(Kindly transcribed by Mataji Swetha Ganeshan)
Download the audio for this lecture here: Download
From Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir!
Date: March 7th, 2014
Speaker: HG Krsnanandini devi dasi
Subject: S.B. 5.13.19
HG Krsnanandini devi dasi:
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
So we are reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 5 chapter 13 text 19. Rahugana converses with Jada Bharatha
ataḥ kathancit sa vimukta apadaḥ
punas ca sartham pravisaty arindama
adhvany amuṣminn ajaya nivesito
bhraman jano ‘dyāpi na veda kascana
(Word to word meaning is read)
O killer of enemies, Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa, if the conditioned soul somehow or other gets out of his dangerous position, he again returns to his home to enjoy sex life, for that is the way of attachment. Thus, under the spell of the Lord’s material energy, he continues to loiter in the forest of material existence. He does not discover his real interest even at the point of death.
This is the way of material life. When one is captured by sexual attraction, he becomes implicated in so many ways and cannot understand the real aim of life. Therefore Śrīmad-Bhagavatam (7.5.31) says, na te viduḥ svartha-gatiḿ hi viṣṇum: generally people do not understand the ultimate goal of life. As stated in the Vedas, oḿ tad viṣṇoḥ paramam padam sada paśyanti sūrayaḥ: those who are spiritually advanced simply look to the lotus feet of Viṣṇu. The conditioned soul, however, not being interested in reviving his relationship with Viṣṇu, becomes captivated by material activities and remains in everlasting bondage, being misled by so-called leaders.
HG Krsnanandini devi dasi:
jai sri-krsna-caitanya prabhu nityananda sri-advaita gadadhara srivasadi-gaura-bhakta-vrnda
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare (Thrice)
So I sit before you as a product of four of my really great heroes: my husband, HG Tariq prabhu, my mother, HG Bhumati devi dasi, my siksha guru and dearest friend HH Bhakti Tirtha Swami Krsnapad and my eternal father- the giver of life- the hope of my life, and the benefit of all of us, HDG Srila Prabhupada. I want to ask the blessings of all of my godbrothers and godsisters so that I may speak something that will touch all of our hearts and will help us to become closer to Krishna and to each other which is one of the purposes of this whole International Society for Krishna consciousness.
So in this chapter Maharaja Jada Bharatha, he is letting go full force. He’s not holding anything back. As we know the story, Jada Bharatha was once a great emperor of the whole world—Bharat Maharaja and he gave up his kingdom, his beautiful wife, his all opulence, everything to go and become a little more self-realized to finish the goal of life: svartha-gati and he retired to the forest and as he was in the forest and he at first was doing his meditations and his sadhana and his puja and somehow or the other he became attracted by (of all things) a deer! And of course this attraction caused him to forget the goal and purpose for which he was there and at the end of life because he was thinking about the deer, he gave up his body and became a deer in his next life. But because he was a great soul and a very pious being, the Lord somehow or the other gave him the knowledge of his previous lives. And so even as a deer he went to associate with sadhus, he stayed in their hermitages, he took the prasadam-the refuge and at the end of his life as a deer, he was granted another chance. And he became Jada Bharatha. And in that life he decided: ‘Oh no more nonsense, no more material entanglement, no more maya! No more fuss!’ And he decided to act as though he was dumb and retarded and crazy and even though he was born in a brahmin family and even though he had a loving father who tried his best to teach him all the brahmanical ways, the standards, the pujas, the cleanliness, he refused to be a part of that and so he did the opposite of whatever his father taught him. And his father died disappointed that he had not been able to share with his son the brahminical life.
When his father died, Jada Bharatha was of course left with his brothers and they just treated him like an animal or someone they didn’t care for. And they had him do all the menial tasks, all the unclean work, they gave him food that wasn’t fit for animals. But Jada Bharatha, being a pious soul never protested and he accepted the treatment of his brothers as a sadhu.
So, somehow or the other his brothers got really tired of him and they decided to sell him to some demons who were coming through. They wanted to do a sacrifice to the goddess Kali. And this is the mode of ignorance, mode of tamas. They wanted a human being to sacrifice to Kali. And they purchased Jada Bharatha from his brothers. And of course Jada Bharatha still did not protest and he went along with these people. And they set up their altar to goddess Kali and just as they were getting ready to be-head Jada Bharatha, the goddess became so infuriated, as is the nature of the demigods and other saintly people, when they see saints and devotees being mistreated they become angry. So Kali, became so angry, she came out of the murti and decapitated the heads of all the demons who were causing such trouble to such a pure devotee like Jada Bharatha. And then Jada Bharatha somehow or the other ended up as a palanquin bearer for King Rahugana who was somewhat a pious king and he was annoyed with Jada Bharatha because he was carrying the palanquin imbalanced, because Jada Bharatha did not want to step on any ants. He was a Vaishnava at heart, he didn’t want to cause any hurt to any living entity. So then at some point Maharaja Rahugana began to chastise Jada Bharatha for his way of carrying the cart. And then Jada Bharatha kicked in full force as Guru! The duty of Guru is to quickly and immediately cut through the chase, to cut through all the maya and the entanglement. So, Jada Bharatha took this opportunity to enlighten Maharaja Rahugana and he told him that “You are entangled in the material world, you are enjoying your kingdom and your wife, all of this sex life, but just know that you are an eternal spiritual being and the bliss and joy of your real eternal nature is so much greater than what you are experiencing. So give up this nonsense. Give up this designation that I am a king, I am a great man”. sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam. These designations that hold us back. Prabhupada spoke of that often: I am a woman, I am a man, I am black, I am white, I am young, I am diseased, they are all a part of the material disease. And Jada Bharatha wanted Maharaja Rahugana to give that disease up quickly. And because Maharaja Rahugana was a pious man, he could hear the instruction of Jada Bharata. So Jada Bharatha was doing his duty as a Guru.
So now I am going to switch gears just a little. Yesterday my wonderful god-brother, HH Badrinarayan asked us all to suffer on behalf of Krishna and that is such a commendable request because in the material world, we have to suffer anyway. But I am going to ask us to BE HAPPY on behalf of Krishna and I hope that at the end of the class you will see that there is no difference between what Badrinarayan was saying and what I am saying.
So the idea that Jada Bharatha is speaking about, is grihamedi life. grihamedi life is a life in which there is a husband, there is a wife but they are together for the purpose of sense-enjoyment. But grihastha life is a life where the husband and wife are together for the sake of Krishna. It is a very auspicious ashram, it is a progressive step up from the brahmachari ashram. And in the community, in the Vaishnava community there should be so much cooperation between brahmacharya, grihasta, vanaprastha and sannyasa. We should all see ourselves as a part of a system, an organisation that Krishna Himself set up and established for the benefit of mankind. So grihasta life does not have to be the deep dark well. It does not have to be where everyone is after their own sense-gratification. Grihastha life can be devotional service to Krishna and if it is done properly one develops all the auspicious qualities: truthfulness, kindness, generosity, compassion—these are the qualities that if one properly engages in grihastha life and raises ones consciousness like that, one can be purified.
In fact, one of our Acharyas, HDG Bhaktivinoda Thakur, he said that grihastha life for those who have a view towards peaceful life and those who want to raise Krishna conscious children is a good institution for a Vaishnava. So I think, that our charge, as servants of Srila Prabhupada is to show how this institution can be good. How the devotees can proceed from brahmacharis, if they so choose to grihastha. And then from grihastha, if they so choose to vanaprastha. And from vanaprastha if they so choose to sannyasa and be healthy. Because if we raise healthy children then we will give birth to healthy brahmacharis, who will become healthy grihasthas, who will become healthy vanaprasthas, healthy sannyasis.
I have to share a little my story so that this can kind of work in. I was initiated by Srila Prabhupada in 1972, Dallas, Texas. And my mother was also initiated and my step father and two brothers. And we had travelled a very very long way from Cleveland, Ohio, which is a day’s drive – 24hrs to get to Dallas. This was 71, when my mother became a devotee; we had some difficulties with the temple president there. And so we were trying to find a place that would accept us for who we are, so that we can serve Krishna. We had very strong Christian background. In our Christian family, were ministers and evangelists and they were saying that isn’t Lord Jesus Christ good enough for you? Why are you leaving this good Christian heritage to take this cult? So, we were getting flack from our family, we were getting flack from the devotees and we just took shelter of Srila Prabhupada. Somehow or other we knew that if we could just somehow stay with Prabhupadas movement everything would be all right. So we got to Dallas, Texas, the temple president, Stoka Krishna das was his name, some of you may know him, he called Cleveland and the Cleveland temple president said, ‘Oh don’t let them in they’re trouble makers’. Somehow my mother knew enough about Krishna consciousness, she said, ‘Prabhu, we don’t have anywhere to go. We came all the way from Cleveland. Here’s my daughter, she is pregnant. I have all these little children. What to do?’ So, the devotee was kind, and he said to us, ‘OK you can stay one night but tomorrow you have to go because Prabhupada will be here’. We said “Prabhupada!!—our hero, our savior”, we would have slept on the rooftop, if Prabhupada would be here. So when Prabhupada came, they told him: ‘Prabhupada, there’s this black lady from Cleveland and all children are here’, and Prabhupada sent for my mother, because the devotees didn’t know that we had written letters to Prabhupada and he had written back. And so my mother sat in a room with Srila Prabhupada for six hours and the next day she met Prabhupadas secretary by the water fountain and the secretary said Prabhupada is initiating people tomorrow and my mother said: ‘We want to get initiated’. So he told Prabhupada and Prabhupada asked my mother “how many do you want to get initiated?” By this time my mother had called my step father, who wasn’t with us in the initial coming and he had come quickly on a bus. So when my mother told Prabhupada she said, my step father, her, me, my two brothers. So Prabhupada said, fine. Later I heard that there were some questions, where some devotees said, ‘Prabhupada, we don’t think we should initiate them because we don’t know what their sadhana is? We don’t know what temple they are associated with!’ But because Prabhupada was so kind and so merciful, he initiated us and from that day to this one I have nothing but eternal gratitude to Srila Prabhupada.
Later about 5 years ago, I met the devotee who had given us such a hard time initially in Cleveland. He was in the North Carolina temple, and I said ‘Prabhu, do you remember me?’ and after sometime and he said, ‘Yes, I do. If I could please tell your mother and your brothers to please forgive me for everything I did to you and if I could, I’d take it back’. And I said, ‘Prabhu, I wouldn’t let you take it back’. I said, ‘Because of what you did to us, because of all the trouble and tribulations you caused us, we left Cleveland and ended up in Dallas, Texas, getting initiated on Radhashtami, by Srila Prabhupada in the same day he installed Radha- Kalachandji. So I wouldn’t let you take it back.’
