INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
Founder-Ācārya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Day 1 – Evening Lecture, Given By His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami – Uddhava-gītā Retreat – Gita-Nagari US, 30 May 2013
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So everyone is nicely situated? Everyone is nicely fed? Prasādam was alright? And did you get some time to rest after Prasādam? And thank you very much. Jaya Sri Sri Radha Damodar ki jaya. Jaya Sri Sri Gaur Nitai ki jaya. Jagad Guru Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya! Samaveta bhakta vrinda ki jaya. All glories to the assembled devotees.
This morning and in two classes we practically covered up to the seventh, eighth and ninth chapters of the Eleventh Canto of [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam]. Three chapters we covered. So we will come to the tenth chapter now. From seventh to ninth chapter described about the twenty four gurus of the avadhūta and this tenth chapter is actually describing the nature of fruitive activities.
Chapter 10: The Nature Of Fruitive Activity
Fruitive activity is the natural tendency. In the material nature one is fruitive. That means he does something and he wants to enjoy the result of his action. That is called karma and the goal of karma is bhukti. Bhukti means enjoyment. The goal of karma is enjoyment and the goal of jñāna is liberation, bhukti-mukti. The goal of yoga is siddhi and the goal of bhakti is prema. This prema is the ultimate goal of life. Premā pum-artho mahān. [Caitanya-mata-mañjuṣā] Caitanya Mahāprabhu pointed out that beyond this bhukti and mukti one should aspire for love of Godhead, prema, premā pum-artho mahān. Actually Caitanya Mahāprabhu is pointing out that this desire for liberation and desire for enjoyment, even desire for liberation, is like a pot of poison. It has also been described in Caitanya-caritāmṛta [CC Mad 19.176] as a piśācī. A piśācī means a witch who sucks blood. Bhukti and mukti have been compared to a witch, because they allure us away from our ultimate goal and ruin our existence. Even desire for liberation has been considered to be a pot of poison like the influence, or the work of a witch.
So here Kṛṣṇa is telling Uddhava about the futility of karma. What is the point of trying to enjoy in this material nature? What is the nature of fruitive activity and how to transcend that influence? Everybody naturally wants to enjoy in the material nature. Only when one becomes situated in knowledge, then he understands. What is the knowledge? This knowledge is that the endeavor for enjoyment leads to suffering and the way to get out of this suffering condition is to become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. That is the essential knowledge. Real knowledge is to understand the nature of our situation. Our situation in this material nature and the actual remedy for that suffering condition.
“A purified soul should see that because the conditioned souls who are dedicated to sense gratification have falsely accepted the objects of sense pleasure as truth, all of their endeavors are doomed to failure.” (SB 11.10.2) Meaning that those who are thinking that the goal of life is to enjoy in this material nature, they are thoroughly misled. Their life is a failure.
“One who has fixed Me within his mind as the goal of life should give up activities based on sense gratification and should instead execute work governed by regulative principles for advancement.” (SB 11.10.4)
So Kṛṣṇa is actually giving direct instructions; what should one do? That is the beauty of this Uddhava-gītā. In Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa was not so direct. In Uddhava-gītā He is just to the point. What is the goal of life? Now we can see, anyway it will come to that, let me just read these few points: “One who has accepted Me as the supreme goal of life should strictly observe the scriptural injunctions forbidding sinful activities and, as far as possible, should execute the injunctions prescribing minor regulative duties such as cleanliness. Ultimately, however, one should approach a bona fide spiritual master.” (SB 11.10.5)
So this is the essence of devotional service. Actually this point has been very nicely established by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. In his Mādhurya-kādambinī Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura is considering what is the cause of devotion? How does one get devotion? He is making various possibilities. This is how they do. They call it pūrva-pakṣa and uttara-pakṣa. They come up with a possibility and then remove that possibility. No, that is not possible. Is it possible to achieve devotional service through pious activities? That is one of the first things he is considering, but he is coming to the conclusion: “No”. Pious activities cannot give devotion to Kṛṣṇa. He is even going to the extent of questioning or proposing; does one get devotional service by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy? Even that he is rejecting. See how wonderfully he is coming to the conclusion. If Kṛṣṇa gives devotion to someone, and if Kṛṣṇa does not give devotion to someone else, then it means that Kṛṣṇa is being partial to somebody. Now Kṛṣṇa is totally impartial, Kṛṣṇa is completely equipoised. So it is not possible that Kṛṣṇa gives devotion?
Then who gives devotion? How is it possible to get devotional service? It is possible to receive devotional service by the mercy of a devotee. Not by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, but by the mercy of a devotee, only then you get devotion. That is why it is so important to approach a devotee of the Lord who is practicing the process of pure devotional service. Here devotion also has different colours, different types. There is mixed devotion and there is pure devotion. Mixed devotion is when devotional service, even to Kṛṣṇa, is mixed with some other desire, then that is mixed devotional service. Other desires, what are the other desires? Again we are going to these two points, bhukti and mukti, karma and jñāna. When the devotion is mixed with karmic, fruitive desire then it is karma-miśra bhakti which is known as karma-yoga. When the devotional service is mixed with the desire for liberation then it is mixed with jñāna and it is called jñāna-miśra bhakti or jñāna-yoga. But when devotional service is devoid of these two influences, karma and jñāna, then it is called pure devotional service. How many of you remember the definition of pure devotional service from Nectar of Devotion?
ānakūlyena kṛṣṇānu-śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
Jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam. Āvṛta means covered. When devotional service is free from the covering of jñāna and karma, no covering, no mixture, therefore it is called unalloyed devotion. Sometimes Prabhupāda selected these words so wonderfully. ‘Alloy’ means what? Alloy means mixture of other metals. Like iron mixed with other metals becomes steel. So this is an alloy, steel. But pure devotion is unalloyed. No alloy. Alloy actually blends together. Even the atomic structure changes, for an alloy. They put nickel, cadmium etc. and iron, simple ferrous, becomes an alloy. So, unalloyed, no mixture, that is pure devotional service. Pure means the substance in its original state, no other mixture.
For example pure water, you need pure water. For medicines they need distilled water, pure water. If the water is mixed with something will that be considered pure? No. Even is that water is mixed with gold, it will not be considered to be pure. Water means pure water. Devotion means pure devotion. That is what Kṛṣṇa is actually pointing out here. One should be free from all these tendencies of desire for sense gratification. Devotion should be simply motivated to please Kṛṣṇa. That is the purpose.
