The Ten Offences, Day 3, Durban, South Africa
Moving on with our course on the ten offences and we only have another two days left and we have only, and we have 8 more to do and actually there’s an 11th offence of course in a sense. So we have 9 to do so it looks like we are going to have to move on a little bit, speed up a little bit.
So, we are starting today with the 3rd offence, “to disobey the orders of the spiritual master” and of course I haven’t been following this course which Brhat Mrdanga Prabhu is teaching but I think it may be connected, is it? Anyway there is some things to do there with the spiritual master and here you will see, Ahh…we have given 3 headings here, 3 aspects to this subject of disobeying the orders of the spiritual master.
First is just in regard, to the importance of the spiritual master generally, so that’s a very important principle. The principle of guru. The principle of spiritual master is very, very vital in Krsna Consciousness. Then secondly, the importance of founder äcärya, in other words the importance of Srila Prabhupada. That is another very, very important element actually, in our lives in our Krsna Consciousness and thirdly Srila Prabhupada’s explanation on the fall of the Gaudiya Matha, so in other words, and example of what can happen if devotees, if the devotes, if they commit this offence basically. What can happen if one commits this offence, “disobeying the orders of the spiritual master” and everything can fall to pieces and basically the Gaudiya Matha has fallen into pieces and the only ones who are successful at all are those who hang around the periphery of ISKCON, trying to somehow or other get some disgruntled devotees or you know somehow or other, someone who, someone who is so keen on getting initiation but they don’t really care about the standards so when they hear that “we only require 4 rounds!” and they think, “gosh that’s better than ISKCON”. (laughter) “What a good deal!” That is not really, that is a bad deal.
Okay, so this is the 3rd offence then and it’s important, of course it’s an offence which I think you are all well, quite well aware of. The importance of the spiritual master, I think you are aware of that basically. We have quoted Lord Caitanya from Caitanya Caritamrta.
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jeva
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lat-beja
“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Krsna. By the mercy of both Krsna and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” (CC Madhya 151)
So, the importance of the spiritual master as I say, I think you are all, you at least have a basic understanding of…of the idea, that we are wondering here in the material world, we are lost, lost in the material world, lost completely, we really don’t know where we are going but Krsna, the devotees are there and the devotees they are carrying Krsna’s mercy and the devotees are trying to help the fallen conditioned souls so if we are fortunate, or if the devotees are merciful and they extend themselves going here and there trying to find people, trying to give people the opportunity for Krsna Consciousness. Prabhupada said that about Himself, He said, “I did not wait to become invited to America, I just came”, so this is the mood, this is Srila Prabhupada’s mood. This is the mood that the preachers should have, trying to find opportunities, not sitting there in the temple waiting for the people to come, then we will preach to them. Of course when people come, obviously we will preach to them and the temples are there for that, so people can come. But the devotees are ready to go out and extend themselves and this is their mercy so by such mercy the devotees extending themselves, one meets the devotees, one can meet a bonafide spiritual master, ahh… who is able to actually awaken your Krsna Consciousness and give you guidance so you can then you can start making your way down the path back home, back to Godhead, that is very important. Ya very, very important principle and it’s a principle I am sure you are all aware of and you know the importance, the… the… ahh… the good fortune of meeting bonafide spiritual master.
Srila Prabhupada gave an example, He said, it’s something like the chances, the likelihood of meeting a bonafide spiritual master in the material world is something like, if you have in the Pacific ocean, big ocean, you have one turtle swimming and also in the Pacific ocean somewhere just anywhere, could be anywhere at all, somewhere in the Pacific ocean, you have one piece of wood, with a hole in it, floating there and that hole is just big enough so that the turtles head could fit up through it without touching the sides, when the turtle occasionally comes up to take a breath of air. So the likelihood in general the likelihood is something like that but the turtle just swimming around could be anywhere and that piece of wood floating around could be anywhere, from Los Angeles to Tokyo or Alaska to the Antarctica or whatever, you know in the Pacific ocean. But somehow it just happens that the turtle comes to the surface to take a breath of air and his head goes through the hole without touching the sides, not that it was his good fortunate actually so it’s very important.
Then there is the point, additional point for us that is the importance of the founder-acarya and we have quoted Bhaktivinoda Thakura here. This is a very nice quote. “The founder äcärya is the principle shiksha-guru. The founder-acarya of the sampradaya is the principle shiksha-guru for the entire disciplic succession; speculations that contradict his teachings are to be immediately rejected; only a saintly devotee who has understood the teachings of the principle shiksha-guru is eligible to be a diksha-guru for others. If one thinks that he can be initiated by unauthorised guru or a Mayavadi into these teachings, he is severely punished; he’ll never attain Krsna Consciousness.” (Sri Harinama Cintamani 6, Disobeying or Disrespecting the spiritual master, The teaching of the adi-guru must be followed)
I am sure, I imagine all of you were there, that one Sunday program in which we read the letter from the GBC body and we made mention… we made mention of the fact that…“Take it outside”. We made mention of the fact that there was a… what do you call it, a proposal, there was proposal put to GBC body that Srila Prabhupada, that ISKCON be declared a sampradaya as distinct from you know, it’s already happened, it’s a Brahma sampradaya and then Madhavacharya came and then it became, Brahma-Madhava, and Brahma-Madhava sampradaya is a little different from the Brahma sampradaya and actually the Brahma sampradaya are still existing in India. There are still the Brahma sampradaya without Madhava. The same ideas coming from Brahma but before Madhava came and made his contribution, so there are still some sort of remnants of the Brahma sampradaya but unfortunately it’s lacking that contribution of Madhava made. That’s very important contribution and then Lord Caitanya came along and then the followers of Madhavacharya, everything got updated by Lord Caitanya so even now the Brahma-Madhava people, actually they are a little bit out of touch. They are a little bit out of touch, they missed out on the mercy of Lord Caitanya, Ya and they are a little mixed up.
