MAN WOMAN INTERACTION LECTURE #4 Eger, Hungary, 1st Aug 2007 Part 3
HH BVPS Maharaja: Are there any more questions?
Prabhu: So this question of being personal, how is it applied amongst devotees… But my feeling is that it’s really the question of… I mean, they are, in reality they are asking, “Who is going to love me?” or “Is there going to be anyone who is going to love how I would like to be loved?” It’s like that. So it refers to that in reality, this question of being personal.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Oh. Means, the living entity by nature is dependent. So that means, relationship means, for their happiness they are dependent upon others. So if it’s spiritual, then you depend completely on Krishna and the devotees there. And while one is here, then one has relationship with the devotees here. But the point of operating these relationships then that’s actually the question. How to operate those relationships? Because that works that one needs that interaction you know, one needs interaction. But how that interaction works, depends upon what is your role. Does that make sense? You know, if it’s a parent, the relationship with the child is by taking care of them. Or friends being mutually supportive. Or servant is serving the master, master takes care of the servant. Or a husband taking care of the wife, the wife responding to that protection. Does that make sense? Yeah. So, you’ll get what you need by doing what you are supposed to do for someone else. Does that make sense? This idea that I will sit here, everything will come to me, how is that gonna work, unless you deal with others, how it’s going to be manifest? Because if your point is “everyone must come to me,” then even if they do come to you, what are you gonna do to reciprocate, right? Why should they keep coming to you? Think about it, what are you doing for them that they should keep coming to you? What makes you so special that the whole universe should just be coming to you? Right? Does that make sense? So the principle is is that if you put yourself in that mentality, then you can’t figure out why no one is coming to you, because you have your own standard what coming to you means. And even if they do, if you don’t respond, why they shall keep coming? Does that make sense? Because the principle is, you respond with how someone deals with you. Does that make sense? Because the principle is, you respond with how someone deals with you. Does that make sense? Like that, then it will work, otherwise, if there is no response, how will it function? Does that make sense? Yeah. Does that get somewhere? So now the science of how that interaction is then that’s a whole another thing. Does that make sense? Some other question? It can be on the same point, just taking it further.
Prabhu: So there are factors in us or characteristics in us that impede the possibility of people coming to us because we don’t respect them and therefore we don’t appreciate if they’ve done something for us, so how can we give up these obstacles in us that obstruct the possibility of others coming to us?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Do you wanna have a relationship or do you not? You just sit there and food comes to you. It chews itself, it swallows itself. Do you understand? Name anything in the world that if you want, you don’t have to work for it. You want money, you have to work. You have the money, you wanna buy something, you have to work at it to go out and buy it. And once you buy something, you have to work at it to maintain it. And even… And you have it, you have to work at it to make it work. You have a blender, but unless you put things in there and plug it in and turn it on, it doesn’t work. So everything that you deal with you have to take the active role. So why in people, which are much more developed and complex than things, is it supposedly gonna be the opposite? You have to have a skill to run a machine. You have to have a skill to have a job that makes money. But people think there is no skill in having a relationship. Just because you want something, does that mean you have it? And just because you want something, even if you get it, does that mean you know how to use it? You know what I am saying? You want a fancy computer, but if you don’t know how to use a computer, what will you do with it? Just because you want it is enough? So that means, you have to work. We don’t know how to drive, we wanna car, we learn to drive. But in relationships we just expect “It will just happen, just because I want.” Does that make sense? So Prabhupada says, “First deserve, then desire.” Does that make sense? Yeah? Is that okay?
Prabhu: So on the same point [indistinct 12:29] further… When devotees ask these questions, it’s also in their picture that they are somehow lacking in friend and they would need friends, friends with whom they can have deep relationships, and so devotees need one, two or three friends, confident friends, and is it… Can everyone have a friend? So will it develop in Krishna consciousness or some people will never have friends?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, the problem with having friends is just knowing what a friend is and how to deal with him. That’s what I mean is that the idea is, “I will do nothing and then everybody else will make it wonderful,” right?
“I’m sitting in the West, have a family, have a job, have all the problems that’s there in the West. You know, my kids growing up in the Western society, aren’t necessarily that devotional, little wild, little crazy, you know, my parents divorced and I am having trouble in my own family relationships, and so and then it’s just getting too much. It’s expensive, it’s hard work, there is not much coming back. So I move to Mayapur, right? It’s a Holy Dhama, everything is wonderful, everything is perfect, so I will be so happy there. And then when we get to Mayapur then other people’s kids are bothering my kid, this one is making politics with that one, and what’s going on? I thought it’s the Holy Dhama, everything is supposed to be perfect! I just wanted to come, I wanted to make friends, I wanted everything to work nicely, but no one is cooperating!”
Translation: “I am a social wreck, my family is a social wreck, I move to Mayapur with the idea that everybody else has to be perfect, I am living in that perfect environment, therefore I will become inspired to also raise my standards and methods and all that, but it’s everybody else’s responsibility to do everything perfect for me, then only can I adjust and change.” End translation.
Purport: “I am the only one that can be a nonsense in the universe, be self-centered, have all bad qualities because that’s the way I am because of my environment that made me that way, and everybody else has to understand that, adjust all their lives around me, and then I will be inspired that maybe I will make an attempt, when I feel like it, if I am not having a bad hair day.”
