Question: Mahārāja, there is a question from KṛṣṇaPāvanaprabhu. The dust-
Question: PāvanaPrabhu. PāvanaKṛṣṇaprabhu.
BSG: Oh, alright.
Question: Yes, PāvanaKṛṣṇaprabhu.
Question: The dust from the lotus feet of Vaiṣṇava, what does it mean?
BSG: Not discounting the literal meaning, but really it means to come in connection with the Vaiṣṇava. And, even the least aspect of the Vaiṣṇava, but this will introduce all auspiciousness into one's life. Like we hear the śastrika saying
'sādhu-saṅga', 'sādhu-saṅga'--sarva-śāstre kaya
[ŚrīCaitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 22.54]
And as I say, we don't discount the literal meaning, the dust, but what type of dust is that? If we say vaikuṇṭherapṛthivy-ādisakalacinmaya [ŚrīCaitanya-caritāmṛtaĀdi-līlā 5.53]: thus the soil of Vaikuṇṭha is cinmaya. And in this world, what's the least aspect? Is dust. When they talk about literally dust, what is that saying in the Bible? About from dust thou art, and dust thou shalt return. Is that correct? Any Biblical scholars in the audience. Something like that, right? It rings a bell?
Those who are dedicated, devoted. I found it interesting in the MIDI. Maybe not limited to MIDI, but these sort of digital consideration, they would call the dedicated unit, they were slave units. There's one original, and so many slaves. But in the good sense. When Guru Mahārāja talks about jiverasvarūpahayakṛṣṇeranityadāsa [ŚrīCaitanya-caritāmṛta Madhya-līlā 20.108]: the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, by the way, of which Sarasvati Ṭhākura says, everyone is. From his angle of vision, not only that, but the natural implication, he says, "Everyone is a Vaiṣṇava."
But, there are those who are in remembrance of divine servitude, and forgetfulness of the same. So, for Prabhupāda, and in general, everyone, rendering dāsa as servant, but Guru Mahārāja, his almost default favorite word for this was slave. And when we hear that, that's anathema to the Western mind, particularly. Because they're thinking, "Slavery, we overcame that hundreds of years ago, and now we have democracy, where every man is king." That's their slogan, sometimes.
"Oh, how nice. What a nice concept."
They interview some artist, or fashion designer, photographer, and they say, "Actually, I'm a slave of beauty."
And everyone's like, "Oh, how wonderful!"
But if we say, "Slave of Kṛṣṇa."
"Oh, that can't be good. Not the slave of another person."
Well, what if beauty could be personified? It's okay to be a slave of beauty in principle, and aesthete, you could say, right? There's a word like that, aesthetics, aesthete. That's all right, but if that beauty if personified, then you should be suspicious of that.
And that in fact, may be true. To be that type of slavery. This world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual reality. But Guru Mahārāja said, Sarasvati Ṭhākura's response was, "No. GauṙīyaMaṭha stands for the dignity of the human race. The most dignified prospect for human beings." And he gave a nice example from that time with regard to Mahātmā Gandhi, whose so famous and revered internationally and so there was a time where Mahātmā Gandhi needed an assistant, a servant, what now we call an executive assistant. And it's like a big slave, a well-paid slave.
But anyway, it says dāsa’ kari’ vetana more dehaprema-dhana [ŚrīCaitanya-caritāmṛtaAntya-līlā 20.37]: Mahāprabhu said, "I just want to be your servant, and if there's any salary involved, vetana, then prema-dhana. Give Me prema, love, affection, and with that, as we study in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu of RūpaGosvāmī, the outcome, sometimes ecstasy, the most intense sort of happiness, and we hear those devotees, that's sort of the interest accumulated from premika seva. But Guru Mahārāja introduced the conception of compounded interest, which means when the interest comes from serving, the devotee, strategically, they take that interest, and increase their serving capital.
They want the serving capital to expand. Their motive is not some sort of self-remuneration or reward. They want the serving capacity to increase. So, Gandhi needs that executive slave, assistant, and they make it known that Gandhi's looking for an assistant. And they didn't bring someone from the so-called servant class. You might think, "Well, that might be a good choice. People who are accustomed to that sort of thing." But in fact, all of the richest men in India, the most highly educated, well-positioned influential men in India, they were all volunteering to become Gandhi's slave, servant, executive assistant.