So, this idea, you know: I have been given this service by Srila Prabhupada, to somehow or other strengthen the grihastha ashram in this movement. Srila Prabhupada built a house for the whole world to live in peacefully and every time I come to a place like Mayapur, my heart just sinks out! I am seeing the Chinese devotees and the Russian devotees and the African devotees and I know that it is because of one man’s love and dedication and that is Prabhupada! And he built this house because he wanted every single one of us to find shelter and peace and hope and joy in that house. And I was thinking today, I was thinking what if Prabhupada was taking a walk around this house. What if he was taking a walk around Europe and America and Africa and Mayapur? What would Prabhupada say to us? And I think that Prabhupada would be just so grateful that the temple of the Vedic planetarium is being made and the devotees from all over the world are contributing to that event. I think that he would be so pleased that the GBC is trying to cooperate. I think that he would be pleased that his books are being distributed left and right. I think that he would be pleased that the doors are now open for people from every country to take to this movement and come into his house and find shelter. But there are some things that would cause our spiritual master a heavy heart: and it is those things that I would humbly ask to speak to you about today. I think that Prabhupadas heart would be a little heavy knowing how some of his daughters and granddaughters were suffering and were not protected. I think that his heart would be a little heavy knowing that sometimes some of the brahmacharis are feeling a little weighted and they can’t go to their temple authorities to ask for help and guidance. I think that Prabhupadas heart would be a little heavy about that. I think Prabhupadas heart would be a little heavy because as Suresvara prabhu so nicely told us that we’ve been given the accolade of having the highest philosophy of all the different yogas, but the poorest behavior. I think that will make our Prabhupadas heart heavy. So I want to humbly request all of the devotees and all of the leaders to think about what is it that each of us can do to take some of the heaviness off from the heart of Srila Prabhupada. In having a balanced understanding about grihastha life, I think that that would help. I myself have personally given birth to 10 children: 5 boys and 5 girls. And I have to tell you, at the birth of each of my children, I personally offered them at the lotus feet of Prabhupada. And every single one of those children have helped me to surrender more to the lotus feet of Sri Sri Radha Krishna. Because I knew that I was totally helpless to take care of this person, I was totally helpless to give them Krishna consciousness and that I had to be totally dependent on Prabhupada and Radha Bankabihari, my istadev, to do the work for them, and caused me to surrender and always be prayerful. So, yes having children was a burden and a challenge but I wouldn’t trade it for anything, because it is those children that help me now to appreciate Krishna consciousness more. It is those children that are my offering to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada.
So, when we talk about Jada Bharatha and when we talk about the surgeon cutting swiftly and quickly the illusion from the devotees, I hope that we remember that there are opposite examples—there are examples of grihasthas who make Krishna the center of their life, who give in charity, who make sacrifices, who support all of the other ashrams and I hope we will understand that this ashram is a devotional service at the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada, just like all the other ashrams and we have to cooperate.
My daughter, who is here, Ganga. So Ganga Saraswati and her husband Ganesh, they surprised me by coming to Mayapur a week ago. And it was such a wonderful pleasant surprise. So, they went to Vrindavan for two days and while there, they met this priest at Kusum Sarovar. His name was Uttama and he told them a lila about Prabhupada, which I thought, totally exemplifies the compassion of our beloved Srila Prabhupada. This person must have been about 90 years old, Ganga said. And he told them that Prabhupada used to come to Kusum Sarovar and he would chant at a little temple that his parents and grandparents used to run and that he would always, the little boy was 8 years old at that time, Prabhupada would say: Uttama, Uttama, please come and chant with me and he would give the little boy a 108 beads to chant. And the little boy, 8 years old, he said that as soon as Prabhupada closed his eyes he would run out. Cause he didn’t want to chant 108 rounds. And so Prabhupada understood his mentality, and one day Uttama, the priest, now 90, but he was remembering when he was 8. He said Prabhupada sat down with him and took all the beads off the japa beads except 27 so that he will be able to chant 27 beads and that would be a round for him. And then he could do that and then he could chant 16 rounds with Srila Prabhupada and I thought wow! How merciful is Prabhupada, how compassionate is he? That he adjusts and he knows the hearts of all the living entities. And as his representatives he wants us to be like that. That’s our debt. Always think about how can I repay Prabhupada for what he did for me and there is just no way I could do it. Because he severed the maya, he gave me Radha and Krishna, he gave me you all, this association of devotees wherever you go around the world, you have family. He gave us the knowledge of how to get from death to life! So how can you repay Prabhupada? We can only repay him by being good examples of his love and his compassion and his mercy and his kindness. And that is the dedication that I am asking all of us to do. To have compassion one for the other, to have mercy one for the other and to really try to see how we can operate in this big house in a cooperative manner in the way that would make Srila Prabhupada happy.
So I think I’ll stop here and if there are any questions or comments. Is there a microphone?
