31 May Uddhava-gītā US Retreat – Day 2 – Evening Lecture
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
Founder-Ācārya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Day 2 – Evening Session, Given By His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami – Uddhava-gītā Retreat – Gita-Nagari US, 31 May 2013
Chapter 17 Description Of The Varṇāśrama System
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So now Kṛṣṇa will speak about varṇāśrama. You first want to hear about vānaprastha-āśrama or gṛhastha-āśrama? [Laughter] Anyway, I will start with vānaprastha-āśrama. Prepare yourself for that. And then we will go into the responsibilities of gṛhastha-āśrama.
So first Kṛṣṇa is speaking about the varṇas, the description of the varṇāśrama-system. In Satya-yuga there was only one varṇa or one social order and that order was known as haṁsa. In Satya-yuga there was no brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra as such. There was only one social order and that was known as haṁsa. And in that age men were naturally engaged in pure devotional service. Everyone was automatically dedicated to pure devotional service. And since everyone was perfect, that age was known as? What is the other name of Satya-yuga? Kṛta-yuga. Because everyone was perfect at that age it was known as Kṛta-yuga. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, people used to perceive Him in the heart through the process of meditation. They were so pure that they could see the Lord in the heart. However in Treta-yuga the Supreme Personality of Godhead created the four varṇas. Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavad-gītā: “Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ.” In Satya-yuga because everyone was completely pure, everyone was worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So the effect of guna and karma was not so diverse. Everyone was engaged in pure devotional service. By nature they were naturally austere; they were naturally situated in meditation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But in Treta-yuga the division started: four varṇas and āśramas which prescribed material and spiritual duties for the different members of the society. And how were these varṇas prescribed? Kṛṣṇa mentions guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ. Guna, how many guṇas are there in the material nature? Three guṇas: sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa. So those who are influenced by the modes of goodness, what is their nature like, what is their natural characteristic like? They are automatically, they are naturally spiritually inclined. Therefore they are brāhmaṇas. Then those who are influenced by the mode of passion, what was their nature like? The mode of goodness leads one to knowledge, the mode of passion leads to action. When people become active it is due to the mode of passion. And when one is influenced by the mode of passion, then what does one naturally want to do? He wants to enjoy. Not only the human beings are influenced by the modes, even the animals are influenced. Which animal is influenced by the mode of goodness? The cow. And have you noticed the nature of the cow? What is the nature of the cow? So peaceful, so gentle. It just eats grass and gives milk, the most valuable product. It takes nothing and it gives the greatest benefit. That is the mode of goodness. And which animal is in the mode of passion? The lion. So have you seen the nature of a lion? Just compare the nature of a cow and a lion. Completely different. This is how the modes influence the living entities. In the mode of goodness one becomes peaceful, gentle, thoughtful, meditative, withdrawn, yet rendering the greatest benefit. Whereas in the mode of passion one is trying to get whatever he wants. At the same time he is noble. Look at the nature of a lion. The lion is a very noble animal actually. A lion will not kill any other animal if it is not hungry. If the lion is not hungry, the lion won’t attack any other animal. Rather the lion will give protection. Kṣatriyas are like that. The word kṣatriya means? kṣatat trāyate iti kṣatriya. Kṣat means injury. The one who protects the society and the members of the society from injury, he is a kṣatriya. The kṣatriya gives protection. In one hand he wants to enjoy but at the same time he is there to give protection. Whoever surrenders unto him, he says: “Don’t worry, I will give protection.” He will even give his life to protect his subordinates. That is a real kṣatriya. In one hand they have a very, very intense desire to enjoy, but at the same time they are there to give protection. And he is very valiant, heroic, he is very powerful and he is fearless, that is a kṣatriya. And then there are some people, those who are in the mixed mode of passion and ignorance. Due to passion they want to enjoy. But because of the mixed mode of passion and ignorance, they don’t have the strength of a kṣatriya. Therefore what do they do? You see, the difference between a vaiśya is that the vaiśya will buy what he wants to enjoy, with money he will get it, while the kṣatriya will get it with his strength. Like you have seen in Mahābhārata specially, a kṣatriya prince likes a girl and he will go and pick her up. And it won’t be easy for him. He won’t steal the girl in the middle of the night. He will do it in the broad daylight when everyone is around and his mood will be: “Okay, I am claiming her, if anybody wants, he can stop me. And he will fight, he will fight. And by defeating others in that battle he will claim his princess. Like you have seen Arjuna, you have seen Kṛṣṇa, you have seen Bhīṣma. He of course would not get these three girls, Ambā, Ambikā and Ambālikā for himself. He got them for his brother, Vicitravīrya. His brother was young, so he went and he claimed. He said: “Look, I am Bhīṣma, son of Śāntanu, I have a brother, so for my brother I am claiming these three girls. If anyone wants, he can stop me. He can try to stop me. And that’s what happened. He picked up these three girls on his chariot and as he drove the others attacked him, surrounded him. And Bhīṣma alone fought with all of them and defeated them. Although the others were also powerful kṣatriyas also but Bhīṣma defeated them all. Similarly when Kṛṣṇa defeated Rukmiṇī, the same thing happened. Arjuna claimed Subhadrā, the same thing happened. He fought. And Subhadrā was driving the chariot, expressing her accepting of Arjuna. These are the kṣatriyas. But a vaiśya does not really have that kind of strength and valor. Therefore the vaiśya makes money. How does he make money? You know what is the definition of business according to Vedic standards? Making profit by catering to the needs of the society. You make your money, a vaiśya is meant to make money but he is catering to the need of the society. The society needs food. A vaiśya will supply that – krishi – by cultivation of land. He will supply food, go-rakṣā, and he will bring things form different parts of the world and then sell them. He will buy things from the place where it costs nothing and he will bring things to the place where it costs a hell of a lot, I am sorry, [laughs] where it costs a lot of money. That is a vaiśya’s business: krishi, go-rakṣā and vanisha: “Business”, business is you get the things where it is needed and you make your profit. They would do things, like simple things, like salt. They would go to the ocean where there is an abundance of salt and bring it to the in-land. In the in-land you don’t get no salt. The salt costed him nothing and he would sell it to them at a very high price. This is the vanisha, business, trading. But unfortunately what is today’s definition of business? See what actually happens: catering to the demand. What are the demands of the society? Food, clothes, jewelries etc. But now, what are they doing? They create an artificial demand through the publicity, advertisements, through the media, they are creating artificial demands and they are selling their product. They are creating a product and they create a demand for that and they are making their profit. And you know what is the modern day definition of business? The actual definition of business is catering to the demand of the society, catering to the need of the society and make profit. Todays’ definition of business is: “Business is the noble art of cheating people.” It’s a noble art of cheating people. They are cheating people but they are legally cheating people. The more expert you are in cheating the better business man you are. And catering to the demand of the society. And what has become the biggest demand in today’s society? Meat, intoxication, prostitution and gambling. From that you can see what is the state of affairs in this world. The four sinful activities have become the biggest business. This is how it shows how the society is degrading. And that’s why there is such a need of properly establishing the varṇāśrama-system. So vaiśya caters to the needs of the society. They are needed. Somebody has to bring what we need in the society. They are bringing. And then śūdras, they don’t have the independent ability; they don’t have the ability to become independently engaged. Therefore they have to function under others, specially the four higher classes, they are actually catering them. In this way the śūdras act under the guidance of either a brāhmaṇa, a kṣatriya, or a vaiśya.
Then it comes to the brahmacārī order. Some members of the higher classes, that means brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya and vaiśya they will accept initiation, they will accept a bonafide spiritual master and take initiation. A sacred thread he will accept at that time, yajna-upavita. They should go and live at the gurukula, live with the guru and receive instructions from the spiritual master. With a pacified mind the student should absorb himself in study of the Vedas. He will get initiated and become qualified to study the Vedas. And by studying the Vedas he receives the knowledge and then only he is qualified as a brāhmaṇa. Brahma janatā iti brāhmaṇa. One who has received the spiritual knowledge he is a brāhmaṇa. He must regularly perform worship at the three junctions of the day. Brāhmaṇas chant gāyatrī three times a day. These three times are called sandhas, the conjunctions, three conjunctions. When the night is turning into the day, one sandha and then the forenoon is turning into the afternoon, second sandha, then the day is turning into night that is the third sandha. In these three sandhas he should perform his worship of the Lord by chanting the mantra: ‘dhyāyan stuvaṁs tasya yaśas tri-sandhyaṁ vande guroḥ śrī-caraṇāravindam.’
Brahmacārī life has been described here. Such a pure life. He accepts for his maintenance whatever remnants of the Lord he is granted. He should render menial service to his spiritual master by massaging his feet and worshiping him and he should avoid all sense gratification and strictly maintain the vow of celibacy. With his mind, body and words, he should worship the Supreme Lord in the form of the Supersoul in the way prescribed for him. For a brahmacārīs seeing or touching women and the conversation or sports in the form of sports in the association of women are absolutely disallowed. Everyone is also advised to always remember that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supersoul dwelling within the hearts of all. Anyone who wants to make spiritual advancement must remember that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is residing in everyone’s heart. With that understanding one should deal with everybody. When we deal with each other with that understanding, then naturally peace and prosperity will prevail. Our attitude towards others will become most respectful. People speak of nonviolence but real nonviolence will be possible only when we see the Supreme Personality of Godhead is present in everyone’s heart. Otherwise it is simple body consciousness. After studying different aspects of the Vedas, a brāhmaṇa who has material desires may take permission from the spiritual master and enter family life. Otherwise if he has no material desire he may become a vānaprastha or a sannyāsa. The proper order of succession should be followed in changing from one spiritual order to the next.
Now the instructions on householders. So it is from brahmacārī life entering into household life. Not bachelor life to household life. One who wishes to enter the household order should accept a wife who is of the same social caste, class, who is not objectionable and who is somewhat younger in age. The wife should be younger in age. The obligatory duties of the three classes were twice borne: the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas are worship of the Lord, study of the Vedas and giving in charity. Three higher classes, worship of the Lord, study of the Vedas and giving in charity. Occupational duties of accepting charity, teaching others and performing sacrifice for others are the privilege of the brāhmaṇas alone. The brāhmaṇas duty is to accept charity, teach and perform sacrifice for others. The brāhmaṇas’ occupation has been described as pathan, pāthan, yajan, yājan, dāna and pratigraha. Pathan: study, pāthan: teach, yajan: performing sacrifices and conduct sacrifices. Giving in charity and also accept charity. If a brāhmaṇa considers that his consciousness is contaminated by such activities, he may sustains his existence by collecting grains from the fields. Some brāhmaṇas would not even want to take such help from others, mainly kṣatriyas and vaiśyas. Sometimes they may consider: “Why should I take money from anybody?”Like the way Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī felt. His father was sending a lot of money. And he considered: “Why should I take money from my father? After all he is a materialist. And taking money from him will contaminate my consciousness.” Although with this money he was feeding Caitanya Mahāprabhu and other Vaiṣṇavas but he stopped taking money. So in this way at some stage a brāhmaṇa may not want to take such help from others. At that stage what should he do? He would just go and collect grains from the field. What kind of grains do you get in the field? After harvesting the grains that are lying in the fields, he would pick them up. It is called ulcha-vritti. Some brāhmaṇas were like that. Prabhupāda mentioned that Cāṇakya was such a brāhmaṇa. Prabhupāda also said that in today’s world Cāṇakya was actually the last brāhmaṇa. He was very upright, very determined, very learned and very detached. He made a king, he made Chandragupta the king, but when he saw that he became a little disrespectful towards him, he left. And when Cāṇakya’s guidance was not there Candragupta’s dynasty fell apart. That is the support of a brāhmaṇa. In de Vedic time the kings used to be guided by the brāhmaṇas. They would guide them so much so that even when they would go to a battle, they would guide them. No, this is not the right time, don’t go now. They were so wise. I mean they knew perfect astrological science. From astrology they could figure out what would be the outcome and they would say: “Don’t go today, wait for your time and then he would guide him in an auspicious moment: “Okay, now go and fight with him.” So when somebody has someone to guide like that life becomes so much easier. Therefore the kṣatriyas in the early India were always guided by the brāhmaṇas Ministers were always brāhmaṇas. Śrīla Prabhupāda also when he went to meet Indira Gandhi, Prabhupāda also proposed that make only the brāhmaṇas the ministers. Prabhupāda also made that in India, there are no brāhmaṇas, only he was making some brāhmaṇas in Iskcon, the real brāhmaṇas you find only in Iskcon. So what Prabhupāda actually meant, that let the Iskcon devotees become the ministers. Prabhupāda didn’t say that, I mean I am just concluding. Real brāhmaṇas, not some caste brāhmaṇas, Prabhupāda was very critical about, I mean I am sure there are some brāhmaṇas here, please don’t mind. Prabhupāda used to give an example, very proud I am a brāhmaṇa. See my brāhmin thread, but what I am doing? I am a clerk in somebody’s office. Or in some cases Prabhupāda also pointed out that in Calcutta there is a big market place called Burra Bazaar. In Burra Bazaar you find some thela walas, they carry the push cart; they drive, they pull the push carts; he is wearing a brāhmin thread and working as a labor. That is not brāhmaṇa. Brāhmaṇa means according to qualification; qualification means one who is an expert in Vedic wisdom that is the quality of a brāhmaṇa.
