A Morning Walk
June 20, 2007: Badger
Shrila Gurudeva: Are there any questions?
Jnana-sakti dasa: I have a question about the husbands of the gopis in Vraja. Are they somewhat in a mood of aisvarya towards Krishna (the consideration of Shri Krishna's opulence and majesty)?
Shrila Gurudeva: No, not at all. They are always in a madhurya mood (the consideration of Krishna as one of the cowherd folk). There is an abundance of aisvarya in Vrindavan, but it is always covered by madhurya, or sweetness; that is, the sense of a sweet, human-like relationship with Krishna.
Sometimes, when there is a need, on very rare occasions, opulence comes to serve Krishna there. For example, Krishna's lifting of Govardhana Hill was a pastime of great opulence and majesty – but all the gopas were thinking that they were helping Him. When Nanda Baba and Yasoda heard and saw Krishna lifting Govardhana, they never considered that He was personally lifting it. Rather, they were of the conviction that, "We have worshiped Narayana, and by His mercy He is lifting this hill through Krishna."
Shripad Nemi Maharaja: The gopas – the cowherd boys who Krishna plays with in the fields – are they also married? Does Krishna play with their wives? Or, is He playing with other gopas' wives?
Shrila Gurudeva: He is playing with His own wives.
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: His own potencies.
Shrila Gurudeva: He is playing with His most beloved gopis. By the influence of Yogamaya, the gopis seem to have husbands. This has been arranged by Yogamaya so that the gopis can enjoy parakiya-bhava (the mood of a paramour) with Krishna, as there is not as much rasa, or mellow taste, in svakiya-bhava (the mood of Krishna's wife, or queen).
Giridhari dasa (from Los Angeles): Life is short in Kali-yuga. At this time the only strong quality remaining in this world is honesty. So, I think that brahmacari life is the best life.
Shrila Gurudeva: Not honesty; only krsna-bhakti.
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: What he is trying to say is that he wants to take saffron cloth from you. He is asking that you give him brahmacarya.
Shrila Gurudeva: Very good. (To Giridhari dasa) I will be happy if you live in our temples, like Los Angeles, Houston, and San Francisco. Please bring me some saffron cloth. I will make you a brahmacari at this festival, but then you must be very bold in your preaching.
(To all the devotees present) Does anyone else here desire to become a brahmacari? Does anyone else want saffron cloth? Do any of you, even if you are now a householder, want to enter the sannyasa asrama? I want to make many brahmacaris and sannyasis, and I want to make Los Angeles a strong preaching center.
(To Jayarsi dasa) You should be in charge of a preaching center. You are very qualified.
Are there any other questions?
Baladeva dasa: We understand from scripture that Shri Guru is present everywhere. It is stated in Shrimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.2): "Tam sarva-bhuta-hrdayam munim anato 'smi. [I offer my respectful obeisances unto that great sage Sukadeva Gosvami, who can enter the hearts of all."]
So, what is the difference between my asking in an internal prayer to Gurudeva to remove all obstacles to my bhakti – like lust, anger, greed illusion, madness, and bewilderment – and asking him directly, face to face, to remove them?
Shrila Gurudeva: If the guru is on the level of Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami, there is no need of asking face to face. Guru is a manifestation of Krishna, and therefore he is powerful enough that his response will be inspired in your heart. If the guru is not of Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami's caliber and is a madhyama-adhikari (intermediate devotee), then Krishna will fulfill the disciple's desire on behalf of that guru.
Brajanatha dasa: What if the disciple prays to the qualified guru, and he also wants to ask in person?
Shrila Gurudeva: That is also good; but if he is far away and cannot ask in person, if he earnestly prays within his heart, the reply will come.
Radha-kanta dasa: Shrila Gurudeva, it is said that the guru gives the conception of sambandha-jnana (one's eternal relationship with Krishna) when he gives diksa-mantras to the disciple. If the guru is only on the madhyama (intermediate) platform and the understanding of his own and his disciple's svarupa (eternal form) is not complete, then what conception can he give?
Shrila Gurudeva: First understand that at the time of diksa, all kinds of anarthas are eradicated and one's relationship with Krishna is realized. Nowadays, however, diksa is not actual (vidvat-rudhi). *[see endnote 1] Rather, in this ordinary diksa of present days, Gurudeva is giving only some qualification to the disciple to begin his diksa process. Later, when the disciple's relationship is realized, at that time his diksa is actual.
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: Radha-kanta prabhu's question is this: If a madhyama-adhikari has no realization of his own relation with Krishna, then how can he give this?
Shrila Gurudeva: He can give something. Then, in this life, or in future lives, you will find a perfect guru; and by surrendering to that perfect guru you will be able to realize your relationship with Krishna.
Radha-kanta dasa: So ultimately we have to take siksa from an uttama-bhagavat (topmost devotee)?
Shrila Gurudeva: You cannot realize who is an uttama Vaisnava in your present stage. When you become a madhyama-uttama Vaisnava (an intermediate Vaisnava who is almost on the topmost level), then you will be able to realize.
Gokula dasa (from Australia): Can't an uttama-adhikari make you realize? *[See endnote 2]
Shrila Gurudeva: Yes, he can. He knows a disciple's level or degree of qualification, and he gives his mercy accordingly. A father places weight upon his son's head according to his son's capacity; not more than that. Guru does this as well.
Padmanabha dasa: How can one progress from anustanika diksa (official, ordinary diksa) to vidvat-rudhi (actual) diksa?
Shrila Gurudeva: Listen to hari-katha and perform guru-seva. Both are essential.
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
["Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth"].
You will have to serve guru, follow his orders, and hear his hari-katha. The knowledge given by him will gradually manifest in your heart and you will become qualified for vidvat-rudhi.
Shripad Nemi Maharaja: Shrila Gurudeva, in his letters, our Guru Maharaja did not usually say that he was giving diksa. He said that he was giving second initiation. What kind of diksa was he giving, or not giving?
Shrila Gurudeva: Did he give the guru-mantra and all the other mantras?
Shripad Nemi Maharaja: Yes.
Shrila Gurudeva: That is diksa. He called it 'second initiation' as an English translation. *[See endnote 3]
Harinama is given first. If diksa and harinama are given at the same time, at the same ceremony, then harinama is given first and just after that diksa is given.
Shripad Nemi Maharaja: You were saying that nowadays one's diksa is not vidvat-rudhi. It is merely giving some adhikara (qualification for later advancement). So is the bona fide guru simply giving some adhikara, or is he giving full diksa?
Shrila Gurudeva: The guru gives an opportunity for the disciples to begin their diksa process. We see in Jaiva-dharma that when Vijaya Kumara and Vrajanatha took diksa, they at once realized and saw Gauracandra (Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu). Nowadays, the diksa initiations are not of that caliber.
Shripad Sajjana Maharaja: Is it that the madhyama-guru gives instructions, thereby giving their disciples sukrti (spiritual merits); and then, when the disciple follows these instructions he will get the association of the topmost devotees?
Shrila Gurudeva: A disciple should always think, "My Gurudeva is an uttama-adhikari and an associate of Shri Krishna." In Bhagavad-gita there is a sloka which states that if anyone is worshipping the demigods, the fruit of that worship is given by Krishna because the demigods have no power to give that fruit. Suppose you worship grass or straw, thinking, "I am worshipping Krishna." That straw is not Krishna, but if you think, "Krishna is here, I am worshipping Him," Krishna will know this. He will sprinkle His mercy upon you at once.
(To Shripad Bhagavat Maharaja) You can take two or three brahmacaris with you.
Shripad Bhagavat Maharaja: We have already arranged for Madhukara, Prana-govinda, and Abhirama to come with me.
Shrila Gurudeva: Very good; and the others should be there in Los Angeles under the guidance of Avadhuta Maharaja. I want Los Angeles to be the most prominent center in America.
Here in Badger I want to give classes on the conversations between the Nava-yogendras (the nine highly elevated and renounced sons of King Rsabhadeva) and Nemi Maharaja – their nine answers to the king's nine questions. All our speakers should know this subject matter and be ready to be called upon to speak.
Nrhari dasa: Do you want only sannyasis and brahmacaris in the preaching center in Los Angeles; or do you want grhasthas (householders) there as well?
Shrila Gurudeva: Grhasthas may also be there – those grhasthas who can give their whole time for bhajana and serving there. Generally grhasthas cannot give full-time service, and that is why I did not mention them before. It does not matter whether one is grhastha or in the renounced order – all the devotees will work together – but husband and wife should not live together in the matha.
Gokula dasa: Why are you saying that we should give prominence to preaching in Los Angeles?
Shrila Gurudeva: It is a prominent place. From the beginning, when I first went there, I told the devotees that Los Angeles is a big city and has a large population, and we can therefore preach all over the world from there. There are many opportunities and resources to preach everywhere from there.
Hrdaya-govinda dasa: Shrila Gurudeva, You have been instructing us for many years about book distribution and bringing devotees to you. I see that, especially in this Bay Area of San Francisco, so many people are hungry for your books.
Shrila Gurudeva: I request you to stand up in class and speak about this. I will support you.
Hrdaya-govinda dasa: I have a question. When our Shrila Prabhupada was present, he said that if a disciple prays to him, that disciple will become empowered to distribute more books. How does this work?
Shrila Gurudeva: He inspired them.
Devotees should distribute books, and they should also realize the nectar contained within the books. If they do not read the books, their book distribution will be only karma (fruitive action for personal gain).
Devotee: Do you give harinama and diksa at the same time?
Shrila Gurudeva: If I think that one is qualified for both, then I do so. If one can chant more than sixteen rounds daily and has some knowledge and strong belief, then I give both at the same time.
Prana-govinda dasa (from Alachua): In the Shrimad-Bhagavatam, sixth canto, chapter 1, verse 1, it is said that at the end of one hundred years of Brahma's life, all the residents of his planet will go back home, back to Godhead. "Pravisanti param padam."
Shrila Gurudeva: No; this is not at all true. They will enter the body of Karanadakasayi Visnu along with Brahma.
Prana-govinda dasa: So what is param padam? Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja put one verse in the end of his purport, saying "pravisanti param padam." [*See endnote 4]
Shrila Gurudeva: With regard to those who are not liberated, how can they go to the spiritual world? *[See endnote 5] Only if one is liberated by completing his course of bhakti can he be admitted there. Regarding those who still have anarthas and are still committing sins, how can they go?
They will sleep within the divine body of Karanodakasayi Visnu, and at that time their physical bodies will no longer be with them. At the time of death their souls (covered by a type of subtle body), along with Brahma, will enter into the body of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and Garbhodakasayi Visnu will then merge into Karanodakasayi Visnu. They will all be there, and after creation they will all take birth again (according to their previous karmas).
There is no pralaya (devastation or annihilation) on Brahma-loka at the end of Brahma's day. At that time the topmost heavenly planets remain, and all the other heavenly and lower planets are annihilated. At the time of maha-pralaya, however, which is the end of Brahma's life, all the planets that are under the Viraja River will be abolished.
Shripad Madhava Maharaja: Will Brahma be liberated at that time?
Shrila Gurudeva: If Brahma is qualified he will be liberated then he will be; otherwise not. *[See endnote 6] Regarding the other residents of his planet, they will also sleep within the transcendental body of Karanodakasayi Visnu.
Prana-govinda dasa: I heard from someone that on a morning walk, our Shrila Prabhupada said that all jivas first took birth in this material world as Brahma. I never heard this from him personally.
Shripad Bhagavat Maharaja: Shrila Shridhara Maharaja and Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja have both said that the first birth of the jiva in this world was as Brahma.
Shrila Gurudeva: In my entire life of eighty-seven years I have not heard this. I am very well acquainted with both Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja and Shrila Bhaktiraksaka Shridhara Maharaja. I know that they did not say this.
(To Mahibharta dasa and the drama team) I want to see a drama of the life and character of Prahlada Maharaja, and in addition you can perform whatever other drama you like.
Tamal Krishna dasa: Shrila Gurudeva, when I see my son, how shall I behave with him?
Shrila Gurudeva: You can have affection for him and you can do your duty; there is no harm in that. But do not be attached to him. Simply do your duty.
[*Endnote 1: There are two kinds of disciples, and therefore there are two kinds of diksa (initiation) – anusthaniki and vidvat-rudhi. Anusthaniki refers to the external formality of a fire yajna and the giving of diksa (gayatri) mantras. If one thinks, "I have sacrificed so much, my head is shaven, and I have received my mantras; I am now initiated," this is external. Of course, formal initiation is essential, but it is not complete without vidvat-rudhi.
Vidvat-rudhi refers to an internal initiation wherein the disciple completely gives his heart at his guru's lotus feet, knowing that his guru will make him qualified to serve Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. Gurudeva gives all kinds of divya-jnana (transcendental knowledge) about krsna-tattva, guru-tattva, vaisnava-tattva, and prema-tattva. (Pinnacle of Devotion, in the section called "The Glories of Sadhu-Sanga," by Shrila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja)]
[*Endnote 2: Uttama-adhikari, uttama Vaisnava, and uttama-bhagavat are different terms for the topmost devotee, the bona fide guru. -ed]
[*Endnote 3: "So, we are trying to follow Sanatana Gosvami by diksa-vidhanena, by initiating persons from anywhere. It does not matter [what is a person's background]" (Lecture given by Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja in Vrindavan, Oct. 27, 1972.) "So this morning we are having initiation ceremony for some devotees. The initiation means beginning. The Sanskrit name is diksa." (Hyderabad, August 22, 1976. Initiation lecture by Shrila Prabhupada.) "After association, the next stage is regulated life for following the Krishna consciousness movement. This is called initiation...This is called diksa." (Montreal, July 29, 1968 Initiation ceremony lecture by Shrila Prabhupada.)]
[*Endnote 4 – [Just as Shrila Gurudeva said that Brahma and his associates attain the spiritual world only if they are perfect in Krishna consciousness, Shrila Prabhupada says that as well.] Bhagavad-gita.8.6 states: "From the highest planet in the material world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.
PURPORT by Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja
All kinds of yogis-karma, jnana, hatha, etc.-eventually have to attain devotional perfection in bhakti-yoga, or Krishna consciousness, before they can go to Krishna's transcendental abode and never return. Those who attain the highest material planets, the planets of the demigods, are again subjected to repeated birth and death. As persons on earth are elevated to higher planets, people on higher planets such as Brahmaloka, Candraloka and Indraloka fall down to earth. The practice of sacrifice called pancagni-vidya, recommended in the Chandogya Upanisad, enables one to achieve Brahmaloka, but if on Brahmaloka one does not cultivate Krishna consciousness, then he must return to Earth. Those who progress in Krishna consciousness on the higher planets are gradually elevated to higher and higher planets and at the time of universal devastation are transferred to the eternal spiritual kingdom. Baladeva Vidyabhusana, in his commentary on Bhagavad-gita, quotes this verse:
brahmana saha te sarve
pravisanti param padam
"When there is devastation of this material universe, Brahma and his devotees, who are constantly engaged in Krishna consciousness, are all transferred to the spiritual universe and to specific spiritual planets according to their desires."]
[*Endnote 5: When the interaction of the three modes of material nature begins, Brahma, who is the creator of this cosmic manifestation and who is full of Vedic knowledge, and the great sages, who are the authors of the spiritual path and the yoga system, come back under the influence of the time factor. They are liberated by their non-fruitive activities and they attain the first incarnation of the purusa (Karanadakasayi-Visnu), but at the time of creation they come back in exactly the same forms and positions as they had previously. (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 3.32.12-15)
PURPORT by Shrila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja Prabhupada
Sometimes Brahma thinks that he is independent of the Supreme Lord, and the worshiper also thinks that Brahma is independent. For this reason, after the destruction of this material world, when there is again creation by the interaction of the material modes of nature, Brahma comes back. Although Brahma reaches the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the first purusa incarnation, Maha-Visnu, who is full with transcendental qualities, he cannot stay in the spiritual world.]
[*Endnote 6: [Shrila Prabhupada confirms Shrila Gurudeva's statement that Brahma and his associates go to the spiritual world if they are perfect in Krishna consciousness. We see again and again how we need to understand Shrila Prabhupada through Shrila Gurudeva. -ed] Bhakti-yoga itself is so powerful that even an impious man with no assets in karma-yoga or an illiterate with no assets in jnana-yoga can undoubtedly be elevated to the spiritual world if he simply adheres to bhakti-yoga. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (8.7) that by the process of bhakti-yoga one undoubtedly goes back to Godhead, back home to the spiritual world. Yogis, however, instead of going directly to the spiritual world, sometimes want to see other planetary systems, and therefore they ascend to the planetary system where Lord Brahma lives, as indicated here by the word brahmana. At the time of dissolution, Lord Brahma, along with all the inhabitants of Brahmaloka, goes directly to the spiritual world. This is confirmed in the Vedas as follows:
brahmana saha te sarve
pravisanti param padam
"Because of their exalted position, those who are on Brahmaloka at the time of dissolution go directly back home, back to Godhead, along with Lord Brahma." (Shrimad-Bhagavatam 6.1.1 Purport)
Editors: Shyamarani dasi, Bhadra dasi (from New Zealand), Sudevi dasi (from Malaysia), Jahnava dasi (from Holland), Damodara dasa (from Canada)
Transcriber: Madan-mohini dasi
Proofreader: Vasanti dasi
All bracketed explanations (with the exception of the endnotes) were written by Shyamarani dasi