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  • The Best Version of Yourself

    Q: Is there any meaning in praying for other people, especially other devotees when they lose their passion for service? And what is the right way to do it? — Losing enthusiasm is one of the obstacles on the path from the world of exploitation to Vaikuntha. — You need hunger, hankering, not sukriti of pious life. — No finding faults with those who are dear to Krishna. — If you give position to others — your position becomes enhanced. — Without service association is not meaningful. — When we improve — then we’re in the position to help others. — Sensory deprivation is not the means to achieve devotion, but the consequence of devotional inspiration. — Sanatan Goswami makes Raghunath Das Goswami drink the nectar of renunciation. — Causeless mercy and causeless unwillingness to serve. — Give yourself to feel enlivened, to receive some revelation. —  After revelation you are left in your former position with some hankering. — Negativity is equal to humility. — Discover your actual individuality, coming in connection with the Infinite. — Super-conductors: zero resistance to the divine current. — The greatest trick of Maya: “Be an honest non-devotee”. — Through hearing you see spiritually. — Guru sees, enables and celebrates the potential of the disciple. — Loving shove, reigniting the interest.

    Chiang Mai 2018 - The Best Version of Yourself

    00:00
    Author: Bhakti Sudhir Goswami Cycle: Chiang Mai 2018 Uploaded by: Priyanana Created at: 23 July, 2018
    Duration: 01:06:45 Date: 2018-07-11 Place: Gupta Govardhan Chiang Mai Downloaded: 152 Played: 532
    Transcribed by: Radha Raman Prabhu, Enakshi Devi Dasi

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    00:00:00
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Yes.
    00:00:02
    Devotee: Daṇḍavat Mahārāj. Today we have a question from Gupta Govardhan. It is saying, Is there any meaning in praying for other people, especially other devotees when they lose their passion for service? And what is the right way to do it?
    [Long Pause]
    00:00:28
    We've heard that Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, if it was brought to his attention from the perspective of the devotees in general. Say, for example, that someone was not taking the name as they were formally. His vision was, he said, “Oh, their prayer was to get so much service, so they're praying for service. So much service has come to them, they're unable to do these things.” So, even that he saw in a favorable light. That's mahā-bhagavat vision. Because, we have to always remember and remind ourselves. We want to look upon Kṛṣṇa's devotees favorably, under all circumstances. It's announced at the very beginning of the Bhagāvatam, that this is the secret to Krṣṇa conception.
    00:01:42
    Expressed as nirmatsarāṇāṁ satāṁ (SB: 1.1.2.1), which Prabubād and others have rendered as, “Being non-envious of the devotees.” But, we know then that implies the inverse; means to praise them, to sing their praises to identify their good qualities as a servitor. It goes without saying... it should go without saying, that those pursuing the path of rāga-mārge are not rule mongers. Neither, shall we mean neglectful, atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca, prajalpo niyamāgrahaḥ (Up: 2.1−2), Rūpa Goswāmī. Saying two types of faults: One is too much attention to the rules and regulations. The other side of that is neglect.
    00:02:46
    So, always we're seek in this sense, the middle path; the devotional path. With this critical point, is there about, how we view other devotees. Because as they have been accepted by Guru and Vaiṣṇav as aspiring servitors [coughing] and their devotional mood as been given some recognition. We should be very cautious how we view them. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj went so far as to say. He gave an example about proceeding on the path. When you're walking along a path and you encounter obstacles.
    00:03:48
    And, this is interesting, in light of the upaniṣadic saying, durgaṁ pathas tat kavayo vadanti (Ku: 1.3.14.4). That the kovidāḥ, means those in the know; and that means spiritually. Those who understand essentially what is what. They have said, that this path is full of obstacles, that is durgaṁ; durgaṁ pathas tat kavayo vadanti (Ku: 1.3.14.4). They said we should know that. You're trying to march from... to march toward Vaikuṇṭha, to transition from the world of exploitation to the world of dedication. We can expect there will be obstacles along the way.
    00:04:45
    One being, to lose one's enthusiasm. But... which is required, again Rūpa Goswāmī, utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt, tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt (Up: 3.1−2). You have to be enthusiastic, but also, patient and determined. You can be enthusiastic for a day or two, but there has to be an overall arc of enthusiasm, based on appreciation. Where will we get that appreciation? In connection with devotees. When Śyāmānanda Prabhu asked Śrīla Guru Mahārāj... Guru Mahārāj first said, referencing Rūpa Goswāmī śloka,
    00:05:37
    kṛṣṇa-bhakti-rasa-bhāvitā matiḥ
    krīyatāṁ yadi kuto ’pi labhyate
    tatra laulyam api mūlyam ekalaṁ
    janma-koṭi-sukṛtair na labhyate
    (Padyāvalī: 14)
    00:05:50
    He says, janma-koṭi-sukṛtair, ten million births of doing the right thing, following everything perfect. That won't give this to you. What? You have to some genuine hankering for it, some eagerness. Hunger is another word. And, so Śyāmānanda Prabhu said to Guru Mahārāj, “Where to get this hunger?” And, Guru Mahārāj said, “Associate with the hungry.” [chuckling] And, we think we had that experience in life, in general, but with Śrīla Gurudev in particular. That, Śruta Srāva Prabhu; Vaiṣṇava Mahārāj pointed out, “We could've just finished a feast... but Śrīla... and be full. But, Śrīla Gurudev could speak about prasādam, in such a way, as to reawaken your hunger.”
