No faith in material desires
A lecture given by HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Maharaja- 19/05/2008, Nrsimhaksetra, GermanyWe’re reading from Srimad Bhagavatam, 7th Canto, chapter 9, entitled: “Prahlad pacifies the Lord with prayers” text no. 2:
aksat srih presita devair
drstva tam mahad adbhutam
sa nopeyaya sankita
Translation: The goddess of fortune, Laksmiji, was requested to go before the Lord by all the demigods present, who because of fear could not to do so. But even she had never seen such a wonderful and extraordinary form of the Lord, and thus she could not approach Him.
It is explained, mad-bhayad vati vato ‘yam suryas tapati mad-bhayat
varsatindro dahaty agnir mrtyus carati mad-bhayat
Out of fear of the Lord, the wind blows; out of fear of the Lord, basically the entire material world is functioning. It is also said, srutim apare smrtim itare bharatam anye bhajante bhavah bhitah aham iha nandam vande yasyalinda param brahma….it is said that many are following the sruti. Sruti is the four Vedas, the Upanisada’s. Some are following the smrti, such as Purana’s, or others are following the Maha Bharata…and in this way, there are so many different followers of Vedic literatures. It is said, but all are doing so out of fear. So to worship the Lord out of fear is not uncommon. And even we may question ourselves how much we are acting out of fear, out of fear for heavy reactions. Who’s not afraid of some severe reactions? One devotee, before the class, mentioned that, “Oh my dhoti ripped yesterday. Every time I come here something happens…The last time my kitchen burnt down! Then the time before that, it was an operation! Every time! This time it was light; only my dhoti got ripped!” So sometimes the Supreme Lord indeed seems to be quite heavy.
I myself, also, in this life had a dose of some intense experiences- several- and one was when suddenly there was a loud bang and I was hit by a bullet in the back, which was by surprise. So I was thinking that- at lighting speed; my mind was moving very, very fast- I first felt the impact as if someone hit me on the back with a heavy piece of iron, or something like that, and I felt it go through me in slow motion. And my mind, while this bullet was going through me, had three thoughts: the first thought was, ‘I got shot!’ Second thought was, ‘It’s an inside job!’ because it was in my bathroom and you don’t usually get accidentally shot in the bathroom! And the next one was, ‘Don’t black out! Don’t go unconscious!’ because I thought, if I stay conscious maybe I’ll get out of this bathroom. So later, I didn’t black out, but there was a lot of intense pain and then I managed, after some time, to get out of that bathroom and outside I fell on my knees in pain again. And people came and they’d asked me what happened, and I couldn’t speak. So I said, “Shot, shot…”, so they thought I had an electric shock! And I couldn’t tell them; it was an awkward situation. And just at that moment, I thought I might die but anyway, somehow or other I survived that.
Then naturally, when you get shot, it’s easy to start thinking (after you survive), “Who did it? Who was behind that?” it’s kind of natural to start thinking, “Who is the culprit? Who did this?”
But as I was thinking in that mood, I thought it’s getting difficult that if I get into this kind of consciousness. Then the director of police for the entire district of Mathura (I was in India) came. He was in charge of so many people, so big cop, and he comes into my hospital room and he says, “Well, we have not been able to find whoever did it, but there is nothing much more that we can do for you. The only thing we can do for you is this…” and he pulls his gun out of his belt and he says, “Here, take this” and I go like…you know, a ‘do-it-yourself’ kit! So I said, “Well, I don’t know…not my type…No, I appreciate that in you, I appreciate that in you. It doesn’t look nice for a sadhu, but it’s true!” But I appreciated the offer and the kind gesture, that he cared! It was a nice gesture! But afterwards, alone in the hospital room, I was thinking to myself, ‘Yes, this is getting too much. If I get into this consciousness- who did this? – and in the consciousness of trying to get even right, ‘Okay…hmmm, so you tried to shoot me! I see. We want to talk to you!’ and get into a sort of vendetta mood, I thought, ‘No.’ and I was thinking of Srimad Bhagavatam. And I was thinking of the bull Dharma and how the bull Dharma was in a very precarious situation, because Kali had attacked with a stick and had broken three legs of Dharma. Only one leg- the leg of truthfulness- still standing, shaking, and Kali saw this and still standing there next to Dharma with a stick in his hand, and that’s when Maharaja Pariksit arrived, sort of like the police of the scene, “Alright, alright, alright! Who’s done this? Who is responsible for this?” Maharaja Pariksit was careful. Although he saw Kali with the stick, he did not immediately raise his sword and chop the head of Kali, just in case that kali might have arrived there and might have picked up the stick. So better make sure because a king may kill a culprit in the course of his duty but if he makes a mistake then he gets the reactions. So Maharaja Pariksit was very conscious of that and very careful about his duty. And then when he asked the bull Dharma who did it, Dharma, while Kali is standing next to him, is saying, “Well, then it’s hard to say…”! I was thinking, “It’s hard to say?” We don’t have a hard time… “It was him! It was him!” And what would be wrong with that? If the guy did it then it’s the truth, so what would be wrong? But Dharma did not speak like that; Dharma said, “It’s hard to say…” (In other words): It could be the cause of all this, it could be providence. On the other hand, it could be my karma so it’s really hard to say who’s really responsible for this. It could just be the will of the Supreme Lord.
So Dharma really had a much more profound vision of reality right there and then. So I was thinking about this while in that hospital bed that I better also go on the dharmic side. I thought, forget the vendetta, no guns…this will never end. And I could already imagine how I would live the rest of my life in Vrndavana with a bulletproof vest and a food taster- a parrot would taste everything! (Imitates parrot dying) Ooh, sorry; I think we’ll skip breakfast today! I couldn’t imagine to live in such a way…and I thought, better it was the moment to choose the path of Dharma. And a devotee must see like that- not just the immediate cause but the ultimate cause. There can be different immediate causes, different reasons why things happen and we can blame people for it, whoconsciously are doing things in our life, who consciously cause a disturbance, but ultimately we can see that it is the Supreme Lord who has allowed it all, at least He has allowed it all; He didn’t interfere. Possibly He has even engineered it all! That is also possible that He is behind it all. But at least He allows.
We know that when a devotee gets karmic reactions, he gets diminished reactions. Apara…visnu bhakti…it is said that karma is stored within our hearts in the form of all kinds of reactions- they’re all piled up- but we get only diminished fruits from these karmic seeds in our heart- the fan, when the electricity goes off, slows down. I was just in Vrndavana in the summer heat and I experienced it…the fan goes off! Slowly but surely. So in this way a diminished reaction. Srila Prabhupada told Giriraja Maharaja, he said, “Not only are we getting diminished reactions but Krsna personally also takes charge of these diminished reactions.” Because the question arises: is a devotee under the influence of karma or is a devotee under the control of Krsna? And the answer is, a devotee is under the control of Krsna but Krsna uses the diminished reactions of our karma to purify us, as He likes. So sometimes He just watches it and other times He interferes, and something that should have happened on Friday 13th may happen on Tuesday- 7 years later! Simply because Krsna desired it, or it may not happen at all; He just may scrap it! But still, heavy things do happen in people’s lives. And a lot of people tell me their life stories and when you hear their life stories… “Really?” everybody…well not everybody but a lot of people have something heavy to tell. I’ve got plenty heavy things to tell about the material world. The firing squad in Iran for four hours- for example! I have nothing against anyone from Iran! But such experiences are there in the material world and the ultimate cause is Krsna. We have just identified that; karma has a part to play but the ultimate cause is Krsna, especially in the life of His devotee Krsna is directly in control. So that’s why a devotee can easily become afraid of Krsna. It’s the purification.
Hrdyananda Maharaja was once explaining that, he said, “When I was young, I was very fired up; I went in front of the Deities and I prayed, ‘Oh my Lord, please purify me.’ Now, I go in front of the Deities and I pray, ‘My Lord, please purify me’ softly!” I can really identify with that! It’s like, it’s enough to digest now, “Krsna, please…if possible. If it’s not required, I will try to rectify whatever needs to be…” I’ll whisper and I try to say it!
This is a fact; it is true that after that shooting incident, not so long after, I came to Mayapur and I saw Lord Nrsimhadeva and I was a little bit afraid of Him. I’ve never really been afraid of Him before but for the first time I started thinking, “Ya, He’s heavy with the demons and maybe there are some demoniac remnants in me! And if He’s going to purify me in this way….!” Shoo, I was a little bit afraid! What can I say! So that’s when I started to contemplate on the soft nature of Lord Nrsimhadeva, how actually He’s very soft hearted. Because after all, He couldn’t tolerate that His little boy Prahlad was being so much mistreated. And of course, I can identify with that because if you do it in front of me then I’ll also turn into Nrsimhadeva or something very ferocious if someone is beating an innocent little kid or creature! I remember in Vrndavana they use to chase out the dogs, and at one point there was a temple commander and he used to, at night, go after the dogs with a big piece of wood and the dogs would cry and it was too much. And then one night I came out of my room and I justgrabbed him and I took the wood and I said, “And now you do it one more time, then I’m going to break all your bones okay!”
Yes, so whatever may be, Krsna is making so many arrangements for our purification and how to be fearless in this regards? Therefore it is said, in that verse that I quoted first, sruti…that “Many are worshipping Me out of fear” and they strictly follow rules and regulations out of fear actually, and that’s not just good enough. We have to come to worship the Lord out of love. That is the real point. And it is of course to lovingly accept suffering that is the tough part. I mean, it’s easy to love Him when it rains sweets! When the burfi is distributed it is all very nice! But at the time of suffering, then it is more difficult. Therefore it doesn’t come automatically; we have to really do something to come to this point where we begin to appreciate Krsna. In the beginning we’re really attracted to Krsna but also, a lot of our motivation in Krsna consciousness may be because of suffering in the material world. Most of us come to Krsna consciousness because it was too much. If it wouldn’t have been too much I wouldn’t have joined something extreme as the Hare Krsna movement! I would have joined some moderate yoga society but certainly not something where you have to make such a sacrifice! And why would you do that if you didn’t suffer? So, most of us have definitely suffered. Some people may have just walked in the door just because of the halava and they like it! And things like that. And they just stayed and they’ve never really suffered. That can be, but a lot of people have suffered; they had enough of the material world. In my case- definitely! I tried it- I tried it hard- because I was from the 60’s and 70’s and in that era, rules were there and they had a function. And the function of rules was…to break them! That’s what they were for; if there was a rule it had to be broken! That was our generation. So I did my best to break as many as I could and I missed out on a few! But I did a decent amount of it! Of course, being from Amsterdam, there’s plenty of opportunities you know! So in this way the result was, of all those experiments, was just so much suffering actually- so much intense suffering. And then all the suffering coming out of nowhere also came and when you added it all up- enough is enough! Anything is better than this…even the Hare Krsna movement, in one sense!
The Hare Krsna movement was very attractive because there was no compromise. That was the part that really attracted me. These people, they weren’t watering down anything…in those days! It was just completely… they were just so strict, so strict and they wouldn’t compromise for nothing. And I really actually felt that’s it and that’s what life is meant to be- no compromise! That everything must be 100%- everything. I thought that thatspirit, that is what attracted me to this movement. Although, at the same time, it also scared me! I went to India many times because it was the place of spiritual life and so I went, I followed the Ganga and I went up to Hrsikesa and I was in Benares and I was in so many places. And in India I was really going for spiritual life. I didn’t smoke dope because for that I didn’t have to travel far! But the neighbors also. So in India there was always purification and I was looking for spiritual life. And at one point I came to a village where the Dalai Lama is and I was in that particular village and there were all these westerners and they were every morning, in the cold mountain mornings, sitting in a Tibetan tea stall where they had freshly made hot Tibetan bread straight from the fire- quite nice in the mornings because it’s cold mountain mornings- and it was pre-packed and everyone would talk. And then they would all talk about so-called spiritual things and it was all about status- “Are you already going to the yoga courses in the Tibetan…? Are you learning Tibetan yet?” Things like this. “…Oh yes, I also use to find it difficult in the beginning, I remember that.” Such kinds of things you would here at that tea stall and I wasn’t impressed. I thought this is all just prestige. It’ s the same thing, I thought, as my parents and the big house and the car bigger than the neighbors and everything else, and who has the bigger dog…I thought that it’s the same thing- status once again.
So then someone had given me a gift before I went to India and it was Prabhupada’s Bhagavad-Gita! And I had it with me and I was sitting at the prayer mills in the middle of the Tibetan village and these prayer mills on cylinders- big cylindric things of metal- and they spin around, and one spin is one prayer. And the people push them, and I was watching that. Then this old lama came and I thought, “This man, he must have something.” I greeted him, I said…I don’t know what I said, and he ignored me. He looked right through me, right through me but he was walking in circles around the prayer mill so at the second time round I was thinking, “Strange.” And he came the second time round and I was thinking maybe he was deaf because he’s very old so the second time I was more like, “Hello!” But still, absolutely no reaction whatsoever- nothing! He looked right through me as if I wasn’t there. So I was thinking, really, really strange. So he went away and I was… “What’s going on here?” and I opened up a page in the Bhagavad-Gita and it all started describing everything and about the impersonalists and how they think that everything is just illusion, and I thought, that’s what it is! This man thinks that I’m just illusion! I’m not illusion! And it’s obvious! So I lost it with Buddhism right there!
So I decided to go a little further up the mountain; there was a Hindu village and there was one temple and there was a picture of Krsna in that temple and I thought, “Okay, I’ll go and offer a flower to that picture.” So I was walking with my flower and I thought, “If you do it, you may as well do it right,” so I decided, “okay, I’ll also chant Hare Krsna.” So I was singing, “Hare Krsna…” very loud in the street with my flower and everyone was looking at me of course, and they all thought I was crazy but I didn’t care because I was 10 000km away from home! And just then, one boy from my old town comes around the corner…! Oh no! I got caught you know! And I just carried on and I offered my flower to Lord Krsna and it was nice. So after that I thought I should go see the Hare Krsna temple. So on my trip I went to Vrndavana. It was very nice- I won’t make the story too long- but when I got there…shoo! The Hare Krsna temple- they were too much! They were just too serious. My whole life I had been around people who were trying to do something spiritual and it was never serious enough- never. I was everywhere always more serious than them; I always felt they’re not serious. I was reading Herald and Essex…(?) it changed my life; other people read the book and said, “Good book!” For me it was an eye opener, and like this I always felt I’m more serious. But the first time I thought, “These people (Hare Krsna’s) are tooserious!” Anyway I stayed for some time but I had to leave because of my Visa. I’ll stop the biography here because it has many pages and I can’t really finish it today in this lecture! But the point was that, all right, then I saw that this process of Krsna consciousness was demanding such a big sacrifice. And does it really have to be so? And then we are living in the age of Lord Caitanya and then such a sacrifice has to be made! Isn’t it? Isn’t it true? Isn’t it that you have to “cover your head! It’s part of the sacrifice…” such a sacrifice you have to make- either you have to cover you head or refrain from this or refrain from that- sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. I was just thinking, does it have to be like that? And isn’t it heavy?
So this is getting back to my original point because we’re dealing here with the heaviness of Lord Nrsimhadeva, that’s the topic of the purport. And yes, Krsna, He doesn’t look like Lord Nrsimhadeva, He doesn’t have those features, He looks very sweet. But meanwhile…He’s also heavy, also quite heavy actually! I mean, if He has designed this material world well, it’s not exactly playground isn’t it? Prabhupada said that we may be attracted to football but…I was in Sweden during the last world championship that were being played here in Germany, and when Sweden lost, there were headlines in the newspaper saying, “This is not a reason to commit suicide!” because Sweden had high suicide rates! So what can we say! It’s very dark, that’s one, in the winter! So people in the material world are seeing so much heaviness actually. So we have a verse about Krsna, “madhuram, madhuram, madhuram…” with Bhakti Caru Maharaja’s song for us, how everything about Krsna is sweet, He’s all madhuram, yes madhuram, but meanwhile the material world is not so madhuram, is not so sweet if I may say so! So how do we actually deal with this heaviness of the material world, which is ultimately the heavy side of Krsna. It’s said it is the backside of Krsna. So how do we deal with that heavy side of Krsna and at the same time love Him?
It’s really nice, you can have a wonderful bhajan and you go now to Vrndavana and we just sit down, and well, some may sit under a Tamal tree- it’s blackish, reminding us of Krsna- others may sit under a Kadamba tree- golden, reminding us of Radharani. In this way, choose your desire tree! Choose any desire tree- choose a parijata or choose the night queen that produces very wonderful and sweet flowers at night! Come and sit under the cool bowers of a tree which is truly more than an umbrella- you can completely hide under these trees, the branches and leaves are almost reaching to the ground. It’s not so difficult to understand how Radha and Krsna meet in Vrndavana. And we had ecstatic times; we went to Yavat where Radharani lived with Her in-laws after marriage. It’s a very tough place because it’s where She is completely absorbed in separation because Her mother-in-law is very heavy- always watching every move She makes- so the separation is very strong. And then next to Yavat is Kokilavana, the forest of the cuckoos, where one day the cuckoos were singing so sweet, so very, very sweet, that everyone just stopped. And all the gopis- the girls from Yavat- went there and was sent by Jatila to hear. So that was of course Krsna singing as a cuckoo and it was all an arrangement! Krsna sang as a kokila and attracted the gopis in this way, who could immediately recognize that it was Krsna. But just as they were about to meet, Jatila also arrived because she also wanted to hear the cuckoo. So again- separation.
But anyway, one can completely forget everything there in Vrndavana and get absorbed, and very sweet and very sweet but then…BANG!!! There is also hard reality! Hard reality: earthquake in China last week- 12000 people just wiped out! And those were the initial towns. I guess by now it must be up! And so on and so on and so on. Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja in his book, ‘The Beggar’, dealt with this topic also and he says that, in the Middle Ages 1/3rd- 1/3rd- of the world population was killed! My Lord, where were You? And then he goes in Rwanda some years ago and in just a few months, millions of people- millions– died in a few months. My Lord, where were You? And then he goes over a whole list like that in a poem of major disasters in the world, and each time he’s asking, “My Lord, where were You?” and even if He was there, but how did all this go on, is the next question then. Okay, we accept, yes, Krsna was there. I mean, to round it off lets go to the 11th chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita where Krsna is showing His universal form and Arjuna is seeing how Krsna is chewing up all the heroes on the battlefield of Kuruksetra as if they are potato chips!
So I think I made my point; it’s not only Nrsimhadeva who is the heavy one in the family! My point is that there’s a lot of heaviness in this material world. So what about that? And how can we love Krsna? And how can we get into the sweetness of Krsna, really, if that other side is also there? That’s my question. So I tend to do this in lectures; I tend to dig a pit because unlike Sacinandana Swami I go in unprepared! I don’t have notes-nothing– and I don’t know where I’m going and I sort of dig a pit and then I’m in the pit myself! And then I wonder how do I get out of it!!! So I’ve just come to that point now- how do I get out of this? We’ve got to love Krsna and how are we going to do it after all of this! It’s not easy but I’m going to try okay, I’m going to try and appreciate Krsna once again!
Well, for one thing of course, really, sometimes we say, “Why did Krsna design this material world in this way? If we wanted to be independent from Him and wanted to enjoy in the material world then why didn’t He just let us enjoy until we got sick and tired of it? Why didn’t He just give us sweet rice? Why did He have to put sand in it? As Prabhupada said; why couldn’t we eat sweet rice until we were sick of sweet rice? And say, ‘I don’t want no more sweet rice…’ and then go back to the spiritual world kind of thing! Why couldn’t we just enjoy as long as we wanted in the material world and just go back to the spiritual world? Even the demigods enjoy and at one point their punya runs out and then…they come back down! So why? Well, there is a place where you can stay as long as you want without suffering, there is- the brahmajyoti! You can stay in the brahmajyoti without any suffering as long as you like! So if you want that, if you want to be separated from Krsna without any suffering, you can have it- the brahmajyoti!
So it’s not that Krsna didn’t grant that. But why is there suffering in this world? Krsna created, yes, yes. Krsna couldn’t tolerate it any longer; He couldn’t tolerate it any longer! He couldn’t bear to see that we were separated, He couldn’t tolerate it. He couldn’t tolerate to see how we had become pale and how we had become like shadows, how we had become like zombies, how we had become like ghosts, how we had become so empty without love of God. Krsna couldn’t tolerate it, He couldn’t tolerate. So Krsna, therefore, decided, “I must do something, I’ll give them a kick in the backside, I’ll give them a gentle (or not so gentle) push…” and in this way we can actually see the loving hand of Krsna in this arrangement. And we say, “But ya, couldn’t He have done it a little different? Isn’t it a little bit extreme?” It is extreme; I mean, the things I have seen in my life…I’ve seen a friend hanging on an iron beam… and he unfortunately couldn’t avoid the truck. So it’s so heavy- so heavy; how can I forget? So like this, we can think if such kind of heavy stories and then think, “No, this is maybe too much.”
That’s what we think. But our false ego is so strong- so strong- that a light treatment, we think, “Can’t I have a light treatment?” a light treatment wouldn’t do. They say that when a doctor needs an operation, although he’s a surgeon- expert surgeon- still he doesn’t do it himself because it’s hard to like sort of cutting left and right, pieces of flesh out of your own leg or wherever the operation is, so we go to another doctor. So we are just…when we think of ourselves, we think, “Well, this is too heavy.” but actually, it’s just right, it’s just tailor-made. This is the nature of karma- it is just right! Just the right dose to sort of bring us to the point, on our knees, “All right, Krsna please have mercy, please accept me.” So, one can actually see the loving hand of Krsna behind this. One must really try to see the loving hand of Krsna; how Krsna desires so much that we are actually returning to our original state. I remember that, I was in the grhastha asrama for 24 years- a long time- and then when I finally put on a saffron dress, then when Jayadvaita Maharaja, who saw me said, “Oh, you look so well. You were looking so pale before!” So Krsna also is just seeing how we look so pale in this material world, in these material bodies. In one sense, to see us once again in our original glory as soon as possible. And therefore He pushes us a little bit. But actually, these pushes are good for us. So we see it like that; we see it as Krsna’s kindness. We see it has a sign of His love; it’s not indifferent- He can’t tolerate to let us be separated from Him. That is how deep His love is. It is said that Krsna is more eager for us to go back to Godhead than we are to go ourselves! And therefore in the Bhagavad-Gita, in that verse: tesam evanu karthavyam aham ajnana…nasya…stho means that Krsna is hiding in our consciousness and as soon as He sees a little inclination, He from within begins to help us.
Prabhupada also said, his father told him that the Lord has ten hands. With the ten hands if the Lord wants to take what are you going to do with your two hands? He will take it, He’s got His hands and in your pockets and there’s nothing you can do now! But if the Lord wants to give with His ten hands then how can we receive it even with our own little two hands. So it is like that; Krsna doesn’t wants to take from us, Krsna wants to give us. And we say, “Nah, nah it’s all right. I’m happy with this…” So therefore Krsna is making arrangements to take us out and to bring us back to our original glory in the spiritual world. Therefore He is actually very, very kind and He’s eagerness is much greater than our eagerness. Therefore, the Lord is just full of mercy. And the heaviness of the Lord? Ah, that’s just very secondary. He’s full of mercy always. It hurts Him more that we are going through this suffering. The Lord is suffering along with every living being- as the Super soul- He goes through the whole thing. It hurts Him more than it hurts us and yet He knows it’s inevitable. That is actually Krsna and if we understand that then we understand the heart of the Supreme Lord.
I like that about Krsna consciousness, that’s it’s personal and that, for example as I said the other day- the Holy Name has lotus feet and that the Lord has a heart, that we can speak of the heart of the Lord- because that is very important to see, to see the nature of the Lord and the nature of Lord Nrsimhadeva, who in an awkward way at the same time cares about Hiranyakasipu; although He rips him to pieces and is very upset with him, still He even cares about him, He’s even loving towards him although He’s very angry at the same time. That is the nature of the Lord; He is always- always– motivated by love. That is why Bhakti Caru Maharaja is like, “madhuram, madhuram, madhuram…” He’s very sweet actually. Any questions, any comments?
Question: In this world we face reactions for our karma but behind the karma is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And then we also have to deal with the instruments of our karma. So we can understand, Dharma says that due to our sinful seeds whatever, but we also see that Krsna chooses specific persons to give to us because they have some kind of bad tendencies, bad character and this and that. so my question is how to deal with the hurt? I mean I understand it; I forgive the person, I can see it is my karma but I better avoid the person next time because of tendencies…but then you heard the story of Krpamoya Prabhu, of the scorpion and the sadu, and…then we have these tendencies but again we try our best….
Maharaja: Ya, I can relate to that. I was the temple commander in Vrndavana and there’s all these big buildings and then I was walking in the Gurukula building and my job was to make sure that all the rooms were locked and that no one would just move into our rooms and things like that. And then I’m there walking upstairs and then suddenly one person flies out of the room and with a heavy French accent, he goes, “You think you are a big boss! You think you’re a big boss! You are nothing!” Where did this come from? Out of nowhere- I’ve never seen the guy in my life. And I really thought that he must be the personified reaction of all the offences I have made to the devotees! Intense! Ya, what do we do then? So afterwards I also had the inclination to keep some distance from this person! But he was a devotee. So it is a fact that sometimes Krsna uses the bad qualities in others for our purification. They are the instruments for that purification. They though, in the cause of being an instrument, may still make offences and get reactions for that also because there are so many multi purposes served at the same time. We may try to remain kind to that person but it should be within reason, we have to understand also what our capacity is. It is said that the madhyama adhikari…well first of all the kanistha adhikari, he is mainly concerned with his own spiritual life and his own spiritual advancement with the relationship that he has with the Deity. The madhyama adhikari, he is described as isvara…krpamahite…samadina, the madhyama adhikari, he is merciful to the innocent, he makes friends with the devotees, he avoids being envious. So that’s good. But if people have tendencies…all the devotees have different modes and intimate relationships with devotees we should have with the devotees who are uplifting us, we seek intimate association with devotees who uplift us. So when devotees are very much influenced by ignorance, it’s a little difficult because they may pull us down. So we must be careful; we may be respectful but we keep a distance. The same way, too much passion; sometimes in the service it’s all right but when it gets too much it’s also difficult.
So we’re looking for devotees who are encouraging us in the right direction, and that’s the kind of mood one must have- one must be selective. We are not on the level of that sadu who had that scorpion sting him again and again; that’s uttama adhikari level. An uttama adhikari maybe, who’s so absorbed in love of God, can do that, can just let others sting him. But each time they sting you can you deal with the poison? You can walk around like Jesus but can you take all the negative energy of so many people? Try and listen a whole day to people’s problems and see how you fee at the end of the day! I’ve tried sometimes! It’s intense, and people come and dump their karma actually and they tell you all these problems and they dump some of their karma on you. I actually experienced that, and it stays with you. And they feel relieved! They walk away feeling better! And people are like, “Can I please have a darshan?” and sometimes they ask nicely, “Can I have a darshan?” but ‘can I dump some problems on you?’ and sometimes somebody comes and says, “I don’t know what to say I have no problems” I say, “Jaya! Tell me something nice that happened this last month to you!” but they think they have nothing to say to me if they don’t have a problem! I’m only good for problems! So just see…So that’s why, you can see in this guest house there is a special type of door- there are doors with thick foam on the doors- thick, heavy! Do you know why? Have you ever thought about these doors? Why these doors have developed? It’s double thick, with foam on the outside, yes; if all the problems come then you want such doors! And signs on the doors with big teeth- Do not Disturb! So we have to take care of ourselves; it would be prayascas, it would be over-endeavoring if we would take on more than we can have. So we need to avoid scorpions. If they sting us once, well next time, we’ll throw some crumbs at them…but that’s how we have to act. And yes, Srila Prabhupada, he could carry everyone- he could carry the whole world. He carries all of us and he carried so many devotees and all their problems he just carried it and went there, inspire everybody and it didn’t bring him down; he stayed ecstatic. And that’s very high; it’s not so easy to take…you know how it is with sankirtana, you have a heavy day out there and everybody says, “Get out of here! I ain’t interested!” You sort of come home like, “Oh my God! Finished!” It’s heavy to take negative energy and not become influenced by it. But we all take a little, a little. Anyone else?
Question: You were speaking how devotees go through heavy things. Does it mean that if a devotee is kind of always happy and satisfied, does it mean that Krsna has not yet started purifying them?
Maharaja: It could be, it could be. But Krsna is known as Syama. Syama means dark; it’s said Krsna’s pastimes in Vrndavana, the calves throw up so much dust that these pastimes are always covered by some darkness. So therefore you never know what He’s doing- that is the problem! It does say, the 6th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, that Citraketu became a great devotee and then got this plane and he traveled around the universe, came to Lord Siva and Parvati, who happened to be sick in an undressed state- Parvati on the lap of Lord Siva in the assembly of sages. Citraketu said, “What an amazing thing! How can Lord Siva sit like this with his wife on his lap in an assembly of sages?” He was only expressing how amazing it was but Parvati cursed him and he had to take the body of a demon- Vrtasura. But internally he was still a devotee and he was suffering very much being in this huge demon body as a devotee. So it is explained that he had to go through this to very quickly burn up a lot of karma in one lifetime so that he could go back to Godhead. Prabhupada also quoted that verse, yasyaham…when the Lord favors His devotees He takes away. And Prabhupada gave Himself as an example, how He took away all his money and everything.
So sometimes it’s true that Krsna very quickly purifies but in some case may be Krsna just lets one devotee live a very happy life and at the end go happily back to Godhead. Happy life, happy end! Why not! But…do you know such devotees?
Devotee: I think there is this fire test and if you don’t get it, physically you may get kind of like down and…something. I mean that’s what you ask, if I know someone, I don’t know.
Maharaja: Ya, me too! But if there is somebody, I’d like to meet that person! Just spend a few days, just to relax! It sounds really nice!
Question: I was wondering is the spiritual master meant…who you dump you problems to- material problems?
Maharaja: He’s wondering if the spiritual master is the person on whom you dump your material problems. To some extent- yes, because if he wouldn’t take some of our karma at the time of initiation, we couldn’t possibly really fix ourselves. So he gives us that blessing like that. And then also, ongoing, he still takes karma for our reactions. So in this way, in the design of Krsna there is that element that the spiritual master is meant to take some of the reactions of the disciple. But it doesn’t mean that he’s basically meant as the one on whom you dump all your problems or as Bhagavan Prabhu use to call it, as a ‘garbage can’ as your garbage can. Not like that, obviously not. You see that Isvara puri was always serving his spiritual master and he was always reminding him in different ways of Krsna. So one can also come with something really positive to the spiritual master and say, “Oh, I’ve read this really nice quote…” instead of sending a problem letter and turn off everything, send a nice letter with really nice things that you have read in last month and send all the nectar and say, “Here I have some nectar for you!” “Wow! Hey that’s nice, that’s a nice e-mail…for a change!” I hate e-mail by the way and everyone dumping problems. I was in Radhadesh and there they have a computer room and they’re all sitting in there and I was looking at all these devotees tying and then I was thinking, “My God, you know! They’re typing all the time and they’re sending all these letters to us!” So I had a word with the temple president to take out some computers out of the room! So now you know why there’s less computers in the computer room in Radhadesh! I confess! Any more questions? Yes?
Question: You mentioned about the ten hands of Krsna, that He gives mercy…(inaudible)
Maharaja: So okay, Krsna wants to give the mercy but we are hesitating about taking that mercy. Why? Ya obvious, because of our material attachments. Material attachments we will have, we will have; nobody is free from material attachments. The first level in dealing with material attachments is that we may have material desires but we should not have faith in them. It’s alright to have material desires but it’s foolish to believe in them. That is really the problem. I f we really that, “Okay, I have all these material desires, these material things are going to make me happy,” that is foolish. Then we are foolish. So we must be firm in knowledge so that we can see, “Now, although I have all these material desires, they’re not going to make me happy.” And if we are convinced of that then we are stronger to deal with them and to say no to them. But if we have faith in material desires- oh, then very difficult. Therefore I say that a devotee should come to the point where he makes a declaration of no faith in sex. He should just have no faith in it. Okay, biologically and all this, the pushings are there, the hormones are to act at a certain stage in life and is pushed by the body, the mind and the senses but do you really believe it’s going to make you happy? That cannot happen, that a devotee cannot allow. We should have no faith in material desires. Then we can take shelter of Krsna consciousness, like that. And then it’s a struggle but then with good association, and then with regular hearing, chanting, then gradually we get higher taste and then gradually the material desires, they go the edge of our mind called the ‘horizon of the mind’ and sometimes they pop up above the horizon and other times they go back down, like that. And then the earth of our mind is flat and one day it will just fall of the edge- whoop! And never to return! This is nice. So have some patience and have no faith in material enjoyments. Nothing out that there is that good that you want to come back for it- nothing! Okay…
Question: Maharaja, you were speaking about why Krsna sends us suffering in this world and why we suffer. And the place where we’re not suffering is brahmajyoti…
Maharaja: Well, not this kind of suffering- no sand and the sweet rice.
Question continued: I was contemplating…because the karma…I just want to share the idea and want you to comment on it…that we actually come here and we’re actually not meant to suffer but because by our actions, because we’re not acting godly, we make so many other sufferings by just not following the laws of God, it kicks back like a mirror. So basically it’s not Krsna who’s kicking us but we are ourselves. So there’s no Krsna to blame.
Maharaja: Okay, we walked into the mousetrap! That’s my mind then; my mind say, “Okay we are to blame for walking into the mouse trap!” but then the question that I asked during the lecture was, “Why was there a mousetrap anyway?” Why is the material a mousetrap? Why isn’t it just cheese? So of course we are the ones who walk into the mousetrap so there is an element where Krsna has put suffering in the design of the material world. Couldn’t He have made it a little less bloody?
Devotee: Well, I was thinking like, He would but if you act upon somebody and made the bloody mess, by your desire to be the Lord then you have to get it back…
Devotee: It’s justice…
Maharaja: But why is justice like that?
Devotee: Why should somebody suffer and you don’t get any reaction for this?
Maharaja: It’s like…but why are bodies designed that there’s blood inside in the first place! You know what I mean? Why aren’t they just sort of invulnerable? We all walk around and you want to throw a dart at me and it just bounces off my chest- Boing! So we can argue for a long time about this! And I think we should just have breakfast instead! (Laughter)
Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya!