HH Radhanath Swami: (Om ajnana ….etc)
yo ‘nusmarati sandhyāyāḿ
TRANSLATION: (SB 4.30.9-10)
The Lord continued: Those who remember you every evening of every day will become friendly with their brothers and with all other living entities.
Those who will offer Me the prayers composed by Lord Siva, both in the morning and in the evening, will be given benedictions by Me. In this way they can both fulfill their desires and attain good intelligence.
PURPORT: Good intelligence means going back home, back to Godhead. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (10.10):
tesham satata-yuktanam bhajatam priti-purvakam dadami buddhi-yogam tam yena mam upayanti te
“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”
One who offers prayers to the Lord to fulfill his different desires must know that the highest perfectional fulfillment of desire is to go back home, back to Godhead. In this verse it is indicated that those who remember the activities of the Pracetas, the sons of King Pracinabarhishat, will be delivered and blessed. So what to speak of the sons of King Pracinabarhishat, who are directly connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead? This is the way of the parampara system. If we follow the acaryas, we attain the same benefit as our predecessors. If one follows the decisions of Arjuna, he should be considered to be directly hearing Bhagavad-gita from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. There is no difference between hearing Bhagavad-gita directly from the Supreme Lord and following a personality like Arjuna, who formerly heard Bhagavad-gita directly from the Lord. Sometimes foolish people argue that since Krishna is not present at the moment, one cannot take direct instructions from Him. Such foolish people do not know that there is no difference between directly hearing Bhagavad-gita and reading it, as long as one accepts Bhagavad-gita as it is, spoken by the Lord. However, if one wants to understand Bhagavad-gita by his imperfect interpretations, one cannot possibly understand the mysteries of Bhagavad-gita, even though one may be a great scholar according to mundane estimation. (end)
HH Radhanath Swami: (invocation prayers) Hare Krishna!
It is my great honor and fortune for this opportunity to serve you today in Sri Mayapur Dhama by speaking from this verse of Srimad Bhagavatam.
In this verse Lord Visnu is giving a benediction to all humanity for all time to come through his very dear devotees the Pracetas. He is referring to the prayers of Lord Siva. One who sincerely chants these prayers, following in the footsteps of the Pracetas each day, Lord Visnu promises He will give Himself and all perfections.
In a previous chapter the prayers of Lord Siva are spoken. In those prayers Lord Siva begins by humbling himself as the eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna or Vishnu. He explains from his incomprehensible divine perception, the greatness of the Lord. How He is the source of everything that exists, everything emanates from Him. He is the creator maintainer, destroyer of all the cosmic manifestation and the Lord of the spiritual world. He goes into great details about the power and majesty of the Lord.
He then explains the form of the Lord in great detail, what he is seeing in his mediation and then he concludes his prayers by telling how the Lord loves His devotees. How the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by expanding a single one of His eyebrows He invokes invincible time to destroy an entire universe. The time will never approach a devotee who has taken shelter of the Lord. Lord Siva says even by chance if one gains a moments association with a devotee who has taken shelter of the Lord then that person can be for ever free from any inclination towards karma fruitive activities, towards jnana, even liberation and cares nothing for any of the benedictions even of the devas or the demigods. And then Lord Siva with great humility he says, “I am begging, I am begging for the association of those devotees who have taken shelter of the Lord Visnu” He tells the real benediction of all benedictions that the Lord gives is the association of His dear devotees. Therefore Siva tells the Pracetas, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is in everyone’s heart and He is in your heart. You should always chant His glories and meditate upon Him constantly. This is the ultimate perfection and the way to achieve it.
This is the summary and substance of the prayers of Lord Siva that is being glorified by the Lord Himself.
But Srila Prabhupada is explaining that there is no difference between hearing Bhagavad-gita directly from Krishna or hearing Lord Siva’s prayers directly from Siva. Its hearing them or reading them in Srimad Bhagavatam or Bhagavad-gita as it is. If the source is pure coming down from paramapara and if we follow in the footsteps of Arjuna, follow in the footsteps of the Pracetas.
Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah – (Mahabharata, Vana-parva (313.117).