One of our devotees, Bhakti Vikas Swami, you may have heard of him, he writes for BTG sometimes. He went to Uddupi which is the headquarters of the Brahma-Madhava, Madhava sampradaya and at that time, a few, some or several years ago or so many years ago there had been some gurus who had fallen down in ISKCON. Maybe 10 or 12 years ago actually, so he went and asked the people, the äcärya, the main head at the Uddupi headquarters of Madhavacharya. “Have you ever had people, have you ever had this happen? Did you ever have this happen?” and he said “yes yes. We have had people deviate, we have had people deviate like Caitanya Mahaprabhu.”(laughter) Yes, he saw it like that, (laughter) but of course the fact is and they know we are in this line from Lord Caitanya and we’re kind of connected to them, but we make a distinction and we consider it very important that distinction, the contribution of Lord Caitanya. But they got a little left behind and they think it’s a deviation, so anyway we had this, this idea came up in the GBC meetings of declaring the Brahma-Madhava-Gaudiya-Bhaktivedanta sampradaya and everyone thought it was a great idea, everyone. It is a great idea but anyway they thought they should sort of think their presentation out more clearly because they might offend some of Prabhupada’s God-brothers and their followers which undoubtedly would be the case but unfortunately I mean it’s not a matter of not doing it, it’s just a matter of trying to make it as gentle as possible with them because the fact is that those people who are trying to practice Krsna Consciousness now, separate from Srila Prabhupada, you know it’s like the Madhavacharya people, they got sort of, a little left behind. This is a very important thing. So here we have it, the importance of the founder-acarya, particularly in our cases.
Srila Prabhupada Himself says it somewhere in the 4th Canto, that anyone who thinks they can become Krsna Conscious independent of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is living in a great hallucination. “Have you read that? Are you reading Srimad Bhagavatam?” “Ya.” “Did you read that?” Ya, Ya well I am sure you would have noticed it of you’re reading, ya so this is a very important thing and then as far as that goes there is that resolution, you remember about like the 3 in 1 resolution? We also read it out one Sunday program. You know what I am talking about? Ya? Let me just, I’ve got it here. There is a preamble “whereas allegiance in principle should be one and undivided yet devotees in ISKCON sometimes feel their allegiance to their spiritual master and their allegiance to ISKCON that they are not intrinsically related and could become
You know like the spiritual master might decide that he wants to go off and form his own institution actually, it’s specifically what they getting at, “whereas there is sometimes evidence of irresolution among devotees in ISKCON as to the priorities of their allegiance to their spiritual master on one hand and their allegiance to ISKCON on the other, whereas to strengthen the devotees commitment there is a need for a clear and unequivocal understanding of how our allegiance is one and indivisible therefore be it hereby resolved that the GBC hereby issues this statement on allegiance. For all devotees in ISKCON allegiance to the spiritual master and allegiance to ISKCON must be understood as two manifest features of one and the same indivisible allegiance, the reason for this is that all devotees in ISKCON, whether they act as spiritual masters or not are equally bound by the order of the founder-acarya, Srila Prabhupada. And Srila Prabhupada has enjoined us repeatedly to serve Him cooperatively within the framework of ISKCON. ISKCON is the instrument which Srila Prabhupada crafted by His own hands for our service to Him and which in virtue of His position as founder-acarya continues to be His manifest body for receiving personal service from us, consequently for a devotee to serve the spiritual master in the line of Srila Prabhupada and to serve ISKCON are simply two different aspects of a single service to Srila Prabhupada. Consequently devotees in ISKCON have only one allegiance which is manifest in three features, allegiance to the guru, to ISKCON and to Srila Prabhupada.” Ya, so the importance of the founder- acarya, very, very important for us as members of ISKCON as devotees, as devotees because basically anyone independent of Srila Prabhupada nowadays, even though they may be somewhat Krsna Conscious but it’s just like somewhat like the Madhava people, they are just a little out of touch and the difference, the difference that being out of touch makes will become more and more manifest as time goes on.
Then the third point is an example, we give an example of someone, some people who disobey the orders of their spiritual master and it’s the same Gaudiya Matha. Prabhupada, Himself writes… pardon me for reading so much… “the words daivera karana,” (CC, Adi, 12.8, Purport) This is Caitanya Caritamrta, Chapter 12 if you want to read what Srila Prabhupada thinks about the Gaudiya Matha, read Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi lila, Chapter 12 and you will get a clear picture of what Srila Prabhupada thinks of the Gaudiya Matha, so this is the purport to verse 8.
“The words daivera karana indicate that by dint of providence, or by God’s will, the followers of Advaita Äcärya divided into two parties.” (CC, Adi, 12.8, Purport)
Even Advaita Acarya, isn’t that amazing, He is an incarnation of God and His people divided into two in His presence.
