Interviewer: Hello, everyone, this is Theistic Media Studios. All good things come to an end, and so tonight is our last broadcast with Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī Mahārāj. All of the Chiang Mai devotees are already missing him since his sweet presence really brightened our lives. Mahārāj, you wanted to start with some quote.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Yeah, I’ll read a little bit from Śrī Guru and His Grace
, I was having a discussion with one of our devotees here in Chiang Mai. Today the story of Aurobindo Ghosh came up and... So I took a look at Śrī Guru and His Grace
and found that story, but it’s difficult to just read the story, you have to see the context a bit, so here it goes, this is from Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj
, “Slaves of the truth”.
“We are slaves of the truth. We are beggars for the pure current of truth that is constantly flowing: the fresh current. We are not charmed by any formality. I will bow down my head wherever I find the river of nectar coming down to me. When one is conscious that the Absolute Truth
is descending to him from the highest domain, he will think, “I must surrender myself here.” Mahāprabhu
says to Rāmānanda Rāya
kibā vipra, kibā nyāsī, śūdra kene naya
yei Krishna-tattva vettā sei guru hay
(Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Madhya-līlā, 8.128)
“Wherever the truth appears, wherever the nectar of divine ecstasy descends, I shall offer myself as a slave. That is my direct concern.” Whatever form it takes doesn’t matter much; the form has some value, but if there is any conflict, the inner spirit of a thing should be given immense value over its external cover. Otherwise, if the spirit has gone away and the bodily connection gets the upper hand, our so-called spiritual life becomes sahajiyā
, a cheap imitation.
When we are conscious of the real substance of Krishna Consciousness, the real wealth we are receiving from our spiritual master, then our spiritual life cannot be sahajiyāism, imitationism. We must be aware enough to detect our guru’s advice when we find it in another. One who is awake will see, “Here is my guru’s advice; I find it here in this man. Somehow or other, it has come here. How, I do not know, but I see my guru’s characteristics, his dealings, and behavior in this person.” When we are able to recognize a thing for its intrinsic value, then, wherever we find it, we cannot neglect it.
There is an example of this in an instance regarding Aurobindo Ghosh, of Pondicherry. He was the first leader of the Anarchist Party and practically the founder of the revolutionary movement in Bengal. In 1928, a case against him was proceeding in Calcutta High Court. A famous attorney, Mr. Norton, was in charge of the prosecution. Aurobindo had absconded, and when the case was going on, he was not to be found anywhere. Norton was concerned. How to find him? Aurobindo’s English was very good English. He had been educated in England from childhood, and could speak English even better than many Englishmen. Norton began to search through different papers and magazines for Aurobindo’s writing. Finally, he found Aurobindo’s style of writing in the Amrita Bazar Patrika, a Bengali newspaper. “Here is Mr. Ghosh!” he said. The editor of the Amrita Bazar Patrika was summoned to court to find out whether Aurobindo Ghosh had written the article.
Norton examined him: “This is your paper. You must know who has written this article. You are the editor.”
“Yes, I know.”
“Do you know this man, Aurobindo Ghosh?”
“Yes, I know him. I consider him to be one of the greatest men in the world.”
“As the editor of this newspaper do you know who wrote this article?”
“Yes, I know.”
“Has Mr. Ghosh written this article?”
“I won’t say.”
Norton asked him, “Do you know what is the punishment?”
“Yes. Six months imprisonment.”
“You are ready for that?”
“Yes, I am ready for that.”Holding up the newspaper article, Norton said, “Here is Mr. Ghosh! I rest my case.” He saw Aurobindo in his writing, and in a similar way we must see, “Here is my gurudeva!...”
How to recognize the current of truth?
This gets back to what one of the devotees was asking the other day, “How do you know, how can you tell?” I was discussing with Indulekha, we were talking about Tarkovsky. So if somebody says he is a student of Tarkovsky you look at the movie, and you see, “Is Tarkovsky there? What are the similarities?” When you know something you can recognize it. If you love The Beatles and you hear a Beatles song you know, “Oh, that’s The Beatles.” If you hear an imitation you know, “Well, it’s not really them.” So when you come in contact with the real thing you can recognize it.