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu told that one cannot understand the truth or the essence of the religious principles by all sorts of argumentations and discussions, even by extensive study of the Vedas or any other means, except to follow in the footsteps on the progressive path of the great souls. Because Lord Caitanya explained that Krishna is hidden in the hearts of those who have taken shelter of Him and only through them does Krishna reveal Himself.
It is interesting the time place and circumstance in which Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu cited this illustrious verse from Mahabharata. It was when He went to Mathura. After taking His bath in the Yamuna river at Visrama ghat, he went to the Adi-Kesava temple, Krishna’s original birthplace in Mathura and when He saw the deity He began to chant and dance. At that time a very simple brahmana a sanodiya brahmana, he came and fell at Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lotus feet and Lord Caitanya was so pleased with him. He blessed him and the brahmana danced. The brahmana and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu were dancing and dancing and dancing together for a long time and finally Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu He took this very old brahmana aside and started asking him questions. Where did you get this love for Krishna? The brahmana said long ago Sripada Madhavendra Puri when he was doing his pilgrimage around the holy places he came to Mathura, and I met him. I invited him to my home, he initiated me and he even accepted prasada from me. And then the brahmana said to Lord Caitanya, by seeing your ecstatic love I believe you must have some connection with Madhavendra Puri. Lord Caitanya said My Gurudeva Isvara Puri is your Godbrother, a disciple of Madhavendra Puri. Upon hearing that the old brahmana danced.
Then he said to Balabhadra Bhattacarya I will supply the ingredients you please cook for the Lord. And Lord Caitanya said No! No! I will take what you prepare! Now this was a very very bold breakthrough in the conventions of that time. Because the sanodiya brahmana community were considered a very low class and traditionally, officially sannyasis were forbidden to take any food cooked by a sanodiya brahmana. So the brahmana explained this to the Lord. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu quoted Bhagavad-gita;
yad yad acarati sreshthas tat tad evetaro janah (BG 3.21)
That what great people do that is the standard for all others. Madhavendra Puri he took prasada at your house, therefore I will take prasada at your house. Not only that because you have pleased Madhavendra Puri by cooking for him, I accept you as My spiritual master. Then Caitanya Mahaprabhu quoted this verse;
Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah (Mahabharata, Vana-parva (313.117)
That the true essence of the truth is hidden in the hearts of the devotees who have genuinely taken shelter of the Lord and only by following in their footsteps can we understand.
In regard to prayers of Lord Siva we are advised to take inspiration and direction from the Pracetas. In this verse that we spoke today Vishnu is explaining how he is very pleased by them and by their friendly relationships with one another. What does it mean to be a friend? Krishna tells in the Gita;
samo ‘ham sarva-bhuteshu (BG 9.29)
I am not envious of anyone, I am the well-wisher of everyone and I am the friend of everyone.
So from the Vaisnava acarya’s perspective Krishna’s direction these are the qualities of a friend. There is no envy, and there is a genuine spirit of being a well-wisher. This is very prominent in Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila with his devotes. The greatest pleasure of all Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s devotees was to see another devotee or anyone being blessed, being purified, being empowered, that is their greatest joy. It is said that simply by appreciating someone getting Krishna’s grace, we get the grace. In fact we may even get more of the grace of Krishna by appreciating somebody who is getting Krishna’s grace than the person who is getting it. Why? because we get Krishna’s grace by pleasing Krishna. This is the quality that is being emphasised here.
In our Vaisnava literatures there is a great emphasis in warning us against finding faults with others.