As we were discussing, how does one achieve pure devotional service? By approaching a pure devotee of the Lord. We can consider, was devotional service available in the Western world? How did it become available to the Western world? Because of the arrival of Śrīla Prabhupāda. Now this is the effect of a pure devotee’s influence. Prabhupāda came and then pure devotional service became available; first to America, then to Europe and then gradually all over the world. That is the effect of a pure devotee. What does a pure devotee do? A pure devotee makes pure devotees. Prabhupāda came and so many devotees appeared, so many individuals became devotees. Now sometimes some people say that in Iskcon no one is qualified. This was a big thing. I do not know how prevalent this mood is now, but there was a time when there was big thing which was called ‘Iskcon Reform Movement’. In colloquial terms they are known as ṛtviks. Their point was, in Iskcon no one is qualified to be a guru. Therefore only Prabhupāda is the guru and Prabhupāda will continue to give initiation. Although there is no such precedent in the scriptures that one continues to give initiation after his disappearance from the planet.
Now we can see how they are wrong. To say that Prabhupāda was a pure devotee, but Prabhupāda could not make a single pure devotee. Does it not signify a total failure of Prabhupāda? Prabhupāda failed, if they stick to that concept. Prabhupāda could not make a single pure devotee. But what is the reality? What is the influence of a pure devotee? The influence of a pure devotee is that he makes pure devotees. Therefore pure devotees are often compared to a touchstone. By coming in contact with a touchstone others also become touchstones, in the spiritual context. Touchstone makes touchstone. Just by touch and that is the effect. By coming in contact with the pure devotee one becomes a pure devotee and then by coming in contact with those devotees others become pure devotees. This is how the influence of devotion spreads. That is what Caitanya Mahāprabhu was doing. Caitanya Mahāprabhu would go to a village, stop there only for one night and throughout the night He would instruct the people, those who gathered there.
In the morning He would leave and then Mahāprabhu would tell them, “Now, what I have given you, you go and give that to others.” yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa. [CC Mad 7.128] “You give it to others.”
That is how Mahāprabhu spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. That is how the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement spreads and that is how Śrīla Prabhupāda also spread the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. He came and he influenced others, young Americans who did not have any contact whatsoever with Vedic culture. What to speak of Vedic culture, they did not have any contact with spiritual life. They could not have cared less about spiritual life, but by coming in contact with Śrīla Prabhupāda they all became pure devotees. They went to different other places and by coming in contact with them those people became pure devotees. This is how the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement spreads.
That is why it is so important [to come in contact with a pure devotee]. One of the most important criteria for receiving pure devotional service, as has been pointed out here, is to accept initiation from a bona fide spiritual master. Who is a bona fide spiritual master? What is the qualification of a bona fide spiritual master? Yei kṛṣṇa-tattva-vettā sei ‘guru’ haya [CC Mad 8.128]. One who knows Kṛṣṇa in truth he is a bona fide spiritual master. It is not that only Prabhupāda’s disciples are pure devotees. It is not that only Prabhupāda is a pure devotee. Then we go to the next stage. Prabhupāda’s disciples, those who came in contact with Śrīla Prabhupāda, they are pure devotees. Those who are coming in contact with them, they also are becoming pure devotees. Those who will come in contact with them they also become pure devotees. So this is how the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is going to spread; is destined to spread.
Kṛṣṇa is pointing out that when one becomes serious about spiritual life – that means when one realizes that this material nature is a place of suffering and somehow or other we have to get out of this suffering condition – only when one comes in contact with a devotee of Kṛṣṇa does one get to know the real way of getting out of the suffering condition, because there are many other processes. Many of us had that experience. When we were searching for spiritual life, even in India, we came across people.
They said, “This is the way. That is the way.”
There are various processes; performing austerities is considered to be one way, yoga is considered to be one way, performing sacrifice is considered to be one way. Different individuals from their field will give direction in those respective areas, but those are not the real way.
Parīkṣit Mahārāja also faced that situation when he was cursed. He went to the bank of the Ganges. He knew he had only seven days and he was considering; now what to do? Different exalted personalities who gathered there, they were giving him different directions, “Do this, perform austerities, perform yajña.” and so forth.
But only when Śukadeva Gosvāmī came, did he get the real path. What is the way? Surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Besides surrendering to Kṛṣṇa there is no way one can get out of this suffering condition.
“One should see one’s real self-interest in life in all circumstances and should therefore remain detached from wife, children, home, land, relatives, friends, wealth and so on.” (SB 11.10.7)
That is what a devotee reminds us. The business of a devotee is to point out what are the causes of bondage and what is the way to become free from bondage. The uniqueness of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s line is that in other ages, even in the devotional path, there was a consideration of rejection, but in Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s Sankirtan movement the unique thing is that there is no need for rejection. There is a consideration of proper application. This proper application Prabhupāda pointed out as; what expression Prabhupāda used for that? ‘Dovetailing’. Dovetail means, you fit into that mold.
Actually one day we were discussing about the meaning of that word dovetailing and Ravindra Svarupa Prabhu, who is an extremely brilliant scholar, he actually explained the word ‘dovetailing’. Dovetail is a word that is used in carpentry. Have you seen two pieces of wood, how do they joined together? One piece has a slot in an angular way and the other piece has a protruding wood in an angular way. What do the carpenters do? They just press it together and it becomes fixed up. That is the meaning of the word dovetailing, to fit in. So that is the uniqueness of sankīrtana. In other ages renunciation, detachment etc. was the way, but in the Kali-yuga Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave a very unique process. What is that process? The process of sankīrtana; what is sankīrtana? Dovetailing.
Whatever is there, just use it in Kṛṣṇa’s service, apply it in Kṛṣṇa’s service, apply it in glorifying Kṛṣṇa. Just use it in Kṛṣṇa’s service and it will become spiritualized. In other ages the process was to give up the material and then embark on spiritual. In simple words we can say the senses are running towards the material direction. The process was to withdraw your senses from matter and project them onto the spiritual. The process of yoga was actually to withdraw. The fifth aspect of aṣṭāṅga-yoga is pratyāhāra. Pratyāhāra means withdrawal. Withdraw the senses and then comes the projection to Kṛṣṇa, dhyāna. Can you imagine how difficult this process of withdrawal is? We do not even have to go as far as withdrawing. Let us go to the area of prāṇāyāma. You know what is the goal of prāṇāyāma? The goal of prāṇāyāma is to stop breathing, because when you can stop breathing then only you can stop the activities of your mind.
