Devotee: The first question is from Gupta Govārdhana. Srila Gurudeva asks us to always mangal ārati, but if we don’t have desire to do it, we just have to be there. Why don’t we have this desire and where to get it?
Goswami Mahārāja: Once Shyamananda Prabhu, a disciple of Guru Mahārāja – he asked [him] this question. Whereas Guru Mahārāja framed it in another way with regard to hunger. There is a famous sloka of Rupa Goswami ‘ Kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ’pi labhyate tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate [CC Madhya 8.70]. So its very interesting, as he is saying, the real substantial aspect of Kṛṣṇa consiousness ‘janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate’.. you won’ṭ get it [in] ‘janma-koṭi’ means ’10 million births’ - sukṛti. 10 million births of accumulating sukṛti – will not give you this thing called ‘laulyam’ in this context.
Interestingly, laulyam like many aspects of aprakrita Kṛṣṇa conception, laulyam it has another side where it is condemned, or told to be something that is detrimental. That word is used in atyaharah prayatas ca Prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ Jana bangas ca laulyam ca sadbhir bhakti vinaśyati [Upadesamrta] (in the context of) things that ruin devotion. But there is another type of laulyam, as in this verse they are saying – that’s it, that’s the real thing.
And where you can get that, we are told, buy it, steal it, whatever you have to do to get that – be prepared to make that sacrifice. Really, if we look thematically at what we are being told in many different places then we can understand that we can factor in other things we have heard bhaktyā sañjātayā bhaktyā [CC Madhya 25.140] that only devotion can awaken devotion in others. There is not something else that awakens devotion. That’s why it is mysterious.
On one hand it says nitya-siddha kṛṣṇa-prema 'sādhya' kabhu naya there is no sādhya really for this, śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya [Madhya-līlā 22.107] but hearing, and hearing from whom? @@Sraddham, bhūto anu sridayad atavarnay also jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ bhavadīya-vārtām
sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ [CC Madhya 8.67]
Hearing from someone who Kṛṣṇa has accepted as his own really Kṛṣṇa is in his heart, and we’re not talking about. Paramatma is in everyones heart, and we cannot hear from everyone so it must mean something else. Premāñjana-cchurita-bhakti-vilocanena santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ [Brahma-saṁhitā (5.38)] . Because Kṛṣṇa is inconceivable. The name form, qualities pastimes of Kṛṣṇa, they are inconceivable they cannot be grasped, or understood verified by the intellect, the mind, the senses. They are beyond the reach of these things. So they are unreachable, like ajita – unconquerable. ye prāyaśo ’jita jito ’py asi tais tri-lokyām [CC Madhya 8.67] but this other method.
[ Sound from outside] What is that – it’s a frog? Do you know him personally? Maybe you could speak with him, [laughs] he just wants some attention. Bring him here. Maybe that’s what he is saying, why can’t I be in the class room. He’s a rather loud frog. I heard two or three of them last night. It took a while but then they realized they could all do it at the same time. Then it was too much (laughs). That’s the power of association, then it was sankirtana. Anyway, sometimes if they know you are giving them attention they are quiet. Anyway, we’ll just have to live with it.
So this principle, that you only get this in association from someone who has it. So really we are being told, it is something that is not foreign it’s innate but undeveloped and certain types of association bring it out, other things cover it or keep it buried to the point of (being) suppressed to the position of almost non-existent. But that can never be actually because Mahāprabhu tells Sanatana Goswami, when Sanatana says ‘ke āmi’, ‘kene āmāya jāre tāpa-traya’ ihā nāhi jāni — ‘kemane hita haya’[CC Madhya 20.102] ‘Who am I? Why am I suffering the threefold miseries of material existence? Adi atmic, adi bhautic, adi Devic. Self imposed misery, miseries from other living beings maybe from mosquitoes, or scorpions or other things and adi devic the Gods, or nature.
It’s interesting, I don’t know if they still use this expression but in insurance policies, at least in the United States, if you look at the language of an insurance policy – and it was legal language and it would say ‘You are covered for this, this that and the other thing’, and then they would mention things that were not covered in policy and one of the expressions they would use ‘acts of God’ (laughs) and they say – ‘We don’t cover that’. (laughs) We’re not going to pay you, if it’s an act of God. What do they mean by that? Nature. Hurricane, Tornado, Earthquake – those things. So that’s like Deva – adi devica from nature and in the background the Gods, acts of God.