    00:06:51
    Even for a full person, what to speak otherwise. So, by associating with those who have some hunger, some eagerness, some enthusiasm, it can ignite enthusiasm in us. Awaken eagerness in us. That's... that's always the position, sādhu-saṅge sato vṛtteḥ, to get superior association. This is applicable everywhere, in every aspect of life, whatever the field is. When you come in connection with someone who has some enthusiasm, some passion for that, some life long interest and dedication to it, you'll always be better for it. In whatever the field is.
    00:07:47
    And, it is even more applicable within Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. So, we always improve through association. But, on this example of the path, encountering obstacles on the path. Śrīla Guru Mahārāj said... A healthy way to view this, is that, just as when someone's going on a path. Whatever their... what's the word?.. you know... like, velocity or the speed at which they're moving... momentum. “It may not be sufficient to cross over that obstacle.” He said, “So, sometimes we see, what do they do —they back up.” And, then they come with increased velocity and leap over that very thing. He said...
    00:08:44
    So, what he means to say is, even if you see someone who's apparently regressing, this will be a healthier way to view that, in the case of a devotee. That, “Oh, their regrouping, they will re-approach what ever it was; the obstacle they encountered, and cross over that with renewed energy, increased momentum.” Along those lines. So, what do we gather from all of this, is how cautious we should be. Because, we do not want to find fault with those who are dear to Kṛṣṇa. Or, those who are dear to those who are dear to Kṛṣṇa; Guru and Vaiṣṇav. We know, they're in the heart of Kṛṣṇa.
    00:09:41
    And, in this world someone becomes dear to them, then we want to look favorably upon that person, and see their devotional qualities. When someone was finding fault with the devotees and to the extreme, and I thought that they needed to be quarantined from polluting the minds of others. But, Śrīla Gurudev and Śrīla Avadhūt Mahārāj they were more tolerant. Many times Śrīla Avadhūt Mahārāj would say about someone, like, “He just needs association.” And... and, that's true. That's the cure all is sādhu-saṅge sato vṛtteḥ, superior association brings about the desired adjustment.
    00:10:46
    So, then I thought, “If Śrīla Gurudev and Śrīla Avadhūt Mahārāj they both agree on this, and I'm of the contrary opinion. Then, I should readjust my thinking to be aligned with theirs.” I met with this person, and then try to see them in a new way, in this light of servitorship. And, became adjusted. And, I was waiting for Śrīla Gurudev to return. And, he came in the afternoon. And, I was also, like very proud of myself how I changed my thinking. And, I was now, like all good. [laughing] As Gurudev use to say, “A good boy.” And, then Gurudev came back, I said, “Oh, Mahārāj, you know, I've changed my opinion about this person. I now agree with you and Avadhūt Mahārāj; I'm seeing them that way.”
    00:11:46
    And, much to my surprise, Gurudev said, “I can never say that.” And, I thought, “No, no, I'm agreeing with you.” And, he goes, “I can never say that.” And, then he said, “Finding fault with all the devotees, with the vaiṣṇavas...” He took my former opinion, and that's when he said... he said, “My religion is finding fault with myself.” And, I thought, “Oh, how succinctly, and from his own unique realization, he's expressing the teachings of Mahāprabhu.”
    00:12:21
    tṛṇād api su-nīcena
    taror iva sahiṣṇunā
    amāninā māna-dena
    kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ”
    (Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Antya-līlā, 6.239)
    00:12:31
    To be humble; humbler than a blade of grass, tolerant; more tolerant than a tree, to offer respect to others; even those who are may seem to be unworthy of respect. And, to expect nothing; no honor for yourself. He said, “This is the open secret, the key to being successful.” And, Guru Mahārāj said, “If, you can follow this advice, then kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ (Cc: Antya-līlā, 6.239.4).” Which, you could say, “Oh, then you can go on properly taking the name of Kṛṣṇa.” But, in one context Guru Mahārāj said, “Then you can manage the Kṛṣṇa Consciousness movement.” Meaning, without this principle, you'll not be able to. And, what did Guru Mahārāj say further? It means that in terms of position, and this maybe directed more toward those in the leadership position.
    00:13:35
    He's saying, “If you give position to others, your position becomes enhanced. But, if you are unwilling to share or give position to others, you go down.” That's how he glossed amāninā māna-dena (Cc: Antya-līlā, 6.239.3), in a particular context. And, Śrīla Gurudev, who sat beneath this śloka, on his veranda in Calcutta. If you look above his head, it said, tṛṇād api su-nīcena, taror iva sahiṣṇunā... (Cc: Antya-līlā, 6.239). And, Kavirāj Goswāmī says in the Charitāmṛtam, like, “This is a mālā.” Right. This is like, puṣpa-mālā; flower garland. So, he says, “That śloka, you should wear it like the way you wear a mālā. That śloka, you should wear it like a mālā on yourself. And operate from that position.”
    00:14:44
    And, Gurudev said, “This is the secret; open secret.” And, I asked him, I said, “Mahāraj, when did you...” Because, he always say... he's quoted this śloka at least once a day, if not three times a day, every day. So, I thought, just speaking aloud, I said, “Oh Mahārāj, when did you, like realize this?” And, he went, “Oh Mahārāj, nothing else works.” That seemed very simple, but it's profound. He's saying, implying, “Having exhausted all other strategies or methods, I at last realized this alone works.” But, Guru Mahārāj said, when one man heard all these wonderful possibilities that are expressed in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness.
