Shri Shrimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaj
Wales, July 4, 2000
In this world there are two kinds of human beings. A person of the first kind does not know who God is or who he himself is. He is always absorbed in sense gratification, thinking, “I am this physical body.” Such sensually absorbed persons are also of two kinds. Some are like animals and some are like demons. Demons are always against devotion. Animal-like persons are not against it, but they are not favorable because they are always engaged in their sense gratification. They are fully ignorant. Though their shapes are human, they are like animals, who are also always engaged in sense gratification. Dharme nahina pasubhisumana. They are like cows or other animals. They are like she-hogs, he-dogs, camels, and the most ignorant animals – the donkeys. Those who are not demons, but are not doing bhajana, are like very ignorant donkeys. They are kicked by the hind legs of the she-donkeys and are always taking all the burden of the washerman. Those who do not do bhajana are in this category, even though they have human forms.
Those who are favorable to devotion are also of two kinds. Those of one kind are doing something, but they are not following the process, etiquette, and rules and regulations of devotees or devotion. They are in great numbers, whereas real devotees are very few in number, and even among this small number of devotees there are so many kinds. Some are initiated, but not properly. They are initiated by kula-gurus or fallen, so-called gurus who are not qualified, and third-class bogus gurus who have the false ego of being a guru. These devotees are greater in number.
Those who are initiated by qualified devotees, who have taken diksa but not properly, not by vidva-virudhi (taking the instructions of guru and scriptures in the heart) think, “Oh, my fire sacrifice has been done, and my gurudeva has given me a sacred thread.” And the ladies think, “Oh, gurudeva has given me a name.” They wear big, big tilaka and kanthi-mala, but there is no real diksa, no di – divya-jnana, (reception of realized transcendental knowledge) and no ksa – disappearance of unfavorable and sinful activities. These devotees are greater in number than real devotees, and most of us are in this category.
Some may be above this, but the greater number is of this class. They have no real relation with Krishna; no tattva-jnana of Krishna-tattva, bhakti-tattva, jiva-tattva, or maya-tattva. They don’t know who is Krishna, what is the philosophical truth about Krishna, devotion, or rasa. They only sit and act out the moments of saying the mantras, but what they are doing, they themselves don’t know. Or, they may chant some mantras like, ‘aim gurave namah,’ but where are their minds? After ten minutes they catch themselves and think, “Oh, what am I doing?” They were either sleeping or thinking of other things. Next they chant, ‘klim Chaitanyaya,’ but their mind was absent. Again, after half an hour, they think, “Oh, what am I doing?” They are struggling in this way, and their number is also greater.
Perhaps we are in this category. When worldly affairs come into their mind, like their job or anything else of that nature, they are very careful and cautious. Their minds are always in computers and here and there. They cannot give their energy to the guru-mantra, the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, or any mantra. Some pure devotees may come to visit, and they are then somewhat inspired, but after those pure devotees leave, the inspiration also leaves. Their number is also greater than that of real devotees.
In the category of those who are above this, there is still something lacking. Such devotees cannot follow ‘trinad api sunicena taror avi sahisnuna amanina manadena kirtaniyah sada harih.’ They cannot even follow the instructions of Shrila Rupa Gosvami in Upadesamrta (Text 1):
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegami
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
[“A wise and self-composed person who can subdue the impetus to speak, the agitation of the mind, the onset of anger, the vehemence of the tongue, the urge of the belly and the agitation of the genitals can instruct the entire world. In other words, all persons may become disciples of such a self-controlled person.”]
I think that so many devotees do not know what this means. They never care about it. You can imagine what kind of devotees they are.
Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu told Shrila Sanatana Gosvami in Varanasi, “You should be Bhadra, gentle and sober, by dress.” At that time Shrila Sanatana Gosvami had a long beard and hair, and he wore very dirty clothes. He looked like a Muslim street beggar who was going to Mecca to chant “Allah, Hoda.” He at once he went to the Ganges, shaved, and put on tilaka, and now he looked like a Vaisnava. We also see here that there are so many who do not put on tilaka and are not shaved. They wear one strand of neck beads and that one strand does not even touch their necks. This means they have no interest in all these devotional principles. They are coming to classes, and therefore some attraction is there, but they don’t want to follow all the regulations.
Even in the military there are rules and etiquettes. The soldiers must wear military uniform, otherwise they will be punished at once. They have to run two miles with very heavy guns and boots: “Quick march, quick march, double march.” That is discipline. Similarly, there is also some Vaisnava discipline. If we cannot obey and follow Vaisnava etiquette and discipline, how will we obtain this very high-class of Vraja-prema? Vraja-prema is not so easy to attain. It is stated in the scriptures that the chanting of one holy name is sufficient for perfection. We are chanting so many names, but not experiencing any results.
So, you will have to follow all these principles. First Vaisnava etiquette: We see that Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Shri Nityananda Prabhu, Shrila Rupa Gosvami and all their associates are all paramahamsas, and still, all of them followed Vaisnava etiquette. Then why should we not follow? It is not sufficient to simply wear mala, beads. First there must be etiquette, and this is called Vaisnava-sadacara.
For whom was jail created? For persons who are not following rules and regulations, for those who are causing disturbance to others. We have no taste. How will this taste come? If we follow the rules and regulations given by Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana Gosvami, and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, then taste will come. If we neglect these regulations, however, and do not follow Vaisnava etiquette, how can we hope to attain Vraja-prema? Rather, we will have to be punished.
For those who are following the etiquette, it is said,
vaco vegam manasah krodha-vegam
etan vegan yo visaheta dhirah
sarvam apimam prthivim sa sisyat
If you want to master anything, you must follow some rules and regulations: daily reading, and completing the task given by your professor or teacher. There must be daily attendance, but not only attendance. There must also be careful study and hearing.
Vaco vegam – controlling the tongue. The tongue is very much uncontrolled. It has no backbone. It can twist to this side and that side, and it can become long or short. But it has no bone, and therefore it is uncontrolled. It may be possible to control the air, but not the tongue.
The tongue creates all kinds of problems. Draupadi was a very high-class lady devotee, always following all the rules and regulations. She was able to control herself and even her five husbands. But she once said to Duryodhana, “Blind father, blind son.” She said only these words. Duryodhana became very angry and this caused the whole Mahabharata battle where millions of people were killed. Another example is that of Sita-devi, the wife of Lord Ramacandra. She also did not control her tongue. [She was perfect, but to fulfill her Lord’s mission, she acted in this way. –ed] She said something to Laksmana, and for this reason the whole Ramayana battle took place.
So, try to control your tongue. If you want to be peaceful and do bhajana, don’t quarrel with your wives and husbands, your sons and daughters, and other devotees. I see that so many problems are coming, only due to the uncontrolled tongue. From today onward, you should promise, “I will not quarrel with my husband or wife, children, gurudeva, and all other devotees.” If you control your tongue, anger will also be controlled. Without this, you cannot control your anger.
The tongue also always wants to taste very delicious things. If you do not control it, lust will increase. Your stomach will be destroyed and you will very soon become old and helpless. Shrila Rupa Gosvami tells how to control the six urges in the next verse:
atyaharah prayasas ca
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca
sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati
[“One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required, (2) overendeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to attain, (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters, (4) practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically, (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krishna consciousness, and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.”]
Don’t take very rich foodstuff. Don’t engage very much in the activities of your five senses, otherwise this will also be atyaharah. What did I say?
Prema-prayojana dasa: Shrila Gurudeva is explaining that the fault of over-eating is not only the fault of the tongue. All five senses can be guilty of ‘over-eating.’ If the eyes are wandering here and there and looking towards material sense-objects…
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaj: You may see a very beautiful teenage lady, and by chance your eyes go there. Take that glance and turn it towards Krishna, the Deities, and the Vaisnavas. If you are looking, looking, looking, and looking, attachment will come and you will become the servant of that lady. You will not be able to control yourself. This is true of all the senses.
‘Atyahara preyasas.’ Don’t try to become astrologers, and don’t read books other than bhakti books. Don’t go to palm-readers, who will tell you, “This is your lifeline, this is your money-line, and this is your son and daughter line.”
Always try to engage all your senses in Krishna-bhakti, in the development of your Krishna consciousness, learning how you can please your gurudeva. This is sufficient. If you have not studied in school or college, there is no harm, because only by chanting, remembering, serving, and obeying your gurudeva can you be happy. There are so many examples, as in the lives of Shrila Haridasa Thakura and others. You cannot be happy by material endeavors. Don’t try to be expert in worldly things. Try to be expert in Krishna-bhakti. Try to develop the pure name.
‘Atyaharah prayasas ca prajalpo.’ Don’t talk prajalpa. Don’t speak about silly things. Only speak about that which is favorable for bhakti. If you are speaking about Krishna and Krishna-bhakti, this is okay; but if you are merely criticizing those like Kamsa or Jarasandha, it is not good. What should you do? Give up all these things. Only glorify Nanda, Yasoda, the gopis, gopas, Krishna, and all the devotees. Be far away from all these other things.
Don’t care so much for your life maintenance. You can do something when you are a lower class devotee. When you become more mature, however, you will not have to do anything. Whatever you need will very easily come.
‘Prayasas ca prajalpo niyamagrahah.’ You should think, “I must chant.” How much? One lakh (sixty-four rounds). If you cannot do this, then chant fifty thousand names, or thirty-two rounds – not less than that. If you cannot do that, then somehow chant twenty-five rounds. And if you cannot do that, then go to the ocean and jump in at once. Then, in another life you will be able to chant. If you cannot chant this much in this lifetime, then certainly go to the Pacific Ocean or Atlantic Ocean or the English or Irish Channel.
If you want to be a devotee, then try to follow all these regulations. If you are chanting and in the meantime your gurudeva or any high-class of devotee comes to give a lecture, what should you do? Should you try to continue your chanting and complete your rounds, or should you go and hear your gurudeva’s lecture? What should you do? You should hear. By hearing, your holy name chanting will be very high-class and you can also complete your rounds. You will be able to do many rounds. So don’t do ‘niyamagrahah.’ What is this ‘niyamagrahah’? You should explain the two kinds.
Prema-prayojana dasa: Here Shrila Gurudeva is explaining the meaning in the word ‘niyamagrahah.’ ‘Niyamagrahah’ means to not follow the rules and regulations. This point is very clear, but the second meaning of the word ‘niyamagrahah’ is to excessively follow the rules and regulations in such a way that it does not actually enhance your bhakti, but rather becomes an impediment.
Shrila Narayana Gosvami Maharaj: If you want to develop your Krishna consciousness and you want taste in the name and pastimes of Krishna, then you must follow the third verse:
utsahan niscayad dhairyat
sanga-tyagat sato vrtteh
sadbhir bhaktih prasidhyati
["There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with conﬁdence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as sravanam kirtanaṁ visnoḥ smaranam – hearing, chanting and remembering Krishna], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous acaryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service."]
When problems come, we became hopeless and think, “I am chanting the holy name more than sixteen rounds and still so many problems are coming. So I should give up.” Don’t think like this. ‘Utsahat.’ ‘Utsahat’ means with enthusiasm. By that, more than sixty four rounds will be completed. ‘Niscayat’ means the conviction that ‘sooner or later’ I will have Krishna-prema. I must have it.”
If you always want Krishna-prema, then engage with strong determination in ‘sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada sevanam,’ especially ‘sadhu sanga, nama kirtana, bhagavat sravana, mathura-vasa, and Shri-murtira sraddhaya sevana.’ [“One should associate with devotees, chant the holy name of the Lord, hear Shrimad-Bhagavatam, reside at Mathura and worship the Deity with faith and veneration.”] First complete all these things, and then you can try to do something to maintain your life. The holy name will arrange everything for you.
‘Utsahan niscayad dhairyat, tat-tat-karma-pravartanat, sanga-tyagat’ – don’t associate with bad persons. He may be father, he may be husband, and he may even be guru. If you want to have Krishna-prema, you must give up that kind of guru, what to speak of husband, children, and others. Krishna can save you. Krishna is the eternal, complete, and the supreme husband and beloved. But these husbands are cheaters, and these wives are also cheaters. They can never save you. Only because you are very beautiful, you are pleasing your husband. If you have a little desire to be with any other boyfriend, your husband will give you up. If you are in some way ugly, with two or three children, your husband might reject you and take a new wife. And the wife will do the same thing with the husband. These problems are everywhere.
So try to develop your Krishna-prema. Utsahan niscayad dhairyat: give up all bad association. Even if he is your guru, father, mother or husband, give him up. Why? There are so many examples; all sastras are full of all these evidences. So try to follow this if you want to have Krishna-prema. Vrtti: always try to follow the rules and regulations and the etiquette of Vaisnava sadacara. It is not good that we are thinking, “Oh, we are devotees. Now I should make a factory where various things will be produced and we can sell them and then do hari-bhajana, and my bhajana will not be affected.” You will have to give more energy to your business than to your bhajana. Your whole energy will have to go into the business.
So follow the etiquette of our Gosvamis and other pure devotees, including grhasthas, to see how they maintain their lives. Be with Vaisnavas always. Try to honor and respect them according to their stages: kanistha, madhyama, and uttama (third, second, or first-class devotees). If you have no taste, what should you do? Chanting, and chanting; this is the medicine, this is the diet.
Don’t criticize any Vaisnavas. Never, never. Otherwise an offense will be committed and your bhakti will be uprooted. Don’t offend anyone. It is stated in Text 8:
smrtyoh kramena rasana-manasi niyojya
tisthan vraje tad-anuragi jananugami
kalam nayed akhilam ity upadesa-saram
[“The essence of all advice is that one should utilize one's full time—twenty-four hours a day—in nicely chanting and remembering the Lord's divine name, transcendental form, qualities and eternal pastimes, thereby gradually engaging one's tongue and mind. In this way one should reside in Vraja [Goloka Vrindavana dhama] and serve Krishna under the guidance of devotees. One should follow in the footsteps of the Lord's beloved devotees, who are deeply attached to His devotional service.”]
At once, quickly, do these things. Be in Vrindavana, always under the guidance of the rasika Vaisnavas and guru. Doing what? Make sure your tongue is always chanting, “He Krishna karuna sindho dina-bandho jagat-pate gopesa gopika-kanta radha-kanta namo ’stu te. [“I offer my unlimited pranamas unto You, O Krishna! You are the ocean of mercy, friend of the fallen, Lord of creation, and master of the cowherd community! You are Gopi-kanta, beloved of the gopis, and above all You are Radha-kanta, the beloved of Shrimati Radhika!] Radha ramana, Rasabhihari, Radha kanta; always chanting. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has given us the highest class of mantra, the maha-mantra, Hare Krishna. Every name is there, all kinds of rasas are there in the mantra. Right now you are not understanding these things; but one day, if you become a high class of Vaisnava, then you can realize.
You should chant. What names? The most beautiful and high class names, like Radha-Ramana, Radha-Rasabhihari – all these names. And, be in Vrindavana under the guidance of rasika Vaisnavas. Your tongue should always be chanting, and your mind remembering the sweet pastimes of Radha-Damodara, Radha-Rasabhihari, and Radha-Ramana. This is the essence of all sastras and teachings.
You will also have to follow Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s Manah-siksa. Especially the first sloka, beginning gurau gosthe, is very important. If you are initiated into diksa, you must follow this. Don’t neglect the process that your guru has given, for chanting the gayatri mantras, remembering the Deity of that mantra, surrendering, praying, atma nivedanam, and knowing the meanings of all the mantras that he gave us.
We have not come to this world only to manage. If you are managing your preaching center, it is not enough. Why manage a center if you are not following these things? No need of any center. If you are always quarrelling and not obeying, not chanting, remembering, or uttering the mantras – always thinking, “Is he doing this?” or of this building here or there, then there is no need of a center. If you cannot develop your Krishna consciousness, there is no use.
Preaching centers are to help others and to help us. But if you are not helping yourself and so many problems are coming, you should set fire to that preaching center at once. Even the children’s schools and colleges – if they are a problem, then set fire to them also. Now you are seeing very great problems with children who are engaged in quarrels with those who managed the schools. Those schools were built for the betterment of the children, but what has become of them? The opposite.
Try to develop your Krishna Consciousness. Don’t make gita-samsara, thinking: “I cannot maintain everything. Who will look after my Deities? I have no time to chant and to do all these things as well. Who will change Their clothes and do kirtana and do arati three or four times a day? Who will cook for Them? I should have a beautiful wife (or a qualified husband).” And then what happened? There were always quarrelling and problems. What is the need?
Try to follow all these things. Be in Vrindavana.
“Oh, Gurudeva, I cannot be in Vrindavana.”
“Why? Do you want Krishna-prema? Why can’t you go? What is the problem? Give up all these things and go to Vrindavana. Why can you not go? For your sense gratification?”
Try to obey at least the first six slokas of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami’s Manah-siksa.
gurau gosthe gostalayisu sujane bhusura-gane
sva-mantre Shri namni vraja-nava-yuva-dvandva-sarane
sada dambham hitva kuru ratim apurvam atitaram
aye svantar bhratas catubhir abhiyace dhrta-padah
“Oh my uncontrolled mind. Oh, you are very near and dear. Try to listen to me and obey me. Oh my dear friend, mind.”
Try to remember this first sloka. Always have rati, meaning not only sraddha, but sraddha, nistha, ruci, asakti, and then rati. That class of rati? Your rati should not be divided into fractions: some for the new child who has come and is always crying, so you are always patting him, “O you should sleep.” Do not divide that rati with your wives and husbands, or with anything in this world. Have akhanda-rati (complete, undivided attachment) for guru. Why guru? Because a real, bona fide guru can give you taste and Krishna-prema very easily. Have rati for those who have Krishna-prema. They are called diksa-guru and siksa-guru.
The places of Krishna’s pastimes are called gostha; have great honor for them. You can go and roll in the dust, weeping, “O dust of Vrindavana, you are transcendental. Please, be pleased with me; be merciful to me.” In this way, be sometimes in Nandagaon, sometimes in Varsana, and especially in Radha-kunda and Syama-kunda, weeping, and be at Giriraja Govardhana or Yamuna.
Also, remember those who reside there. They are gostalayesu. Who is there? Krishna, His mother Yasoda, His father Nanda, the gopas, the gopis, the cows, the peacocks, and all of Krishna’s associates. Try to honor them; also Rupa and Sanatana Gosvamis, and especially Shri Guru.
Also have rati for the brahmanas and for any sampradayic Vaisnava, and for other sampradayic Vaisnavas as well – Ramanuja, Madhvacarya, Vishnusvami, and others.
Daily, give respect to the mantras that guru has given: brahma-gayatri, guru-mantra, guru gayatri, gaura-mantra, gaura-gayatri, gopal mantra, kama-gayatri, panca-tattva and maha-mantra – daily.
If some time is there, then you can take your meal. Guru Maharaj [Shria Bhakti Prajnana Kesava Gosvami Maharaj] neglected taking bath and changing his cloth because he considered it took so much time. He had no time for these things. After one month he would take one lota of water and throw it behind him, only touching his sikha and not his body. He had no time at all. Shrila Prabhupada Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was also like this. They had no time to daily take bath.
We should follow them. Always remember with one-pointed mind all these gayatris, and then chant maha-mantra very carefully. Don’t be in a hurry. When chanting gayatri, not looking at your sons, daughters, husband or wife. “My husband must go to the office, so I should chant quickly. To worship the Deities will take one hour, but I want to go to the office (or I want to go to University), so very quickly we should do our chanting.” Bhakti is not like this. So, have so much rati for these things. If you are initiated, try to do your chanting properly and very patiently; not in a hurry.
Indian Vedic rsis have discovered pranayama for this – to make the mind controlled. Have rati especially for Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Nityananda Prabhu, and in the end to Radha-Krishna conjugal. The result of all our sadhana-bhakti is to have rati for Radha and Krishna. If this is not done, then what is the use of our life?
keno va achaye prana ki sukha paiya
narottama dasa keno na gelo mariya
[“For what happiness does this life continue? Why doesn’t Narottama dasa simply die?” (Gora Pahu Na Bhajiya Mainu, verse 5)]
“Why is Narottama not dying?” He is lamenting, “I want to die, because I cannot do [I have no devotion].” He can do, and is doing, but he is weeping for us.
Try to realize all these things. This is the essence of all teachings. From today, try to follow these principles, if you want to love and serve Radha-Krishna conjugal and Mahaprabhu. There is no other way. Today, or after some days, you will have to follow. Sastra has told that if you are not following, even though you have a human body, you are only a donkey. Don’t destroy your time in engaging in worldly sense gratification. You can never be happy in that way.