So Sanatana Goswami says, so if I don’t know who I am and why I am suffering as I am at present, iha nahi jani. Not knowing that kemono hito hoy How can I know what is beneficial for me? So this is part of the flawed thinking in the modern world of identity politics and identity assertion. Yes, everyone should be treated equally within the context of rights and such things, but in terms of really discovering who I am and what is my purpose then I have to go beyond the layers of acquired prejudice that accompany being born in a particular time and space, gender circumstance, socio-economical, political, educational, all of these things.
janmaiśvarya-śruta-śrībhir edhamāna-madaḥ pumān
naivārhaty abhidhātuṁ vai tvām akiñcana-gocaram [SB 1.8.26] Kunti Devi says actually what may be considered four assets materially; Janmya, aiśvarya, śruta, śri means high birth, to aiśvarya – wealth, śruta means education, śri means physical beauty. So what may be considered material assets may spiritually put one at a disadvantage. Why? Because of distracting one from the central purpose of actually discovering ones identity. Mahāprabhu s answer to Sanatana Goswami..Oh and Kunti said, just to finish this off, tvām akiñcana-gocaram ‘You are more easily approached by those who are (in Srila Prabhupādas rendering, he said) materially exhausted’. What does He mean by that? Those who don’t see any prospect in the world for them. We are not talking about socio-political, business opportunity or that kind of thing, that’s not what she is talking about. It means, not seeing the world as capable of offering true fulfillment and it has to do with what is the core of one’s identity.
This I have mentioned at different times in Russia, though I know little about the history of the Russian people. But what little I do know of its history; the people, its literature. One of their good qualities is a healthy skepticism or pessimism about the mundane. They never bought the idea that you could be happy in the material world. They didn’t buy into that particular illusion and it is typified, personified in the chançon songs which are odd in that usually the music that older and younger people like are at the opposite ends of the spectrum but (in) these chançon songs there is some element of truth that appeals to everyone across the spectrum.
And what is the basic chançon song? Don’t be too happy for tomorrow you could wake up dead, in jail (laughs) or under investigation. So there is this healthy skepticism in the background. Things may be going alright for a while but don’t expect it to last because this is Mother Russia and different principles apply here. So they are acknowledging that they are suspicious of too much material well being.
Even Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said in his talk at the Harvard Commencement address in 1978 that even from a biological point of view – too much well being is unhealthy.  He made that point, you need some opposition. An environment that is on a certain level threatening, well who wants that? Well no-one wants that outright, but there is no place in the world that is exempt from that and that is part of Kṛṣṇas message to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita – when he says janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duḥkha-doṣānudarśanam […][Bg. 13.9] or anityam asukhaṁ lokam [Bg 9.33]. What is this world characterized by? anityam – it is temporary, asukhaṁ it is full of unhappiness. So the Vedic aphorism – tamasi mā jyotir gama; take me from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge, from suffering to happiness.
But what (Queen) Kunti is saying really is that you have to have exhausted this world as an agent for fulfilling that prospect, to take spiritual life seriously. You will be better off, you will be more focused if you realize this world cannot offer that to you.
Interestingly, Srila Guru Mahārāja says that when Saraswati Thakur would explain tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā (4.34) sloka in the Bhagavad Gita about how to approach Guru, he said ‘Praṇipāt’ , ‘Praṇipātena’ which means to bow and respectfully make that approach. We mentioned taking the highest aspect of yourself and bowing it in recognition of the superiority of the least aspect of the plain you are seeking connection with, admission to. But Saraswati Thakur would say it is a one way ticket, it’s not a round trip ticket. It’s a one way ticket saying I am finished with the experience of this world, and what does that mean? As an agent of fulfillment, that I can realise myself and my identity, in terms of connecting with it, making my identity some aspect of the mundane world and that is the flaw of many movements in the modern world, to think that ‘Freedom’ means freedom for the senses, whereas the Eastern perspective, as Guru Mahārāja says - freedom from the senses – that is liberation proper.
Freedom for the senses will not lead to self discovery. You have to become free from mundane pursuit. So Queen Kunti says akinchana gotram those who are (unattached materially) their real assets are not detected within the mundane, they can appreciate this.
So Mahāprabhus answers to Sanatana Goswami - jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’ (CC Madhya 20.108) the real identity, the ‘svarūpa’of the jiva is eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. It is simple but profound, eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. That means it’s a position that is always theirs.
It can be suppressed, one can become distracted @@byam dati a bene vesh tatsha sadi viparyayo smriti forgetfulness. We can forget that, it can become dormant but not extinguished. And the idea that from the Sadhus, sadhu, shastra, guru, vaishnava that they are going to be giving something that is not innate to us, meaning something foreign. That is not the case, that cannot be. That would be counter to the statements of Mahāprabhu and the statements of all the scriptures. So the word udaya, is used which means ‘awakens’, you cannot awaken something that was not sleeping, in this sense, so it is lying there dormant in an undeveloped stage. It is awakened. Śravaṇādi śuddha-citte karaye udaya (Cc. Madhya 22.107).
