“We don’t want to scare anybody, but people should be conscious that these are serious things. Material world is a serious place. You do an activity, you get a reaction. In the same way is, you do spiritual activities, you can get great spiritual benefit, or you can get some other reactions.”
Full Lecture Audio
Reading from Jaiva Dharma: “Now let us consider how are the words ‘nitya’ – ‘eternal’ and ‘naimittika’ – ‘temporary’ used here with the word ‘karma’. If we can see the deep meaning of the scriptures, we will see that these two words do not refer to the supreme spiritual goal of life. The terms are used with ordinary or material meaning. Words like ‘nitya-karma’, ‘nitya-tattva’ and ‘nitya-sattva’ may be applied only to the soul’s pure spiritual position. They cannot be used to refer to anything else. Therefore, when the word ‘nitya’ is used to modify the word ‘karma’, that ‘nitya-karma’ that we are seeing in the material world indirectly refers to the eternal spiritual reality. The karma of the material world is never eternal. When karma is employed in karma-yoga, karma-yoga leads to the search for jnana, knowledge, and that search leads to bhakti, devotional service. Then that karma and jnana will be called ‘nitya’ because they lead to something that which is actually nitya.
“Therefore, brahmana’s chanting of the Gayatri-mantra is called a ‘nitya-karma’ because even though it is an activity in relationship to the material body, it does have an oblique reference to the path of devotional service. Therefore, these things may be called ‘nitya,’ even though in themselves they are not really ‘nitya.’ Such a usage is called ‘upacara,’ figure of speech. The word ‘nitya-karma’ can be applied truthfully only to Krishna-prema, pure love for Krishna. The word ‘nitya-karma’ can be applied truthfully only to the realm of the spirit. When the activities of the material world are used for advancement in spiritual life, those activities may be called ‘nitya-karma.’ Though there is nothing wrong with that usage, however, one who sees the truth does not call these activities ‘nitya,’ eternal. He prefers to call them ‘naimittika,’ temporary. It is not really true that the words ‘nitya-karma’ and ‘naimittika-karma’ may refer to materialistic activities. In truth, the eternal nature of the soul is purely spiritual. The religion that describes the pure soul is the real eternal religion. All other religions are temporary. Varnashrama-dharma, astanga-yoga, sankhya and austerities are all temporary. When the individual spirit soul is not bound by Maya, there is no need for him to follow any of these paths. These temporary religions are meant only for souls bewildered by Maya. All these religions are intended for serving specific circumstances, therefore the truth is that they are all temporary.”
HH BVPS Maharaja: The whole idea is that sadhana, sadhana-bhakti means that you are dealing with the conditioned nature. The conditioned nature then has to… We have it, we are conditioned by it, we have to work with it, and so therefore then the other duties are given, but they are connected to Krishna consciousness, they are connected to Krishna. So in this way then we will say it is nitya. So we always have two definitions. When you are seeing it that its purpose is nitya, therefore it’s also called nitya. You know, just like cutting sabji is also called cooking, but if you get very technical about it, cutting sabji is not cooking. Only when things are in the pot, on the fire, then you can actually call it cooking, because if you stop after cutting your sabji, it’s not cooked. So cooking starts there, but it’s preliminary, means, if the sabjis aren’t cut, it has to be cut because when we say, ‘I am going to cook something,’ means, you are going to take it, put it in the pot and cook it. But if it’s not in the state that it can be done like that, it can’t be cooked, then it has to be prepared, so it can be cooked.
So that’s what sadhana-bhakti is. Sadhana-bhakti means that we are not on the platform of devotion, we are attached to the body, connected to the body, so therefore we take the body, the gross and subtle bodies, and we engage it in Krishna’s service. And that way then we become purified, we come to the platform of where we are actually on the platform of the pure soul, then at that point then we seriously begin the process of devotional service. But actually, until we develop love for Krishna, because devotion means that there is attachment to Krishna, then it’s really called. So, therefore, same what he is giving here, is that therefore you can call it ‘nitya-karma,’ like this, but at the same is, from another point of vision it’s naimittika, it’s temporary because the soul does not belong in the material world. So when it’s in connection to Krishna then it’s called nitya because it’s in the pursuance of nitya. But once the perfection of that has been attained, one is not doing it any more, therefore one is working within the spiritual realm, so it’s not therefore called nitya.