Guru Mahārāja always gives perfect examples. And you can replace Mahātmā Gandhi with other people who are people you might personally feel that. Or it's a model. We say, "Oh, yeah. I could see that." So, Guru Mahārāja's point, but when it comes to the Supreme Entity, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, would it also apply? That even the least connection, on any level, we would improve, our existence would be upgradeded, naturally so if we concieve that there is a Supreme Entity, a Supreme Being, then how extraordinary that opportunity would be. So, coming in connection with the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava.
sapūjyo ca yathāhyaham
[Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 10.29, ŚrīCaitanya-caritāmṛtaAntya-līlā 16.25]
The nature of pure devotion is such, Guru Mahārāja said they do not allow a pinprick through which any remuneration can pass. It's air tight. Unalloyed devotion. So Kṛṣṇa is perplexed. And Guru Mahārāja said that if someone, a third party comes along and serves that devotee, they're doing the desired seva, service of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa will be pleased with them, and the sort of devotion that is in the heart of that devotee, that they personify by a service connection will be transferred to the heart of the servitor. That's the system. Not a data transfer. Not knowledge or information, but devotion.
The sort of devotion in the heart of that devotee will transfer to the heart of the servitor. That's tene brahma hṛdā, [Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.1.1] a heart to heart transaction. Just as when I was studying the Caitanyāṣṭakam of ŚrīlaRūpaGosvāmī, the first one, and some particular verse, one could understand a little more clearly, and asked ŚrīlaGurudeva about it. Because Guru Mahārāja did speak about this. And Gurudeva started explaining it, and I said, "Oh, when did you study this?"
And I thought, "Oh?" He could see. "You're just explaining to me what this means, and you're telling me you've never studied it."
He said, "Yes." He said, "I am Guru Mahārāja's servitor." And he was reflecting upon his younger days when he was performing all the menial service of Guru Mahārāja, like taking his cloth, washing his cloth, cleaning the room, and he said, and while he's doing that, Guru Mahārāja is in the bathing room, and where he's taking a loṭa and he's pouring water over his head, and he's chanting the Caitanyāṣṭakam while he's doing that.
He was like:
sacaitanyaḥkiṁ me punarapidṛśoryasyatipadam
And he's doing that while bathing, he's chanting the Caitanyāṣṭakam, and Gurudeva is cleaning the floor. He's sweeping it, wiping it with a cloth, and he hears Guru Mahārāja going, "rasoddamakamarbuda ..." [Text 4] and I thought, "Oh, what a perfect example. He's performing menial service for Guru Mahārāja without any anticipation that, 'By doing this, I will get, other than his love and affection, for Guru Mahārāja, a natural serving inclination.' And while doing that, Guru Mahārāja is chanting Caitanyāṣṭakam, and through this service connection, it's like a wavelength, a channel. It's being transferred from the heart of Śrīla Guru Mahārāja to the heart of ŚrilaGurudeva." It's an example.
And so many verses:
Pāda-raja.Pāda-raja means the dust from the lotus feet of the devotee. Pāda-raja abhiseka, to bathe in the dust of the lotus feet of the devotee. There, that's in Prahlāda, and then the Rahūgaṇa. Vinā.Similar śloka. I can't recall right now. It's saying, without the dust from the lotus feet of the devotee, one cannot become freed from material existence.
Question: The question from the Philippines, RūpaVilāsaprabhu is asking, "We always wanted to speak the truth, but others say it hurts. Does truth hurt?
BSG: Well, Śrīla Guru Mahārāja, giving himself as an example, we can understand his extraordinary affinity for truth. Satyaṁparaṁdhīmahi.Kṛṣṇa's the truth, satyaṁśivaṁsundaraṁ. But, in different aspects we can understand the truth. But, truth, truthfulness. Once Guru Mahārāja said, and it's even before GauṙīyaMaṭha, somewhere around his college days, that he said he decided one day that, "From this moment forward, I will always and only speak the truth." This is his vow. He said, "From this moment forward, I will always and only speak the truth." And he said, "The world became like a ball of play in my hand." That's what he said.
He said, "I'm thinking ..." But he knows he can't dismiss this because it's a Vedic aphorism, but he said, "I'm thinking, 'No. You should speak the truth always and only, and as they say, 'Let the pieces fall where they may.' But you should always speak the truth, whether it's hurtful, or what. Speak the truth.'" But Guru Mahārāja said, "Here, it's saying not. It's saying if this truth that you want to give voice to is hurtful, will cause some pain to others, not to speak that."
And so, he said, "Then he came to understand, 'Oh, what is this? It's saying mercy is above justice.'" Mercy is a higher principle than justice. So from the plane of justice, they say, "No. The truth should be spoken."
Saying, "But if it will be unpalatable, it will be hurtful, offend others, not to say that. Be merciful."
As we hear in Shakespeare, the line, "The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth like the gentle rain from heaven." [The Merchant of Venice Act IV, Scene I] It says, and it's twice blessed. The person who's being the recipient of the mercy, and the person who's being merciful. And he also says, "The king sits on a throne with a scepter. The scepter is the symbol of temporal majestic power. It's a daṇḍam. The scepter represents the power to chastise. That's why the hold the scepter. It's a club. It represents that the person holding this, has the power to enforce." And he said, "But mercy is a divine quality." Like the saying, "To err is human. To forgive, divine."
So Guru Mahārāja said, as he thought about this more, then he could understand, "Oh, so mercy is above. What this śloka is telling us, indirectly is that mercy is above justice." And that is the domain of Kṛṣṇa. And if not for mercy, then none of us have any hope for salvation, redemption or entrance into the upper world. But when we hear, Kṛṣṇa's domain is ruled by love and affection, then we can understand it's the domain of the highest sort of mercy that is ultimately, because we have the aiśvarya of Vaikuṇṭha, the majestic aspect of divinity, the mādhurya, sweetness of Kṛṣṇa's pastimes. Rādhārāṇī, vraja-gopis, Vṛndāvana, Nanda-Yaśoda, Śrīdāma, Subāla, the cows, Yamunā, peacocks, everything.Sweetness, the land of sweetness.
To those who are acaitanya, unconscious, not Kṛṣṇa conscious ŚrīKṛṣṇaCaitanya.Mahāprabhu, he's descended to distribute Kṛṣṇa consciousness of the highest order, which means Kṛṣṇaprema, and as ultimately personified and expressed from the heart of ŚrīmatiRādhārāṇi. MahābhāvaSvarūpinīRādhāṬhākurāṇī.Rādhā-dāsyam.The servant of those holy lotus feet.Vṛndāvana.
[ŚrīlaBhaktivinodaṬhākura’sRādhikā-caraṇa-padma, Verse 1]
He's saying the entrance into Gaura-līlā. The entrance into Vṛndāvana is in Navadvīpa. Yathāyathāgaura-padāravinde, at the lotus feet of Mahāprabhu, give your full attention, energy, everything, there. vindetabhaktiṁkṛta-puṇya-rāśiḥ means those who are sukṛtivān, sumedhasa, refined theistic intellect, they will appreciate this. This, never-before opportunity.
SanātanaGosvāmī in Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛtam[2.1.21], rādhā-dāsyecchavaḥ, the same thing.
What was the question?
Oh, the truth, yes, okay. Yes.
se caitanya-līlāhaya, mano-haṁsacarāha’ tāhāte
KṛṣṇadāsaKavirājaGosvāmī at the conclusion of the Madhya-līlā, making a comparison between kṛṣṇa-līlā, gaura-līlā.Kṛṣṇa-līlāamṛta-sāra, it's the crème de la crème of nectarine substances. What does it say? Sarvavedāntasāra in the Bhāgavatam. He's saying, "But, on account of it being the highest and ultimate substance, inaccessible except for the highest section of liberated souls, so no hope of ever achieving that, almost hopeless." You think, "But, what is Mahāprabhu? Gaura-līlā? The magnanimous distribution of that divine substance, and entrance in that plane that is otherwise practically inaccessible to give entrance to everyone."
Sometimes the devotees, they speak in such a way as to stake their claim, by saying, "If you test the disinfecting purifying power of this mercy, I can't think of a better candidate than myself. If it could cure or disinfect a sinner like me, then that would be a glorious thing." In different ways, they're trying to negotiate a settlement.
VṛndāvanadāsaṬhākura, when he describes these beautiful pastimes of Mahāprabhu and he's saying, "But that somehow I came a little late, I wasn't there for that. What is my fortune, misfortune?" We understand he's the vehicle for the expression of Caitanya-līlā, but Sarasvati Ṭhākura also mentioned that NarottamaṬhākura, who may have been around three, four years old around the time of Mahāprabhu's withdrawing from this plane, that's what he's partially expressing in the song ye anilopremadhana.
And the devotees, saying, "Who?Narottama, who?"
He's such a great devotee, Mahāprabhu's crying out for him. And he's maybe a baby, about to appear a baby. Mahāprabhu left the world, and Narottama’s ready to dash his head against the rocks in separation. His feelings are so intense.
So, by inversion, negative expression can we measure the depth of positive connection. The genuine devotees feel themselves bereft.
Question: The question from Moscow, Kunti-priya dd.