Breathing and the functioning of our mind have a very close connection. We can see that. When you are very agitated, very disturbed in your mind, how do you breathe? Don’t you breathe fast and heavy? When your mind is peaceful how do you breathe? Slowly and softly. So this is how breathing and the functioning of the mind have a link. Therefore in yoga, in the prāṇāyāma stage, they actually practically stop the process of breathing in order to stop the functioning of the mind. The yoga aphorisms begin with that concept, artha citta-vṛtti-nirodha. Citta-vṛtti means the activities of the mind. What is the activity of the mind? The activity of the mind is to think. So stop thinking, nirodha. Nirodha means stopping, ceasing and cessation. Stop the mind’s activity. That is the goal of yoga. How many people can do that? One of the ways to do that is the fourth aspect of aṣṭāṅga-yoga, prāṇāyāma.
Our breathing consists of three activities. Generally people think that breathing consists of two activities – inhaling and exhaling. No. Breathing has another activity, which is the most important aspect of breathing. That is retaining. Exhale, inhale and retain. That retaining aspect is called kumbhaka. Recaka, pūraka and kumbhaka. So in this way one remains in the state of kumbhaka, which means practically stop breathing. This is how they would control the mind. Then comes pratyāhāra. Pratyāhāra means withdrawing the mind, withdrawing the mind from the objects of the senses. Now only when one is capable of doing that he can properly meditate. The mind has been withdrawn from matter and now it is projected onto Kṛṣṇa who is situated in the heart. That was the process in other ages, especially through aṣṭāṅga-yoga. But in Kṛṣṇa consciousness Caitanya Mahāprabhu gave a very wonderful process. You do not have to withdraw your mind. Rather you offer it to Kṛṣṇa. Offer it to Kṛṣṇa directly.
yad karoṣi yad aśnāsi yad jahoṣi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya tad kuruṣva mad arpaṇam [BG 9.27]
Yad karoṣi, can anyone stay without acting? No, we have to act. So whatever we do let us offer it to Kṛṣṇa, let us do it for Kṛṣṇa. Can you stay without eating? No, we have to eat. Offer the food to Kṛṣṇa and take Kṛṣṇa prasāda. In this way we can dovetail all our activities in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is such a simple process. It can be executed even by a child. This is how simple this process is.
I was coming to explain this point. This point is quite a heavy point.
“One should see one’s real self interest in life in all circumstances and should therefore remain detached from wife, children, home, land, relatives, friends, wealth and so on.” (SB 11.10.7)
If you propose this how many people will come to you? I have to give up my wife, I have to give up my children, I have to give up my friends, I have to give up my relatives, I have to give up my job, I have to give up my bank balance. Everyone will run away, but sankīrtana is giving such a wonderful solution. You do not have to give up your wife, but make her into a devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Engage her in serving Kṛṣṇa. You do not have to give up your children. Train them up to become devotees of Kṛṣṇa. You do not have to give up your job. The money that you are earning, ensure that money is used in Kṛṣṇa’s service. In this respect I will give a very simple solution. Sometimes people ask, “Well I am working and in such a terrible situation. What shall I do? I have to earn money to maintain my family, but this atmosphere is so polluting, so bad, I do not like to work.”
Their consideration is that working outside is not a Kṛṣṇa conscious activity. Most of my time is just wasted in this mundane activity. I just tell them: “Consider that your house is Kṛṣṇa’s house. Your home is Kṛṣṇa’s temple. Your family is Kṛṣṇa’s family. Therefore when you are earning money to maintain your household and take care of your family members, who are you doing it for? You are doing it for Kṛṣṇa’s house and for the members who are living in Kṛṣṇa’s house. Then earning money is it a mundane activity or it is transformed into a spiritual activity? At the end of the month when you get the money and this money is used in maintaining Kṛṣṇa’s household then it is spiritual activity.” So just by developing this consciousness we can transform our apparently material activity into spiritual. We can spiritualize our mundane activities.
“Just as fire, which burns and illuminates, is different from firewood, which is to be burned to give illumination, similarly the seer within the body, the self-enlightened spirit soul, is different from the material body, which is to be illuminated by consciousness.” (SB 11.10.8)
Now Kṛṣṇa is talking about the soul. What is the soul’s activity like? How should we understand the soul’s activity? Here Kṛṣṇa is giving an analogy – the fire and wood. Does wood have any semblance to fire? Does it look like fire, the wood? But there is fire in the wood. That is why under certain conditions the fire comes out from the wood. Similarly our body is like the wood and the soul is like fire. The soul is there. The soul’s influence in the body is there. Apparently the body is matter and it has no resemblance to the soul, but just as fire comes out from wood when it burns, by practicing the process of devotional service our spiritual identity will become manifest from this apparently material body. The human form of life is so special because in this human form of life we are getting an opportunity to become Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Now we have two types of bodies, material bodies are of two kinds. One is the gross body and the other is the subtle material body. A devotee must understand the difference between these two bodies. A person who is trying to make progress in spiritual life must understand the difference between these two bodies. Both these bodies are actually a product of material nature. Due to the modes of material nature we have developed these two types of bodies. They are gifts of nature you can say. Material existence occurs when one identifies himself with gross and subtle bodies, with these material bodies. Now in the previous point that Kṛṣṇa made is the fire and wood. From the wood fire comes out under certain conditions. Now we have to learn how the fire, or the soul, began to identify itself with matter. That is an important aspect of spiritual life. So this has been very nicely pointed out, but that will come later on. I can briefly give you an idea.
What is this condition of gross and subtle body? A spirit soul is a part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Being a part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the soul is also qualitatively one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this respect an analogy can be given – that of the sun. The sun is luminous, the sun is a source of light and heat, and there are innumerable rays coming out from the sun. Now those rays are also qualitatively one with the sun. Qualitatively the sun gives out light and heat. The rays also contain light and heat, but when the ray becomes separated from the sun, if under some condition the ray becomes separated from the sun, then will the ray have the light or heat? Now normally a ray cannot become separated from the sun. When a ray becomes separated from the sun then it loses its identity. Then there will not be any ray. For example the sun’s rays are coming directly, now here the rays are obstructed and there will not be any light. No rays will be coming in that direction, but the spirit soul’s condition is a little different.