Prabhu (1): Here there is a reference to the sandhya-vandana, it has been…
HH BVPS Maharaja: It could be called nitya, but it’s dealing with the body of a brahmana. Because he has a brahminical conditioned nature, he is getting that mantra. If he had a shudra conditioned nature, he wouldn’t get it. So it’s not based on the soul, that’s why you call it nitya because it is dealing with spiritual, but the only reason someone has it is because of the material situation, so when that changes, like they change body, then they are not chanting anymore. Their next life then they will have to receive it again. So technically you can’t call it nitya.
Prabhu (1): And what about japa then?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Japa, that’s a different thing.
Prabhu (1): The animals don’t have it, but we have it and when we chant our bodies will have…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, but that’s connected…. See, the Gayatri for the brahmana means he is worshiping the Sun. That’s the thing. But for the devotees then they are seeing it in connection to Krishna. So then in that way then it becomes, it’s part of the Pancaratric system, rather than the Varnashrama system. Here he is talking Varnashrama, the question was on Varnashrama.
So we are follow Pancaratric, which, basically, means the Bhagavata-marga that’s put formalized. Because Bhagavata is raga, and when it becomes vaidhi, then it’s called Pancaratra. Because Bhagavata, there is no vaidhi. There is, we see in Vaikuntha, so then will also look like Varnashrama and Pancaratra, all those things, but for us it’s, it’s just… In other words, for them it would be rules and regulations they follow there, and they are conscious of everything, the Lord, themselves, how they should behave. But in the material world people aren’t conscious, so they have to learn, like that. So then the Varnashrama, Pancaratra will be a process by which they learn the eternal vaidhi of the spiritual realm. But for us then it basically means, it takes more of the flavor of the Bhagavata put into vaidhi. Therefore you see is that within it then we have two aspects, the vaidhi-sadhana and raganuga-sadhana, though externally they both look the same, the rules are the same, the activities are the same, but the idea is that one changes the consciousness of why one is doing it. It means, rules and regulations, you are doing it because Krishna is God, and the scriptures say you should do like this, so that’s pious and that’s right, and if you do it like that it’s good, if you don’t do it like that, you get a reaction. So that is the inspiration for following. And also for those who are in the Vaikuntha-bhava, that will be the beginning. Later they will do it because it pleases the Lord, He is God, and it pleases Him, so they come to that niskama platform. So then that takes out the going to hell and all that so much, whereas it pleases the Lord. But still, He is God, that’s why we are doing it. But for the residents of Vrindavana then it takes a different flavor because then it does the same thing, but it changes more dramatically to wanting to do it for Krishna, but not because He is God, because He is the person that you want to please, He is the most attractive person, it’s just the natural attraction of the soul. So then it takes on a different flavor, so that’s why it goes beyond then Vaikuntha.
So here the brahmana is meaning, because he is naturally the best of all social classes, here we are taking it as brahmana means vaishnava. So then it goes into the Pancaratric system. Because for us actually… See, there is a difference in Gayatris, there is the Brahma Gayatri, and then there is Pancaratric Gayatris. Techinically speaking, we don’t have, basically, the qualifications and the right to chant the Brahma Gayatri. But if someone surrenders to the devotional process according to Pancaratra, then one can receive the Pancaratric mantras, and because one has chanted and received those, then by that you develop the qualification, you change body. Means, those who are brahmanas, they can receive the Brahma Gayatri. So then, so mixed caste especially… Means, if shudra can’t get it, mixed castes definitely can’t get. So then by the Pancaratric you change body, and because vaishnava is the pursuit, that’s automatically brahmana. So, therefore, the vaishnavas are automatically brahmana, therefore then they can receive the Brahma Gayatri. So it’s not necessary, but Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, to establish the point that vaishnavas are minimum to be accepted as brahmanas, they are beyond brahmanas, but at least minimum, therefore then he introduced the Brahma-gayatri to those who didn’t have it just by their natural social standing. Because otherwise before that those vaishnavas from brahmana families, if they received it according to the family tradition, they would chant it, they would wear brahmana thread and they would chant it. And those that didn’t, they didn’t bother, they just chanted the Pancaratric Gayatris and didn’t wear threads.
Prabhu (2): In ISKCON it seems to be the standard that everyone should get second initiation. Oftentimes devotees who don’t have qualities of cleanliness and austerity, and steadfastness, and attachment to sadhana, also receive it because it seems a necessity, and even the argument that unless you are initiated you can’t go back to Godhead… I don’t know where it comes from, but it’s also there, whether it’s valid or not. Can you comment on that?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Well, that question was asked to Prabhupada. Who said everybody does need the second? Because the chanting is enough. See, the other is helpful, it’s an important thing, but if one does not have the qualifications, one won’t be able to make it work. That’s the thing, is that it’s useful, but if you don’t have the qualities to make it work, it’s not like the Hare Krishna Mahamantra. Because one has to distinguish between Mahamantra, which is Bhagavata, Pancaratric mantras, which are Pancaratric, and Brahma Gayatri, which is Vedic, and the systems are different, the qualifications are different. So Hare Krishna Mahamantra works even if you chant it derisively, it will purify you, it will uplift you. Pancaratric Gayatris and the Vedic Gayatris won’t. You are pure, they work, you are not pure, they don’t work, it’s that simple.
Prabhu (2): Is there an offence that if someone doesn’t have some minimal qualifications and gets that? Their mantra will be upset with them, or…?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, it’s something to consider. Like one of the aspects of the 9th offence is to preach to the faithless, means, to initiate unqualified persons. Like that. It may be that specifically you are doing it to increase the followers, or increase one’s income, so that’s definitely. But here it’s like, there should be a knowledge of what’s going on, main thing is the process should be understood. So the point is is it’s just like if it’s so important then why isn’t it that when the first day someone walks in the door they are not immediately given the second initiation if it’s so important for advancement? People will say, ‘No, they are not qualified,’ so then they have to understand what is the qualification for second, and then they will consider whether after six months they are automatic. We see Prabhupada gave after six months, yeah, but, at the same time is, so many things Prabhupada did are not done now. You know, like if a senior man falls down, Prabhupada would put him right back into their senior position. And now that’s highly unpopular, you know, he should for the rest of his life walk around with one of those cat o’nine tails flogging himself, walking from place to place. So you know, it’s a totally mundane approach. So Prabhupada… So if we follow on that, then yes, but then we should follow on all those things. So the approach is that there is a need to understand the process. The Hare Krishna mantra is enough, but at the same time is, if one has the Pancaratric, it’s helpful. But the Pancaratric won’t work unless cleanliness and all these other things are there, at least the pursuit of it.
Mataji (1): Prabhupada also mentioned in a conversation that we shouldn’t allow unqualified people chanting Gayatri, and he specifically mentioned the Kama-gayatri, and he says that those who aren’t qualified and take this mantra, they will be chasing after the illicit sex and … and money…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, yeah, also…
Mataji (1): [indistinct]… their commentaries on this…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, because it fulfills desire, therefore it is called ‘Kama.’ But the thing is is that one is supposed to have spiritual desire, so to fulfill that. Once when somebody was asking… They were in South, some of our preachers were doing some research work, they were talking with some of the big pandits down South. I think, they may have been talking with the head pujari of Sri Rangam because at that time would have been the father, and now it’s the son, but he was very, very favorable. And so then that’s in that family of Gopala Bhatta Goswami, coming down I think from… Not sure… Because Gopala Bhatta was on… Yeah, Venkata Bhatta. I mean that was the son?
Prabhu (3): Venkata Bhatta is Gopala Bhatta’s father.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Oh, okay, but we saw the pujari… So then I think it’s Venkata Bhatta’s brother, and some line coming down possibly from brahmanas… Prabhodananda Sarasvati, but maybe his line or, or something… Because Gopala Bhatta, he did not get married, so he can’t be… It’s not direct, it’s the family, but it’s somehow…
So then he was, they were doing some discussion about the mantras, and he asked what mantras we are using, and when we said Kama Gayatri, then he says, ‘Oh, now I understand why, possibly, that could be the reason why you have so many sannyasis fall.’ He says, ‘Because if they are not… If attitude is not right, then the mantra will take it the other way.’
Prabhu (2): I had the same experience speaking with someone in Sri Rangam. And he said also, because for them the Panca-samskara is so important. So ‘Do you do Panca-samskara?’ ‘Yes, but it comes in this form and this shape.’ ‘Oh, very good. Which mantras do you chant?’ And then so I hesitatingly told him this Gopala-mantra and then this Kama Gayatri. ‘Ohh! You should be very careful with that.’
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, it seems that everybody is very careful about that mantra.
Prabhu (2): And then he said, ‘The ladies…?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, they chant it as well.’ And he said, ‘Ohh… You just have to think of Prabhupada’s lotus feet and then chant it because…’ [Laughter] He said, ‘I am thinking that something like, you know, Ramanuja got the mantra of ‘Om Namo Narayanaya,’ and then went to the temple tower and shouted it out to everyone, so only by his mercy can people chant it and get the benefit. But if they are not chanting that mantra through him and his mercy, then they will get all the sinful reactions described in the Vedas. So I think the same is with you. Just because Prabhupada gave it to you, so then by his mercy you’ll get the benefit, but without his mercy all the reactions that are there, they will just come down on your head.’
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah. Because it will be described also, all these mantras will be described. Because they are all there in the… They are in the Narayana Upanishad, Taittiriya Upanishad, and they write about, in the last section all the Gayatris are explained there. So then it will be open because karma-kandis will also use the mantras for their various devatas and purposes, whatever they want, so then specifically for them all those reactions are there because they want a particular pious benefit, but if they don’t really pay the price of that perfect concentration and sadhana, then they will get off as a mundane reaction, because they want mundane benefit.
Just like it’s said that, we discussed before about the all the various opinions if the grihastha ashrama is the best or it’s sannyasa. So someone who is interested in fruitive action, then grihastha ashrama, they must go through it, so, therefore, you have to focus on that, otherwise, they might avoid it because they are thinking ‘I don’t want anything here, so therefore I will just remain brahmachari and then at the end of life go to heavenly planets, but then you may please the rishis, but you are not doing the worship of the demigods, where you are going and you are not worshiping the forefathers who are also there, and by their grace you have the body you have now, you are in that line. So, therefore, without getting married you would not be able to please those two, so if you want to go and enjoy there, for yourself would not pay for it by pleasing them because they have to live there also, so you have to feed them through the yajnas and the sraddhas. Then it’s selfish, so therefore then they’ll go to hell. But for the devotee because he is not going to heavenly planets, then that rule doesn’t apply, they can go the whole life and not be married.
So, therefore, you also have that aspect, is that the Gayatris, for those who have material purposes, definitely will give all those reactions, go to hell, this that. Then, for those who are interested in vaidhi, also they have to be careful because the whole point is, vaidhi means you do it perfectly, so you are fully Krishna conscious, but through the medium of the vaidhi. But because of the element of the spontaneous devotional service then things are lightened a bit, but it still doesn’t mean that some aspect doesn’t come, the subtle aspects, the rising of material desires and all those things. So one has to be careful.
So we say, we can say, ‘ We chant Hare Krishna, we don’t care,’ but that’s, we can say that, we can get by with that, when it’s on ‘kirtaniyah sada harih.’ So that means that we are already humbler than a blade of grass, tolerant as a tree, always respecting others, not expecting for ourselves, like that, at that stage you can always chant. Then you could start to say, ‘I don’t have to worry as much about these rules.’ Because you are already always chanting, so the perfection of the rules has been attained in that process. But if we are endeavoring ourselves for material benefits and wealth, and prosperity, and nice family relationships and all that, then to that degree we have to be careful when we are chanting, otherwise it may increase.
Main thing is, we don’t want to scare anybody, but people should be conscious that these are serious things. Material world is a serious place, you do an activity, you get a reaction. In the same way is you do spiritual activities, you can get great spiritual benefit, or you can get some other reactions. So there has to be a balance.
(From Lecture on Jaiva Dharma, 14 January 2002, Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur)