Caitanya Caritamrita – Adilila Chapter 8 Text 42
Date: 05 February 2018
dehinām iha dehiṣu
prāṇair arthair dhiyā
vācā śreya-ācaraṇaṁ sadā
etāvat—up to this; janma—of birth; sāphalyam—perfection; dehinām—of every living being; iha—in this world; dehiṣu—toward those who are embodied; prāṇaiḥ—by life; arthaiḥ—by wealth; dhiyā—by intelligence; vācā—by words; śreyaḥ—eternal good fortune; ācaraṇam—acting practically; sadā—always.
“‘It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.’
Maharaj: I will read only first half of the purport kindly excuse me in doing that because of lack time.
There are two kinds of general activities—śreyas, or activities which are ultimately beneficial and auspicious, and preyas, or those which are immediately beneficial and auspicious. For example, children are fond of playing. They do not want to go to school to receive an education, and they think that to play all day and night and enjoy with their friends is the aim of life. Even in the transcendental life of Lord Kṛṣṇa, we find that when He was a child He was very fond of playing with His friends of the same age, the cowherd boys. He would not even go home to take His dinner. Mother Yaśodā would have to come out to induce Him to come home. Thus it is a child’s nature to engage all day and night in playing, not caring even for his health and other important concerns. This is an example of preyas, or immediately beneficial activities. But there are also śreyas, or activities which are ultimately auspicious. According to Vedic civilization, a human being must be God conscious. He should understand what God is, what this material world is, who he is, and what their interrelationships are. This is called śreyas, or ultimately auspicious activity.
In this verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is said that one should be interested in śreyas. To achieve the ultimate goal of śreyas, or good fortune, one should engage everything, including his life, wealth and words, not only for himself but for others also. However, unless one is interested in śreyas in his own life, he cannot preach of śreyas for the benefit of others.
Hare Krishna! I like to begin by offering my obeisance to all the devotees and to beg for blessings so I can speak something meaningful today, especially today is a very important day of appearance anniversary of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. And since ISKCON leadership sanga is going on, I was asked to speak about the ideas of leadership as envisaged and taught by His Devine grace Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati. The verse that we have up on the board was actually spoken by Krishna himself to his friends soon after the pastime of the “vastra harana lila”, when Krishna stole the clothes of the gopis.
It was summer time and Krishna was in the forest, it was hot. To take refuge under the scotching summer heat, the cowherd boys along with Krishna they went under a big tree, and that time Krishna began to extol the virtues of the trees and how excellent is the life of the tree. Because the tree, despite undergoing much pain and discomfort, continues not only to tolerate that discomfort but also to work for the benefit and welfare of others in a selfless spirit. The tree gives shelter from heat, from cold, from the rain and so on to all those who seek shelter of it. Furthermore the tree also offers fruits and leaves and flowers and various other things that are beneficial to people and to the animals also in general.
So Krishna says, that this is the example of perfect life and we should all try to live a life, like this trees. This is the life of perfection. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu cites this verse in the passage, on the verse we have put up in the board. This is the 9th chapter of the adilila of the cc and the context is that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is describing the desire tree of devotional service of which, he is a very personification and embodiment. He describes all the branches and sub branches of the tree which are constituted by its various innumerable associates and devotees. He says he pleads with his associates and followers that they should help him in distributing the fruits of this desire tree, the fruits of Krishna prema. He is saying I am the one transcendental gardener and I cannot accomplish this task by myself, so you must all help me in distributing these fruits to one and all.
Then he cites this verse to explain how one must live a life of sacrifice and in this way provide for the benefit of others and one must be just like this tree. One must imbibe the spirit of sacrifice in one’s life. Now one might wonder what is the context in which this is been spoken now, because it is the appearance day of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. It is interesting the verse before this is a famous verse,
bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya janma yāra
janma sārthaka kari’ kara para-upakāra
in which Caitanya Mahaprabhu says all those who have taken birth in the land of bharat varsa or India they have duty to first perfect their own lives and simultaneously to help provide ultimate help to everybody so two duties are enjoined upon those who is born in India, 1) to make their own life perfect and 2) to help other make their life perfect.
