MAN WOMAN INTERACTION LECTURE #5 Eger, Hungary, 2nd Aug 2007 Part 1
So the Vedic culture then begins with the brahmachari ashrama. Brahmachari means is where one is studying actually to understand what is human life. One understands what is transcendence, how is the process of attaining it. Because from there, then any other position that one will be in society it’s supposed to be for attaining to God consciousness.
So then the first element in the brahmacharya is respect. Because without respect then no other relationship, no relationship can be established. One can only have a relationship if there is respect for another person. Otherwise then it will simply fall into the other category, there is seven out of the 12, the secondary rasas, seven secondary rasas. It can only be primary if there is respect. Shanta-rasa means that there is something that you appreciate about the other person. So that’s the basis of relationship. When that appreciation increases, then there is the development of the desire of serving. When the serving deepens then you get friendship. Friendship deepens, then you have the parental, and parental deepens, you get conjugal. So if there is no respect, you don’t have a relationship, does that make sense? It’s that simple. So something… Yes?
Mataji: Could you define respect, Maharaja?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Respect… I would say the appreciation… You’d probably have dynamic, active and passive, passive and active. But basic principle is an appreciation of some quality that the other person has. And then would be the appropriate interaction with that person based on their individuality. Does that make sense? In other words, you are respecting an individual, so that means they are individual, individuality must also be considered. So if you are not considering the other’s position, then you can’t call that respect. Does that make sense?
So then that first is then established by respect for the teacher. Then there is, yeah… Does that make sense? So one has to be able to respect seniors, work cooperatively with equals and to be kind to juniors. Does that make sense? Then everything becomes established. So that means, respect for the teachers, respect for parents, respect for other relatives, respect for anybody within the whole system, the whole social system. And then ultimately respect for the teacher, respect for the scriptures, respect for God, respect for the devotees. So we can see is that the whole culture will function if there is respect, someone with no respect doesn’t really have relationship with anybody. Does that make sense? Just because there is some interaction, doesn’t mean there is relationship. You know what I am saying? Means, as far as there being the proper exchange. Does that make sense? Like that.
Yeah, like let’s say you have a very famous person. They are appreciated. So that’s shanta-rasa. So the person is appreciated means, the person, the audience is appreciating the person on the stage. So that’s shanta-rasa. But if the person on the stage doesn’t appreciate the persons in the audience, it’s not a dynamic relationship. Therefore that’s why you have so many personalities that were prominent on the stage then with time they find themselves alone, because they never actually had a relationship with the audience, so they are alone. You can look at so many very prominent persons, and they die alone. Even though hundreds of thousands or millions of people were sitting there and saying, chanting their names, whatever it may be. But the relationship never became dynamic, because there was not mutual respect. Does that make sense? So respect is the basis of the whole system.
Then after that’s knowledge. If one has knowledge, then one can operate the system, one can operate relationships. Without knowledge the field of activities can’t be properly engaged. Does that make sense? So therefore spiritual knowledge, material knowledge, whatever knowledge is necessary for the individual to engage themselves properly in Krishna’s service. Because the point is to be engaged, body, mind, words in the Lord’s service. If that is there then one is properly situated. But if not, then there will be some feeling of lack. So the idea is is that all aspects of the personality that are, need to be dealt with to keep one fully engaged then that kind-of knowledge one must have. And having knowledge then means service. Service must be performed. Does that make sense? Knowledge and service always go together. In the Vedic concept they are not separated. Brahmachari is a student, but another definition of a brahmachari is one who performs menial service. So that means, knowledge and service go together. And that menial service creates humility, because humility is the first quality of knowledge. Krishna gives the definition of knowledge I think in the Gita, I think it’s 13.1, I think it is, and then there He gives 20 items, and the first is humility. So then we see from those definition that you have qualities of a person, how they would live, how they would think, how they would act. It’s said in the Mahabharata that the symptom of knowledge is humility. If someone is not humble, they are actually not knowledgeable. Very different approach, right? The Vedic and the modern. Does that make sense? Like that. But if one is knowledgeable, one is humble, that is appreciated. One is approachable, then you can have relationships. Does that make sense?
Then naturally someone who has that knowledge and respect and practice, then is clean. So then all the aspects of cleanliness, you know, cleanliness of the body, the mind, the words, the environment that you live in. Does that make sense? So basically then that is the training of the brahmachari. So all those qualities have to be carried through in the grihastha life. If they are not, grihastha life will not be successful. Does that make sense? Because grihastha life is simply the next stage after brahmacharya. Can we do algebra without arithmetic? Possible? Absolutely not possible. So therefore one can never be a good grihastha without the qualities of a brahmachari. That’s not an opinion, that’s not something that you can choose to accept or not. It’s just fact, it’s just reality. If you don’t have respect for the partner, you don’t have knowledge about what you are doing, you don’t have humility, you don’t have cleanliness, there is not a chance of… You’ll never have a chance that you’ll ever be in any way, shape or form a successful grihastha. That simple. That’s why in the Vedic culture brahmachari training was so essencial. And it’s the grihasthas that generally would be training the brahmacharis. Because they were good brahmachari. So this idea, “Well, everyone will get married, so why bother?” That is a statement of someone who never was and never will be a grihastha. Right? Does that make sense? That would be like saying, “Well, you are going to eat and then with time then that will be ejected from the body anyway, so why eat?” That’s the intellectual level that we are dealing with here. Does that make sense? Not smart. That means, they don’t even know what a grihastha is.
Grihastha is an ashrama in which family life is used as the situation for assisting your spiritual development. Grihamedhi is not an ashrama, it means where your household life is actually the most important and then Krishna consciousness, everything else goes around that. Don’t make the mistake that grihanmedhi means someone who is not a devotee and who is breaking every principle possible and is disgusting, smelly, dirty, funky and any other colorful words you wanna add to the definition. Does that make sense? Grihastha and grihamedhi are simply a state of consciousness, that’s all. In the Bhagavatam they are describing the grihamedhi and how as the day for conception is getting closer, his wife is becoming more and more beautiful to him. Right? That means, the date of conception means, the date was chosen. The date was chosen means it’s Garbhadana samskara, which was chosen according to astrological calculation. Does that make sense? So we are not talking about this gross, disgusting, smelly, dirty, funky person. We are talking about a very pious follower of Vedic culture who is not God conscious. Does that make sense? Therefore one has to be very, very careful in that one’s grihastha life is based on these principles of…
Oh, excuse me, there is one more principle in brahmacharya, very important. Sense control. [Laughter] Shouldn’t have left that one out. So then because grihastha life generally will start, okay someone’s senses are wild, they should get married, but there is no less application of sense control in the grihastha ashrama than in brahmachari ashrama. Does that make sense? Because if you are gonna live with the family, then that means still the senses have to be controlled. Because the point is is, senses go much beyond, because anger has to be controlled, frustration has to be controlled, mode of passion has to be controlled. Does that make sense? Women appreciate passion, not the mode of passion. Passion applied in the mode of goodness with knowledge, so is that gonna happen without sense control? Think about it. That’s the whole point. If you have power and it’s projected and controlled, something gets done, right? Cars move, motors go around in circles. You know what I am saying? That’s controlled, focused, calculated power. If there is an explosion, that’s generally called destruction. Does that make sense? So that a man is powerful, that’s appreciated by women, but if that power is not controlled and it’s not refined and it’s not gentle, it’s never appreciated. Does that make sense? Okay, down at the pub you whack your friends on the back and pour beer over each other’s head, yeah, hey you have a great time! But try that at home. It’s good amongst the boys, the boys get together, think they are tough, think they are cool, think this is the way you deal with women, but when they go home, not at all. You know, one could say, “No, no, I knew one girl, she was down the pub, and she could knock at back with the best of them.” Yeah, but that’s not with her husband. With husband, completely different story. Does that make sense?
So in other words, if these qualities aren’t there, respect, knowledge, service attitude, sense control, cleanliness, one will never be successful as a brahmachari, one will never be successful as a grihastha. One will never be successful. Does that make sense? That’s why the training is the same for both. So in the Vedic culture if someone is trained properly as a brahmachari, he is trained as a good grihastha. It’s not a separate training. Does that make sense? Vedic training is, you are dealing with reality. This is what family life is. Do you need that? You get married. You don’t need that? You stay a brahmachari. Do you understand? Training is the same. The knowledge needed is the same. Does that make sense? Not sitting around and…. Brahmachari training is not sitting around, trashing women. Women trash women, men don’t trash women. So then if we look at that, then sitting around the tough brahmacharis that, you know, chew on a piece of wood in the morning and when the women go by, spit on them, are those men, or are those women? Do you understand? Like that. The real brahmacharis are very nice and gentle and humble, but just stay out of the way. The tough, cool, rough and ready brahmacharis, those are just… Basically, they are gonna become third-class grihasthas, just give them a little time. Does that make sense?
So the basis of the culture is the same, so therefore we can see the foundations for brahmacharya and grihastha are the same. Temple life, community life is the same. It’s the only difference is, what’s good for you? Let us say, we serve lunch, okay, and we have some soup, we have some bread, we have some salad. Okay? Now, do we divide it up, “Okay, all those who are eating more salad have to sit on this side of the room, all those who are eating more bread sit over there, those with more soup sit over here. Those who have soup and bread then will sit outside and those who are salad and soup then will sit out on the veranda…” Do we do that? Does that make sense? Would we do that? Would that be considered important? No. So then why would we make such a distinction between temple and community if it’s just a matter of what you need to eat more of to actually take care of yourself? Does that make sense? But in this, remember, the first quality of knowledge is humility. So just as the community doesn’t appreciate that the temple thinks they are superior, the temple doesn’t appreciate if the community thinks they are superior. Everybody has their position, everybody has something that they are able to do nicely for Krishna, and so in this way then that respect that we mention is there from all sides for each other’s position. Temple respects the community for their skills that they are able to add to the Krishna consciousness movement. Community respects the temple devotees, because they are able to give full time and not be worried about security and all those other things, so it works very nicely. Does that make sense? Right? The temple is there to inspire the community. This concept that only temple, that’s Krishna consciousness, anything else is not, that’s not reality. You know what I am saying? Temples are there to inspire. Otherwise, if it was the other way around, then in the Vedic age there would be only temples and people would be living in temples and that’s all there was, there wouldn’t have been any grihasthas. Isn’t it? So that’s there. You had something?
Prabhu: Regarding humility, because it’s very important concept in relation to the temple we have to communicate. You see, a brahmana is a liberal (?) person, he sees with equal vision everyone, he sees… For example, humility. When a gentleman comes to the temple, he welcomes the person, okay? And a dog comes to the temple, he [indistinct 32:10] “Hut!” What’s humility, how do we understand humility? He is not being humble to the dog.
HH BVPS Maharaja: He is not being humble to the dog?
Prabhu: Well, the dog is part and parcel of Krishna.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, that’s there.
Prabhu: So what’s humility?
HH BVPS Maharaja: What is humility? Okay. Humility is, as we mentioned, is the basis is knowledge. So knowledge means that you understand your position, someone else’s position. So therefore one understands the position also of the dog. So the dog is not clean, and they are generally not known for great social behavior. So where the dog can do something nice for Krishna is protecting and taking prasada. So they will be kept in that position. You know, it’s just like, let’s say if someone goes to the toilet, without cleaning he doesn’t walk out of the toilet and then does, you know, worships the Deity. Since we are engaging the conditioned nature in the Lord’s service, the conditioned nature has to be taken into consideration. So the dog’s conditioned nature is unfavorable for temple activities. Therefore then they don’t come in the temple. And if you say, “My dear dog, please, you are not clean, you haven’t brushed your teeth, taken your bath today. And so therefore you can’t come in the temple,” they don’t understand, it’s not their language. But if you say, “Hut!” Then they understand, “Okay, I don’t go in here.” So like that, so you have to talk someone’s language. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: The humility is accepting our position…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Humility is accepting ours, accepting someone else’s…
Prabhu: It’s a matter of quality, or…?
HH BVPS Maharaja: …and then acting appropriately.
Prabhu: But shudra respects the [indistinct 36:10] the vaishya respects money, the kshatriya respects power, the brahmana respects knowledge, each have a thing of respect. Same in the community, [indistinct 36:17] concept of respect in the same community…
HH BVPS Maharaja: No, all those concepts of respect are common. So wherever that is, that’s respected. So skill, fame, age, wealth, influence, knowledge, family relations, sacrifice or service rendered, these are all positions of respect. So whoever has it, they are respected, and there is a hierarchy of those, and so whoever has either a higher one or more combination or greater volume, that has to be judged, then the respect is more or less. So everybody in the Vedic culture is respected, it’s just what are you respected for. Like that, that’s all. It’s just like, let’s say you have a businessman. So the shudras that work for him respect the vaishya, but the vaishya in his dealings respects the shudra. Just because you respect someone doesn’t necessarily mean that they become superior to you. Respect means you acknowledge their individual position and their specific worth as an individual. And that worth is established by God, not by us. In other words, you are dealing with what is the position of the living entity at present. So by the living entities’ actions they put themselves in a particular position today. So every soul has the same nature, but due to their attachments the modes of nature then have and interaction with the modes, then they’ve developed a specific conditioned nature. So you balance between the nature of the soul and the conditioned nature that that soul thinks they are.
Let us say a elder kshatriya meets a younger brahmana. So the brahmana will respect the kshatriya for his power and influence, depending upon how much power and influence he has. If he is a local king, he will get one level of respect, if he is a greater king and he has so many other kings under him, he’ll give more respect, if it’s an emperor, they’ll get the most respect. And his age will be respected, because he is older. But at the same time is the king will respect the brahmana, because the brahmana by nature is superior to the kshatriya and in brahmanas it’s knowledge that’s important. So depending upon his degree of knowledge and realization then he will be respected. So there will be mutual respect, like that. That’s how then the relationship will work. The king meets the citizen. Then depending upon the qualification of the citizen, the citizen will be respected for that. But at the same time the citizen respects the king, because the king is superior. Does that make sense? So in other words, the qualities that are respectable are always respected, at the same time that hierarchy is there. So let us say, you have two kings. One is more influential than the other, then the one that has more influence will be respected more than one with less. Or let’s say you have a smaller king that’s very influential and another king that is much more wealthy, then then one will be respected for his wealth, the other one for his influence. Or you have an older kshatriya and a younger kshatriya, but the younger kshatriya happens to be his uncle. So the older one will be respected for their age, but the younger one will be respected for their family relation. Or you have two kshatriyas, and one is more powerful, and another one has done more sacrifice. So the one with more sacrifice will be seen as superior to the one with more influence. But if someone has more influence and more sacrifice, then that’s even better than that. Does that make sense? So therefore everybody is respected for whatever quality they have, because opulence is Krishna’s. The 6 opulences belong to Krishna, so wherever they are observed, they are respected. The male potency is Krishna, the female potency is non-different from Krishna, that’s respected. Krishna is rasa, therefore all the rasas are respected. Does that make sense? So that’s why without respect, how would you interact with anything? Because everything is coming from Krishna, everything has some quality of Krishna, therefore without that humility, without that respect then there is no relationship.
Prabhu: This problem arises when one doesn’t recognize the qualities that are there. You need a system to attain and to recognize these qualities.
HH BVPS Maharaja: That’s what the brahmachari training is. Because you are taught to respect, that means, you know all the levels of respect and how to, like we did there, how to judge who is respected for what. So therefore you have to see what are the qualities to respect, and you also have to see after adding everything up who would be in the more respectable position. Does that make sense? Anything else on this or…?
Mataji: If somebody is very respectable for certain qualities, but at the same time in the personal relationship there is something which obstructs harmonious relationship, then we keep a distance or what should be done?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Something that obstructs a harmonious relationship?
Mataji: Yes, something that prevents the realization of a harmonious relationship and the person is closed…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means like a wall or something?
Mataji: No, some other qualities, the person has very respectable qualities, but at the same time has qualities that one cannot respect and we can’t relate to it in a harmonious way…
HH BVPS Maharaja: So you respect those qualities that are respectable and just avoid the others, right? So unless those qualities have something to do with your specific relationship, then that’s left for others to deal with. Does that make sense?
Mataji: It does make sense, but what if these other qualities enter into the relationship?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Enter into the relationship? Then you have to see…
Mataji: Disturb the relationship…
HH BVPS Maharaja: …if you are in a position to do anything about it or you are just in a position to tolerate it. Like that. But otherwise, if it’s too disturbing then the relationship becomes less close, it will become more formal. But the concept that unless someone is 100% you can’t respect, that doesn’t in practical life work. You’ve just taken the pot off the fire. It’s very hot. Do you respect that hotness? Let us say, the pot has been off the fire for 2 minutes. It’s not absolutely hot, but it’s still hot enough to burn you. Is that hotness in the pot respected?
HH BVPS Maharaja: So that means, any quality that’s there has to be respected, it doesn’t matter what other qualities are there. Prahlada Maharaja respected his father by age and by relationship and by influence. He didn’t say, “You are just the biggest demon,” well, he did call him big demon, but that was out of respect, so that’s to the demons. “Oh, that’s MY son!” Right? Because they notice demons, right? You know, like these rough tough guys outside, with their funny hair and black outfits and all kinds of… How you say? If they were on a bridge you would understand all the reddits, but since they are not on a bridge, you have been sometimes wondering about all the various metallic pieces there, poked through various parts of their body. [Laughter] Right? But, you know, they are bad and nasty, but you have to respect their influence. And you respect that by walking on the other side of the street. Or better yet, go around the block the other side, because that person, due to his conditioned nature, he feels that that street is his, so you respect that and you walk around.
Prabhu: That’s intelligent.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah.
Prabhu: [Indistinct 52:24] you have to see the quality in the other person.
Prabhu: I probably [indistinct 53:10] respecting devotees and I asked the advice of what are my seniors and they told me that in order to be able to respect devotees, you have to be close enough and you have to be distanced, to be able to respect them, so you have to be close and at the same time you have to keep a distance. So could you elaborate on that?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Close means is that you see what is there. Okay, what would you consider to be intelligent? Someone who practices spiritual life or someone who doesn’t?
Prabhu: The one who practices spiritual life.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Of those who practice spiritual life, would you consider the one who simply understands Brahman to be superior or one that understands Bhagavan?
Prabhu: The one who understands Bhagavan.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, so of those who understand Bhagavan, then which will be better, the one who understands, or one who actually practices what he understands?
Prabhu: The second one, who acts upon his understanding.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, so, now taking that, how many such persons are there in the world, there is six billion people on the planet, how many actually do that?
Prabhu: Not very many.
HH BVPS Maharaja: So what’s not to respect?
Prabhu: I understand by intelligence that they are respectable, but in my actions and in my behavior I am not able to ensure the proper respect towards this person…
HH BVPS Maharaja: And why not? What do you find not respectable in the devotees?
Prabhu: Mostly qualities that I myself have also and which kind-of present the problem in the performance of our spiritual lives.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Bingo! [Laughter] In other words, you have qualities that you yourself can’t respect, therefore you can’t respect anyone else. So unless you respect yourself, how are you gonna respect others? So unless you like being alone then you should work on this. Does that make sense? Who are you, what qualities you can do, what is your nature, what service you can render? Have you ever analyzed that?
Prabhu: I have tried.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, so then… Why can’t you do that for others?
Prabhu: Because it’s easy for me to see bad qualities in myself, it’s easy to detect them in others and as much they disturb me…
HH BVPS Maharaja: That’s your bad qualities, but I am talking, I said good qualities. Ever tried that? See good qualities in yourself, what you can do? As easy. You just walk out this gate, stop someone who just walks by and ask them, “What’s the problem with the Hare Krishnas?” Easy. To find good qualities, that’s harder, okay? Now here, look at this. You are able to see bad qualities in yourself, that gives you a skill to see bad qualities. Therefore you can see them in others. Okay? But, so now if you can see what qualities you have and how to engage them in Krishna’s service, you’ll be able to see that in others also. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: So that means that the real self-appreciation helps appreciating others too?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Like that. If you are happy, you deal with others how?
Prabhu: In a positive way.
HH BVPS Maharaja: And if you had a bad hair day, then how do you deal with everybody else?
Prabhu: In a not so positive way.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Do you understand? This is direct, it’s science. You know what I am saying? It’s not some unknowable or esoteric thing, it’s very, very direct. Nectar of Devotion is called “The science of devotional service.” It’s a direct science. So as long as you are always bothering yourself about yourself, then you are gonna bother everybody else also, because that’s all you know how to do. Right? But the point is is, those qualities are Krishna’s, right? They are not yours. So that means, you can’t claim them in the positive or in the negative. You can’t say, “Yes, I am so great,” and you can’t say, “Oh, I am so terrible!” Right? Does that make sense? So you just have to have a little bit more positive outlook. You know what I am saying? That doesn’t mean that one is not intelligent and analyzes properly and is not able to see fault. But fault is looked at in relationship, or from the perspective of how to properly progress. Let’s say you fell in a mud puddle and you get out of the mud puddle. Then you look at yourself and you analyze that you are covered from head to foot in mud. So then what would be the proper application of that observation that you are covered from head to foot in mud? You start lamenting, “Oh, I am covered in mud and I am so useless,” and then fall on the ground and roll around and like that, or go,”Wow, I am covered with mud,” and then go and take a bath?
Prabhu: The second one.
HH BVPS Maharaja: So like that. Otherwise, “Oh, I am all covered in mud,” and rolling on the ground, and you see someone else, “Oh, he has also got some mud on his shoe,” and “Oh, the whole world is just mud and everything is terrible.” The opposite of mud is clean, and a clean person will appreciate other people that are clean. At the same time, if they do observe any mud, they know how to get rid of it. You know what I am saying? The person who is dirty complaining he is dirty and complaining everyone else is dirty, of what benefit is that for anyone? But the person who was dirty, has made himself clean, now is clean, is capable to appreciate cleanliness and knows how to get rid of dirt. That helps people. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: So just in this connection I have read and heard in Suhotra Maharaja’s lectures that the root of many problems amongst devotees are low self-esteem. But at the same time we see that in our scriptures advice devotees that the symptom of an advanced devotee is that he thinks himself very fallen and very unimportant, and so how can we understand these two things and…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Low self-esteem, what does that mean?
Prabhu: We think ourselves bad.
HH BVPS Maharaja: But what are you comparing bad to?
Prabhu: Compared to what I would like to be.
HH BVPS Maharaja: That’s the difference. Humility is, “I’m fallen and that’s my position.” Low self-esteem is, “I should be great, worshiped by everyone, but I am not.” Do you understand? Low self-esteem is simply the opposite of great self-esteem. Do you understand? Humility is knowledge, I know who I am. While the other one, you don’t know who you are, it’s what you would like to be. But not what I’d like to be meaning that this is the standard, or this is my duty, or this is my actual position, it’s simply sentiment, it’s the mind. So humility is based on intelligence, low self-esteem is a experience of the mind. Do you understand the difference? So humility is realized or understood. Low self-esteem is felt. Does that make sense? Yeah?
Prabhu: To what extent a brahmachari is supposed to take part in leadership or in administration, because the brahmachari is supposed to learn, and to what extent can he take part in management?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Brahmachari is supposed to learn, so how much should he be involved? So the point is is, service must be rendered with the knowledge one is learning. Right? So if administration or management is a practical application of his knowledge, then it can be used. Does that make sense? But it’s just within an environment that it’s good as a brahmachari. Does that make sense? Because service must be rendered, otherwise, how you’ll realize the knowledge? Does that make sense? But at the same time is, one is willing to do menial service. So even if he is doing administration, one can still do menial service, it just may not be practical because there is so many things to do, so someone else is doing the menial service, but it’s not that you yourself would not be willing to do it. Does that make sense? If you are not willing to do, then one is not a brahmachari. Doesn’t make you a grihastha, it just means you are not a brahmachari. Because a grihastha has to work. Lazy grihasthas don’t last. But the difference is, if you are not willing to work for Krishna, or be humble or do that menial service to Krishna, then due to attachment to a woman, the woman will force you to develop the same qualities of humility and service. They have their ways. Yeah, you know what I am saying? The temple commander could never dream these up. Women are much more expert.
HH BVPS Maharaja: subtle, means they take your emotions, tie them in a knot, cut them into little pieces and then if you haven’t learned by then then they start, you know, roasting them in a pot and a pan. After that they are nice and hard, then they can pulverize them into powder. Like that, they have unlimited methods. So you will learn to be humble, you will learn to serve. So if you’ve already learned as a brahmachari, then it makes grihastha life so much easier. And if you’ve already learned as a brahmachari, then if one wants, one can maintain brahmacharya. In other words, all the qualities needed to be a grihastha you need to be a brahmachari. Do you understand? Varnashrama is just 8 different applications to the same thing. A human being is trying to go back to Godhead. And you have 8 different positions in which you can make that endeavor, depending upon what state your conditioned nature is in and your particular identification with it. Do you understand? So it’s not that there is brahmacharis and there is grihasthas, no there is devotees, and of those some follow the path of brahmacharya to perfect themselves, some follow the path of grihastha to perfect themselves. But the brahmacharya is the basis of the 4 ashramas. Means, you have to be a good brahmachari to be a good grihastha, you have to be a good brahmachari to be a good vanaprastha or sannyasi.Therefore it’s the basis, so if you can’t do that, you can’t do any of the other three either, really. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: Can I say just one last question…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Oh, okay, on the same thing?
Prabhu: On the same thing, yeah. A pragmatic question. It’s very natural, the mutual respect and cooperation, but these are very [indistinct 01:15:41] when the concept of the varna in society… You have to know who is who, who am I , who is he, so we know how to interrelate. Hypothetically speaking, the community doesn’t have this brahmachari training, someone just jumps to the grihastha ashrama because of some other reason, we don’t respect each other, the temple, hypothetically speaking, the temple does not respect the grihastha, the grihastha does not respect the temple authority. Varna-sankara, constantly [indistinct 01:16:08] varna-sankara. What’s a pragmatic advice, practical advice for this situation?
HH BVPS Maharaja: The whole things starts with, as we said before, humility and knowledge. Buddhi-yoga means, you are using your intelligence and then accordingly situating yourself in what’s the best position for you to advance at the present time. So since any position within Varnashrama is actually a different flavor of the same thing, whatever is to be learned, can be learned in any of them. But just it’s easier to learn as a brahmachari, because there is no responsibilities, no distractions, so you can focus on that knowledge and simple application. But even if one is in a more complex situation, it doesn’t matter. Means, one can still apply it, it may take time, but it can be done. Does that make sense? Yeah. So wherever one…That’s why we always talk wherever you are at the present, you just take that and then what’s the best way to make that Krishna conscious.
Prabhu: Unfortunately [indistinct 01:18:51] person [indistinct 01:18:53] a group of cooperation…
HH BVPS Maharaja: A group is an assembly of individuals. So if the individual doesn’t know who they are, how do you actually have a group? So the point is is, one has to understand who one is, so that’s how you start with the knowledge. And you just work with what’s going on at present. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: So it’s the same as varna psychology of devotees?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Varna psychology, it’s the same thing. Okay, here is varna understanding. A 30-second seminar. Okay? Ready? Go! Are you leading the community by generating economics, by your endeavor you are generating them? Okay, that’s one. Of course you have to add another 30-seconds for translation. [Laughter] Okay? Are you administering things, are you a leader in such a way that you are administering things that you create a safe and protected environment, in which others then can perform their prescribed duties? You know what I am saying? For the whole community, not your family, this is for community.
Prabhu: It’s a personal question, what intention I have. But I don’t do…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay. Are you leading the community through study and education?
Prabhu: [Indistinct 01:21:38]
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, but I am just saying that’s the third. If you are not doing that, then that means, you are in the position where you are assisting one of those three. Seminar finished. Do you understand? It’s that simple. You are either generating money, creating the environment in which money can be generated, training everyone in the society or you are working for one of those three. There is not a 5th option. So understanding where you fit in Varnashrama, that’s very easy. Accepting it, that’s not so easy. [Laughter]
Prabhu: It requires humility.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, because humility is knowledge. Right? So it’s like this. If in the present situation you work for somebody, in that work you perform the duties of a shudra. Let us say, you have a boss and he has hired somebody. Now, if somebody follows these 4 qualities, which boss would not be happy with them? Yes, we will list the 4 qualities. 1) You are a well-wisher of whoever is leading the company and the company itself. 2) You endeavor to perform the duties that are beneficial for that company. 3) You are respectful and cooperative with everybody else in the company, or connected in any way to the company or the boss. 4) And whatever is the mood that the company itself is trying to project, you take on that mood when you are doing those duties. Will you be successful as a shudra or not?
Prabhu: [Indistinct 01:24:52]
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, and what boss would not be looking for such a shudra? So those 4 qualities are the qualities of a shudra, a brahmachari, a devotee and a woman. So if anyone follows that, they will always be successful. So that’s the point, if I am working for somebody, I behave like this, then I am properly… I am following Krishna’s rules on that. Otherwise it’s, “Okay, I have a job outside, how does that connect to Krishna?” This is one of the ways how it connects, right? So then, who are you actually working for? You are working for God, because God says, this is how a shudra does a job, so spiritually you are not compromised. Socially maybe, because the boss may not be a great devotee, so therefore there may be so many material compromises, but it’s only on the material platform which is basically illusory. Annoying, but illusory. But devotionally one is not compromised. You need the same qualities to be a good devotee anyway, because you are gonna have those same qualities towards Krishna, towards Guru, towards the Vaishnavas. So therefore it’s not a problem, being in the position, economically being in the position of a shudra. But whether one is a shudra or not, that doesn’t apply within ashrama. Because ashrama is spiritual consideration, varna is social, like that. So in ashrama then it doesn’t matter, one is a shudra or one is a brahmana, doesn’t matter. You just engage yourself in those devotional activities that you are most comfortable in and get the best results from. You know what I am saying? So maybe you’d have a brahmana devotee, they would be comfortable doing puja all day. And someone who is a shudra by nature, not by necessity, then may be comfortable and happy to do an aratik here and there, something like that, they wanna be involved, but not necessarily as an occupation. But there is no reason that the person who is a shudra can’t, and so then those qualities of a shudra, as they advance, those become the qualities… It’s the same qualities, right, that we mentioned as a devotee or a shudra, so in the beginning it may be as coming more from the shudra platform that’s the inspiration, but with time it comes from the devotee platform, so you may find with time, that shudra devoee can be a full-time pujari, because that’s devotional. They may never become a Sanskrit scholar, but they can become… Do all the brahminical duties that are connected with devotion. Maybe not academics. Does that make sense? So, in other words, they skip from the shudra to vaishnava. That’s why you see like in the Bhagavatam it mentions that… Who? I think it was about Prithu Maharaja, I think it’s him, whoever reads this story, if they are shudra, they will become a great devotee, right? Does that make sense? Yeah.
So, see it’s the principles behind it that one has to work with, then one can always apply Varnashrama. Does that make sense? Details, that’s secondary. You know what I am saying? Yudhishthira is a king, whether he is wearing a crown or whether he is wearing birch bark, right? You know what I am saying? So it’s not because you have a crown and a sword that therefore you are a kshatriya. Kshatriya is an attitude, in which you protect and create an environment in which all the other three varnas can perform their duties. The essential quality that always is there that makes a kshatriya is protection. A brahmana, it’s knowledge and teaching. A vaishya, it is generating economics and giving in charity. And a shudra is assisting the others without bad feelings. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: Brahmana can take the position of leading?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Brahmana can take the position of leading? No, brahmana is a leader, brahmana, kshatriya, vaishyas are leaders.
HH BVPS Maharaja: If they want, means, brahmanas also function in the administration as ministers.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Advising, but also taking up managerial… They take up portfolios, yeah. But they are not the one who makes the decision. The one who makes the decision is the king. So technically a minister could be anything. In other words, who are the 9 most qualified people in that area of administration in your kingdom, they are the minister. So they may be from any varna.
Prabhu: But shudra not…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Generally they’d always be brahmanas, sometimes kshatriyas, rarely, but sometimes shudras, like Vidura. They just have to come from good background, good qualification, good character, trustworthy, like that. Rules are given, but generally they are from noble families. So Vidura was from a noble family, he just happened to be a shudra within that noble family. Does that make sense? Yeah?