Sound familiar? Now, if we were just, let’s say, objectively analyzing this, what might we find wrong with this approach? Oh, and we forgot to say, the conclusion was is then, “Having seen that everybody is not personal, doesn’t cooperate, has all bad qualities, therefore we’ve decided that this is not the right place, it’s not the real Dhama, so I pack up and go back wherever I came from. And whose fault it is? Everyone else’s, of course, it’s obvious.” What was it? “Elementary, my dear Watson.” [Laughter] Isn’t it? Does that make sense? So…
The point is is relationship means you have to respond to how you are being dealt with, and if need be you must be the one taking the step. But if you are taking the step you can’t stop because people don’t respond and if no one else is taking the step, you can’t use that as an excuse to not take a step. Does that make sense? The car should start on its own. It doesn’t, you push it. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: Then we come to a situation when there is nothing to do further, so if doesn’t start even if you push it, doesn’t make sense to…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Maybe you are pushing it in a wrong way? You have to be behind the car and pushing it forward. If you push on any of the other three sides, you might not get a good result, you know. Or you stand on the roof and jump up and down, you know, like that. Or you try a new approach and use the diagonal. You know what I am saying? So therefore then you’d have to check, is your technique correct? Everybody is dying for relationships, so if you are dealing properly, why wouldn’t it work? You know what I am saying? Everybody at the disco is there to pick somebody up or be picked up, but at the end of the day how many actually get picked up or pick someone up? So that means, they don’t know what they are doing. Everybody, that’s why they went there. You don’t wanna be picked up, you don’t go to a disco.
Prabhu: So we came here to find our friends and it looks like as if we have to go home alone. So it means that we did something wrong…
HH BVPS Maharaja: But going home alone doesn’t solve any problem, unless you are making a movie, and it only works if you are 8 years old, so… Otherwise then you’re gonna have to put in as much work here as you would anywhere else. Relationship is relationship. You know what I am saying? If you are gonna cook a sabji at the temple, it’s no more or less work than if you are gonna cook the same sabji at home. You know what I am saying? The endeavor is the same.
Prabhu: So I saw the results of some research, some person did a research on devotees who left the movement, and it was found that the main reason was that these devotees didn’t find any deep relationships within the movement and that’s why they left.
HH BVPS Maharaja: But let us say, okay, someone didn’t find deep relationships. But you have to know what you are looking for. Let us say, we take this, you have a man, he wants to get married and his idea of the relationship is, any time he comes home he is going to be greeted by an enthusiastic wife who is just going to spend the whole time that he wants to interact with her serving, and when he doesn’t he will just be reading his newspaper or working on his computer and that’s the perfect relationship. Sounds good? [Laughter] Yeah? Sounds good, but is it gonna work? No. So that means, your concept of a relationship is not real, because one is taking it as one-sided. Relationship means interaction, what are you doing? Something happens because something is making it happen. The wife serves the husband, what is the husband doing that inspires the wife to serve him? But his idea, he is basically doing nothing, he is just being served. Where is the relationship? You know what I am saying?
“I’ll just walk into a store and all the salespersons are just gonna walk up and hand me stuff and say, “Here, take this home, I want you to have this.” So would that be a realistic concept of shopping? No, you have to pay money. So relationship means, you are doing something, therefore another person is inspired to respond. They are not responding means, something is being done wrong. Does that make sense? So those who leave because of that, it may be because of people’s bad behavior. But then you have to establish two things as undeniable fact, that there is no one somewhere in the movement that doesn’t also know how to interact with you. And two, that you actually know how to interact with people. Because good chance that before they joined the movement they also didn’t have any friends. Go ahead, give me a list of all those devotees that left because there was no friends in the movement that before they joined they were a popular, everything was happening for them and all that and they were not frustrated, nothing with material life and friendships and relationships and marriage and everything, and just due to pure philosophy they just joined the movement and then when they joined they found this whole group of uncultured, uncivilized, un-reciprocating impersonalists, right? They were losers in relationships before, they are losers still. You know what I am saying?
Krishna says in the Gita what kind of people come to Krishna: arta, artharthi, jnani and jijnasu. Arta – they are having problems with the world, they are looking for a material solution to the material problems, so they figure, by religion, by being good you are going to therefore get the natural result of good. But if they don’t get the good they are looking for, then they go away and look somewhere else, because they are just looking for good. You know what I am saying? If you understand the ultimate good is Krishna consciousness, then you’ll stay. But if the material good doesn’t follow the religious practices, then what do you need religion for, it doesn’t give me the good I am looking for. Does that make sense? Artharthi, they need facility. So if by taking up the religious process I don’t get the facility I am looking for, why would I stay? If I understand the ultimate facility is being engaged in Krishna consciousness, then I’ll stay, right? You know what I am saying? In other words, we turn to the religious principles for artha. The other one is turning to them for kama. Jijnasu is turning for knowledge, they get the knowledge, then they may go away. If they understand the ultimate knowledge is Krishna consciousness, they won’t. The jnani is coming to know God and know one’s relationship and develop that relationship. Does that make sense? So those are the four categories of people who approach Krishna consciousness. You know what I am saying? So if they came with a material need and either fulfilling or not fulfilling that material need they go away, why would God consciousness be the fault? Does that make sense?
Another angle is that you are in a hospital. Have you ever seen a hospital where you are the only one that’s sick in the whole hospital and everybody else is healthy and chirpy and only interested in your welfare alone and nothing else, with one-pointed, undivided attention? Right? Or is a hospital full of all kinds of other sick people and there is a few people there trying to make them healthy? So that means, when you come to the movement, you are looking for something, but so is everybody else. So just as you expect them to do something for you, they are expecting you to do something for them, then you have a relationship. But if it’s all one-sided, that means you don’t know what a relationship is. Does that makes sense? Yeah? So if we do that study, who is the study done by? Someone who knows the Vedic conclusions or someone who doesn’t?
Prabhu: There was one devotee, but I heard it 15 years ago, something like that…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, but then the conclusion was what?
Prabhu: I haven’t heard it.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Because there wasn’t one. [Laughter] Because the person making the check probably wouldn’t know. You know what I am saying? It’s nice to do that, figure that out, but then what’s the solution? Because you have to know what is personal. So as we discussed before, then relationship is based on duty. So have you heard those who are professing the more personal development within the society professing the understanding of individual duties? And all you hear is “We should be nice, we should care, we should be concerned.” But how do you care, how do you concern, be concerned? There is a science.
You have a friend, you know, two boys. You are concerned. You come up, whack him on the back. Say, “Hey, don’t worry.” You have a one-year-old baby. It’s crying. You are concerned. Whack it on the back, you say, “Hey, don’t worry.” [Laughter] You know what I am saying? So it’s very nice to say all these things, “Be nice, be kind, be good.” But what’s the science of being nice, being kind and being good? That they don’t know. Otherwise they would be professing the use of Daivi-varnashrama. They would be professing the third verse of the Sikshastakam. They would be professing Vaishnava etiquette according to tradition. But generally they will be opposed to all three of those, therefore no solution, right? What was it? “Resolution, no solution, dissolution,” Prabhupada had said. That was Prabhupada’s take, or his perception, or his opinion on modern “solutions.” Everyone gets together, they talk, they make a resolution, there is no solution, and everything falls apart. But unless you do something that is according to actually the science of relationships, how will it work? Does that make sense?
Someone who knows the nature of something, is successful with it. A horse-trainer, how are they successful with horses? Just because they are nice to the horse? Or they know what the nature of the horse is? How are you supposed to be nice to a horse? There is a nature of the horse, so there is a way to be nice to a horse, it’s different than being nice to a dog or a cat, right? So you understand what does that mean to take care of a horse, so taking care is the common principle, but the detail changes. You know what I am saying? But if you don’t know, how will it work? Someone knows horses therefore they can deal with them, therefore they get a result. But we are of the opinion “ignorance is bliss.” So if we know something about the nature, then we don’t wanna deal with it. Horse trainer gets the horse, gets on the horse, rides around, it works the way they want, do they ever get kicked, do they ever get thrown, does this happen? Generally not, because they know how to deal. But they are horses, they do kick, they do throw. So if it happens, it happens. One of your great ancestors had that same problem with getting thrown by a horse, called Genghis Ji. [Laughter] You know?
So that was, that’s the thing is that you know what is there, what you are in for, and you are willing to work with it, that makes for a relationship. Does that make sense? So if you know horses kick and throw, therefore… And they bite, so therefore you don’t get involved with them, then that’s fine. But then the person who does get involved with them also knows that and is willing to work with that. Does that make sense? But when we come to relationships with people, we don’t work like that. The problems in family life mentioned by the shastras as long as your arm, right? So those that appreciate this list, they don’t get married, but generally those who get married ignore the list. But when we were discussing about the horse, it’s the person who understands this list and is willing to work with this list that will be successful in married life. Therefore it says, the first class brahmachari makes a first class grihastha, the knowledge is the same. The difference is, one understanding what’s involved doesn’t get involved. And the one that does get involved gets involved knowing what they are dealing with and therefore uses the proper mood and technique and everything else. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: So theoretically everyone has the potential to make great friends and to live in a great society and personal society, but we just don’t use it in the proper way to achieve all these things?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah.
Prabhu: So the rules are the same for the social life in the community as the rules for family life?
HH BVPS Maharaja: It’s the same. But just the detail will adjust.
Prabhu: But somehow people turn their back to community life more easily, because the ties are not so strong as in family life?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Those that turn their back on the community life generally don’t have strong connection in the family life. Because those that turn their back actually don’t know how to deal. Those that know how to deal have a successful family life, and if members of the community don’t necessarily know how to interact, then they are just passive. Does that make sense? But if there is an opportunity where you have persons that know how to interact, then they will. Does that make sense?
Someone goes into this building here, comes here. Depending upon what is your perspective, that’s what you are going to look at in this building. You know what I am saying? If you are into status, you look at that aspect of it, if you are into architecture, you look at that aspect of it. If you are into aesthetics, you look at that aspect of it. You like everything organized and everything, you are gonna look for that. If you are into atmosphere, you will be looking for that. Does that make sense? So therefore if you are seeing the community doesn’t have any interactive abilities, then that means, that’s your value. And that means you either have them or you don’t. Right? So the person saying, “There is no social interaction here,” either means they themselves also don’t know how to socially interact, therefore they can see it, or they have the ability and they are successful at it and they are making an observation how others don’t, right? Okay, now, how do you tell the difference? The one who has the ability, he is just pointing out that it’s lacking. They have relationship, it works for them, so it’s not a crusade. Do you understand? Those who it doesn’t work for them but they wanted to, there is the crusade. Do you understand? The person who is comfortable at home, happy at home, and then you ask him, “Oh, how come you don’t come around so much?” And he is saying, “Devotees don’t interact so well, so I am not interested.” The trick is in the hut. That’s how you know that it’s the… [Laughter] The other one is, “How come you don’t come around?” “Oh, these devotees, they are so impersonal and this and that and they don’t know how to act and all that and they just …. I am trustworthy, this that…” What does that mean? What is the difference in tone between the hut? Do you understand? So the person who is jumping up and down that “This is terrible, devotees don’t…” They are the ones that they themselves would not have a clue what real relationships are.