And it is interesting that gudia mutt, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said was founded for the exclusive purpose of fulfilling this exclusive purpose of Caitanya Mahaprabhu and because in fulfilling this instruction one needs the spirit of sacrifice. The second verse that is the one after the “bhārata-bhūmite “verse is also significant, because without incorporating the spirit of this verse we have up on the board today, we will not be able to fulfill the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There are actually many parallels between the gaudia mutt and the way Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur envisaged and ran it to iskcon and the way Srila Prabhupada envisaged and ran it. Very very strong parallels in many many areas. Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur gave a lot of emphasis to this particular principle. In the purport to “bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya janma “ verse, having mentioned the importance of birth in bharata bhumi and the glories of such a birth and the responsibility that comes upon people taken birth here. He concludes the purport in the last verse by clarifying that this is not the only responsibility of those who in India. Indeed it’s a responsibility of everyone all over the world and then he mentions that we have many European boys and girls who are seriously co-operating in this movement and therefore everybody regardless of their place of birth regardless of their background and so on, must participate very seriously in this Krishna consciousness movement in the spirit of sacrifice to acheive these two goals
“ janma sārthaka kari’ “– to make one’s own life successful and “kara para-upakāra “– to do ultimate welfare activities for people at large. In the purport we just read, Srila Prabhupada clarifies two terms, prayas and sreyas. He mentions preyas means something that is immediately beneficial by implication it means it may not be beneficial in the long run, it may not be ultimately or truly beneficial it only appears so at this point in time. As opposed to the preyas, sreyas is the ultimate welfare. Srila Prabhupada mentions at the concluding part of the purport we read that, for one who is interested in sreyas or spreading ultimate welfare for everyone he or she must have to practice sreyas in his or her own life.
In other words this is the principle for leaders and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur has taken upon this principle, and said that actually leaders must do both. He goes on to say that consequence of this “bhārata-bhūmite haila manuṣya janma “ verse of how one should perfect their life and help to perfect other’s life, there are 2 words that are v important . One is acar and the other is pracar. Acar means one has to follow the teachings in one’s life, one has to practice it to oneself and pracar means to preach to one and all. Leaders must do both. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur gave many many instructions to his disciples and he focused also very much on the leaders becuase they would be running the mutt, the whole mission after his departure.
Many times Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur was very strong when he reprimanded his leaders sometimes he was very gentle and sometimes he even ignored the transgression of the faults of his disciples. When he reprimanded them even if there were strong words the devotees will like it. And in one case, actually there is a saying among the disciples that, “prabhupade dal and prabhupade kal both were very sweet”. In the Gaudia matt, Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur is addressed as Prabhupada just like we address Bhakti Vedanta Swami as Prabhupada within iskcon. So, Dal here refers to maha maha prsadam of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, so that was very sweet so they like that and also gal, gal literally means abuse and what it means here is scolding or reprimanding. So they relished the reprimanded of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. So an ideal leader himself Srila Bhakti Siddhanta was very expert in the art of correcting those who were wrong. He knew when to be strong where to be strong and so on.
In any case he would very often give the proper instruction to his disciple about, not just the acar but also about the pracar. He would emphasize very greatly on how the leaders must have this preaching spirit. Without the preaching Srila Prabhupada the leadership will become very hollow. He has the famous saying “prana acar cha cai ehtu pracar”, one who has life preaches. Also he emphasized that one should not be deterred by various impediments that come in our way in our preaching and in our devotional service. When we take honors’ task of spreading Krishna consciousness all over the world it is very very difficult because people do not want to accept it, so he encourage his leaders who would disappoint it.
One time one leader went to a program that was quite well publicized but not a single person came to attend the program. So this leading disciple came back very morose and Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, he consoled him. Never mind at least there are four walls and we can preach to the four walls. He said “Shreyansi bahuvignani”, when we perform the activities of sreyas when we perform the welfare for the activities of others, there will be many obstacles vijnani, and don’t think, he told his leaders, that the path of devotional service especially because we are in sacrificing spirt trying to deliver other that is going to be a bed of roses. “ Sri bhakti marga eva kantaka koti rudaha”, this path of bhakti is ridden with millions of thorns don’t think it’s going to be easy, so he would caution his leaders like that .
The pracar of course he emphasized was the natural kirtan of those who are perfected devotees, the siddhas. At the same time he emphasized that even for sadhakas, practicing devotees who had not attained perfection preaching was essentially equally essential. The other day I met a devotee who was a little, who lost his enthusiasm in preaching because the other devotee told him, that what you will preach what potency your preaching will have unless you become perfect. Become a pure devotee and then you preach so this devotee lost enthusiasm in preaching. But this is not the siddhanta that Prabhupada gave us and also not the siddhanta what Srila Bhakti Siddhanta taught. Very sad that preaching and cultivating and enhancing the preaching spirit is very much an integral part of the consciousness of the sadhaka and we must do this and in doing so we expect all the leaders to be dedicated, surrendered and detached. He wanted to imbibe the spirit of selflessness in devotees.
There is a famous quote, in which he said that every leader must be prepared to sacrifice 200 gallons of blood to deliver the spiritual body of every single individual human in this world. So therefore if one wants to be a leader, one wants to be devotee even and every devotee is actually speaking, a leader. One must cultivate the spirit of selflessness and in keeping with this theme, he often criticized the tendency that he saw sometimes among the leaders wherein the weeds of personal ambition grow. Because many of the leaders were very empowered very charismatic and they were very scholarly as well and naturally when they went out they got a lot of followers and they got lot of praise. Therefore there was this tendency that came up, to have some material ambition that creeped in, especially the desire for name and fame for prestige, for position, for honor, for popularity.
Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur would get very worried but he would also understand this was inevitable and we have to take risks for the sake of fulfilling the order of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So even though he would caution and instruct the disciples to be careful, he would nonetheless would recite himself that the risk is always there. And one time he said after all we have accepted the money of many sense gratifiers and we are ingesting the money so there is going to be some reaction. So one has to be very careful in all these aspects of our life, he said. Some leaders, they were motivated by desires for some special privileges within the mutt.
On one occasion, a leader, senior disciple of his, came back from a program in which he gave a very powerful lecture, that was very much appreciated by the audience and there was lot of adulation and praise that came for. When this devotee returned to the mutt to the temple, he told the devotee who is overseeing the prasadam that I gave a fantastic lecture today, it was very much appreciated, and therefore today I will take puris and not rice. Because puri is some kind of special prasadam, a special meal and rice is for ordinary people and puri is something special. So of course Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur was not pleased at all to hear this, he continued to give instructions. He would hold istha gostis every single day in the afternoon where he will take questions form the devotees and he would give instruction. Sometimes the ishta goshtis were meant for giving instruction to leaders without directly, personally addressing them. Because he knew that they may not like it, if it was told personally to them. Therefore he would speak in a general way and give the principle and everybody concerned will get the message.
In the CC adi-lila chapter 12 text 8 in the purport, Srila Prabhupada at length discusses the situation that happened in the gaudia mutt soon after the departure of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. Srila Prabhupada says, that when Srila Bhakti Siddhanta was present the disciples had disagreements, but they managed to co-operate and work together. But after the disappearance of their spiritual master, there were many, many serious disagreements that happened. There were two camps that were formed. One camp was those that wanted to follow the instructions of their spiritual master and the other did not. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, left clear instruction that the gaudia mutt after his departure, would be run by the principle of collective leadership and management. He spoke about the formation of a governing body commission so Srila Prabhupada followed very closely in the footsteps and according to the teachings of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta, and instituted the same thing within ISKCON as well.
But unfortunately, Srila Prabhupada says in the purport there, that there was a camp of group of devotee who did not want to follow that instruction of collective leadership and there would be now one single acarya for the whole mutt, but they also had the desire and ambition to be the acarya for the mutt and therefore again camps formed within that camp. And there were two who became prominent contenders for the post of acarya and these two factions deepened the schism within the Gaudia mutt and there ensued many years of legal battles.
Srila Prabhupada, then goes on to say that he stayed out of factions and even though those devotees who had mutts were satisfied with their properties but there was no preaching. But he said I did not have much facilities initially but I focused on our spiritual master’s instruction to preach and to cultivate the preaching spirit and by his mercy ISKCON has become successful all over the world.
Therefore Bhakti Siddanta Saraswati’s cautionary word about not having personal ambition and not desiring name and fame and position and power, somehow were not followed by several devotees. Similarly he also spoke about how leaders should not seek special facilities for themselves. One should not try to a pull rank, as they say, because one has certain position one expects that one should be given privileged treatment.
In that momentous conversation in 1935 in the banks of Radha Kund, which Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur had with our Srila Prabhupada, by then he had already been initiated and was known as Abhai Caranaravinda das. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta revealed his mind to Srila Prabhupada our Srila Prabhupada and he said that the mutta is on fire, now many of our leaders are quarrelling over who should take which room in the mutt. It was better when we were in rented premises in Ulta dunga junction. When we collected 200-300 rupees we were able to manage everything quite nicely. But now that we have built this gorgeous palace, now my leaders are quarrelling over who should have what facility and what room. Better we should sell the marble and then use the money to print books and that was the time he empathetically once again instructed Srila Prabhupada, if you ever get money print books.
This was definitely not something pleasing to Bhakti Siddhanta. And he said at that time dusht gauru cei … ,” in Bengali, this means that instead of having a troublesome cow, dushta kuru its better to have an empty cow shed ,sunya. In other words better not to have a huge temple with marble and everything than to have people who would have such personal ambitions and sometimes of a personal nature. So he was very much against leaders seeking certain privileges and special facilities for themselves.
Another thing that Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur has to confront has indeed everybody will have to confront in this material world, is the issue of misunderstandings and sometimes even rivalry happening between leaders. Time and time again he emphasised the need for leaders to co-operate with each other. Sometimes when the leaders where at loggerheads they wouldn’t see eye to eye sometimes leaders wouldn’t talk to each other, then he had novel techniques of rectifying this. One of his techniques was in the Vishva Vaishnava raja sabha, when there was gathering of many, many devotees he would call upon devotees who had some issues with each other, to stand up speak publically about the glories of the other person. Very interesting technique, and it worked and then this way he was very innovative when he came to instructing his disciples. Not just in the matters of preaching which he was defenitely so innovate but even in the matters of instruction he was so.
Sometimes serious misunderstandings would break out among his leaders. It so happened and one time two factions were formed in the community of devotees. And the two factions were formed by two leaders, there is no need to get into the names here. One faction was led by a devotee who was a very good manager and administrator. He was mostly involved in legal affairs, in financial affairs in management and so on. He was also well conversant in the gaudia vaishanva siddhanta. But somehow or the other, in the minds of many devotees there was another leader who seem to have more of the spiritual aura or spiritual charisma and that leader was an intellectual, he was a scholar and he had around him leaders of similar disposition who would engage in studying sastra, in speaking eloquently from sastra, in writing books, in editing and they gave a lot of emphasis to strong devotional practices, strong bhajan and so on. The other group was involved in mostly in such administrative and management matters. A serious difference arose between two groups. The leader of the 1st group was actually under the first leader, but eventually he grew in stature and became a leader in his own right. So the two group differed in their perspective how the mission, the Gaudia Mutt should be run.
The first group was very much practically oriented the second group was oriented towards scholastic pursuits in teaching and preaching and so on. The first group leader felt the leader that the second group, they were mainly theoretical people and they didn’t do much of practical value. So naturally rumblings of discontent from both sides reach the ears of, Saraswati Thakur, who then in ishta goshti resolved the whole thing by explaining that one was vani and other was vapu. Vani means instruction. The scholarly group was following instructions, they were involved in studying, and speaking and writing and so on, that was very important. At the same time the other group was vapu. One is my Vani and second group is fulfilling my vani and they are pleasing me, the first group is also pleasing me because they are acting on the platform of my vapu. Vapu means body which means actually the institution, that is very necessary. So both service to the vapu and service to the vani are essential. At the same time he pointed out there is also distinction. The distinction is that Vapu exists for the sake of Vani and therefore those who are engaged in the service to vani must always get the proper facility and shelter that they need. This continued for a while and when the problems continued, Bhakti Siddhanta was concerned that those leaders who were mostly engaged in service to vapu is sometimes were neglectful of service to vani.
Then he anonymously wrote an article in the gaudia magazine. The article emphasised that those who simply engage in the service to the vapu and are neglectful of their sadhana, neglectful of hearing Krishna katha, of service to the vani, eventually will come to a point where anarthas, seeds of anarthas of puja, labha and pratishta – profit and adoration and distinction, and those seeds will fructify. Therefore is important for leaders, in both groups, leaders of all kinds to focus very essentially on the basic activities of acar and their personal sadhana, the personal hearing of Krishna consciousness. The first group is rather aggrieved and they knew Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur is behind this article but they couldn’t say it to him. So they approached him and they took the name of the person, the editor of the magazine and said, why has he written like this about us. And Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, he clarified, he said anyone who cannot tolerate that article does not deserve to be in the Gaudia mutt, he was never in the gaudia mutt So he emphasised that all leaders must strike the proper balance between the service to the vapu and service to the vani.