    00:15:49
    But, and he became very excited. And, then Guru Mahāraj said, “But, to realize that you have to practice these teachings of Mahāprabhu: Humbler than an blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, offering honor to others, not respecting for yourself.” And, he said, that man said, “Oh, that is impossible.” [laughing] Then he was a little discouraged. First, he got very excited then he said, “You have to do that? Oh, impossible.” Almost, what we say, śrī-guruṁ dīna-tāraṇam (SB: 6.7.23 purport), what appears to be impossible. And, what is that saying that appears to be impossible? Is to overcome our lower nature. It is possible by the grace of Śrī Guru and Vaiṣṇava.
    00:16:46
    We sing, śrī-guru-vaiṣṇava-pade majāiyā mana (Nāma-Saṅkīrttana: 9.2). And, listen to this song how it's emphasizing the position of Guru and Vaiṣnav, verse after verse, after verse. Meaning that their association, the service of their holy lotus feet. Without service, what is association? It's a fantasy, there's nothing substantial there. Through a service connection it becomes meaningful. So, in the culture of devotion, the aspiring servitors they're focus as Gurudev said, like condensing the teachings of Mahāprabhu into that one line, “My religion is finding fault with myself.”
    00:17:48
    Then we can improve. And, if we improve, then we're in a position to help others. Right. As the popular phrase is that... “The best version of yourself.” That means your dedicating self, devotional self. Then we're in a position to help others. But, in a more general sense, not toward devotees. But, toward those who are not acknowledging or expressing apparently their interest in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. We hear that, and to a certain degree, you can say this is applicable to struggling aspiring servitors. If, you wanted to extend it.
    00:18:52
    But, we see in Prahlād Mahārāj, how he is... He's happy on his own, but when he thinks of others who are suffering on account of being either, devoid of, or a lack of appreciation for Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. That, invokes compassion from him. We also hear in the prayer, from the Vilāpa-kusumañjali, of Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī, in praise of Sanātan Goswāmī Prabhu.
    00:19:32
    vairāgya-yug-bhakti-rasaṁ prayatnair
    apāyayan mām anabhīpsum andham
    kṛpāmbudhir yaḥ para-duḥkha-duḥkhī
    sanātanas taṁ prabhum āśrayāmi
    (Vilāpa-kusumañjali: 6)
    00:19:54
    Sanātan Prabhu, Sanātan Goswāmī Prabhu. He... and, it's very interesting what he says. I mean he's Śrīla Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī; the personification of renunciation. He want... all he's taking is buttermilk in a leaf cup for his sustenance. And, one day he sees the leaf cup; is a little different than what they normally give him. And, he's saying, “Where is this from?” And, they say, “Oh, what we normally give, that's from sakhī-sthale, actually.” Sakhī-sthale, that means the place of Candrāvalī, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī opposition. He's throwing that. It's all he's sustained by is this little cup of buttermilk. He throws it away as 'untouchable,' coming from her opposition.
    00:20:57
    And, we hear that the... Raghunāth, but all the Goswāmīs. Śrīnivāsa Ācārya's praising like that, nidrāhāra-vihārākādi-vijitāu cātyanta-dīnau ca yau (Śrī Śrī Ṣaḍ Goswāmy-aṣṭakam: 6.2). Saying, how little they sleep everyday, how little they take for their sustenance. But, lest we think like, “Oh, are you implying that's the means to achieve devotion?” No. That is a consequence of their inner absorption. They're so absorbed internally, can't sleep. Not that they're engaged in sleep depravation as a means for spiritual realization. No, they're so enlivened, so inspired, they sleep the minimum.
    00:21:56
    What do they say, cāri daṇḍa. A daṇda is 24 minutes. I've mentioned this before, like in a day, there's twenty-four 60s. Right. Twenty-four hours of 60 minutes each. Do we have mathematicians in the audience? Alright, there you go. So twenty-four 60s. Reverse it means there's sixty 24s. Correct? Same thing, sixty 24s. That's a vedic measurement. Twice of twenty-four is 48, that's a muhūrta. Anyway, so it says, cāri daṇḍa, that means... they... that's how much they sleep everyday. Means four times twenty-four. That's an hour and 36 minutes; an hour and a half, basically. So, then they say, “What?”
    00:22:53
    I mean, think about it, they're so enlivened they can't sleep. But, the body need some. Like, I... you know, we have lizards here. You may have noticed. [laughing] They're everywhere. I have a couple that live in my room, I'm sure you have a couple living in your room. And... and I find them fascinating. And, I read that they sleep for 80 seconds. Because, you know, they're like on the wall. And, they like, they go to sleep for 80 seconds and they're good to go. It doesn't say 80 seconds per day, but they sleep in 80 sec... not... And, maybe this isn't true of all of them. It's true about the ones that I read. Eighty seconds to rejuvenate. So, here 90 minutes. Right. Because, it's unthinkable to us.
    00:23:50
    But, what... so inspired, so... and what? Relishing, they're drinking this internal sweet nectarean substance. They've very little need —just to keep the body going, they're taking something. But, again, it's not that they're engaged in sensory depravation, as a means for devotional achievement. No, on account of their devotional depths, the minimum requirement for sleeping, eating, etc... So, that Dās Goswāmī... And, we read about other examples of his renunciation in Charitāmṛtam.