Hearing, Śravaṇādi. śravaṇam, kīrtanam, Vishnu, smaraṇam, archanam, pada sevanam, dāsyam, sakhyam, ātma-nivedanam in different ways. So Guru Mahārāja a said, what is required, is hunger – genuine hunger for the thing. And that is something we can relate to as we know what it is to be hungry, and when you are just ‘so-so’. You are not feeling anything.
Then at that time, these things are not appreciable but when one is hungry then every morsel is relished. So it is hunger that allows for that, the relish. Do you understand? The substance has to be innately relishable but what allows us to relish (it) is that there is some genuine hunger or hankering. Not curiosity, but genuine hunger. Neophyte devotees will read that sloka and say, I want that – laulyam –, I’m very eager for that – for raga-bhakti – the higher service, I really want that, I want it. Isn’t that what it says? As much as you want it you will get it, you have to really… I want it. Guru Mahārāja a would say – deserve then desire.
Some neophyte devotee is going to voyeuristically envision themselves as part of a group of super servitors in Goloka Vṛndāvana. This is ridiculous. It’s not only a fantasy, it’s a nightmare – it’s un-real. What Guru Mahārāja called ‘fictitious devotion’.
It’s like the Stanislavski method. If you want to be an actor, it’s a good method. He is the acting Guru. You walk like this person, talk like them, eat like them, do everything they do – mimic their behaviour - day and night - you will have an epiphany where you become that person. It’s still acting. Its imitation. It’s one of the flaws of prakrita sahajiyāism to imitate devotees. There is a difference between anusara and anukara – ‘imitation’ and ‘following’ in principle their approach and their behaviour. If we imitate the maha-bhagavatas, we go down. So Guru Mahārāja a said – we need to get that hunger for the real thing. Then Syamananda Prabhu asked – How to acquire that hunger? And here is the answer to your question – he said ‘Associate with the hungry!’.
Sometimes Bhakti Sharan Vaishnava Mahārāja (Srutashrava Prabhu) would point out that Gurudev could describe prasadam in such a way that even if you had just eaten a feast, he could awaken hunger in you again (laughs). Because there was such relish being conveyed from him about particular things. So he could awaken that hunger in you if you had just eaten a feast!
So it is something like that, by hearing and associating, because we can also associate, we associate through service. Hearing doesn’t mean just literally hearing, what is the evidence of having heard? That is the resultant behavior and modification of consciousness and heart, in the deep hearts core something enters not just literally hearing. avaiṣṇava-mukhodgīrṇaṁ
pūtaṁ hari-kathāmṛtam śravaṇaṁ naiva kartavyaṁ
sarpocchiṣṭaṁ yathā payaḥ (Padma Purāṇa) if it was a question of just hearing, why is Sanatana Goswami condemning hearing from a avaiṣṇava or a non-Vaishnava? Same words, same topic, e’thing the same. He is saying don’t hear from them because it is poisonous intent, mundane intention, ulterior motive it is going to another plane. It’s not the in carrying current śravaṇādi-śuddha-citte karaye udaya (CC Madhya 22.107) that is awakening one to the prospect of a life of service to Kṛṣṇa. But it’s the opposite, seeing Kṛṣṇa as an object of fulfillment; seeing Kṛṣṇa consciousness in an objective sense of fulfillment. So devotees are sometimes disappointed that the Holy Name is not making them ecstatic or they are going to the ārati and not connecting with that. Or hearing from the scripture and not having a deeply moving experience or divine revelation.
Still, we are told ‘go on hearing’ śunite śunite juḍāya hṛdaya-śravaṇa from Kaviraja Das Goswami ‘hear again and again and again’. If you can just do that faithfully, and say alright maybe I am in a position right now of not appreciating, at least I can understand theoretically what’s possible by the statements of Sadhu, Shastra, Guru and Vaishnava but right now I am not in a position to appreciate so much right now, so at least let me participate and associate and offer my energy in service and perhaps by the Grace of Guru and Vaishnava some transformation will come to me.
The song Gurudev kripa bindhu diya mentions aparādha. The narrator of that song is saying ‘please free me from these aparādhas that are obstructing my progress in the service line.
Another thing to consider is Guru Mahārāja saying, the general concept of darśana is to ‘go and see’. We think, ‘Oh, we shall go and see the deity’. When some disciples of Saraswati Thakur… Guru Mahārāja tells the story differently according to the deity – but let’s say Gaura Gadādhara. They come back from the darśana of Gaura Gadādhara and Saraswati Thakur says ‘You saw Gaura Gadādhara’ and they (happily) say ‘Yes, Guru Mahārāja we saw Gaura Gadādhara’. (Saraswati Thakur replies) ‘You saw Gaura Gadādhara’ - (Devotees reply again) – ‘Oh Yes, it was simply wonderful’. (Saraswati Thakur questions strongly) ‘You saw Gaura Gadādhara?’ (Devotees reply flatly) – ‘No Guru Mahārāja, we did not see Gaura Gadādhara’. He says ‘Yes. That was your eye-exercise’.