And finally, one last point. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur was the president acarya and also the founder Acharya of the gaudia mutt. In the gauida magazine it was described that Srila Bhakti Siddhanta is the instrument and the counterpart for the gaudia mutt rather, for the gaudia mutt is the instrument in the counter part of the Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and that the mutt lives and moves and has its very being in the founder Acharya. The institution is identical to the founder Acharya and the associates and devotees who are within the institution are the limbs of the founder Acharya.
Very very similar to what Srila Prabhupada said about iskcon and about himself. Srila Prabhupada said ISKCON is my body. So the principle of collective leadership then was emphasised by Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, and all the leading disciples, and all the leaders, they were made to clearly understand that their leadership was not independent, that their authority and leadership stemmed from the source from the authority of the gaudia mutt that is Srila Bhakti Siddhanta.
Similarly for us as the devotee of ISKCON Srila Prabhupada is the founder Acharya and what was said about Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur and gaudia mutt holds for Srila Prabhupada and iskcon. Therefore all leaders within iskcon their authority, their power and everything they have by which they can fulfil the instructions of Srila Prabhupada also stems from Srila Prabhupada. So Srila Prabhupada is the original authority for the institution for ISKCON, although ultimately all the previous acharyas and Caitanya Mahaprabhu ultimately Krishna are there. But specifically for the devotees in iskcon our authority and our leadership stems from Srila Prabhupada. Thank you very much. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Prabhupada ki jay. Srila Prabhupada ki jay!
We have 2-3 mins more if there are any comments, yes!
Question: Thank you for the beautiful class maharaj. I have a question about disappointment. As we have heard Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur instructed his disciples to not be disappointed if the world is not interested in Krishna consciousness, and yet we also hear that in his last days he was becoming disappointed. Srila Prabhupada was told us my gurumaharaj left early, because he was disappointed. So can you reconcile this I have an idea of it but…
Maharaj – please share it
What is the external disappointment by the world, don’t be disappointed by the world, the reactions but other was internal his own mission, his leaders were becoming mad after the bricks and stones he said and yet Prabhupada our Prabhupada he persevered when there is so many apparent disappointments and setbacks. Leaders were coming and going and so on. So he didn’t leave early he left he stayed long as he could. So perhaps you could say something why Sarasvati Thakur, Ray of Vishnu would leave early as he was disappointed.
Maharaj: Well I guess, whether he left because he was disappointed early or whether that was a transcendental pastime or what, I am not in a position to say but this is the nature of this world that especially as it’s said here sreyams si …its going to happen you cannot expect not to be disappointed because as humans we have hopes that we will spread this mission, pure hopes, but those hopes cannot be perfectly fulfilled in this material world. Because they will always be people who will not accept what we have to give them. And even those who are following will have their condition nature and they will have defects and they will cause some degree of disappointment. So it is unavoidable. But Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur repeated point was never mind the disappointment just carry on, so that’s the spirit, his preaching and that’s why he made a big statement, in his departure when he preferred to depart on the battlefield so to speak. He went to Calcutta and departed from there because that was his preaching filed, so that was the statement he was making that he was not giving up Srila Prabhupada till his last breath he was dictating his purports not giving up till the last breath so that is the principle of resilience and faith and perseverance as exemplified by Bhakti Siddhanta and Srila Prabhupada . Thank you.
Comment: As you were speaking something else I thought. By the time he did leave he also could see at least one person who will be capable of reviving what was going to crumble. So he wasn’t ultimately disappointed in the future because he could see this Abhay charan, he could revive his mission. Thank you maharaj.
Maharaj: Any other comment, yes it’s a comment? Some of our senior devotees. OK a quick.
Question: Hare Krishna maharaj, so in this verse Lord Krishna says the four items which will be engaged for krishnas pleasure and to make one’s life perfect so 3 items here the prana diya and vaca are the personal things. But the arta is …
Maharaj: It is also very personal. Arta, money is the most personal thing you have the most hardest thing to give up
Question: So my question is how we should use that money because we get money from outside by collecting, so what is Srila Prabhupada instruction how to use
Maharaj: Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said “Krishna arte akila sesta”, all your endeavors and efforts only should be for the sake of pleasing Krishna. So even money should be only for Krishna and not for other things that is the formula Bhakti Siddhanta gave and which Srila Prabhupada repeated also. So prana our very life and arta our wealth, diya our intelligence and vaca our words all four have to be utilized gainfully for the service of Krishna Consciousness movement. Thank you very much, Srila Prabhupada ki jay !!!