S o after kirtan mela, so many wonderful verses on the holy name, we are back to the regular system of Srimad Bhagavatam consecutive this is 7th canto chapter 2, “Hiranyakashipu the king of demons.”
yatra yatra dvijā gāvo
taṁ taṁ janapadaṁ yāta
Immediately go wherever there is good protection for the cows and brāhmaṇas and wherever the Vedas are studied in terms of the varṇāśrama principles. Set fire to those places and cut from the roots the trees there, which are the source of life.
The picture of a proper human civilization is indirectly described here. In a perfect human civilization there must be a class of men fully trained as perfect brāhmaṇas. Similarly, there must be kṣatriyas to rule the country very nicely according to the injunctions of the śāstras, and there must be vaiśyas who can protect the cows. The word gāvaḥ indicates that cows should be given protection. Because the Vedic civilization is lost, cows are not protected, but instead indiscriminately killed in slaughterhouses. Such are the acts of demons. Therefore this is a demoniac civilization. The varṇāśrama–dharma mentioned here is essential for human civilization. Unless there is a brāhmaṇa to guide, a kṣatriya to rule perfectly, and a perfect vaiśya to produce food and protect the cows, how will people live peacefully? It is impossible.
Another point is that trees also should be given protection. During its lifetime, a tree should not be cut for industrial enterprises. In Kali–yuga, trees are indiscriminately and unnecessarily cut for industry, in particular for paper mills that manufacture a profuse quantity of paper for the publication of demoniac propaganda, nonsensical literature, huge quantities of newspapers and many other paper products. This is a sign of a demoniac civilization. The cutting of trees is prohibited unless necessary for the service of Lord Viṣṇu. Yajñārthāt karmaṇo’nyatra loko’yaṁ karma–bandhanaḥ: [Bg. 3.9]) “work done as a sacrifice for Lord Viṣṇu must be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world.” But if the paper mills stop producing paper, one may argue, how can our ISKCON literature be published? The answer is that the paper mills should manufacture paper only for the publication of ISKCON literature because ISKCON literature is published for the service of Lord Viṣṇu. This literature clarifies our relationship with Lord Viṣṇu, and therefore the publication of ISKCON literature is the performance of yajña. Yajñārthāt karmaṇo ’nyatra loko ’yaṁ karma–bandhanaḥ [Bg. 3.9]). Yajña must be performed, as indicated by the superior authorities. The cutting of trees simply to manufacture paper for the publication of unwanted literature is the greatest sinful act
Srila Prabhupada writes in Srimad Bhagavatam 19th chapter of the 1st canto that human life comprises 3 aspects that are required to fulfil all the needs that are required materially and spiritually. He mentions brahmanical culture or that culture which gives direction to society, otherwise society has no direction and brahmanical culture is based on shastric evidence or shastric guidance. Brahmanical culture, which is foundation for the varnashram system. The system of the four orders and four spiritualists for material activities for varnas. He also mentions cow protection taking care of the cows, cows are the basis of agriculture and as Prabhupada mentions by taking care of cows they can feed the entire human civilisation and then the last thing he mentions is God consciousness.
So these three things brahmanical culture, cow protection and God consciousness make up human society or make up progressive human society where we see that today of course in our ISKCON society this is our focus to develop these 3 main aspects which are the foundation for the material stability, happiness, success and ultimately the process of spiritual progress which lead to the goal of life which is “prema pumartho mahan”. To engage in devotional service and to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead through that devotional service. Prabhupada makes this point in this particular purport that it is essential to establish varnashram systems, the four varnas and the four ashramas, but then Prabhupada when he first came in 1966 and for many years after until 1973 Prabhupada said, not possible. Society is too topsy-turvy, we should simply distribute transcendental knowledge and spread the glories of Hare Krishna mantra everywhere. Prabhupada began his movement with that focus of giving knowledge, transcendental knowledge and holy books and holy name. But then in 1974 Prabhupada changed his way of preaching not changed it, kept it but added something. He said now it is important we establish this varnashram. Varanshram is essential and devotees were asking but Prabhupada varnashram is material? But Prabhupada said No, but within our society in order to engage first to evaluate and engage devotees according to their nature train according to that nature, evaluate and then train and then engage them in devotional service. Which is varnashram but Prabhupada gives the qualification or consideration daivi varnashram, spiritual varnashram. So devotees questioned that Prabhupada changed and Prabhupada responded it’s not easy to chant Hare Krishna. If it was why so many devotees where falling down, why are they falling down in their devotional service? Now we have to establish this varashram college and educate according to evaluation and nature. When Naradha Muni saw little Dhruva Maharaj doing austerity and penances, such a 5 year old boy in the forest he started to come and preach. He started to say, “why are you taking such a revenge?” You know, it is not so important, you are just a young boy so go back and you can perform all these austerities later in life. Your attitude is not right you should develop brahmanical qualities humility, tolerance and forgiveness.” Dhruva Maharaj didn’t want to hear that. Prabhupada says the statements of Dhruva Maharaj indicate that unless the child is trained according to the tendency there is no possibility of developing a particular spirit and then Prabhupada goes on to say it’s a duty of the Spiritual Master or teacher to observe the psychological movement of particular boy and train him in his particular occupational duty. Dhruva Maharaj having been trained in Kshatriya spirit do not accept brahmanical philosophy.
And Prabhupada started the movement by emphasising the culture, brahmanical culture, training devotees to engage in devotional service, following the regulative principles, chanting the holy name, learning the scripture and developing the qualities that are conductive to the mode of goodness that is brahmanical qualities. But then he want us to develop that system where accordingly a devotee could be understood and engaged. Prabhupada said that when one is engaged accord to their nature, they are enthusiastic and will perform tremendous service and never be discouraged by difficulties. Sometimes we see that in our society the devotees are not properly engaged. It’s a question that comes up quite often like that we see because of that evaluation that brings about the understanding how to engage, it is not that service is not so important. Krishna doesn’t need our service but we want the devotees to become Krishna Conscious so what, how to train them first evaluate and train devotees according to their nature and then engage them in devotional service. So Prabhupada in 1974 gave a morning walk conversation in Vrindavan which was one of the longest morning walks he gave over an hour. He spoke about the importance of developing this varnashram system but he called it Daivi varnashram, Daivi Varnashram and then Prabhupada spoke and said first we need to establish brahmanical culture within our society, the leaders should cultivate the mood and qualities of Brahmin and then train other devotees accordingly. First evaluation, and then training accordingly. Then, Prabhupada said Brahmins have to learn all the different activities of all the different varnas like taking care of cows, taking care of agriculture, performing deity worship is of course brahmanical culture, organisation management and protection. And he is speaking to some of the leaders that time and the question came back to Prabhupada, does that mean the brahmins have to learn all the varnas, the different occupation? No, Prabhupada said as a group you should all know or begin a program of training and help devotees become fixed in their Krishna Consciousness according to nature like that. Dhruva Maharaj he is the prime example where Naradha Muni is speaking about qualities of a brahmin but Dhruva Maharaj doesn’t want to hear it. He wants that kind of advice that will help him fulfil of course he wanted material desires, he wanted to fulfil material desires. He wanted revenge, of course it’s a material desire sometimes it’s seen as sinful. But ultimately he approached the Supreme Personality of Godhead for that, because of that he ultimately got purified from that desire and ultimately he became the pure devotee of the lord. So this Varnashram system, Prabhupada began the movement holy books, holy name and then after that he established deity worship very elaborate and very precise types deity worship and open temples all around the world. Our ISKCON society is one of the most, we might say popular spiritual movements that worship Radha and Krishna all around the world. Practically in every country of the world there is very nice deity worship this is the glory of ISKCON and Prabhupada wanted that. Then he wanted to train and first bring in through preaching many many persons and give them a chance to engage in devotional service and teach them, may be engage them in developing those qualities. So he established the whole system of initiation. Towards the end of 1977 there is actually a beautiful and very interesting room conversation of Prabhupada with Hari Sauri prabhu and Satswarupa das maharaj where Prabhupada really really emphasising the importance of Varnashram system. And he says that on our farms we can establish this and this if we and do this the whole human society will change. Prabhupada said I have finished 50% sometimes people say 70% but Prabhupada actually said 50% of my movement I wasn’t able to finish. So Prabhupada wanted this varnashram, Daivi varnashram daivi not just material Varnashram. What we see is the caste system, which is the corrupted form of varnashram, but actual varnashram. So he wanted these actual varnashram education institutions to bring about this culture brahmanas Kshatriyas and Vaishyas, of course sudhras will be their assistance or develop trade and crafts but Kshatriyas are so important for our ISKCON society. Having a person trained in that particular service, for protection for organisation, I think it was 1976 Prabhupada was in New Vrindavan and there was an evening darshan it was outside in one devotee’s lawn and many devotees came to hear Prabhupada. And there was one young lady there, devotee and it was as in June and June is kind of like in America it could be little cool. And is like this (imitating with hand movement) she was cold. Prabhupada sees this & Prabhupada says to her, you are cold? And she says Oh! No, No Prabhupada. But he turns to the temple president and said, “They won’t say anything but it’s your duty to get what they need”. Prabhupada was emphasising it’s up to the leaders to make sure devotees have what they need to engage in devotional service and take care of their needs in order to practice devotional service. He says is not that devotees have to come forward, but leaders have to evaluate and observe how the devotees are doing and what do they need in order to practice devotional service. Prabhupada showed that by his own example. There are many many other examples also and so for leadership organisation is 3 things. Protection, if we get attached then Kshatriyas come out & fight. We have to fight sometimes to protect our society therefore if we are unnecessarily or even attacked therefore devotees have to have some type of training in protection and Kshatriya also means expert in organisation how to organise things in such a way and of course welfare. Welfare means the protection aspect would come into the welfare aspect. What is welfare aspect? Here Hiranyakashipu wants to destroy brahmanical culture and he says cut down all he trees, burn the hermitage and kill the cows. So it is essential the 5 aspects that are mentioned in the shastras are given complete protection. Cows are mentioned here brahmins, women, children all persons. A society that does not do that is considered not to be a human society , very strong but Prabhupada is giving the understanding what is the both material foundation for the welfare of society which allows persons to practice Krishna Consciousness without any unnecessary difficulty. This I where varnashram system comes in, it provides education training and we say resources for the entire culture of Krishna Consciousness worldwide. So this is what this particular verse is saying that Hiranyakashipu knows that by destroying brahmanical culture, by causing havoc to that foundation, which is essence of spiritual culture then everything else will fall. People will become as he says unhappy and give up everything. Prabhupada goes on to say is very interesting he gives a long very long evaluation or explanation on the importance of trees how importance trees is we find in the vedic literature importance of tree. As we they give ambience to the earth, they provide food they provide shelter, they provide a balance within nature and the tree is seen as most tolerant so much importance is given on trees there Prabhupada says that in today’s society what do they do with the trees? They cut down for non-sensual literature, for sinful types of propaganda. The question comes that in the purport Prabhupada uses a little rhetorical, “what if we see stop cutting all trees, what about the literatures in Krishna Consciousness? How come we publicise the literature?” Prabhupada says that for the glorification of Lord and propagation of spiritual principle this can be done. I heard just to give a comparison and analogy on this particular point. I heard an interesting discussion with Prabhupada. Prabhupada was talking with one interviewer and they were talking about today’s pollution in the society. And then the subject comes up that how the automobiles are so pollutant that its destroying the ozone and its causing intoxication, people are becoming sick because of this and so much congestion. And Prabhupada says, yes because it is all being used for sense gratification but if we use the cars to drive in order to preach Krishna Consciousness, there will be no pollution. So I was thinking, can’t figure that one out? But Prabhupada has this spiritual insight it is in line with the principle that anything used in devotional service is only beneficial, it is only beneficial. So Prabhupada makes that point here and he goes off to say that in relationship to the trees, very strong and the very last point, the publication or manufacturing paper for the unwanted literature he doesn’t say great but greatest sinful activity. How much sinfulness is being propagated simply in name of these civilization just to satisfy people’s sense gratification? The compassion of a vaishanava doesn’t want to see others unhappy when other living entity gets exploited simply for selfish interest of few people. So this particular verse and purport is very fundamental in understanding the foundation of our society and in our propagation of our society it is to develop those qualities which are foundation to brahmanical culture and preach Krishna Consciousness everywhere. It is interesting in 7th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, 11th chapter, verse 8 through 12, Naradha Muni speaks about what are the qualities and characteristics required for developing varnashram dharma. In Srimad Bhagavatam there is at least 4 chapters on different varnas and different ashrams. In 11th canto Krishna speaks at least 2 chapters on Varanshram. This particular verse it explains there are 30 qualities that are foundational for the human society. Outside of these 30 qualities there is no question of human society. 21 are characteristic of qualities such as charity, non-violence, mercifulness, bathing twice a day distributing prasadam, food to both animals and human beings and it goes on there is many others. It is mentioned that there are 9 limbs or angas of devotional service. So this particular verse spoken by Naradha Muni is what the focus in developing varashram is. Unless those qualities develop, people cannot come to the stage of brahmanical activities. To have a thread of Brahmin, thread doesn’t make one a brahmin. I’m a Brahmin as I have a Brahmin thread! Brahmin means qualities, what are the qualities of a brahmin?
Pathana, paathana, yajana, dana and pratigraha
To know shastras to teach the shastras to worship the deity and to help others engage them in deity worship to give in charity and receive charitable gifts. These are the 6 qualities of the brahmins. But then in both Srimad Bhagavatam and in Bhagavad Gita what are the characters and qualities? So the process of developing varnashram is for both education and developing these qualities which are foundation to the execution of devotional service. If we are still attached to the activities that we perform we are still on the level of rajas, the mode of passion is attachment to the results of activities for the sake of enjoyment that is below the activities of devotional service. Therefore coming to the mode of goodness means coming to the stepping stone which is the foundation for engaging properly in devotional service or developing those qualities. We can’t really chant the holy name of the God effectively and purified unless one is culturing those qualities in the mode of goodness simultaneously, simultaneously practicing the process of Bhakti yoga. That is why varnashram is important because it helps to engage a person in devotional service and cultivate both education and qualities necessary in devotional service. So this is a big topic I know we are discussing this throughout our society. But it is actually a stage where our movement will become successful in bringing Krishna Consciousness around the world. Chant the holy names of the Lord distributing prasadam everywhere teach people the importance of Krishna Consciousness and also simultaneously give them a chance to engage them in devotional service. Ok, so this is I think I’m supposed to stop at quarter to nine but I think I can take question if there is one or two, anyone?
HH Chandramouli Swami: Yes.
Devotee: If we try to push varnashram system where it is like it becomes disrespectful. Sometimes then like it is kind of pushing.
Chandramouli swami: So you mean forcing you say?
Devotee: Yes, of the two parts, God consciousness and varanshram, if we have God consciousness then automatically there will be varnashram, because Krishna Consciousness is all successful. If there is varnashram and no God consciousness then still we lost it so this goes against….
HH Chandramouli Swami: We are not going to set up material varnashram it is Daivi varnashram that means devotional service is the fundamental activity of those engage at the same time to engage persons according to the first evaluate and then engage according to that. I already mentioned that Prabhupada was asked why we shall do that using your same argument. Prabhupada said it is not so easy. Why are devotees falling down? Now we have to establish varnashram , why are they falling down? So and then of course in 1977 Prabhupada laid out the whole plan but it is not material varnashram and we are not going to society to teach that we are going to do that in our own society. Once we do that in our society then as an example for the rest of the society but Krishna consciousness is the activity of a devotee hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord are the fundamental process of bhakti yoga. That is foremost and fundamental but devotees are hearing and chanting the glories of the lord but at the same time without proper training and education it is hard to stay fixed in the process of hearing and chanting because we spend lot of our time doing our activities. When Prabhupada started the movement he was using whoever come forward engaging them properly He said just do this service and then you will develop the talent, the ability then Krishna will empower you. But after a while Prabhupada changed, you can follow the history in 1974 he really laid out the whole plan for training and education. So it is not material varnashram its spiritual varnashram we are devotees we are not,
“gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanu-dasah” – (Cc, Madhya 13.8, Padyavali 74)
Caitanya Mahaprabhu says we are not kshatriya, Vaishya, sudhra brahmachari, vanaprasta and sanyas these are all external all four of them are external our actual activity and the activity based on identity is are spiritual part and parcel of Krishna and we engage in devotional service but unless we actually educate and engage people accordingly we will see we have in our society called revolving door policy people come they stay for a year two years three years after four or five years where have they gone? Not properly engaged not giving the chance for the education and training that they need. So we don’t force it but it actually become fundamental to one’s spiritual progress.
Question: Shouldn’t we be giving this facility to others and ourselves be like what siksashtakam says like the only necessity for chanting are the like respect, tolerance and humility but not anything else should be our goal for ourselves and varnashram for others?
HH Chandramouli Swami: Yes cultivate those qualities but if you are not engaged in devotional service then we can’t cultivate those qualities they are not separate they are part of your activities whatever you do. You can say I’m going to sit and chant Hare Krishna in a humble state of mind but rest of the day some … no it doesn’t work it has to be twenty four hours process of cultivation of those qualities that are conducive to approach Krishna’s holy name.
HH Chandramouli Swami: Any ladies any questions from the ladies. Matajis you can pass the microphone over?
Devotee: My experience is that our natures are so strong that if we don’t use them in the service of Krishan we are going to have to use them think you were saying if we are going to use them in the mode of passion may be even worse may be if we are not trained in them to utilise them in the mode of goodness. I don’t see this as an option because that is why as we see people are falling down as people have to utilise their nature?
HH Chandramouli Swami: Yes, I think the example is Dhruva Maharaj. Our natures are “chatur varana …” our natures are like that, Krishna created like that. It is covered. That’s why Prabhupada says spiritual master and leaders should evaluate and that’s part of responsibility towards disciples and followers, to evaluate. This person is working under my care how best to engage them where they make progress in devotional service. Yes you are right you are 100% right. Your nature will follow you (laughing..) it can gradually change through education evaluation and Krishna consciousness.
Question: Maharaj, theoretically it is wonderful but practically speaking see the temple needs this one and that one. There is no consideration we got to fill up the hole and make somebody a pujari even if they are not qualified already. So its organisational needs they are always specially in temple where there is hardly anybody there is no personal consideration of what is good for the devotee?
HH Chandramouli Swami: There was a paper written many many years ago by one devotee named Subananda. We put temples before the devotees but if we want to be successful of course we are now moving forward with devotee care system which is somewhat the aspect of varnashram. It is actually the Kshatriya part taking care or giving the chance for the devotee to fulfil their needs so that they can be happily engaged in devotional service. Devotees first, the quality of our society is the quality of devotees in the society not our temples or how much money we have or how much land we purchase. It is the devotees who make up Krishna consciousness, these are other things that are simply given by Krishna by the efforts of those who perform devotional service so that we can spread Krishna consciousness but it is all about devotees , thank you
Mother Mahalaxmi: Hare Krishna, Maharaj. This lady was mentioning that you said our nature always follows us then how do we transform this nature, shallow nature not our real nature?
HH Chandramouli Swami: We have when we speak about things that are favourable to devotional service then you can talk about your nature, things that are unfavourable you don’t want to cultivate things or activity in our consciousness that is conducive to the passion or ignorance. So you engage in devotional service in a regulated way as you do that you purify both the activity and your consciousness both becomes purified because anything you do in devotional service burns up activity like that if it is done in proper consciousness. Proper conscious means as a service to lord service to the vaishnavas like that. But everyone is good by nature it is just that when we come in contact with the material energy that’s all. That is for example the people who have the fighting spirit, that Kshatriya spirit if it is not trained or guided and engaged in devotional service they all come out in a another way. (Laughter) Yes, I’ve seen it they come out in an ugly way. So ya so that is the business of our society to help establish evaluation system which is the basis of varnashram college and then training accordingly like that.
Any more questions? Yes
I thing we have little time how much time I have left? 15 more mins?
Devotee: HK , I was just remembering one episode regarding this one and I don’t remember the name. One person used to steal Prabhupada’s watch and he became devotee . He asked Prabhupada, you and me are the only people who are awake in the night what shall I do?
HH Chandramouli Swami: Chandachraya his names was…no he was somebody else. He was from Bombay yes please go ahead.
Devotee: So he used to be awake in the night. He asked what I should do. You and me are the only two people awake in the night. So what should I do? I have the habit of stealing so I can’t sleep in the night. So Srila Prabhupada said there are dogs which are barking in the night and I’m translating and they are disturbing me so you ask them to shut so he gave him a chance, this is how you advance.
HH Chandramouli Swami: So Prabhupada gave him a chance to use his tendency in Krishna Consciousness like that. Ok so there is more question. Somebody tell me what to do here, I need some guidance here (laughter)
Devotee: Hare Krishna, we are reading instructions from Bhakti Vinod Thakur, clear instruction until we are alleviated to the spontaneous loving service, or Bhava we must follow varnashram accepting as the holy name as shelter & living and practising Vaidi bhakti strictly under varnashram system otherwise vaidy bhakti cannot be practised properly
HH Chandramouli Swami: That’s in chaitnaya skishamrtia, Bhakti Vinod Thakur, speaks a lot of about foundation of varnashram there. If a person for example if a person needs to find a partner in life and they are also devotee engaged in devotional service then that becomes a concern where one cannot practise devotional service enthusiastically with their mind fixed because that need needs to be taken care or fulfilled. That’s where varnashram system come in , to help support the material needs which are basis of giving persons a foot hole, a nice foot hole to get in devotional service. This is a long subject we can talk about it for ever. But read this verse from the 7th canto chapter 11 verses 8-12 , 30 items which make up the foundation of varnashram systems spoken by Naradha Muni. Thank you Very much.