    00:24:49
    He says, vairāgya-yug-bhakti-rasaṁ prayatnair (Vk: 6.1), that this drink of vairāgya. He's not saying it's some kind of bitter, terrible thing as one might think, preceding that. He's saying, “I was unwilling to drink that.” He's saying, “But, Sanātan Goswāmī Prabhu is so merciful, he forced me to drink it. And, now I'm so thankful that he made me drink this nectarean substance.” So, it's a question of perspective. And, we say, “Two devotees; I prefer to be these two devotees.” To take it away from here, these two devotees: Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī and Sanātan Goswāmī Prabhu.
    00:25:50
    So, Raghunāth Dās is saying, “There's some unwillingness on my part.” What did Prabupād call it, in one place, interestingly? Because, we always hear about 'causeless mercy.' And, we go, “That's a good thing and we like that.” And, we think, “Oh, that means even if you're unqualified you can get some mercy. I want to sign up for that.” [laughing] But, Pabhupād also used the expression, 'causeless unwillingness.' Saying... like... so, what is it in us the is like, reluctant to participate or to give ourselves. Because, you have... at any... the basis of any devotional... act of devotion, devotional action, is ātma-samarpaṇam. There has to be some self-giving.
    00:26:44
    We can't think like, “Oh, I want to associate with someone who's very enlivened. I will remain un-enlivened. Just, while I'm with that enlivening person, that will be enlivening for sometime. Then I'll go back to my un-enlivened position.” [laughing] You can't hire someone to be Kṛṣṇa Conscious for you; like a surrogate. Like... that may sound absurd, but words may not... is like, in a family situation. Sometimes people think like, their children will do it for them. [chuckling] You know... like... “Why I may not of...” Like, it's a common thing, “I may been unable to achieve this, but my child will.” And, that maybe true and you may get some benefit from that. But, still you can't hire someone to be a devotee for you. Right. [laughing]
    00:27:44
    You have to give something, “God helps those that help themselves.” Ātma-samarpaṇam, that means self-giving. If we look at the book, Bhagavad-gītā, like Gurudev. He's reading Bhagavad-gītā for what? Fifty, sixty, seventy years. And, he's looking through it faithfully, but he will see something new; something new, fresh, invigorating. Because, he's given himself to that. Right. It's not just like, “Oh, I don't feel enthusiastic, now let me pick up the book and it will enliven me.” You have to give ourselves, something of ourselves, some of our energy. It's requires some sacrifice, to look at similar things, daily.
    00:28:45
    But, there's a type of faithful adherence and repetition. When Śrīla Guru Mahārāj mentioned that —when he was younger, very younger— he heard this Vedic aphorism... what is it?.. āvṛttir sarva śāstrāṇām bodhād api garīyasi. It said, “Not as important...” or “That understanding, is not as important as constant repetition.” Now, he's the person who says, “The repetition of sensation is not experience.” You mean, just over and over and over, you had... there has to be some self-giving, in there, for it to deliver some realization, some enlivenment.
    00:29:51
    But, he said there's this vedic saying, that almost, as if, saying the opposite, “Not as important to understand, as to faithfully continually hear.” So, it seems to run counter to Guru Mahārāj's normal system of thought; what he says thematically. But, he knows, “if it says this in the Veda, it must be true.” Because, Veda means, “know this.” Like, “Now hear this; know this to be true.” That's why it's a... the expedited path to understanding. Just, know this and then you receive that, because you have faith in Divine revelation. So, he knows if it says that, it must be true. And, how to adjust himself.
    00:30:46
    And, he thought that what it means is, when we submit ourselves to faithful repetition, on a daily basis, and offering ourselves and our energy in service, to the scriptures, the songs, and varieties of service. That reciprocating that fidelity, there will be some renumeration in the form of realization or appreciation. So, we faithfully read Bhagavad-gītā, or Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, or Charitāmṛtam. It's called, you know, parāyaṇa, continuous reading. It's now, it's time to have that reading, we read that. If, we do this faithfully, then sometime hearing that we go, “Oh, hmm, I've heard this before.”
    00:31:45
    Like, soon we will be focused on Ratha-yātrā. We'll say, “I've heard this before. I heard it last year... But, I don't remember hearing this part. This is a little... this is new to me. Oh, I didn't... you know, I'm considering this now in some new light.” That's what happens when we give ourselves in service to the scriptures, devotional practices, etc... That a particular moments something comes to us that is unique. It is original and it is sweet, it is tasteful. And, it leaves us in a state of hankering for more. What is the statement of Bhaktivinod Ṭhākur in his song, vichakṣaṇa kori’, dekhite cāhile (Śikṣāṣṭakam: Song 8(a)), I can't remember. But... because I didn't serve it well.
    00:32:47
    But, he's saying, “It's like a flash of lightning.” Right. That means, it's total darkness, then when there's lightning what happens? Momentarily, everything is illumined. You can see everything. Everything's revealed for that moment. And, it's a thrill. And, then you're in your former position. And... what... and he said... Because, someone will think like, “Oh, what was the sequence leading up to that flash of illumination?” “Let me repeat that.” No. Then that will be A+B=C, step an repeat. No. If, he said, “If you try to do that, it will go away from you.” Because, then you're trying to make the subjective world an object of your experience.
    00:33:46
    But no, through faithfulness, fidelity, self-giving. And, out of dainya, ātma-nivedana, hopelessness, helplessness. With that approach, that touches the heart of Kṛṣṇa, He reciprocates; gives something. Then, we realize, “Oh, some new light came, a new perspective, a new way of seeing, some happiness from these activities.” And, it leads... and, it may... you may... how do you say?.. resume your former position, but you'll be left with some hankering. But again, not to try and force that again, because Kṛṣṇa is repulsed by arrogant assertion. Right.