The quality of a brāhmaṇa again has been pointed out here. A brāhmaṇa who is properly fixed in his personal duty, rejects all insignificant material desires, always serves the Vaiṣṇavas and is under the protection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The householder should study the Vedas every day and maintain his wards with money honestly earned by his own occupation. As far as possible, he should execute the worship of the Lord by ritual sacrifices. Remaining unattached to material life and fixed in devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a householder may finally take the order of vānaprastha, so that he can fully involve himself in the Lord’s worship. If he has a grown son, he may directly take to the renounced order of life.
Chapter 18: Vānaprastha And Sannyāsa:
Okay, so, I go to the next chapter now. Varṇāśrama is continuing. In this chapter, Kṛṣṇa is actually describing the duties of a vānaprastha and sannyāsa. Ready to hear? Well, maybe I should tell you before that to relieve you from your anxiety. The vānaprastha order that has been prescribed here is not possible for this age [Laughter]. Yesterday the question actually came up about how one should take vānaprastha and remember I pointed out that in this age accepting vānaprastha means joining an Iskcon temple. But then also there is a criteria that you must remember, when you join an Iskcon temple, make sure that, all your bank balance goes to Iskcon. Why I am saying it because one quite a wealthy person came and joined Māyāpura when Prabhupāda was here. And Prabhupāda asked when we reported, not I, I was there; someone reported to Prabhupāda that such and such person, very wealthy, he was a jeweler joined Iskcon. Prabhupāda asked: “Did he bring his money with him?” [Laughter] Then he said: “No, Srila Prabhupāda he didn’t give any donation so far. Then Prabhupāda said: “Then he is not serious.” And then Prabhupāda pointed out: “All my money is for my wife and my children and me for Iskcon. Let Iskcon take my burden and whatever I have, let my children and wife enjoy, that’s not serious.” And Prabhupāda predicted that he wouldn’t last for long and it was true enough, of course Prabhupāda said, it can never go wrong. And after few days his wife and children came and he gave up his vānaprastha and he went back. So, vānaprastha should be an attitude not where we are. It should be an attitude; I am offering myself to Kṛṣṇa.
Okay, when you are in household life you have certain, material responsibilities, you have to earn money, you have to save money but when you are leaving your household life, then what? Then whatever you have accumulated should go to Kṛṣṇa. Whatever you have should go to Kṛṣṇa and people used to do that, people used to give so much that recently one quite an insignificant temple in South India, when the government officials started to assess their assets, they found tons of gold, millions of dollars worth of jewelries. I am sure you all read that. Where did it come from? Because people donated to Kṛṣṇa. So that is the attitude of a real devotee. It is Kṛṣṇa’s, not mine. So when one takes to vānaprastha order, one should offer one’s wealth also to Kṛṣṇa.
One who is taking to the vānaprastha-stage should leave his wife. He should leave his wife at home in the care of his sons. Or else take her along and with a peaceful mind spend the third quarter of his life in the forest. Third quarter means? The duration of human life is one hundred years, divided by four is twenty five, twenty five to fifty, fifty to seventy five, and seventy five to hundred. ‘Pañcāśordhvaṁ vanaṁ vrajet’ after you become fifty years old; go to the forest, meaning accept vānaprastha. Should I ask you something just out of curiosity? How many of you are above fifty here? Does it say something? it’s time to hit the forest path? [Laughter] with your money, with your bank balance. Okay, make sure, ‘Pañcāśordhvaṁ vanaṁ vrajet.’ So first quarter is up to twenty five, second quarter, third quarter fifty to seventy five one should spend in this way either alone or along with his wife he should go to the forest. I am going to some important part, many other things, I don’t want to scare you. [Laughter] He should bathe three times daily in cold water and sleep on the ground. Where? Not in your bedroom floor but in the forest. Lord Rāmacandra did that when He went to the forest, the first night Lakṣmaṇa collected some dry leaves, put them together and Rāmacandra slept on that, a prince sleeping on a bed like that, just some leaves!
During the hot season he should stand beneath the fearsome heat of the Sun with fire blazing on four sides. During the rainy seasons he should stand in the midst of the downpour of the rain and during the cold winter he should submerge himself in water up to his neck. So this is how one actually frees himself from the attachment of the body. They were so powerful individuals that they could do that. In this age it won’t be possible and that’s why all these processes are not important Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave a very simple process. ‘Harer Nāma Harer Nāma Harer Nāmaiva Kevalam Kalau Nāsty Eva Nāsty Eva Nāsty Eva Gatir Anyathā’ ‘grihe thako vane thako sada hari bole dako’ whether you are staying at home or whether you are staying in the forest chant the Holy Name. So isn’t it a very simple process? We don’t really have to go through all that. Now do you want to hear about sannyāsa? [Laughter] Actually I will feel embarrassed to read that [Laughter]. Anyway we have to be honest.
The fourth order of life is meant for sannyāsa that means generally seventy five to hundred. One should develop complete detachment from attaining residence on different planets up to Brahmāloka. He should not have not any desire for elevation to higher planetary systems for greater sense gratification, that is the main point. Sannyāsī should not be interested at all in any kind of sense gratification even in the higher planetary system. Such wishes for material elevations are due to desire for the fruits of material activity. When one recognizes that endeavors to achieve residence on higher planets ultimately award only suffering, then it is enjoined that one should take to sannyāsa in a spirit of renunciation. The process of accepting sannyāsa involves worshiping the Lord with sacrifice, giving everything one possesses in charity to the priests and establishing within one’s own heart the various sacrificial fires. ‘Niragnir na cākriyaḥ’ from within he actually cultivates the sacrificial fire, not externally by performing the sacrifice. His whole existence becomes a sacrifice. That is a real sannyāsa.
