S peaker: HG Radha Krishna Das
Srimad Bhagavatam 8.7 44
Tapyante loka-tāpena sādhavaḥ prāyaśo janāḥ
paramārādhanaṁ tad dhi puruṣasyākhilātmanaḥ
TRANSLATION: It is said that great personalities almost always accept voluntary suffering because of the suffering of people in general. This is considered the highest method of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is present in everyone’s heart.
Here is an explanation of how those engaged in activities for the welfare of others are very quickly recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (18.68–69), ya idaṁ paramaṁ guhyaṁ mad-bhakteṣv abhidhāsyati. .. na ca tasmān manuṣyeṣu kaścin me priya-kṛttamaḥ: “One who preaches the message of Bhagavad-gītā to My devotees is most dear to Me. No one can excel him in satisfying Me by worship.” There are different kinds of welfare activities in this material world, but the supreme welfare activity is the spreading of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Other welfare activities cannot be effective, for the laws of nature and the results of karma cannot be checked. It is by destiny, or the laws of karma, that one must suffer or enjoy. For instance, if one is given a court order, he must accept it, whether it brings suffering or profit. Similarly, everyone is under obligations to karma and it reactions. No one can change this. Therefore the śāstra says:
tasyaiva hetoḥ prayateta kovido
na labhyate yad bhramatām upary adhaḥ(Bhāg. 1.5.18)
One should endeavor for that which is never obtained by wandering up and down the universe as a result of the reactions of karma. What is that? One should endeavor to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. If one tries to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness all over the world, he should be understood to be performing the best welfare activity. The Lord is automatically very pleased with him. If the Lord is pleased with him, what is left for him to achieve? If one has been recognized by the Lord, even if he does not ask the Lord for anything, the Lord, who is within everyone, supplies him whatever he wants. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (teṣāṁ nityābhiyuktānāṁ yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham [Bg. 9.22]). Again, as stated here, tapyante loka-tāpena sādhavaḥ prāyaśo janāḥ. The best welfare activity is raising people to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, since the conditioned souls are suffering only for want of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The Lord Himself also comes to mitigate the suffering of humanity.
yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmānaṁ sṛjāmy aham
paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām
dharma-saṁsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge
“Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion—at that time I descend Myself. To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium.” (Bg. 4.7–8) All the śāstras conclude, therefore, that spreading the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the best welfare activity in the world. Because of the ultimate benefit this bestows upon people in general, the Lord very quickly recognizes such service performed by a devotee.
Om ajnana-timirandhasya jnananjana-salakaya
cakshur unmilitam yena tasmai sri-gurave namah
sri-krishna-caitanya prabhu nityananda
sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrinda
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca, kripa-sindhubhya eva ca.
patitanam pavanebhyo, vaishnavebhyo namo namah.
It is my privilege to be with you today and I would really like to ask for your blessings, there are so many exalted Vaishnavas who are here, Prabhupada’s disciples, Swamis, Prabhus, Ladies, that maybe I could speak some words that will be worth listening . Please give your blessings. Hare Krishna.
When Laxmimoni Mataji sent me a letter that “Radha Krishna Prabhu, it would be great if you give a class,” then there was other sentence in that letter that she wrote that “I have heard all the excuses why not to give class. Please don’t write anything like that. Just accept.” So I would like to pay my obeisances to Laxmimoni Mataji whom I could see be there as being my mum and how could a son say no to his mother? So thank you very much.
This verse is a very important verse for us. All of you who are here are the leaders in the Krishna Consciousness movement. You are here exactly for the reason that this verse is speaking about. What does this verse speak about? Just tell me. What really strikes you in this verse. You can just shout and I will try to listen.
Devotee: Perfect method of worship
Devotee : accepting suffering.
Devotee : Dispersal of Karma.
Devotee: It’s painful to see others suffering.
HG Radha Krishna Das: Austerity, Compassion. All of these you have said are the jewels, the jewel-like qualities of a devotee. Who remembers the motto of the Strategic Planning team? “More devotees, happier devotees.”
Who heard this first time now? Hands Up. Really, well that’s the motto of Strategic Planning, “more devotees, happier devotees. Why is it we are focusing on more devotees and happier devotees? Because Krishna will be pleased. If they are not happier there won’t be more. More devotees means external growth. Happier devotees means internal growth. Which one is more important? Who says internal is more important? Who says external is more important? No one.