“Such disagreement among the disciples of one äcärya is also found among the members of the Gaudiya Matha. In the beginning, during the presence of Om Visnupda Paramahamsa Parivrajakacarya Astottara-sata Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Prabhupada, all the disciples worked in agreement; but just after his disappearance, they disagreed. One party strictly followed the instructions of Bhaktisiddanta Sarasvati Thakura, but another group created their own concoction about executing his desires. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, at the time of his departure, requested all his disciples to form a governing body and conduct missionary activities cooperatively. He did not instruct a particular man to become the next acarya. But just after his passing away, his leading secretaries made plans, without authority, to occupy the post of acarya, and they split into two factions over who the next acarya would be. Consequently, both factions were asura, or useless, because they had no authority, having disobeyed the order of the spiritual master.” (CC, Adi lila, 12.8 purport)
Thing is that it is traditional in India that every spiritual institution has a head who is called the acarya and he is, he is the chief, basically, what he says goes and everyone is under him, but Srila Bhaktisiddhanta didn’t want that. However His disciples were kind of conditioned to that idea just by their upbringing so and, and they found it very difficult to manage things cooperatively because people tend to have their own ideas and they thought it would just be simpler if they could make one person the acarya, he could just say everything and people would just accept him and he wouldn’t have to worry about discussing things and going back and forth. So they elected one fellow, I think his name was Kunja Bihari. Unfortunately he didn’t make it! Unfortunately he ran off with one lady who was some sort of low class lady obviously. He ran off with one lady and became quite degraded. It was a story quite similar to the Ajamila story if you are familiar with that. There were really some pretty clear similarities and in the end she killed him. Sjoe! Yes, she killed him so he was like, being the acarya like the main one who disobeyed the order of the spiritual master in the main way and you know just see and we have even had personal experience, we had as our GBC here going back, ‘82 was the end, so that’s 16 years ago, Jayathirtha and who I knew very well, very well indeed but he also got some ideas in his head and tried to become you know the LSD acarya which also didn’t work. It really didn’t work and in the end, well it’s a little bit of a gory story but in the end, his main follower, his right hand man, well actually what happened was Jayathirtha declared himself to be Krsna, you know which is a step up from being the acarya (laughter). Being acarya is pretty big, but what’s next, what’s higher…well the only thing that is left is to become God so he decided he wasn’t satisfied being the independent LSD acarya so he declared himself Krsna and then he ran off with the girlfriend of his right hand man. These things happen in this world and declared her to be Radha (laughter). Anyway Radha and Krsna didn’t make it (laughter), and Radha left Krsna or maybe… maybe Krsna left Radha and adopted another Radha or Candravali perhaps. (laughter) So Radha ended up fried with Krsna and went back to the right hand man and complained like mad about Krsna, how can Krsna leave Radha and the right hand man who was also like an upcoming LSD acarya. (laughter) He said, “Right! Right! This is unbonafide , Krsna cannot leave Radha so as a reaction for this offence he must die,” so he killed him. Yes and cut his head off actually, placed his body in a lotus position, you know sitting cross legged, put his hands down like this and put his head in his hands and sat there and waited for the police to come. Hare Krsna! (laughter)
So don’t disobey the orders of the spiritual master okay (laughter), please, don’t do that and particularly not in some special way but don’t in any way, don’t in any way because you will find that the…the orders of the spiritual master, they are like a boat, you could say, as long as you stay on the boat, and we are trying, we are floating across this ocean of material existence and its really rough. You know it’s really rough this material ocean, so you got to stay on the boat and even though it may get bumpy sometimes and you may feel a little sea sick sometimes, but don’t think that the answer is to jump out of the boat of the orders of the spiritual master, and that means one’s own spiritual master if you know as in the cases of most or perhaps all of you. Your spiritual master is one of the current spiritual masters so it means stay on the boat of his instructions but it also means to stay on the boat of Srila Prabhupada instructions.
Ya, and when you, you know we have these three standards you could say for knowledge, sadhu, shastra, guru. Out of them the highest standard is shastra, in order for a guru or a sadhu to be accepted as a guru or a sadhu, their teachings have to conform with çästra not that they can innovate and you know, contradict çästra and, and expect to be accepted as bonafide. So, so similarly for… in terms of what we were reading from the GBC resolutions a few minutes ago, in order for a guru to be bonafide in ISKCON, they have to be in conformity with Srila Prabhupada and He has the higher position. They cannot innovate and contradict Srila Prabhupada and say, expect to be taken seriously.
Okay so that is something about the 3rd offence, of course there is so much we can say about that but as I said we are running out of time, so we will move on now to the 4th offence. “To blaspheme the Vedic literature or literature in pursuance of Vedic version” and we give one quotation from Caitanya Caritamrta,
ei kali-kale ara nahi kona dharma
vaisnava, vaisneava-castra, ei kahe marma
“In this Age of Kali there are no genuine religious principles other than those established by Vaisnava devotees and the Vaisnava scriptures. This is the sum and substance of everything.” (CC, Madhya 9.362 translation)
Sometimes it is said that the spiritual master is like the captain of the ship. Have you heard that? Actually it is in the Bhagavatam, in one of the verses I think. Ya. Vyasadeva, I think is glorifying the captain of the ship for those who want to cross the dangerous ocean of Kali so the spiritual master as the representative of Vyasadeva is like that, He is guiding us but the scriptures, they are like the map book, you could say. The spiritual master is giving the personalised direction in terms of you and your own situation like that. But the scriptures are giving the general directions, chant Hare Krsna and in a more general sense.
In Nectar of Devotion if you are familiar with Nectar of Devotion you’ll know that Rupa Goswami at the beginning of Chapter 6, talks about how there are general instructions and detailed instructions. The general instructions are generally found in çästra and the detailed instructions means for more like you as an individual… generally like that. So in this sense the Vedic literatures are giving the general directions how to practice Krsna Consciousness and the spiritual master is helping you personally, it’s more like that. Krsna Consciousness is a personal process.
So, anyway, the Vedic scriptures therefore are definitely essential and we shouldn’t think that we have become more intelligent that Srila Vyasadeva, or Lord Krsna or Lord Caitanya or Krsnadas Kaviraja Goswami.
Ahh…Then there are some forms of this offence, different forms, there a couple of different forms of this offence that I thought we could note.
Is everyone awake? Are any of you asleep? Try and stay awake. Yes. You can fan yourself, see Mataji is demonstrating (laughter), she will sell you a fan or you can make one yourself. Fan yourself if you are feeling hot otherwise you could always stand up.
So some forms of this offence, there are two forms of this offence mentioned in… Nectar of Instruction. Of course there are many forms with any of these offences you could, we could have a whole course on any one of them but here we are talking, we have drawn out two particular forms of this offence. Do you know what I am talking about, Nectar of Instruction? Have you read Nectar of Instruction? Who hasn’t? Put your hand up if you haven’t read Nectar of…, have not read? Okay. So, most of you have. Now can you think, those of you who have read it, can you think? There is a very clear instruction in Nectar of Instruction about following instructions. Hare Krsna! It’s all to do with instructions. Are you familiar with the term, niyamägraha. Are you familiar with that term, those of you who have read Nectar of Instruction? Niyamägraha, it’s a compound word which can be interpreted in two ways, niyama-ägraha or niyama-agraha… Ya, so niyama-ägraha… niyama-ägraha means that ahh…that you follow…. Where are we? Okay. Srila Prabhupada says, “Accepting some of the scriptural rules and regulations for immediate benefit, as utilitarians advocate, is called niyama-ägraha, and neglecting the rules and regulations of the çästras, which are meant for spiritual development, is called niyama-agraha.” (Nectar of Instruction, Verse 2, Purport)
The word ägraha, perhaps I should write it on the board, the word ägraha means being like overly eager to accept. You become a rules and regulations fanatic. I remember I had one really good experience of that. There was this one devotee who had heard that ahh… Srila Prabhupada had said, I do not know whether it was really true or not, but he heard that Prabhupada had said that if you eat more than nine chickpeas. You know what a chickpea is? Chana. Basically, a form of chana. If you eat more than nine in a day, this is maya. This is bad for you. It’s very passionate food that’s true. So we were on travelling sankirtan and we would have chickpeas sometimes and he would count the number. (laughter) Yes, and if we had more than nine, he would get on our cases (laughter) in all seriousness he would be very, very upset.
So here we have niyama ägraha and that long a, which has the line over it, that indicates, I assume you are familiar with these symbols in our transliterated sanskrit. Long a, but it can be either a combination of niyama ägraha or niyama agraha, so the fact that Rupa Goswami doesn’t go to great length to make the point that its one or the other means that it can be applied, Ahh… either understanding can be applied.
So niyama ägraha means you become a rules and regulations fanatic, a very touchy sort of person who is always checking people out and finding fault like that but niyama agraha means you don’t take the rules and regulations seriously enough, just like one, you know we have the four regulative principles, so sometimes you get the people who are struggling with them and they try to umm… they can’t follow them all so they try to justify it. You know there is one fellow; he made a slogan, “three for me”. How’s that? “Three for me.” I don’t know which three and which one is the odd one out (laughter) but he made a little slogan like that. Ya, and you get this type of person and they’ll come you or you may hear them preaching to some, one of these borderline types of people, types of devotees that you know, “why, why do you put yourself into anxiety by, by artificially repressing yourself, you know you should just, you know if you feel like doing something, just do it. It’s alright. Krsna is merciful. He’ll forgive you.” So ya, you get people like that.
In Nectar of Devotion you will see that in the earlier parts where Srila Prabhupada is discussing association and the dangers of association with non-devotees. He talks about two types of non-devotees, he talks about those, he talks about two types of dangerous association; association with those who are not devotees and association with those who are too materialistic but they are devotees. Ya, so that association with people, with devotees who are too materialistic, this is very dangerous, particularly if you are a neophyte like the kanistha adhikari. The kanistha adikari’s consciousness, mind can be changed easily by some opposing argument. So, if someone comes along advocating that smoking dagga every now and then is okay, as long as you don’t do it too often, then some people or something like that you know. Watching T.V. is now the fifth regulative principle. (laughter) It’s there somewhere but actually it comes under the fourth, it comes under gambling actually. Ya, useless activity. So, Ya, you may get some people, they tell you, “ look you know, it’s okay, there a good program, on educational program like the Bold and the Beautiful (laughter), you can watch it a little bit, I mean, what the hec. Don’t repress yourself, repression. Krsna says in the Bhagavad gita, what will repression accomplish? He says that. He says it. It’s there in black and white. What will repression accomplish? So you see, it’s okay. (laughter)Ya, it’s alright. Don’t repress yourself.” Repression is dangerous. Did you know that! Repression is dangerous.
You know, down in Cape Town, a while ago, few years ago, a few years ago, we were very active there on the campus, we still are, and a few Jewish youngsters were joining our society on campus and the Jewish society reacted very strongly and they had a whole campaign against the Hare Krsna’s and one of their main parts was about being vegetarian. So they got one of their big Rabbis to write a big article in their campus newsletter magazine and he wrote an article that this vegetarianism is very dangerous. It’s extremely dangerous because eating meat is natural and if you repress some natural urge, It will build up in you, just like if you compress a spring, its builds up and then finally you let it go and then BANG! You know really, so if you repress your natural urges after a while it will just build up and then explode. Ahh, explode and you will just go, it will be a mess. He loses his serious argument against vegetarianism. Anyway perhaps we are getting a little side tracked here but the thing is that both being overly fanatical about following the rules and regulations of scripture, plus being too loose and not following them properly, they are both dangerous and you can end up disobeying the orders of the…I mean blaspheming Vedic literature and literature in pursuance of Vedic version. So of course in order to figure out how to do it, then we need the guidance of the spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada obviously, particularly by far His books are explaining everything very nicely.
Okay we’ll take a break and would you mind if we… if coming back in 10 minutes.
Could you please explain whether it is proper to chant on your beads before taking bath in the morning taking into consideration that the nine holes of the body becomes contaminated when one takes rest. What is the strict or correct approach in this regard according to shastric injunctions?
So, the correct thing is, well the best thing is just to take bath, but if…you know it’s too cold for example, like in India where often times they don’t have hot water in so many places Ahh, wow, the air is really coming in (laughter). So in India, you know when its winter in some parts like Vrndavana particularly and Mayapur for that matter but particularly Vrndavana in winter it’s really cold sometimes. It’s literally freezing, it gets down to zero. Its gets really cold and so therefore many…many of the people they don’t take bath until the sun has risen in fact that is sort of like you could say a, it’s not like a really important standard but it’s a type of Vedic standard not taking bath before the sun rises, I mean it’s like a very minor standard. So Srila Prabhupada, He sometimes would…would apply that… and only take bath a little later having got up some time before you know he would get up sometimes at midnight or 2 in the morning that was quite normal. So then what one does in that case if for some reason you may not be able to, perhaps you’re travelling. If you’re in India, you may be travelling in a train and you can’t really take a proper bath when you get up in some cases, so then the idea is that wash your hands, wash your feet, wash your face and chant! So that…that is what Srila Prabhupada did so that we would accept as being an acceptable standard as far as that goes.
Is that okay? I don’t know who asked the question, but is that okay, whoever asked?
So now we will carry on, we will go on now to the 5th offence, “Considering the glories of chanting Hare Krishna to be imagination”. So we have given, how many, we have given four headings here Ahh… and when I was making up my notes this morning I added a fifth.
First thing, I thought we should mention is about the potency of the holy name. I am sure you’ve heard that there is a shastric statement: anghah sanghavad….
anghah sanghavad akhilam sakrd udayad
“With one utterance of the holy name all sins are destroyed.” (CC Anthya 3.181 Translation)
I am sure you have heard this, you chant Hare Krsna without offences once, once, purely, actually the pure holy name, suddha nama and that will extinguish the results of more sinful activities than you could perform in an indefinite period of time in the material world. Just chanting Hare Krsna once, so that is really quite something.
And then there is another quotation and this is given by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura
yan nama sakrc chravanat pukaso’pi vimucyate samsarat
Oh the air is coming right. Are you getting some air? Oh wow! I am… (laughter) It’s coming out this side also, oh good. (laughter)
“If one hears the Holy Name even one time, a candala can obtain liberation from the material world.” (SB 6.16.44)
So the holy name has such tremendous potency and ahh… anyway the various, these various little sub sections that we have included here, they are examples of that, they are giving different examples.
First of all, chanting of the holy names, well first of all, let us just acknowledge the fact that even though it says “with one utterance of the holy name all sins are destroyed” (CC Anthya 3.181 Translation) and ya, you know that is really quite something fantastic, we may still be experiencing, ahh… some material contamination. Do any of you ever experience any material contamination? Couple of people. Okay (laughter). Gee wizz… where as you others, you are doing very well; tell me your secret (laughter)!
So we may notice that, that despite the fact that we have been chanting for years and years every day, but still you know sometimes the mind gets a little affected by something. Isn’t it? These things are going on unfortunately so then we may doubt this is the nature of this offence. We may doubt, I have been chanting Hare Krsna for such a long time and it says, if you chant it just once, then you are completely liberated, no more problems and practically you’ve gone back to Godhead on the spot but not me. So we may think, and then we may look around us and see well what about the other devotees. Maybe I am just the odd one out and then we may see that actually they are also having the odd problem every now and then. So, then we might think that actually you know this statement, these glories of the holy name is just imagination but actually it’s not true. It’s not true! Srila Prabhupada asked, we did mention here. The evidence of Nectar of Devotion if you look down there at point number 3, we are quoting one verse from the CC which is referred to in Nectar of
Devotion. How does that verse go?
sadhu-sanga, nama-kirtana, bhagavata-sravana
mathura-vasa, sri-murtira sraddhaya sevana
“One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Srimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration.” (CC Madhya 22.128 translation)
“These five limbs of devotional service are the best of all. Even a slight performance of these five awakens love for Krsna.” (CC Madhya 22.129 translation)
So we might say that it taking, it’s taking an awfully long time to awaken within me. Ya, so Srila Prabhupada gives an explanation in Nectar of Devotion having acknowledged this verse from Caitanya Caritamrta.
Srila Prabhupada says, “In these statements about devotional service, sometimes it may appear that the results have been overestimated, but actually there is no overestimation. Some devotees, as revealed scriptures give evidence, have had immediate results by such association, although this is not possible for all. For example, the Kumaras immediately became devotees simply by smelling the incense in the temple. Bilvamangala Thakura simply heard about Krsna and then immediately gave up his beautiful girl friend and started out for Mathura and Vrndavana, where he became a perfect Vaisnava.” (NOD 13, 5 Potent forms of devotional service purport) Immediately! Immediately! Practically! Almost! “So these statements are not overestimations, nor are they stories. They are actual facts, but are true for certain devotees and do not necessarily apply to all.”(NOD 13, 5 Potent forms of devotional service purport) These statements…. Oh okay that will do there.
Ahh… the thing is that chanting of the holy names is on three levels. That is the first point that appears there ahh… in your over view book and it depends on what level you are chanting. If you are chanting on the level of nama- aparadha then not only will you not come to the level of love of God instantly, not only will all your sinful reactions not go away instantly but you will probably fall down and stop chanting Hare Krsna at least for some time. Ya, so it depends on what level you are chanting. The second level, namabhasa, Prabhupada called this the clearing stage. This is a very amazing stage in which you are not committing any offences. You are not committing any offences but still there is a residue you could say within you of various things from the past so therefore your chanting isn’t totally pure in the sense of being on the level of love of God but because there are no offences, it’s called the clearing stage. Now Srila Prabhupada expected all of us to chant on the clearing stage. This is why at the time of first initiation, I am sure you have all heard it and seen it on numerous occasions, this is why at the time of first initiation there is always a lecture about the ten offences. Right? You’ve all seen, I am sure you must have. It’s always there because Srila Prabhupada intention and desire, what He wanted and expected is at least when the devotees are initiated that they chant on the clearing stage. They avoid the ten offences and they chant seriously and in this way they make progress ahh…towards the level of pure chanting, shuddha nama, or chanting on the level of love of God. So this is something you could just note, this is what is expected of you, this is what is expected of all of us, on a very practical and down to earth and real level on a daily basis.
So that clearing stage is very amazing, here you will see we also talk about Haridasa Thakura isn’t it? Ya, Haridasa Thakura, point number 4. There was one incident it’s described in detail in Caitanya Caritamrta. Haridasa Thakura attended a meeting where different people gathered, devotees, different philosophers and people and they debated about the holy name and or actually no, they didn’t, they were debating about what is the most effective process of religion, that is what they were debating about, and some were saying jnana yoga, some were saying karma yoga, some were saying meditating on this or that or worshipping the demigods or impersonalism or something, different things and that through these processes, you can achieve liberation. So Haridasa Thakura when he heard this, he said, “actually you know the chanting of Hare Krsna is so amazing, so powerful that just a dim reflection of it can give you liberation” and dim reflection, the actual Bengali word which Srila Prabhupada is translating there is namabhasa, Ya chanting on the clearing stage or abasa, abasa literally means reflection, actually, Ya. It’s a reflection of the holy name, it’s not the pure holy name, it’s something else mixed that like residue of your previous activities and consciousness, that’s mixed in with it a bit. So therefore it is namabhasa. There is namabhasa, there is Vaisnava abasa, you know the reflection of a devotee like a pseudo devotee. Anyway, namabhasa, Haridasa Thakura says just a, just a dim reflection of the holy name can give liberation, and this one other philosopher got up and said, “What? You are talking nonsense. How can it be, chanting the holy name just a dim reflection of it you get liberation. Liberation is so hard to get”. So he challenged Haridasa Thakura, he said that, “if it is not true that a dim reflection of the holy name can give liberation then I am going to cut off your nose.” In those days people took these things very seriously (laughter) you know.
Sometimes the Shivites and the Vaisnavas, I mean what to speak of the Muslims when they attacked India but even the Shivites just on, just on the basis of this question, who is superior, Shiva or Vishnu, sometimes they would fight wars. Did you know that? Well just not the Muslims, oh ya in the time of Ramanujacharya, one Shivite king tried to assassinate Ramanujacharya, simply because he was preaching Vaisnavism and showing that Lord Shiva is not the supreme amongst other things, and he took it very seriously and Ramanujacharya he had a debate with some Jains, who are kind of like certain type of impersonalists really and the.. they made a wager that whoever was defeated would have to become the disciple of the person who won or commit suicide. They took it really seriously. So there were 1200 of these Jains, they all ganged up on Ramanujacharya with this wager and they lost. Ramanujacharya won so he told them, “right now you must be my disciples or commit suicide”. You know what they did? They all committed suicide! All, 1200 of them. Isn’t that taking it, you know your religion very seriously, would you do that for Krsna? Anyway we won’t ask you actually but ya.
So ya, so anyway this man said you know so ya I’ll cut your nose off if it’s not correct and Haridasa Thakura said “look, if it’s not correct I’ll cut my own nose off”, and three days later that other philosopher got leprosy and his nose fell off. Ya, so he committed this offence actually, considered the glories of chanting Hare Krsna to be imagination.