We are told in the Srimad Bhagavatam and elsewhere how the eye (must) first focus on the lotus feet of the Lord, then gradually move up the form to different places, then to the smiling face. So, he is saying that the eyeball is starting down, then it’s going up, it’s going to the left and the right. What you are doing is eye exercise. What does He mean? What is your capacity to see the Deity, to see Kṛṣṇa? To see Jagannātha?
I mentioned when someone made a mūrti of Guru Mahārāja after his disappearance, some devotees were not completely happy with that, thinking that it didn’t really look like Guru Mahārāja and Srila Gurudeva said ‘If Jagannātha is Kṛṣṇa then that’s Guru Mahārāja’ (laughs).
We could take that in different directions but let’s just say, he is saying ‘What is my capacity?’ When Mahāprabhu, what to speak of Jagannātha, when Mahāprabhu looks at the gopuram, the top of the dome – you know the Jagannātha dome, the very top there are some gargoyles up there and the flag and the chakra. Remember, he tells Haridas Thakur - from Siddha bakula you can take hear/take the Holy Name, when you see the chakra it is like seeing Kṛṣṇa, and we are thinking, what??
I remember the first time that I saw it, I went.. Okay (laughs) because I thought well, I must not know how to see Kṛṣṇa but in the Chaitanya Bhāgavata it says Mahāprabhu, He is seeing Gopala, I mean it’s getting more specific about how He is seeing Kṛṣṇa. So what was my point? Oh, capacity to see. So another way, because we think ‘Yes, so why should I go. I’m not seeing Kṛṣṇa, I am seeing the statue, the mūrti, you know. I don’t want to be offensive.’ But then Guru Mahārāja, what He says, the proper darśana way is actually helpful to us. Actually, darśana means that you go to present yourself to be seen by the Deity.
So we may not have so much capacity to realise the presence of the Lord even in Giriraja Govārdhana who is so merciful, Mahāprabhu, Rādhā Govinda but on the basis of our faith; Guru, Sadhu, Shastra, Guru and Vaishnava they are telling us present yourself to the Deity, got to be seen by the Deity, that will be good for you.
So then if we think, alright, maybe I’m not so inclined, I don’t have so much enthusiasm, well that puts me even more in a position that, let me at least go present myself before the Deity and that will be good for me to be seen by the Deity and if I can hear the songs of Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura of Guru Mahārāja and from time to time look to see what they mean. What is being described there is very sweet, it is enchanting, it is very beautiful for that to pass through our consciousness every day is also very good. So either way we have a case to go to present ourselves. If there is some enthusiasm then no problem, and if there isn’t maybe all the more reason to.
But if we have a good friend who is eager, that would be best. Someone, when we are not feeling so much inspiration, or enthusiasm, eagerness or hunger it can be awakened by good association.
When we were on the pada rasta – going from Hrisikesa/Haridwara to Badrinatha in 1976 it was about 180kms, the walk. Sometimes it was very discouraging, we were not accustomed to doing this. But that discouragement came to.. We were four, we divided into 2 groups of two, my partner, if I’m feeling (discouraged) he is saying ‘No, the next chatti is just around the corner don’t give up now. Maybe that wasn’t entirely true but just hearing that I thought “Alright, I’ll try a little bit longer”. And then in reverse, sometimes I’ve got my second wind and am more enthusiastic and my friend is not so enthusiastic so we are encouraging each other in that way.
That’s the principle of association it can awaken some interest, enthusiasm, hankering, hunger in others ‘sādhu-saṅga’, ‘sādhu-saṅga’ — sarva-śāstre kaya lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya (CC Madhya 22.54) so it is so important that we are told that a moments association with the highest type of sādhu is capable of giving one all perfection. It is that powerful.
I mentioned Gurudeva telling the story of Vasiṣṭa Rishi and Viśvāmitra Muni and Ananta Deva. And Viśvāmitra approaches Vasiṣṭa for some particular type of spiritual instruction and Vasiṣṭa says “Ananta Deva is the master of this, so you should approach Ananta Deva”. So by his mystic power he (Viśvāmitra) goes to the bottom of the universe where Ananta is holding all the planets on his head and he is approaching him (saying) please if you can instruct me in this particular spiritual knowledge, and (Ananta Deva says) “O holding these planets is giving me a headache, can you give me some relief?” (Viśvāmitra says) “By what power could I possibly (do this)?” (Ananta Deva says) “By your mystic power that you have accumulated – see what you can do.” So he (Viśvāmitra) summons all his mystic power and he cannot hold one planet. And then Ananta Deva says “That’s all you’ve got? What about sādhu-saṅga, any sādhu-saṅga you had?” And Viśvāmitra replies “Well I lived with Vasiṣṭa for a moment” “Ok, try that.” Suddenly, he is holding planets and Ananta Deva says “What a relief, how can I help you?” “ Well, there is this particular knowledge..” and Ananta Deva says “Well, actually Vasiṣṭa Rishi is the expert for that knowledge”. Viśvāmitra is known for sometimes getting a little angry, “What!!” and by mystic power he returns to Vasiṣṭa saying “You sent me to Ananta Deva and He tells me you are actually the expert in this regard! Why did you (send me to him)?” (Vasiṣṭa answers saying) “Because you had no faith in me.” (laughs)
“Now that Ananta Deva has given His endorsement that Vasiṣṭa Rishi is the man, he is the one you need to hear from – now you have some faith and are ready to hear.” So that type of good fortune su-durlabhā bhāgavatā hi loke (Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya 13.2) very rare to achieve in this world, having such connection with such saints, but really all of this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is based upon that, the sum and substance of this movement is based upon having gotten superior association.
We can say “Well Prabhupāda brought the Holy Name, the books etc” – Yes, that’s your answer. Without the devotee, without Him, then you didn’t get the Holy Name, the books, the Deity, the Mantra, you didn’t get any of that. And Gurudeva (would say) without Srila Prabhupāda (Swami Mahārāja) we would not know about Guru Mahārāja and Gurudeva, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev Goswami Mahārāja. And again, what we got from them it is through association and service and it is still going on with their faithful disciples’ followers and friends – that’s really how Kṛṣṇa consciousness works, through association with devotees beginning middle and end.
Sevā sādhaka-rūpeṇa siddha-rūpeṇa cātra hi (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.295) even in the Upper world, still under the care and guidance association of genuine devotees of Kṛṣṇa, whom Kṛṣṇa considers His own @@sad jan toṣaṇī to please them. Any other question?
Devotee: What does it really mean - laulyam? To steal or buy it – this laulyam. How can we steal or buy it?
Goswami Maharaj: Well, that means.. We are told when you come in connection with the Maha-bhagavataḥ, we are told the kaniṣṭha- bhagavataḥ, is somewhere described as taking the Holy Name of Kṛṣṇa. The madhyama- bhagavataḥ is constantly immersed in Kṛṣṇanam etc and with the Maha-bhagavataḥ, Kṛṣṇanam descends within you. So what is the appropriate response to be in connection with such a person, is to offer yourself in service to them, then by serving them the hunger that they have, the hankering, their version of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we are told, comes to the sincere servitor as remuneration for the service.
So by hearing from them, they describe Kṛṣṇa in a particular way; with a particular relish – it awakens some happiness or sense of prospect in the heart that leads one to say, I want to serve this devotee. That would be the natural response.
Guru Mahārāja would sometimes say not to go away saying I have got something valuable in my pocket, you know, I just met with the Sādhu and know I have got something. Rather the evidence that something substantial entered the heart and consciousness is in expressing ones willingness to offer oneself, to dedicate oneself in service. That is the transaction loop.
When Saraswati Thakur would impress his Kṛṣṇa consciousness upon His followers – and remember many of these men they are of high saṁskāra, their background – they grew up in Vaishnava families, some are Sanskritians, their whole lives they have heard about Mahāprabhu, Nityānanda Prabhu and still he is taking them, dive deep into reality.
He is taking them deep into pure Kṛṣṇa conception and as Sakhi Charan Babu who was there in the beginning, (he was) saying sometimes Saraswati Thakur was pounding on the table, speaking very intensely, His face becoming flush. Guru Mahārāja later compared it to a type of lotus, white/pink, white/pink white/pink like a flushed, fully blossomed lotus flower and this stream of nectar coming out of Him that was beyond their capacity to understand even with their saṁskāra and background and he said, what I could understand is that Guru Mahārāja, Prabhupāda Saraswati Thakur, He is forcibly trying to make us taste some nectarean substance. In common English, He is trying to ‘ram nectar down their throats’, that is what he is saying.
Then what does Saraswati Thakur say, later when there is some lawyer He is meeting with, remember kripaya hari kirtana murti at every opportunity He is preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness to the point of exhaustion. So even in this legal affair, He is preaching and the lawyer is asking “Are you trying to convert me?” and Saraswati Thakur says “Yes! Actually if you could just pay attention and concentrate for 5 minutes then you would realise that it’s actually not a conversion it’s your innate wealth all along but can you do that?” And then Saraswati Thakur said that “I was in the jungle, the jungle of Māyāpur in the beginning”, remember before Bhaktivinode Thakur people were afraid to go there, to this area. It was unincorporated, there were dacoits, so when He inaugurated the first Māyāpur festival, He had to hire some people, some brāhmaṇa cooks were afraid to go - there were so many things.