Prabhu: You mentioned the importance of practice. How can we really practice to behave properly toward each other, how can [Indistinct 01:35:32] in practice, should there be someone to supervise this or how to practice this nice behavior? And how could they avoid committing mistakes, because mistakes always cause problems?
HH BVPS Maharaja: A mistake causes a problem. That means, something is going on, right? So that means, the practice is already happening. So the problem is not the practice, the problem is the knowledge that you should be practicing. Do you understand? You are practicing something now. Sometimes it woks, sometimes it doesn’t. But you have to have the knowledge what to practice. Does that make sense? So that’s there. You know what I am saying? Means, if you wanna get into that, you have to ask a specific question, because if I come in from the philosophy, it may be…[Laughter] too much and then no one asks any questions, I had that happen once.
Prabhu: So we don’t really have the necessary knowledge, but we have to practice in the meantime to get the necessary knowledge, and how can we know how to practice in the meantime?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, you have to get the knowledge. The point is is, you are practicing some things. So take one of those that you have a doubt about and ask a question on it. Yeah?
Mataji: You mentioned that humility and respect is direct signs, if we… But somehow we feel that if we just live our relationships, we react sponaneously, instictively and on a sentimental basis, and how can we improve this scientific knowledge, or scientific application of these principles of respect and humility so that we react more scientifically and not just emotionally or instinctively?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Contemplation. You have to think about it, in other words, if there is a situation that came up, and you felt those qualities were lacking, then think about it how better should it been applied? Does that make sense? Yeah? And then next time you try again, so it may take a while before your contemplation bears fruit, but it eventually will if you consistently always contemplate how more properly it should have been done. You don’t contemplate, “Oh, I did it wrong.” You contemplate “How should I’ve done it right?” Yeah? Does that work?
Prabhu: Going back to what you mentioned in connection with the deepening of relationships, you mentioned that if the service relationship deepens, it becomes a friendship relationship and then if it deepens, it becomes parental and then conjugal. But in the material life we don’t see that friends become parents and parents become lovers, so how does it manifest on the material platform, this deepening of relationship…
HH BVPS Maharaja: It’s just what’s showing… That example is given in relationship with the soul’s attraction to Krishna. But what the point it means is that within each higher rasa the lower ones exist. Conjugal intimacy is understood. But the parental relationship within the conjugal rasa means where one partner or the other is either physically or emotionally taking care of the other one when they have a problem. Right? A husband and wife make plans as friends, right? They assist and serve each other, but that’s all based on that they have an appreciation for each other. They don’t appreciate, the other 4 don’t happen. So if you wonder why the relationship is not working, you have to check if you actually even appreciate the other person. If you do, it will work, if you don’t it can’t work. So that was the application of that, right? Otherwise sometimes you see a boy and girl lives next door to each other, grew up together, went to the school and eventually they get married. Right? I know one couple that they knew each other since they were 5 and 6 years old. And now they are in their 50s, so they’ve been together for a while, but they didn’t get married I think till college. So that’s how you can look at that, but that’s not the point that we were making, the point means, that each higher rasa contains the lower ones. Therefore if in the conjugal rasa there is only conjugal activities and you are not supporting the other person or a companion with the other person, serving the other person, appreciating the other person, it doesn’t last. Does that make sense? Yeah, that’s the thing. Something else? What’s the time?
Mataji: 12 o’clock. 5 to 12
HH BVPS Maharaja: What time should we break, now or after some time?
Mataji: We can have a break.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, we’ll take a few minute break and then we’ll start again.
It’s like this. If you wanna get into discussion… We’ve discussed the brahmachari ashrama, it’s very straightforward, you wanna discuss the grihastha ashrama, I got to have questions. It’s the little points that drive you nuts, ask those questions! Because if I start off with the philosophy of what the grihastha ashrama is based on, then sometimes it’s so overwhelming, there are no questions. I tried it once and it failed miserably. So you start with a question, there is so many basic principles, we start with anything anywhere, it will lead to the other, because they are all connected. Like, just to throw out a few, so you understand what we are talking about, but you’ve got to ask them. Why do women have to create an argument? Why is it they’re not satisfied with the result of an activity? Why is it, I’ve done so much for them, they don’t seem to respond? Or if they respond, it seems very less than what I put into it? Why do they get angry so easily just at a wrong word or a wrong tone of voice? Why is it at the moment when everything is going perfect, that’s when they start the fight? Why is it no matter what I say or do, when a fight started, it just gets worse? These are questions you could ask. [Laughter] This is what we are talking about. Like that. Okay? So we can stop for a few minutes.
Prabhu: Bhaktividya Purna Maharaja ki jaya!