Krsnarupa devi dasi: Hare Krishna. Mataji, thank you so much for that wonderful class. Couple of comments. One of them is a story about Srila Prabhupada that I would like to share. The other thing is that it was very nice that you mentioned that we should actually try and be happy in Krishna consciousness. For the last 40 years, probably since I was 12 years old I’ve been contemplating death and as a devotee we are always very focused on- that we have to prepare in this life for death. And sometimes it can get a bit depressing. So it’s very nice to see that actually we can also be happy in Krishna consciousness. Material world is of course, a place that’s not a happy place. But by Prabhupadas grace we can be happy in Krishna consciousness.
HG Krsnanandini devi dasi: Thank you prabhu. He said chant and be happy. And I don’t think that Prabhupada would tell us anything that he didn’t think we could do.
Krsnarupa devi dasi: And the other thing that I want to share is a story about Prabhupadas compassion. You mentioned so nicely this wonderful pastime, the Uttama. I think it was in Melbourne, Australia. It was about June-July, I think it was probably around, maybe 1973-74 and all the devotees were madly preparing for the Ratha Yatra, so there weren’t many devotees that were free and Srila Prabhupada was there and our god brother Citahari prabhu was in a car with Prabhupada sitting in the back seat with Prabhupada, driving to botanical gardens where Srila Prabhupada would take his morning walk. And it was around peak hour time and there were hundreds of people rushing to work, walking, catching buses, trains etc. And Citahari personally conveyed this story to me. And he said that he was sitting in the back seat with Srila Prabhupada and looking at everyone on this tread- mill, this mad rat race and he was thinking: look at these fools, look at these idiots, they’re just rushing around like so many rats and mice and here I am, I’m sitting here with my spiritual master: Jagat Guru and you know comparing their state to his state, in a not particularly compassionate way, a bit derogatory and then he turned around and looked at Srila Prabhupada who was looking out on the other side through the other window of the car and Srila Prabhupada had tears rolling down the cheeks of his lotus face and turned to Citahari and said: “how can they be saved?” It is just such a wonderful example of Prabhupadas extreme magnanimity and compassion. I just wanted to share that
HG Krsnanandini devi dasi: Thank you so much prabhu for sharing that. Thank you so much. Any other?
Devotee: Thank you for a very nice class. I remember your family coming to Dallas. Prahladananda also remembers. Yes, and we were all very amazed that your mother could get initiated and you were how old at that time?
HG Krsnanandini devi dasi: I was about 20. 19 or 20.
Devotee: You were 19 or 20. You all looked very small.
HG Krsnanandini devi dasi: My brother was 14 and I was 20.
Devotee: Acha. We thought you were very young. We were all very amazed that Prabhupada did this. And yet there wasn’t any question in most people’s minds, at least not in my mind, as to whether or not it was right or wrong, because we all had that constant faith that Srila Prabhupada knew exactly what he was doing. And now I am very appreciative that you are telling this story of how you came and how it unfolded and so forth and I can see that Prabhupada was absolutely right. As always. Hare Krsna.
HG Krsnanandini devi dasi: I just want to share with you all. The devotee when I told him I wouldn’t let you take it back and he told me a little story that Satsvarup Maharaja was there and Satsvarup told him, that they were kind of saying: “Prabhupada, may be, we don’t know”. Prabhupada said that “Wherever I see a spark of Krishna consciousness I must fan it”.
(Mataji speaks tearfully) And he said, “Wherever I see a spark of Krishna consciousness, I must fan it”. And the devotees said to me that Krishnanandini just think that Prabhupada had to fan that spark. So, eternal gratitude to Srila Prabhupada, for fanning the spark. And we all have to be like that. We all have, wherever we see that spark of Krishna consciousness, we have to fan it. Because there is so much suffering and pain in the world, and we’ve been given the greatest gift, we’ve been given the opportunity to once again re-enter that eternal kingdom of God. And how you get to keep that gift is by giving it? How you get to have love of God is by giving it. And so because Prabhupada fanned that spark, I am able to sit here 42-43 years later and tell the story. So let us try to fan that spark in our own lives and really have faith.
I think often of the story of Sakshi Gopal. You know the story where the old brahmin, he was going on a pilgrimage to distant distant temple to see the deity of Gopal. The old brahmin was wealthy and the young brahmin was poor. But they were journeying together. At that time there were no trains and buses. They walked thousands of miles to go see Gopal. And because the young brahmin was so attentive to the old brahmin, the old brahmin was very very grateful. And when they finally got in front of the deity Gopal, the old Brahmin said, “My dear son. You have served me even better than my own son and because of that I want to do something for you. So he said please accept my daughter as your wife”. But the young brahmana protested, he said “My dear sir, I didn’t serve you because I wanted anything. I served you just because it’s my duty to serve you, you’re a brahmana, so you don’t owe me anything”. But the old brahmana insisted that he give his daughter to this young brahmana, and he said “In order to seal the bargain, I am saying it in front of the deity of Gopal. Gopal will be the witness”. So the young brahmana acquiesced and said ok. So then they travelled back thousands of miles again, months to their village. The old brahmin went back home to his family and the poor brahmin went back home to his family and after sometime the poor young brahmin began to think: “Well, the old brahmin did promise his daughter and she’s not here, so I should probably go and just remind him, because I know that he doesn’t want to tell an untruth in front of the deity”. So the young brahmin went to the family of the old brahmin and he said “My dear sir, remember your word that you were going to give your daughter in marriage to me”. But when the wife heard it and the son heard it, they said, Oh No! You can’t give my daughter and my sister to this poor brahmana. If you do that, I’ll kill myself. So the old brahmin was just in a quandary. He didn’t know what to do. He was really an honest and truthful soul but he didn’t want his wife to kill herself and he didn’t want others frustration. Finally the eldest son, he was making a very sarcastic joke. He said, “Well if the deity witnessed that, you go and get that deity and tell him to come be a witness”. So the poor young brahmin, he had faith in the Lord and he had travelled thousands of miles again, by foot to go and see the deity, Gopal. And when he got in front of the deity, he offered his prostrated obeisances, he said “My dear lord I hate to bother you but I’ve come because you were a witness and I need You to come and be a witness that the old brahmin gave his word” And the Lord told the poor young brahmin, “Well, I am deity I can’t walk.” So the poor young brahmin, quick on his toes, he said to the Lord: “My Lord if you can talk, you can walk”
The Lord said: “Ok, such is the faith of My devotee”. And the Lord got off the altar and He said, “I will come with you on one condition and that is that you will never turn back. You trust that I am following you because you hear My ankle bells tinkling and in that way you’ll know I am coming behind. Never look back”. So the brahmin said ok. And he began to travel and he’d stop at night, he’d rest and the Lord would rest and he could always hear the Lords ankle bells tinkling. So one day, he was almost close to the village. They had travelled miles and miles. And he had just got a little anxious cause he didn’t hear the Lord’s ankle bells tinkling and he said: “Oh no, where is Gopal? He is not with me anymore”. And so he looked back and Krishna Gopal said, “My dear sir, because you looked back, I cannot go any further. I have to stay here. But it is close enough, so you go and tell the villagers that I am here and they will come to see Me”. So the poor young brahmin ran to the village and he said, “Everyone come, come see. Gopal has come to witness. Gopal has come to witness.” And sure enough the whole village came out and there was the beautiful gorgeous Lord, Gopal and He was called Sakshi Gopal, the Lord who comes as witness. So I think that story is to help us to have faith that we may not always see Krishna, we may not always, you know, just have a feeling of His presence. But because He has given His word and His pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada has given His word, we can trust that the Lord will always be with us and He will always be our witness. And this is the faith of the devotees!
Thank you all very much!
Srila Prabhupada ki jai. Srila Prabhupada ki jai.
Sri Sri Radha Madhava ki jai. Sri Pancha-Tattva ki jai.
All glories to the assembled devotees. Hare Krsna.