MAN WOMAN INTERACTION LECTURE #13 Eger, Hungary, 6th Aug 2007 Part 1
HH BVPS Maharaja: Some question?
Mataji: I want to ask a question about trust and application in devotees. I’ll be reading from the paper. How can you regain our trust and regain our desire to associate with devotees if sometimes in a way or another disappointed us and betrayed our trust, in situation in which these devotees are senior devotees and they are the only devotees that are near us?
HH BVPS Maharaja: See, religion doesn’t solve the problems in the material world. You know what I am saying? It makes it… It gives us a better perspective and it makes it work more smoothly. Krishna consciousness, going back to Godhead, that solves the problems of the material world. So the tendency is that religion is good. Good work gives good results, good results means we are happy, nothing goes wrong. So that only really happens because the real religion is God consciousness and the real good result is going back to Godhead. So that means we are not affected by the material world no matter what’s going on. Just like whatever goes on in the material world it’s actually a matter of perspective. Just like, let us say, the sun is out. So someone who is sensitive to the sun, they don’t like that. But if you have someone who likes the sun, then it’s considered very nice, which isn’t really bad, it’s just how you see it. Let’s say, a boy and a girl are walking in the park together, and they are very happy, and it starts to rain. Do they become unhappy? No, they start to skip and dance in the rain and fall in the water. Let us say if you are alone walking in the same park and it starts to rain. Is it good or bad? Do you understand?
So that’s the point is that Krishna consciousness makes it so, no matter what the situation is in the material world, it doesn’t bother you, not that the situation is necessarily materially good. So religion is a process by which you can make the material nature give you the least amount of annoyance possible. But material nature means annoyance. Does that make sense? So the only solution is sanatana-dharma, or going back to Godhead. So one shouldn’t think, “Well I am taking up a religios process, therefore nothing should go wrong, nothing bad should ever happen, and if it does, there is some problem with religion. No, the material world, no matter how religious, still has problems. But by practicing religion properly you are not disturbed by those problems. Generally, problems will be less, but the point is is, religion doesn’t get rid of karma from the past, it creates good karma for the future. Does that make sense?
So what… The situations you are in now have been generated by the past, your activities in the past. But what you do with the present situations, that depends upon your consciousness. So if you are Krishna conscious, the situations that you generated from your past, if they are not good, won’t bother you. Same even if they’re good, the won’t bother you. They won’t distract you, do you understand? The point is to be focused on Krishna. Does that make sense? So it’s not that I am performing religious activities, so therefore none of the reactions from my past situations won’t come up. It means, when they do come up, they don’t bother you. Does that make sense? Your free will is to be not bothered by the pre-destiny of your previous free will. Does that make sense? Therefore the loss of faith or trust, that’s only because of how we are perceiving the situation. Like that. Because if we understand, that’s how the material world works, then we are not surprised, we don’t expect much out of it. You know what I am saying? Does that make sense? Like that. Is that okay?
Mataji: There is two more questions.
HH BVPS Maharaja: You’ve been given?
HH BVPS Maharaja: And who has given this royal rit?
Mataji: She doesn’t want to say.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Oh, okay, I see.
Mataji: Sometimes it happens that after many years of full-time temple service the couple moves out of the temple, and the man has to create the field in a different way, different from the situation so far, but he doesn’t want to work with karmis. And due to this the field hasn’t been created for years, which keeps the woman in insecurity, and even her trust is lost. And what’s the, what the two parties have to do in such a situation?
HH BVPS Maharaja: You already read it in Hungarian?
Translator: I already read.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, sorry. Why would someone be moving out of the temple, unless the wife wanted it? So then why is she surprised? Means, if you are devotees and you wanna be more careful, then that means, you are going to have to live with the more simple field of activities, therefore satisfaction is the quality that the woman always strives for. Means, you have to be reasonable in your endeavor. You can’t expect that you are going to not move in karmi circles, but at the same time you are going to be filthy stinking rich. Right? So then you have to make up your mind. Does that make sense?
Mataji: What if it wasn’t the lady who wanted to move out of the temple?
HH BVPS Maharaja: What if it wasn’t the lady who wanted to move out of the temple? The question is, is it only a desire to move out of the temple, or it was more of a requirement to move out of the temple? Do you understand? Means, that means, ask a general question, you get a general answer. You ask a specific question, you get a specific answer. You know what I am saying? Is that, okay, if it was required to move out of the temple, then there is not much you can do. Let’s say you just make the best out of it. If it wasn’t required to move out of the temple, then why move out? You know, if it’s just some false ego or something else like that, then the problem comes up is that neither he can really be satisfied, neither she can be satisfied, so what is the benefit of that ego? Ego is supposed to be useful, it gives an identity from which you can work, so you can get something done. Identity is supposed to be a basis of relationship, so if it’s not a basis of a relationship, what’s the use of it? You can’t make an identity, “I don’t work with these devotees.” You know what I am saying? Because okay, by having the identity “I don’t work with these devotees,” it was, it successfully enabled one to move out of the temple, but now what does that ego do for you? Does that make sense? Yeah. So therefore it becomes useless. Means, you were successful in getting out of the temple, but beyond that it wasn’t a very useful identity. So you don’t wanna work with the devotees, but you don’t wanna work with the karmis, so then kind-of like where does that put you? Right? So, generally speaking, in the Vedic sense you have the suras and you have the asuras, there is not a third party. So if you won’t work with the devotees, won’t work with the karmis, who is that party you are gonna work with? Especially, since the wives are devotees, so you don’t work with devotees, so then…? Does that make sense?
Mataji: If this is the case what can the wife do?