Now we have also mentioned here, the evidence of Ajamila and other evidences from Srimad Bhagavatam but think we don’t have a lot of time. Let us just consider the evidence of Ajamila. I think you are all… is anyone here not familiar with the story of Ajamila? Okay, so Ajamila when he died or he was, he didn’t actually die at that time, it appeared like he was going to so as he was practically dying, the Yamadutas… he called out the name Narayana. He was so horrified; he called out for his son, who he happened to have named Narayana. The reason he named him Narayana was basically because a social custom, even in India to this day children are very, very commonly called you know Krsna, Narayana, this that, Vishnu and you know it’s just a social custom. Just like in South Africa, the Indian people have adopted this, at least some of them or even many of using English names. Ya when I met… when I first came I didn’t know about it and it was rather shocking. I met this one man, and he said, my name Gopala Govender, Gopala Govender, but everyone calls me Fred (laughter). So you know such is life, well Fred is not such a special name but the very popular names like John, of all the English names, John is the most popular. Ya, John is the most popular and it is the name of a saint but you know no one thinks that we will name our child after Saint John. Yes, it’s just a popular name. So in the case of Ajamila, Narayan was just a popular and he just decided to call that particular child Narayana because that was just the social custom. So then everyday he was calling Narayana, Narayana come here, go there, come with me as a doting parent basically. Then the time of death came and he was very attached to Narayana so in that mood of bewilderment he called out “Narayana!” and then the Yamadutas came and then the Vishnudutas came and he was saved and actually he didn’t even die and eventually went back to Godhead a few years later.
So now ahh… here is an example we know, it’s a very important example from Srimad Bhagavatam but many devotees do not understand the real significance of it or like what is really like the critical, the critical aspect of the whole thing. Many devotees that that he called the name, “Narayana” and at the time of death and that was the critical thing. Isn’t it? At least I think so in my experience. He somehow called the name Narayana at the time of death and that was the thing which saved him but if you read the 2nd Chapter of the 6th Canto at the end, right at the very end, the very last purport, Srila Prabhupada, citing Viçvanätha Cakravarthi Thakura explains that that was not actually the thing and I will now read, just… it’s a fairly lengthy explanation but I will read just one paragraph which explains what was really the thing, the critical thing which actually saved Ajamila. It wasn’t that he called out the name Narayana at the time of death. There was something else which was more important.
So Prabhupada writes, “Since he was constantly chanting the name of Narayana,” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) oh no, “one may argue…”, Prabhupada says “One may argue, “Since he was constantly chanting the name of Narayana, how was it possible for him to be associating with a prostitute and thinking of wine?” By his sinful actions he was bringing suffering upon himself again and again, and therefore one may say that his ultimate chanting of Narayana was the cause of his being freed.” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport)
So like this, one may think that his chanting of Narayana, his ultimate chanting of Narayana when he died was his cause of being freed but no.
“However, his chanting would then have been a nama-aparadha. One who continues to act sinfully and tries to neutralize his sins by chanting the holy name of the Lord is a nama-aparadhi. In response it may be said that Ajamila’s chanting was inoffensive because he did not chant the name of Narayana with the purpose of counteracting his sins. He did not know that he was addicted to sinful actions,” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) he just thought it was normal to do all these things, “nor did he know that his chanting of the name of Näräyaëa was neutralizing them. Thus he did not commit a nama-aparadha, and his repeated chanting of the holy name of Narayana while calling his son may be called pure chanting.” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) Not shuddha-nama but namabhasa in the sense that namabhasa is free from offence. “Because of this pure chanting, Ajamila unconsciously accumulated the results of bhakti.” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) And this is now the crucial thing. “Indeed, even his first utterance of the holy name was sufficient to nullify all the sinful reactions of his life. To cite a logical example, a fig tree does not immediately yield fruits, but in time the fruits are available. Similarly, Ajamila’s devotional service grew little by little, and therefore although he committed very sinful acts, the reactions did not affect him.” (SB. 6.2.49 Purport) Hare Krsna! That is amazing. “In the shastras it is said that if one chants the holy name of the Lord even once, the reactions of past, present or future sinful life do not affect him. To give another example, if one extracts the poison fangs of a serpent, this saves the serpent’s future victims from poisonous effects, even if the serpent bites repeatedly. Similarly, if a devotee chants the holy name even once inoffensively, this protects him eternally. He need only wait for the results of the chanting to mature in due course of time. “(SB. 6.2.49 Purport)
So the point is that when he named the child, Narayana, inoffensively speaking the name Narayana at that time that sowed a seed which grew irrevocably and produced fruits in due course of time. Of course the ultimate fruit was when he went back to Godhead which was later but this was one fruit like the beginning of the fruit, he got liberated, he got delivered from this horrible situation with the Yamadutas. So had you thought about it like that? I don’t know if you had thought about it like that. The crucial thing was that he chanting the holy name of Narayana when he named his child and that was the beginning. From that point on it wasn’t a matter of if he would become successful in Krsna Consciousness, it was just a matter of when, just a matter of when and then it gradually started coming. First of all, he was delivered from the Yamdutas and then he went back to Godhead eventually. So like this we shouldn’t…don’t underestimate the holy name, don’t underestimate it at all!
Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura in Madhurya Kadambini, he raises the point, we can just mention finally that ah… Sometimes you may look at a devotee and see, or you may look at yourself or you may look at another devotee and see that traces of sinful life, some bad habits or something, some short comings and you may think that this person is not making any advancement in Krsna Consciousness and like this you may think because apparently there is some bad habits but Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakura says that… what does he say… “just as a fruit bearing tree bears fruit the holy name pleased with an offenceless person will reveal its mercy, since the heaps of sinful reactions which are being experienced due to previous bad practices are factually reduced to insignificance by the process of bhakti like the bite of a serpent without his poison fangs the sickness lamentation and other sufferings that are undergone by devotees are not due to sins in the previous life. The Lord thinking of the welfare of his devotees in order to increase his humility and longing for the Lord bestows on him all sorts of suffering as his mercy. This suffering is not the effect of sinful actions in previous life.” (Madhurya- Kadambini 3, Third Shower of Nectar, Surrendered devotees are under the Lord’s protection)
I think we are very fortunate because we have all received that seed as Ajamila did when he chanted the name, “Narayana”. We have all received that seed so it is just a matter of when you, in a sense when you want to back to Godhead. Of course if you decide that you just must stay in the material world and you know, you will just hear nothing else I mean you will hear nothing about going back to Godhead. If you decide like that then you can stay if you really insist but otherwise from what Prabhupada explains there and Visvanatha Charavarthi Thakura explains that if you carry on in the clearing stage, chanting without offences you are on your way back to Godhead.
Is that.. Is that okay? Is that good? Yes. That’s nice. We are on our way back to Godhead. Ya. This is why Srila Prabhupada He would speak very optimistically about it. Ya. He spoke very optimistically about how you can go back to Godhead, even… even in this lifetime.
One devotee, actually Mother Malati you may have heard of her, actually she just became a candidate for GBC. Ahh… She asked Prabhupada once that “You say if we just chant 16 rounds a day, follow the regulative principles we can go back to Godhead end of this life”. Prabhupada said “yes”. But she says, “it sounds too easy, how can it be so easy… sounds too easy.” Srila Prabhupada looked at her and said, “Do you think I would cheat you? So, yes. This is very merciful process, thing is we have to avoid offences and chant in the clearing stage. It’s very, very important. I think now we will do one more, just very briefly.
The 6th offence, “to give some interpretation on the holy name of the Lord” and we have referred you to an experience that Lord Caitanya had… Ah… One time
(beginning of recording)
…one hundred ashvameda sacrifices. If you perform one hundred ashvameda sacrifices you can become Lord Indra. Ya, you can become Lord Indra. The Ashvameda sacrifice is the biggest material sacrifice, the biggest karma khanda activity in existence, ashvameda, ya, horse sacrifice. So hundred you know, it’s practically unheard of. Our, the current Indra has performed a hundred, not all Indra’s can do it but our current Indra has performed a hundred ashvameda sacrifices, very difficult, it’s a big thing. So this student was thinking that this is such a nice glorification. Chanting Hare Krsna is as good as one hundred ashvameda sacrifices, oh very thing, it’s a nice thing, and he thought Lord Caitanya would appreciate so much. But Lord Caitanya got very angry and chased him out physically; He was going to beat him up. Yes! Lord Caitanya was running after him, the poor fellow had to run for his life and he went and he gathered together with some of his friends and then they complained. So when Lord Caitanya, when he saw them complain, he decided, I have to take sannayas, these people can’t take me seriously so that was like the final straw which lead to Lord Caitanya taking sannayas.
So anyway the thing is that we can’t compare, we shouldn’t interpret, give some mundane interpretation on the holy names of the Lord. Understand it as being something completely purely spiritual totally spiritual. You cannot really draw any parallels between the chanting of the holy names and even the best, even the best so called material activity or thing.
Okay, I think I may have to finish here.
Does anyone have any comments or questions?
You are all looking a little sleepy today? (laughter) I hope it wasn’t too much my fault. Anyway I feel quite good down here (laughter) getting the breeze. (laughter)
Srila Prabhupada Ki… oh sorry… yes?
(devotee asks a question that cannot be heard on audio)
…because we have impure senses and impure facilities how can we chant the holy name purely?
Well the thing is, if we follow the process of Krsna Consciousness as it’s given, the authorised process, the process is pure, so if we follow the pure process we become purified. Ya, this is… this is the basic idea. If you follow the pure process, just like if you stand in front of fire, you become hot. We are not by nature hot, you know we are a certain temperature but not really hot but if you stand in front of fire, whether you want to get hot or not, you will get hot. So the process is pure. goloker premadhana, harinama-sankirtana. (Hari Hari Bifale, From Prarthana, Prayer to One’s Beloved Lord, By Srila Narottama Däsa Thakura) The whole process of Krsna consciousness is coming from the kingdom of God, it’s completely pure and the activities are pure. You know your senses, our senses may not be pure but activities, bonafide activities in devotional service as authorised by the disciplic succession, those activities are pure, and if we perform those activities, if we have that contact with Krsna through His devotional service, then our senses and our mind and everything becomes pure. So gradually although initially we start on the offensive level of chanting but if we apply ourselves sincerely then Prabhupada’s intention was that by the time the person comes to the level of first initiation, they should be able to maintain, this clearing stage means chanting inoffensively. Ya… they would have made advancement and become purified to some extent just to be able to do that, that’s quite quickly. Ya, so that is the principle, even though we are filthy in terms of karmic reactions and all that, but by associating with the pure, then we become purified. Is that ok?
Jai, Srila Prabhupada Ki Jai!