    00:34:46
    As, Guru Mahārāj like... we're talking about tṛṇād api su-nīcena (Cc: Antya-līlā, 6.239.1) being humbler than a blade of grass; humility. Guru Mahārāj describes as “Negativity.” We know in the New Age circles... what do they call New Age in Russia? Something 'era.'
    00:35:11
    Devotee: Novaya Era.
    00:35:13
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: What?
    00:35:13
    Devotee: Novaya Era.
    00:35:14
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Nova?
    00:35:15
    Devotee: Novaya Era.
    00:35:17
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: Novaya Era? OK. So, that's the Russian version of New Age. And... so, in New Age thinking, it's always like, “Be positive. You got to believe in yourself.” And, all these Humanistic slogans, “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” [laughing] And, “Avoid being negative. Negativity is just bad.” So, from one point of view, we get that. Like, “Don't beat yourself up. You got to have a positive attitude and self-esteem.” But, it's also been said that, “Half truth is worse than falsity.” I'd rather prefer Guru Mahāṛāj's perspective, where he says, he equates negativity with humility.
    00:36:17
    And, he's showing us the value, the benefit of negativity. And, he takes it... he's redefining it, taking it to a new level of understanding. Just as... and, we know that's not unscientific, as in the... Jyoti's not here... the electricians know. But... like, the positive and negative. Because I remember —I can still remember that some stick with you your whole life. There were these batteries, like nine volt batteries. And, there was always some kid said, “Hey, you want to do some... like, have a thrill.” And, you go, “Yeah, I want.” And, they go like, “OK, lick your fingers and just touch right here.” And, so you go, “OK!” And, you go [screaming sound], you know. [laughing] Because the positive and negative current, you go [ghe, ghe, ghe...] you know.
    00:37:16
    So, you learn like, in a real... a realized way about positive and negative current. Where we saw a magnet, and two magnets. And, when you put the positive to positive, what does it do [vvv, vvv]. You can almost feel [vvv]. But, when you turn it the other way, the go [click sound]. Positive to negative, negative to positive. So, what Guru Mahārāj is saying, positive assertion or assertiveness, in the sense of being arrogant. Arrogant self assertion, that's repulsive to Kṛṣṇa. To the, you know, the finite arrogantly asserting itself, is repulsive to the Infinite. You know, it's a joke that's not funny. And, that's the situation. Little, you know, tiny... little... I think finite, infinitesimal, you know, that's maybe redundant.
    00:38:25
    But... it's... I'm saying it would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. You have this tiny finite... assert... they're the greatest, so ’haṁ, ahaṁ brahmāsmi, “That Brahmā, that great... I'm that. And, if you sign-up for my course, you can be that too; for 99.95.” [laughing] It's all... it's cheating. Right. Someone's going to deceive you into thinking that you're God. Right. I'm God and you're God. When I was in L.A. and went to hear A.L. Basham, the so-called 'world's leading authority on Hinduism.' He was giving a talk at UCLA and I thought, “Let's here what he has to say.” Before wikipedia, there was encyclopedia. If you don't know what an encyclopedia is, look it up on wikipedia.
    00:39:22
    And... but, he would write the entry for Hinduism in the old encyclopedia. And, he was giving a slide show. And, at one point, because some people said, “Really, he's sort of a closet Kṛṣṇite. He really liked Kṛṣṇa, and Deities of Kṛṣṇa.” But, anyway at one point he said, to the notion that like, “I'm God, you're God, you know, and I'm you.” Weṛe told in sequence, there's like, 'I'm yours' is one level, higher; 'You are mine,' is like a deeper level of attachment. But, the Māyāvādis will say, “Higher than that is 'I am You.'” Right. So, to this notion he said... the notion that like... And, John Lennon addressed this in I Am the Walrus, the opening lines. I am he as you are he as you are me and... what is it... I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.
    00:40:28
    Showing and delivering it as if it was jabberwocky; some sort of a nonsense rhyme. So, A.L. Basham in his posh British accent, he said, [talking next quote in a British accent] “But, quite frankly, I don't know if I want to be you.” [laughing] And, I thought, “You're right, you answered it in one line.” He said, “I don't know if I want to be You, I like being me.” Why should I have to sacrifice my individuality to come in connection with the Infinite. Not so, in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness. You retain your individuality, and actually discover your actual individuality. So... but, how? Guru Mahārāj would say, “Through the culture of negativity.”
    00:41:23
    So, on these current it's the negative and positive that brings illumination. It's... what is positive attracted to? The negative. It's repulsed by positive, arrogant, self-assertion. But, irresistibly drawn in attraction to negative posturing. That I'm so low, unqualified, then that brings āt... dainya, ātma-nivedana... (Śa: 1.3.1). That attracts Kṛṣṇa's interests. Then I thought, thinking along these lines, that there... what a great power there is when we understand negativity as equated with humility; humility equated with negativity.
    00:42:23
    And, thanks to Mother Russia, the realization came to me in the winter. And, where Malini is from.
    00:42:34
    Devotee in audience: Tomsk.
    00:42:35
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: No, before. Lila Shakti and Malini they were in...
