On 7th February, morning lecture was given by HH Giriraja Swami on SB 6.3.35. Below is the transcript of the lecture.
itihasam imam guhyam bhagavan kumbha-sambhavah kathayam asa Malaya asino harim arcayan
“When the great sage Agastya, the son of Kumbha, was residing in the Malaya Hills and worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I approached him, and he explained to me this confidential history.”
Now we go back to Text 33, just the translation:
“Devotees who always lick the honey from the lotus feet of Lord Krsna do not care at all for material activities, which are performed under the three modes of material nature and which bring only misery. Indeed, devotees never give up the lotus feet of Krsna to return to material activities. Others, however, who are addicted to Vedic rituals because they have neglected the service of the Lord’s lotus feet and are enchanted by lusty desires, sometimes perform acts of atonement. Nevertheless, being incompletely purified, they return to sinful activities again and again.”
PURPORT: A devotee’s duty is to chant the Hare Krsna mantra. One may sometimes chant with offenses and sometimes without offenses, but if one seriously adopts this process, he will achieve perfection, which cannot be achieved through Vedic ritualistic ceremonies of atonement. Persons who are attached to the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies, but do not believe in devotional service, who advise atonement, but do not appreciate the chanting of the Lord’s holy name, fail to achieve the highest perfection. Devotees, therefore, being completely detached from material enjoyment, never give up Krsna consciousness for Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. Those who are attached to Vedic ritualistic ceremonies because of lusty desires are subjected to the tribulations of material existence again and again. Maharaja Pariksit has compared their activities to kunjara-sauca, the bathing of an elephant.
“After hearing from the mouth of their master about the extraordinary glories of the Lord and His name, fame and attributes, the Yamadutas were struck with wonder. Since then, as soon as they see a devotee, they fear him and dare not look at him again.”
Purport: Since this incident, the Yamadutas have given up the dangerous behavior of approaching devotees. For the Yamadutas, a devotee is dangerous.
HH Giriraja Swami: Hare Krishna! So the translation and purport to Text 34 appear to be quite humorous, because generally devotees are considered the well-wishers of all living entities and the greatest benefactors of all humanity. So why would it be dangerous to approach devotees?
It is dangerous to approach devotees with the idea of harming them or punishing them. And therefore Sati in her instructions to her father Daksa after he had offended Lord Siva said that the dust of the lotus feet of devotees diminish the life of an offender. There are so many instructions in the scriptures in the Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam that advise one to take the shelter of the lotus feet of devotees:
mahat sevam dvaram ahur vimuktes (SB 5.5.2)
that by taking shelter of the lotus feet of devotees the door to liberation is open. But if one offends the dust of the lotus feet of the devotees it has the opposite effect. And the same dust will push one down into hellish ignorance.
Srila Prabhupada gives the example of the sunlight. That for some plants the hot sunlight causes them to grow luxuriantly. And for other plants the scorching sunlight causing them to wither and dry up. So it depends on the recipient. If one humbly serves the dust of the louts feet of devotees one will gain all benedictions and if one offends the same dust one will be, one will wither and dry up in devotional service. So we should of course take full advantage of the association of devotees to serve them humbly and thus receive the greatest benediction. And the fact that we are sitting here today is itself evidence that we have received the mercy of devotees because without the mercy of devotees one cannot approach the devotional service of Krishna.
Now coming back to Text 33, the last line of the purport summarizes the verse and in a way, it summarizes the discussion that led to the whole narration of the story of Ajamila. Kunjara sauca, the bathing of an elephant, was a phrase used by Maharaj Parikisit in the beginning of the Sixth canto. At the end of the Fifth canto, Sukadeva Goswami described the hellish punishments that await sinful living entities. And Maharaj Pariksit being a compassionate Vaisnava asked what can we do to help the living entities and save them from hellish punishments?
Sukadeva Goswami first recommended the process of atonement. But the process of atonement comes in the category of karma kanda and as long as one is on the platform of karma he cannot be liberated. Maharaj Pariksit was not satisfied with Sukadeva Goswami’s answer because although atonement can relieve one from sinful reactions it does not uproot the sinful desires within the heart that led to the sinful activities.
Then Sukadeva Goswami thought that Maharaj Pariksit had passed this test. He didn’t accept the inferior answer and so he went on and proposed knowledge, that through knowledge or jnana kanda one can become free from sinful reactions and one will avoid committing sinful activities. But again Maharaj Pariksit rejected the answer because many times people know what’s right and wrong but still because of spiritual weakness they do what is wrong and they have to suffer the results. So this example of kunjara sauca the bathing of an elephant who purifies himself by atonement or by knowledge, but then again after coming out the water throws dirt on himself and becomes filthy again.
So the real solution is bhakti and specifically the chanting of the holy name. Even by chanting in nama abhasa which is without offense but not pure one can become relieved from sinful reactions and ultimately elevated to the perfectional stage of love of Godhead.
At one stage a small group of devotees went to Madras. We were the first devotees from ISKCON to go. And we were staying with a gentleman, sort of orthodox in his own way, also speculative, who was saying that we are Vaisnavas and Vaisnavas are greater than brahmans but we are not brahmans.In order to become brahmans, we have to take birth in brahmana families in our next life. So there were four of us in that small party and Acyutananda Swami said to our host – what is more powerful, sinful reactions or Krishna’s holy names? And the host had to admit – Krishna’s holy name. Then Acyutananda Swami said, well someone is born in a brahmana family or a lower family according to his past pious and sinful activities but you just admitted that Krishna’s holy name is more powerful than any sinful activities. And so those sinful reactions that caused our so called lower birth have been eradicated. There is a verse in the Third canto that those who chant the holy name are immediately eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices. In other words they are immediately accepted to be brahmans.
Thinking back on that period and being here in Mayapur I cannot help but think of Bhavananda Prabhu who was part of that small party. One day, while we were staying in that home, it was Ekadasi and it was raining quite heavily. And Acyutananda Swami said its Ekadasi, it’s not good to go out. I am going to spend the day back at the house. Bhavananda Prabhu and I were very staunch, enthusiastic, determined preachers, so we said, “You can stay. We are going out to preach. We are going to serve Srila Prabhupada. We are going out.” So we went out and in Madras at least in that area there was a pretty deep sewage canal about three feet deep, well two and half, three feet deep, running along the side of the road. But the rain was coming down so profusely that it completely filled up the sewage canal and it was flooding over the road and everything looked like water. So you know we were walking on the road. But everything looked the same, it was like an experience of oneness. (laughter)
Then Bhavananda Prabhu fell into the sewage canal and he was like this deep in water and whatever else was in there. (laughter) So when I met Srila Prabhupada shortly thereafter, I related the incident to him that we had experienced the Brahman, platform, complete oneness. (laughter) And I told him how Bhavananda Prabhu had fallen in and Srila Prabhupada said, “he is more advanced than you are, (laughter) because your knowledge was only theoretical (laughter) and his was realized.” (laughter) So although it was a joke but it’s a fact that when one has realization of bhakti, the stage of oneness like
brahma-bhutah prasannatma na socati na kanksati samah sarvesu bhutesu mad-bhaktim labhate param
that real bhakti begins when one is on the Brahman platform.
In Bombay, Srila Prabhupada had a friend named Dr. Patel. When we first came to Juhu, first we were living on the roofs of the existing tenement buildings and then we eventually built a sort of crude hut. And Dr. Patel was very impressed with these American and European young men and women who had left their comforts and countries and had come to India to serve in such austere conditions. Although he was a very proud man, I mean he was a medical doctor, he had studied in England, but more than that he maintained his strict Vaisnava principles even in England so he was a little proud. But he was so to say inspired by the devotees that he personally went to a big cloth market in Bombay MJ Market and he begged cotton and cloth and he had mattresses, he got blankets, mosquito nets and he contributed twelve sets to that early group of devotees. And those of you who have lived in asramas may appreciate what Dr Patel noticed. Originally there were twelve mattresses, twelve blankets, twelve pillows and twelve mosquito nets. But after a while one pillow disappeared, two mosquito nets disappeared, three blankets disappeared and as time went on there were hardly any remnants of Dr Patel’s hard fought begging and donating. And eventually there was not a single trace of his donation. Not a single thread! (laughter)
So every morning when Srila Prabhupada would be in Bombay Dr. Patel would accompany him on his walk on Juhu beach. So he brought up the point and he was very upset. And Srila Prabhupada said “You know why there is nothing of your donation left? Because all of my disciples are mukta, they are liberated. (laughter) They don’t care for these material things. (laughter) As long as they can chant Hare Krishna and serve their spiritual master they are happy.” And he said, ‘that mukti which you are so eager to get, they already have.”
So again though Srila Prabhupada was speaking in a humorous way he was actually stating a profound truth that devotees who are relishing the higher taste of Krishna consciousness, of chanting the holy names, serving the pure devotee they don’t care about anything else material for themselves. And those who have knowledge, jnana, like Dr Patel, those who have knowledge but no bhakti they cannot achieve even liberation what to speak of transcendental love. So Srila Prabhupada’s disciples are examples of the truth of Srimad Bhagavatam and the Bhagavad Gita, that only if one experiences the higher taste of Krishna consciousness can he be saved from lower engagements. And that main process is the chanting of the holy names without offense:
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
And by offenseless chanting of the holy name one’s heart will be infused with the desire to serve and the mood of compassion that is the basis of the desire to preach. Srila Prabhupada had that faith in the holy name and because of his faith in the holy name we took up the chanting and we got the results.
Of course one should do it in the proper way as directed by the spiritual master but if one does so one will be liberated from all sinful reactions which include sinful desires and beyond that one will relish the aroma of the tulsi leaves at the lotus feet of the Lord. And what better place to engage in such activities than Sri Mayapur dhama, in the association of so many wonderful devotees? One morning walk Srila Prabhupada took here in Mayapur one of the sanyasis was so enraptured with Mayapur that he said to Srila Prabhupada that, “this Mayapur is so wonderful. I feel like never leaving.” and Srila Prabhupada replied, “Now you must go out and make the whole world Mayapur.” (haribol!) But of course some must stay in Mayapur, different slokas for different folks! (laughter) But somehow or other we should be absorbed in Mayapur and chanting of the holy name and the service of Srila Prabhupada and the previous acaryas.
Badrinarayan Goswami: Hare Krishna. Thank you very much for the Class. (inaudible)
HH Giriraja Swami: His question is how Dr. Patel responded. And this is a very good question because I did want to tell you that by Srila Prabhupada’s association, Dr. Patel changed to some extent and after Srila Prabhupada left he wrote an article about his association with Srila Prabhupada and he really developed a lot of love for Srila Prabhupada. And that article was published in BTG and the title was “Respectable Bombay doctor called a great fool and loves it–my life’s most precious moments.” He was actually transformed by Srila Prabhupada’s association. Thank you for asking that most important question.
So the conclusion is that everyone who associates with Srila Prabhupada, his vani, through his books or through his sincere followers will be blessed no matter from what background he comes.
Krsnananda Das: (inaudible)
HH Giriraja Swami: (Q) The question that is according to the scriptures there is great benefit in chanting the holy name even once but there many of us who chant the holy name many times every day year after year but we don’t develop taste. So do we just have to be patient and continue or are there some tips?
So both are true.
nama-aparadha-yuktanam namany eva haranty agham avisranta-prayuktani tany evartha-karani ca (Padma Purana)
that even if one chants the Hare Krishna maha mantra offensively, one can avoid offenses by continuously chanting without deviation. So I think that’s the main thing, don’t stop. At the same time there are instructions about how to chant the holy name for getting the full benefit. The instructions are found in many places in Srila Prabhupada’s books. And followers of Srila Prabhupada have also written books based on his instructions that are specifically focussed on the practice of chanting the holy name or chanting japa.
When Srila Prabhupada first came to Mayapur he was living in the little hut which is still there in a form. So a young peace corp worker, Bob Cohen, was coming and asking him questions. And at one stage he was asking about the spiritual master accepting the reactions of his disciples. So I was acutely aware of my deficiencies in Srila Prabhupada’s presence. So I asked him a question. And it’s quite relevant. I said, “Sometimes we want to do something but we can’t do it.”
And Srila Prabhupada replied, “How is that? If you vow to follow certain principles then you must follow your vows.” And then I explained what was on my mind, which was that, I try to chant attentively but I can’t. And Srila Prabhupada said, “Well that is not a fault. As long as you sincerely try your best, even if you fail, and if you repent and try to do better in the future Krishna forgives.” So it’s a general instruction but it applies to chanting. The first thing is we should try our best. The second is if we fail we should repent. And third is we should resolve and endeavor to do better. But one disciple asked Srila Prabhupada specifically how do we chant attentively?
And Srila Prabhupada replied, “Just try to hear yourself chant sincerely.” So one could speak on this sutra for many days but the first part is you have to chant sincerely and in one purport Srila Prabhupada says, “Sincerity means that you act to please Krishna without any material desire for yourself.”
That’s chanting sincerely and then you have to try to hear yourself chanting sincerely. So it’s a very useful formula. And I wish you well.
HH Giriraja Swami: (Q) The devotees like to hear Prabhupada’s chanting along with their own chanting.
I would say if it helps you to hear your own chanting then it could be considered favorable. But once Srila Prabhupada came into a temple room where they were chanting, playing his japa tape during the japa time. And Srila Prabhupada said “Why are you playing my japa tape? You should be hearing your own japa not my japa!” But that said, if having his japa with you but not drowning out your own japa, helps you to hear you own japa, then it’s favorable. But chanting with other sincere chanters is definitely very favorable. Hare Krishna!
HH Giriraja Swami: Ok last question because
(Q): The devotees who are living in Mayapur what should be their proper mood and lifestyle?
HH Giriraja Swami: Anusaran and anukara, there is imitation and following in the footsteps. But the mood should be in the mood of Pancatattva, the mood of our pervious acaryas, the mood of Srila Prabhupada which is that we should taste Krishna consciousness and distribute Krishna consciousness. And as far as lifestyle we should live the lifestyle of Vaisnavas. There may be some difference between those in brahmacari asrama, grhastha asrama, vanaprashta asrama and sannyasa asrama. But we should live the lifestyle of pure Vaisnavas. And always cling to the association of other devotees. And if we have questions consult mature, experienced, learned, sympathetic devotees. That’s much safer.
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Sri Sri Radha Madhava ki jaya! Sri Sri Pancatattva ki jaya! Gaur bhaktavrnda ki jaya!