HH BVPS Maharaja: If this is the case what can the wife do? Well, at least one of the European traditions, it’s called a rolling pin, a very large rolling pin, it’s worked very well in the past. She should make it very clear is that he has got to make up his mind, figure our where he is gonna be, because the point is is, her life is dependent upon his, so if he wants to mess up his life, that’s his free will, but if he wants to mess up her life, it has to have her approval. So it sounds like he is not trying hard enough. In other words, he has moved from dynamic activity basically into the mode of ignorance and is very satisfied to be there. Women generally don’t appreciate the mode of ignorance, because nothing happens. So as we discussed before, being situated just in the mode of ignorance may give some male satisfaction, but the point is is, he is married, if he doesn’t take care of the wife, then basically he is just a selfish nonsense.
So he should get it together, be a man and do something. If he doesn’t wanna work with anyone else, find a job where he can sit at home and work, there is millions of them. You know what I am saying? Or work with the karmis, or go back to the temple. But to sit in the middle, he can’t expect anything auspicious to come from it. It’s just selfish, and even that, it’s not actually a consideration of the self, because the self is a servant of Krishna and should be engaged properly. So basically, it’s Buddhistic.
So if one wants to get away from devotees and get away from the karmis, then the only way to do that basically is to become an impersonalist or a voidist. Means, an impersonalist doesn’t work with the karmis and doesn’t work with the devotees. But at least they are going somewhere. And a voidist is doesn’t work with either, but just tries to dissolve the whole thing, so nothing happens. So as far as one could kind-of like understand from subtle inferences that we might find in Prabhupada’s second pranama mantra, Prabhupada wasn’t overly enthusiastic about impersonalism or voidism. Of course, you could consider, it does say “the West,” so whether the Hungarians are considered the West or not yet, I am not sure. Do they or no? Okay, now they are part of the EU or something, so now it’s West. So now, that means, that mantra applies, so you can’t comfortably sit back and go, “Well, that’s for beyond the Western border of Hungary, so you didn’t say he went to the East to remove impersonalism of voidism, so therefore I can practice this.”
Mataji: Is the only way the wife can help is the rolling pin, or there is other ways?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Oh, is there other ways other than the rolling pin? Erm… Emotional rolling pin? Or very subtle, very slow, extremely devastating emotional rolling pin? I mean, she just has to look at her arsenal and figure out which one is going to work the best. You know, that’s always the thing.
Prabhu: It’s a related question. I’d like to tell the individual case to socialize…
HH BVPS Maharaja: The individual case to socialize?
Prabhu: Because devotees are serving in the temple for many years, 15 years, 10 years, and when they wanna marry, they make grihasthas potentially. So they all decide, but they know nothing at all, they are only used to do menial services [indistinct 23:22] washing dishes. Like for example I was working, and in my working place the workers told me, “Are you a Hare Krishna?” People think we don’t work, we are lazy people, [indistinct 23:40] but somehow or another people think we are lazy, [indistinct 23:44] we are not responsible [indistinct 23:48] I see it as a social problem. We don’t expect for the grihasthas to live within the community. [indistinct 24:00]
HH BVPS Maharaja: But I am saying, what’s… I didn’t quite catch what was the specific point, because there were like kind-of 20 elements.
Prabhu: So the point is that the problem is there [indistinct 24:19] There is no process to restore it, to make something about it, something positive?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Positive means…? That means, means, what is the point, the point is is how devotees can integrate into the greater community or…? You know what I am saying, it’s not really clear what the point is?
Prabhu: How can grihasthas somehow or another… Living within the temple when they are brahmacharis, they [indistinct 24:47] means of livelihood once they get married so they can integrate in the whole society, not just temple atmosphere. Because I am saying, when they go outside, there is nothing to do, we don’t know anything, don’t know how to relate [indistinct 25:11] because the temple cannot afford to maintain them [indistinct 25:20] so you don’t want to do. I can’t be in the temple, I can’t work here, I don’t know anything how to do… So that’s why I said, maybe there is system of training brahmacharis how to develop means of livelihood [indistinct 25:36]
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, I’ve seen one community deal with this, no one can move into the temple till they finish their graduate and work for one year, or six months. Unless they’ve finished their university degree, went out, got a job and worked in that job for 6 months, they can’t move in the temple. Because if they decide they wanna move out of the temple, then they just go back to wherever they left off.
Let’s say, someone goes to a music school. No one will ever ask, “Well, what is the music school doing to teach them in case they don’t make it in their musical profession?” Right? So the temple life teaches us devotional service, teaches us brahminical culture. So that means, if one wanted to function within that, then one could do something. And there is plenty… If one is taking it one has no skill, there is plenty of minimal skilled jobs that are out there, so you might be dealing with an element of prestige, that it doesn’t make much money or doesn’t give much facility. So then it would bring in the element that if one would be satisfied with that very menial position and minimal facility, one could probably also live off of what the temple would give you. Because more of the problem of the temple maintaining grihasthas is not so much that they are grihasthas, but the amount of facility required, which is not unnatural.
So the point is is, then you’d have to take the temple more as an educational institution, but the point of the temple is to train someone in the spiritual and brahminical culture. The temple can never guarantee that what they trained you in you will be qualified to have a job in. Devotees don’t actually have enough faith in the Vedic system. Probably you could say, minimal faith when it comes to material life. Because just like, let us say, someone goes to the university, gets a degree. How many people that the degree that they have is actually the job that they have? And generally no one says anything about that. Either they never even think about it, or they grumble a little bit, but it’s the way the system is and everyone just accepts it. How you say? Hook, line and sinker.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Hook, line and sinker. Means, you have a hook, then you have the line, and then there is also that kind-of weights that hold it down in the water, so it means when a fish very enthusiastically swallows that, they swallow the whole thing, so that means so… Devotees have a tendency to have that faith in the Western system that if it doesn’t go right, it’s their fault. Devotees seem to work on the principle that if I’m trained in something in the temple, if I can’t go out and make a job with it, then it was the temple’s fault. Right? The point is is, one succeeds, there is material success if one knows how to behave in the social and economic environment. They did a study of all the CEOs in companies in America, and I think it was something like 87% of all CEOs, they started off on the bottom of the company, cleaning floors or serving tea, or, you know, the basest, bottomest menial job, and they worked themselves from there to the top of the company. While those that came into the company with degrees and qualification, came into the middle management, and you could come back 30 years later, and they are still in the middle management, they never, never, never become the CEOs. America technically is made off of Europeans. Americans generally are indigeneous Indians. Everybody else is Europeans, and when they came from Europe to America, they started off living in the ghettos and like that, slowly, slowly in their lifetime then they moved up and moved out of the ghettos. I saw one transcript of Bill Gates talking to a bunch of undergraduates. He said, “The problem with you kids is you expect to come out of university and get yourself a job with the 6-figure, so that you can get a nice car, you have your fancy phone, your designer clothes, your nice house.” He says, “That’s your problem.”