A spirit soul’s condition is that it severs its relationship with Kṛṣṇa, but still it continues with its identity, it continues to exist. Now consider a ray came to an area where it became separated from the sun, but it entered into that area. What is that area where there is no sun? The area of darkness. Maya or material nature is like that area of darkness. This material nature is the area where the sun’s rays do not enter. Therefore this area is in total darkness. Fortunately by the divine arrangement of Kṛṣṇa there is sun, therefore there is light. There is moon and there is fire. Therefore there is some light. Can you imagine this world without sun, moon or fire? Would there be any light? No. So this is the material nature, the nature of darkness. We have entered into this area and as a result of that we have severed our connection with Kṛṣṇa. Therefore we lost our spiritual qualities. The spiritual qualities that we used to have, sat, cit and ānanda, we have lost and coming into the region of darkness we have developed some other identity. That is: we started to identify ourselves with matter.
In this respect also another analogy can be considered. A spark and fire. A spark is fire. When the spark comes out of the fire then can it retain its fiery qualities? A spark is a tiny fire when this tiny fire, a spark, comes out of the fire; it loses its fiery qualities. What is outside the fire? Outside the fire is ash and falling on a heap of ash that is around the fire, the spark becomes ash. Our situation is somewhat like that. We are tiny spiritual individuals, but when we became separated from Kṛṣṇa, the source of all spiritual energy, then we lost our spiritual qualities and we fell in an area where Kṛṣṇa’s energy is not manifest, where the sun is not available, where the sun is not entering. That is the area of darkness, that area of darkness is the material nature. We were actually fire, but now we are identifying ourselves with ash. We were spiritual, but losing our connection with Kṛṣṇa we are identifying ourselves with matter. We are considering our body made of matter to be our self. That is the condition of a living entity in the material nature.
Now the simple consideration is for that tiny little spark, that tiny little inflammable speck, that was spark at one time, if it wants to regain its fiery qualities, what does it have to do? It has to go back to the fire. If it goes back to the fire then again it will become fire. Now we are coming back again to the same point. How can a speck of inflammable substance, that was spark at one time, go back to the fire? By itself it cannot go back to the fire. Somebody has to carry him to the fire. Who is that somebody? That somebody is a devotee of the Lord. It is only by the mercy of the devotee of the Lord we can actually come. He may not take us by the hand and take us to the spiritual realm, but what he can do is he can just flick us and then we just fly into the spiritual nature. The pure devotee of the Lord motivates us to go towards Kṛṣṇa and then with our own effort and also by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy we go into the spiritual domain.
So then Kṛṣṇa is pointing out:
“The material senses create material activities, either pious or sinful, and the modes of nature set the material senses into motion.” [SB 11.10.31]
What sends the senses into motion? The modes of material nature. We can actually see all these answers we can find in Bhagavad-gītā. The same knowledge Kṛṣṇa is giving in a different way. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ [BG 3.27]. Our involvement in the material nature is simply due to our karmic reactions and the influence of the modes of material nature, guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ. But ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate [BG 3.27], being bewildered by false ego we think we are the doers. That is our problem we are thinking we are the doers. I am doing. I achieved it. I should be glorified. What is that concept of “I”? That concept of I is ahaṅkāra, false ego, misconception of I. Instead of I being the servant of Kṛṣṇa, I became the enjoyer of this material nature. Instead of being submissive to Kṛṣṇa I want to lord over this material nature. Instead of acting according to Kṛṣṇa’s instructions and according to His desire I am trying to act on my own and as the result of that I am entangled in this material nature.
So we can see two only things are functioning. The material nature is actually a thing set in autopilot. Do you know autopilot? The plane in a certain condition, after it goes to a certain height, it is set into autopilot, then the plane moves on its own. The pilot does not have to do anything. The plane, on its own, takes a course. The material nature is something like that, an autopilot. This autopilot is working with two factors. One factor is guṇa and the other factor is karma. As Kṛṣṇa pointed out here the senses have been motivated by the modes of nature. Under the influence of the mode of goodness the senses function in a certain way. Under the influence of the mode of passion the senses function in some other way. Under the mode of ignorance the senses function in some other way. This is how the senses are being motivated or guided by the modes of material nature.
“… The modes of nature set the material senses into motion. The living entity, being fully engaged by the material senses and modes of nature, experiences the various results of fruitive work.” [SB 11.10.31]
Experiences various results of fruitive work. That means karma, guṇa and karma. A living entity works, it functions in a certain way and it gets a result and it becomes affected by that. Now being affected by the result, the living entity again functions and that produces a result and then it gets entangled. In this way a living entity gets trapped.
Once Prabhupāda gave an example of how complex a living entity’s situation in this material nature is. He gave the example of a seed. A seed falls on the ground and a tree comes up. In the tree there are innumerable fruits. In one season only there are innumerable fruits and season after season there are innumerable fruits coming. In those fruits there are innumerable seeds. In those seeds there are innumerable trees and in those trees can you imagine how many seeds are there? One little karma can entangle us into the material nature forever. Can you imagine just from one seed how many trees could possibly develop? Similarly, from one karma so many karmic reactions can develop. Therefore it is impossible to get out of karmic reactions. The only way we can get out of these karmic reactions is by surrendering to Kṛṣṇa. Because Kṛṣṇa is the only one who can burn out all our karma, wipe out all our karma. Ahaṁ tvām sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣāmi [BG 18.66], deliver you from all your sinful reactions. Kṛṣṇa actually meant all your karmic reactions, but He did not say that because people are attached to pious actions and averse to sinful reactions, because pious reactions give them enjoyment. Therefore everybody actually wants pious actions. Everybody wants the result of pious action. Therefore Kṛṣṇa did not deal with the pious actions, “If you want to enjoy your pious actions, fine, but you do not want to suffer your sinful reaction so I will deliver you from all your sinful reactions.” But actually what Kṛṣṇa meant is, “I will deliver you from both your pious and impious reactions.” That also Kṛṣṇa made clear in His instructions that devotional service frees one from both pious and impious activities.