Prabhu: So at first like it was seen that they are the ones who want to improve the situation…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Of course, they are the ones who want to improve, but they wouldn’t have a clue how to improve, otherwise why is it, in the last, you know…. How you say? Since as long as you probably know people are jumping up and down and starting all these different things and making committees, how many of them have ever done anything? Name one, I’d be happy with one. [Laughter] And how long do they work? They go some time and then get upset and then disband, right? While leaders, then they have an understanding of something and despite all odds, all the… And over so many years and nobody understanding it, then after so much time, half a life or a lifetime they establish it. That’s the person who knows. And the one that gave up means they actually didn’t know. They have a feeling, they have an idea, they have an ideal, but they don’t know how to get it. In other words, you go out on this street here and how many people are talking about getting lots of money and “Will do this” and “Will do that” and “Yeah, it will be great.” But how many get it? Because they don’t know how to get it. The people that know how to get it have money, isn’t it? Just like people that know how to cook have good food, right? So people that know social science, they have it.
Prabhu: So my question would be that my duty is to learn how to do it and to do it?
HH BVPS Maharaja: That’s self-realization. Know who you are and what are you supposed to do. See, self, have you seen? Prabhupada describes “self” as the body, the mind, the intelligence and the soul. We just take the soul and we throw everything else out. You have devotees saying, “I am not this body, so I am not gonna do the duties of this body.” How is that self-realization? Material energy exists, it follows God’s laws, not our laws, therefore your conditioned nature is going to function according to God’s laws, not our whims. So saying, “I am gonna control this material energy however I like” is not self-realization. If you are gonna take that spiritual as the main, which is the most important, then I am servant of God and I am at present… How you say? Conditioned to this particular material situation and I act according to God’s laws in it, whether I like it or not. So since this conditioned nature is controlled by Krishna, why I wouldn’t use it in Krishna’s service, why would I ignore it? Do you understand?
So generally what I see is that devotees are unwilling to acknowledge their conditioned nature and how it can actually be used in Krishna’s service. Does that make sense? I have a particular physical nature, intellectual nature, emotional nature, how do I deal with that? How would be, what would be the proper situation for engaging that in Krishna’s service? Right? So it sounds great as long as I am not a shudra, as long as there is no way that socially I would be considered inferior to anybody else according to my definition of superior and inferior, and there should be no restriction to me doing whatever I want, however I want, whenever I want. In other words, I wanna be free from any designations that would therefore dictate certain duties. But at the same time, as we discussed before, relationship is actually based on duties. So what I am actually saying is, “I am very comfortable being a hard-core impersonalist, but I cover that by jumping up and down and ranting and raving about personalism.” Good cover, right? If I have a fault, I cover my fault, I can cover it by pointing it out in everybody else. No? Never bumped into that?
Prabhu: I am doing it myself.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, so, you have a perfect example.
Prabhu: Has to be perfected…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Oh, you mean, you could work better at covering and…? Like that. Well, the first, I will tell you. The first place to start is never let anybody know that you are doing it. That’s your first mistake. If everybody is like “Oh-oh, now…”
Prabhu: This is the trick.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Aaahh…..
Prabhu: Because someone who says that must be very humble.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, very good, see… I guess that’s why you are the boss here. Lots to learn here. So in other words, going back to what we have mentioned in the beginning of the class, it doesn’t matter, if after hearing all this one goes, “Wow, so now what to do?” You start with right now. You don’t worry about the past, “I did this or I did that or I am so terrible, I am so disgusting, I am so…” So many derogatory terms. You work by where you are at today and how to connect that to Krishna. Everybody is a person, so one just has to know what that nature is and then connect it to Krishna. Does that make sense? So there is never any loss. And if you make that endeavor, then Krishna will fill in.
Prabhu: So sometimes I can distance myself from past mistakes and I am not worried about the future and it’s so clear, theoretically, when I am sitting here. But when I am in the situation somehow I can’t act properly…
HH BVPS Maharaja: So then you contemplate it afterwards. Or in other words, think what would have been the proper way to do. And if you continually do that, after a while you’ll start to do what you contemplate. So it takes time and practice. But the key there is that that sincere use of the intelligence. In other words, there are standards given by Krishna, compare what you did against that and then you can see what went wrong. Does that make sense? And then it will work with time. No one said it will happen overnight. Your determination can happen overnight, but the skill at it, that will take time. Does that make sense? Doesn’t mean that the problems won’t come up, but they will be easier and easier to deal with and correct and everything. Does that make sense? And then eventually then they’ll stop coming up so often and then they’ll stop coming. But material world is a material world, so even if you operate it at its best, still it comes short of spiritual life. You know what I am saying? Perfecly run social and economic situations still never compare to the experience of direct devotional activities. Even being Lord Brahma or Indra is not as good as chanting Hare Krishna. But you should be convinced of that, right? That’s the use of this, if by your experience you are convinced that there is nothing in the material energy and therefore you don’t deal with it much, fine, good. But if in dealing with the material energy you are frustrated, and that’s why you are not dealing with it, that’s not a solution, you will again get involved. You know what I am saying? “Family life is bad, it’s terrible, it’s this, it’s that, blaa…” Nice, it makes for a vanaprastha for a few years. But if he meets a lady that behaves nice according to his definition, or sees some other families interacting in a very nice way, his determination does break down. If one has been in that situation and one sees that there is nothing there and therefore it’s nothing to offer and therefore there is nothing I need from it, that’s someone who will last. A brahmachari is going to remain a brahmachari because he doesn’t need women, not because women are bad. Does that make sense? Bad maybe something that inspires you to actually take a look at it, but bad is not the reason that you don’t do something. Does that make sense? Do you understand the principle?
So that’s what one is trying to gain through the social system, by dealing with it properly you get as good a result as can be gotten, so that you are materially satisfied, but comparing that to spiritual activities, then you see, it doesn’t compare. “I’m dealing everything nice, my wife is satisfied, she interacts nicely, the kids are great and the whole situation can’t be better, but still it doesn’t compare to direct activities of devotional service.” So that’s the intellectual. Let us take the more sentimental. “No, but my family is all nice devotees and everything is great,” and all that. But the devotional, in other words, seeing Krishna in the family life will be better than just a pious family life. But seeing Krishna indirectly through the family still won’t compare to seeing Krishna directly. Does that make sense? So in any case, that’s what it’s supposed to do. So either through the intelligence or through the mind, however it’s approached, you will still see that the experience between direct Krishna consciousness and indirect Krishna consciousness is not as great. You know what I am saying? Seeing Krishna as the power of the ocean is nice, but seeing the Deity is nicer, right? Do you understand? So then then devotees will see Krishna as the power of the ocean and then they’ll remember that person Krishna and they remember the Deity. So therefore whatever situation they are in, it doesn’t matter because they are able to see Krishna in everything, but it brings them back to the person, Krishna. Does that make sense? So that’s the idea.
Badly operated social, I mean, material life, is an inspiration to get out of it. But maintaining that position of badly operated material interaction is not necessarily going to be great in one’s devotional attempt. Right? Because one’s inspiration to not deal with the material energy is just that it’s bad, not that “Krishna is good, why I should deal with the material?” Do you understand? The gopis aren’t turning to Krishna because in the material world the men are all bozo, so He is not from the material world, so therefore we’ll take Him. They like Krishna as a person, they like Him. If you like Him, who needs any of the local bozos? Does that make sense? That’s the difference of being attracted to Krishna or repulsed by the material energy. Being repulsed by the material energy, Narada Muni says is a great way to be inspired to take up the spiritual. But it’s not a sustainable platform. It can only be sustained if one connects to the spiritual, therefore tasting the higher taste there is no interest in the lower. Does that make sense? Therefore then if one doesn’t know how to deal, fine, as long as one is fully absorbed. But those things that distract one from being fully absorbed in Krishna, if those are taking seriously, if you don’t know how to deal with them right, you are just gonna get frustrated. No? Is that all understood? No? Is that all understood? In other words, you have a person that wouldn’t have a clue how to operate a marriage. They join Krishna consciousness. They get married. Their marriage turns into a mess. Now will they blame it that they don’t know how to operate a marriage or they’ll say it’s Krishna consciousness and then leave? Right? “So many restrictions, can’t get intimate with your wife.” Name me the married karmi that has a consistent intimacy with his wife. You are gonna be restricted anyway. You know what I am saying? But it’s easier to blame it on Krishna consciousness. Harder to see one’s own weakness, you know what I am saying?
Prabhu: So taking the analogy of a good brahmachari makes a good grihastha, we could say that a good grihastha will make good vanaprastha and then good sannyasa, and the miserable grihastha will make a miserable vanaprastha and so on?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah. Miserable meaning that they didn’t know how to operate it. Misery is a matter of perception.
Prabhu: For me miserable means that we cannot operate it and it’s a chaos. And I have this feeling or realization that I have the teaching of the Bhagavatam is true and it’s manifesting in my life and I have to leave grihastha life and take up renunciation.
HH BVPS Maharaja: As long as you understand the principles on which it’s working then it will work. You know what I am saying? But bad interaction will follow you wherever you go, right? So one thing you can’t leave behind when you pack your bags. Okay, vanaprastha, leave the house, leave the wife, leave the kids, leave the money, leave the mind. [Laughter] No. Mind goes with you. Doesn’t need a bag, it’s quite accommodating. I guess, you are the bag, so… [Laughter] The mind comes with its own bag, right? You know, you buy a fancy purse, you get a bag to put purse in, so the mind brings its own bag with it.
Prabhu: So if someone cannot make relationships function, then how can he carry on for so long in grihastha, like 20-30 years in grihastha life and then vanaprastha and everything? And how come he doesn’t follow the Krishna consciousness or life as such?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, if one has been married for 30 years, one is doing something right. [Laughter] You know what I am saying? Bad here, you have to define what is bad. The family is together, the family is a working unit. Bad means you are not happy. Who ever said you’ll become happy by getting married? Who? [Laughter] You know what I am saying? So if you are taking “bad” means you are not happy, then you might be doing fine in your family life. Family is working, it’s together. If it wasn’t working, the wife would have tossed you out years ago.
Prabhu: So just please confirm my understanding that success in married life or sannyasa, or community life simply means that it’s working and not that we are happy.
HH BVPS Maharaja: On the material platform, yes. On the spiritual platform, success means, it’s connected to Krishna. Because if you are operating the family life nice but one is not happy by taking vanaprastha or sannyasa doesn’t guarantee material happiness. The material world cannot guarantee you happiness. Dukhalaya asasvatam. Dukhalaya, you have a place like vasanalay, means, “alay” means “it has, it sells”, “vasanalaya” means they sell vasana, or they sell pots and pans. Then “vastralaya” means they have cloth, “vidyalaya” means they have knowledge. “Dukhalaya” means, they have unhappiness. [Laughter] It’s not neural brain surgery here, you know. Asasvatam, it’s temporary. That’s what you get here. You know what I am saying? You walk into the computer shop, they have computers, you walk into the material world, they have misery, how much you want, no problem, take how much you like. [Laughter] All you have to do is be a little ignorant and it works great. Guaranteed satisfaction of absolute misery. You didn’t see the sign on the way in? It was on the left, maybe you didn’t notice. [Laughter]
Prabhu: So when I forget all about this, I feel that life is beautiful and I like living in it.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, but then the asasvatam part comes into place. Yes. It’s well thought out, you have to give somebody credit here. It’s really well done, and everybody gets the same experience.
Mataji: It was mentioned that many people come to Krishna consciousness because they were frustrated with their material life, and no research was done on how many people come to Krishna consciousness because they want to taste the higher taste. Maybe it’s not… There is no use doing such a research, but if we don’t come to Krishna consciousness because we want to taste the higher taste, then how do we, how can we take the computer apart just as you said yesterday, in order to… Our own computer, how should we take it apart so that we can get the higher taste?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, the human being needs relationship, and relationship is defined by religion. So if we don’t follow God’s religion, we’ll make up our own. So if we analyze, okay, so the problem is not that we wanna be happy. The problem is not actually that we are attached. The problem is is we are not attached to Krishna and we don’t have a relationship with Krishna. You know what I am saying? so it doesn’t matter which of the form one comes from, one takes that and has to connect that to Krishna. You know what I am saying? In other words, Krishna is the only actually stable environment, or the only stable relationship. Means, all knowledge comes back to Him, so why would you go somewhere else for knowledge? And developing that relationship with Him fulfills all those other needs. Does that make sense? Because then Krishna is the maintainer, He is the protector and we identify ourself as His servant. Does that make sense? So it’s just a matter of taking it to that next step.
So whatever one’s attachments are one takes them apart and sees that the principle of attachment are not the problem, but the detail through which I am applying that attachment, that’s a problem. Does that make sense? Okay, we are attached to the child. But we are attached to the child because of the emotions and experiences we gain from interacting with the child. So being attached to people and that, that’s not the problem. The problem is is that this is temporary and it tends to be self-centered because I am dealing with it because I am getting something from it. I get nothing from it, I tend to not deal with it. Unfortunately, of all the rasas, parenthood is legally binding for a lifetime. I can scare off people that appreciate me, I can fire juniors to me, I can dump friends and I can get divorced. But do what you like, you are legally bound to this living entity, just because it takes birth from you. So then you analyze what it is that you are into it for and then from that you can see and break down that actually it’s completely self-centered. But now, having done that, the proper conclusion is “Now I will connect that to Krishna,” not “Now I will stop dealing with my kids.”
Mataji: But how? How to connect it to Krishna?
HH BVPS Maharaja: How to connect to Krishna? We are training them as Krishna’s devotees. In any way, the soul is Krishna’s devotee whether they realize it or not, it’s nature of the soul to be compassionate, so the soul needs certain things because they have this gross material identity. So therefore since it’s within out position to assist in that, we do that.
Mataji: If one is a mother, but one has more grown-up children who don’t want to be… Who are old enough not to want to become Krishna’s devotees, what are their means? Does a mother dispose of to help her children to get closer to Krishna consciousness?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, it’s the greatest secret weapon. It’s called prasadam.
Mataji: Yeah, that works.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Guaranteed, everybody wants to eat, everyone likes good food. That’s why, believe it or not, that’s why the main, most important element in a girl’s training as a girl is cooking. Because every living entity on the planet wants to eat and what they wanna eat is something good. All men wanna eat something good, kids love to eat something good, women have to eat something good, so that means, right there you have an automatic relationship with six billion people on this planet, guaranteed, right? Can’t get better than that. But if you don’t know how to cook, then what else do you get out of a woman? That’s your choice. So therefore, yeah, okay… I think I’ll arrest my case, I think the point is made. That’s why cooking and cleaning is the main duty of the women because automatically then everything works. Then on top of that then whatever is their individual nature then they learn different skills and sciences and arts, whatever is their ability. So she may be very intellectual, fine. But that is maybe a job, or maybe that is a hobby, but it’s not a relationship. You know what I am saying? How far can you go sitting there, discussing quantum physics with another physicist, how much can you do that? You know what I am saying? “Oh, he has such great protons…” ”Oh, your experiment today, that was just so nice, it was just so…” [Laughter] You know what I am saying? Therefore the cooking, the cleaning, the knowing the feminine nature, that’s the predominant, because that’s where relationship lies. Arts and sciences add to that. But they can’t replace it. In the Vedic age even the good prostitutes, they were excellent cooks. The common street prostitute didn’t have to be, but the top two levels, they had to, they were expert cooks. Urvasi, right, she lived with the king for how many years? You think she didn’t cook? You know what I am saying? Is that okay?
Mataji: If there is a person in the community with whom everyone has the same problem, or whole community has the same problem, and in that case, is it the individual or the community who made the mistake?
HH BVPS Maharaja: You could probably say in that case, if everybody has a problem with them that possibly that person is a problem. I remember there was this one person. He always had a complaint about everybody. He had a problem with everybody. And then the leader of that community there was like crack in their head trying to solve all these problems. And one day the leader was sitting there in the chair and this person walked by, this devotee. And the leader looked at him and said, “You know, I’ve been thinking about it.” And they said, “You know, you don’t have a problem. You are the problem.” Does that make sense?
So if everybody has it, then you could say that possibly that person needs some work. But then basically the community, with an idea to make the situation work, should tell them. If it’s a minor thing that doesn’t really bother anybody, then you leave it alone, but if it’s actually really seriously bothering people, they should be aware how they are bothering everybody in the community. You know what I am saying? The leadership of the community can’t allow the community be bothered by somebody. Protection means that you try to maintain and protect those under you to the best of your ability. So being aware they either correct it and interact or stop bothering. Because Krishna consciousness is also perfectly applicable in one’s own house alone. You know what I am saying? Not that, “Oh, but they are doing service.” They can also do service at home. Yeah?
Prabhu: I would like to know how we can understand the direct process, what are its method, its means, its process?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Direct is what we generally discuss. You know, he process of chanting Hare Krishna, hearing Srimad Bhagavatam, associating with the devotees, worshipping the Deities and living in the Dhama, that’s direct. You know what I am saying? Everything else is supporting that. So of the 64 items of devotional service, those 5 are the main. All the other 59 mentioned then are either direct supports of that or things that keep you from doing something that will make it not work. Does that make sense? Like that, so basically, if you want any… Means, the same thing that makes the direct work, makes the indirect work. In other words, you must understand the position of direct service, it’s glory, that’s the first verse. You must have the right attitude, not being proud, in other words, you understand your position. First verse explains the position of the mission, second verse explains your position, 3rd verse explains the etiquette required to follow that mission. Then the 4th will be that attitude without fruitive desire, how to properly apply that. 5th will therefore then from that will generate the attraction. 6th the attachment, 7th the perfection, and 8th what is the actually underlying mood of that perfection. Does that make sense?
Mataji: If someone sees one’s mistakes in oneself, but cannot heal them or cannot correct them what’s to be done?
HH BVPS Maharaja: It’s practice, you know what I am saying? Means, recognizing the problem, that’s basically 50 percent of the problem. Just like why is it that kids in the winter out in the snow remain sick? Because they don’t recognize that being out and playing in the snow for hours is what’s making them sick. For them it’s fun. So when you figure out that what you call fun is what makes you sick, then you get somewhere. As one devotee was telling me that his father had told him before he joined the movement, “What makes you happy, makes you crazy.” So in other words, recognizing it, that’s already a big step. So therefore then analyzing how that bad quality or habit, or whatever it is disturbs all your relationships and all your good experiences, if you keep analyzing that, after a while you start to distance yourself from it. And then it’s practice. You can’t allow the false ego to get in the way, that’s why humility is so important. Because due to pride then you wanna do everything perfect. So therefore the tendency is, you won’t even practice doing it right, because you may fail. But if one is humble, then one can practice it even if one still fails, but at least you tried. And then you keep trying. Does that make sense? Yeah? So don’t let the ego get in the way of your practice and contemplate what would have been the proper and correct way of doing, then by practicing then it will come with time. You may find it doesn’t happen overnight, but if you keep practicing, it will happen. Do you understand?
First you hear, it’s called sravanam. Then you contemplate it and practice it together, that gives you understanding , that’s called manana. Then from that practice you’ll get nididhyasana which is realization. That’s where your result will be found. You know what I am saying? So realization comes from application of knowledge. If you just do application or just have knowledge, you don’t get realization. Okay?
Prabhu: So you said that if we have problems, we are the ones to blame for them and if you see that someone has problems, just like we may have problems, and the person is to blame, how to help that person correct that problem instead of just telling him how bad he is and…
HH BVPS Maharaja: See, telling someone how bad they are is only to wake them up to the point that they acknowledge that there is a problem. But once that’s been recognized then it’s what do you do to get over the problem? So the problem is not that they have… At that point, the problem is not that the problem there. The problem is is, are they following the process to get rid of it? You know what I am saying? If someone is practicing and they are not doing it right… You know, it’s just like, let’s say, you are trying to teach someone how to ride a bike, that they fell off, you don’t have to tell them, “Oh, you fell off the bike again!” You know, I mean, you don’t have to be Einstein to figure that one out. You have to point out is, “When you are riding the bike, you can’t let go of the handle bars” or “You can’t take your feet off the pedals” or “Vertical things sticking out of the ground are generally an obstacle for the smooth forward motion of the bicycle.” Right? So therefore you are concentrating on the process. Pointing out the fault, that is the field. Then dealing with that field then you progress. Does that make sense? So therefore then you focus on the progress, so what’s making the progress not work, not the fault, the fault, that’s obvious. You know what I am saying? So therefore it’s the same process what we mentioned before, false ego has to be left out of it. Just as they are not going to progress if they don’t acknowledge that unless they practice they are not gonna get through it. Same way is, they are not going to progress if you are assisting them if you always bring it back to the fault rather than the process. Why point out the fault? Because that makes you better. Somebody just fell off their bicycle. Is it really important for them to hear, “Man, you just fell off again! What kind of idiot are you?” Do they need that to go, “Wow, I just fell off the bicycle! Oh, it’s that why my knees and elbows and head hurt! I would have never known if he didn’t tell me I fell off my bicycle! What would I ever do without you?” Right? So by saying that, what does it do, it puts you in a senior position, “I can find a fault in you, therefore by inference I am saying I am better.” That’s why faultfinding is considered the worst of all the anarthas, because it cultivates false ego. False ego is “I am God,” and if I am God, then how do I establish a relationship with this other blue guy with the flute that He says He is God? And I am the one with the cool jeans, He is still wearing His mother’s bed sheets. At least maybe He could put an electric pickup on His flute, come one, get it together man! Isn’t it? So that’s the point. False ego is generally always the problem.
Prabhu: Is it only because of pride that people are so much afraid of failure?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Basically. Pride and then there is another element, is security. But they are connected. Security means, you have an identity. So therefore if you can’t do something, then what’s your identity? And the failed identity is not very secure. What will you get from it? You know what I am saying? So the tendency is, it will be false ego. Either directly is that “Oh, I don’t wanna be bad, do something wrong and have people laugh, so therefore I won’t do it.” Or the point is is that “If I fail then others will see me in a light that therefore I won’t be properly supported.” So there is a loss in position, therefore a loss in relationship. You know what I am saying? So generally you would find… So it’s both false ego, but generally you would find the men would be more of a problem with the false ego in that “If I don’t do it perfectly, then I don’t wanna do it.” Women it would be more security. It will look the same, but its underlying would be slightly different. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: Because I inherently (?) feel this pressure on me that successful temple president cannot afford to be unsuccessful or to fail in something. Or successful book distributor can’t afford to fail or be unsuccessful, and it’s not something Krishna conscious, but sometimes…
HH BVPS Maharaja: No, but define “success.”
Prabhu: Tangible result somehow…
HH BVPS Maharaja: So then you failed, right? But if success means being Krishna conscious, it re-defines it. Do you understand? The modern culture is so masculine, which means, masculine means, a result that comes from your endeavor. Therefore that mentality is engaged in Krishna consciousness. So therefore you have to get results for Krishna. Do you understand? Then body, mind and words are engaged. You know what I am saying?
Prabhu: But somehow we have a system to celebrate if temple has many devotees or if book distributor has distributed many books, but somehow we can’t celebrate if someone has chanted nice rounds without offense.
HH BVPS Maharaja: It’s simple, it doesn’t make money. People are only glorified in something that makes money, right? You had brahmanas, with time then the kshatriyas kind-of ignored them. And so the kshatriyas take over. In course of that, the brahmanas, they don’t necessarily behave nicely. So look at any revolution, then who is then trying to push the kshatriyas aside?
Prabhu: Merchants, those who are…
HH BVPS Maharaja: The bourgeois. Yeah? Right? So then? So this at present is a society of the bourgeois, not of brahmanas or kshatriyas, therefore the whole focus if it makes money, it’s practical, it’s real, it has substance. If it doesn’t make money, then it doesn’t. You know what I am saying? It doesn’t matter, I mean, Vrindavana is also vaishya culture, you know what I am saying? They generate economics. So therefore to use economics as a main thrust to inspire people and enthuse people and engage them in Krishna consciousness is not a problem. You know what I am saying? So that’s there, but one has to recognize what are all the forms of respect. So age, relationship, you know like it means in relatives, wealth, influence, performance of sacrifice, knowledge and then of course amongst us then devotion or realization. So each of those will have a different way that it’s recognized. You know what I am saying? So like that, it’s just like, let us say… So the point is, if that’s understood, then people would be appreciating the things for what they are. See, you just have to see, does it inspire? I know some zones, when they read the scores, they read the total score, they don’t even mention names. So it just whatever works. You know what I am saying? If you have a community that’s more focused on that kind of result, then by bringing that out they will be enthused. You know what I am saying? So like that, you just have to see what works.
Wanna have some fun, go around, turn everything in the temple into numbers. After so many big books and so many this, and Bhakta this did that, and, you know, Bhaktin, she cooked 17.3 loaves of bread… Haribol! And Bhakta Joy, he cleaned 27.5 meters of bathroom… Haribol! And Bhakta George, he carried, you know, 53.9 kilos of goods into the go-down… Haribol! [Laughter] And this one ate this much halavah and that one… Like that. Then you will find everyone will go just throw this whole thing right out. You know what I am saying? But the point is to inspire the devotees in their service. So if it creates inspiration then it should be used, if it doesn’t why would it be used? You know what I am saying? So if works, great, and you have to find out what’s the best way of appreciating. You know what I am saying? So then rather than a drum roll for having cooked all the loaves of bread, if someone just went up and said, “Nice bread,” that would probably work better. You know, so just in the same way, you don’t take book distribution for granted, nothing else should be taken for granted. An army works on its stomach. You don’t feed the army, then the biggest, toughest, nastiest book distributors don’t distribute any books. The most austere, most best sadhana, most filthiest, nastiest, puffed-up book distributor, you don’t feed him for a week, let’s see how many books go out. Right? And of course, they don’t need sleep, they don’t need a clean place to lay down, they don’t need any washing done, they don’t need a toilet, they just go out in the field, hey! Temple devotees are in Maya, so what do we need the temple for, hey! We’ll just sleep under a tree. And then there is all those guys in Maya sitting behind the computers at the BBT. Right? So the point is is, everyone appreciates everyone else for what they are adding to the process. Does that make sense? Yeah.
Prabhu: So if appreciation doesn’t come from outside, I have to develop self-appreciation, so that the pressure diminishes?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Self-appreciation… We have to make devotees aware of what is to be appreciated. Means, devotees have to be trained to know how to properly appreciate. Gratefulness is one of the aspects of intelligence. So therefore devotees are supposed to be intelligent, therefore they should understand how to be grateful. Does that make sense? So devotees have to be made aware. If you have discussions about the philosophy and the culture, like that, then it will be more appreciated. Because Sankirtana means the complete kirtana. So that includes also cultivating the devotees, that’s the meaning of Vishvambara. Caitanya is the life, that’s the life of the mission, so that’s the preaching. But Vishvambara is nourishing that, cultivating the devotees. And Gaura is what is the goal that one is trying to attain. Does that make sense? So that’s the process, you chant that every day ten times, no, 30 times.
How we are doing with time?
Mataji: Three past seven.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Three past seven.
Mataji: Three past ten.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Three past ten, not seven past ten… It’s three past ten or seven past ten?
Mataji: Ten past three.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Ten past three. Not seven past three, three past three?
Mataji: Actually it’s three past seven.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Maybe I need a new watch. [Laughter] Something big.
Mataji: It’s not properly set, it’s seven minutes ahead, so you have to take off the seven minutes
HH BVPS Maharaja: I see, but you also took off a few hours [Laughter]. Okay, so I think it’s time to stop. [Laughter] Okay, then we’ll continue tomorrow. Jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Samaveta-bhakta-vrinda ki jaya! Jaya Nitai-Gaura-premanande Hari Haribol!
Prabhu: His Holiness Bhaktividya Purna Maharaja ki jaya!