That’s what Guru Mahārāj
is saying here. And it doesn’t matter what form it takes, it may even take a very unusual form. It may even be an ordinary person. So the important thing is how do we see the truth in spite of its particular form.
So the other day someone asked me, “Well, you say this Avadhūt Mahārāj
, you get some light from him. How can you know that? You’ve never even met him yet.” I am going to meet Avadhūt Mahārāj tomorrow, I am very exited. So and I had to say, I can look in the face of his devotees and I am getting so much light from them, that I can see, I can tell, okay, the force is strong here. As they say in Star Wars. There is a force and there is a dark side. So the force
is strong with him. I can sense that. I am getting so much light from all of you that I know there is light there. And even though my guru is now longer physically present on this planet, all of you are instructing me, so I fell like I see my guru in you. If I couldn’t see that then I would be dead to his message, and he would be dead to me. But he isn't, he lives in his message, he lives in the current of truth that he represents, and he lives in all of you, and you’ve brought that to me.
So I have to take the dust from your lotus feet and consider it my hat. Anyways, so that’s what I wanted to read.
And we all wanted to get something from that divine stream. I’d like to continue with, that’s where we’re trying to reach our audience with our broadcast and they are trying to reach us with their comments.
So yesterday Ranga Devī left a little message for you. “When you advised us to see Guru Mahārāj and not buy a house you spoke like a young sannyāsī
warrior, millions of palaces are only coffins to us without Śrī Guru
and His Grace. By the way, when we got there Guru Mahārāj
initiated us on the day when Śrī Guru and His Grace
was presented to him. You contributed to the best decision in our lives, we’re always remembering that. Śyāmānanda and Ranga Devī. P.S. Śrī Guru and His Grace
was completed that day and presented two weeks later by Bhakti Sudhīr Goswāmī
.” That’s the message.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: I am speechless. Thank you so much, that warms my heart and inspires me, you have no idea how much. I am happy for I could play any role in helping you and giving you any spiritual light.
Interviewer: And since we have the last broadcast let me try to fit a bunch of questions about everything. First is what are your main principles in life? Like some rules that you follow, now or previously?
What are your main life rules?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: My main principles in life?
Interviewer: Do you have a rule or some thing that you’re living day to day with?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, a really good rule was given by Chaitanya Mahāprabhu in his Śikṣāṣṭaka, and that was,
tṛṇād api sunīcena
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
That’s the golden rule of Krishna Consciousness
. He says, you should be humbler
than a blade of grass. Because the grass, you step on the grass and it doesn’t complain. More tolerant
than a tree, a tree gives you fruits, it gives you flowers, you can use the tree for shade and get shelter from the rain, and ultimately you can cut the tree down and burn it as fire wood and the tree never complains, it’s tolerant. So someone was telling me today, they were surprised that I was tolerant about something, and I said, “You have no idea, I’m really not so tolerant, but I feel perhaps I’ve made a little progress as far as being humble and tolerant as Ranga Devī was saying, I had the mind and attitude of a sannyāsī
-samurai, but it takes a lot of pride to do that. And over the years perhaps I’ve mellowed and humbled, a little bit more humble, but humility is difficult, that’s why it says, “If you can do that, if you can be humble, you can be tolerant, let others take the credit, then you can always chant Hare Krishna.” So I aspire to that.
That was one of the key ślokas
of Govinda Mahārāj
and also Avadhūt Mahārāj is living by this principle. Day to day.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: It’s a very good principle. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ.
Interviewer: Another thing is the question from devotees, that sometimes devotees fight with each other to get their Guru’s attention or to get some service. So have you ever fought with someone for this reason and obviously observed this?
Fight for attention of the Guru
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Have I ever fought with someone to get attention? All the time. Since I was a baby, I had two brothers and a sister, so we fought for the attention of our mother, which is natural. Guru Mahārāj was giving a lecture once and he was explaining that brothers or sisters are natural enemy, because they are fighting for the milk of the mother, for her attention, for her love. And also Śrīla Prabhupād had something like five or six thousand disciples by the time I came along, it was very difficult to get his recognition. Even Guru Mahārāj at he time I was there, he didn’t have that many followers, but sometimes you’d go upstairs and someone would say, “No, you can’t see Guru Mahārāj today, he’s talking with so and so.” And you’re, “Uuuuh, how’s that possible?” I need attention from my Guru.