Anyway, so Saraswati Thakur says, “I was in the jungle of Māyāpur alone, now I’ve got 500 men who say what I say.” So it transferred from him, the heart of Saraswati Thakur into their hearts – that’s really dīkṣā, dīkṣā-kāle bhakta kare ātma-samarpaṇa (CC Antya 4.192). Really it has to do with ātma-samarpaṇa, completely offering yourself – so they offer themselves body, mind and soul to be infused vilasatu hṛdi nityaṁ bhakti-siddhānta-vāṇī, with Saraswati Thakurs’ Kṛṣṇa consciousness and then they became agents of transmission. Guru Mahārāja said in one place our duty is to become ‘agents of transmission’ to transmit what has come to us by the grace of higher Vaishnavas and to transmit that to others and Guru Mahārāja added, not anything less than was given to you - that is the standard we should strive for.
00:44.55 It’s not legitimate to lament, “Oh, He gave so much – (the preceding Guru) and now….” – then you need to represent that. When Guru Mahārāja said to one man after the disappearance of Saraswati Thakur when the devotees were preaching, he said “ Oh, there’s none among you who can give like He did!” and then Guru Mahārāja said to him, “But do you believe that what He came to give He gave that thing? And someone received it or not? Maybe there is no-one qualified to give to the level of Him, but did someone received something or not? Then it has its value.” Same thing with Prabhupāda, Guru Mahārāja, Gurudeva. We don’t say that anyone has the same capacity but if we say in the case of Prabhupāda, as people do and should, they say that He spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over world – you cannot then say in the same breath that “Well there is no-one who is evidence of that – there is no-one who is the evidence of His having spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness to anyone.” “Well I thought you just said that He spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world, but now you say there is nobody who is Kṛṣṇa conscious?” If you say, not to that level, then that’s ok, but nothing? That is indirectly to say something less than flattering about the guru-varga. They came to give something and according to peoples capacity they got that and appreciated that and we can legitimately extend that to others.
As Guru Mahārāja said, “If you are suffering from some medical condition - people do this all the time – and you took some medicine and it cured you, then someone comes to you or you see someone – your friend – and they have the same condition and even though you are not a doctor or supremely qualified, you know (you may say) “I was suffering from that, this helped me” so in good faith you can recommend that to another person.
Guru Mahārāja was being treated by a physician once, and He is having a spiritual discussion with him about Guru and this that and the other thing. At one point, Guru Mahārāja said to the doctor, “Do you know everything there is to know about medicine?” and the doctor said “Of course not.” and Guru Mahārāja asked, “Why do you treat people? You don’t know everything, so why do you treat people?” and that doctor, he said, “Then all medical treatment would vanish.” if the requirement was that you needed to know everything about medicine.
So Gurudeva would say, “If I have 5 rupees, I do a 5 rupee business”. Everyone got something, and in goodwill that can be recommended, promoted to others. But if we say Guru is trikāla-jña sarva-jña Yes, Guru is not a jiva – Guru is Kṛṣṇa. But within the inspired side of the Vaishnava we detect Guru - Kṛṣṇas presence.
I have so many friends (laughs) saying “Why did you come, why did you pick me? – Oh, the light was on, your light was on”
Devotee: @@Maria Gusha Anna Goldman invites you to Kiev.
Goswami Mahārāja: Hare Kṛṣṇa – we are going to be in Kiev in how many days? Four or five days - we look forward to seeing her, Anna Goldman, she is one of our faithful viewers for such a long time and the others.
Devotee: There is a quote from one of your lectures. In Vedic culture the visual arts are in the lower section of society..
Goswami Mahārāja: We do what?
Devotee: In Vedic culture the visual arts are in the lower section of society.
Goswami Mahārāja: Visual arts? Yes.
Devotee: Then @@ Theresa Lore De Mola is asking – I thought devotees where mirrored in a different way than the mundane aspect of the Vedas. Why is it seen - that the artist belongs to the lowest section? I don’t understand.
Goswami Mahārāja: Well, it’s because if I understand what is being said right, we are talking about Vedic culture, the Arts means painting, singing dancing performing – that was generally done by sudras. So it is interesting that in the Kali Yuga that things are topsy turvy or upside down – so it’s like the same people in Kali Yuga make 20 million dollars for a movie that takes them 3 months to make. (laughs) It’s ok but that’s what I mean – they are artisans, they are making a carving on a temple or a shringasan – that’s the way art was for the longest time. It’s a relatively modern phenomenon of the idea of the artist as some kind of genius. Which I have my doubts about, and we are not talking about Michelangelo – he is a genius in many different ways – but I am saying – they will show some artist in the modern world – like Picasso.
