Badger, California: June 17, 2006
Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaj
[Devotee:] Because of Gurudeva, by his kind mercy, we are able to receive Krishna consciousness. At the time of death, should we think about Gurudeva or should we think about Krishna?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] At the time of death, Shri Krishna. Gurudeva and the entire world are there in Krishna. Do you understand? The entire world, Gurudeva, all Shri Krishna's associates, and everything else are in Krishna. Remember Shri Krishna but also His power – both the gopis and Shrimati Radhika. This was told to us by Shrila Rupa Gosvami.
Krishnam smaran janam casya
kuryad vasam vraje sada
["The devotee should always think of Krishna within himself and should choose a very dear devotee who is a servitor of Krishna in Vrindavana. One should co nstantly engage in topics about that servitor and his loving relationship with Krishna, and one should live in Vrindavana. If one is physically unable to go to Vrindavana, he should mentally live there." (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 22.160)]
Remember Shri Krishna, His associates and Shri Vrindavana.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj and the devotees continue walking & chanting]
[Devotee:] It is stated in the scripture:
yasya deve para bhaktir
yatha deve tatha gurau
tasyaite kathitahy arthah
[“Unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master, all the imports of Vedic knowledge are automatically revealed.” (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23)]
Krishna's holy name is non-different from Krishna. So does it follow that we should have the same faith in the name of Gurudeva?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] You can, but here in this verse, "Yasy a deve para-bhaktir, yatha deve tatha gurau," this has been told for the Supreme Lord and Guru. The holy name has no mention here, but you should always chant with great attraction, affection and attachment for the holy name.
[Brajanath dasa:] Gurudeva, he is saying, that since Krishna's holy name is non-different from Krishna, can we think of 'deve' (God) as 'nama' (His name).
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] You can think in that way, but it is not stated in this verse.
[Devotee:] How can we increase our faith in Guru and Krishna?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] I am telling so much – so much – about this in my classes. First become detached. Be in the renounced order (sannyasa). Not only be in the renounced order, but follow what I am telling in these classes [June 14-18, 2006]. Remember all the examples (of the twenty-four siksa-gurus) that were told by Dattatreya. Give up everything – all worldly desire for wife, child ren and everything else. Give your heart, mind and everything you possess to Guru and Krishna. Then everything will be alright.
[Jayanta Krishna dasa:] Some have the opinion that there is always prema in the jiva, and some say there is initially no prema, but the seed or potentiality to develop and receive prema is there. What is the established philosophical truth?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Prema is there, but like a seed.
[Shripad Madhava Maharaj:] Not manifested, but in a latent position.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Just as everything about a tree is present in its seed – the tree, its flowers, its leaves and everything else – so Krishna-prema is present in the soul of the living entity, but in a latent position. That prema will first appear as sraddha (initial faith), then nistha (firm faith), then ruci (relish), and in this way it will gradually grow.
[Shripad Padmanabha Maharaj:] Krishna says in the Gita:
yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam
[Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship the ancestors go to the ancestors; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship Me will live with Me. (Bhagavad-gita 9.25)]
Here, Krishna is indicating that one goes to the place of the object of ones worship. So if someone worships a pure devotee of Shri Krishna, what will be his result? Suppose his bhakti towards Shri Krishna is not very developed.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Sometimes, the mercy of sadhu-sanga (association with a self-realized soul) is superior to the mercy of Shri Krishna Himself. I have told you that it is the madhyama-adhikari (intermediate devotee) who comes to us. He realizes our position – that we are suffering. Lord Krishna is not aware of this, because He is always drowning in the ocea n of prema. The uttama-bhagavata (topmost devotee) also does not know whether or not we are suffering. Shrila Sukadeva Gosvami will not be aware. However, a madhyama-adhikari – Gurudeva – is here in this world. He knows about us and his sadhu-sanga is for us.
[Devotee:] The residents of Goloka have no consciousness towards the suffering of the jivas (living entities). You said that only a madhyama-adhikari can understand the suffering of the jivas in the material world. Can we then understand that the uttama-bhagavata associates (nitya-siddhas) *[see endnote 1] come here for preaching, and here he acts like a madhyama devotee and is aware of our suffering? Or, do only sadhana-siddha or krpa-siddha *[see endnote 2] devotees come here from the spiritual world to act like madhyama-adhikaris?
[Madhava Maharaj:] Shrila Rupa Gosvamipada is an eternal associate in Gokoka-Vrindavana. Does he not come? Shrila Sanatana Gosvamipada does not come? They do not preach here?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] They may come when Lord Krishna comes, and sometimes Krishna sends them or Shrimati Radhika sends them. She sent Her associate Gopa-kumara.
An example of a sadhana-siddha devotee is Shri Narada Gosvami. He had realized the nature of this world after some births, and now he has become Shri Krishna's associate. So he knows; he can come and help us. Otherwise, how could he have initiated Dhruva, Prahlada, Valmiki, Vyasa and so many others?
[Raghunatha Bhatta dasa:] So should the disciple see Shri Guru as nitya-siddha, sadhana-siddha or krpa-siddha?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] They should think he is siddha – an nitya parikara (eternal associate). Even if he is madhyama-adhikari, the disciple should regard him as he regards Krishna: yasya deve para bhaktir yatha deve tatha gurau. (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.23) Always remember this.
[Madhava Maharaj:] Otherwise they cannot advance.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] If you see like this, Krishna will help you.
[Devotee:] Lord Krishna and His paraphernalia are non-different. He and His maha-prasada are non-different. Yet, I have heard that Krishna-prasadam can become affected by a living entity's karma or consciousness? How is it possible? For example, I've heard that if we eat prasadam from the plate of another conditioned soul, we can be affected by the second person's karma or consciousness. How is that possible that prasada – which is Krishna Himself – can be contaminated in that way?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Padmanabha, what is your idea about what he is saying?
maha-prasade govinde nama-brahmani vaisnave
sv-alpa-punyavatam rajan visvaso naiva jayate
"Persons who are not very highly elevated in pious activities cannot believe in the remnants of food of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nor in Govinda, the holy na me of the Lord, nor in the Vaisnavas." (Skanda-purana)]
If a person doesn't have enough svalpa-punya, meaning pious activities from previous lives, he will not have full faith in maha-prasadam. In Jagannatha Puri, devotees understand there that Lord Jagannatha's maha-prasadam is completely transcendental, even if it is touched by the mouth of a dog and it falls on the ground. If a person properly understands maha-prasadam, he will not hesitate to eat those remnants. It depends on the person's faith.
I can give an example. There was a disciple of our Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaj who liked to eat maha-prasadam that was three or four days old. He didn't want to throw anything away. And not only that; he was also forcing the other devotees to eat it. He wrote a letter about this to Prabhupada and Prabhupada replied that it is a matter of faith. Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami had the highest faith. He was taking the maha-prasadam that even th e cows wouldn't eat because it was so rotten. He was washing it and eating that, but he was tasting it as nectar. In fact, Mahaprabhu Himself came and stole that from his hand, and He was overwhelmed in ecstasy by eating it. So it depends on the person's actual deep faith.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Another example is Shri Narada Rsi. In his previous birth he once took the prasadam remnants of the Four Kumaras with their permission – from their leaf plates – and after that, all his impurities were washed away. He said, "I received rati (transcendental ecstasy) at once."
[Sugata dasa:] During our Prabhupada's time, we had farm projects all over the country . He wanted us not only just to live in our asrama, but to grow our own food, make our own cloth, and use bullock carts instead of cars and tractors. That was a long time ago, and things have changed. What is your vision for the New Vraja village community in the long run? Do you want the devotees there to have a modern life with modern jobs and modern things, or should they go back to simple, old village life, and not be dependent on the Western civilization?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] A bullock cart will not do. You cannot preach here and there by bullock cart. If Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj and I would have used only bullock carts, could we have come?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura also said that we should take advantage of what the scientists are inventing and engage those things in preaching.
[Sugata dasa:] Yes, but this is a different thing. Our Shrila Prabhupada said the same thing you are saying – to use things for Krishna. But he also had a long term vision of communities engaging in an old, traditional lifestyle, with activities like making ones own food, cloth and milk, and being self-sufficient.
[Shrila Narayan a Maharaj:] How much will you do? If you are going to be cultivating the field for making grains and making your cloth, when will you do bhajana?
[Sugata dasa:] Shrila Maharaj, sometimes at Gita-Nagari where I did service, our bhajana was just farming – from four in the morning until twelve midnight. But for our Shrila Prabhupada this was preaching. It was daivi-varnasrama. This was his preaching.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] He did this for those who were not so qualified. It was for them.
[Sugata dasa:] Yes, this is the thing.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] They can go to the grhastha-asrama (they can be householders), they can cultivate the land, they can make their cloth and they can perform other activities of that nature. But when they will advance by sadhu-sanga, they will think that this is a waste of time. We should not waste a moment. Better to beg something and spend the entire day like Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami.
[Sugata dasa:] So preaching is the essence; preaching is the important thing.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Yes.