For a sannyāsī, association with women or even the sight of women is more undesirable than taking poison. Do you remember when Caitanya Mahāprabhu was asked to meet King Pratāparudra, Caitanya Mahāprabhu mentioned that. Why? Because Pratāparudra it’s not only the association of a woman but the association of one who associates with women. So that’s why Mahāprabhu rejected. No, I can’t. Rather, for a sannyāsa it’s better to even drink poison than to see the face of a king because the kings are to be considered to be in an enjoying spirit. Except in emergencies, the sannyāsī should never wear more clothing than a loincloth or some simple covering over his loincloth. He should carry no more than his staff and water pot. Giving up all violence to living creatures, he should become subdued in the functions of his body, mind and speech. He should remain detached and fixed on the self and travel alone to such pure places as the mountains, rivers and forests. Thus engaged, he should remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead and dwell in a place that is fearless and not heavily populated.
So anyways these are the injunctions about a sannyāsī. Actually after getting sannyāsa, I asked Prabhupāda, why don’t we do all that? Then Prabhupāda told me: “Our sannyāsa is different.” Our sannyāsa is not that sannyāsa that we accept. Our sannyāsa is for the sake of preaching and then Prabhupāda explained that the sannyāsa order that we are following in Iskcon which was actually established by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura is simply to commit oneself completely in serving the Lord and spreading his glories. Our sannyāsa is called tridaṇḍa. These three daṇḍas signify body, mind and words. A sannyāsī’s body is completely dedicated to serve Kṛṣṇa, his mind is completely dedicated to remember Kṛṣṇa all the time and his speech is completely dedicated to glorify Kṛṣṇa or spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the sannyāsa that we are following in Iskcon and Prabhupāda pointed out that in order to do that, whatever is necessary we accept that. Actually in this instruction to Uddhava, Kṛṣṇa also mentions about the sannyāsa order, this order that we are following. I don’t know whether I will be able to go that far because tomorrow is going to be the last class. Anyway I will briefly mention that.
Song of the Avanti Brāhmaṇa
There was a brāhmaṇa in Avanti, Avantipur, Avanti, with a lot of pride I can say is Ujjain. So this Avanti brāhmaṇa, he was a very rich man but he was a miser. All he cared about is just to accumulate money and this money he would not spend for his family members or even for himself. He was such a miser. And as a result of that, his family members and his servants were quite disgusted with him and eventually this brāhmaṇa lost all his money. So, when he lost all his money then his family members started to treat him so badly that they eventually kicked him out of the house. So that time this brāhmaṇa realized that all the relationships in the material nature are simply based on financial dealings, money. And then he considered that actually the ultimate of goal of life is to take shelter of Mukunda and he renounced everything and accepted sannyāsa order. And when he was travelling, he was singing a song. That song is ‘etāḿ sa āsthāya parātma-niṣṭhām adhyāsitāḿ pūrvatamair maharṣibhiḥ ahaḿ tariṣyāmi duranta-pāraḿ tamo mukundāńghri-niṣevayaiva’ So now I have taken shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I have become fixed up on my spiritual goal by taking shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I have become fixed up on the spiritual path by taking shelter of The Supreme Personality of Godhead. The path that has been shown by the previous mahātmās, the personalities from the past, they have taken shelter of Kṛṣṇa and rejected everything and this is how they have accepted a spiritual path ‘pūrvatamair maharṣibhiḥ’ and following that path I will overcome the insurmountable portion of material nature, simply by taking shelter of the lotus feet of Mukunda ‘tamo mukundāńghri-niṣevayaiva’.
Prabhupāda pointed out: “That is the spirit of our sannyāsa order.” The purpose of our sannyāsa is to simply take shelter of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus Feet. And in this way, by taking shelter of Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet we will overcome, we will surmount, we will surpass the insurmountable ocean of material nature. So that is the order of sannyāsa that we are following in Iskcon.
Now this morning we also discussed about paramahaṁsa, no, yesterday we discussed about the paramahaṁsa avadhuta. Here is an anecdote of an avadhuta, characteristic of avadhuta described. A paramahaṁsa ok, now here we can also consider, the paramahaṁsa is also sannyāsa stage, the highest stage of sannyāsa. Sannyāsa has four stages. Kuṭīcaka, bahūdaka, parivrājaka and paramahaṁsa.
Kuṭīcaka is the first stage when one takes sannyāsa but lives near his house and sometimes his family members bring some food for him. Then the next stage he goes out and begs from door to door and that’s how he maintains himself. And then he wanders from one place to another preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness – Parivrājaka and then paramahaṁsa he is beyond this material modes, he is situated in transcendental nature. So these are the four stages of sannyāsa. The ultimate stage of sannyāsa is paramahaṁsa. A paramahaṁsa is not under the control of injunctions and prohibitions. Rules and regulations don’t apply to the paramahaṁsas. They don’t act according to the rules and regulation because we can consider rules and regulations are made to take us out of the material nature into the spiritual nature. So one who is situated in the spiritual nature does not need to follow rules and regulations. Rather he behaves on the spiritual platform, the pure spiritual platform. But then again, yesterday I also mentioned in response to somebody’s question, that like a personality like Srila Prabhupāda, a paramahaṁsa, he comes down to the platform of madhyama-adhikārī to preach. While preaching we have to follow the rules and regulations otherwise what example is set! And that is why paramahaṁsas cannot preach. They are too far out. Their activities are completely unpredictable. ‘nrityanti gayanti hasa tatha loko bajya’ he sometimes dances, he sometimes cries, he sometimes rolls on the ground, sometimes he laughs, without any consideration of what people are thinking about him. Loko bajyam what people are thinking about him is no consideration. He is simply acting in a way out of his intense love with Kṛṣṇa. That is how he behaves, that is the paramahaṁsa stage.
A paramahaṁsa is not under the control of the injunctions and prohibitions. He is a devotee of the Supreme Lord detached from external sense gratification and completely free from the desire of even subtle gratificatory goals as liberation, he is even beyond liberation. He doesn’t care about liberation he is an expert in discrimination and like a simple child. On one hand he is expert in making discrimination and at the same time he is simple as a child. He is free from concepts of pride and insult, although actually competent he wanders about like a dull person and although most learned he engages himself like an insane fool in incoherent speech.
So although he is the most learned he acts like a fool. Although he is most competent, he wanders about like a dull person. And although he is most learned and he behaves like an insane fool in incoherent speech and although fixed in the Vedas he behaves in an unordered fashion. His life is completely fixed on the Vedic wisdom, the Vedas but he is behaving as if he is not at all concerned about that and in an unordered fashion. He tolerates the words of others and never shows contempt for anyone else. He avoids acting as a enemy or mainly indulging in argument, he sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead in all creatures and also all living beings within the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although he has to make some effort to find food for maintaining his body he doesn’t become joyful when he finds something nor does he become depressed when not finding anything. Just like the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also not at all subjected to the orders of prohibition. Vedic wisdom by His sweet free will executes various prescribed duties. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead doesn’t have to act according to the rules and regulations of the scriptures, or following the prescribed duties still this paramahaṁsa does that just as the Supreme Personality of Godhead does. The Supreme Lord Himself, although not subject to the Vedic orders of prohibition by His own free will executes various prescribed duties, similarly the paramahaṁsa, even while on the platform of freedom from such subjugation to Vedic rules and prohibitions carries out various duties.
Another wonderful example of a paramahaṁsa is Jaḍa Bhārat. Jaḍa means retarded; apparently it looked like he is retarded but he was a pure devotee. In his previous life, he was king Bhārat, ruler of the entire earth planet. He left everything and went to the forest on the bank of the Gaṇḍakī river and there he became attached to a deer. As a king he gave up his kingdom he gave up his wife, children, everything but eventually he just became attached to a deer and due to his attachment to that deer, when he left his body he got the body of a deer. But although he was in the deer’s body he was a jatismar, he remembered his past life. In a body of a deer but his consciousness is still elevated and did not deteriorate. And therefore even as a deer he did not want to become entangled. He left his family, deer family; he went to an āśrama. And he used to stay near the āśrama and when the sādhus would discuss about Kṛṣṇa kathā he would sit there and attentively listen. Even as a deer he was fully Kṛṣṇa conscious and then his next life he was born in a brāhmaṇa family, exalted brāhmaṇa family but he started to behave like a retarded child because he didn’t want to develop any attachment. So that is another example of an avadhūta. Although he is most exalted but his behavior was like a retarded person. So much so that his brothers even cheated him. That’s what he wanted, not to develop any attachment to anyone. If he was a bright smart successful individual, very successful in life, then so many people would have become attached to him.
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura said he did not want to pursue his educational career. He dropped out actually. Probably he was one of the first drop outs. Everything begins in India. So Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura and why he did do that? Because he mentioned that if he is very successful in life then there will be a pressure to pursue materialistic goals, there will be pressure to… But if he is good for nothing then no one will press, put pressure. If he is very successful then so many fathers in law will come with the proposals for their daughters but if he is not successful nobody will come to him. So this is how sometimes the exalted devotees voluntarily do not pursue a materialistic way of life, do not endeavor for material success.
So here Jaḍa Bhārat’s attitude was something like that, like let me be completely useless. The only person who was attached to him was his father. And his father actually used to feel bad that my son is born in a brāhmaṇa family and he can’t even pronounce a mantra. What a disgrace! He tried to make him chant some mantra but he will pretend as if he cannot even pronounce a Sanskrit word but when his father died his brothers cheated him of the property inheritance. And not only that they started to engage him in all kinds of menial work and not only his brothers and sisters in law but even the neighbors used to take advantage of him because everybody thought that this character is a dodo. So let’s use him for all kinds of jobs, heavy work. And that’s what actually what they were doing. Sometimes they engaged him in guarding the fields at night because wild animals would come and destroy the crop at times. So there is a need for someone to stay in the field to drive the animals. How do they do that? They actually take some metal and they shake it like a bell and it would ring or they would have some kind of metal piece and they would beat it and the animals would run away. So Jaḍa Bhārat was doing that. And in the mean time some dacoits, they were looking for someone to offer sacrifice to goddess Kali. And they were looking for, actually they had somebody they got some person to sacrifice to Kali but somehow that person escaped. Now it’s the time to worship Kali and they could not find him, they have to find somebody and they found Jaḍa Bhārat in the middle of the fields; they said ok let’s take him and Jaḍa Bhārat did not protest. Okay, that is what the Lord wants? Let it be. But then you all know what happened. They bathed Jaḍa Bhārat and decorated him with hibiscus flowers. Hibiscus flowers, red hibiscus flowers are very dear to Kali just as Tulasi is very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa. Bel leaves are dear to Lord Shiva. Hibiscus is dear to Kali and so they put hibiscus garland on his neck and as they were about to chop his head off, Kali couldn’t tolerate that. She just appeared piercing her mūrti and she picked up that chopper with which they were about to sacrifice Jaḍa Bhārat and with that chopper she started to kill those dacoits. So that is how a pure devotee is protected by the Lord. Pure devotee is completely surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead just as Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura said ‘marobi rakhobi ja iccha tohara’ whether you want to protect me or whether you want to kill me it’s entirely up to You ‘ja iccha tohara’ whatever You desire. ‘Nityadāsa prati tuwa adhikara’ You have complete right upon Your eternal servant.
A person who desires his own best interest should take shelter of a bonafide spiritual master. Again we are coming back to that point. In whichever order of life we are in, especially brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaisya should take shelter of a bonafide spiritual master because spiritual master imparts the spiritual knowledge. ‘Divya jñāna hrde prokasito’ the transcendental knowledge is revealed in the heart by the mercy of a bonafide spiritual master. So time and time again it has been pointed out in the scriptures, even in Uddhava-gīta, we came across this instruction yesterday, Kṛṣṇa is saying that when we become serious in spiritual life we must surrender to a bonafide spiritual master. Again Kṛṣṇa is pointing out that anyone serious in spiritual life must take shelter of a bonafide spiritual master.
Filling his mind with faith, keeping free from enviousness, remaining fixed in devotion, the disciple should serve the spiritual master whom he should regard as non-different from the Supreme Lord, non-different from the Supreme Lord. When Prabhupāda was about to give initiation to a first group of devotees in New York, Prabhupāda mentioned that to them, the spiritual master should be treated as good as God and some of the devotees became quite, the expression they used was ‘freaked out’; they became very perturbed. What swamiji is saying we have to treat him like God but then again it was Kīrtanānanda Swami who explained to them, that he is not saying that you should treat him as God but as good as God. And Prabhupāda many times explained what it means, like… an agent. When you are seeing an agent, don’t you see the principal through him. For example, you go to, like you see many, like, Mercedes Benz, BMW, Toyota. So you go to buy a car. When you walk into that don’t you think that you have come to Mercedes Benz because he is an agent? The person who set that up, that is not Mercedes Benz but he is delivering Mercedes Benz goods. So because the spiritual master is giving Kṛṣṇa because he is the representative of Kṛṣṇa because he is the agent of Kṛṣṇa therefore he should be seen as non different from Him. Meaning what I want from Kṛṣṇa, I can get from him. To get Mercedes Benz you don’t have to go to Stuttgart in Mercedes Benz factory in Germany. Sitting in Portrayal, sitting in Gita Nagari you can walk into a Mercedes Benz showroom and get a Mercedes Benz car. Now this showroom is run by an agent. So that is how, that is the relationship between Kṛṣṇa and a spiritual master who is representing Kṛṣṇa.
For a brahmacārī the primary duty is service to the spiritual master. The main duties of a householder are protection to living beings and sacrifice. Householder’s business is to give protection to all living beings. Prabhupāda said that even the animals in the house, not only the domestic animals, even the animals in the vicinity of house should be treated or taken care of by householder. Prabhupāda said in the house area if there is a snake, the householder should take care of the snake also. He must take care that the snake is properly fed. So that is how broad minded the Vedic culture is. But we can see as opposed to that, what is today’s culture even the domestic animal like cow who gives so much milk, gives so much, so many facilities as soon as she is dry send her to the slaughterhouse, no compassion, no love. Actually what happened in today’s world? All the finer feelings have been lost because of meat eating and intoxication. Intoxication kills the finer feelings and that’s what makes people so cruel and so that is how unfortunate the world has become today.
So, different duties of different orders have been described in this way by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One acquires firm devotion to the Supreme Lord by always rendering service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead through one owns particular prescribed duty, by not engaging in the worship of any other personality, by thinking of any other creatures as the place of the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must see that everybody is a place of residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead because the Lord is there in their hearts. Here is the Lord in that body, so I must treat him accordingly. So more we develop that consciousness more will make spiritual advancement or vice versa the more we make spiritual advancement the more we will see the residence of Supreme Personality of Godhead in that person ‘sarva-bhuteshu yah pasyed bhagavad-bhavam atmanah’ in every living entity he sees the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Okay, so now we are left with about half an hour. Okay, does anybody have any question? Yes
Devotee: Thank you for the class, we learn [unclear]. My question is about, will he be stuck in his mind before he goes to Sri Kṛṣṇa’s dhāma [unclear] in the 13 days lapse some things happens to his soul before he goes back to Godhead.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Who said that?
Devotee: I was watching [Unclear] Mayapur.tv
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Mayapur.tv I don’t think so. Anyway the point is, his point is, I got your point, let me just that when one leaves his body after 13 days he goes to Kṛṣṇa’s pastimes, therefore my question is where did you get that? He said Mayapur.tv. Personally I don’t think… because that is not right. People those who are materially attached after leaving their body they can’t really go ahead to the next destination ( Jaya Sri Sri Rādh Dāmodar Ki Jaya, Jaya Sri Sri Gaura Nitai Ki Jaya) and they remain attached in their subtle body to the gross body. The subtle body remains attached to the gross body. The more attached one is the longer time it takes to become free. Therefore the śūdras, the śraddhā ceremony takes place after one month and generally brāhmaṇas the śraddhā ceremony takes place on the 13th day after 12 days on the 13th day.
Śraddhā ceremony, they make arrangements to help him to reach his next destination, this can be Yamalaya also. Most of the people go to Yamalaya after 13 days, right? Like but the devotees generally their śraddhā takes place after 3 days because they don’t have that kind of attachment. Whether they will go back to Godhead and all that needs proper preparation. Unless one is completely purified one will not be able to go back to Godhead. Not that just after death everybody goes to Godhead yes, a pure devotee may go back to Godhead straight away. Because he is already purified as I mentioned the other day a pure devotee is a person who is a pure spirit soul dwelling in this body that stage is called jīvan-mukta stage. So when he leaves his body after death then he goes back to the spiritual sky. Yes Kirtida?
Devotee: My question is that Caitanya Mahāprabhu was very much against Māyāvāda still He accepted sannyāsa diksha from a Māyāvādi that is Keśava Bhāratī. [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa in the māyāvāda order because those days the sannyāsa order meant in that order, which is is in Śaṅkarācārya order. Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa in that order because that was the custom those days but Caitanya Mahāprabhu by His teachings is defeating māyāvāda philosophy. That reminds me of one point also, I noticed some of you have shaved head but no śikhā. You know what shaved head no śikhā means? Shaved head no śikhā, that means māyāvādi. You know what our attitude towards māyāvādi is? Prabhupāda said a vaiṣṇava’s attitude towards māyāvādi is that when you see him with your clothes go into the water and take bath. So that is our attitude towards a māyāvādi. So whenever you shave your head, make it a point to keep a śikhā and I tell you it’s becoming a fashion nowadays. You see there was a time nobody thought of shaving his head especially in the western world nobody shaved his head, only Iskcon started the trend. Even the sādhus and gurus who came from India they were long haired hippies. Only Iskcon introduced this culture of shaving head and now you see so many people have shaved head. Especially when I go to the airport I am amazed to see so many people have shaved head. So Iskcon did it, it has become a trend, it has become a fashion. Now you keep your śikhā, that will also become a fashion. You see everybody is keeping śikha. So don’t be afraid or ashamed to keep śikhā. You looked strange when you have a shaved head but now people don’t think that shaved head is a strange sight. Similarly you may think śikhā will be strange. No, they will accept it and it will become a trend. And most important thing is don’t be ashamed of what you are doing. Because what you are doing is the best possible thing one can do. So why should you be embarrassed? And during Prabhupāda’s time everybody had shaved head. If the growth was more than two weeks Prabhupāda said it’s your hippy mentality coming out. Just two weeks growth, Prabhupāda said it’s a tendency to keep long hair. Iskcon means Vaiṣṇava. Vaiṣṇava means either shaved head or no care for hair. Let it become matted hair. Yes?
Devotee: Mahārāja you were mentioning about the four stages of life and in the third quarter of life one should take vānaprastha married at [Unclear] 35, children at 40 so responsibilities till 65 and so on so what is your advice?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Well no comment. [Laughter] Yadunath?