When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was here at Navadwipa area at Kulia one brahmana approached Him and he said that I have, with this mouth I have blasphemed your devotees many times. I was thinking who can actually be a real devotee, Vaisnava? What are they chanting? All superficial, artificial! Now I understand how wrong I was and I repent it. What can I do to counteract these offenses? Lord Caitanya spoke something that we all have to take extremely seriously. He said finding fault with a devotee with your mouth is like drinking the most deadly poison. What does that poison do? It kills our true propensity for the loving service of Sri Sri Radha Madhava. And like Ramachandra Puri that becomes our satisfaction – finding faults with others. And the mind can justify every reason why we are right. But Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives a reason that eclipses all of our reasons. He says, because it is drinking poison. The way to counter act that poison is two-fold – one is stop drinking it and two is drink nectar. And what is the nectar? The glorification, the appreciation of the devotees and the chanting of the Holy name;
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
When our beloved Srila Prabhupada came to the West, travelled around the world, even came back to India, so many faults he was seeing in all of us – countless. But he was focusing his attention on that little spark of the potential within us. If someone just liked prasada, if someone just came to the kirtan, if someone just gave him a flower, whatever else they were doing he just appreciated and fanned that spark. And ultimately by fanning that spark it created the blazing fires that actually burned away all the anarthas and faults in so many people’s hearts.
Last year I was at a very unusual conference. It cost $5000 to get in, but they asked me to speak there so I got in for free. There were over 5000 people there and it was about a three day conference, four day conference. Biggest leaders of business, of education, politics, entertainment from the entire world were there in the seminars. So I went to one, besides the talks I was giving, on leadership. There were thousands of people there and assembled on the dais were some of the most powerful wealthy people on planet. It was interesting. They were explaining leadership from the perspective of service. Real leadership is to serve the people you are leading. They had this graph, it was a graph that years and years of study at universities and organizations and they found that if you don’t pay, this is not devotee society, this is the secular world society, but you may find a connection. If you don’t pay a person enough so that they feel secure in life you will get a small percentage of their creative abilities, because they are always worried about what the future is going to bring, they are always looking for other alternatives.
If you give them enough, whatever that is, so that they actually feel stable, secure and more or less satisfied, it doesn’t matter how much more you give them, their productive creativity will not go up. If you give them a million dollars more, if you give them ten million dollars more, you don’t get anything more than what they actually need. But the graph explained the study, if they feel valued, if they feel appreciated for what they do then beyond that point their creative enthusiasm and producitivity soars up up up according to the appreciation that they are given. Its human nature. Even in the world out there, it’s not just about money. The heart needs to feel loved and appreciated. And according to this conference the biggest leaders in the world, they were saying this is real leadership. To empower the people who are working with you by giving value and appreciation to their sincerity and their efforts, as HG Vaisesika Prabhu was explaining in his beautiful class.
But this is Kaliyuga. The tendency in the climate is quarrel and hypocrisy. Just like here in Mayapur, during the monsoon season its not that people go around saying why is it raining? People are just trying to deal with the rain. Because they know it’s going to come, you fix your roof and you do whatever else you do to prepare. It’s not just a mental thing – why is it raining? Why is Krishna making it rain? Why are the clouds so rascal? We know it’s going to rain so we prepare ourselves. So quarrel, hypocrisy, lack of religion, weakness of heart of people for real religious principles, this is the season for all that. We have to prepare ourselves and sankirtana means together, our hearts, our voices, our lives are united in the glorification of Krishna through chanting of His Holy names. The higher principle of what pleases the Lord is what we have to focus on. That alone can protect us from the influence of kali.
Srila Prabhupada often writes that commentary of Viswanatha Chakravarti Thakura for a particular verse from the Gita;
vyavasayatmika buddhirekeha kuru-nandana (BG 2.41)
That those who are on this path are resolute in purpose and their aim is one. And in the commentary it says that this means one should make the order of the guru ones life and soul. In fact in a purport Srila Prabhupada explains a serious disciple should not concern himself or herself with going back to Godhead, but our first business is to execute the order of the spiritual master and bear in mind that cooperation, that developing friendly relationships.
trinad api sunicena taror iva sahishnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih (Sikshashtaka 3)
To be humble like a blade of grass, tolerant like a tree, eager to offer all respect to others and not expect for oneself. That beautiful verse is the key to actual developing real friendships, on the basis of the higher principle of pleasing Prabhupada and pleasing Krishna. And that’s where our strength will come from.