[Devotee:] My parents are both Prabhupada's disciples, and it seems that the older they get, the further they seem removed from Krishna. I was wondering if there is something you can tell me – something that I can do to help them come back.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] This is due to lack of sadhu-sanga – association with pure devotees. If your parents would have come here, they would have been inspired again. I think it will be best if they associate with sadhus and hear hari-katha. You can make arrangements that sadhus may go to your house and speak hari-katha. Or, your parents can go to that place where hari-katha is going on.
[Rasasindhu dasa:] We have heard from you about many renounced persons, including Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami. When young Raghunatha wanted to leave his family, Mahaprabhu told him, "Na hao vatula – don't be crazy." And then He said, "krame krame paya loka bhava-sindhu-kula."
[Shripad Madhava Maharaj:]
sthira hana ghare yao, na hao vatula
krame krame paya loka bhava-sindhu-kula
[Be patient and return home. Don't be a crazy fellow. By and by you will be able to cross the ocean of material existence. (Chaitanya Charitamrita 16.237)]
[Rasasindhu dasa:] It seems that the path of bhakti is very gradual and slow, but we see that Shrila Raghunatha dasa Gosvami left his family very soon – a short time after receiving Mahaprabhu's instructions. How is it possible?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] He is a nitya-siddha parikara, an eternal associate of Shri Shri Radha and Krishna. He is eternally Rati-manjari, so for him it was possible. Mahaprabhu also left His own house and everything connected with it. He is the Supreme Lord Krishna Himself. What is possible for the Lord and His pure devotee i s not possible for you and others.
Mahaprabhu had told him, "First be qualified, and then give up material activities." This is the purpose of varna-asrama. If you have given up household life without being qualified to do so, you will again remember the same thing and return there. So we should first be qualified and then give up the grhastha-asrama. Be qualified while in grhastha-asrama. All the verses in Shri Upadesamrta have been told for grhasthas. After practicing bhakti according to the verses therein, you will become renounced. This is the process.
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
[“A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind’s demands, the actions of anger and the urges of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world.” (Shri Upadesamrta, verse 1)]
[Shripad Srauti Maharaj:] Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said that if we put our Gurudeva in our heart, have him travelling and walking and sitting there, then the Supreme Personality of Godhead will appear there also. So what is the process of putting Guru in the heart?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Gurudeva is always with you. So you can…
[Shripad Srauti Maharaj:] But he is outside.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] It is very hard to keep Krishna in the heart because we have not seen Him. We have never had His association. We are simply serving Him according to what we know from Gurudeva. But Gurudeva is personally coming to you. You see him walking…
[Shripad Srauti Maharaj:] How can we put Guru in the heart? Once, when I had just arrived from Europe to attend your Vyasa-puja festival in Alachua, I opened the door of your car. I was very happy and I told you, "Oh Gurudeva, you see? I have come to see you ." And you said, "You should put me in your heart."
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] Yes
[Shripad Srauti Maharaj:] So how to do it?
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] You can always remember him, his mercy and his glorification. I can remember how my Gurudeva is so glorious. I can continually remember his qualities.
[Shripad Padmanabha Maharaj:] Suppose Gurudeva gives sannyasa to some person, knowing that the person was not so qualified, but he wanted to utilize the person for his mission. An example of this is our Shrila Prabhupada AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj. He gave sannyasa to so many persons, knowing that they were not qualified.
He even said on one occasion, "I am giving you sannyasa even though you are unqualified. Actually it is like in war time. I am giving you battle commission. I am giving you this, and it is possible that in the future you may fall down." And then our Prabhupada said, "Bu t it will be a glorious death." On the battle field, when a soldier dies it is a glorious death, because he tried. Now some persons are using this argument and saying, "Oh, Gurudeva gave sannyasa to this person, and then he fell down. Since he wasn't qualified, there is no harm that he fell down and gave up his sannyasa.
[Shrila Narayana Maharaj:] No, no, no. This is not good. You should not think like this. Gurudeva has kindly, mercifully, given that person a chance, and that person should utilize the chance. Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu also gave a chance without a person's qualification, and Gurudeva also sometimes does this. Shrila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaj gave sannyasa to so many. He knew that most of them were not qualified, and that is why he did not give any of them Vedic sannyasa names. [*Endnotes 1 and 2: In Vaisnava philosophy there are three ways for perfection-namely, sadhana-siddha, perfection attained by executing devotiona l service according to the rules and regulations; nitya-siddha, eternal perfection attained by never forgetting Krishna at any time; and krpa-siddha, perfection attained by the mercy of the spiritual master or another Vaisnava. Kaviraja Gosvami here stresses krpa-siddha, perfection by the mercy of superior authorities. (Chaitanya Charitamrita Adi-lila, 8.5)]
Editor: Shyamarani dasi
Transcriber: Janaki dasi
Typist: Vasanti dasi
Proof-reader: Krishna-kamini dasi