He is an artistic genius but where he is at in terms of his realization we could say, as a human being, there may be something to be desired. And now I have just offended the Spanish speaking world (laughs). I’m a fan! But I can see that as a person, if you know some of his history he is described in many different ways. So, just that you are able to do this does not necessarily imply some deep sort of spiritual realization, is what I mean to say. It doesn’t disqualify you, but one doesn’t imply the other. Whereas traditionally, before the 20th century…
Look at Michelangelo and Leonardo – they are hired hands. Even those who were so great and we say approached genius, they are hired by rich people to decorate their places. That tells you right there who they are – they are hired people. They are artisans, but they are so gifted they have come to be seen in another way. So singers, dancers, performers they still have their place in society but it was not in the higher section. Vedic culture is dead, by the way but when an elephant is dead still the tusks have value.
So a crude but simple example is, we all know about Bollywood, and only until recent times a Brahmin girl could not be an actress. That would have been considered inappropriate, and degrading - for a Brahmin girl to be an actress.
When I first flew to India, it was on Air India, so on the way there I had my little altar and my mālā – and on the walls were pictures of Kṛṣṇa lila. Kṛṣṇa lifting Govārdhana and you like you know blissfully flying through the air at 800 Kms on my way to India – the flight attendants all wore saris, and bindi and everything but they weren’t Hindu girls, because no Hindu girl would serve alcohol or meat to anyone. So I remember, when I discovered this personally and also read about it later, when I’m dressed like this on one flight and one of these flight attendants, in a full sari and everything she says to me. “Is this some sort of religious dress?” – She’s asking me and I’m (laughing, taken aback) like “What??” - I thought she was joking – but she was just inquiring, she’s was a Christian. So many of the flight attendants they were Christians from Bombay who knew nothing about these kinds of things, really didn’t know. Why? I’m just making a small point. This was in the 70s, that even a Brahmin, Hindu girl would not serve alcohol and meat on a airplane to someone.
So if you can extrapolate from that and go back you can understand something about Vedic culture. So Brahmins have a particular place within society and they deal primarily with scriptures and instruction.
All these Brahmin names, Baneerjee is Bandyopadhyay, Chatterjee is Chattopadjaya – upadjya means they are instructors - teachers. What is Guru Mahārājas name? Bhattacharyya –they are acharyas , and not just teachers of anything and everything – but they teach shastra, scripture and scriptural injunction. That’s what that section does.
Ksatriyas have another function – they are dealing with military politics and governance. Vaishyas – business, trade and agriculture, and śūdra are in service to the other classes. So if this provides amusement for the other other classes then it is naturally a śūdra type work. There is no shame in that but that’s the position it occupied.
Now, in Kali-yuga – someone gets paid $20 million dollars a year for playing any particular type of ball. Whether football, basketball this that or the other thing. It’s ok, but it’s also amusing (laughs) –where as teachers get very little salary. But that’s just social issues.
And I’m reminded once that one devotee wanted to have these Deities Kṛṣṇa Balarāma, Subala and Śrīdāmā – and they are asking Guru Mahārāja – “How should Subala be shown?” and Guru Mahārāja said “Ready to fulfill the inner desires of Kṛṣṇa” (and the devotees reply) “But, how.. what should his posture be?” (and Guru Mahārāja replies again) “Ready to serve the inner desires of Kṛṣṇa” and then they go “But..maybe you don’t understand Guru Mahārāja but we are talking about where his arms should be?” and Guru Mahārāja said “That an artist can decide.”
“Oh, I thought you were asking me something substantial, like Subala - why does he occupy that position?" because he is aware of and ready to fulfill the inner desires of Kṛṣṇa. There is something compact in that statement, encrypted there but that is not their interest, they want to know should the hand be like this or like that - He said “Artists can decide that." Artists, artisan.
00:59.39 Devotee: She is still asking should we care about the caste?
(Scribe notes: There was some confusion about the question here – I haven’t transcribed it)
Goswami Mahārāja: No, janmanā jāyate śūdraḥ everyone kalo sudra sambhavaḥ in Kali-Yuga is śūdra. This is all a fantasy about brahmans, ksatriya, vaishayas. I remember being at a Sunday feast in the Washington DC temple many, many years ago and I was with this devotee and we were drinking this so called ‘nectar’ and some very attractive girl went by, and he made some comment about this girl and he saw that I was shocked. You know, we were supposed to be Brahmacharis and he looked at me and said – “Oh, that’s right – you’re not a Ksatriya.” (laughs)
~1.25 In Russia once, someone gave me a business card it said “So and so das – for all your Yugyic needs – So and so das – Brahmin” (laughs). You are fooling yourself – brahmins, kstriyas, vaishayas – we can talk about what was but it’s not even properly represented in India, what to speak of anywhere else. What does Kṛṣṇa say in the Gita? janma karma ca me divyam evaṁ yo vetti tattvataḥ (BG 4.9) how is this qualified? The cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ (BG 4.13)– that’s what it is – it should be guna qualities, karma –activities/tendencies and not birth. So the whole thing is rotten and polluted.
So only if you are doing some kind of an academic paper and are were trying to show some parallels or something (would it have value) – we are outcasts, that means outside of this system. Vaishnavism is another thing and Saraswati Thakurs deva varnasram that’s another thing but there is no proper representation of the caste system in the modern world. And everything is mixed. So what is a real Brahmin is someone who is concerned with Brahma, with spirit, it’s in their DNA. What some people have a hard time getting their minds around they accept without question. They have always known that, and it is intuitive to them and that it not even Vaishnavism, that is just being a Brahmin.
And if you meet someone who knows these things in India, a Brahmin man who has a job somewhere. When I would go on life membership collection they would be apologetic, once they know they were in touch with someone who knew something, by the grace of our Guru Varga, about it – they know a Brahmin should do what they call service, in India, have a job (but) Brahmins don’t work for people.
They would say come, and I would say “Oh, your family name (such as Chatterjee/Bhattacharyya etc) in the line teachers” and now he’s got a job working for the government. He’s embarrassed because he knows that it’s not proper according to the caste and the structure.
That is all, for the most part, vanished but still now and then you meet somebody who you can see is, how you say, adept – or they have some Brahminical qualities and its not to deny that. But caste, this is all finished.
And varnashram was rejected by Mahaprabhu in the Ramananda Samvada - Eho bāhya āge - that’s external.
So even when it was working previously, Guru Mahārāja says “What is it? It’s a system. Whereby society as a whole, is divided in this way, and working together – like the legs, belly, arms, head can” he said, “march from the mundane to Vaikuṇṭha ” – that’s the idea.
Vishnu aradyate punsama nanyatatha tosha caranama (it’s) supposed to culminate in the worship of Vishnu and ultimately Kṛṣṇa. Now, there’s not enough time for this – and in Kali-Yuga everything is topsy-turvy, upside down. So Sarawsati Thakurs movement - sarva dharma paraksaja, mam ekam saranam vraja [ Bg . 18.66] Whatever you conceived of previously, give it up and just run to Kṛṣṇa. Make your connection with Kṛṣṇa conception and within this within the deva varnasram, it’s all glorious. Brahminical like activities, Ksatriya like activities – everything – it’s all seva. As Saraswati Thakur said - the domestic activities of the math, is Radha dasyam. So it’s beautiful – whatever anyone’s tendencies are, if they come here and get the Kṛṣṇa connection then that will take them to the highest position. Varnashram is a system for structuring, social stratification according to peoples natural qualities and tendencies so that they can make progress out of the mundane and into the spiritual. It is rejected by Mahaprabhu as a means now.
And what was one of the first verses that we started with tonight? jñāne prayāsam udapāsya namanta eva
jīvanti san-mukharitāṁ [CC Madhya 8.67] that means the Sadhu – that we hear from them sthāne sthitāḥ śruti-gatāṁ whatever your position is. And we are outside of that system, what to speak of those who are within it or without it – whatever your position is you begin hearing from a genuine agent of Kṛṣṇa and making your progress from there. You may have to walk through the mud for to get out of the mud but once you hear this and the heart expresses some appreciation, you are going in the right direction, and Guru Mahārāja says that the spiritual experts say that whether it is today or tomorrow, its guaranteed. Just like if someone is a famous doctor who is expert in curing a particular disease and you say – “Oh you have this disease – and who is your doctor?” and you say so and so, they say “Consider yourself cured”.
You will have to undergo certain things, but this person is the expert, consider yourself cured. It’s something like that, you get this connection, consider yourself cured. Still we will have to submit to treatment but consider yourself cured. The experts do. Maybe beyond what we can see or even believe what is possible, but the experts say that it is so potent – this type of injection of Kṛṣṇa conception from substantial agents, that today or tomorrow it’s inevitable and Narada deals with this with Vyasa saying, even if it’s suppressed for some time, or someone goes away - deep within the core of their hearts again the remembrance of the relish experienced in connection with Kṛṣṇa consciousness will resurface and assert itself and be reawakened in divine association. Remember janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate 100 births of doing Varnasrama (dharma) right, you can become Brahma and beyond that attain the position of Sivatva. But kīṭa janma hau yathā tūyā dāsa
bahir-mukha brahma-janme nāhi āśa - I’d rather be an insect in Gupta Govārdhana than Brahma as a non-devotee. (laughs). Hare Kṛṣṇa.