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Srimad Bhagavatam




Austin, TX, USA

13 August 2023

00:00 / 01:04

Sankarshan Das: Ecstatic adventure Srimad Bhagavatam. Srimad Bhagavatam 4th Canto, chapter 23, Text 05

Om Namah Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namah Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Om Namah Bhagavate Vasudevaya


śuṣka-parṇāśanaḥ kvacit

ab-bhakṣaḥ katicit pakṣān

vāyu-bhakṣas tataḥ param


kanda — trunk; mūla — roots; phala — fruits; āhāraḥ — eating; śuṣka — dry; parṇa — leaves; aśanaḥ — eating; kvacit — sometimes; ap-bhakṣaḥ — drinking water; katicit — for several; pakṣān — fortnights; vāyu — the air; bhakṣaḥ — breathing; tataḥ param — thereafter.


In the tapo-vana, Mahārāja Pṛthu sometimes ate the trunks and roots of trees, sometimes he ate fruit and dried leaves, and for some weeks he drank only water. Finally he lived simply by breathing air.


In Bhagavad-gītā, yogīs are advised to go to a secluded place in the forest and live alone in a sanctified spot there. By Pṛthu Mahārāja’s behavior we can understand that when he went to the forest he did not eat any cooked food sent from the city by some devotees or disciples. As soon as one takes a vow to live in the forest, he must simply eat roots, tree trunks, fruits, dried leaves or whatever nature provides in that way. Pṛthu Mahārāja strictly adopted these principles for living in the forest, and sometimes he ate nothing but dried leaves and drank nothing but a little water. Sometimes he lived on nothing but air, and sometimes he ate some fruit from the trees. In this way he lived in the forest and underwent severe austerity, especially in regards to eating. In other words, overeating is not at all recommended for one who wants to progress in spiritual life. Śrī Rūpa Gosvāmī also warns that too much eating and too much endeavor (atyāhāraḥ prayāsaś ca) are against the principles by which one can advance in spiritual life.

It is also notable that, according to Vedic injunction, to live in the forest is to live in the mode of complete goodness, whereas to live in the city is to live in the mode of passion, and to live in a brothel or drinking house is to live in the mode of ignorance. However, to live in a temple is to live in Vaikuṇṭha, which is transcendental to all the modes of material nature. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement affords one the opportunity to live in the temple of the Lord, which is as good as Vaikuṇṭha. Consequently, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not need to go to the forest and artificially try to imitate Mahārāja Pṛthu or the great sages and munis who used to live in the forest.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, after retiring from his minister’s seat in the government, went to Vṛndāvana and lived beneath a tree, like Mahārāja Pṛthu. Since then, many people have gone to Vṛndāvana to imitate Rūpa Gosvāmī’s behavior. Instead of advancing in spiritual life, many have fallen into material habits and even in Vṛndāvana have become victims of illicit sex, gambling and intoxication. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has been introduced in the Western countries, but it is not possible for Westerners to go to the forest and practice the severe austerities which were ideally practiced by Pṛthu Mahārāja or Rūpa Gosvāmī. However, Westerners or anyone else can follow in the footsteps of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura by living in a temple, which is transcendental to residence in a forest, and to vow to accept kṛṣṇa-prasāda and nothing else, follow the regulative principles and chant sixteen rounds daily of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. In this way, one’s spiritual life will never be disturbed.

vande ham sri-guroh sri-yuta-pada-kamalam sri-gurun vaishnavams ca

sri-rupam sagrajatam saha-gana-raghunathanvitam tam sa jivam

sadvaitam savadhutam parijana-sahitam krishna-caitanya-devam

sri-radha-krishna-padan saha-gana-lalita- sri-visakhanvitams ca

nama om vishnu-padaya krishna-preshthaya bhu-tale

srimate bhaktivedanta-svamin iti namine

namas te sarasvate deve gaura-vani-pracarine


On reading we think, God, go in the forest and live on tree trunks? And sometimes only live on air and not even water? You know, We can't dream of such austerity. But Srila Prabhupada has given us this very nice program. We can live in the temple or householders can make our home into a temple by having regular deity worship and make our home into a temple also. So we have to either live in the temple or make our home into a temple. It's a place of residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and we are the servants. One should never think I'm a lord here. One should always think this place belongs to Krishna and He is the proprietor and I'm simply the servant. We keep this nice service mood and we can live nicely on Krishna Prasadam, but we have to strictly avoid these illicit sex, meat eating, intoxication and gambling. If we engage in these activities then we are in a very fallen condition, servants of our senses. So you can be a Goswami or a go-das. Even a householder can be a Goswami. You don't have to take sannyasa order to be a Goswami. Goswami means as a brahmachari, a grhastha, a vanaprastha, a sannyasi, to engage the senses only in the service of the master of the senses, Lord Sri Krishna, and not to engage oneself in the service of the senses. The senses are like snakes, venomous snakes. You give them sense gratification, it simply increases their venom. They become more and more poisonous. So if you break these regulative principles, then your senses become more and more poisonous and more and more dangerous. So that's why we have to strictly follow the regular principles so we don't become victims of lust, anger, greed, madness, illusion and envy. There's a tendency in this modern day society due to so much association with the material energy, there's a tendency to go back to sense gratification. Because everywhere you see, sense gratification is going on. Every billboard, every sign, all the advertisements, it's all based on sex, sex, sex, and money, money, money, money. The whole thing is based on sex and money. So we have to therefore detach ourselves from this material society in which we are presently living. Very, very careful to detach ourselves from it. 'Asat-sangha tyag'. One must give up the association with non-devotees. So even though in our jobs or in our preaching we are out there and we are associating with so many atheistic people just going to the grocery store. Everywhere we go like the grocery store they are selling meat, fish and eggs, liquor, cigarettes, everywhere we go all this sense gratification is going on. So we have to therefore become free from asat-sangha, the association of non-devotees by taking shelter of the devotees. Our nature is we want association. That's our nature. We are not by nature, living in the forest. Our nature is we want to associate. So unless we learn how to associate nicely with the devotee, we will go back to associating with the non-devotee. And non-devotee association would kill us. It would keep us entangled in the cycle of birth and death, birth after birth after birth after birth. So one has to decide, I want to stay in the cycle of birth and death, suffering in an unlimited number of ways as a dog, as a camel, as an ass, as a monkey, as a demigod, as a human being, as a germ, as a worm. I want to keep going through this cycle again and again. Since time immemorial we've been caught up in it and I don't want to keep going in it forever. I want to get out of this horrible cycle of birth and death and go back to my original constitutional position in the spiritual world as an intimate associate of the Lord, as a servant, as a friend, as a parent or a lover, conjugal lover. If I want to go back to that or I want to stay here suffering like anything, birth, death, old age and disease, the adhibhautik, adhidaivik and adhiatmik miseries, fourfold, the threefold, and zapping us again and again and again and again. Just like recently there was a fire in Hawaii, the whole town was wiped out by a fire. Can you imagine the whole town was wiped out by a fire. Can you imagine the whole town was wiped out by a fire? That's an example of the miseries we are going through in the material world. So we have to then become a little intelligent, a little bit sober, a little bit discriminated. Understand what is beneficial for me and what is harmful for me. If we associate with a rascal we will become a rascal. If we associate with a sadhu we will become a sadhu. So that is,

‘sādhu-saṅga’, ‘sādhu-saṅga’ — sarva-śāstre kaya

lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya

All the scriptures are saying associate with sadhus, associate with sadhus, associate with sadhus. If we don't want to associate with the sadhus or we are offensive toward the sadhus then what happens? We become rascals. You have to learn what is the art of associating with the sadhus. You can't go in a joking or frivolous or offensive way in associating with the sadhus. In a very serious sober way, always in a respectful way, always offering respectful obeisances,

vancha-kalpatarubhyash cha

kripa-sindhubhya eva cha

patitanam pavanebhyo

vaishnavebhyo namo namaha

Always in that humble respectful mood. We keep that mood always there. Whether the sadhus glorify me or criticize me, you should take it as the same thing. Take it as the same thing, be equipoised and associate with the sadhus. Take everything as their blessing, not if they tell me I'm a rascal, I should tell them that they're a rascal. You should be very humble and respectful in all situations. In this way we will actually be able to make steady, steady advancement in this pathway. There is a whole system, a scientific process. You see in the beginning you have Shraddha, some say, well these devotees seem pretty nice and then what do you do? You associate with them, sadhu-sangha. Then what happens when you associate with them? Well, let me take up this process, bhajana-kriya, chant the japa, do some service, bhajana-kriya and then you come to anartha-nivritti, you have to give up a bad habit. The sadhus say I shouldn't have illicit sex, I shouldn't engage in meat eating, I shouldn't engage in intoxication. All right, let me give it a try. I don't know if I can handle it or not, but let me just try it for a little bit and see what it does for me. Give up the anarthas, all of it. I feel really good giving up these anarchists. I am no longer a slave of my senses. I am giving up the service of the senses and taking up the service of Krishna. And then by taking up that anartha nivritti, giving up the bad habits, then what happens after due course Nishtha, becoming fixed up devotee. Become fixed, thoroughly fixed and no longer being pulled around by the modes of material nature. Now I can say goodbye to the modes, goodbye mode of ignorance, goodbye mode of passion, goodbye mode of goodness even. Now I want to be fixed totally in devotional service and you become nishtha state. And then of course you become at a very very advanced level. We can talk about what we have read, maybe not from experience but we can talk about what we have read, but we can talk about what we are reading in the shastras, and then you enter the stage of spiritual emotions. You actually feel an emotional love of God starting to awaken your heart to Bhava's stage. And then from there you become more and more and more purified and the beginning of spiritual emotions come and then you become fully absorbed in the pure love of God, Prema. So there is a whole scientific process, step by step just like the university you go through the scientific process, you go to the elementary school, then high school, then you get your bachelor's degree, master's degree, PhD degree. It's a whole system, you see. Systematic way to get a PhD degree. Not that you can just say I am a PhD. No, you have to go through the process of becoming a PhD. You can't say I have pure love for Krishna, I have been going through all the preliminary stages, I am smoking marijuana, I am having a little liquor now, I am having a little sex life and I am a pure devotee. No. You have to go through the authorized system of becoming a pure devotee. It's like getting a PhD. It's an authorized system for becoming a pure devotee of Krishna. If you haven't gone through the authorized system, we can understand you're a cheater and a rascal posing yourself as a pure devotee. So in this way, if you take up the process very soberly and very carefully all success will be ours. What is the beginning of a thousand mile journey? The first step. If you don't want to take the first step, well you're not going to get the thousand mile journey, you have to take that first step, and then the second step, and the third step, and this way you go step by step by step by step and not give up the pathway. I see so many have come to this movement in the 52 years I have been here, I have seen so many come and so many went. I think of all our devotees, we were together in Brahmacharya Ashram, where are they? They're long gone. I've seen so many devotees, we've seen Brahmacharyas together, serving together, cooking together, so many things we did together. Now where are they? Just Preaching together, so many things we did, where are they? They gave up the process, they didn't have sufficient faith, the Sradhha in the process. So it's very very important we have strong faith in the process, very very important we have strong faith. Very very important, very very strong faith that this process actually works. If I work the process I am going to get the result. But if you are doubtful, I don't know if this process really works or not, You can't be doubtful about this process. You have to have the knowledge that you must be completely convinced that by chanting Hare Krishna and following the regular principles and serving the Vaishnava and serving the spiritual master, I am completely convinced by this process that I am awakened in pure love of God and I get back to my original intimate relationship with the Supreme Personality of God and His transcendental pastimes in the spiritual world. I have complete faith that I'll achieve this. So I may not be well situated yet, I may have some of the anarchist, but in spite of that I must have total complete, I am totally convinced. And I have a very nice name to start with, you must inquire until your intelligence is fully satisfied. So if there is any doubt you need to inquire, Gurudeva I have a doubt about this, I have a doubt about that. So if there are any doubts you have to inquire. Because that's how you become subtly fixed in Shradhha. All your doubts are erased, then you become, then you attain the Shradhha phase, all the doubts are removed. And then from that position you can go on step by step by step all the way to the PhD, Krishna Prema level. Now we have a phone call coming in, we'll pause for a minute.

So, we cannot imitate Prithu Maharaj's example, but we can follow Prabhupada's very nice instruction to live in a temple or make our home into a temple. So, what are we going to do? It's our choice. You have free will, we are not robots, we are not puppets. We have the free will to do what we choose to do. So now what will your choice be? You want to stay in the cycle of birth or you want to get liberated? I want to get liberated I have to follow the instructions of the sadhus, the spiritual masters. I have to become submissive and humble servant of the sadhus and the spiritual master. That's the meaning of sadhu-sangha. Now that I associate with devotees and I tell them that they are nonsense. No, associating with devotees means that I have a humble service mood. That's what it means to be associating with devotees. Why do you give me this instruction? Who are you to give me this instruction? You see if I have this attitude, what do you mean giving me that instruction? Don't you know who I am? I am so and so dot, so and so dot, who are you to give me that instruction? No we have that attitude, we haven't fully entered into sadhu-sangha. We may have faith in the process but we are not respectful and humble in our dealings with the devotees, that means we are not in sadhu-sangha. We have got the first step, we haven't made the second step. If you can't make the second step, you can't get the third, the fourth, the fifth, the sixth and the seventh. You won't make it. So we have to learn how to properly associate with the devotees. That's what Lord Caitanya said,

tṛṇād api su-nīcena

taror iva sahiṣṇunā

amāninā māna-dena

kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ

One should take the holy name of the Lord in the humble state of mind, taking himself lower than a straw in the street, being willing to offer all respect to others without expecting even the slightest tinge of respect from oneself, in such a state of mind one can go on chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,24 hours a day in a state of ever increasing bliss. We have to be in that mood, we can go on chanting 24 hours a day and want more, more, more, more, more of Krishna's mercy. We have to come to that state of offenceless chanting against the Holy Name, not that disobey the spiritual master. I tell the spiritual master he's stupid and I go on chanting. No. We have to become humble, submissive and in this way the Holy name will manifest. The Holy name will manifest. The pure, the Shudhh Naam. We don't want the Ashudhh naam, the impure name. There are so many offenses, we want the pure name to awaken in us. That's the reason we need to come to. Otherwise we are just kidding ourselves about being a devotee. It's a joke, it's a false show, being a devotee. I'm committing so many offenses against the holy name, against the Vaishnavas, against the spiritual master, But yet I think I'm a great pure devotee of the Lord. I should not be carried away by maya in this way, to think I was an advanced devotee, but actually a struggling neophyte. Our actual position is we're struggling neophytes, battling it out with lust, anger, greed, madness, delusion and envy. That's our actual position, we're struggling, stumbling, bumbling neophytes. So we admit our fallen position instead of trying to present ourselves as big shots, transcendental as big shots. If we take a humble position and understand, I need to be corrected a lot because I am so mistaken. Very good if I am corrected again and again and again to my problem. If we have this humble mood of welcoming corrections, welcoming chastisement, etc. then we are in a good position to associate with the devotees, Sadhu-sangha. And then from there we can actually come nicely to the spiritual and devotional service and freedom from anarchism and move on to that Nishtha state and solidly fix, nothing at all can divert me. Just like Haridas Thakur, he was so fixed up as a pure devotee, so solidly fixed, so much that king Hussain Shah couldn't stand it. He said, a Muslim now, being worshipped as a great saint. a Muslim being worshipped as a great saint? He found one beautiful prostitute girl and he said, "you go there and seduce him. I want to catch you in the act so we can expose him for being a rascal." He was so determined to expose, to make Haridas into following the illicit sex with this prostitute so he could spoil his reputation. But Haridas Thakur was very cool headed. The prostitute came, she even exposed part of her body to him. She came into his quarters and exposed part of her body naked to him. But he was completely chanting, Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare. She said, "I can't even live unless you satisfy me. Please satisfy me, let me live, or I will give up my body." She so passionately and zealously begs for sexual union with him. But he goes, " Yes, yes, I'll give you what you want my dear girl, but let me finish my job first." He tricked her. And he said, as soon as I finished my rounds, and then the second night and the third night, finally by all this association, Sadhu-Sanga, even though she was offensive, by the great power of Hari Dasa Thakur, she became a devotee and surrendered to Lord Krishna, she took up the same vow of chanting that he was doing. We can't imitate him, but just see the power of being fixed in Krishna consciousness. No matter how many arrows, Kama Dev, may try to shoot into our heart, it will just bounce off. It will bounce off if we are fixed in Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. So we should take full advantage of this mercy coming down from Srila Prabhupada. It's amazing to me his pastime he had in New York City with those hippies. How merciful he was to them. Amazing how kind he was to them. Very, very kind and merciful. Just like I was explaining yesterday. He married 2 disciples, they were living together as boyfriend and girlfriend without being married but he initiated them. So then he said now you have to get married. After they were initiated, this is Mukunda and Janaki, he said now you have to get married. So they surrendered, alright, if Prabhupad wants us to get married we'll do that. So the system is a family member has to turn the girl over to the boy to marry somebody. So he told her, bring your relatives now, but none of them would come except one came, the sister came, Joan. She came all the way from Oregon, 3,000 miles, for this wedding ceremony. And so now Prabhupad himself is cooking the wedding feast, and he engaged Joan to help him cook this feast. And Prabhupad was so kind, Joan said, "Swamiji, can I take a cigarette break?" She was smoking cigarettes. Prabhupada engaged her in helping her to take a break. Just wash your hands. Am I going to do that? I am not Prabhupada.I am not at the level of Srila Prabhupad. I am just telling you about how merciful Prabhupada was. That was the point. Not that I can imitate him or Hari Das Thakur. But Prabhupada was so kind and merciful in that way, she became one of the most advanced devotees in our movement, actually, Jamuna Devadasi. She was transferred to Jamuna Devadasi. When she gave up her cigarettes, she became totally sold out in the service of Srila Prabhupada. So in this way, we can be kind and merciful, not imitating the great advanced devotees, but in our own way, be as kind and merciful as possible to help these fallen souls who are drowning in the ocean of birth and death. However much we can be merciful we should be to help them get out of their illusion and confusion, experiencing profusion. So I don't have so much to say, I'm not so realized, but I'm just a struggling neophyte here. But if somebody has any questions?

Here's one question.

Bhaktin Sansi: Please give me a chance.

Sankarshan Das: Yes, your chance is there. Actually after millions and millions of births, now you have the chance, you have the opportunity to take up the devotional service. So you have to use your intelligence and not be pulled by your senses like the example we give many times. The chariot, the horses, the reins, the chariot driver and the passenger. The horses are the senses, the mind is the reins, the driver is the intelligence and the passenger is the soul. So this is your chance now, but don't be like the foolish driver who let go of the reins and let the horse go around. You have to take the reins, you have to take your mind, ok my dear mind, now my dear mind you fix yourself in Krishna consciousness. So all these senses are now fixed. All these senses are now fixed. So we have to use, the point is we have to use our intelligence, not be carried away by the senses. Then the passenger of the soul will become solid, back to home, back to Godhead.

Vishnurata: What is the sign of a mind which is delivered by chanting Hare Krishna mantra?

Sankarshan Das: The symptom of a mind which is delivered is that it can go on chanting 24 hours a day Hare Krishna Mantra, but never get tired of chanting and taste ever increasing nature in the Holy name. That means we are not fully delivered yet. We can't do that 24 hours a day of Hare Krishna mantra. We are not completely liberated. We are still caught up in the mugs of nature. So that is why when we do chant our 16 rounds, we have to do it with focus, with attention, in the mood of begging, Radha and Krishna, please liberate me. My dear Radharani, my dear Krishna, please bless me now I can become liberated from all my lust, anger, greed, madness, illusion and envy. Please save me, my dear Radha and Krishna. So we chant in this mood of begging, begging, begging, begging, begging. Please save me, bless that I can purely chant the holy name, Shuddha-naam. Now I am a naam apradhi, commit so many offenses against the name. Please my dear Radha and Krishna, bless me that now I can absolutely purely chant the name. Your mind is actually delivered, then you get the level of pure devotional service. You are a pure devotee of Krishna when your mind is actually delivering.

Bhaktin Shivani: How come inquiring from Guru is a service?

Sankarshan Das: Well that's one of the ways of service, inquiring, hearing, inquiring. Why is it service? Why is it service to inquire from the spiritual master. Spiritual master wants you to inquire and get all your doubts to be completely erased, you can remember fixed and transcendental knowledge. The spiritual master's duty is to deliver right now, the present position of right now, we are rascals. Even though we are pure devotees of Krishna within, but right now because we are caught up in the modes of nature, we are rascals. Rakshasaswe can say. Rakshasas and Rakshasis. We are caught up and we are completely entangled in the modes of material nature. So the spiritual master's duty is to deliver us from our fallen position. So one should inquire how to become delivered. One should inquire to get a clear understanding of the teachings of Krishna consciousness. Because by this inquiry you can cut these heart nuts, hridiya granthi in the heart. These inquiries will have to cut through that hard nut. So the spiritual master's duty is to deliver you and when you inquire that can actually help and deliver you. So we should do everything one can to help the spiritual master deliver you from the cycle of birth and death by inquiring, inquiring, inquiring until you are absolutely crystal clear on why you should become fully submitted to Guru and Krishna.

Leela Manjari Devi Dasi: The ISKCON temple or preaching center is present in almost every corner of the world. So even if one is living in the city, which ideally is in the mode of passion, if one is somehow engaged in service, does that mean that one is as good as living in the temple?

Sankarshan Das: It depends on how you are living in the home. It depends on, you can make your home as good as a temple, revising every morning, have a Mangla Aarti, keep a Tulsi tree, worship a Tulsi, having Guru Puja, studying the Bhagavatam. It depends on, if you make your home as good as a temple by always engaging in emotional service, then you are already living in the temple. So it depends how much you are turning your home into a temple atmosphere. A little bit, medium amount, all the way. You have to make, if you are not living in the temple, you have to make your home all the way into the temple. You do your normal activities, your job or school, whatever it is, raising kids or whatever it may be, but you have to make a temple-like atmosphere in your home. Very important.

Bhaktin Preeti: Gurudev in the Purport has mentioned that too much endeavor is against the principle of which one may advance in spiritual life. So what does it mean 'over endeavor'?

Sankarshan Das: You try to do something where you're totally engrossed in accomplishing it. We should do the needful to get things done but not over-endeavor to get them done. Just for example, when I was a student, working on getting a degree in the university, and you have exams to study for, etc. Etc. But over-endeavors, you study so much you don't have time to do your Japa. That's an example of over-endeavor. I have a final exam tomorrow so forget my japa I am just going to study. That's over endeavoring. You can have your japa nicely and you can study much easier and much nicer. That's an example of over endeavoring.

Bhaktin Preeti: But, Gurudev, in this advanced age without hard work we can't get anything. How to apply parallel things this way as stated by Rupa Goswami.

Sankarshan Das: Not bad working hard Even if it is difficult to rise early in the morning, I should do it. Even if it is a hard thing to get up early and chant my japa. The thing is you have to prioritize Sadhana bhakti. You have to make Krishna Your number one priority, not your number 2 priority, your number 3 priority. You have to make Krishna conciousness as the top most priority. We don't mind if you work hard, but you have to make Krishna consciousness as the number 1 thing you work hard for.

Anything else? Anyone satisfied? Any questions from the locals? Gurumataji, would you like to add some points?

Gurumataji: My point is they will run away. Very heavy points. That's why they don't come to the class. So If I do it in your class, you will have somebody to hear it also.

Sankarshan Das: You see we haven't had a point so we end up in a short class today. By the way there's another lecture happening at 11.30 that's in 3.5 hours. There will be another lecture happening in our Sunday program, Sunday Love Feast program, chanting, dancing, feasting and philosophy.

Gurumataji: 5 O'clock?

Sankarshan Das: Yes, Another class. 5 o'clock means, let's see, it is now 8, 9 hours from now, it will be another class.

Gurumataji: Next day from there.

Sankarshan Das: OK, we have another question rolling in, let's see what we got. Paramhamsa has finished typing it in.

Paramhamsa: I have some idea what he's asking. He has to endeavor like anything to even pay his bills. Working 2 jobs if you can imagine that. Western world, the, Wait for the rest of the question. You may have to work 2 jobs to pay your bills. You're next after him. He has to finish typing it in. Or we can... If he's taking a long time to type it in, I can take your question and...Go ahead.

Devotee Mataji: Thank you so much, Srila Gurudev. Very nice talk. My question is, how to explain to new people that chanting the mantra and the 16 rounds and Hare Krishna mantra is going to help. Hare Krishna mantra chanting 16 rounds going to help.

Sankarshan Das: Hare Krishna Mantra what?

Devotee Mataji: How to explain to the new people, chanting Hare Krishna mantra 16 rounds will make you happy.

Sankarshan Das:Make you happy? 16 rounds of what?

Devotee Mataji: How to explain to the people to chant 16 rounds, to new people.

Sankarshan Das: Oh no, let them start gradually. Let them come gradually. Not just say, OK, you have to chant 16 rounds of the Hare Krishna Mantra. They will run away. Engage them in taking prasadam. Let them enjoy the kirtan. Let them come gradually, gradually, gradually. What does it say? Rome was not built in a day. So you can't make them with 16 rounds, 4 regulative principles, ready for initiation right off the bat. Let them come gradually. Let them relish chanting 1 round a day. Not 2 rounds. This way you bring them gradually. Okay, now we have Paramahamsa's, the rest of his question.

Paramhamsa: Western world, the devotees can't do austerities like the ones mentioned in this verse. Is this self-created, is this the self-created civilization?

Gurumataji: Downgraded civilization.

Sankarshan Das: Is this the self-created civilization?

Gurumataji: It's a downgraded civilization.

Sankarshan Das: Definitely downgraded, Gurumataji is saying. Paramahamsa, this is the influence of the age of Kali. The age of Kali means the increase of sinfulness. In the Satya Yuga 100% piety, Treta Yuga 75% piety, Dwapar Yuga 50% piety, Kali Yuga 20% piety, going down 25, 24, 23. I don't know where it is now, but it's really getting low, maybe 10%. This is why we're having this horrible drought by now. This is why the whole city was burned to the ground in Hawaii a couple of days ago. This is the result of impiety. We're getting all these sinful activities. We're getting heavy, heavy reactions. It was 105 degrees yesterday in Austin. It's 105 today also. It's very, very hot. There's no water. We are running out of water here. So this is all a result of sinful activity.

Gurumataji: I guess it's just propaganda that we are running out of the water.

Sankarshan Das: Some people think it's false propaganda but actually water is running out right now.

Gurumataji: Because they want to make the money.

Sankarshan Das: This is why you have this philosophy of false propaganda. Okay, here we have Bakhtin Alka.

Bhaktin Alka: In one of my classes I came to know that Namacharya Haridasa Thakura was the incarnation of Lord Rama. Is this right or not?

Sankarshan Das: You can look in Prabhupada's books. I seem to remember that he was, but I would say do some research in Prabhupada's books and let me know. Here's what you do, you do some research and then send me an email giving me the exact quote. I vaguely remember he was, but I don't want to say it solidly because I don't remember exactly that he was. But I think so, but I'm not absolutely sure. So you find the quote and send it to me in email. I'd like to see the exact quote from Prabhupada in this regard.

Okay, anything else? Everybody satisfied? Here we go.

Vishnurata: When I go to a different land, how can I see in it also the land of Krishna?

ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo

mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate

iti matvā bhajante māṁ

budhā bhāva-samanvitāḥ

'I am the source of all material and spiritual worlds. Everything emanates from me. The wise perfectly engage in my devotional service and worship me with all their hearts.'

So Krishna says everything emanates from me. India comes from me. Pakistan comes from me. America comes from me. Europe. Every universe, every planet, everything is all emanating from Krishna. It's a simple thing. By Bhagavad Gita you can see everything is the land of Krishna.

Gurumataji:What was the question?

Sankarshan Das: Question?

Gurumataji:What was the question?

Sankarshan Das: How to see everything is the land of Krishna?

Gurumataji: How to?

Sankarshan Das:  How can I see that it is also the land of Krishna if I go to a different land?

Gurumataji: What?

Sankarshan Das: If I go to a different land, how can I say that it is also the land of Krishna?

Gurumataji: It is very simple. What is Krishna's another name? He is Jagannath.

Sankarshan Das: Jagannath, the Lord of the Universe. There you go. Jagannath, the Lord of all the Universe. Actually, the Lord of all the universes. Actually the Lord of all the universe. Jagannatha, the Lord of the universe. Very good point.

Bhaktin Nisha: Why does Krishna talk about controlling the senses to Arjuna when the purpose of the conversation seemed to be to incite Arjuna to fight?

Sankarshan Das: Well actually fighting, in that situation fighting was devotional service. Sometimes devotional service is not to fight and sometimes devotional service is to fight. So Arjuna was losing control of his senses by desiring not to fight and desire to fight on the order of Krishna was controlling his senses.

Any other questions? Everyone satisfied now, ready to fully absorb the devotional service for your every thought, when and in and of all times, places and circumstances? So no cheating? No subtle cheating? No holding on to the stool in the brain is a very wonderful thing. We should not be stool brained, holding on to the thoughts of sense gratification, thinking oh they are very nice. At least I can contemplate sense gratification. That's like keeping the stool in the toilet without flushing it down. We have with the stool in our brain from previous lifetimes, we have this tendency to contemplate sense enjoyment. What does Krishna say? About contemplating the objects of the senses, one develops attachment to them, one develops less attachment, less anger arises, and illusion of memory. When we contemplate sense gratification, within our mind, thinking about sense gratification, that's the beginning of falling down to material nature. We have to learn if there's any lust, anger, greed, mania, comes in the brain, kick it out, kick it out with boot. Flush it down, get rid of it. Don't hold on to it.

Anything else? Everybody satisfied now? No more doubts? All doubts are now erased? Well, you are very advanced. No more doubts? That's pretty good. No doubts. Anyone who says, I have no doubts, either lying or they are very advanced. One of the two. You are making a show. Oh yes, Gurudev, I have no doubt. Do you have no doubt about you not seeing Krishna face to face? Why you haven't come to the Prema stage if you have no doubt? Let me go deep in your heart and let me know what your doubts are so I can smash them. That's my request. Those who are listening today, please go deep in your heart, find the doubts and bring them out to like a rational. There's nothing else? You sure? I'm going to end it now? I'm sure I'm going to end it now. Anybody have any doubts? Okay. All right, here's one.

Amala Purana: More than doubt, it's entanglement and sense enjoyment that is the problem. So why do we, let's go back, why are we entangled in sense enjoyment and moods?

Sankarshan Das: Because we have doubts that it is possibly worth it. That's why we are entangled in at least contemplating sense enjoyment. We are doubtful that Chanting Hare Krishna is more blissful than any kind of sense enjoyment I could get even in the heavenly planet. Chanting Hare Krishna is more and exceeds all other pleasures that we could ever have even in the heavenly planet. That's why we are entangled in sense enjoyment because we are in doubt whether this process really does work. So we have to then find a way to get rid of these doubts. Concentrating on sense enjoyment is not going to satisfy me. The only thing that will satisfy me is pure Shudhha Naam. Nothing else will satisfy me except the pure name. Nothing else. We need to come to that level, you see. But we have doubts. Well, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe, maybe. But holding on to these doubts. Even the Bible has somebody called Doubting Thomas, famous person in the Bible Doubting Thomas. So we are doubting Das and doubting Dasi, that's our position. That's why we are entangled still in sense enjoyment, contemplating sense enjoyment. Because we have these doubts. So we have to destroy the demon of doubt with the shining lamp of knowledge. That's why we have to read Prabhupada's books. He says read the 'Nectar of Devotion' 3 or 4 times. How many of us have done that? It's Prabhupada's order. Read the 'Nectar of Devotion' 3 or 4 times. How many have done that? Read the 'Nectar of Devotion' 3 or 4 times. Has anybody done that? Has any one of us done that? Prabhupad's order. So in time you get serious about becoming Krishna conscious. Stop this being intoxicated by maya. Get out of this intoxicated state and come to the actual sobriety. This is what Vishnujana Swami told me. I was a hippie attending the program, I remember a very cherished moment of my life. I was having a program with the humble Robin Ferris in the living room. In those days there was no bottled water, you had to go to the tap if you wanted a drink. So I got a little thirsty and went into the kitchen to get a drink of water and who showed up in the kitchen but His Holiness Vishnujana Swami and he looked me right in the eyes and he said, "You have to become sober." The hippies loved to get high, stay high forever on LSD or marijuana or peyote cactus, always stay high on something, that was the philosophy of the hippies. But he said, "You have to become sober." He said it with such compassion, with such love and such conviction. I actually did become sober. I gave up all the bad habits and became a Bhramachari living, an initiated devotee living in the temple. I did follow his instruction to become sober. We have to come to that transcendental level of being sober, no longer intoxicated by the material nature.

Bhaktin Sunanda: What is the best thing we can do while staying with no devotees? We are very humble in nature behavior but not ready to accept Bhagavat Gita.

Sankarshan Das: You know that's the challenge. I have sometimes some students who are living at home with their parents and they are forced to eat nonsense food. They are forced by their parents to eat nonsense food that is not Prasadam. They want to know what to do. How to do in a situation where you are in bad association. All I can say, I can't tell them to fight with your parents and tell your parents they are nonsense. That is not a very practical thing we can do. I like to tell them, well you just got to tolerate it, and try as much as possible. If it's vegetarian food, there's no meat, fish, eggs, onion and garlic you can manly offer to Krishna. There's all kinds of difficulties living with non-devotees, especially if you're a kid and your parents are non devotees. How to handle it, how to deal with it. It's a very, very difficult situation. I can't just give one blanket answer. It depends on the exact situation. You have to arrive and give me the exact situation, whether it's your parents or your brother, I don't know the details to give the best advice. The general principle is be tolerant and be patient. Now, the mother and the kid, just like one mother wrote me, her daughter is drinking liquor. So what do you do in that situation the mother's position is treat the child, chastise the child. You can't drink liquor. If it's a parent and a child, the parent has to, the parent is a devotee and the child is a non devotee. Then the parent has to become very strong and chastise the child. You can't drink liquor. If it's a parent and a child, the parent has to, if the parent is a devotee and the child is a non-devotee, then the parent has to become very strong and chastise the child. You can't drink liquor. What kind of daughter are you drinking liquor? Very strange, very strong daughter and child relationship. Okay, alright.

Bakhtin Sheila: How to handle a weak lamenting mind.

Sankarshan Das: Ah, beat your mind with shoes, that's one instruction from Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati. Beat your mind with shoes. You rascal mind, stop your lamenting and learn how to be happy and chanting the holy name.

bhajahū re mana śrī-nanda-nandana

abhaya-caraṇāravinda re

My dear mind, please now engage yourself in the devotional service of the Divine Son of Nanda Maharaj.

You have to be very strong, you see. The mind is like a kid and you're the parent. You can't let your kid run wild or break everything in the house. You have to say, okay my dear mind, now your business is to always be fixed in Krishna consciousness. You have no other business except to be fixed in Krishna consciousness. So that you have to become very strong Bhaktin Sheela and bring your mind in control.

Bhaktin Sunanda: My is like my brother.

Sankarshan Das: Your brother is like an equal level so you can preach to him. Tell him my dear brother you should read Bhagavad Gita. Why are you wasting your time? You can preach to your brother. You should, my, why are you wasting your time? You should give him, you should study this book. It will make you happy. You should preach to your brother.

Bhaktin Sheela: A weak heart brings overwhelmed feelings. How I can live simply, think simply and straightforwardness, be simple and do bhakti without getting overwhelmed?

Gurumataji: These are not what you can answer. You should be able to control oneself. It's not a magic wand, the instructions. If you really want, the instructions are coming and one should practice. How, how, how, it's not going to happen.

Bhaktin Praname:. Is Shiksha mandatory before Diksha? Shiksha means following the instructions. Not end of a formal Shiksharelationship. If you are following the instructions of the spiritual master you are already situated in siksha. If you are following, taking the order of the spiritual master as your life and soul, you are already a Shiksha Guru whether it is a formal Shiksharelationship or not. Shiksha means you are following, taking the order of the spiritual master as your very life and soul. If you are chanting, you have 4 principles and chanting 16 sounds, yes. You are situated in Shiksha , relationship with guru. 

Okay anything else?

Gurumataji: Siksa means you are already taking siksa. Hearing classes, questioning, that is Shiksha .

Sankarshan Das: Anything else?

Devotee: Can a brahmachari be one siksa guru for a woman devotee?

Sankarshan Das: Actually, this woman, this male-female thing is very, very dangerous, I can tell you right now. Your brahmachari walks in, you offer obeisance to him, you are my Shiksha guru, you are in Maya. You are in a dangerous position. Very dangerous. This Male-female thing, got to entangle you here. Men running after women and running after men. This is the very thing that keeps entangled life after life. Female hog running after male hog. I mean we are going on this male-female thing as a binding knot. But it is the insatiable enemy known as lust. So I would not recommend taking a brahmachari as a Shiksha Guru. If you are inspired by the devotees preaching, you are hearing classes from so and so Das and so and so Dasi, that's nice. Now you can think everybody is a Shiksha guru, whether it is a male or female, but at the same time you think, oh this one person is my Shiksha Guru. You are in a dangerous position right now. I am warning you right now, you are in a dangerous position. You are thinking, well that that can be my husband also. Now we have Shiksha Guru relationship, now I want him as my husband. I don't recommend it. Don't do it. It's dangerous. I'm against it. Women should not try to become brahmacharis' mother or husband. I'm your Shiksha disciple, my dear Prabhu. No. Anything else? Okay, we'll stop here. Are you sure? Are you satisfied now? Yes?

Devotee Mataji: No doubt it is a process but still difficult to practice, practical application.

Sankarshan Das: Yeah, that's right because we're not serious, that's the problem. We're not serious, we're still holding on to this frivolous mood. We're not serious about it. It's difficult because we're lacking seriousness. We're lacking conviction because we're not sure this process actually works. We still have doubts about the process. You can say you have no doubts but you're having difficulty, but I can tell you, you're having difficulty because your subtle doubts are still there. Whether you admit it or not, you have subtle doubts and that's why you're having difficulty. You may not admit it, but I'm telling you a fact, you're having difficulty because you're still holding on to subtle doubts. Okay. Is there anything else from the Assembled Vaishnavas and Vaishnavis? Anything else? Here we go from Leela Manjari.

Leela Manjari: Biggest problem is my false ego that prevents me from progressing.

Sankarshan Das: Yes, that's a problem we all have, that damn false ego. I am this body, I am the Lord, I am the master of this false ego. Ego means identity. My actual identity is I am a spiritual being, I am a servant of Krishna,

jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’

the constitutional, existing living entity, the eternal servant of Krishna. That's the real ego. We don't deny ego or identity. But the thing is I misidentify myself with my body, with my mind. In this way we do the misidentification we have difficulties. So we have to kick out the false ego, I am not this body, I am not this mind. You have to engage yourself in the service of Krishna with every thought, word and deed in all times, places and circumstances. You have to reinforce your real ego by practical Sadhana Bhakti. By hearing, chanting, remembering, bowing down, worshipping, offering prayers, etc. Always reinforce your real ego and that way the false ego will gradually go away. I think my satisfaction is satisfying these senses. False ego means I think that my actual happiness is satisfying my senses, my love, my anger, my greed, my madness, my illusion, my envy. That's my real satisfaction. No, it's not your satisfaction. Your satisfaction, Leela Manjari Devi Dasi is to satisfy Krishna, not to satisfy yourself. Your satisfaction, the hand will not be satisfied by squishing the food within the fingers. The hand will only be satisfied by giving the food to the stomach. So your only real satisfaction is to give satisfaction to Krishna. That's your only real satisfaction. You have to be absolutely convinced of this conviction. If you are not fully convinced that my only satisfaction is to satisfy Krishna, then you are on the platform of false ego to some extent. Anything else? We stop here? Are there any other questions rolling in? Shall we turn it off here as a question?

Devotee Mataji: Yes. That we feel the seriousness, but some people don't feel the seriousness. How to... They say, we are okay, you practice.

Sankarshan Das: Well, somebody said, from all I see, you're not really serious about devotional service. Take it as mercy. if someone says,"I see you are not really serious", take it as a blessing. As someone is more chastised, he becomes more advanced. If someone says, you are not really serious about Krishna consciousness, as I can see you are not serious, that is very good. You should take it as a blessing. A devotee should take it as a special mercy. If you are really serious, you should welcome corrections. Someone says, "I don't think you're serious enough about Krishna consciousness." The great Acharyas say that they have no Krishna consciousness.

kabe ha'be bolo se-dina amar

When oh when will that day be mine?

aparadha ghuci', suddha name ruci,

krpa-bale ha'be hrdoye sascar

When my offenses ceasing, taste for the name increasing, When in my heart will Your mercy shine?

kabe ha'be bolo se-dina amar

When, O when will that day be mine? The pure devotees are those who do not admit that they are Krishna conscious. I am a Naam-Aparadhi, I am committing so many offenses against the name. Bhaktavinod's mood is, he thinks he is a sinner against the Name. So if someone says you are not really serious, then you should take it as a special blessing. And say yes, I have no seriousness. Take it as a great blessing. You are not really serious, and that is my Krishna consciousness. Take it as a great great blessing. You are not really serious enough about Krishna consciousness. Take it as a great blessing. That's what our Acharyas do. We learn from our great Acharyas the mood of humility. Okay.

Vishnurata: Is devotional service an award for devotional service? Is devotional service an award for devotional service of Krishna?

Sankarshan Das: Yes, if I have a mood for devotion, then I am blessed by getting more service to do. More service, if we are given more service to do, that is a special blessing from Krishna. If you have some desire to serve Him And Krishna gives you the service, not the, oh no, I got some service, no, it's a blessing. Krishna gives you the service, now you should do the service. Krishna's mercy you're getting more and more service, because you had some desire to be a devotee, now you're getting a service, You do this, you do that, it's a great blessing.

Anything else? Everybody satisfied now? We should conclude it, wrap it up, finish it? Or is something more coming in from Lithuania? Nothing? Okay, we'll stop here and We thank you very much for tuning in.

Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna, Krishna, Hare Hare

Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

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