Prabhu: [Indistinct 35:39]
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah. So he said, “Your parents or grandparents, they had no problem with menial jobs. They called it “opportunity,” and from that opportunity they moved themselves up into the society.” Because they are saying in the theater, “The longer it takes you to get to the top, the longer you stay at the top.” Nowadays you see some actors, they just flash in and one movie they are there, and a couple of movies, and they are gone. While previously the known people were there from the 20s and 30s and they are still there, they still talk about them, they still get lifetime achievement rewards. You know what I am saying? You know, who’s recently heard of Meg Ryan, if she comes out to a program, okay, nice, she showed up, but if Barbra Streisand shows up at program, half the country turns out. Do you understand?
So that’s one approach, that’s how the individual would look at it. So you become a brahmachari to be trained in Brahman, and the mentality that is required to be a brahmana, kshatriya or a vaishya. If it’s they wanna do brahminical activities, they’ve already been trained in it. And if they wanna do kshatriya or vaishya duties, then after brahmachari training, that’s when they go and vaishyas then they apprentice under other vaishyas, or kshatriyas then they go to the palace and are trained by those in the field, means, their material training is done after brahmachari training. And shudras, which takes many years of developing a skill, they didn’t go to Gurukula. They might go to the Gurukula in the afternoon to learn the shastra on their aspect of skill. Like let’s say they are musician, they will go to the school to learn the Gandharva-veda. But music they learn from the music Guru outside of that shastric Gurukula. They would go to a music Gurukula, where the music is the sadhana. When we are having Mangala-aratik, they are practicing their music. You know what I am saying?
So if someone is really worried… If someone knows one wants to get married, but one wants to spend some time in the brahmachari training, then depending upon their age they either do the brahmachari training, then get the skills, or get the skills, then do the brahmachari training. Because the temple can train one in the scriptures, means, in the devotional life. If they had facilities, they could train one in the scriptures that are connected with the particular material activity you want to do and what would be the proper mentality and lifestyle of that person. But getting the actual practical skills may or may not be available in the temple, and that would be gotten generally, at least in the Vedic sense, on the job training. So both were worked in, you got your theory and your lifestyle, the mentality, the character that are needed to do the activity, and that was learned through academic classes and through menial service, it’s actually the most important aspect. Then the technical skill, that was learned on the job, that’s the Vedic tradition. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: Yeah, but practical life would mean, how are the grihasthas integrating into karmi society?
HH BVPS Maharaja: How are the grihasthas integrated? Well, just one sentence. We’ll get into that. You wanted to say something?
Mataji: Wouldn’t it be practical to teach devotees the Vedic sciences of Vastu, astrology, Ayurveda, because given the not so big number of the devotee community in Hungary, even if all the devotees would study these Vedic sciences and all the devotees would make their living practicing these sciences, they would make a very decent living, because there are some persons who earn millions by practicing Vastu, so there is demand for that.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes. [Laughter] You might know someone who is doing that. [Laughter] But that’s what I said, very few devotees have faith that the Vedic knowledge actually is real and practical. It’s great philosophy, they all accept that seriously. But most are so conditioned by modern life that they don’t see in any way, shape or form how the Vedic actually is practical and hits the ground and is real. Because the point is is, if you are focused, if you have the ability to endeavor and you are willing to depend upon the Lord for the result, you will always be successful. That’s the essence of every self-help book on the planet, that’s a Vedic principle. I think it’s spoken by I think either Yudhisthira or Bhima, or somebody in the Mahabharata.
So they have different tricks on how to get you to be focused, you know. The law of attraction, which just means Pradyumna where you think about it and think, “Yes, I could do this.” But it’s right there in our philosophy. They can’t explain the philosophy. They cannot. Every one of the leaders of the secret can tell you things they’ve observed and techniques they have used, but they wouldn’t know what actually holds it all together. We have it, we don’t use it. I’ll give you a very nice example. One day I was in Mayapur and I was being served prasada by boys from good Indian families. And they were doing it, they were serving the prasada completely in, how the devotees who know nothing about serving prasada were serving prasada. So I stopped one, you know, there were two or three, I stopped them and I said, “Now, if you were in your house, and at your house there was a marriage going on, and you, being the young man of the family, naturally you’d be serving the prasada. Would you serve it like this? Or would you serve it according to traditional methods?” He said, “Of course, the traditional method.” So I said, “Why don’t you do that here?” “Oh, because this is Krishna consciousness, so whatever we know from before, we just throw out and we just do whatever the other brahmacharis that don’t know what they are doing, do.” Right? Prabhupada told Subhaga Maharaja, he was in London, he was actually studying, he was a barrister, you know barrister? You know that’s it’s above lawyers, it’s really high-grade lawyer. So then Prabhupada, when he joined, because he was from a very aristocratic Calcutta family, like that, the Sud family. So Prabhupada said, “Don’t forget the culture that you learned in your family.” He said, “You just add Krishna consciousness.” So therefore devotees, even let’s say, they know how to behave nicely with people and be cultured, when they join the temple, they throw that all out as maya. Or how to deal with their family, anything, they throw it all out, because it’s all maya. Right? So they had some sort of culture and they joined Krishna consciousness. They throw out the culture, that’s fine, that’s great if they could be so detached. But they accept the philosophy and they don’t replace it with the Krishna conscious culture. So then they have a philosophy, they have a great philosophy, but no culture, right? And culture, economics is based on culture. Religion and expansion of religion is economics, that means the most expert in economics are going to generally be those who are the best in religion. I mean, you look at it in one sense, some of the most dynamic economic communities are known as being religious. You know, the Jews and the Gujaratis. All the motels in America are owned by the Gujarati communities. The world diamond market, which used to be controlled by Jews, is now controlled by Gujaratis. Do you understand? Because if the religion is strong, that means, focus is strong. That means, you deal with something according to its nature, you will be successful, so generally that’s why you see is those who’ve gone through the Vedic educational system in its more traditional form, they are all successful, I mean, every last one of them. Whether they got any skill from the education or not for use in the material world, they are all successful. Right? Means, there is tons of them on the West Coast of America that sell T-shirts. That doesn’t mean that they go out and one by one sell a T-shirt, they run a T-shirt business. The school only taught them how to sell books and gurbadam.