    00:42:40
    Devotee in audience: Novosibirsk
    00:42:41
    Goswāmī Mahārāj: That's it, Novosibirsk. That was where they're from originally. So, I was visiting with them and it was in the winter time. And, it was like śveta-dvīpa, in other word, everything was white; white snow, white trees, white grass, everything. You know, that time when everything is just pure white and looks mystical, actually. And, I'm looking out the window at all the snow, and it was like minus 30 or something. Someone I... one woman corrected... one man... he goes, “It was minus 40.” And, a woman came along said, [tsk] “Don't believe him, he's exaggerating. It wasn't more than minus 30.”[laughing] Like, the guy was like, way over stating. “It wasn't more than minus 30.” I was like, “Oh, OK.”[laughing]
    00:43:36
    So, I'm looking out the window and I thought... and read something on line about superconductors. And, the superconductor, it said, when ceramics... and again, I'm not a scientist. So, if I get some of this wrong, forgive me. But, my understanding of what they expressed was that, certain ceramic substance when it achieves absolute zero, it achieves superconductivity. And, what we normally understand, is like say, a copper wire... that like, when we have electrical wires. We know sometimes they get warm. Right. Or hot. Because of what? Resistance to the current. And, it's shed in the form of heat, they get too hot. Along those lines.
    00:44:36
    But, these superconductors, these ceramics, when you take them toward absolute zero. Which, by the way, is something like minus 350. We're talking about minus 30 on a Celsius scale. So think, minus 350 is roughly absolute, what they call absolute zero. So, what they observed, is when these ceramics go to absolute zero they achieve superconductivity. Which means what? They have zero resistance to current. They can do miraculous mystical things, practically. So, generally from the New Age perspective, they're thinking, “Oh, negativity is a bad thing. Don't beat yourself up. You got to have high self-esteem.”
    00:45:34
    But, here we see the negativity that is so much valued, emphasized, and praised by devotees; I think, therein lies the secret power. Because... in other words, devotionally speaking, and in terms of heart and the absence of ego, they're approaching absolute zero. And, what does that mean? Zero resistance to Divine current. The Divine current is descending the in form of sādhu, śāstra, guru, and vaiṣṇav. On a certain level, whether from ego, acquired prejudice, acquired tendency, Prabupād says, “Causeless unwillingness,” we're resisting that current. Even the gāyatrī we chant, the pracodayāt, pracodayāt, pracodatī. You'll see... that's another discussion. But, some... it's like some impulse, for lack of a better word, to move in a particular way.
    00:46:44
    But, there's the counter that causes unwillingness. We're resisting this current. And, it means on account of arrogance, egocentrism, self-assertion. But, when... it's not to extinguish oneself or to deny one's individuality, but actually to discover oneself. Remove the layers of acquired prejudice, acquired tendency, jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam (Cc: Madhya-līlā, 19.167.2). So, that the actual self, golden self can be revealed. And, that's not, this should not be equated with 'beating oneself up' or having low esteem. In fact, we find like, Kavirāj Goswāmī who is on the one hand says,
    00:47:40
    jagāi mādhāi haite muñi se pāpiṣṭha
    purīṣera kīṭa haite muñi se laghiṣṭha
    (Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta: Ādi-līlā, 5.205)
    00:47:51
    I'm more sinful [coughing] than Jagāi and Mādhāi. Lower than the worm in the stool, “Well, don't beat yourself up.” I know Guru Mahārāj said, “When such negative expression [coughing] vented from the Vaiṣṇavas...” Just like the other thing I mentioned about Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī and the others, the reason they're so detached, is on account of what they were attached to internally. “So, what they were appreciating inside is so great and nourishing and inspiring, that externally they're giving vent to such negativity.” But, as they do that... so, they ontologically speaking, in terms of ego dissolution, they've reached absolute zero.
    00:48:52
    Just like Guru Mahārāj said about Prabhupād. In his self sacrifice, sacrificing himself on the altar, the ultimate altar of self sacrifice, to the order of Śrīla Saraswatī Ṭhākur to take Kṛṣṇa Consciousness to the Western countries; particularly America. He's saying, “Having wholly emptied himself of any other desire or any other personal consideration.” Not extinguishing himself or his individuality, but wholly emptying himself of ulterior motive, selfishness. Being wholly emptied of those things, then what happened? He says, “Divine power came down and filled him and worked on his behalf.”
    00:49:47
    Kavirāj Goswāmī may vent such negativity. What happened? He becomes the conduit, the medium for the expression in Guru Mahārāj's words, “Of the greatest literature to have ever been revealed in all time, all space, and all creation; Śrī Caitanya-charitāmṛtam.” That person that says, “ I'm more sinful than Jagāi and Mādhāi, and lower than the worm in the stool.” Wholly emptying himself of anything other then the order of Nityānanda Prabhu and by extension of Mahāprabhu and Madan-gopal, Madan-mohan, Rādhā-madan-mohan. Then, look what... how much power descends in him and is transmitted from him. So, it's the power of negativity.
    00:50:47
    You have to re-conceive that in a new way. It takes courage to acknowledge one's hopelessness and helplessness. That is not a sign of weakness, as Humanist might assert. As I mentioned before, when someone has a... an addiction; a problem... they're addicted, they have a problem with addiction. No... The same Humanistic sloganeers, they will not tell that person that, that day they acknowledge their addiction and their helplessness and weakness, “Oh, you're just a weak minded, you have no will.” No, they'll say, “Oh, that's the turning point in your life when you can make... acknowledge that. That takes such strength and courage, we're praising you for that.”
    00:51:49
    If that takes courage, and it's a sign of strength, and enables recovery, and reclamation of oneself; one's better self, best version of oneself. Then why should we think that this, dainya, ātma-nivedana... (Śa: 1.3.1), this process of surrender is somehow less than that, or is a sign of weakness, or a lack of self-esteem. What does Kṛṣṇa say about self-esteem, āścarya-vat paśyati kaścid enam (Bg: 2.29.1). If you can have a glimpse of you actual self, you'll be astonished. Humanist will say, “We've been saying that.” No. But, you're saying that about, you know, my online avatar, [chuckling] you know.
    00:52:43
    The mask, the persona that I'm hiding behind; saṁskār, mental impressions enquired lifetime, after lifetime, after lifetime, making a hideous mask of egoistic self-assertion. And, you're saying, “Yeah, you praise that.” It's false. Uncovering that, Kṛṣṇa's saying, “If you have a glimpse...” Āścarya means astonishing. “If you have a glimpse or your actual self and your reality potential.” Meaning, in the real world, muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ, sva-rūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ (SB: 2.10.6.3-4), in that plane. “You'll be astonished, you'll be enlivened, you'll be amazed at what awaits you.” When... Because, of publishing the books, Search for Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Śrī Guru and His Grace, etc... Guru Mahārāj and Gurudev, they're giving so much praise to me.
    00:53:51
    Everyone likes to be praised. But, we know, Saraswatī Ṭhākur also said in one place, “If a sādhu flatters me, he becomes my enemy.” It's not good for us in another way. It's got to be a balance. But, at any rate, one time I thought, “This is a little too much.” [chuckling] You know. And, so afterwards I was talking to Gurudev in my room, I said, you know, “Mahārāj, this praise... this praise, you know... I... like, could you tone it down a little bit. It's like it's too extreme for me.” And, Gurudev... he was... he was hurt; visibly hurt, like his heart... He said, “You think I don't mean this or it's flattery?” He said, “Mahārāj...” And, back to his other point, he said, “I'm practicing my religion, amāninā māna-dena (Cc: Antya-līlā, 6.239.3).”
    00:54:48
    You know, “I'm practicing Mahāprabhu's teachings. And, you're telling me... like, turn... don't do that so much.” [laughing] He said, “This is, it's real.” And, he said, “I know who is Guru Mahārāj, I know what is your future prospect. And, I'm celebrating that, and I'm so happy about it. And, if you knew what, you would be astonished. But, I know that. You can't... perhaps you cannot see that right now, but I know it. And, I'm so happy about that and celebrating that, and that's the basis of what I'm saying to you.” So, he readjusted me. But, after he left the room and I thought... because always you mind comes back. And, I thought, “Come on, you know who you are and what you're really like. And, they're telling you, you know, these wonderful things. And, your also happy to hear it and everything. But, you know what your really like inside, come on.”
    00:55:56
    It's like these... you know... Lincoln said, “We should yield to our better angels.” These are not the better angels, you know what I'm saying. But, they seem to be. They're the one's who are always telling you, like, “Come on, Kṛṣṇa Consciousness, that's like impossible, like the man said. Just be honest and just be, you know, a non-devotee. That will be so nice, that will be so honest. Then, you won't be committing fraud in the world by presenting yourself as a devotee.” Like, sometimes for a special day Gurudev would go and put tilak on Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj. Like to go down to the temple room or something. And Guru Mahārāj's now sitting there with tilak, he'd say, “My disguise.” [laughing] Like, he means like, I'm not a real devotee. “I'm disguised, now everyone will think I'm a devotee.”
    00:56:49
    So, Māyā's saying, “Yeah, you know you're not really. A more honest position would be to be outside. And, from then you're really an honest person, instead of being a 'fraudulent devotee.'” That's her greatest trick to... because, she knows a vital position in Kṛṣṇa Consciousness is dependent upon association. Nobody can practice Kṛṣṇa Consciousness on their own. Unless, you're like a siddha-mahātmā, mahā-puruṣa, you're, you know, Gaura Kiśor Dās Bābājī Mahārāj, and you're not. I'm not, you're not. That I can say with like, great certainty. [laughing] All others need constant, need to be like the little seedling in the nursery, in the completely controlled environment so it can thrive, become deeply rooted. And then, we can talk about transitioning to other soil and being able to withstand the environment.
    00:57:52
    So... but, why did I say... oh... so, then I thought to myself. But, then my other, the better angel said, “Oh, who are you going to believe?” Like the punch line in the old joke, “Who are you gonna believe? Me or your own eyes.” In the objective world that's a joke. But, in the subjective world it's the truth, jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ (Bg: 4.34.4), cakṣur unmīlitaṁ yena, tasmai... (Gautamīya-tantra: 3−4). Who are you going to believe, Śrī Guru, Vaiṣṇava; sādhu, śāstra, guru, vaiṣṇava, or your own eyes. Right. What does it say, śrutekṣita... tvaṁ bhakti-yoga-paribhāvita-hṛt-saroja, āsse śrutekṣita-patho nanu nātha puṁsām (SB: 3.9.11.1-2).