Who says both are important? Who does not say anything? It’s just so interesting we are focussing really a lot on spreading Krsna consciousness. And that’s a really good goal and we should focus on that, but at the same time we should really focus on developing ourselves. Growth starts with you first. Growth never starts outside. Growth always starts from within. There are so many people who are trying to develop and improve their conditions, but they don’t put enough efforts in improving themselves and thus they are bound to failure. So we should really focus on developing ourselves a lot.
We are gathered here for ISKCON LEADERSHIP SANGHA. So most of you are leaders. A leader has to have all of these qualities that you were talking about in the beginning. All of those are important. It’s really important that we work on these qualities. Because if we work on these qualities then we will be able to develop Krishna consciousness easier. But to be able to do that there are so many things we would need to do. When we are planning what do we do? We look back and we see what has been done in the past, and then we plan something for the future.
So we plan something for the future, but what do we do with the past, what should we do with the past? Someone said Learn from that. You know sometimes you win, sometimes you learn, it’s never lose. You only lose when you start lamenting about what happened in the past. Leaders don’t live in the past, leaders live in the present and plan for the future. The planning starts with developing qualities. That’s what Krishna is speaking about in the Bhagavad-gita . So many verses in the Bhagavad-gita are only about qualities. Why is that, because it’s important. If we have these qualities then we can develop ourselves and we can develop others. But lamenting on the past will remain one thing. We don’t take responsibility for our future. We blame others for what they have done to us in the past and if we are in the blame mood we cannot take responsibility for the future. It is extremely important for us to always look for the future and learn from the past.
Some of you know who Marcus Aurelius was. He was a Roman soldier and he said “How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes of it.” You know we should not live in the past, we should learn from it and we should work for the future. But working for the future means that we have to make plans. Nothing happens in the world without planning for it. Nothing happens. Nothing happens automatically except one thing that’s for sure, that’s guaranteed. After birth there is only one thing that’s guaranteed:death. You don’t have to take a course on death. You don’t have to figure out whether it will come or won’t, it will happen.
Actually you have to take a course on it. Devaki Mataji was just recently mentioning recently that she has courses on death, how to prepare for death. But it’s really important for us to plan. Growth could be internal, it could be external, but it’s always an uphill battle. It’s never flat and it’s never going down. You cannot go up without planning for it. You cannot go up unless you have strength, you have power, you have purity. It’s really important that we have to have intention of growth in our life.
Now we are working on strategic planning quite a lot and we are speaking about it. In Hungary we have everything circling on, everything focusing on the strategic planning. Each and every centre in Hungary has a growth plan for 15 years. Every one. How many of your centres have a growth plan for your temples? Please put your hands up. A written plan one, two, three, four. I know that Vaisesika Prabhu has one. There is one at the back.
Growth is uphill. If you want to grow you really need to take action. There is a saying if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So we should have a plan and for that we have to make decisions. It’s really important. Without decisions we will go nowhere. What are the decisions that we should make? There are some really important decisions that we should make. One is that we should endeavor for planning. Not just generally and not just in a temple or community level. You have to plan yourself. Do you know how you will grow your Krsna consciousness today? Do you have a plan for death? There are so many verses:
sādhu-saṅga, nāma-kīrtana, bhāgavata-śravaṇa
mathurā-vāsa, śrī-mūrtira śraddhāya sevana
ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu- saṅgo ‘tha bhajana-kriyā
All the levels are defined. All the activities are defined, everything is defined. Prabhupada said that we should be conscious first and then we will be able to become Krishna conscious. Conscious means you know where you are, you know where you would like to go, and how to go there. That’s Sambandha, Abhideya and Pryaojana. That’s the foundation of developing anything. Sambandha, Abhideya and Pryaojana. Know where you are, know what’s the goal, and know how to connect the two. It’s so important.
So every day we have to have a goal to achieve. Every day. It’s just so simple. Like when we glorify devotees then Krishna is happy. When we speak about Krsna consciounsess to devotees or even nondevotees you know Krishna is happy. So there is a very simple method that we can do every day: glorify someone. Scientists and psychologists are saying that around 9 o’clock in the morning there is a hormone that kicks in the body and that hormone makes you work, makes you effective, makes you really want to do something. I figured out something else, when you glorify someone the same hormone is released. So if you would like to be effective and enthusiastic then glorify devotees.
This is the first thing you do when you get up and meet someone. Haribol, thank you for being here, it’s so nice that you are here. Finally we can have a little chat about Krishna. Try to find someone who you can glorify and do this the first thing in the morning. And then you know how you should go to bed. Glorify someone and try to go to bed. To be able to plan properly your day and your growth in Krishna Consciousness today have to have these fixed points in a day.
It is said that if someone fails to take control of his daily schedule he will never take control of his own life. It is in your hands. Don’t try to change the circumstances. Try to change yourself. It’s simple, it’s easy because it depends on you. It doesn’t depend upon anyone else at all. It’s so interesting that we tend to overestimate what we can do in a moment and we underestimate what we can do over time. If you do something every day for one hour in five years you could have a Phd in that.
If we are reading Prabhupada’s books every day for one hour, we could have a Phd in Prabhupada’s books in five years. Because that means you have read the BG, the SB, the whole CC five times. That’s reading.
Let me tell you a little story. There was a little boy called Madhava in Hungary. He is 8 years old. He was born premature in the 25th week. He was 0.6 kg. He could fit in the palm of his mother. The doctors said that possibly he will not survive. And there is a great chance that if he will, he be brain damaged.
He is reading a 400 page book in three hours now. He has read 500 books in his life and he is only 8 years old. 500 books, 8 years old. How many did you read? You know it’s like reading is associating with Srila Prabhupada. We never had the chance to associate with Srila Prabhupad directly in person. We have the chance to associate with him through his books. And when we read Srila Prabhupada’s books then we will understand everything what we need to know in life.
But there is one condition. We have to practice what Prabhupada wrote. He did not write books for us to be happy, he wrote the books to help us. We have to be really focused on reading Srila Prabhupada’s books as much as we can because that will give us the strength and that will give us purity. That’s the fuel that will drive us uphill. If we don’t have that fuel it is really hard to go uphill. And you have to plan for that. In the morning you have to know what is the timing in the day that you will read and keep it sacred, that’s the time for you. Have to be that’s the most important thing in life.
You know these modern leadership gurus are saying that the golden hours are in the morning. Get up two hours before you start doing anything else. That’s what they say. And you know what they say you should do? You should invest that time in yourself, in developing yourself when everyone else is sleeping.
Srila Prabhupada gave us everything so that we could perfect ourselves. But we have to depend on Srila Prabhupada’s books, we have to depend on Krishna, and sometimes we just forget these things. I will tell you how I forgot it and how I got slapped.
We wanted to have a child with my wife and it took quite a while to have a child. Now we have two wonderful daughters. The first one is called Nisha, she is 10 now. The younger one is Vrinda, she is seven. Mother Urmila knows them personally. It’s always a pleasure to have such exalted devotees at our home like Mother Urmila.
All the ladies know, some of the man know, that you should go for ultrasound regularly during pregnancy. That’s a must. At least in Hungary. So we went to the ultrasound, we were really happy like wow, my wife was pregnant, we were really cheering. We went to the ultrasound and the doctor just went pale when he looked at the ultrasound. He said just sit down. He said I have to tell you something it seems that it’s 90% that your child has Down’s Syndrome. So better to think of having an abortion or deal with Down’s syndrome.
I was, Krishna, why are you doing this? Why me, and why now? Leave me alone, I am trying to preach. Why do you put me in a situation like that? And then the doctor immediately called the another doctor who had the Down Syndrome test, I don’t know what kind of extremely good ultrasound, and he said that we need immediately this really urgent test. The doctor said, OK that’s very good, it will be one month from now. We said, “Hey, we want it immediately.” They said, “Sorry, that’s how we work”.
Hungarian health guard. . . no, just kidding, Hungarian health guard is fantastic. Anyhow so a month, you could imagine what we went through during that month. At least the ladies definitely know. We went back a month later to the doctor and we were waiting outside, we didn’t know how many people were in line. And then my Guru Maharaja, Srila Bhakti Bhringa Govind Maharaja, just called me out of nowhere and asked, “How are you Radha Krishna?”
I said “Well, I am not so fine now, I am at the hospital, and I explained everything, the Down’s syndrome and whatever. And he just said, “Always chant the name of the Lord and never forget praying, pray, pray, pray. I was praying until we got in the doctor’s place. I was really praying, praying to Lord Narasimhadeva also.
We got in, and the doctor just made the test whatever he had to, and he said with the huge smile on his face, “I am privileged to announce that you have a perfectly healthy girl!” We said haribol, that’s so good! I was so relieved.
And then we got into the car and it took us one and a half hours to get home. We got home and in our mailbox on that day we had a letter. We had a letter we took it out we opened it and there was the picture of Lord Narsimhadeva in the letter, there was charan tulasi from Lord Narasimhadev in the letter. It was a letter from Pankajanghri Prabhu from Mayapur. The letter was saying that three weeks ago on this date Anantarupa Prabhu was offering a full day seva on behalf of your to-be born daughter child for her protection. And I just cried with my wife.
This is depending on Krishna and we forgot it and we thought that Krishna left us. “Hey Krishna, we are preaching and I am doing everything for you. Why are you doing this to me?” We started blaming, criticizing. “I am a good person. Why do you do these to me?”
And then the end result is that I really learnt my lesson that everything is always Krishna’s arrangement. But if we do not consciously endeavor to grow we will just start criticizing even Krishna. For me not advancing in KC, it’s not automatic. It’s not happening by chance. It’s happening only with intention. It’s happening only by planning.
So I challenge you now, we have still a few minutes, I don’t know whether you have paper or pen but if you have write down three things that you will do from today on every day that will help you in Krishna consciousness. Write down three things that will help advance you in Krishna consciousness. And don’t write just chanting and being in kirtana and listening to Srimad-bhagavatam class. Something that’s your own that will help you a lot. We know Srimad-Bhagavatam classes are so nice. And it’s good because listening is also giving some kind of advancement in Krishna consciousness, but I would say that Srimad Bhagavatam Class is useless if you just listen to it, compared to when you get out of the class and a week later you still follow what you have heard. Compared to follow what you have heard, only listening to Srimad Bhagavatam class is almost useless.
Action is needed. Nothing will happen without action. Do you have all three things written down or at least you remember those three things? I tell you a very important thing. If you start doing this today, fourteen days from now 90% of you will not follow what you have written. 90%. And that’s just because we are devotees, because the general number is 95. General people cannot follow their resolution for more than 2 weeks.
We have to. We don’t have any other alternative. We just really have to. You go home from the ILS, you go home from the Srimad Bhagavatam class, don’t tell anyone what you have heard, don’t tell anyone–show it. If you tell it, it will have almost zero effect. If you show it with your own example, that’s acharya. That’s how people will follow you. That’s how you should be anxious of leading others. Motivation gets you going. It’s really important. Motivation gets you going. Discipline makes you growing. That’s what the Upadeshamrita says:
utsahan niscayad dhairyat tat-tat-karma-pravartanat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
The first thing is utsaha, that’s the motivation. All the others five are discipline. Motivation gets you going. Discipline makes you growing. Extremely important to understand these verse. And don’t talk about it. Show it. That will grow Srila Prabhupada’s movement enormously. Thank you very much.
We have two more minutes for comments and corrections.
Prithu Prabhu: Hare Krishna. What you say is very interesting. There is a very interesting discussion. In 1968 when Satsvarupa Maharaja was temple president in Boston there were all young devotees, just joined around the same time and they were inexperienced. So they wrote to Srila Prabhupada and sent him a picture of the deities very richly decorated with flowers. Everywhere were flowers. And they wrote to Srila Prabhupada, “Now we have no money anymore. We gave all our money to Krishna through these flower arrangements. Now He has to take care of us”. And Prabhupada wrote to depend on Krishna is very nice. It’s a nice sentiment but you have to make a plan and then Krishna will help you. Hare Krishna.
HG Radha Krishna Das: Thank you so much.
Sauri Prabhu: I have heard something else. If you want to make Krishna laugh, tell him your plans. What do you think of this?
HG Radha Krishna Das:That means that you want to make Krishna happy. How could you grow without making Krishna happy. So make plans. Actually there is a really interesting thing, on my watch I still have 10 seconds.
So I am also trying to serve in Turkey. Turkey is a very fantastic place. How many you have been in Turkey? The Turkish devotees are here. They are making plans. And they are growing like anything. There was almost nothing a few years ago. Now we have a three-storey place with a restaurant, a yoga centre with Ayurveda with a really nice kitchen and the yoga courses are completely full. We started the new place last year and within 8 months it was completely full.
There is a lady called Haribhakti who is in Hungary being trained as a pujari. She was a Koran teacher for ladies in Turkey. She was a Sufi missionary. She heard the harinam in the Philippines while on a mission. She went back to Istanbul and saw the pamphlet of kirtan yoga, and since then she is chanting 16 rounds.
It’s amazing. You have to go to Istanbul. You have to visit the place. There is Nrsimha Krishna Prabhu. Please raise your hand. That’s Nrsimha Krishna Prabhu. He is the Zonal Supervisor for Turkey. He is an amazing person and he makes plans. He is the marketing and sales director of the fourth largest shipping company of the world. He knows how to make plans. He makes plans and it grows. We had to add a little thing to it, just a little, as Srila Sivarama Maharaja says, Krsna conscious expertise. An artistic expertise. Whatever Srila Sivarama Maharaja touches turns into Krsna consciousness. Amazing Krsna conscious world, that’s what happening just now in Turkey with Muslim people. Thank you so much.