Translator: And what?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Gurbadam, peanuts with a crystallized raw sugar coating, sounds pretty good. You know what I am saying?
So what you are saying is completely true. But basically only those who’ve been through the system or have actually observed the system, understand it, and basically no one else does, absolutely no one else. You know what I am saying? The kids jumping up and down and making court cases didn’t come out of the Vedic Gurukula, because they don’t know how to live life. And the ones that went through the Vedic education, they are too busy getting on with life to worry about these kind-of things. You know what I am saying?
But it’s a fact, the priestly activities, the language skills, your astrological, you know, I mean the areas in astrology and astronomy, the sociology, the philosophy, logic, music, you know, music, grammar, dance, the fine arts, architecture, Vastu, Ayurveda and all the different branches of medicine, then the martial sciences and the 64 arts, cooking, aesthetics, all these different things, there is always something to do. And I could guarantee, if someone want to do it. If you are expert in Deity worship, I can guarantee, if you are expert in Deity worship, cooking, farming, actual management, you could deal with people and inspire people, you could probably get a job in any one of our 400 centers around the world, they are dying to get people like that. Or if you are really dedicated to kirtan. And that’s in the temple
Prabhu: There is much in the society…
HH BVPS Maharaja: There is so much in the society. And like Mataji said, there is people making millions of dollars out of the Vedic sciences, just they have the focus and the endeavor and the patience required to be successful, so that’s what you learn by being in the temple, other than the Vedic academy, no other academy will teach you that. No? Right?
Mataji: There are many, many karmis who study Ayurveda or Vedic astrology, but since they don’t know the background of Vedic philosophy, they often distort these teachings and they discredit these teachings. And so we not only should learn these subjects, these sciences, but we should control the education, or the teaching of these sciences, so that they would be more prestigious.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, just like if in university they have a department let’s say in Christian studies, or Judaic studies, or Islamic studies, the seat and all the teachers will all be of that faith. It’s only anything to do with the Vedic arts and sciences and philosophy that it’s anybody but someone who practices it. [Laughter] Right?
Mataji: So just to close this topic, when I had a presentation in front of 200 highly qualified academics on Vastu, after the lecture some of the persons then wrote me an email asking for more information, because they wanted to learn more about this topic, and many of them told me that when they were doing their research work or when they were studying old Roman architecture, or ancient architecture, the principles of Vastu would have had them to understand better the structures and how useful it is. Or another example was that a mother asked me advice because she couldn’t put her kid to sleep, the kid couldn’t sleep, and I said that according to the chart of the child she should turn him towards another direction, and it did work, as a result a lot of mothers came to me for advice afterwards.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, it’s true. Means we are sitting on… It’s like we are sitting on the largest like goldmine in the world and we are picking around in the dust looking for something else, you know, some aluminum oxide or something we can make into tin cans. Like that, but…
Mataji: And we want to go wash the dishes for karmis.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, like that. [Laughter]
Prabhu: We don’t even want to go… According to modern statistics among people thousand are shudras, hundred vaishyas, ten kshatriyas, one is brahmana. These are brahminical activities.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, yeah.
Prabhu: We can’t expect everyone to be brahmana….
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, of course….
Prabhu: They don’t even have the patience to…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, yeah. It’s a good point. So that’s true, the training is there, means, this is is, that can be done, is that those that can do this… But there is many that could not this, but aren’t. [indistinct 01:04:44] Like it’s not appreciated, or it’s not supported. The point is is, within society it’s not supported, but you could take it, like much of what you were saying, outside the society, they immediately see its worth. There is no Western academic that I’ve ever talked to about the Vedic education that didn’t see some value in it that that they thought, “How can I apply this in our modern education?” And if you apply the arithmetic formula that would turn something 180 degrees, that’s generally the reaction within our society. So it’s a problem.
As far as skills go then if one is working in the… Means, also the point is is, what brahmanas, kshatriyas and vaishyas do, the shudras can assist that. Manu says, the best situation for a shudra is to assist a brahmana, if he can’t do that, then assist a kshatriya, if he can’t do that, assist a vaishya, if he can’t do that then do skilled trades that are useful for brahmanas, kshatriyas or vaishyas. So they can also assist in these. Just like if you are doing Ayurveda massage, the doctor himself could do it, or the shudra could do that. Growing the herbs, harvesting the herbs, grinding and preparing the herbs, that the shudras would do. So shudra means, they know the art. Brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya means, they know the science. So that way then there is always place within the brahminical culture for shudras to be involved. So that’s in the ideal scenario, of course. But if not, as I mentioned, the mentality of a shudra is being a well-wisher of whoever they are working for, or working for the benefit of whoever they are working for, being a well-wisher of anyone connected to who they are working for and taking on the same mood of that particular skill as who they are working for. If they learn that, they’ll be successful wherever they go. So, they start off washing dishes, it’s just a matter of time before they are supervising those who are washing dishes, to supervising the kitchen, to probably running the shop. Because the shudra is an artist, so whether the washing dishes or managing the restaurant, it’s still art, and if you have those 4 qualities, generally any brahmana, kshatriya or vaishya is willing to train you, because bottom line is, those with more character and potential get the job over those who have less character and potential, but more degrees. Right? So starting at the bottom is not a problem, the farther at the bottom you start, the farther to the top you can get. In business families, when the kid grows up big enough to actually be serious, they start the kid right at the bottom. In other words, they make him do every job in the business, until they are good at it, then when they are at the top, they know everything.
So that was the point Bill Gates was making, is that you could look at it as, “Oh, it’s a step down in prestige,” but actually it’s the gateway to running the whole thing. There is no better way to learn the skill than on the job, much better than in the classroom. Can you imagine, in the university, “Dish-washing 101”? Big blackboard with a pointer and, “Yes, there is a dish here.” You know what I am saying? On the job is where you are actually learning. So therefore then that’s… Does that make sense? So therefore going on the job, learning on the job actually isn’t a bad thing. If you get caught up in the prestige, yes, it will be a problem, but if you don’t, it’s just a matter of time before you do have prestige.
And on a lighter side, means, or, let’s say, on a humorous side. The reason devotees can go out and get jobs washing dishes, because that’s what we do teach them in the temple. Right? At least when I joined that’s the first service anybody ever had was washing dishes. So 6 months of that, you do well, so therefore they are professionals in washing dishes, therefore they can confidently go out and get a job anywhere and be successful washing dishes. Another job they can guarantee getting is that of janitors, cleaning bathrooms and floors.
Prabhu: We should give Master degrees…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, yeah, we should give “Masters in Dish-washing Science.” Yeah, yeah… I mean, I’ve seen devotees that put what they do in Krishna consciousness on their resume, I mean, if you put on your resume, you know, “Lived in a monastery for 10 years,” they might think, this is interesting.
Prabhu: My last point. Then this takes me to a different topic, which is, how should I, or how should we educate our children?
HH BVPS Maharaja: How should we educate our children?
Prabhu: If we see the purpose of ISKCON from the marketing point of view, but the purpose of ISKCON is spiritual. So these children are [indistinct 01:15:10] uncontaminated by material thoughts, material influence, so how should we according to this society [indistinct 01:15:28] this European societies, how can we educate them such a way that the can be responsible grihasthas and go back to Godhead in this life?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, by association is how you behave is how your children will then, that’s the value system they will gain. So if Krishna consciousness is important for you and you practice it, then the children will pick that up. Like you see, people from Christian backgrounds, they call themselves Christian. Or Judaic, or Islamic backgrounds, they identify in that way. How much they practice, that’s individual, but they’ll identify that way. So if the parents are practicing, it’s their value, they practice and they can explain their values and practice, there is a better chance that the kids will be able to do it. In other words, if you can explain why you are doing something more than, “It’s good,” or “it’s nice,” or “you have to,” then there is a better chance that the children will actually take it up. Does that make sense?
Because much of the time is, devotees don’t contemplate the Krishna conscious philosophy and lifestyle, they practice it, but they don’t contemplate it, so they can’t explain it to their kids. Does that make sense? And that inquisitive attitude that’s there should be cultivated. It’s cultivated by answering the questions. You don’t really have to generate it, you encourage it by answering the questions. Most kids start off, means, all kids start off asking questions, but most learn with time that asking questions actually is not good, because it disturbs people, they don’t have time for it, they don’t have interest in it, it’s not nice to ask questions. Right? Because the kids will ask questions the parents can’t answer. And due to their adult false ego they don’t appreciate that. So they teach the children to be in a junior position by stopping inquiring. But human life means, you inquire. So every kid generally starts off with potential to become human. But many times you see parents kind-of like subdue that human tendency. [Laughter] Right? So therefore if one is willing to answer and if you don’t know then tell them, “I’ll find out,” and then find out. Then they have faith in the Vedic viewpoint and they become humans, because they inquire about everything, they wanna know why everything should be done.
And by nature, because kids are simple, once you know if they have a sense of right and wrong that’s been established, then right you do, wrong you don’t do. But they just need to be convinced. So if a kid hasn’t been trained what is the concept of right and wrong and they’re just allowed to be crazy and do anything, and you don’t answer their questions why things should be done or not done, why is anyone surprised when they get to the teenage years that they don’t behave themselves? Because they don’t know what’s right and wrong and they don’t know why they should be doing anything or not doing anything else, right? Language in school, language only teaches you how to read and write and speak. Mathematics teaches you how to figure out how a train is going to the east at 67 km/h, and a bird is flying to the West at 33 km/h and a bumblebee is sitting in the middle, so how many passengers on the train? You know, that kind-of stuff they teach you, right? So and in history, basically is, whoever wrote the history book is right, and whoever got stepped on by the history is wrong, so then… Where do they ever learn the culture or anything? The only ones that get told are the ones that get in trouble? Do you remember the Jagai and Madhai ashrama?
Prabhu: [indistinct 01:23:35]
HH BVPS Maharaja: Oh, you were in?
Prabhu: No. Almost. [Laughter] Almost.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay. We once had this one ashrama where we took all the kids that made trouble and put them in one ashrama. And, believe it or not, it ran perfectly. Two reasons. One is, everybody in that ashrama had heard every rule that there was in the school one million times. And two, they were not about to give trouble to anyone else in the ashrama, because they’d get it back. [Laughter] So it ran perfectly. Like that.
So that’s some very essential, simple things that doesn’t require… See, most of the stuff in the Vedic education, it doesn’t require complex learning and understanding. Anyone from any position can give the foundation from which anyone can become successful. We can see, two simple things create such an impression on the children, or actually, three. One has values oneself, one teaches those to the children through knowledge and example, one is willing to establish what is right and wrong, but through the process of education, not authority and ego. And one is willing to ask any question that will be generated from the instruction and practice. That’s education according to Bhagavad-gita, pranipata, pariprashna, sevaya. Pranipata is the desire to know, pariprashna is gentle inquiry, sevaya means the application of that knowledge gained from the inquiry. So by that practice then that desire to know increases. Therefore one will question. Getting answers, you will better practice it, but if you don’t get answers, generally the tendency is not to practice it, and if there is no practice, there is no desire to know. Therefore the whole intellectual inquisitive nature that’s there in every human being basically stops. Does that make sense? Adding into that, then you can add in particular knowledge or skills. But if you don’t have what we just discussed, you don’t actually have education. Right? Knowledge and skills has no meaning if there is no service and there is no explanation. Knowledge and skills is based on sravana, hearing, and knowledge and skills becomes actually dynamic when they are applied. So therefore that whole picture has to be there and that the parent can do, right? Then they’ll set the foundation for then when they do come across some variety of educational institution, they can take the best advantage of it. Right? In other words, every parent has the ability to give their child that foundation of human life. And in the process of doing it, one will advance oneself. If you are going to teach, you have to learn, those who learn can teach. You know what I am saying? A teacher is a student, so basically they are just, they are a senior student.
Prabhu: That’s what I remember from you, because I remember that what I have learned from you, is I have learned to be consistent in whatever I do, like at 6 o’clock sweep the floor. But I remember, once I saw you doing it, it was like shocking, that was the learning actually in Gurukula! It was like…
Prabhu: I have a technical question, at present I am learning folk wood carving…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Folk wood carving?
Prabhu: Yes, but I would like to know, whether this folk skill has any Vedic roots or some Vedic application?
HH BVPS Maharaja: You’ve never looked at any, any… Erm, go to a book shop, and where they have the big like picture books, look for something where they have Indian architecture, especially Indian homes or palaces, and especially if you can find one on Kerala, or that has architectural examples from Kerala or Gujarat, then you’ll see plenty of application, about ten times beyond what you are learning now. Means, the technique is no different, just that they are much more inspired in their design. But wood carving is wood carving, the technique is the same, it will work anywhere on anything. So I mean, how many temples they need altars, picture frames, anything. I know somebody, one devotee, he runs business, he has got 2,000 people working for him for all he does is fit cabinets inside people’s houses or kitchen cabinets, bedroom cabinets, living room, that’s what he does. And every temple needs altars and this and that, or you could even carve Deities. Like that, make chopsticks. Sushi restaurants are on the rise… [Laughter] So, instead of bringing them from Japan, you could supply locally.
Prabhu: The question is connected to one of your previous classes. It’s mentioned, or you mentioned that Krishna takes away, if we become devotees, Krishna takes away most of our karma, and sometimes we hear from devotees that if something happens to them that, “I have to get it because of my karma.” And so what is Krishna’s consideration when He takes away our karma, is it our surrender, is it in proportion to our surrender, or does it depend on initiation, or on what does it depend on, what Krishna keeps and what Krishna takes away?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, it’s what you need to learn or don’t need to learn. Does that make sense? You need to learn something, then it remains, you don’t need to learn, it doesn’t remain. What is karma for? It’s to learn, right? But generally the karmis never learn, but the devotees can learn, therefore it can remain or not, depending upon what Krishna thinks is best. So technically for devotees there is no karma, because they are not getting because of their previous reactions that they are getting the reaction. But it’s based on their previous activities that they may have, there is a lesson they need to learn, therefore the same situation that is generated by previous karma may be useful for them to learn, so therefore it looks exactly the same as if the karma was still left in place. Does that make sense?
You perform an activity, it generates a reaction, that reaction is actually there for you to learn. So that’s actually what karma is, those situations that you are in that you actually need to learn from. Does that make sense? So then the devotee, the karma is actually taken away, so it’s not a reaction of previous activity, it’s what Krishna wants to leave for you to learn, so it looks exactly the same basically as your karma, but it’s not actually karma, devotees don’t have karma.
Prabhu: Who is qualified, what’s the qualification, who can we call a devotee, so what’s the level from which we can qualify someone or call someone a devotee, because there are devotees who chant their 16 rounds and they are very determined, and there are others who have jobs and…
HH BVPS Maharaja: In relation to the karma?
Prabhu: Yes, because the main question…
HH BVPS Maharaja: But his question was, was who was affected by the karma or not, so he is not trying to determine who is a devotee.
Prabhu: [In Hungarian]
HH BVPS Maharaja: No, that was a “yes” or “no” question.
Prabhu: Yes, I would like to determine who is a devotee.
HH BVPS Maharaja: In relationship to your question on devotees have no karma, so who is a devotee? Or this is a completely unrelated topic, you just want to know like the residents of Kulina-grama who is a devotee?
Prabhu: [In Hungarian]
HH BVPS Maharaja: See, the point is is, if you don’t know what you wanna ask, how am I supposed to give an answer? You know what I am saying? The question should have a practical purpose. Right? Means, we question because there is an aspect of our service that we don’t understand, so we ask a question. Understanding that question, then we can apply it in our service. Does that make sense? So there must be some practical connection or application. No? Okay.
So then is your question about who is a devotee just a generic question that has nothing to do with the previous discussion, or are you trying to identify that since we said that devotees don’t have karma, it’s controlled by Krishna, so you wanna know who is a devotee, so we can understand who Krishna is actually controlling their karma, and who is still under the rules of karma?
Prabhu: Yes, the second one.
HH BVPS Maharaja: The second, has nothing to do with the first?
Translator: I mean, the second that you said, who is a devotee, that whose karma is…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay. It’s said that by one chanting of the holy name in namabhasa all the sinful activities of the universe can be destroyed. Does that make sense? So that means, just a guy in the street says, “Hare Krishna,” all his karma, for however long he has been here, is gone, but because he still identifies as a karmi, he continues to perform the same activities that then re-bind him back in the material world. Otherwise, at that moment he was liberated. That’s the power of this mantra and this movement that you are dealing with. How powerful it is and what it’s actually doing, that most don’t appreciate. Between yourself and myself, how many unlimited living entities are there floating around in the air that is hearing this class and therefore getting ajnata-sukrti? Any biologists here? No? So no one would know how many bugs and germs within one cubic meter of air or something? They’d be talking of millions of them in your toilet bowl or in your sink when they sell the… How you say? The ads for selling the disinfectants. Or mouth washers also talk about millions. [Laughter] Okay.
Mataji: Can we understand the question that when the devotee is carrying on activities connected to Krishna, then the laws of karma don’t work as if he wouldn’t do any activities? But his previous activities, since they weren’t connected to Krishna bear fruit in the present?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Basically. But at the same time is, the laws of nature are established by Krishna, so the material world works according to those laws. Karma means, material energy basically on its own does, takes care of it. Right? While in devotional service then Krishna Himself takes care, but He still does it through the material energy. The more you advance, He may be more personally involved. You know what I am saying? Like you see, Prahlada Maharaja was thrown off the mountain, so Krishna Himself catches him. But if someone is not on that level, then Krishna arranges through the modes of nature their protection. Two people happen to be coming out for a day at the beach and they happen to be carrying a trampoline with them to have fun with and Prahlada Mahar… I mean, this person happens to fall and land on the trampoline and in this way be saved.
Mataji: We heard about the relationship between man and woman within the marriage, and it was said that it’s an operative relationship, that it’s the man who is a spiritual leader, and how does it work in other men and women relationships, for example, in the temple, in the authoritative system, that men are spiritual leaders? So are the…
HH BVPS Maharaja: See, a good question comes in one sentence.
Mataji: So are the elements of these other men and women relationships the same as the elements in marriage? So are these principles the same?
HH BVPS Maharaja: The principles are always the same.
Mataji: The elements of the field are the same?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, means it’s… That’s why we were giving the example of you want to cut a potato. You have to know the field, you have a cutting board, you have a potato, you have the knife, you have the hand, you have your muscular power, so that’s your field, so you have to know what goes where. You know what I am saying? Is it the… Oh, excuse me, and the counter.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Counter, you know, the table. So what goes first? The potato, then the table, then the cutting board, or the counter, then the potato, then the cutting board, or the table, then the cutting board, then the knife, then the potato, or…? You know, have to know what’s the actual order of the relationship. Right? You know what I am saying? Means, if the cutting board is thick enough, you could forget the knife and put the counter, then the potato, and then smack the potato with the cutting board and it would go in pieces. Right? So when you know that… But that’s not exactly the kind of pieces you want the knife to do the work, the knife will go on the cutting board. But you can only cut the potato in ways that it can be cut and in ways that the knife can actually do it. Knife is sharp, you can cut it finely, knife is dull, it won’t be cut finely. And you have to know how much pressure to put and everything to apply it. So that means that the application of the pressure on the potato has to be what works there. And the situation has to be understood and applied properly. Right? So the male-female principle applies there as much as in marriage. So anything in-between is also, is the same. That’s the whole point.
It’s a matter of who is performing the activity, who is receiving it. You know what I am saying? It’s just like, okay, let us take and reverse the situation, seemingly. The wife wants to discipline the husband, so she is taking the active role, or technically the masculine position. So now, and that puts the husband in the feminine position. Right? This means, in principle, not in gender. So that means, now she has to be able to apply the pressure, the emotional disciplinary pressure in such a way that it actually is effective. Therefore if she uses the wrong words or the wrong tone of voice, then it will just spark the masculine ego and the discipline doesn’t happen. So she has to consider what words said in what way will actually be understood. Does that make sense? And what is the volume of the pressure that will be applied. Is it all at once, or do you kind-of like stretch it out? Do you understand? So it’s a principle. You know what I am saying?
So therefore, from what we were saying before is that the man applies this principle properly on the women, they will reciprocate the same way. The man misapplies it, the woman will.
Mataji: So the question is that I have been married for 30 years and it’s still working… If a relationship is bad, can it work for 30 years?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Erm, depends how tolerant the parties are or how dutiful they are. So if it’s working, means something is going right. Maybe not enough to make it nice, but enough to make it work. Does that make sense? Anything that works means, it’s functioning according to some principles that are correct.
Mataji: So because we’ve heard, I have been married for 30 years, and my husband is also a devotee, but I joined first and I am more, kind-of more advanced in spiritual life, and so it’s, even if it was mentioned that the man is spiritual leader and the wife is the religious aspect in the marriage, it gets reversed in our relationship, because of the principles that have to be kept, that Radharani’s kitchen has to be tidy, and so I am the one that has to keep these guidelines, and how can this work?
HH BVPS Maharaja: But she has been doing this for 30 years, you just keep doing what you are doing.
Mataji: No, it’s for the last 4 years.
HH BVPS Maharaja: What happened to the 30, what happened to 26 years?
Mataji: It has been me who made this relationship for the last 30 years according to…
HH BVPS Maharaja: So she wants to know how to keep it going, means just keep doing what she has been doing for the last 30 years. Okay? The point is is, the husband gives you an identity by which you can act, so even if you are the one making it work, still you are making it work because you have a husband. So as long as both of you are happy, then you just keep doing whatever you are doing. It’s worked for 30 years, it can work for another 30 years.
Mataji: What are the responsibilities of the woman relating to the husband?
HH BVPS Maharaja: What are the duties of the woman relating to the husband? Generally, she takes care of his food, she takes care of the house, she collects and manages the money. She speaks nicely, like that, if they have any place then she also can grow things that are useful on the garden. Like that. She would see that she is buying things at the proper time, at the proper prices, she doesn’t waste money. She takes care of the children, she maintains confidentiality in anything her husband tells her. What he’s told her in confidence she keeps confidential. She is willing to be protected. She sees that she is attractive to the husband and not attractive to others. Means, that basically, that’s what comes to the mind, I’m sure there is more things on that. Yeah, she is his well-wisher, she is nice to his relatives, that’s what comes to mind.
Mataji: If she has to work, how much of her time the work can occupy the whole time?
HH BVPS Maharaja: How much the work should occupy the whole time? Prabhupada mentions, occupation means 8 hours. So that’s all the more a man should be putting into a job. So it shouldn’t be more than that, but the money that the woman generates at a job if she is under the protection of her husband, it’s not her money, it’s his money. The wife, the son and a servant, whatever money they generate belongs to whoever is taking care of them. But what a woman has received as gifts before her marriage, at the time of marriage, as gifts after the marriage, gifts of affection from husband or any relative or friends, that which has been inherited from other women of the family that was theirs, these are all the wealth of women and men can’t claim them and then live off of them, that’s the separate wealth of women. The women can use it in the service of the husband, so he may benefit from it, but he can’t separately on his own decide what to do with it, it’s not his. So that’s separate. But what’s generated in a job, that actually belongs to the husband. But as we mentioned before, the wealth of the husband is managed by the wife, so it works out. It’s his money, but you take care of it. And your money, you take care of that. What I wanna know is, where is the equality? It seems that it’s always overbalanced in favor of the women.
Mataji: I don’t manage any money.
HH BVPS Maharaja: As you please. [Laughter]
Prabhu: But what is it to be understood by managing money, because sometimes we have to make an investment, we have to buy something, to buy a car, something like that, then this is also managed by the wife or by whoever is more expert in this field?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, if it’s investment, then that means, that’s occupation, that the husband does. But generally managing means day-to-day expenses. But she can’t other than what’s normal day-to-day expenses, she can’t spend something that’s not approved of by the husband. She can’t decide to buy a new Learjet or something without the husband’s approval.
Translator: Learjet is…?
HH BVPS Maharaja: You know, it’s one of those small private jets. [Laughter] Like that.
Prabhu: And the husband has to do these kind of decisions together with the wife?
HH BVPS Maharaja: It it’s… Means, whatever is established, daily expenditure, regular expenditure, she manages that, she doesn’t have to ask him, because he’s already approved it. She runs it, but anything outside of that, she wants to give in charity or buy something that’s out of the budget, that then has to, that you would discuss. You know what I am saying?
Prabhu: But I mean, if the husband wants to make some investment and then he has somehow the last word in that direction?
HH BVPS Maharaja: The man wants to make an investment, but then investment is not daily expenses, investment is occupation. That’s with the… Like you have a business and the business then generates money, that’s the net, after the net then you have to pay your expenditures, then what’s left over after that, you have to decide whether there is a need of further investment. What’s left over after that, that’s called profit. So what profit is not put away for emergency, then what’s left, what’s used in your daily life, that the wife manages. She doesn’t manage your business, unless that’s her field and she is involved. She manages what you call profit that’s used for your house, the money to be spent on your day-to-day life. You know what I am saying? So that kind-of stuff. So if their limousine has to be filled with benzine, she doesn’t have to ask, or the 4×4 Porsche has to be taken in for maintenance, she doesn’t have to ask these things. Or collecting the rent from all the 20 different properties you own, that she does. Or paying the bills for the hotel you stayed in in the Bahamas and the caters for the child’s 3rd birthday, and all these things she takes care of. Like that.
Prabhu: The wife’s priorities are her job or her…
HH BVPS Maharaja: That you’d discuss what are the priorities, but within that then she may decide that, “Okay, this weak we buy more potatoes and next week we buy more cabbages.” So in other words, there will be certain amount for food, what she buys in that, that’s up to her. Or how much gold ornaments she can buy every month, or how many sarees, you know, that’s, you kind-of have a general concept. So if she decides to buy 10 silk sarees, I mean, 10 cotton sarees or 1 silk saree, that’s up to her. Does it make sense?
Mataji: Can I ask there two more questions that are on this paper?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Is there anything else on this topic, or is it going to something else? It’s on this topic?
Prabhu: And does the husband need to ask the wife’s approval for bigger investments, or…?
HH BVPS Maharaja: If it’s going to affect the budget that she has, yes. Means, it may be his money, but it’s a partnership, so she is living at a certain standard and working with that, that’s her service to manage the money, so if she is gonna get, end up with less money, it has to be approved by her. And she should be convinced that your investment is therefore going to generate more money for her to manage. Is that okay? In other words, you always consider the wife, because if you consider her, that means you are attached to her, that means she is important, that means, she is happy, that means, you are happy, and a happy man chants his japa nicely and takes part in the devotional activities nicely. Is it on this?
Prabhu: So if the wife inherits, during marriage, something, then that inheritance remains her property?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Depends, who it’s from. If it’s given to her, then it’s hers, like that. Especially if it’s inheritance from the mother, grandmother, any women in the family, then it’s definitely hers. I would possibly even interpret it, if it came from her father, grandfather, that it would also be hers, because in the Vedic culture that would have been given to her when she was getting married. You know what I am saying? So anything from the men’s side of the family would have been given when she got married. [Microphone sound changes] Somebody likes that point?
Mataji: Anything from the men’s side of the family, the husband…?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, the father, anyone else would have given her gifts when she got married, because there is no such thing as inheritance for girls in the Vedic culture. Does that make sense? But there would be inheritance from the women of the family, because they keep their wealth until they leave, then that is handed down to other women of the family. But in the modern culture then the benefits that would be given to the daughter come after you die, instead of when you get married. In other words, in the Vedic whatever inheritance the father would want to give to his daughter he gives to her at the time of her marriage. Does that make sense? But now in the modern you give it after you die, but in the Vedic whatever inheritance is there from the mother or the other women of the family happens after they die, unless, of course, they give it to you before they die. Does that make sense? Yeah.
Maybe we can break here and then we’ll start again after. Jaya!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Samaveta-bhakta-vrinda ki jaya! Jaya Nitai-Gaura-premanande Hari Haribol!
Prabhu: His Holiness Bhaktividya Purna Maharaja ki jaya!