BSG: Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Question: The question is, “What is the criterion of happiness in the slavery of beauty and harmony reality?”
BSG: What is the happiness?
Question: What is the criterion of happiness?
BSG: Oh, is the happiness, or pleasure of whom the devotees are serving. Told, āśraya and viṣaya. There’s the object of the service, and one of the love and affection, and one who’s possessing the love and affection. And in our present position, we misread this as somehow thinking like that we get nothing. It’s a misunderstanding, but in fact, it’s so great, but this comes out with Kṛṣṇa in Caritāmṛtam in the beginning, glorifying the gopis for their unconditional love, and saying there is no fault, no kāma. The fault of kāma in the gopis’ prema for Kṛṣṇa because they’re genuinely interested in His happiness, who is the object of their love and affection, the happiness of that person.
So, if Kṛṣṇa and the cowherd boys, they’re herding the cows, and they’re playing their flutes and singing and dancing, and it’s non-stop ecstatic expression, then a demon comes or something, to send the pastimes in another direction, what is the result? Intensified love and affection, because at the possibility, everything’s so wonderful and perfect, then being presented with the possibility of the loss of Kṛṣṇa is impossible for premikabhaktas. You understand if Mahāprabhu’s saying:
naprema-gandho ’stidarāpi me harau
So, in the midst of their pastimes, when threatened with separation from Kṛṣṇa, what to speak of again, within the pastime, “the death of Kṛṣṇa”, to see Kṛṣṇa in the coils of Kāliya, and it looks as though He’s going to be killed, we can’t properly estimate that. The effect on the hearts of Nanda and Yaśodā, they faint. They’re restraining Yaśodā and Nanda, and then they faint on the banks of the river, Yamunā, and so many others faint.
And Kṛṣṇa’s nature is such, it’s mentioned by SanātanaGosvāmī in Bṛhad-Bhāgavatāmṛtam, seeing everyone fainted, but not the gopis, then he thinks, “Oh, this is good opportunity for rasa-līlā.” So, they have, while everyone’s fainted, Kṛṣṇa has a rasa-līlā with the vraja-gopis on the hoods of Kāliya. It’s one of His pastimes. But, we’re told, Balarāma intervenes at some point, and says, “Look at what you’re doing. These are Your beloved devotees, and by showing these type of pastimes, look at the effect that it has on them. Please, bring this pastime to a close soon.”
kasyānubhāvo 'syana deva vidmahe
How can they know all of these things? We should never think of them in less than a stellar position. What do you think are their qualifications to play this role in kṛṣṇa-līlā? Can only be from beloved associates of the Lord, and then we get hints of what they know, or understand by what they say. So, they’re saying, “Lakṣmī-devī performed austerities in the tapovāna for lifetimes to get the dust of Your lotus feet.” How do they know that, these women, who are the wives of Kāliya?
And we’re told later he offers himself, just to show, when the question came about nitya-līlā, and these pastimes being eternally recurrent, that Guru Mahārāja said, “Just as the sun will rise tomorrow, and there will be another. And it will be similar to the way it was today. Not exactly.” So, he’s saying, these pastimes are eternal, and they’re more or less the same, but sometimes they’re different. So, Kāliya wanted to offer himself as a carrier for future pastimes. “If you’re ever in need of a carrier, I’m available.” When he’s being exiled to what Prabhupāda said was Fiji, or thereabouts. So, where they have legend, they worship Kāliya, there.
And Kṛṣṇa, “Eh, I understand.”
So ekaleīśvarakṛṣṇa, ārasababhṛtya. He wants to serve in that capacity, also.
When Uddhava, to Vidura praising Kṛṣṇa, considering how merciful He is that Putanā, she appeared as a nurse, a wet nurse who can feed a babe, and Yaśoda, and Rohiṇī, they see she’s so beautiful and sweet looking, and they, “Oh, yeah. The baby’s over there.”
And she takes the baby, pushes her nipple into his mouth. It’s covered with poison. Kṛṣṇa sucks out the poison, the milk, her prāṇa, her life air, everything. So, the devotees are thinking. And she’s liberated to the position of mother, saying, “Then what about those cows that Kṛṣṇa sucked their udders, and sucked their milk in the Brahma-vimohana-līlā, who are offering their breast milk to Kṛṣṇa with love and affection? What about that?” I was just using it. These are standards of measurement in dealing with the infinite.
