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Understanding Maya

His Divine Grace Om Vishnupad
Srila Bhakti Nirmal Acharya Maharaj
Caracas, Venezuela
20 September 2009, evening


Question: Where does speculation arise from? Does it come from Maya or our past life?



Question: There is also a practical question among the devotees. Sometimes two devotees perform devotional service, but all of a sudden there arises some difference or a little problem. How can I explain my point of view in such situations without getting into more trouble?

You should always remember what Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur did. In his time, there were two devotees who would fight with each other: one of them came to Prabhupad and complained about the other devotee, "Oh, that devotee is very bad," and so on; then the other devotee came to Prabhupad and said the same—complained about every fault of the first devotee. Prabhupad called both devotees together and said to the first devotee, "Glorify him for ten minutes," after that he told the second devotee, "Now you speak about his good qualities for ten minutes." He managed it in this way.

We have all come for the service to the Lord, for the service to our Guru, but sometimes some misunderstanding can happen. We must tolerate it. Another time when two devotees were fighting, Prabhupad gave one example.

There was once a blind Guru who stayed in his temple with two devotees, but these two devotees always fought with each other. One of them said, "I serve more!" the other one said, "No, I serve more! I am cooking and I am doing all the service!" Among other services, the two devotee also had to massage their Gurudev's legs. Gurudev divided the service between them, he said, "You will massage the left leg, and you will massage the right leg." One day, one of the devotees got sick and could not come, so the other devotee massaged only the right leg. Gurudev asked him,

"Why are you not massaging the left leg?"

"It is not my leg, it is his leg!" answered the devotee.

"What? His leg? Is it not my leg? Then I will break it!"

This is very painful...

Do you have any other questions?


Question: Sometimes we see many problems in the process of Krishna consciousness—for example, some devotees do not behave properly, there are many conflicts among the devotees, or we do not get time to do the service; and suddenly we begin to see ugly things. What can we do to see the process of Krishna consciousness as something beautiful?

Prabhupad Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said that we must harmonise with all kinds of environment. For example, I remember once I was chanting and dancing with the devotees on the street in Moscow, Russia, when suddenly a drunk lady came up to me and grabbed me—and she was very strong, I had to push hard to get out and run away. Anyhow, after that I did not think, "Oh, I will not go to Russia again!"—this is not my conception; I still go to Moscow. So, such situations will come, and we must always tolerate everything.

Prabhupad also said, "When an elephant is walking down the street, some dog begin to bark, but this is nothing for the elephant." You do your job, do your duty, and whatever environment comes you must tolerate it—it is illusory environment.

Maya is very powerful—she is nine times more powerful than one jiva soul; and she always tries to remove jiva souls from their service to the Lord. She said to the Lord straight, "I will disturb You when Your class is going on, when Your seva is going on. I will always come and disturb Your service and whenever there is anything spiritual going on." So, disturbance must come—her duty is like that, Maya is not just some woman or some girl. Maya's duty is to always take over and remove from Krishna consciousness. We must be careful.

মায়ারে করিয়া জয় ছাড়ান না যায় ।
সাধু-গুরু কৃপা বিনা না দেখি উপায় ॥

mayare kariya jaya chhadana na yaya
sadhu-guru krpa vina na dekhi upaya

"It is not possible to conquer maya by engaging in maya. I see no other way to get relief except for the mercy of sadhus."

('Ki rupe paibe seva', Srila Narottam Das Thakur)

We cannot defeat her without the mercy of the Lord, mercy of Gurudev and Vaishnavs. She is always around us, and as soon as she gets an opportunity she will attack you. Sometimes you feel you are not getting on with your service, or your mind is fickle, going to bad things—be careful, it means Maya is attacking you.

Sanatan Goswami used to work for the Emperor Husain Shah. When he wanted to leave his service, the king told him, "I will pay you ten times more, work for me. You are the chief minister, why do you want to go here and there?" Sanatan Goswami did not listen to him, and the king put him into jail. In jail, Sanatan Goswami gave some bribe to the superintendent, and finally went to meet Mahaprabhu.

On the way, he first met his relative. He said, "Please, stay with us for two days!" Sanatan Goswami thought, "No, it is Maya. If I stay with him for two days, I can forget everything and he can take me away from Krishna consciousness." He continued his way.

Then, some dacoits caught him. The dacoits has an astrologer who had told them that two men were coming down the road with some wealth. Sanatan Goswami had nothing with him, but his servant Ishan, who went with him, secretly kept eight gold coins. The dacoits gave them so much nourishment and treated them so nicely that Sanatan Goswami suspected something was wrong, "They do not know me, why are they treating me so nicely?" He asked his servant, "Do you have anything with you?" Ishan admitted, "Yes, I have something..." but he did not tell he had eight coins, he said he had seven gold coins. Sanatan Goswami told him quickly, "OK, please give them to me! Please give them to me!" Ishan gave seven coins to Sanatan Goswami, and Sanatan Goswami gave the coins to the dacoits. The dacoits were surprised, "We were going to kill you for this gold, and you are giving it to us yourself! No, you better keep it, we do not want it." But Sanatan Goswami insisted, "No, no! I want to go to Mahaprabhu—if I keep this money, then some other dacoits like you will attack me. Please take this!"

Sanatan Goswami gave the money away and continued his way to Mahaprabhu with Ishan. Soon he asked Ishan, "Ishan, do you have anything else with you?" Ishan could not lie, "Please forgive me, I have one more coin left..." Sanatan Goswami then said to him, "You cannot go with me. Go back home with this gold." He could not follow his Guru and had to go back from the doorstep just for this one reason.

So, if you have some material desire in your heart, you may actually reach the doorstep but the door will be closed and you will have to go back...


Question: Why is Maya there?

Krishna Himself said,

দৈবী হ্যেষা গুণময়ী মম মায়া দুরত্যয়া ।
মামেব যে প্রপদ্যন্তে মায়ামেতাং তরন্তি তে ॥

daivi hy esa gunamayi, mama maya duratyaya
mam eva ye prapadyante, mayam etam taranti te

"My alluring, 'trimodal,' illusory potency is practically insurmountable. However, those who take shelter in Me can overcome this powerful obstacle."

(Srimad Bhagavad-gita, 7.14)

"I created this Maya, and Maya's duty is like this." Krishna creates everybody and everybody has some duty—you have one duty, and she has another duty; everybody's duty is different. So, Krishna created Maya and she is doing her duty, but at the same time Krishna says, "If somebody surrenders to Me, I remove Maya from them..."


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