Then finally Uddhava asked a question to Kṛṣṇa:
“O my Lord, Acyuta, the same living entity is sometimes described as eternally conditioned and at other times as eternally liberated. I am not able to understand, therefore, the actual situation of the living entity. You, my Lord, are the best of those who are expert in answering philosophical questions. Please explain to me the symptoms by which one can tell the difference between a living entity who is eternally liberated and one who is eternally conditioned. In what various ways would they remain situated, enjoy life, eat, evacuate, lie down, sit or move about?” [SB 11.10.36-37]
So this chapter ends there with this question. After receiving the instructions from Kṛṣṇa about the futility of karmic involvement, the futility of fruitive activity, now He is actually entering into the region of knowledge jñāna. With this question it is now coming in. What was the question? The symptoms of conditioned and liberated living entities. What are the symptoms? There are some living entities that are conditioned or bound by the material nature and some living entities are free from the bondage of material nature. In simple words it can be said that some are materially involved and some are in their spiritual identity. So these are the two types of people.
11. The Symptoms Of Conditioned And Liberated Living Entities
So in response to that Kṛṣṇa is saying:
“My dear Uddhava, due to the influence of the material modes of nature, which are under My control, the living entity is sometimes designated as conditioned and sometimes as liberated. In fact, however, the soul is never really bound up or liberated, and since I am the Supreme Lord of Māyā, which is the cause of the modes of nature, I also am never to be considered liberated or in bondage.” [SB 11.11.1]
Kṛṣṇa is eternally liberated. First I will explain conditioned and liberated. This can be considered as imprisoned and free. There is a prison house and in the prison house generally there are prisoners. So prisoners are imprisoned. They are bound, meaning they are destined to stay in the prison. They cannot get out, but outside the prison they are not imprisoned. They are all free people. So who are prisoners? What is the criterion for becoming imprisoned? Those who broke the law of the king. The king has given the law and when one breaks the law that is a crime. Due to the crime one becomes imprisoned as a punishment. Now when one is situated in the prison he is suffering all kinds of punishments in the prison. But in the prison house also there are some people who are acting on behalf of the king. Although they are in the prison, are they prisoners? They are free, but they are in the prison. Now what is the difference between the prisoner and those people? The prisoners are the ones who broke the law of the king and therefore they are being punished in the prison. Whereas the employees of the king in the prison they are the king’s servants. They are the king’s representatives. Therefore they are not in prison, they are free.
Now there is another condition. The other condition is when a prisoner finds out from one of those people, those who are serving the king, what is the reason for their imprisonment. The prisoner forgot why he is being imprisoned, why he is being punished in the prison. That is our condition. We do not know why we are suffering, but then someone comes and tells us,
“You know why you are suffering? Because you broke the law of the king. You have committed a crime. Therefore you are suffering.”
So we ask, “So please tell me what should I do? I am sorry that I made this mistake.”
He says, “You can write a letter to the king and tell him that from now on you will never go against him, you will always abide by his law.”
He writes a letter to the king and this personality carries the letter to the king.
The king says, “That is a very good gesture. Now that he wants to surrender unto me watch him carefully. See that he is acting properly. See that he is not breaking the law anymore.”
He also informs the other caretakers of the prison, “This person actually wrote a letter to me asking for amnesty and so you take care of him. Watch him carefully and also help him.”
So then this person starts to surrender himself to the king although he is in the prison. The king is out there in his palace, not in the prison, but the king is getting his report that this person is doing this and that. Then this person experiences that ever since he wrote a letter to the king the prison authorities are not punishing him. Not only that but they are giving him nice facilities. He gets good food, which he did not get before. Sometimes they take him out and give him some nice gifts. They gave him a nice cell to live in.
Then he starts to tell also other prisoners, “You know I did this and as the result of that I started to get this benefit. Why don’t you also do that?”
When the king hears that this particular prisoner started to sing his glory and about the benefit of becoming submissive to him the king says, “Very good. Give him more facilities so that he can influence the other prisoners.”
Although the prisoner is dressed like a prisoner he is not treated like a prisoner anymore.
Finally the king sends a report, sends an order to the prison authorities, “I need a servant. My cook has retired and I need a good cook. I heard he is a very good cook, send him over to me.”
So then now this prisoner is taken to the palace of the king. There he lives with the king, serves the king and enjoys with the king. Now you can see prisoner and free. There are different types of free individuals. One is those who are living outside the prison. They are all free. Those who are outside the material nature, those who are living in the spiritual nature, they are all eternally liberated souls. In the prison house those who are serving the king, on behalf of the king, they are also liberated. They are not prisoners. Also among the prisoners those who have surrendered themselves to the king they are also on the way of liberation. They are also somewhat liberated. So that is the general understanding of conditioned state and liberated state.
Then Kṛṣṇa actually makes a very wonderful point that we somehow discussed in the morning also. This material nature is like a dream. Kṛṣṇa is making that point here. I will just read some of those points:
“Just as a dream is merely a creation of one’s intelligence but has no actual substance, similarly, material lamentation, illusion, happiness, distress and the acceptance of the material body under the influence of mayä are all creations of My illusory energy.” [SB 11.11.2]
So our involvement and whatever we are going through in material nature is due to the influence of material nature, the illusory energy of Kṛṣṇa.
“Both knowledge and ignorance are beginningless and perpetually award liberation and bondage to embodied living beings.” [SB 11.11.3]
One who is in ignorance he is bound and one who is in knowledge he is liberated. As I mentioned earlier, this knowledge is due to our awareness of our existence in the material nature and our relationship with Kṛṣṇa. That is the real knowledge. Know what this material nature is. Know Who Kṛṣṇa is and how to become related to Kṛṣṇa.
“The living entity, called jīva, is part and parcel of Me, but due to ignorance he has been suffering in material bondage since time immemorial. By knowledge, however, he can be liberated.” [SB 11.11.4]
So by knowledge one can become liberated. Then Kṛṣṇa speaks about two birds in a tree (SB 11.11.6). In the tree of this body there are two birds. One is a fruit eating bird and other is a witnessing bird. He is not eating the fruits. He simply witnesses the activities of the other bird. So the fruit eating bird is the living entity, jīvātmā, and the witnessing bird, who is witnessing the activities of the other is the Supersoul, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Now this is actually a very important point:
“One who is enlightened in self-realization, although living within the material body, sees himself as transcendental to the body.” [SB 11.11.8]
One who has been enlightened in self realization. That means one who has understood and is acting according to his relationship to Kṛṣṇa, he, although residing in this material body, he is not bound. He is free.