Our standard of measurement will not apply there. Jñāneprayāsamudapāsyanamantaeva. You have to learn a new standard of measurement, śabda-pramāṇa. Āmnāya. Descending standard knowledge from that plane, and under the influence of that, we can have a glimpse of the workings of the infinite. As Guru Mahārāja said, “Remember, the infinite, He sleeps on a bed of infinite, meaning Ananta.” So Kṛṣṇa, His bed is spiritually conscious infinite.
And this is so astonishing, the criterion of the gopis happiness being inextricably connected to the happiness of Kṛṣṇa, that that’s one of the reasons why Kṛṣṇa’s thinking, “What is it like to be in their position? I know what it’s like to be the object of this type of love and affection. That I know, but what would it be to be the āśraya, to possess that type of love and affection?” So, it’s such a wonderful thing that Kṛṣṇa Himself descends as Mahāprabhu to have that experience.
Yes. Any other question?
Question: There is one question from Russia. It is in Russian actually, and-
BSG: And you read Russian.
Question: I will try to-
Question: Paraphrase it, and interpret it, correctly.
BSG: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Question: The question is from Plotnikov Nikolai. He asks Sarasvati Ṭhākura as a revolutionary narrator, he implemented a lot of unusual things into the Hare Kṛṣṇa movement. Just only for the one reason, because they could be respectful in other society, especially in the Western society, where the preaching was taking place, or in India as well. For example, the color of the clothes.
BSG: I understand.
Question: The color of the cloth, the second initiation. The worshiping śālagrāma-śilā, and he also was ready even to feed with the meat the Westerners for the sake of preaching. So, taking into consideration that in Russia, nowadays, Hare Kṛṣṇa movement is under suppression, and we are taken by the majority of people as some weird people wearing these weird clothes, and so on, is it theoretically possible to bring some changes, or to find a compromise in the outlook, for example?
And they tell him, "This new French general, he doesn't know how to fight properly."
He's saying, "We're losing because he doesn't know how to fight properly?"
And what they're referring to, there were standard fighting methods, and formations and strategies. How you will attack, and they're all playing by these rules, fighting by these rules, actually. But Napoleon, and one such thing was that you'd see, "Where's the weakest part in the formation of the enemy?" And attack that weak spot, and then create an opening, like that. And his strategy was, "Where's their strongest point? Attack them there." And if you topple that, the whole thing goes down. That was his strategy.
So Guru Mahārāja said, Sarasvati Ṭhākura, he was that type of innovator, revolutionary, and the reason I mention this, is to qualify. In other words, if you're not of that stature, then you should think 1,000 times before introducing something that is non-standard. And I would say this, too. In the modern world, practically East, and West. The way people, if this was 50 or 60 years ago, when people were more conservative, I forget how far you'd have to go back. Yeah, like 70 years ago, when people were more conservatively dressed, and everything, that might be a little different. Let's be realistic. In the modern world, and I'm not making any judgments on the way people dress, and their clothing, we're no longer that exotic.
As I say, outside of circumstantial necessity, has really run the course. It's the least problem. I don't think it is that significant. But, as Guru Mahārāja said, it's tantamount to an undercover position. But mainly, what is important is that somebody is sincere in their belief, their practices, their culture and regardless of how they dress, that they themselves become good association, like we speak of the Vaiṣṇavas as sparśamaṇi, touchstone. So that, by connecting with them, it's a transformative experience, however they might be dressed.
When devotees would ask Prabhupāda, "What is this śikhā?" It means different things. We know it's like the flame. When you see a ghee lamp, that's also śikhā, but another meaning is flag. So, in the beginning, Prabhupāda used to call it flag. He'd say, "You're not keeping flag? Where is your flag?" And what is the purpose of a flag? Identification. So we say, there's a situation where people need to go into a suppressed position, that we understand, then that's an exemption. It's extraordinary. They're exempt when such conditions occur. But that's not a topic for extensive discussion right now. But my point of emphasis here will be on spiritual practices. Being a sincere practitioner, being good association and seeking good association. And that will transcend dress.
And that person, as Guru Mahārāja said, śithilita-vidhi-rāgā-rādhya-rādheśa-dhānī. [From a śloka by Śrīla Bhakti-rakṣakaŚrīdhara Deva-GosvāmīMahārāja, which he said “… will be very effective to have a clear conception of Prabhupāda's mission.”] He's willing to slacken principles for others, to give them entrance, but he himself is the personification of strict adherence to Vaiṣṇava-sadācāra, behavior, practice, etc. So there are many things to be considered. Because we don't want to risk. Guru Mahārāja said kaivalya means preserving the purity of something. Not to mix something else in, thereby diluting it, and making it less potent, or even impotent. It turns into something else.