offer obeisances, first the daṇḍa is touched to the ground and after that they do a full daṇḍavat.

His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: The daṇḍa is actually representing himself, the personality. This is called tridaṇḍa; tri means ‘three’ which means the body, mind and words( speech) are offered in the service of Kṛṣṇa. A sannyāsī’s body, mind and words are offered in the service of Kṛṣṇa. No personal interest [laughter] all for Kṛṣṇa [laughter]. Yes, maybe we can go inside. It’s getting a little cold. Thank you very much. Dvarkadisha, thank you for organizing this program and inviting everyone.

Devotee: It’s a very coincidence. It came after..

Transcripion: Anonymous Helper
Editing: Rāmānanda Rāya Dāsa