But I was telling somebody today, it’s natural to be competitive
and…We live in the material world, which is the world of exploitation, so it’s all about, “I have something and you don’t, and you have something and I want it, and I’m going to take it from you.” But spiritual life
should not be like that. So it’s not a good practice to try to fight with the other devotees for the attention of the Guru, the Guru is telling us, tṛṇād api su-nīcena
, be humble
, it will come to you. But if you think, “Well, I’m going to do this and that to get more attention, it doesn’t really work out like that, it’s very dangerous path.” So try to be humble.
Interviewer: One of the things you’ve said the other day during our broadcast that Śrīdhar Mahārāja’s books are more spoken about than read. So obviously…
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Yes I did say that. That’s a challenge, see, that’s a little as the old Irish, the old samurai-sannyāsī.
Yes, I took the challenge, I started reading one of the books, the Loving Search for the Lost Servant
, somewhere in just the beginning it is said, that the faith is the only mean through which we can see, hear or feel the higher world. So obviously I’ve got a question, what is the difference between faith
and imagination or dreaming?
Is faith a product of imagination?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Well, that’s a very good question, that’s a very nice question. Well, imagination and dreams, it’s interesting that you bring that up, because it’s something that fascinates me. Dreams
in particular have been analyzed a lot especially by Freud and Karl Jung, and Freud he tends to think that dreams have to do with unfulfilled wishes and when we dream we’re doing what he calls “wish fulfillment”. So you see a chocolate in the window of a store and later you dream about eating that, because you’re fulfilling some wish that you couldn’t in real life. Jung actually I think is much deeper than Freud in that respect, he talks about something called the collective unconscious, where he says, that for example you have a dream about flying, I may also have dreamed about flying and in a sense everyone dreams about that, right? Have you ever dreamed about flying?
Interviewer: They gave me a ticket.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Okay, so and perhaps your dream might be a little different from mine or hers or his, but in essence we all have that same kind of dreams. So when you have something like mythology, where mythical beasts or creatures combine aspects of humans and flight from Icarus and Daedalus in a Greek mythology to Garuḍa. But what Jung says, it’s interesting, he says, “Really in order for you to dream like that, in order for everyone to dream like that, there must exist some sort of collective unconscious which is the reflection of Reality
.” In others words, it’s only possible to have that kind of dream if there is some underlying reality there.
So Śrīdhar Mahārāj is saying, “Krishna is not imaginary. He is real, not only is He not imaginary and not only is He real, but you have everything that it takes to come in contact with that Reality.”
You only have to turn it on, and just like a radio signal, you can detect where it is and you can find it stronger here. You come close to a devotee, a vaiṣṇava
, and he’s got a powerful radio, where he’s listening to that signal, he’s tuning in on that, or if you like Wi-Fi. There is this powerful signal, coming from the spiritual world and you as a soul, as a particle of consciousness can automatically tune into that.
It’s hidden from us, it’s a little subterranean, it may come out in a crooked or perverse form, in a form of a dream.
But the real difference between the dream and faith is that once you come in contact with that signal constantly and over period of time it becomes a very recognizable experience of transcendental reality and at that point it’s concrete enough so that you can understand this is not a dream, my wish fulfillment about eating chocolate or something has nothing to do with this, this is real.
So what’s imaginary and what’s real is another important topic for Śrīdhar Mahārāj and he deals with the distinction between reality and imagination in Subjective Evolution of Consciousness
, where he says, that reality is spiritual. This is not really real, it’s the conscious soul plane with a perverse dream-like state and so māyā
in this sense is a dream-like state and reality has nothing to do with it, it’s more like faith, it’s like that signal, that if you (?) on you can find it. I don’t know, that’s…
That’s good. I also thought why are we not reading books, but then I understood, that’s just a fact that we don’t sometimes read them. So our talks can be like the things that we need from them right now, so one of the questions from devotees was, “What are the metaphors or the things Śrīdhar Mahārāj said to really prove that consciousness
if above the matter?”
Consciousness is above the matter
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Oh, well, again and again, he would very simply put, he would say, “Is it easier to believe that the stone creates the soul or that the soul creates the stone?” Can a rock? In other word, according to scientists, you start out with a dull energy, matter, chemicals, and out of those chemicals or some kind of organization and then some hazy form of consciousness and then that hazy form of consciousness develops physical characteristics and the body, then from primordial soup we become amoebas, after that one (?) animal the whole panoply of Darwinian Evolution from sea life fish, amphibians, lizards, crocodiles, mammals, primates, human beings. But it’s very difficult to think that out of death life will suddenly organize itself. It’s easier to believe that consciousness already exists and consciousness organizes itself in material forms. That was his basic, one of his important metaphors.
And the other question is I think very related and connected to Śrīla Guru Mahārāja’s principle of love in separation
. And so why is it reasonable? Because you’re leaving soon and so maybe you could go deeper on this principle? That’s you’re meeting some important person and then you know, you’ll be disconnected with them like, usually it’s said make some service. But what’s deeper meaning of that?
Love in separation: what does that mean?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Well, the deeper meaning is, I don’t really like to discuss these questions, because I don’t feel entirely comfortable publishing this level of discussion. Actually Goswāmī Mahārāj is far more experienced in doing that, but basically union in separation is about parakīyā-bhāv
. The idea of parakīyā-bhāv
is that basically something is juicier or sweeter, or more delicious if it doesn’t really belong to us. So if the residents of Vṛndāvan
put a ball of yoghurt in a window for Krishna, thinking, “Well, Krishna likes yoghurt, He can come by if He likes, He doesn’t have to break in to the house and find a pot, hidden in a dark cool place, break the pots of yoghurt and steel the yoghurt. We’ll put it out there for Him.” That yoghurt is not as delicious for Krishna as the stolen yoghurt. If you see there are some cookies in the kitchen and you steel a few cookies and offer them to your friend, those cookies are more delicious than the officially sanctioned cookies. Something like that. So when something doesn’t belong to you, it can be taken away and that makes it more precious.
So this Chiang Mai experience doesn’t belong to me, it’s not mine, I can’t have it, I can’t keep it, I can’t put it in my suitcase and carry it back to Mexico with me, I have to leave it behind when I go. So that makes every moment more precious. Our broadcast tonight to devotees all over the world is a chance for me to connect with people I haven’t heard from or seen years and years. And the idea that I can communicate with them is entirely precious to me, but the idea that I can only do this for another ten or fifteen minutes and then I’ll disappear from the screen and they will disappear from my life is incredibly painful and that makes the experience more delicious.
So when, Krishna in Dvārakā, in His Dvārakā Pastimes is married with Rukmiṇī. So this is a standard marriage, He owns Rukmiṇī in a traditional Hindu concept of being married to someone. It’s ownership, that’s called sva-bhāv
, it means it’s mine. So if something is mine it’s not as interesting. Rādhārāṇī
are not married, so their relationship has to do with the fact that there is no ownership going on. And as a consequence, when they are together, they know this is very soon to be finished. So there is union in separation. Separation
is when the two are no longer together. That’s why when we chant Hare Krishna, we’re remembering the union of Rādhā and Krishna and their separation by vibrating the Name of Rādhā, Hare, and the Name of Krishna, Krishna. So we’re remembering how both aspects of the Divine Absolute, the power principle and the pleasure principle, the Krishna principle and Rādhā principle, they are coming together and separating. So union in separation actually will be one of the themes of our upcoming publication from the Guardian of Devotion Press.
And so you can look for it when Goswāmī Mahārāj comes back in Thailand.
Interviewer: You hit two rabbits with that answer.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Mne nravitsiya? [TN: Do I like it?]
. And one of our main practices is chanting mahāmantra
. So I’d like to ask a couple of question about that. First days when I was just getting acknowledged with all the mantras, there was first no explanation or translation of mahāmantra
, but Bhaktivedānta Swāmī Prabhupāda and Śrīdhar Mahārāj gave their specific explanations of the meaning of this mahāmantra
. Śrīdhar Mahārāj said something like, “Oh, please, give me a service.” And directing this prayer to the Divine Couple. Can you tell about mahāmantra
? Like what’s the meaning of it?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, I can read you a little bit from the Golden Volcano of Divine Love. There is a chapter in here. It’s called “The Holy Name of Krishna”. And so this is very nice instruction for anyone who is practicing the harinām-mantra. Chaitanya Mahāraprabhu did not leave us with many of his writings. The only really known composition is the Śikṣāṣṭaka, which is the eight verses in Sanskrit, talking about the Holy Name. So he says,
ānandāmbudhi-vardhanaṁ prati-padaṁ pūrṇāmṛtāsvādanaṁ
sarvātma-snapanaṁ paraṁ vijayate śrī-Krishna-saṅkīrtanam
So actually the translation here, I put this translation, I’ll read it, it says, “The Holy Name
of Krishna cleanses the mirror of the heart
and extinguishes the fire of misery in the forest of birth and death
. As the evening lotus blooms in the moon’s cooling rays, the heart begins to blossom in the nectar of the name. And at last the soul awakens to its real inner treasure — a life of love
with Krishna. Again and again tasting nectar, the soul dives and surfaces in the ever-increasing ocean of ecstatic joy. All phases of the self of which we may conceive are fully satisfied and purified, and at last conquered by the all-auspicious influence of the Holy Name of Krishna.”
So he described, this verse by Chaitanya Mahāprabhu gives different levels of what happens when one chants Hare Krishna. What are the different stages through which we will pass, when chanting the Holy Name. the first stage, it cleanses the mirror of the mind
What are the different kinds of dust covering the mirror of the mind?
So we were talking about imagination and dreams and faith and how to know the difference. Well, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ
, means that our reflective power, our capacity for understanding the difference between reality and illusion will become sharpened. That mirror, the reflecting power will become more acute by chanting the Holy Name of Krishna, until the point where it begins to reflect the Supreme Reality. So the first effect of Śrī Krishna-saṅkīrtan
is the cleansing of the mind. He says, “What are the different kinds? If the mirror of the mental system is covered with dust, we cannot see things clearly and scriptural advice cannot be properly reflected there. So that means don’t try to read the Loving Search for the Lost Servant
or these very difficult books until you’re developed a little bit of adhikār
, until the mind has been purified somewhat. Otherwise a lot of these things won’t make a lot of sense.
What are the different kinds of dust covering the mirror of the mind? Our infinite fleeting and organized desires are considered dust.
That’s really good: infinite, fleeting and organized desires
. And our hearts and minds are covered with layers and layers of this dust. So the first thing is cleanse the mind, a little brainwashing, Hare Krishna brainwashing. Wow. And then within next step you gradually become liberated from the threefold miseries
of this material world
. Then śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṁ
, the Holy Name bestows upon us the supreme goal of life, having done away with negative engagements, our positive engagement begins and ultimately takes us to reality, the real truth which is eternal, auspicious and beautiful. We achieve the supreme goal, the greatest good from chanting the Holy Name of Krishna. If we analyze this we find the Holy Name takes us to intimate personal relationship with Krishna, which includes neutrality, servitude, friendship and filial affection, śreyaḥ, śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṁ
, covers the grace of Nityānanda Prabhu, for it is by his grace that we may allowed to worship Rādhā and Krishna in Vṛndāvan. The next stage is vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam
, the Holy Name prepares us for the whole sale surrender
to Krishna, that is found in conjugal love where the devotees surrender themselves infinitely at the disposal of Krishna.
So we don’t really have time to go through the whole Śikṣāṣṭakam
in twenty minutes, but yeah, in the sanctity of the temple or in the privacy of your own home, take a few minutes and read the Śikṣāṣṭakam
by Chaitanya Mahāprabhu and the commentary by Śrīdhar Mahārāj in the Golden Volcano of Divine Love
, and see if you don’t get a better understanding.
Interviewer: This diminishes my next question but we’ll move on. Talking about the consciousness, one more question is related to this. The Scriptures say that the abodes like Vṛndāvana are not more the physical place, but the state of consciousness. And also we know that Vrindavan is in India…
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Yeah, just stop right there, see you’re saying it’s not a physical place, but it’s a state of consciousness. But see Guru Mahārāj what he is saying is consciousness is reality. So to make, to draw distinction between physical reality and consciousness, it gets tricky. I am sorry; I’ve cut you off though. I keep doing that.
Interviewer: Yes, so, there is Vṛndāvan, there is Govardhan, and also there is Gupta Govardhan, like couple in our Mission. So how does it come, how does it, like what is this state of consciousness?
Earthly Vṛndāvan and Spiritual Vṛndāvan
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Well, for example, Chaitanya Mahāprabhu demonstrated that the Ganges
was the Yamunā, and that Nabadwīp Dhām
, so if you go to Nabadwip Dhām, you won’t see Vṛndāvan, but it’s there. If we consider that Krishna’s Pastimes are Infinite, we’re talking about the Supreme Absolute Truth, playing in a courtyard of Nanda Mahārāj
, but where is it the court of Nanda Mahārāj? Is that a finite place? Is that an Infinite place, cannot exist in Infinite Universes, or can only exist in Uttar Pradesh?
Interviewer: Well, according to Scriptures, it’s a finite place of around twelve square miles, something like this, but it’s Infinite and everything is there.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, then the other question is the earthly Vṛndāvan vs. the Goloka Vṛndāvan and some favor is given to the Vṛndāvan in Uttar Pradesh, so it’s a special place, no doubt about that. That’s as far as I can go.
Okay, so, talking about going somewhere, what are your plans for the near and so following future? Meeting with Avadhūt Mahārāj
can bring you anywhere.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Wow. Well, it brought me here, just a slight contact with the taṭastha-śakti of Avadhūt Mahārāj brought me here. So I don’t doubt what you’re saying. As far as plans go, my plan is to try to do some service for Goswāmī Mahārāj and help in bringing together the materials for the new book by Śrīdhar Mahārāj, perhaps a couple of them. And I like working in the area of writing and publication, so I understand that Avadhūt Mahārāj may also have something for me, but that is not defined as yet. So we’ll see what the future brings.
Interviewer: For more practical question as far as it can go. You’re going to leave Thailand and Theistic Media Studios, we’ll probably [pretending that crying]. But now you laugh.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: I am only joking, but in a few minutes, you’ll see me really crying. You don’t want to make a grown man cry, it’s just not a happy sight. I am making light, but it’s actually tragedy.
Interviewer: No, we’re going to more happy, but still serious part.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: I interrupt you again.
Interviewer: Yeah, okay, this will end soon. [laughs] So Goswāmī Mahārāj and you are always say, “Read the books of Śrīdhar Mahārāj, there are all the answers for all of your questions.” Still we don’t, we’re trying to come to get something from them to this broadcast, so how do you think we can solve this [contradiction] inside of us? We know, but we don’t do.
Message is coming through hearing
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Oh, well, I have a suggestion, I don’t know if it’s practical, but you know, as a practical suggestion, an audio book. Do they exist, have they done that?
Interviewer: Yes, on the harekrishna.ru we have many audio books in Russian at least.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Okay, well, then you can try listening to it. [laughs] And that’s not out of the question because audio books are great, you can while you’re doing something else, repairing your car or working on your computer, you can listen to the audio book, and after two or three times through you will start getting something.
Interviewer: Well, how do you think, what’s the proper think to deliver the idea of Śrīdhar Mahārāj to people, because Saraswatī Ṭhākur was printing books and that was like the cutting edge, everyone was reading. What do you think now, because we know like this book, but we don’t get it? Just audio books sometimes we don’t have so much attention. What’s the best advertising or delivery method?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
The best delivery method, for me it’s śravaṇam
, it’s hearing, listening. And reading is a passive communicative skill, that’s very similar to listening, only you’re doing it by interpreting text. So for me the text is primordial, it’s hard to believe that text will disappear and whether you’re reading on a Nook, a Kindle, an eReader, a computer screen or if you’re listening to an eBook, you can still get a text. But for me the word is the important thing.
Inteviewer: I don’t know how to put this in a question, but do you have any good anecdotes about devotees in general or about anyone in particular?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: I have some anecdotes about you.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: It’s hard for me to come up with an anecdote, if you sit and talk about somebody for a while, a story will come out, but I can’t just, nothing comes to my head at the moment.
Interviewer: Then I have another good question related to the thing we were talking just recently, tṛṇād api sunīcena principle of Govinda Mahārāj. It’s known that only starting with Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur, you could call somebody Prabhu.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Okay, I’ll give an anecdote about Govinda Mahārāj. Very quickly. I am kind of a slow thinker, I am not quick. That’s another good difference between Goswāmī Mahārāj and myself, I am really slow, I take a long time to come around with something, but when I do I may have some depth on it. But one of my favorite anecdotes is about Govinda Mahārāj
, he used to like to eat muri
, and he was eating muri
one day, he asked for it. And Śrīla Prabhupād
turned to him and said, “But this is only cheating the stomach.” And I liked that, “This is cheating the stomach.” Because if you have a big bag of muri
like that it doesn’t really turn into so much, but anyways. I am not a great storyteller about devotee anecdotes really.
So what I wanted to ask also is Śrīla Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur
, he called his disciples Prabhu and usually this is used only to address the Lord. So he’s telling that, “I see them as high as expansion of my Guru and I honor them so much.” So have you ever experienced that or how does it implement, this principle? Have you ever experienced this, such an honor to somebody that you could really sincerely call him such a high thing?
The high meaning of the title Prabhu
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Bhakti Siddhānta Saraswatī Ṭhākur was a realized devotee
of Krishna on a very high level. You can’t imitate him. I can’t begin to enter his domain, the word Prabhu if you translate it into Spanish is Senior
, and if you translate Senior into English it’s Mister, and if you translate that into Russian it’s Gospodin
. So the problem with a lot of devotee terminology is that people throw these things around colloquially and they become vulgarized and loose their original meaning. So it’s a good idea to try to renovate the language as much as possible whenever you can.
Like somebody told me the other day, “Would you like to go to down town Chiang Mai?” I said, “Yeah, I’d like to see what’s going on here.” And they said, “Okay, we’ll dive deep into that tomorrow.” And I thought, “Okay, I’ve never heard that used,” like for me to dive deep into Reality has a special meaning. But by repetition something tends to loose their meaning, so it’s important to try to find the original meaning.
Interviewer: But Śrīdhar Mahārāj said, “By repetition, like again and again read Scriptures, and even if we don’t understand, some cumulative effect come and sometimes lightening can hit us.”
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: It’s confirmed.
Interviewer: Okay, then also Lāvaṇya Mayī Devī Dāsī [is] writing on our Livestream channel.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Oh, I am very happy to hear from all these people. I can’t believe it.
Interviewer: Lāvaṇya Mayī. And just saying, “Dandavats Mahārāj, from Lāvaṇya Mayī Devī Dāsī in London, so great to have an afternoon class, it’s 2 pm here. And all the wonderful memories.”
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, so wonderful that the folks at home are watching our Hare Krishna broadcast live here in Chiang Mai with Theistic Media Studios. So stay tuned to this channel, because you’ll see Goswāmī Mahārāj, Avadhūt Mahārāj and many other highly qualified devotees, explaining fascinating aspects of Krishna consciousness.
Bhakti Lalitā Devī Dāsī: Avadhūt Mahārāj will be the next.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Yeah, so up next Avadhūt Mahārāj will be arriving from Russia, he’s coming tomorrow to Bangkok, Thailand, and I hope, I’m getting on an airplane tomorrow morning, ten o’clock from Chiang Mai and we hope to cross paths and discuss any future role I might be able to play of helping him. So that’s it?
Interviewer: Goswāmī Mahārāj is in his New Year address, I think he opened many positions for aspiring servitors, so how do you think, what will be the trendy in the coming time?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: You want me to look into my crystal ball? Okay. For me, for you, for the Chiang Mai folks? Who am I predicting the future for?
Interviewer: As the view from the little sight that you had on our mission now. Do you think people can find something? Like once Avadhūt Mahārāj said in Lahta on his lecture, “Usually devotees are treated to do like low class service, like peeling potatoes or like washing floors, but he said, ‘I think in this mission the most advanced people will come and do the most astonishing, outstanding projects.’” And everything that he says comes true. Is it the time?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: So you’re fishing for compliments.
Interviewer: All glories to Śrī Guru and…
The future will be so bright that you will need sunglasses!
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Okay, well, I had a brilliant and fascinating experience here, working with the devotees. At my suggestion we went to try to film in a different place besides the studio, because this format is a bit constraining. So I said, “Let’s take it outside.” We went to the jungle and we found some elephants and we filmed with the elephants. We went to the new land and we filmed there.
Interviewer: Nearly died.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Well, the elephants are strong. But when I talked to Goswāmī Mahārāj, I explained, “Well, we had a few technical difficulties, it wasn’t so easy.” And he said, “Look at it like this, this is like a film school. What you’re seeing is the beginning of something. That’s not the end of something, we’re just getting started.” So if I would have taken out my crystal ball and think about how this is going to break down in the future, I would say probably it’s going to expand. And you will find that even the new property that you’ve just acquired will not be sufficient to house all the wonderful things that you’re going to do there. You’ll probable need to expand even more. I think you’re very young film crew, our energetic, well organized, disciplined, determined, exited about what they’re doing, and are very talented team of young people. And that’s very inspiring for me. And if what we were doing with the elephants, and shooting out in the bamboo is the beginning of something, I am sure that the future will be so bright, that you will need sunglasses.
Interviewer: And on Sunday market where we have sankirttans you can get also.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
You can buy sunglasses on the Sunday market right here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. But while you’re buying those sunglasses, don’t forget to chant Hare Krishna with the happy harinām
party. Would you call that street joy? Check out street joy, guptagovardhan.com
. See the photos.
Some more questions are coming from our viewers. Let me put it this way, you’re facing a time of change and this is quite a popular topic in modern wise people talking one to another. So when you have obstacles in life, or the life
changes dramatically, what helps you to carry on? What’s your advice for the hard times?
Changes in life: what helps you to carry on?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Well, French they say, “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
,” it means the more things change the more they stay the same. It’s true there is change but the material world
is still the world of exploitation
. It was Henry David Thoreau. He had a good comment, he said, “Read not the Times
, Read the Eternities.” He spoke of how they were laying a cable, a Transatlantic cable between the United States and England. So that they could receive telegraph transmissions. And he said, “Now we have international communication, but what’s the result? We will hear that Princess Adelaide has whooping cough.” So now we have Facebook, Twitter, Skype, e-mail, all these different instant methods of communication. But what’s the message? So even if we’re facing change the constant thing is what’s eternal. So look into that, read the Eternities, read not the times. Read the Golden Volcano of Divine Love.
Interviewer: I’ve heard that Chinese they have this kind of curse, “Let you live in a time of change.”
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: “May you live in interesting times”, is what I heard, but you’re living closer to China, so you would know.
Bhakti Lalita Devi Dasi: We have two Chinese devotees here.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Oh, yeah, have you heard that?
Devotee: I am ‘Chiang Mai-nese’.
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Old Chinese saying. May you live in interesting times.
Interviewer: Let it be the...
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī: Also constant changes are hard to deal with. Because say you’ve equipped your studio with state-of-the-art production quality technology. And then suddenly you find out tomorrow that oops, this is all antiquated, it’s all gone the way of high button shoes and buggy whips.
Now we’re making vintage translations, broadcasts. Let it be the one of our last questions about the great flashback you can have right now on your life and all the years you were practicing and living. Do you feel any changes
in your heart, since those days when you began practicing Krishna Consciousness
Have you changed since you began practicing Krishna Consciousness?
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Well, you know they say, “The love is lovelier the second time around.”
So I don’t feel change in a sense of my faith changing. My faith
has always been there. It’s been challenged, but it’s always been there. What gives me heart is to look around the room, and the folks at home, and find new inspiration from them, and see that the same thing is continuing but only deeper. So love is lovelier the second time around.
Interviewer: What do you mean by this for young aspiring devotees?
Wise advice for the young devotees
Śrīpād Bhakti Vidhan Mahāyogī:
Young aspiring devotees, pay attention to the Scriptures, try to understand what you’re doing, what is the philosophy, be honest, be honest with yourself, be humble, try to immerse yourself in a service
, that will give you life, and pay attention to what’s coming from the Guru-varga, see to it that your faith is sincere