īhā yasya harer dāsye karmaṇā manasā girā
nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate [BRS 1.2.187]
One who has become engaged in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa, harer dāsye karmaṇā manasā girā. His activities, his body’s activities, manasā his mental activities, girā his speech, his body, mind and speech are engaged in serving Kṛṣṇa. He is liberated, nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu, under all circumstances. Although he may be living in his body, jīvan-muktaḥ sa ucyate, although he is living in an apparently material body, he is liberated. So that is the state of liberation. Although he is in the body, but in the body is a pure spirit soul.
Now if we go even deeper then we can see that he is a spirit soul devoid of the subtle body. He is a pure spirit soul. That means that he does not have the subtle body. He is in a gross body, but his subtle body has disappeared, dissolved. That also can be understood in this way. The subtle body comprised of three elements, mind intelligence and false ego. When the mind constantly thinks of Kṛṣṇa is that material or spiritual? When the intelligence is engaged in serving Kṛṣṇa, is that intelligence material or spiritual? When one has become, in this way, engaged in serving Kṛṣṇa, does he have a false ego or not? He is situated in his real identity so no false ego. So see what happened to his subtle body made of mind intelligence and false ego, gone. So that is a pure spirit soul without a subtle body. He is dwelling in the gross body made of matter, but that body is not material body.
In this respect Prabhupāda gives the example of iron and fire. When the iron is in fire is it fire or iron? When the iron becomes red hot is it iron or is it fire? If somebody said iron, somebody did say iron and do you know what Prabhupāda’s response was? Touch it. So that is the condition of the apparently material body of a pure devotee. Within his body there is a pure spirit soul devoid of material mind, material intelligence and false ego. There is a pure spirit soul dwelling in this apparently material body. So that body is not material, that body is spiritualized.
“An enlightened person who is free from the contamination of material desire does not consider himself to be the performer of bodily activities.” [SB 11.11.9]
I gave you the synopsis of this chapter in a way. Here this point is quite interesting. Remember this morning we discussed about certain gurus, twenty four gurus, which the avadhūta spoke about. Now here also Kṛṣṇa is mentioning those points.
“Although the sky, or space, is the resting place of everything, the sky does not mix with anything, …” [SB 11.11.12-13]
The avadhūta made that point. He learnt to be like the ether or the sky.
“Similarly, the sun is not at all attached to the water in which it is reflected within innumerable reservoirs, and the mighty wind blowing everywhere is not affected by the innumerable aromas and atmospheres through which it passes. In the same way, a self-realized soul is completely detached from the material body and the material world around it. He is like a person who has awakened and arisen from a dream. With expert vision sharpened by detachment, the self-realized soul cuts all doubts to pieces through knowledge of the self and completely withdraws his consciousness from the expansion of material variety.” [SB 11.11.12-13]
“A person is considered to be completely liberated from the gross and subtle material bodies when all the functions of his vital energy, senses, mind and intelligence are performed without material desire. Such a person, although situated within the body, is not entangled.” [SB 11.11.14]
So that is the symptom of a liberated soul, although he is in the body, but he is not entangled.
At this point I will invite some questions.
Devotee: Mahārāja, you were mentioning about unalloyed devotional service and how to maintain the purity. Then an individual as he gains more spiritual knowledge, a personal sādhana, a type of relationship may be established. How to differentiate between those two sometimes? Is it difficult or …
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Between unalloyed devotional and?
Devotee: Personal sādhana or a personal relationship that one may have with the Lord.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Yes, good, thank you. You see the difference is that one is a practicing stage and the other is the perfected stage. The unalloyed devotion is the perfected stage which is achieved through the practice. So sādhana-bhakti and sādhana-bhakti is leading to prema-bhakti.
Yes mother Kṛṣṇapriyā.
Kṛṣṇapriyā Dāsī: My question is that we often hear stories about when the different yogis would be practicing different austerities that the demigods would become concerned and try to deviate them so also on the path of devotional service it seems that as one tries to progress that test would come more and more subtle so how does one actually … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: It is seen that in the scriptures there are many instances when one makes spiritual advancement the demigods come and create disturbance and try to deviate them from their path. That generally happens in the karma-kāṇḍa section not on the pure devotional platform. Because the demigods can see that this person is performing karma-kāṇḍa activities so his desire is probably fruitive. Probably they are going to take away my position. Through his austerities he will excel my achievement and take over. Therefore they try to distract them by sending Apsarās. Whereas for a devotee they do not have any material motivation and even if the demigods send the Apsarās, the devotees will preach to those Apsarās and make them into devotees. What to speak of the Apsarās, the devotees will speak to the demigods and make them into devotees. That is the power of devotional service. The devotional service is so wonderful that when one gets a taste of it no one can dissuade him from that path.
Devotee: Are all avadhūtas paramahaṁsas?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Yes, good point. Are all avadhūtas paramahaṁsas? Yes all real avadhūtas are paramahaṁsas, but all paramahaṁsas are not avadhūtas. The paramahaṁsa stage is actually the uttama-adhikārī platform, but an uttama-adhikārī devotee, in order to preach, comes down to the madhyama-adhikārī platform, because if he functions on the uttama-adhikārī platform he would not be able to preach. Therefore in order to preach they come down from the uttama-adhikārī platform and come down to madhyama-adhikārī.
Devotee: You also spoke about the right and wrong enjoyment. So usually I don’t remember hearing much about the joy in Kṛṣṇa consciousness usually we are told that we shouldn’t enjoy. So now hearing that it is okay it is natural for us to enjoy in connection with Kṛṣṇa consciousness… (Indistinct) … because in my mind it seems that to enjoy is connected with being selfish … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Yes, very good point. I also made that point. Did everybody hear the question? You mentioned that through pure devotional service one enjoys and getting the higher taste one gives up the lower taste, but generally the understanding is that in devotional service we should not enjoy.
Then my response to that is the jīva is ānandamaya. If there is no enjoyment why he will go for devotional service? If we promote that kind of understanding – no enjoyment – no one will join us. Rather the other day someone was telling me, Mother Yamuna was telling that person that her desire is to make Kṛṣṇa consciousness so exciting that all the youth would just come running to join this movement. It should be so exciting that everyone will want to join it. That is the real spirit of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, but the point is that, as you mentioned at the beginning, right enjoyment and wrong enjoyment. We have to give up the concept of wrong enjoyment to get the right enjoyment.
For example a person wants to enjoy as a king, he wants to revolt against the king, topple the kingdom, become the king and he wants to enjoy that. What would be the result of that attitude? As a rebel he would be arrested and put into prison. The more he develops that attitude the more severe will be his punishment. On the other hand another person he goes to the king and says, “My lord I want to serve you.”
[The king replies,] “What can you do?”
[The person answers,] “I can massage your feet very nicely.”
[The king says,] “Oh, that is good. I need a masseur come and stay with me.”
This person loves to massage, he is an expert masseur and he massages the king’s body. He stays in the king’s palace. Along with the king he enjoys the food the king eats, he eats the same food and the palace where the king lives, he lives in the same palace. So that is the right enjoyment.
Devotee: Enjoyment in the mood of service?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Enjoyment by being surrendered to Kṛṣṇa and rendering devotional service to Kṛṣṇa is the right way to enjoy, but revolting against Kṛṣṇa trying to take over is the wrong way. That is what is rejected. We should never try to become the enjoyer, but we should become connected to the real enjoyer assuming the role of the enjoyed and that is how we are meant to enjoy.
Devotee: Why is it that Kṛṣṇa was more direct with Uddhava… (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Because to Arjuna Kṛṣṇa was giving the knowledge of karma-yoga basically, whereas to Uddhava He is giving direct bhakti. The other reason is that Uddhava’s position as a devotee is more exalted that Arjuna’s that is why Kṛṣṇa is revealing the higher truth to him.
Devotee: Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja. My question is in the previous class you were mentioning about the different stages of sannyāsa, at least kutichaka, bahudaka and parivrājakācārya can Mahaāraja explain those stages … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : There are four stages of sannyāsa, the first stage is kutichaka. In that stage one takes sannyāsa, but stays close to his house. He leaves his home, but stays close. Sometimes on a riverbank he makes a hut, lives there and sometimes his family members come and give him some food and take care of his needs. Then in the next stage, bahudaka, he is not staying close to his house and taking any foodstuffs from the family members. He goes out and begs from door to door and that is how he maintains himself, collecting food from many, bahudaka. Then he begins to wander, travel around imparting spiritual knowledge. That is parivrājaka and then he transcends the material nature and goes to the spiritual sky or becomes situated in the spiritual sky that is paramahaṁsa.
Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda was on the paramahaṁsa platform?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Yes Prabhupāda was beyond paramahaṁsa. He came down from uttama-adhikārī platform, paramahaṁsa platform, to this parivrājaka platform to distribute Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Devotee: [Unclear] … what is the right way to interpret Uddhava’s conversations with Krsna on aṣṭāṇga-yoga in Eleventh Canto… [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: What is your question?
Devotee: What is the mood … (indistinct) … in trying to understand Eleventh Canto teaching on Uddhava’s conversation with Kṛṣṇa on aṣṭāṇga-yoga?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Aṣṭāṇga-yoga. We are not dealing with that chapter now. When that chapter comes then we can discuss.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes Āditya.
Āditya Dāsa: … [Unclear] … Yesterday you explained two different gurus … [Unclear] … I was thinking all these different like the sky and the earth… [Unclear] … was there mention of the method to actually acquire this knowledge … [Unclear].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: What is the method of?
Āditya Dāsa: Was there mention of the method of acquiring this knowledge from… because I was thinking he sees the sky and he has the understanding of the soul and things like that but is that the method because … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: It is left up to the individual. There is no specific method as such, but at the most you can say is a state of consciousness, a state of spiritual elevation. When one becomes so open, one becomes so Kṛṣṇa conscious, that he is prepared to learn a lesson from anybody, which means he has become completely free from his false ego. Generally the tendency is, “Why should I learn from him? What does he know?”
That is a display of our false ego. We are acting on the false ego platform.
[But one should think,] “Oh, he is teaching such a nice lesson to me by his own behavior.”
For example he gives the example of that kurara bird. That bird was carrying the food and he saw that other birds, more powerful birds, are attacking. He just dropped it and by doing that he became free from their attack. Normally one will see some birds are flying, some birds are being attacked by other birds and oh he was carrying something and he dropped it. We will just observe it, we will not reflect on it, but here what he is doing he is reflecting on it. Oh look at this bird, he was being attacked because of that and now he just gave it up. So this is the cause of material conflict. This is the cause of envy, so let me just withdraw from that just to avoid the negative onslaughts from others.
Āditya Dāsa: Only through devotional service can one become … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Yes, because only through devotional service can one become free from false ego. Other processes inflate false ego. For example the process of yoga; why the process of aṣṭāṇga-yoga can be detrimental? Because it deals with the subtle body and when it deals with the subtle body it strengthens the subtle body. Strengthening the subtle means your false ego becomes inflated, whereas devotional service teaches us how to get rid of the false ego, not to become a victim of false ego. That is why this is the most perfect process. Actually the goal of all those [other processes] is come to the platform of devotion. Yoginām api sarveṣām [BG6.47]. What is the goal of aṣṭāṅga-yoga? To become a devotee.
Nīlamaṇi Dāsa: Mahārāja from the whole concept of the twenty four gurus we learn from that we should take instruction from various places, if possible, but that is somewhat contradictory to the principle of receiving knowledge in paramparā or authorized sources … (indistinct) … how do we reconcile that?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Very good point. This consideration of twenty four gurus, receiving instructions from different individuals and situations is it not contrary to our concept of guru paramparā, taking instruction from only our guru and the ācāryas in the same line?
This is something like, you see, you have your home and you go collect different precious objects to decorate your home. Our paramparā is something like our home and collecting information and enriching ourselves is like collecting to decorate our home. Our loyalty remains with our paramparā, but wherever gold is available, wherever some valuable information is available, we collect it. But that should be done at a rather advanced stage. Otherwise one may become bewildered to such an extent that he may leave his paramparā and go somewhere else; that should not happen. Our loyalty to the paramparā must remain intact. That is our home our spiritual home, that is where we belong. We belong to ISKCON, but if some information is available [we should take it]. We search in the Google if we need some information. Today I tell you Google is the biggest guru. Frankly it is true. We get so much information from Google nowadays, we accept, we feel gratitude, we feel grateful to Google.
