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Srimad Bhagavatam




Austin, TX, USA

15 August 2023

00:00 / 01:04

SB 4.23.07

Sankarshan Das: Srimad Bhagavatam, Fourth Canto, Chapter Twenty-three, verse 7.

titikṣur yata-vāg dānta
ūrdhva-retā jitānilaḥ
ārirādhayiṣuḥ kṛṣṇam
acarat tapa uttamam


titikṣuḥ — tolerating; yata — controlling; vāk — words; dāntaḥ — controlling the senses; ūrdhva-retāḥ — without discharge of semen; jita-anilaḥ — controlling the life air; ārirādhayiṣuḥ — simply desiring; kṛṣṇam — Lord Kṛṣṇa; acarat — practice; tapaḥ — austerities; uttamam — the best.

Translation and purport by His Divine Grace om vishnupada paramahamsa parivrajakacarya astottara sata Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedantaswami Prabhupad ki jaya!

Translation: Mahārāja Pṛthu underwent all these severe austerities in order to control his words and his senses, to refrain from discharging his semen and to control the life air within his body. All this he did for the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. He had no other purpose.


In Kali-yuga the following is recommended:

harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā

(Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa)

In order to be recognized by Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should chant the holy name of the Lord continuously, twenty-four hours a day. Unfortunate persons who cannot accept this formula prefer to execute some type of pseudo-meditation, without accepting the other processes of austerity. The fact is, however, that one must accept either the severe method of austerity described above to become purified or take to the process of devotional service recommended for pleasing the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa.

The person who is Kṛṣṇa conscious is most intelligent because in Kali-yuga it is not at all possible to undergo such severe austerities. We need only follow great personalities like Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu. In His Śikṣāṣṭaka, Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu wrote, paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam: all glories to the holy names of Lord Kṛṣṇa, which from the very beginning purify the heart and immediately liberate one. Bhava-mahādāvāgni-nirvāpanam. If the real purpose of all yoga is to please Lord Kṛṣṇa, then this simple bhakti-yoga system recommended for this age is sufficient. It is necessary, however, to engage constantly in the service of the Lord. Although Pṛthu Mahārāja executed his austerities long before the appearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa on this planet, his purpose was still to please Kṛṣṇa.

There are many fools who claim that worship of Kṛṣṇa began only about five thousand years ago, after the appearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa in India, but this is not a fact. Pṛthu Mahārāja worshiped Kṛṣṇa millions of years ago, for Pṛthu happened to be a descendant of the family of Mahārāja Dhruva, who reigned for thirty-six thousand years during the Satya-yuga age. Unless his total life span was one hundred thousand years, how could Dhruva Mahārāja reign over the world for thirty-six thousand years? The point is that Kṛṣṇa worship existed at the beginning of creation and has continued to exist throughout Satya-yuga, Tretā-yuga and Dvāpara-yuga, and now it is continuing in Kali-yuga. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, Kṛṣṇa appears not only in this millennium of Brahmā’s life, but in every millennium. Therefore worship of Kṛṣṇa is conducted in all millenniums. It is not that Kṛṣṇa worship began only when Kṛṣṇa appeared on this planet five thousand years ago. This is a foolish conclusion that is not substantiated by Vedic literatures.

Also of significance in this verse are the words ārirādhayiṣuḥ kṛṣṇam acarat tapa uttamam: Mahārāja Pṛthu underwent severe types of austerities for the express purpose of worshiping Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is so kind, especially in this age that He appears in the transcendental vibration of His holy name. As is said in the Nārada-pañcarātra, ārādhito yadi haris tapasā tataḥ kim: if Kṛṣṇa is worshiped, if He is the goal of advancement, there is no need for one to execute severe types of tapasya, because one has already reached his destination. If, after executing all types of tapasya, one cannot reach Kṛṣṇa, all his tapasya has no value, for without Kṛṣṇa all austerity is simply wasted labor, śrama eva hi kevalam (Bhāg. 1.2.8). We should therefore not be discouraged just because we cannot go to the forest and practice severe austerities. Our life is so short that we must strictly adhere to the principles laid down by the Vaiṣṇava ācāryas and peacefully execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness. There is no need to become despondent. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura recommends, ānande bala hari, bhaja vṛndāvana, śri-guru-vaiṣṇava-pade majāiyā mana: for a transcendental, blissful life, chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, come worship the holy place of Vṛndāvana, and always engage in the service of the Lord, of the spiritual master and of the Vaiṣṇavas. This Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore very safe and easy. We have only to execute the order of the Lord and fully surrender unto Him. We have only to execute the order of the spiritual master, preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness and follow in the path of the Vaiṣṇavas. The spiritual master represents both Lord Kṛṣṇa and the Vaiṣṇavas; therefore by following the instructions of the spiritual master and by chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, everything will be all right.