    00:58:51
    It's very beautiful, it says, [laughing] īkṣita, means like seeing eye. It's saying, “On this path, you see through hearing.” Not with your... the eyes are deceiving, especially when it's concerning spiritual things. So, through hearing you see spiritually, śrotā-panthā, śabde brahmaṇ. So, then I thought, “Hmm, who do you have faith in more? Your own assessment of yourself or what Śrīla Guru Mahārāj and Śrīla Gurudev, their vision of you and your prospect; your reality potential?” And, I thought, “I want to believe in what they say is true.” And even if, say I'm better acquainted with my objective self. Although, not as well acquainted with my objective self as the Paramātmā,
    00:59:54
    upadraṣṭānumantā ca
    bhartā bhoktā maheśvaraḥ
    paramātmeti cāpy ukto
    dehe ’smin puruṣaḥ paraḥ
    (Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 13.23)
    01:00:04
    Paramātmā knows more about you then you know this life. Paramātmā knows the last one and a thousand before that; knows your whole history. Kṛṣṇa and Arjun, bahūni me vyatītāni, janmāni tava cārjuna (Bg: 4.5.1−2). Because, Arjun's saying, ”How can you say, you told this to the Sun God, that would be like a hundred and twenty million years ago.” And, Kṛṣṇa says, “Arjun, you and I have many births. I know all of them, and yours too.” [chuckling] So, Kṛṣṇa knows and Guru and Vaiṣṇav are representatives surrogates, they know better. They know your objective self too. They can read it a mile away. But, they're saying, they're speaking to your actual self in saying, “You have this prospect.” And they're celebrating that.
    01:01:00
    As Gurudev said, “I know who Guru Mahārāj is, I know his zone and your slated for that by coming in connection with him.” And, he said, “And, I'm very happy to see them and celebrating that. Just now you're not seeing that, but I do.” And, I thought, “I'm going to believe in them. They see me this way and say that is my potential. I'm going to believe in that and move in the light of their conception.” And, maybe I'll have a healthy awareness of my own mundane tendencies, that should make me cautious and not become so complacent. But, in terms of my actual identity, I'm deferring to them. They have a... They can see that. As the expert teacher can recognize, in a child... what do they call it?.. prodigies. You know the word, right. When they like... someone's four years old and they can play the violin or the piano like an expert. In English, it's called a prodigy.
    01:02:02
    So, it means an expert. So they see, “Oh, this one can be a great...” Like the girl from Izhevsk who won the gold medal in Korea for ice skating, she's 15. She's from Izhevsk. Someone saw when she was five years old that she could be that. That's the idea. That's Guru and... They see this potential and they celebrate that. Not only do they celebrate it, they enable it by their loving, affectionate guidance, their instructions, their... their everything. So, Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī's saying, “I was unwilling.” He was the unwilling devotee of this story. Raghunāth Dās... he... or so he says. But, Sanātan Goswāmī Prabhu his... he's in a never ending state of gopī-bhāva-rasāmṛtābdhi-laharī-kallola-magnau muhur (Śrī Śrī Ṣaḍ Goswāmy-aṣṭakam: 4.3).
    01:03:08
    Normally, he's drowning in an ocean of gopī-bhāv and kṛṣṇa-prem. But, when it comes to his attention, there's some people who are not relishing that. That makes him unhappy, “Oh, is there something I can do for them.” And then, what is Raghunāth saying, “I am the one. I was that unwilling devotee.” You say, “You, Raghunāth Dās Goswāmī, the prayojan-tattva-ācārya in the Rūpānuga line. You were unwilling, like us.” And, mercifully he's willing to say, “Yes, I was also unwilling. But by the mercy of such a great Vaiṣṇava, he made me taste this.” That's why any devotee who gives a little push is our real friend, like Śyāma Vilās Prabhu was like that.
    01:03:59
    And, Guru Mahārāj said, like... and, maybe village people are more acquainted with this. But, like when the horse... they need a horse to take a pill. You know what they do, right? They take some, like... usually maybe like a long stem vegetable, or something. But, like they put the pill on there and they hold the horse's mouth open. And, they like, push it down his throat to get the medicine inside. You understand? So, sometimes those devotees, who give us a little push, [laughing] they're our real friends. Although, we may not think it at the time, we're a little resistant, unwilling, whatever. But, then we go like, “Thank you for doing that. You made me drink something, which I didn't realize was so nectarean. So, you have my gratitude and appreciation.” That's why we always want to be surrounded by loving, affectionate servitors and realize all the godbrothers and godsisters are in that position.
    01:05:06
    And, they're helping one another. Sometimes someone's a little more enthusiastic, someone is not. When we went to the Badrināth walking from Rṣīkeśa to Badrināth. It's like 108... uh... miles... I don't know. It took two weeks. It's long, whether in miles, kilometers, whatever. It takes two weeks of walking, 10−15 kilometers a day, whatever. But, at sometimes... and we're in twos. My partner... sometimes I'm not feeling up to it. And, he's saying, “We only have to... just, don't stop now. It's just around the corner to the next place that we're going to arrive... get to.” And, I go, “Really.” “Yeah, come on.” And I, “Oh, OK.” Then I go... then realize, “Oh, maybe he wasn't 100 percent telling the truth.” But, I got my second wind, my spirit back.
    01:06:03
    And, other times he's feeling a little down, I'm going, “Oh, Prabhu not now... look what... we're so close to Badrināth.” “Really.” “Yes!” That kind of... That, helping one another, when someone is a little less enthusiastic. Giving them a little loving, affectionate shove. [laughing] Or, if you're expert, dealing with them in such a way, as to reignite their interest. Enthusiasm is infectious. Right. So, as Guru Mahārāj says, “Associate with the hungry.” And, then you'll say, “Oh, I'm starting to feel hungry too. The more I hear about this, it's awakening this hunger in me. Now I'm feeling it, by the association of such a person.” Hare Kṛṣṇa.
    Bg: Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā
    Cc: Śrī Chaitanya-charitāmṛta
    Ku: Kaṭha-upaniṣad
    Śa: Śaraṇāgati
    SB: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam
    Up: Upadeśāmṛta
    Vk: Vilāpa-kusumañjali