I was recently with Vaisesika Prabhu when we walked through redwood forest and we learnt a beautiful lesson from a forest ranger. In this forest in Northern California are the largest tallest trees on planet earth. They are growing so high and so wide but their roots do not go deep. How do they keep growing even in the face of massive earthquakes? Some of them are a 1000 or 2000 years old. There have been earthquakes, massive storms, the soil is loose, it is mountainous. Because the roots go outward, the roots reach out to connect with the roots of other trees and when they do they entwine with each other. So all the roots make permanent locks between them by winding around each other. The little trees have the strength of all the big trees and all the big trees have, every tree in the forest is directly or indirectly connected with each other at the roots that gives them the strength to withstand any type of earthquake or storm. And for the devotees what is our root. The root of our life is the affection of our heart. When we actually care about each other, when we are actually there for each other then it gives us tremendous strength and this is type of association that Lord Siva is talking about when he saying I am begging for the association of those people who become purified by worshiping the Lord and who are merciful and compassionate to all the conditioned souls, with all their faults.
The Pracetas, they left their homes on the order of their father, they went underwater after Lord Siva’s instruction and ten of them lived together for 10,000 years. Can you imagine? To live with people for 10,000 years! You really have to a higher principle to not be fighting, not say I am out of here, I am going to another lake, you stay here I have my own lake. They did it!
Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah (Mahabharata, Vana-parva (313.117)
That’s the example in which these truths are revealed to us because that’s what pleases the Lord.
Lord Caitanya explained this verse in context with Madhavendra Puri. Very briefly when he was in his last days, Ishvara Puri pleased him by his humble menial service. Ishvara Puri was a great scholar, he was a very high born brahmana, he was an incredible renunciate but actually there’s many of those kinds of people in those days but he wanted to please his guru so much that he was at his bedside for months at a time massaging him, cleaning his urine and cleaning his stool with his own bare hands and to please his guru constantly singing Krishna’s names and glories. Madhavendra Puri was so pleased with that humility, with that desire to please him, that he said. “My child may Krishna give you ecstatic love,” and on the basis of that benediction Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu became the disciple of Ishvara Puri.
His first meeting with Isvara Puri was in Navadvipa and Lord Caitanya set the standard. This is our parampara. The same standard Ishvara Puri’s relationship with Madhavendra Puri. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he was the greatest scholar of the world, and He would listen to Ishvara Puri speak from Krishna Lilamrta a book he was writing. Ishvara Puri said will You edit this book for me. Lord Caitanya said no, how can I edit this book? This is a book written by a pure devotee about Krishna. Even if there is a technical fault it’s the greatest offence even to see it as a fault. But Ishvara Puri again and again said no! it should be corrected, so please edit. So one day Lord Caitanya found that a particular word should be replaced with another world. Ishvara Puri was silent. The next day Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came back and Ishvara Puri said actually I thought about it and the word I used was correct and you are wrong. This is Nimai Pandit, He was totally undefeatable, He defeated the digvijaya pandit Kesava Kashmiri but it is interesting. He did it in such a way that he did not insult Keshava Kashmiri. He defeated him while restoring his sense of dignity. Keshava Kashmiri actually was pleased to be defeated by Lord Caitanya and he said the next day, I can understand that You must be the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Goddess Saraswati showed me because You completely defeated me without insulting me.
Lord Caitanya used this technique Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. He was the most powerful mayavadi scholar in the planet. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, you are my guru, you are like my father, please instruct me, protect me from maya, teach me Vedanta. And Sarvabhauma just opened his heart totally, spoke to Him. Then Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu philosophically defeated him but by the time He did that Sarvabhauma’s heart was completely in love with Him. Prakashananda Sarasvati, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu sat where all the other sannyasis were washing their feet. Prakashananda saw Him and His beautiful effulgence and he said, is there something wrong? Are you sad? Why are you sitting there? Please sit with us. Took His hand and brought Him. Prakashananda Sarasvati Thakura, he actually developed deep affection for the Lord. He said, why are you with all these sentimental people? Why don’t you study Vedanta with us? Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, because I am a fool. My guru Ishvara Puri told Me I am a fool, there is no use in Me studying Vedanta, I will never understand Vedanta, I should just chant the names of Krishna. Then he gave me this instruction to take the names of Krishna all over the world. Then He spoke philosophy and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu completely philosophically defeated every point of Prakashananda Sarasvati and his mayavad conceptions, but He won their hearts with respect and affection. Incredible! So when Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was defeated by Isvara Puri, then He took initiation in Gaya and that’s where He was giving the order to spread the Holy name of Krishna and the sankirtan movement all over.
tad viddhi pranipatena pariprasnena sevaya (BG 4.34)
To submit ourselves then to inquire submissively and then to render service. That is not only something that we are supposed to do, but if we really want to help Prabhupada to deliver others it is something we have to inspire other people to do. Somehow or other how do we get these people to actually submit themselves and inquire submissively and render service.
Srila Prabhupada in his own life in Calcutta, Ultaganga Junction road, when he first met his guru maharaja Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur Prabhupada. As he was bowing down, we know the story. He was told to spread the name of Krishna all over the world according to Lord Caitanya’s teachings and Srila Prabhupada at that time was connected with Gandhi he gave arguments and even forty years later Srila Prabhupada would tell us “and I am very happy to tell you I was defeated by my Guru Maharaj.” He was happily defeated and then he received that instruction and executed it with his life and soul. To actually receive the instruction within our heart, not just on a mental level we have to feel defeated. Arjuna was defeated before Krishna, he was emotionally defeated karpanya-doshopahata-svabhava (BG 2.7) before Krishna actually gave him the instructions of the Gita. Tad vidhi pranipatena and when we have that spirit, Srila Prabhupada explains in this purport then reading his books is directly, personally, associating with Srila Prabhupada. If we have this spirit, then Srila Prabhupada is personally speaking to all of us. Rupa Goswami is personally through Prabhupada’s words is speaking to us. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is speaking to us.
I’ll end with one little story. One of the original devotees of ISKCON was Hayagriva Prabhu. In 1966 he helped Srila Prabhupada begin 26 Second Avenue. He came just after it opened and he helped to actually assist Prabhupada in every possible way he could. This Dr Mishra, who himself did not have the same philosophy as Prabhupada. They would argue, but they loved each other. Dr Mishra was helping Prabhupada anyway he could and when he was sick Prabhupada was cooking for him and praying for him. So even though they had very opposing philosophies which neither of them compromised, on a human Vaisnava level Prabhupada still loved him. Dr Mishra in that beautiful movie by Yadubara prabhu about Prabhupada’s life, he was crying practically. He said “Swamiji saved my life by cooking for me and praying for me.” So they used to go to the Ananda Ashram in upstate New York where Prabhupada would do kirtans with Dr Mishra and one time Hayagriva explains he was sleeping because it is very beautiful place out in the country in New York state. He was laying in the grass looking up at the moon and the stars and he went to sleep. He had a dream. In this dream he saw Krishna speaking Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna. And suddenly the dream changed and he saw Srila Prabhupada speaking Bhagavad-gita to him, Hayagriva Prabhu. And he woke up and he ran to Srila Prabhupada’s little room and said to Prabhupada, “I had this dream and my realization was that Krishna speaking to Arjuna and you speaking to me were non-different. They were identical. I was just as fortunate as Arjuna to be hearing from you as he was from Krishna.” Would you like to hear Srila Prabhupada’s response?
Haribol!! (audience response)
Srila Prabhupada said, “You have understood correctly. It is absolutely non-different. If I speak Bhagavad-gita to you it is non-different than Krishna speaking Bhagavad-gita to Arjuna. You are hearing from Krishna.” That is parampara. But the paramapara is not just the knowledge of this subject. The parampara is in the character, in how we listen. If we have that same humility, if we have that same urgency, to please Srila Prabhupada as Arjuna did for Krishna, as the Pracetas did for Lord Siva. If by our behavior, by our eagerness, if we have that desire to please Srila Prabhupada and Krishna then yes when we read Prabhupada’s books, when we hear these classes we are hearing directly from Srila Prabhupada. That is the blessing that is forever our most sacred property.
Thank you very much! Srila Prabhupada ki jai!
For video of the lecture, please go to: mayapurtvarchives.com