Fourth Discourse: Adjusting to His Account
Vaisnava-aparadha is the greatest danger in the cultivation of devotional service. By seeing the activities of others we should not be quick to judge them as non-Vaisnavas. Even we find that sometimes two devotees may fight in a very angry mood. In Mahabharata it is related that when Yudhisthir was very angry sometimes he would insult Arjuna. On one such occasion he told Arjuna very angrily, "You have much power and so many good weapons unequaled by others, but why don't you kill Karna? Why do you even bother to take your bow, Gandiva, in your hand if you don't kill him? Throw it away!"
Arjuna had a promise that he would kill anyone who insults his Gandiva. Therefore on hearing these words Arjuna immediately took up his bow and went to sever Yudhisthir's head from his body.
Krishna was there and said, "Arjuna, don't be so foolish. What are you doing?"
Arjuna replied, "I am not doing this enviously, but it is my promise that if anyone will insult my Gandiva I shall kill him. I have made this promise and I am a ksatriya, therefore whoever he may be—even my mother or father—I must kill him. This is the reason I am going to kill Yudhisthir."
Then Krishna asked, "And if you don't kill him then what will you do?"
"I will leave my own body."
Hearing this, Krishna said, "Then leave your body, but don't kill your brother. If necessary then you die, but why are you preparing to kill your brother? You are foolish, you do not know what is religion."
Arjuna reflected and immediately accepted, "Yes this solution is possible. I must die. If I kill my brother, too much sinful reaction will come to me, so I must die." Then he said to Krishna, "I shall die."
Krishna replied, "Yes, now you are being sensible. You can do that."
Then Arjuna again took his weapon, this time to kill himself. But Krishna took his hand and said, "Oh, how much shall I have to teach you? Will it be possible within one lifetime to teach so much?"
Arjuna said, "What problem can there be now? We already decided the best solution is that I die, so I'm preparing to do that."
"Yes, you die. But there are eight kinds of death in this mundane plane, so you should choose sensibly." Krishna then advised, "Amongst those eight types of death, one is self-glorification. You can die in this way. Another type of death is to insult someone, therefore if you insult Yudhisthir it will be his death. So why are you using your weapons? Instead use your tongue—it is also a weapon."
Then Arjuna enthusiastically glorified himself by proclaiming to Yudhisthir his glorious activities of battle. Simultaneously he heavily insulted Yudhisthir. "I have done this great thing and that great thing, but what have you done? Only you have been sitting in your chair giving us orders. You don't even know what a battlefield is..."
Yudhisthir then felt great pain and said, "I am not going to live. Now I am suffering so much pain I shall die."
Seeing Yudhisthir faint, Krishna instructed Arjuna, "Now go and touch his feet and explain to him why you have done what you did. Apologise and everything will be settled."
This is proper harmony and adjustment. So if we see devotees quarrelling we should always try to follow this mood. We cannot immediately say that those in either party are not devotees. At first we must think why the disturbance came, and consider all the circumstances, only then can we take a proper course of action. That is our duty.
Question: Is it sure that a devotee in his next life will take birth as a devotee?
Srila Maharaj: In Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna tells Arjuna,
yam yam vapi smaran bhavam, tyajaty ante kalevaram
"At the time of death the tendencies from our whole life, as well as from previous lives, will all come to us and we will receive another body according to whatever we remember."
If I am within Krishna consciousness in this life but I am to take another birth, my next life must be again endowed with at least my present amount of Krishna consciousness. In a more exalted way that will come to me, and I shall receive a better chance.
suchinam srimatam gehe, yoga-bhrasto 'bhijayate
"One who cannot fulfil his devotional practising life in this body will receive another body after death through which he will receive a better chance to practise Krishna consciousness."
Another thing is that we may see a good, high class devotee remaining senseless in a coma for some days before leaving his body, so the question may arise as to what will be the outcome for him. But Krishna says about His devotee:
na hi kalyana-krt kaschid, durgatim tata gachchhati
"Whether or not a devotee can remember Me at the time of death is not the criterion for him. That is the rule for the general practitioners, but for one who is devoted fully to Me, he may be senseless in a coma for seven days, or not; but I am accountable for that. Already I have taken responsibility, therefore he has no responsibility for himself. I shall do what is good for him. If I think it will be good for him to take another birth, I shall give that, otherwise I shall arrange another situation for him."
We can see everything in a very concise way in the books of Srila Bhakti Vinoda Thakur. He wrote many books such as Jaiva Dharma, Chaitanya Siksamritam, etc. If only we read and follow the books of Srila Guru Maharaj and the song books of Bhakti Vinoda Thakur we will see sufficiently. It is not necessary to read many books.
Question: In Srimad Bhagavad-gita Krishna says that an unsuccessful yogi takes his birth in an aristocratic wealthy family or a pious brahmana family. I can understand that the pious brahmana family would be very favourable for his future advancement, but to me it seems that a wealthy aristocratic family is not so good because this person would be more and more entangled in material sense gratification. Please explain this point.