Devotee: In America lot of guys these days tough guys or bullies say that might is right, kṣatriyas are very noble where does the ability in taking another’s property or taking away a woman [Unclear] then also come across it is said that ksatriyas are hunters and meat eaters …[Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, well, meat eating is allowed for kṣatriyas but gambling in the age of Kali is forbidden, right! And besides that, in this present structure, in the democratic structure there is no room for kṣatriyas. You see a kṣatriya will have his own kingdom and a kṣatriya will have his own law not his law but the law it will be ordained by Manusamhita. So the point is in this age that is the most difficult thing to achieve, to establish the kṣatriya order. they are powerful no doubt they get what they want but at the same time they are guided by the brāhmaṇas. The kṣatriya culture got destroyed because first of all the brāhmaṇas became corrupt. When the kṣatriyas lost their respect for the brāhmaṇas they did not want to take their advice and besides that the brāhmaṇas were not qualified to give them advice so when the kṣatriyas became independent without the guidance of the brāhmaṇas then only the trouble started in the Vedic culture. Prabhupāda pointed out that since time immemorial India had been ruling over the entire world, the Indian kings and nobody actually had ever been able to enter India. No invader had been able to enter India because the Indian warriors, kṣatriyas were so powerful, it’s only about a thousand years ago that the invaders entered into India. Why? Because the kṣatriyas became weak and then what happened? Gradually foreign invaders, rulers came, they took over and now India is the biggest democracy. And Prabhupāda said democracy means demon crazy [laughter] and democracy, like just consider, democracy means of the people, by the people, for the people. Now people are ignorant. How the ignorant mass can elect a wise leader? And in this society, democratic society what happens? Nobody has the right to be on his own, everybody has fit into the structure of democracy of the people, for the people and so forth. Therefore, in order to order varṇāśrama dharma we have to properly establish, we have to first get rid of democracy. In varṇāśrama dharma there is a specific order. The kṣatriyas are ruling, not by the people by election but by his power, physical and military power a king establishes his kingdom and he is susceptible to be attacked by other kings and if other more powerful kings come then he will take over his kingdom. So in this way the most powerful king rules over the earth planet where all the other kings are subordinate to him. Right?
Now tell me in democracy is there any room for that? No, in democratic world there is no room for that. We are seeing how democracy is spreading but varṇāśrama does not promote democracy, varṇāśrama promotes monarchy and you know what are the semblances of kṣatriyas in this world today. The mafias are the only kṣatriyas and look at their way of behaving, you surrender to me and I will give you protection. I mean the real mafias, the good mafias, the Godfather. [Laughter] So that is the mood of a kṣatriya, whoever surrenders unto them, okay, you are my man I will give you all protection but if somebody comes up with that attitude, what will happen? This system will immediately crush him. He has to function outside the law. But a real kṣatriya will take over, establish his kingdom, set up his ministers guided by his spiritual master and that’s how he will rule over the kingdom, that is varṇāśrama. Alright? Yes
Devotee: And the example of taking a woman, is that alright [Unclear]?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You see that when that is the standard, then it’s alright. You know if the father says that my daughter has the freedom to select her own husband, he invites all the kings, he invites the kings, not that someone surreptitiously comes and steals his daughter. Like there is big assembly and all the kings have assembled there. Now it’s the choice of the princess whom she wants to select and the kṣatriya spirit is like that. If somebody takes away something that I wanted I will try to stop him, and there was a fight.
Devotee: Mahārāja it is said that after the death, whatever you had in your mind at the last moment of passing away, you get another birth. But when somebody dies in India we have Garuḍa Purāṇa. [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swam: I didn’t hear the last word what you said
Devotee: In śraddhā ceremony
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: śraddhā ceremony Yes.
Devotee: In śraddhā-ceremony there is a custom 13 days and at that time Garuḍa Purāṇa is read. Like you were saying not everybody will go to Goloka they will go to Yamarāja. So on one hand I would say that another womb is ready to receive that person according to his last wish, so I was thinking [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay, good point, I got your point. So, one will get his body according to his last thought. What will be his last thought? His last thought will be where his deepest attachment is. Don’t I mean you asked a question, let me answer it. His last thought is going to be where his deepest attachment is and then accordingly, he will get… The nature will make arrangements to prepare him for his next body. It is not that immediately after death one gets the new body. He gets prepared for the next body. In most cases as I said, say for example, somebody behaved like a pig throughout his life; he is now prepared to get a pig’s body. So then he goes he is taken to Yamalaya and he is Yamalaya he is subjected to various kinds of treatment. One of the treatments is, say for example, he is plunged into a pool of stool, yes, and naturally it’s disgusting but eventually he begins to like the stool, he likes stool, he began to like it. Now he is ready for a pig’s body; he is placed in a appropriate womb; he comes out as a pig body and all he does he looks for stool everywhere. So, this is how according to the subtle body nature shapes it. Yes, Shyamla…
Devotee: Mahārāja, two questions are on the list, one is [unclear] pure devotion to Kṛṣṇa I was wondering we come to this material world when we turned away from Kṛṣṇa, how is it that they [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay, okay did everybody hear the question? It is not like that everybody is born in Satya-yuga, right? The individuals who have that kind of mentality, only they are born in Satya-yuga. You get the point. There are innumerable souls with various kinds of propensities. Now some are very exalted, some are very spiritually elevated, some are very spiritually devoted to Kṛṣṇa. Those souls get a chance to be born in Satya-yuga. Similarly those who are extremely fallen they get a chance to be born in Kali-yuga. Kali-yuga is the time for most fallen living entities but fortunately these most fallen living entities get a chance to be elevated to the highest spiritual destination. That is the unique opportunity for the age of Kali.
Devotee: Mahārāja, my second question is that, how is that, there is an unlimited stream of people coming from the spiritual world. Is it that because Kṛṣṇa continues to create the living entities or [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: To begin with the living entities are innumerable; what to speak of living entities even Kṛṣṇa’s incarnations are innumerable; if Kṛṣṇa is so innumerable can you imagine what is the condition of living entities? So it is innumerable, right? And the living entities are, they are from the spiritual sky, they are not generated in the material nature. But what actually happens? It is due to the glance of the Supreme Lord, glance of Mahā-Viṣṇu, the material nature becomes activated and it is through His glance that the living entities come to the material nature. And when He withdraws His glance, all the living entities go back to Him, but they go back to Him in an unconscious state, like in asleep, they are there, but they are fast asleep. So that is their state, although they went to Mahā-Viṣṇu, but they are not aware that they are with Mahā-Viṣṇu. Yes you have a question? Yes, Mother I will take your question afterwards, Mother Kṛṣṇa Priya.
Devotee: [Unclear] as you were speaking devotional service to be pure, unalloyed to the Supreme Lord, you know it seems to be… we find at times..the devotees although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is manifest.. This is not engaging in devotional service… [unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes as individuals we have the facility, we have the option, how we are going to behave, The Lord is here, now the question is whether we will look at Him or whether we look away from Him. That prerogative we have. Now when we recognize we should serve Him, then we get an opportunity to serve Him and that’s one consideration and the other consideration is, you see when a great spiritual personality comes he creates that spiritual tidal wave and as a result of that so many people become attracted. For example, during Śrīla Prabhupāda times, so many people became attracted. It is because the tidal wave that Śrīla Prabhupāda created. But after Prabhupāda’s disappearance gradually it faded away but then again it is coming up. Gradually it’s coming up. Especially in those countries whether Kṛṣṇa consciousness was there, where we could not go, like the communist countries, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is flourishingly so wonderfully. So we are going through a wave. The movement goes through waves, wave means going up and coming down. So this movement is also going like that, went up, came down, it will go up again, it will go up again. And I am sure Kṛṣṇa will make the arrangement and the thing is, temples will again become so full that we will feel that one temple is not enough, we need so many more temples.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: By our own example, yes like senior devotees take up the responsibility to motivate others and become exemplary and that’s how this movement is going to grow and we see a senior exalted devotee comes, you know people become attracted and similarly when they go, there is a void created if that spirit goes away. So but the thing is that we have to learn to overcome these possibilities by becoming everybody making an endeavor to become advanced. We should not think that okay the senior devotees will become advanced and let me just be neophyte. No, we should make an endeavor; everybody should make an endeavor to become advanced. Especially, that is why it is important that we attract the youth because the future, the real hope lies with the youth. They are the ones who are full of spirit, full of enthusiasm, and they are the ones who can commit for a cause. When you become old then we don’t have the vitality and enthusiasm. Thank You. Yes she has a question.
Devotee: [Unclear] …hearing, chanting, studying and engage in …. Practical devotional service and at the same time we need to engage in hearing and chanting.. Because devotees choose.what should be the sign and symptom that we are out of the balance between hearing, chanting, sādhana and practical devotional service.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: What’s the practical balance of individually becoming engaged in serving and hearing and chanting? I guess that will depend on the individual. They have to set the balance how to do it, right! And specially you see, when devotees are situated in respective set ups, like when they are householders, you see, it’s easy when all are brahmacārīs, then you set up a standard 4.30 maṅgala-ārati if you don’t come to maṅgala-ārati no breakfast. But you can’t tell that to a householder, who is living in his house. You get the point? They have to set their own standard how they want to follow but I generally advice that the priority should be first to chant your chant rounds. Priority should be chanting your rounds. I noticed many times householders are so caught up with the Deity worship that they don’t have the time to chant the rounds. In this age Deity worship is not the process, chanting the Holy Name of the Lord is the process. That’s what one should be very, very careful about. Chant your rounds first then if you have time then you can do the Deity worship otherwise you can go to the temple and do the Deity worship. The brāhmaṇas are doing already; you don’t need to have a separate Deity worship standard. Go to the temple that’s what Prabhupāda used to say. If you want to have your own Deities then why I am establishing these temples. That means you will become so busy with your Deities that you will not have any time to serve the Deities in the temple. So first priority is chanting and if you asked me then I will say the next priority will be reading Prabhupāda’s books and then you can decide what you want to do with the time you have. Not that I am too busy with my Deity worship I can’t chant my 16 rounds although I am initiated, no that’s not acceptable. Okay. Hare Kṛṣṇa. Okay, last question.
Devotee: Guru Mahārāja, chanting japa comes first, Deity worship comes next.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: No, reading Srila Prabhupāda’s books is the second priority and then you decide what you want to do with your time and I know it’s difficult you know when both husband and wife are working. You know it is very difficult to maintain a proper spiritual standard. And that’s why my thing is, that first you finish your rounds.
Yes Prema Sindhu. You have a question. I will take your question next. Let me just
Devotee: You see there is a pure devotee, a vaiṣṇava like Prabhupāda quotes Cāṇakya. Is Cāṇakya a pure devotee, a vaiṣṇava because Prabhupāda quotes him in his purports?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: No, Cāṇakya won’t be considered as a pure devotee. He is a brāhmaṇa; He is a brāhmaṇa; he is a first class brāhmaṇa no doubt. Most probably at least the way I know or my understanding goes he was not a devotee as such I mean a pure devotee as such. A pure devotee would establish Kṛṣṇa consciousness. (Jaya Sri Sri Rādhā-Dāmodara Ki Jaya). That gentleman has a question. Let’s take that question and let’s end that way. Can you come forward and take the mike? Where are you from? I am seeing you for the first time.
Oh! Baltimore. Okay, very good.
Devotee: This is confusing me, so I have a question. My question is about karma. As you said we should respect everybody as Paramātmā resides in everyone’s body. Also you said that, also you said about the cows… [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: That is I am talking about that attitude is the highest stage of devotion.
Devotee: Right, the question I have is, if Paramātmā is in everybody’s body, and the body has a problem [unclear] …body that is made of food or clothing or medicine then you call it as a karma but if I go to the Iskcon, same thing then it is not called karma, if that is the situation [unclear].. All people will stop charity, you think Iskcon will be able to handle all those people and if I do some charity then why it is called karma?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So what’s your point actually?
Devotee: My point is that I have been stopped by Iskcon devotees as well as the gurus that don’t do this charity because those actions cause you reactions. So you give all, whatever you want to do, give to Iskcon and then [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay if you want to do it, just go ahead and do it. If you want to do charity…
Devotee: No [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: the point is what Iskcon devotees say is correct, it’s a matter of whether you understood or not. First you listen, I heard your question now let me answer that and listen carefully. First you sit down and then I will answer you. Say for example, you give somebody some money and he goes out and eats meat, is that a sinful action?
Devotee: No he won’t go and eat meat.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: I am saying if he does. Look I don’t want to get into an argument. I am simply trying to answer your question. So listen carefully. If you give somebody some facility and he goes out and does something wrong which is sinful, because you have assisted him in doing that, you become responsible for that to some extent, not to the full extent. That is the point the Iskcon devotees were trying to tell you and if they say that if you want to do charity do it through Iskcon because Iskcon is rendering all the activities in promotin Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So when you assist the purpose of Iskcon promoting the Kṛṣṇa consciousness then the good actions that is being performed you will get the benefit for that. So, now, it’s up to you to decide, whether you want to follow Iskcon’s advice, or whether you want to follow your own decision. The choice is yours. Thank you very much.
Devotees rejoice and clap. His Holiness Bhakti Charu Mahārāja Ki Jaya!
End of lecture – Lecture duration 1:57:20
Audio-link : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEIA4iZWqbI
Transcription & Editing: Rāmānanda Rāya Dāsa