Nīlamaṇi Dāsa: At the same time we should not go and hear pravacanas or… [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Well, at an advanced stage it is all right. Advanced means our faith has been properly established. There is no fear of deviating. Then it is all right. They are saying something nice, telling us about kṛṣṇa-kathā, why not? But we also have to use our intelligence, or use the information [we have to decide] what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes they say all kinds of things that are not really authoritative. So we reject it. After all we know who they are, but if there is something nice we take it.
In that respect I must also admit that in the beginning Prabhupāda was very careful. Prabhupāda did not want devotees to go our anywhere. That is mainly because the devotees were rather immature and they were susceptible to become deviated. It happened. In the initial stage Prabhupāda was sending some of his disciples to India, but unfortunately some individuals took those disciples away and gave them initiation. When that happened then Prabhupāda stopped it. But at an advanced stage he would never do that. We find, it is happening, that people are leaving ISKCON and going to this place or that place, this sampradāya or that sampradāya, this guru or that guru, but that is due to their immaturity. At that stage it is better they do not go anywhere, but at an advanced stage yes he can do that. In that way he learns what to accept and what to reject.
Nandadula Dāsa: Guru Mahārāja in the morning you mentioned about … [Unclear] … it is said bhakti vina … [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, bhakti vinā mukti nahe [CC Mad 25.30], without bhakti you cannot get mukti. Liberation you cannot get without devotion. Yoga, tapasya, all these processes cannot give you mukti, unless and until you accept devotional service. Then the second part of it, as you are saying, nāmābhāse sukhe mukti haya [CC Mad 25.30].
koṭi janme brahma jñāne yei mukti naya
ei kahe nāmābhāse sei mukti haya [CC Ant 3.194]
Nāmābhāsa, not even pure chanting, at the clearing stage of chanting, one gets liberation. Therefore liberation is not a big thing for a devotee, because a devotee is already liberated. In nāmābhāsa he has already achieved mukti. So why should he go for mukti? He wants to go for prema.
Navin: Today we heard a lot about the gṛhasta āśrama and sannyāsa āśrama I am wondering how important it is for Iskcon devotees in the gṛhasta āśrama to take up the vānaprastha and what does that mean for Iskcon devotees?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Vānaprastha actually means retired life. So at some point a householder [should retire from household life, but] nowadays it is not possible to go to the forest. Vānaprastha means going to the forest, but nowadays it is not possible to live in the forest because people are not really equipped, or they are physically not fit to live in a forest. But what they can do is move into an Iskcon temple and live in the āśrama. That is vānaprastha for Iskcon devotees. Or they can travel and preach, or go to visit different temples. A householder at a certain stage can do that, or should do that.
Āditya Dāsa: Guru Mahārāja you read the third verse of this chapter in that it says that both knowledge and ignorance being products of māyā are expansions of My potency … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Māyā functions in two ways. In this respect Prabhupāda actually gives the example of a policeman. A policeman to a criminal is something very frightening, but to a law abiding person he is a source of safety. Same policeman, to one person he appears in one way and to the other person he appears in some other way. So those who are materially entangled they are bewildered by Kṛṣṇa’s illusory energy, Māyā. Those who are interested in making advancement in spiritual life, developing relationship with Kṛṣṇa, for them this same Māyā, Yogamāyā, is taking them to Kṛṣṇa, or giving them the knowledge, engaging them in Kṛṣṇa’s service. So in this way both ignorance and knowledge are the influence of Kṛṣṇa’s Māyā.
Devotee: You mentioned the fish is attached to the taste, the sense of taste, and it gets entangled with the … it gets attracted to the hook, but we also when we become devotees in the neophyte state we are very attracted to the prasādam and it is very detrimental for our progress. How to overcome the … (indistinct)
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: There is no need to overcome that, because that is a transcendental bait. The question is that today you mentioned that a fish being attracted to taste swallows the bait and gets hooked. Now we also are attracted to Kṛṣṇa prasādam due to our attachment to taste. So what should be done? Should we try to give up that? My answer is no we should accept that bait, it is a bait. By Kṛṣṇa prasādam we are getting hooked to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
Yes Mother Vrajalīlā.
Vrajalīlā Dasi: Thank you very much for being here and thank you so much for this class. I am very intrigued by a point you made about the pure devotee not having a subtle body. In some ways it makes the entire philosophy sound so simplistic, that as long as one is dovetailing everything then the subtle body … if they are dovetailing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness then there will not be a subtle body and one is a pure devotee. Very simplistic. Śrīla Prabhupāda said that all of his disciples were pure devotees. So I guess my question is that are there levels of pure devotees, or can you please explain about that.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami : Thank you Mother Vrajalīlā. I think everyone heard the question, I do not have to repeat. Mother Vrajalila is saying that Śrīla Prabhupāda mentioned that all the devotees in ISKCON are pure devotees. Now she is saying there are different levels of pure devotion? So in that respect, Mother Vrajalīlā, my immediate response will be yes, there are different levels of pure devotion. In the sense some are in an immature stage, or unripe stage, and some are in a ripened stage of pure devotion. Some are in the practicing stage and some are in the perfected stage of pure devotion.
In this respect Prabhupāda himself gave an example. Prabhupāda mentioned all the devotees in Iskcon are pure devotees and some devotees questioned, naturally, out of curiosity,
“Prabhupāda said everyone in Iskcon is a pure devotee, even the new bhakta who joined yesterday, is he a pure devotee? Or the one who just got initiated the other day is he a pure devotee?” And so forth?
Prabhupāda said, “Yes, it is only a matter of green mango and ripe mango.”
The mango may be green today, but if it remains in the tree it will become a ripe mango. So those who are in Iskcon, if they stay in Iskcon, even though they may be just a new bhakta, in course of time they will become pure devotees, because Iskcon is an institution for making pure devotees. Iskcon is a factory that manufactures pure devotees. Yes some are green and some are ripe, but all the mangos will become ripe as long as they remain in the tree. Thank you. Does it answer your question?
Devotee: In the teachings of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu it is said that ultimately all the souls will go back home back to Godhead. So does that mean that everybody will become a pure devotee … [Unclear]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Ultimately everyone will go back to Godhead? Yes, many will go back and many will come also. The king may give a total amnesty to all the prisoners, but does the prison house remain empty since then? No, new criminals will come and fill up the prison house. So that is what happens in the material nature.
All glories to the assembled devotees.
All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda.
Audio-reference : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYutqjBPeso
Transcription & Editing : His Grace Śyāmānanda Kṛṣṇa Dāsa