Sankarshan Das: 

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

So, when Srila Prabhupada says, “Everything will be alright”, what does that mean? It means everything is not alright right now. Right now everything is not alright. There was a big fire in Hawaii. The whole town was wiped out. We had a big fire in Cedar Park also. One apartment building was wiped out in Cedar Park which is right near to our home here in Austin. The whole apartment building is completely devastated by it, totally destroyed by a fire in Cedar Park. So everything is not alright. There's all kinds of hellish things breaking out everywhere. As a result of our sinful activities, as a result of our godlessness. You look in the major media, there's no mention of God anywhere. There's no God consciousness, no Krishna consciousness. It's just all mundane, mundane, mundane. It's all based on money, money, money, money, money. They say money, money, money, sweeter than honey. They don't know what actual sweetness is. They think sweetness is money. But even as a saying, money cannot buy you happiness. The point is a well-known saying. But still they think, even though it's stated, money cannot buy you happiness, they think money can buy you happiness. Because the so-called material sense gratification, with money you can buy sense gratification. You can enjoy this, you can enjoy that. The more you have money, the more you can gratify your senses. So the whole culture is based on sense gratification. It's just simply lust. The more you... Sense gratification is all different types of lust. Of all the different senses. Wanting to enjoy separately from Krishna is simply lust. So we have to give up this tendency to want to enjoy separately from Krishna. Even related with Krishna we see devotees sometimes, they want to enjoy their senses in relation with Krishna also. It's like someone told me they wanted to have Krishna as their husband. But that means they want Krishna to gratify their senses. When they're in the mood of actually satisfying Krishna, “I'll serve Him in any way if He wants me to serve Him. I'll be a servant. I'm certainly happy to serve Krishna.” Not that, “I want Krishna to be my husband.” So we have to become sober and realize as long as even in a subtle way we try to gratify our senses we're committing suicide, spiritual suicide. So we have to become very chaste and very sober and our only desire is that my every thought my every word and every deed will be satisfying to Krishna. We have to be very introspective, we have to all be very vigilant because Maya is always trying to sneak in and divert us from Krishna consciousness. Maya is very tricky and very sneaky. She's always trying to get in there and get us away from the pure bhakti path that we've taken up by the mercy of His Divine Grace Om Vishnupada paramahamsa parivrajakacarya astottara sata Sri Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Tridandi Goswami Maharaja Prabhupad. Such austerity Prabhupada did to start this movement. Can you imagine two heart attacks on the boat? And hardly any money? Prabhupada didn't think he would be successful. He arrived in Boston at Commonwealth Port. He was thinking, “As soon as I tell them- no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication, no gambling, immediately they will say- please go home.” The reason he thought this is his godbrother was preaching to Lord Jutland in England. Lord Jutland had previously been the governor of Bengal during the British rule and Prabhupada even remembered, he was actually a Scotsman and Prabhupada was a student at Scottish Church's college. He remembered this, Lord Jutland came and gave a talk at the college. He remembered Lord Jutland. Prabhupada was sitting near the front and he remembered this nice gentleman, Lord Jutland. So anyway, Prabhupada’s godbrother went there and he said, “Swamiji, can you make me a Brahmin?” He said, “Yes, no problem, I can make you a Brahmin, but no illicit sex, no meat-eating, no intoxication, no gambling.” Lord Jutland said, “Impossible.” But, but Prabhupada thought, “Let me try, let me try.” It is also said, “Impossible is a word in a fool's dictionary.” So do you want to be a fool by saying it's impossible? If we say impossible, we categorize ourselves as fools. “Oh, it's impossible to become Krishna's pure devotee. It's impossible to spread Krishna consciousness.” If you want to embrace the word impossible, that's your business. You keep relegating yourself to the position of fool number one if you embrace the word impossible. By Krishna's grace anything is possible. Anything is possible. Is Krishna limited? No, Krishna is the supreme controller. Everything is under his direction. Therefore by Krishna's grace anything is possible, everything is possible. So we should beg for Krishna's mercy, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. My dear Lord Krishna, my dear mother Radharani, please get me out of maya. I'm drowning in an ocean of lust, anger, greed, madness, illusion, envy. I'm drowning, drowning, drowning. It seems to be a hopeless basket case but please save me, my dear mother Radharani, my dear father Krishna. Please save me, please save me, please save me. Let me become fixed in devotional service. Let me become chaste and sober in my thoughts, my words, and my actions. No longer carried away by the modes of nature. Right now we're all tied up in the modes. Modes, guna means rope. So we're tied very tightly in sattva guna, raja guna, tamo guna. Therefore we do so many things wrong. We say so many things wrong. We think so many things wrong. We act in so many ways that are wrong. It's all due to the influence of these modes. So, we have to get out of the influence of these modes of nature by taking shelter of Lord Sri Krishna. So, it's not difficult. We simply have to apply the process. The wonderful process that Prabhupada has given us, we have to strictly follow this pathway. If we follow Prabhupada's instructions, our lives will be successful, there's no doubt. If we deviate from Prabhupada's instructions, thinking, “Who needs a guru anyway? I'm pretty intelligent, I know a lot of verses. I don’t need. I can chalk out my own pathway.” For such persons, Prabhupada said, “Bogus, they are simply bogus.” Guru is required. We have to submit ourselves to the bona fide spiritual master. Otherwise we're committing spiritual suicide, killing ourselves, taking a knife, cutting your own throat. So let us not be fools and rascals. Let us take this process seriously. “Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah.” This pathway has been chalked out by these great mahajanas, our previous acharyas. Brahma is there, Narada Muni is there, Srila Vyasa Dev is there, Madhvacarya is there. We have a whole line of disciplic succession of great, enlightened, empowered personalities and it's not that they're dead and gone. It's not that they're dead and gone. There are two presences of the spiritual master. There is Vani and Vapu. The Vapu- that will be gone sooner or later. Everybody dies. Every body, I mean to say. I'm talking about the physical body. Everybody is subjected to death; old age, disease, and death. So the body will be gone but but but Vani. Vani- that's the real presence. You can act with a vani, that vani. You can always be packed up tightly with the spiritual master and the previous acharyas. You stick to the Vani of the spiritual master, the teachings of the spiritual master. But how is he enlightening you? How is he guiding you? You take the instructions of the spiritual master and embrace them within your heart. “I take these instructions as my very life and soul that my spiritual master has taught me. Let me embrace it as my very life and soul.” And this way you become never separated. Prabhupada always felt the presence of his spiritual master. He always felt that, “My Guru Maharaj is with me, blessing me and guiding me.” Because he embraced the order of his spiritual master. It seemed impossible. He was a young, a very young man. He said, “Oh, you're educated in English. You should spread Krishna consciousness in the English speaking world.” Prabhupad was thinking, “How is that possible?” But he never forgot that instruction. At that time he was the manager of a chemical factory. His wife just gave birth. He just had one son. His wife just had a little baby, you know, like a one year old kid. And now he tells him to take on the English-speaking world? And he's thinking, “Well, how's that possible? I got service to my wife and my kid and my job. How's that possible?” But he never forgot that instruction. He never forgot that instruction. Finally, he got the opportunity and he took that opportunity that “Now I must.” Probably at 69, he said, “Finally this body is getting old. Death can come at any time. So, now I have to take the order of my spiritual master and I must dedicate my life for spreading this Krishna consciousness movement in the English speaking world.” And because of his dedication, his love for his spiritual master. Love of the spiritual master means dedicated to the order. Not, “I love the spiritual master but I don't want to serve his order.” Sometimes you see the rascals, so-called disciples, “I love the spiritual master but I don't want to follow his instructions. I don't want to submit myself, become humble before the spiritual master.” It's completely bogus. If you truly love your spiritual master, you will surrender unto him. Love means surrender. Love means obedience. Not that, “I love my spiritual master but I do my own thing.” No, you don't love your spiritual master if you do your own thing. So, one has to take the process very seriously. It's like we sing the glories of the spiritual master in Guruvastaka. We sing every day so there should be some slogans on the lips. We should manifest these instructions. Vishwanatha Chakravarti Thakur has very kindly given us these beautiful prayers to help us meditate on our relationship with the spiritual master so we can make our lives very, very successful by embracing these principles in our hearts. So, I don't have very much to say. I'm not very realized in Krishna consciousness. There's not much I can say but let's see if we can look at these words of Srila Prabhupada a little more carefully, go a little deeper. That will help me say some more words, looking at Prabhupada's words. In the verse, “Maharaja Prthu underwent all these severe austerities in order to control his words and his senses, to refrain from discharging his semen, and to control the life air within his body. All this he did for the satisfaction of Krishna.” So this is the whole point. Everything for the satisfaction of Krishna. I remember that Prabhupad said that yoga system austerities, the pranayama, the asanas, they are done very rigidly according to the, not so, the pseudo yoga they teach here in the yoga studios. There's actually severe austerity. That system would take, it was done in the Satyayuga, not in Tretayuga, Dwapara, or Kaliyuga. That system was performed in the Satya yuga, but it would take 60,000 years. They lived to be 100,000 in that age of Satya, and it took 60,000 years to see perfection by that process. Somebody says, “Well, I'm going to go to the forest, I'm going to do severe penance and austerity, then I'm just going to live on the roots of trees. Sometimes I'm not even going to drink any water. I'm not even going to breathe sometimes.” Who can do such things? But even if you could, it would take you 60,000 years by that process to become perfect. So why even think about it? These people make a show of being a yogi, it's simply bogus. Simply bogus rascals. So once you take advantage of the process of this age, it is called time, place and circumstance. Whatever is suitable in a particular time, place and circumstance. If you do something that is not suitable, you are not going to be successful. So the actual method for self-realization in this age of Kali is, “Harer nama harer nameva kevalam” - chanting the holy names of the Lord. So if Prabhupad says, “24 hours a day”, that's a pretty big assignment, to chant 24 hours a day. But it also includes doing service. I chant my 16 rounds and engage myself in devotional service- offering the arathi ceremony, cooking for the Lord, cleaning for the Lord, cleaning the temple for the Lord, preaching for the Lord. So in this way if you engage all day in devotional service you will even dream about devotional service at night. So in this way we have to be constantly involved in Krishna consciousness. Prabhupad said, “No gaps for Maya.” You leave Maya a little gap, she'll get in and take over. She's just looking for that little gap. Where's the gap in your devotional service mood? And get in there and take over. Give Maya an inch, you take a mile. Don't leave any space for Maya to get in. Little gaps here and there. Take it very seriously. No gaps for Maya. No gaps for Maya. No gaps for Maya. “Maya Devi, you're not welcome in my heart. Go somewhere else, somebody else wants you to go to them, but don't bother me anymore, Maya Devi. Let me be fully dedicated to my beloved Lord Srila Prabhupada, my beloved spiritual master. Let me be fully dedicated there with no breaks.” It's a very nice point here. This is the Sathya Yuga when Maharaja Prthu was reigning. And it's very nice. You cannot not know it or speculate. It's right there, Krishna, Lord Krishna. He was doing, he was worshipping Lord Krishna in the Satya yuga. So, Krishna has always been there even before 5000 years ago when he spoke the Bhagavad-Gita. Worship of Krishna has been going on throughout all the ages. It's not some new thing in the Kali Yuga. It's a very, very powerful point to remember. So, I don't have much to say today. I am not being very realized in Krishna consciousness. I am not much realized in Krishna consciousness but if there's any questions I can try to answer them. There's no questions so maybe we should end it here. There's no nothing else to say and there's no questions. If there's any questions feel free to type them in. If there's no questions, maybe we should stop here.

Vraja Kishore Das: Srila Gurudeva, there is one question.

Sankarshan Das: Okay.

Vraja Kishore Das: How to surrender yourself hundred percent if there is no hundred percent faith? If a surrender and dedication, surrender and dedication is the same?

Sankarshan Das: I got the first point. How can we fully surrender if we don’t have full faith? I got that point.

Vraja Kishore Das: The third part. Ok.

Sankarshan Das: I get the first part. How can I surrender fully if I don’t have full faith? See the whole thing begins with shraddha or faith. You go to shraddha, sadhu-sangha, bhajana-kriya, and in this way. Shraddha, the beginning is faith. So the whole point is you have to make your faith strong. You have to erase all the doubts by inquiring, inquiring, inquiring, inquiring. Anything you have doubtful about inquire. So you have to make your faith very strong. Reveal all your doubts in a humble way, not in a challenging way. Reveal all your doubts. It's like one devotee is very doubtful how a devotee can break their promise. One devotee is very doubtful. But then you look and you see that Krishna also broke his promise. So a Vaishnava can also break a promise sometimes for the protection of a devotee. Krishna broke his promise to protect Arjuna. So a devotee can even break his promise. If one is doubtful how a devotee can break his promise; that can be sometimes done to protect the devotee. So if a devotee had a doubt about that, that means he's not reading the books. He's not seeing what can be done sometimes to protect the devotee. They're not realizing that. So if there's a doubt, one should inquire, read Prabhupada's books. Prabhupada's books will erase all doubts, or inquire from the spiritual master or the advanced devotee. Inquire, inquire, inquire in a humble way, not a challenging way. Humble inquiries will erase all the doubts. So it's very important to become doubt free. When your doubts are free, then you can move forward and become a pure devotee of Krishna.

Sankarshan Das (reading question from Chat box): Paramahamsa das- Can you please elaborate on the term Srila Prabhupada mentions that “Don't be despondent. Encouragement is just be happy in Krishna consciousness?”

Sankarshan Das (Answering): Well, you can be despondent or you can be ecstatic. You see. You have a choice. You can be jubilant or you can be miserable. We have a choice. So don't be despondent. It's an instruction. It's an instruction. Don't be despondent. It's an instruction. It's not just an encouragement. It's an instruction. Prabhupada says, “Don't be despondent”, it’s not an encouragement to be happy. It's an instruction. You must be happy. So, how do you become happy? By submitting to Krishna. So, “Don't be despondent”- is an instruction, not an encouragement.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Here we have Bhaktin Sheela: Please enlighten the symptoms of a humble servant. How do they talk? How do they walk? How do they behave?

Sankarshan Das (answering): First of all, their talk is never challenging. It's always humbly inquiring. Please enlighten me. Please enlighten me. And…So that mood, that proper mood of humbly inquiring is there. They're talking, they're walking. Everything about them will be proper. Don't worry if it's like you're an actor on the stage you have to walk in a certain way and talk in a certain way. Just put your attitude in the right place and then you're talking and walking and being naturally correct. Not that well I don't know how to walk in a certain, hold my head in a certain position. No. We're not actors on the stage, Bhaktin Sheela. We are humbly trying to become fully surrendered in our thoughts, words, and deeds, everything. You put your head, they say, put your head in the right place. You put your heart in the right place, your consciousness in the right place, everything else will be proper. The way you speak, the tone of voice, everything will be proper if your head's in the right place, your conscience in the right place.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Gauri: I'm unable to do chanting. Kindly help me.

Sankarshan Das (answering): Well, if you can, you can speak, you can say, “I'm unable to do chanting. I am, I am unable to do chanting”- that's nine syllables. Hare Krishna. You can you can write this question, you can chant Hare Krishna. So what's the difficulty? You're able to ask this question, Gauri. That means you can chant Hare Krishna also. The same amount of energy that you wrote this question, put that energy in chanting Hare Krishna. You can do that.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Okay. Rajaram Das: Bhagavad-gita and Bhagavatam, please enlighten me.

Sankarshan Das (answering): Bhagavad-gita is the introductory and Bhagavatam is... Bhagavad-gita is the Bachelor’s degree, Srimad Bhagavatam is the Master's degree, Chaitanya Charitamrita is the PhD. So, become very well read in Bhagavad-gita. Of course we're taking it directly. Prabhupad took it directly in the Bhagavatam, because Bhagavad-gita philosophy is also presented throughout the Bhagavatam, in Prabhupada's purport. So in Bhagavatam you get Bhagavad-gita built in by Prabhupada's purport.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Abhay Charan Das: How important is executing austerities in themselves without chanting the name of the Lord?

Sankarshan Das (answering): Well, I can tell you this Abhay Charan. You will not be successful because our austerities are no illicit sex, no meat eating, no intoxication, no gambling. If I don’t want to chant and I will only follow regulative principles, I can guarantee you, unless you get the higher taste, vishaya vinivartante, niraharasya dehinah rasa varjam raso py asya param drstva nivartate. The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment but the taste of sense objects remains, but ceasing such things by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness. You may temporarily perform these austerities, but then you only get a noggin. We desire taste, rasa. We desire taste. If you don't get a higher taste by chanting Hare Krishna your performance of the austerities will not last very long. So you have to get the higher taste, otherwise you're doomed to become once again a slave of maya.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Shamapriya Devi dasi: Hare Krishna Srila Gurdeva kindly enlighten what it means to worship Vrndavana.

Sankarshan Das (answering): Well, it means that you go to Vrndavana, bow down and take the dust of Vrindavan on your head. Take it as a holy place. When you go to the temple, you offer your obeisances. The whole place of Vrndavana is a temple. The whole Vrndavana area is a holy temple. You bow down, as soon as you get out of the vehicle and you arrive, immediately offer your obeisances. In this way you worship it.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Okay, Rajaramdas: Hare Krishna, Srila Gurudeva, should we read the previous Vaishnava acharyas’ commentaries for better understanding of the verses of Bhagavad-gita and Bhagavatam?

Sankarshan Das (answering): No, it's all built into Prabhupad’s purports. We don't read. I guarantee you if you read other Acharyas’ books, you'll be confused. Because they're very high level writings, and not, not understandable by neophytes like us. You will become confused. Prabhupad didn't tell us to read the previous Vaishnava Acharyas’ commentary. That instruction did not come from him. He said, read these books. He said, read the “Nectar of Devotion” three or four times. That's a summary study of one of the previous Acharya's books, “Bhakti-rasamrita Sindhu” by Rupa Goswami. It's all built into Prabhupada's books. Don't go reading here and there. I guarantee you'll be confused. You won't be able to understand it, you won't be able to practice it. You won't be able to successfully follow Prabhupada's instructions if you go here and there. In other words, you're doing your own thing. You don't think you need a guru. That's a bogus mentality. Well I'll just read this acharya and read that and I don't really need to become a surrendered devotee. I'll just read this acharya and read that acharya. No. It's bogus. You take the instructions of Prabhupada and your spiritual master and you just read Prabhupada's books and become expert in Prabhupada's books. The essence of all the commentaries of the previous Acharyas is right there in Prabhupada's books. It's all packed into his purports. You become expert in all the Acharyas by reading Prabhupada's books.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Let's see here, Shivani: If some offenses happen in Krishna-prasadam, how will Krishna forgive offense?

Sankarshan Das (answering): If you're sincere, let's say, I don't know what, what does offense against prasadam mean? Eating too much? I don't know what you mean by offense in Krishna prasadam. Either tell me what you mean by that. Then I can deal with it.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Yugadharma Devi Dasi: Hare Krishna, Srila Gurudeva. It is recommended to chant 24 hours. It seems impossible task for me.

Sankarshan Das (answering): Well, devotional service is as good as chanting Hare Krishna. Whether you are offering an arati or cooking an offering, cleaning the dishes, sweeping the floor, going out and preaching or writing things for Krishna. These activities are all as good as chanting Hare Krishna. We either chant Hare Krishna or do devotional services is also considered chanting Hare Krishna in practice. Okay.

Vraja Kishore Das: There is a second part to the previous question. So, we'll start from beginning which you already answered- “So how to get 100% if you don't have 100% faith?” Does that devotion and faith come with practice or is it by Krishna's grace you have such faith? Because for example, like your example, it's suddenly that attraction to Prabhupada just exploded in your heart.

Sankarshan Das: It didn’t come immediately. It came gradually by associating with devotees. By taking prasadam.

Vraja Kishore Das: I will finish the question otherwise it's difficult for me to translate. And why we can't do that? Did you get immediately or you were risking believing and having faith that it will come by time?

Sankarshan Das: It came after engaging in devotional service in so many ways. So many ways, going to Lord Caitanya festival in Dallas, associating with devotees, chanting japa. I did all these things. I said, “Well I'm not sure about this process, but let me try this thing, I've tried so many things, let me try this, let me just try it. I'm not sure it's really going to work for me.” I got cheated by two gurus, you know. They say, “Once burned, twice shy”, but I was twice burned, so I was very skeptical. Actually, I turned down two opportunities to even go and hear Prabhupad. In Berkeley and Los Angeles. I was invited two times to go hear Prabhupada. I wouldn’t even go because I had been cheated by two bogus gurus and I was skeptical about gurus at the time. But then after meeting Vishnujana Swami and seeing his mood, I went, “Wow, this is really something. I am really attracted by him.” His mood was really, and the way he would sing, also. Prabhupad actually very much loved his singing. Prabhupad told him, “How much I love your singing.” He loved the way he sang. Prabhupad relished very much his kirtan. So by hearing his kirtan and relishing the kirtan, by taking prasadam, by going to festivals, gradually, gradually I became purified. I was thinking not to become a disciple but to practice in my own way which is just bogus. But gradually, gradually by associating, prasadam, and gradually, finally that moment came and boom, I said, “Yes, I must become a disciple.” But it didn't come instantly, it came after, actually, it came after so many engagements, helping the devotees, announcing the Sunday love feast in Berkeley back in 1969. In so many ways, going to the temple, chanting around the Japa, in so many ways I engaged in devotional service that it actually took me. I first met the devotees in 1969 and it took me two years to come to the point of actually wanting to be a Prabhupad disciple. Two years it took me. Two years of associating with ISKCON. Off and on. So, it didn't come instantly. Two years, it took me to reach that point, “Yes, I must be a disciple.” Let's see if any other questions coming here.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Okay, if I feed someone prasadam and they later eat, say, and they may say later, say eggs or something that…

Sankarshan Das (answering): If I feed someone prasadam and they later eat, say, eggs or something, no, it's not your sin. I give someone prasadam and they go have some meat or eggs, no it's not your fault. That's their foolishness. That's not an offense against prasadam. You haven't done any offense. They're eating eggs and meat anyway, already, every day and they get the prasadam, they're purified by that. Even if they eat eggs or meat after they had prasadam, they're purified by that. By eating it's not that it's an offense against… It's of course it's an offense against, an aparadh to eat fish or eggs or meat but they get the benefit of having that prasadam. They get a higher taste. Anything else?

Vraja Kishore Das: Yes Srila Gurudeva. There is one more question from Bhaktin Gavriel. She is asking how to have the mood to be in a service mood 24 hours?

Sankarshan Das: It’s a matter of intelligence. The mood may not be there, but if you intellectually can understand, that's my benefit, to always be engaged in Krishna consciousness. That's my ultimate benefit, is that if you have an intellectual understanding, the mood will gradually come. You have to understand and be convinced. I have faith in this principle that if I'm 24 hours engaged in Krishna consciousness, that's my ultimate benefit. You must be absolutely convinced. And then if you have that conviction, the mood will come in due course of time. Nothing else? If there's nothing else, we can end here. Everybody's doubts are erased? Everybody is convinced now that to be fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness 24 hours a day? Everybody is convinced we can stop here? If you're not convinced, what's holding you back from being convinced? Tell me. If you are not convinced, what is holding you back from being 100% convinced? Please put your doubts here on the screen. So I can, by the teaching of Prabhupada, enlighten you how you can be freed from these doubts. The problem is, my dear devotees, our senses are pulling us. Even though we know better, the senses keep pulling us back to sense gratification. The senses are like venomous serpents. They keep pulling us back, pulling us back. Even though we know better, we still get pulled back to sense gratification. We get caught again and again and again. Our mind is diverted by the illusory energy. Our mind is dancing here, dancing there, away from Krishna consciousness. That's the problem with these rascal minds. And that's why I have many times quoted Govinda Das, “Bhajahu re mana, Sri Nanda-nandana, abhaya charanaravindare. My dear mind, please now engage yourself 24 hours a day in the devotional service of Nanda- nandana, the divine son of Nanda Maharaj.” The problem is my dear devotees, even though we know it's not good, our minds keep jumping here, jumping there, jumping, jumping, jumping in so many thoughts that are not Krishna conscious. That's the problem. So we have to train the mind. We have to train the mind. You see, the intelligence is the mother and the mind is the child. Now how much endeavor does the mother have to make to train that child not to be a naughty, wreaking havoc in the house? How much endeavor a mother must do? When does the child finally learn to be obedient? It's not an easy thing. It takes a long time for the child to learn how to be obedient. Without doing it, we're dealing with a rascal mind like a naughty little kid. It's running here, running there, running, running, running, running, running, you see. So we have to bring that mind under control. That's our big, that's a big challenge for us neophyte devotees. We have uncontrolled minds. That's the problem. The humongous challenge for us neophytes, you see. How I can bring that mind out completely under control? Vaco-vegam manasaha-krodha-vegam jihva-vegam udaropastha-vegam etan vegan yo vishaheta dhirah sarvam apimam prthvim sa sishyath. Vaco vegam – the words, manasa – the mind also, krodha-anger also.., mind, words, anger, tongue, belly, and genitals. These things, uncontrolled mind, words, anger, tongue, belly, and genitals, keep us entangled in the material nature, birth after birth after birth after birth. So mind, words, anger, tongue, belly and genitals, just like Prthu Maharaj. He wasn't passing semen, you see. Controlling his genitals. Mind, words, anger, tongue, belly and genitals by being totally absorbed and bringing them completely under control. And then you can become very powerful in spreading the Krishna consciousness movement. Rupa Goswami guaranteed it. It's not just some fancy word. It's a scientific fact. You control your senses, you become very powerful for making Krishna conscious movement, making devotees, spreading this movement. No more questions? Everybody satisfied now, ready to call it quits? Everybody is finished? So you've been finished now, nothing else. Okay here's something else.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Shyamapriya Devi Dasi: I have conviction in Krishna's mercy but I feel I'm not qualified of Krishna's mercy so why should I receive it?

Sankarshan Das (answering): It's nice to feel you're not qualified to get the mercy of Krishna. It's very good. The more you feel you're unqualified, the more you become qualified. So keep on feeling unqualified. It's very good. You should feel you're completely, totally unqualified to get any mercy from Krishna. And then Krishna will say, “Oh, just see this devotee. He feels totally unqualified. Let me know. I'll bless him unlimitedly.” Please come to the point of feeling absolutely, completely, totally unqualified. Not that, “Oh, I deserve special mercy from Krishna, I'm chanting so nicely, I'm serving so nicely, I'm preaching so nicely, I'm hearing so nicely. So I deserve.” No. The more you feel unqualified, that is your qualification.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Okay, now we have Sanat Kumara Das. Hare Krishna Sankarshan Das, Can one worship Krishna as the Supreme, and add demigods in their altar?

Sankarshan Das (answering): Did Prabhupad teach you to do that, to put the demigods on the altar? Why not put all 330 million of them on your altar? Why only put one, why not put all 330 million demigods on your altar, have a humongous altar, a mile long altar, and put every demigod on there? You put one, someone will say, “Well you got to put me too.” So if you can put all 330 million demigods on your altar, maybe you can do it. But, “Keep it simple, stupid” is the saying. Keep it simple, follow Prabhupad's standard. Put Prabhupad, Lord Chaitanya, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta, Gaura Kishora Das Babaji, Bhaktivinoda Thakur, the Goswamis, Pancha-tattva, Gaura-Nitai, in this way..Keep it simple. Actually when you worship Krishna, all the demigods are automatically pleased. You worship one demigod and not the other one, the other one is going to feel disturbed, “Why you left me out?” You see. But if you worship Krishna, all the demigods are automatically satisfied. But just don't put the demigods on your altar. Just worship Krishna and all the demigods will be satisfied very nicely with you.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Shyamapriya Devi Dasi: How would I rectify my thoughts? Because that also means I'm minimizing Krishna's mercy.

Sankarshan Das (answering): Oh, wait a minute. Controlling your mind doesn't mean you're minimizing Krishna's mercy. Controlling your mind means you're begging Krishna to help you. Like Gurumataji said, one must chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, it's like a child crying for the mother. The child is crying for the mother, feeling totally helpless, is calling to the mother to help me. That's how you control your mind. By feeling totally helpless. Right now, I am a slave of my mind. It is pulling me here and there, in so many rascal thoughts. I am a slave of my mind, right now. But if you say, my dear Krishna, please help me. Right now I'm a slave of my rascal mind thinking about this, thinking about that, thinking, thinking, this nonsense, that nonsense. I'm totally caught up with a slave of my mind. So my dear Krishna, please save me, please save me. I can't do it on my own. So the way to control the mind is not by your own power. “I'm a great, powerful yogi. I can control my mind.” No. You control your mind by begging Krishna to help you. That's how you control your mind, by begging for Krishna's mercy to save you. “I am a fallen soul, I've sold it, totally engrossed in sense gratification. My mind is filled with so much garbage and rubbish. So my dear Krishna, please save me, please help me.” That's how you control your mind, by depending on Krishna's mercy.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Sorry Srila Gurudeva, what I mean is to ask is that I'm not qualified to receive so much, minimizing Krishna's mercy.

Sankarshan Das (answering): No. The more you feel unqualified, the more you'll get the mercy. What did Lord Chaitanya say? “One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than a straw in the street, ready to offer all respect to others without expecting any respect for oneself. In such a state of mind one can chant Hare Krishna mantra constantly.” So you should feel lower than the straw in the street or some dog stool in the street. The point is very, very, very low. I don't deserve any mercy. I'm just a complete rascal.  … Now you should feel that way. You're not minimizing Krishna’s mercy by doing that. Anything else? We call it quits now? Everybody's satisfied? Ready to embrace pure devotional service as your only business from now on with every thought, word, and deed for all of eternity? Or do you want to linger in the material energy? “Oh, there must be some enjoyment here. Come on Gurudeva, come on Prabhupad, give me a little slack, you know. Let me have a little sense gratification. It fires me up. Let me have a little enjoyment. Come on. Don't be so strict with me. Let me have a little pleasure here. Srila Gurudeva, let me have a little pleasure. Come on. Don't be so heavy with me. Let me have a little enjoyment.” The spiritual master is very kind. He teaches you how to give up all sense gratification. He teaches you no sense gratification. Of course, one can be a house owner and have a little sense gratification and raise children. That's allowable but not for fun. In the Vedic culture sex life is covered, only after Garbhodana samskara. In other words, it is a yajna, just like getting initiated is a yajna, having a wedding ceremony is a yajna. Having sex was also done by the yajna, not just for entertainment on Friday night. “Instead of watching a movie, let's have sex tonight.” No. It was based on a yajna. The Brahmins would come and chant mantras. It was a whole ritual. So a very auspicious child would take birth. If a householder is having fun, just having sex for fun, you're not going to get very qualified kids who want to be devotees or be very strict devotees. We want to become pure devotees. If we want to have a powerful successful movement our disciples should be very strict about following Prabhupada's instructions. Four to six days after the menstrual cycle, after getting the blessings of the spiritual minister and chanting at least 50 rounds of japa a month, husband and wife both, you see. So we follow Prabhupada's system of trying to beget a very qualified soul, very eager to dedicate their lives fully to Krishna. So, some call is coming in. It might be a lady in the class or probably not. Anything else from the locals? Everything crystal clear or there's some doubts lingering in the mind? There's nothing else?

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Oh, here's some. Bhakta Gabriel: Hare Krishna Srila Gurudeva. I offer my humble obeisances. Please enlighten what is the cause of being materialistic?

Sankarshan Das (answering): I just read the other day. I'm trying to remember what I read. Prabhupad explained very expertly. I can't remember exactly what I read. As I stated many times, love must be voluntary. And if there's no choice, “Love me or I'll kill you.” There's no choice, it’s not really love. So free will must be there for love to exist. Love cannot exist without free will. “I choose to love you.” You see. So free will has to exist. And what are the odds of somebody misusing their free will? You say, “Well, the odds are zero. Nobody would ever misuse their free will to give up Krishna's love.” What are the odds of someone giving up their Krishna consciousness to become a non-devotee? What are the odds of that happening? There has to be some percentage. There has to be some percentage of an odd otherwise there's no free will. So what would be the smallest possible number which is 1 divided by infinity. That's the odds of somebody misusing their free will and choosing to be materialistic. One divided by infinity. But how many living entities are there? There's an infinite number. So you can calculate it. 1 divided by infinity times infinity equals infinity. So therefore we have an infinite number of living entities that have given up their free will to try to be, enjoy separately from Krishna, that's the materialists. So there you are mathematically explaining it, explaining it mathematically, how one can be materialistic. There has to be some odds of it happening, otherwise there's no free will and love cannot exist. So that's, there's a mathematical answer for it. I apologize, I don't remember how Prabhupad answered it. I apologize. I just read it the other day. Prabhupad explains it. I just read it the other day. I think it was in the purport, previous purport. I'm sorry, I forgot. I don't remember what Prabhupad said. Maybe I read it in Bhagavad Gita. I read it somewhere. Anyway, thanks for asking a nice question. Mathematically there's an answer.

Sankarshan Das (reading a question): Bhaktin Puja: Hare Krishna Srila Gurudeva. I offer my humble obeisances. How to overcome the problem of overthinking, ‘cause it affects my chanting and other devotional services?

Sankarshan Das (answering): That means mental speculation. If you are always thinking of Krishna…There's no question, Bhaktin Puja, of overthinking, thinking too much. If you're always thinking about Krishna, you can't think enough about Krishna. You can think about Krishna 24 hours a day, think about devotional service 24 hours a day. There's no question of overthinking if you're thinking, if it's Krishna conscious thinking. But even one thought which is not Krishna conscious is overthinking. So overthinking refers to thoughts that are not Krishna conscious. So how to overcome the problem of overthinking? Thoughts which are not Krishna conscious. That’s actually the real meaning of the question. Thoughts about Krishna are not overthinking. Thoughts about not Krishna, Krishna conscious, that's overthinking. So how to overcome the problem of overthinking? By thinking about Krishna. Mind's there, then you're telling, in this way. “My thought here is off the track.” It's either on the track or off the track. It's one or the other. There's no middle ground. It's either Krishna conscious thought or it's not Krishna conscious. So you have to be very observant. You have to intelligently psychoanalyze yourself all the time. Always psychoanalyze yourself. “Is this thought Krishna conscious or not Krishna conscious?” If it's not Krishna conscious, don't give in. “Oh, this thought is pretty juicy. Let me go with it for a while.” If it's not Krishna conscious, nip it in the bud. It is like Yamunacharya of Abandra. He was previously a king having so much sex enjoyment. Now he has become a Vaishnava and his mind would sometimes go back to remember that sense enjoyment he had as a king, but he would, he would, he would, he would throw his lips, he would curl his face, and he'd curl with distaste, he would spit at those thoughts. “Those, my dear mind, you can't think those thoughts anymore, remembering your previous enjoyment as a king. How much sense gratification. No, you can't think those thoughts. Now you have to be Krishna conscious.” He would spit at the thoughts. So you have materialistic thoughts in your brain, spit at those thoughts. “Get out of my brain. You're not welcome here”, and we flush the stool down the toilet, get rid of it. “You're not welcome.” The materialistic thoughts are simply stool. Who would want to eat some stool? You see. So don't deal, don't go into materialistic thinking. Kick those thoughts out with the boot, flush them out, get free of them, come back to Krishna, you see. So those materialistic thoughts, what do you do when you get? You have to nip it... full stopping. Read, pick up Prabhupada's books, start reading, chant Hare Krishna, listen to a lecture. When your mind is off the track and going to all these garbage things, find something that will bring you back. There's so many nice things, Prabhupad's books. Prabhupad’s lilamrta is also very nice. We have the first kirtan in Tompkins Square Park. Amazing, amazing Prabhupad has given. There's so many things you can meditate on to give up those rascal thoughts which take you nowhere except another birth in the material world. Okay. Anything else? No? We can stop here. Everybody satisfied? Ready to embrace pure devotional service as your only business? Finished? Everybody convinced we should end now? You convinced we should end it now, we will end it now. Thank you very much.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare

Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare!

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