Srila Maharaj: When I see the devotees who took their births in such families I can understand very quickly the answer. If their facilities can be used for the seva of Krishna then more promotion will come. If someone receives a kingdom, and if he can serve Guru, Vaisnava and Bhagavan with that whole kingdom, then he must receive more benefit than a brahmana even though that brahmana's family may be materially pious. Also pious does not mean devotional. Devotion is another thing, and wherever we are we must always look for the chance to gain that.
This guidance in Srimad Bhagavad-gita is actually for the general people, not for the devotees. There are many things mentioned in Bhagavad-gita: karma, bhakti-misra-karma, yoga-misra-karma, jnana-misra-karma, etc., but we shall take only that part relevant to our pure devotional line. For one who is devoted fully, his birth and death depend upon Krishna. Every responsibility is taken by Krishna for His fully surrendered devotees: everything bad and everything good in them is His responsibility. He knows in which way He will take His lost servant home. The Lord is engaged in a loving search for His lost servant. Love is necessary. The main thing is love. Everything is present where there is love, but that must be transcendental otherwise more disturbance will be felt through mundane "love".
In this mundane world the worst thing is paramour love, but in the transcendental world where everything is superior and is for service, the topmost position is that of paramour love. By this we can begin to understand just what a great difference there is between the mundane and spiritual worlds.
When Krishna apparently seems to be taking things by stealing, it is more sweet than His accepting offerings. This does not apply to us but we must see the sun or at least the sunlight, otherwise we may blindly stay within a cave for our whole life. Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur expressed this very nicely and I had it inscribed in marble above the front entrance of the Natya Mandir:
matala harijana kirtana-range
He said, "From afar we are to worship the Pastimes of Krishna, and we are to pray that in future it may come down to us through the mercy of the Vaisnavas and Guru." We are to understand our present position and, with care and respect, progress towards our transcendental destination.
First priority is to be given to serving Guru and the Vaisnavas. By serving Guru and the Vaisnavas we receive service to Krishna. This is the main conception of Sriman Mahaprabhu. From so many slokas of different sources we can see that service to the Vaisnava and Guru is our present life's goal, and through that we must get direct service to Sri Krishna and Srimati Radharani. But always our protector is our Guru—and my Guru's protector is his Guru; his protector is his Guru, and in this way our Guru parampara is going up to Srimati Radharani. Krishna is always present in Goloka, so the servitors are serving very happily. Krishna can show Himself at any moment, anywhere, and they are eager to engage in His service under the guidance of Srimati Radharani.
In this mundane world, however, we are to see only that Krishna appears Himself in the form of my Guru. And when there is more clarity we can see, "My Guru is a servitor of Krishna; and the supreme servitor is Srimati Radharani, therefore my Guru is a manifestation of Her." That is not only another stage of feeling, but existence—it is another stage of transcendental realisation. But first we must become established in the plane of dedication, then we will have, gradually, the chance of service to Krishna. It will come gradually—it may come sooner or it may take many births—but when it will come, it will come gradually. The main thing is service; but we cannot serve properly, therefore it is necessary to practise in order to prepare ourselves to engage in real service.
At the present time we cannot do pure service and we cannot chant Krishna's Name properly. For example, we know from Guru, Vaisnava, and sastra that Krishna and Krishna-nama are the same; why then do we not receive the result of Krishna Himself appearing within our hearts when we chant Krishna-nama? We must consider this point. The result of chanting real Krishna-nama is that Krishna will appear in the heart, but Krishna is not appearing within our hearts, therefore we know we are not engaging in real Krishna-nama. Therefore, in our present position we are in the stage of practising, and this is also true for other forms of service.
By practising here, the force of our habit will put us in good standing. If we practise chanting the Hare Krishna Mahamantra, then even while sleeping, that Hare Krishna Mantra will appear within us. If we practise doing service, then also while sleeping we shall think of service.
But service is necessary, and chanting Hare Krishna gives us enthusiasm to serve. When we have direct service, then there is no problem, and through my Guru it is possible. Gurudeva will take all responsibility, and only our duty will be to serve him, and that will be good for us. If he will give any responsibility, we are to fulfil that—and that is our duty. In a government, everybody does not do every type of work; but it runs by some doing some parts of the duties, and some doing other parts. Our concern is with the transcendental government and we are to make ourselves as parts of that government. Only this is the main thing. And chanting is necessary no doubt, but it is necessary to chant without offence, otherwise we shall be deprived of the main connection. Offenceless chanting and service will come gradually through the mercy of the Guru. If we don't make offence to the Vaisnavas, it will come sooner, otherwise it will be delayed and will come later, but our only hope is that one day we must be successful.
Without practising Krishna consciousness, there is no other way to rise up from the mundane plane to the transcendental plane. In this mood we are to proceed: "Only this is my duty—I shall do or die!" But everybody cannot proceed steadily in that way, for them there are many methods by which their situation can be harmonised, and the Master, their Gurudeva, is there and he can understand by which way the disciples can progress and which way they cannot. He knows that: he is expert, therefore the transcendental result will come to the disciple. Gurudeva means who is expert in that line.
|HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE | HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE|
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