MAN WOMAN INTERACTION LECTURE #20 Eger, Hungary, 9th Aug 2007
HH BVPS Maharaja: So we see in conclusion of this process of buddhi-yoga is that one is trying to engage oneself fully in Krishna’s service. So body, mind and words are then engaged according to one’s natural propensities, and in that way then that full absorption then will mature into pure devotional service. So one is trying to transfer the mind from attraction and attachment to material endeavor to attraction and attachment to Krishna and His service. So then in this then we see that those things that are an obstacle to our attachment to Krishna then basically we trick the mind by engaging those activities in Krishna’s service. And then in this way those desires are purified, and they are brought in line with Krishna. Like we like to eat, so therefore then we take prasadam, so the senses then get engaged in the service of the Lord of the senses. This way then we are able to, those things that distract us, those things actually help us to move towards Krishna, but we still, we make a distinction between those activities that are directly devotional service and those activities which are purifying, that are favorable to the devotional service. Nothing is more important than devotional service. Does that make sense? So therefore establishing ourself in goodness or performing whatever it is, various activities that are there in the process, but it’s developing that love for Krishna, that’s the most important. So nothing is more important. But if something is useful, since we are not fully absorbed in the most important, then those things that are distracting are then brought in line with that most important through the direction of the scriptures. Does that make sense? Any questions?
Prabhu: So we’ve been discussing the 4 varnas and we also know that the most important activity of the movement is distributing Srila Prabhupada’s books. And can all the 4 varnas be engaged in this activity, can they find their service or can they connect their service to this most important activity?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, means, because distributing books is a devotional activity, it’s not a varnic activity. Does that make sense? So, you have all these aspects. Means, for the shudra then distribution of the book, it’s the art of salesmanship, for vaishyas it makes money, for the kshatriyas it’s the proper establishment of correct social behavior or not. And for the brahmanas it’s distribution of knowledge. So like that then everybody can be happy performing that activity. You know what I am saying?
Prabhu: So can anyone say that book distribution is not according to my nature?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Technically no, but there are certain techniques that much of the time what we have that might, depending on who it is, be generated from different varnas. I mean, there is so many ways one can distribute the books. Like you see, some of them, they take tons of books and then they go to the libraries and then they sell full sets of books to libraries. I know it was very successful in the 1980s, people would take full sets of books and just go door to door and sell them at people’s houses. You could also arrange that they are distributed through bookstores and things like that. Or you can do a bookstall in the temple, so when there is guests and that, then… So there is so many different kinds of book distribution. So it’s a matter of seeing what would work for who. Like that. Is that okay?
Prabhu: We’ve heard that we have to transform our material attachments to attachment to Krishna, and in realizing that, is the realization of the “trndad api sunicena” principle, is it the most important thing that can help us?
HH BVPS Maharaja: I mean, that establishes the qualities required, the qualities, the etiquette. But the second verse then is the mentality, that will generate then humility. And the first verse then inspires one because you know why you are doing that. And then the third verse is applied according to the principles of naishkarmya of the 4th verse. So then in that way then one takes advantage, but etiquette is the 3rd verse. Means, all the principles that are there in the shastras on etiquette, culture and all that, come out of that verse. Does that make sense? Because if you can practice those four, then any process, any relationship, anything will work. That’s why Vaishnavas are expert, because having those qualities then it always works.
Prabhu: Could we hear more about what humility means and how can we develop, how can we improve our humility, how can we develop it more?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Humility means that we understand that we are not the doer. So whether we are doing something that’s menial or whether we are doing something very great, still we understand it’s not us that is the doer. Does that make sense? So humble doesn’t mean that one has to be grubbing on the ground. Humble means that you don’t think you are the doer. Otherwise… Does that make sense?
Prabhu: Could I have the same question in connection with tolerance, what does it mean and how can we improve it?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Tolerance means, you are understanding…
Translator: Patience also, patience was the word.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Patience, means you are understanding the other person’s nature and therefore then understanding that, you are acting, you are basing your actions on that. Does that make sense? It’s just like let’s say you have a child, so they are playful, so it may take longer to teach them something or to get them to do something, but you are tolerant, patient, because you understand the nature of a child. Does that make sense? You know, so that element of sacrifice is there. It’s also an extension of knowledge, because humility then is the first point in knowledge. So with the proper understanding then applying that sacrifice one is able to… Yeah. Does that make sense? Understanding your position, performing your prescribed duties, then it works. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: And the same thing about respect…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Respect means, you acknowledge the other person’s position. Means, they are part and parcel of Krishna and they have a place in Krishna’s creation. Does that make sense? So therefore then whatever is the quality or ability, or just the existence of another living entity, that’s acknowledged. In other words, the performance of our duties cannot be at the expense of someone else’s. My existence doesn’t mean someone else can’t. They exist, we exist and then what’s our natural relationship.
Prabhu: And the last one, not expecting any respect from others?
HH BVPS Maharaja: That even though one deserves respect, one is not endeavoring for it. So in other words, you maintain your humility and patience and don’t expect others to put you in a special category. Okay?
Prabhu: What’s the difference between the Bhagavata dharma and Pancatantra? We know that Bhagavata…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Pancatantra or Pancaratra?
Prabhu: Pancaratra. Bhagavata dharma mentions nine processes and Pancaratra mentions five, and what’s the connection between the two, or what’s the difference between the two?
HH BVPS Maharaja: The five of the Pancaratra, that is Bhagavata, basically. Means, Bhagavata dharma means hearing, chanting, remembering, like this. So then that’s the natural position of the soul. Pancaratra is then how to apply that Bhagavata dharma to a soul who is conditioned. So then therefore everything is made into regulations. So the life being regulated then can be progressive. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: I have heard that in Bhagavata-dharma all nine processes exist according to the three modes, and Srila Prabhupada says somewhere that actually there are 81 forms of Bhagavata-dharma according to the modes.
HH BVPS Maharaja: I’ve never heard. Because generally Bhagavata-dharma means no modes. I know activities can be performed in the three modes, but that’s the conditioned state, while Bhagavata means what’s beyond the conditioned state. Means, the Bhagavata-dharma there is only the pure standard, but a conditioned soul in applying it, then they may be influenced by the modes, so therefore then there’ll be that flavoring. Kapila Muni mentions this in the third canto, because devotional service influenced by the mode of ignorance means, one is very proud of one’s qualifications, you know, one’s material qualifications. And therefore one feels oneself superior, so that’s false ego, so that’s the mode of ignorance, so devotional service in the mode of ignorance. And one tends to be a separatist, you have your own idea how to… Means, the purpose of your performing the devotional activities may not necessarily be the pleasure of Guru, Krishna and the Vaishnavas. Then in the mode of passion means that you are worshiping the Deity and performing your devotional activities expecting material results. And then the mode of goodness then is where one is… doesn’t like any disturbance. One is fixed in service, but one doesn’t want any disturbance to arise due to material influence. Right? Does that make sense? So then pure devotional service then means, it’s not affected by these modes, it’s being done for Krishna’s pleasure. Does that make sense? Anything else?
Prabhu: Applying buddhi-yoga, does that mean that we are introspective and see what the obstacles are in the way of direct devotional service, and then after analyzing ourselves we engage these factors, and so does it mean that we are always introspective and analyzing ourselves in order to see the obstacles and then engaging them?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Basically. But depending upon… See, because buddhi-yoga includes, means buddhi-yoga is bhakti-yoga, but that is through sadhana in which one is… How you say? In other words, it’s the process that will bring you to the platform of pure unalloyed devotional service. So it includes within it the activities of karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and dhyana-yoga. So karma means activities, jnana means intelligence, dhyana means that one is thinking of Krishna. So buddhi-yoga means where these three are combined, but depending on the individual there may be more karma, more jnana, more dhyana. So therefore introspection and contemplation may be more or less depending upon the individual. The point is, it’s progressive. Is that okay?
Prabhu: The question refers to patience, tolerance. We heard that patience means that we understand the other person’s nature. But we see that very often we don’t even understand our own nature, and does that mean that until we don’t have a clue what our nature is and what the other person’s nature is we cannot be patient in reality?
HH BVPS Maharaja: It will be more difficult. Like that, unless you just have a natural patience or tolerance, then if you don’t have then, unless you know who you are, how can you understand others? You know, if you think “I am the Lord of the universe,” then you don’t mind when you are walking out on the back stomping on all the ants.
Translator: One the back stomping…?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, when you are walking out. But if you understand, “I am just part and parcel of Krishna here in this world, and so are they,” so therefore you don’t step on the ants. Does that make sense? So basically, in other words, you understand that, so you have a respect for other living entities, then you are able to be tolerant. If there is no respect, you can’t be tolerant. Does that make sense? So generally that’s what happens, intolerance comes when there is a breakdown in your respect. Does that make sense?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Kind-of? Okay, let us say you have somebody, you know, let’s say… What you have here, prime-minister or president, chancellor? Prime minister, okay. Let us say, you are going somewhere and the prime minister is going by in his entourage. So out of respect, then everybody just sits there and waits for him to go by before they continue. So therefore you are more patient, you are humble, right? Otherwise you go out there and say, “What do you mean? I am also a citizen here, you are a citizen, this road belongs to me as much as you, so why I should be… You know, have to wait for you to go by?” Does that make sense? So you have to respect what is the particular potency that is there in others. Does that make sense?
We’ll continue after a word from our sponsor. when you have television programs and they stop for the commercial? So while the commercials are running, I am gonna go to the bathroom.
HH BVPS Maharaja: She also needed sponsor, but [indistinct 33:32]
Translator: He had to take steps. His sister was also on Padayatra. [indistinct 33:47] They have like divided this up in fields through which to take steps, like no alcohol, no meat eating, no drugs, no intoxication, we have to take steps. Because they are working, so they are taking steps.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Okay, yeah, yeah.
It appears that on Ekadasi you don’t have the bread to soak up all the water, so it tends to kind-of like go straight through. Okay.
Prabhu: It mentioned that we have to understand the other person’s nature, and does it mean to understand the other person’s conditioned nature? And if we see good qualities as well as bad qualities, how can we function so that the bad qualities don’t disturb the relationship?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, if one is able to observe oneself, one can properly observe others. In other words, if one can see one’s own weaknesses and faults, one can see the good qualities in others, but generally what we do is see our own good qualities and therefore we are able to find faults in others. So where there is a fault, then… Means, where the good qualities are is that’s where you take the association. And where the faults are that’s where you avoid. Does that make sense? Means, if there is a fault, doesn’t mean it’s useless. You know what I am saying? Like that. The point is is, material world… Means, perfection means, connection to Krishna. But if something is not connected to Krishna, it can’t be called perfect. You know what I am saying? So that’s what’s perfect. Not that there is material perfection, and even if it’s not completely connected to Krishna, what is, is perfect. Material means, until it’s 100%, you can’t call it perfect because it’s not complete. But devotional service is always perfect, so if it’s 2% accomplished it’s 2% perfect. Does that make sense? You are not thinking of its 98% imperfect, because imperfect is material. Does that make sense? So that means, there is always something worthwhile that you can associate with. Yeah? Is that okay?
Prabhu: And what’s the quality required for introspection, so that we want to see the [indistinct 39:14] not looking always outside or finding fault because we think that whatever goes wrong it’s because of the fault of the environment? So what’s the quality required for introspective analysis?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Quality needed? That you wanna go back to Godhead? You know what I am saying? Means, why would you want to do anything unless it’s gonna give a result? So why would you want be able to contemplate what are your strengths and weaknesses, unless you want to engage the strengths and remove the weaknesses? And why would you wanna do that unless you want to go back to Godhead? Does that make sense? So then… Means, in other words, you wanna have a relationship with Godhead, therefore you have to have the proper qualifications. Does that make sense? So then relationship means, it’s based on qualities.
Somewhere there is a nail in here. [Laughter] Now and again you kind-of like bump into it. Or a tack or something. Not so much, you just kind-of know it’s there, got enough to make you [indistinct 41:14] No, I mean, it’s only in one spot [indistinct 41:28] [Laughter]
Does that make sense? Means, if you wanna relationship to work, then you have to see what qualities are required, what qualities are not required. So that means, you are making a partial solution, because you are dealing with partial relationships. But relationship with Godhead is complete, so it means, you need a complete solution. Otherwise, what’s going to be the inspiration to maintain it? You know what I am saying? Means, husband is not sensitive, so then the wife in some, her own unique way lets him know about it, so to avoid such uncomfortable situations, he tries to be more sensitive. So unless you wanna develop love for Krishna, how are you gonna be continually inspired to be introspective and remove those obstacles that get in the way of the relationship? Therefore the association of devotees is very important. We chant, we perform our devotional activities, we become purified. Then we can appreciate, then we can take advantage of the process and the association of devotees. Then our focus will be greater.
So that may be [indistinct 44:08] in this spot. Something poky there also, just make me feel… It’s the same kind of pokiness over here. It’s nice seat. [Laughter] Occasionally poky, not as poky as like a pukka yogi asana with the nails, it’s only nails. [Laughter]
Mataji: Maharaja, could you please define sincerity?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Define sincerity… I guess that you actually want… You’d actually want to gain, gain or it can come in all the forms… I guess you could say, probably the simplest would be to say commitment, so you are actually comitted to some or all aspects of a relationship. Means, you’ll be committed to all that you may be called upon to, I mean it may be necessary to show that commitment either in the desire for, or the need for, or the endeavor for a relationship. Does that make sense? That’s why one is always looking for a commitment in a relationship, that means, it’s sincere, it’s real or has some substance, has some meaning. Yeah?
Prabhu: The attitude and the mentality in carrying out our actions is that we offer them to Krishna, and is that attitude and mentality, means this commitment and if it this commitment, then how can we understand it better, what it means in this respect that we offer the mentality and the attitude is that we offer our actions to Krishna, our acts to Krishna?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, we are offering it to Krishna because we want to please Krishna.
Prabhu: …and the commitment in that.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, we wanna see that Krishna is happy. So then these elements then we offer to Him. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: And does this commitment mean that…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, commitment means that… Okay. Oh, you want a different definition now for comitment? Sincerity and commitment, what is commitment? Look in the dictionary, so on page 73 it’s… [Laughter]
Commitment means, you would be willing to take the risk, or sacrifice, means, the element of sacrifice or risk to accomplish something. You are willing to make the endeavor, like that. In other words, arrange the situation and make the endeavor to get a result. So Krishna’s pleasure is what you want, so therefore then you are willing to make that endeavor, whatever it will take, to please Krishna. Does that make sense?
Mataji: Sometimes we are asked the question that when devotees join and they seem to be committed and sincerely endeavoring to advance, then they are committed, but how can that change, or does that mean that they have never been sincere, or it can change?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, sincere you count by, according to the individual. Means, like you have a small child, their sincerity then will be… How you say?
Prabhu: I guess, the poking thing is [indistinct 51:46]
HH BVPS Maharaja: [Indistinct 51:48] [Laughter]
Prabhu: And behind you?
HH BVPS Maharaja: No, [indistinct 51:54] [Laughter] It’s only here. An anti-poke. [Laughter]
Translator: Sincerity in the child…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, they do whatever they can for however long they are focused. You know what I am saying? You don’t judge a child’s sincerity by an adult’s standard. So you deal with the individual at what position they are in. So as far as the individual is concerned, they are sincere and so therefore it’s taken that way. No? Like that. So that means, they were sincere, but with time they became distracted, became tired, so then that endeavor, that focus then may get less. Does that make sense?
So this idea if someone falls away they were never sincere, but then in that case, if you wanna take that platform, then you have to take it completely. Means, it can’t be your position and anything below that is not sincere. It has to be, pure unalloyed devotional service and prema is sincere and anything below that is not. Means, the Acaryas give two kind-of like perspectives. One perspective is, if it’s not pure devotional, if it’s not prema, it’s not bhakti, bas, end of conversation. The other is, anything that’s connected to the devotional process that your goal is to attain prema is called bhakti. Does that make sense? So, depending upon the attitude, you’ll use one or the other. Means, if you are looking at dealing with pride or reality, then it’s prema is bhakti and that’s it. If you are looking at encouragement then whatever is connected to the devotional process is bhakti. You know what I am saying?
Just like cutting vegetables, is it cooking? Do you understand? That’s the point. Is technically when the vegetables are in the pot on the fire, that’s cooking, anything else is not cooking. You know, planning the menu, marketing, cleaning the kitchen, preparing all the ingredients, technically that’s not cooking. Cooking is when the heating process is interacting with the items and changing their chemical composition. Right? But at the same time is, anything that’s connected with the cooking process, one will call cooking. You know what I am saying? So if someone is in the kitchen and they are cuttting the vegetables and you say, “What are they doing now?” you’ll say, “Oh, they are cooking.” Because their plan is after cutting the vegetables to cook them, so the intent is cooking, so therefore anything that will bring that intent to realization is called cooking. But then a person who cut the vegetables and thinks he is a great cook, then you have to point out to him that, “Well, actually only when they are in the pot on the fire, then you can say you are cooking.” So in other words, when the neophyte becomes proud of their devotional advancement, then you kind-of go, “Excuse me, but…” Or the madhyamas or uttamas use it just to keep focus, you have somebody to compare it to. But as far as preaching, encouraging others, or even just oneself is that you are performing these activities for developing prema, therefore it’s devotional service. Does that make sense? That was your question on? Otherwise we are talking with you on someone else’s question. [Laughter]
Prabhu: You mentioned that if someone gets tired then the focus diminishes, and what one gets tired of?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Focusing. [Laughter] You know, just the endeavor and everything like that. I guess, one loses sight of the goal. Means, if you are focused on the goal then you don’t notice everything else. Means, there is a very large plate of Mahaprasada, and there is another 27 brahmacharis, so therefore if you keep focused on the plate, so you don’t notice the kicking, scratching, biting of the other brahmacharis. Like Arjuna, you only just saw only the pakora. Right? Like that. So when the temple president asks the brahmachari, “So, what do you see? Do you see me, do you see the room, do you see other 27 brahmacharis?” He says, “No, I only see the cauliflower pakora.” So then maybe after getting kicked and punched around a while you start to forget about the goal and start to notice what’s going on in the material endeavor. Then you get tired. Does that make sense?
Mataji: What to do if you do get tired?
HH BVPS Maharaja: What to do if you do get tired? Well, I guess, wait until all the other 27 get tired, and then get up and go in there, while they are taking [indistinct 01:01:45] there. Focus, means, contemplate what it is you are doing, why are you doing it, what are the benefits? Then what’s the loss by not doing it? The other guy gets the pakora. You want the other guy to get the pakora? You know, why should he get the pakora? Does that make sense?
Mataji: So if you get tired of being focused, then focus?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, if you get tired of being focused, the solution is being focused. I think there is a converstation somewhere, somebody asks, ‘How do you become sincere?” and Prabhupada said, “By being sincere.” [Laughter] Or there is a very famous Gaura Purnima lecture. Not sure, I think it was back in the 1970s by Jayapataka Maharaja. He was saying, “One should cry for Krishna. But if you are unfortunate, you can’t cry for Krishna, then you should cry to cry for Krishna. And if you can’t cry to cry for Krishna, then you should cry to cry to cry for Krishna.” Just continued for about 5 minutes, that’s why it was so famous. [Laughter] So, “To cry, to cry, to cry, to cry….” I don’t know how he remembered it, but he kept track. Yes? You noticed the curve on this tree? That’s why it sits there, so it won’t fall over on us, so we should be very happy with it. Because no one noticed, but that’s… [Laughter]
Prabhu: So when can we say that the environment is not proper, or when is it that it’s our conditioned nature that gets in the way?
HH BVPS Maharaja: No, it’s only the conditioned nature can get in the way. Your environment can’t stop you from serving. I think it was Indonesia, Malaysia, I think it was Indonesia, where some parents got the bright idea to de-program their kid or something…. No, was it them, or was it something, the government, the person, the devotee ended up in the… How you say? In the appropriate government institution. And after the doctors had given him sufficient chemicals to their satisfaction, so that devotee forgot everything, didn’t know who they were, who anybody was. But they found an annoying situation still remained, the devotee, all he would do was chant, that was the only thing he remembered. So therefore there is no situation that you can’t perform service. Do you understand? So it’s just our conditioning may get in the way. That’s why in the stories the examples of the acaryas, you could say, are extreme. You know, they were kids living in the forest with their family, you know, peaceful living with the sages. Next moment their father has died and then they are taken to the city that’s just full of politics and everything, and everyone is trying to kill them. And then to work out the difficulties in the family, so then they are given half the kingdom, the half of the kingdom happens to be something that’s completely desolate of all life, there is absolutely nothing there, no one lives there, nothing. They turn it into a fabulous city, become the emperors of the world. And then at the roll of the dice then they are out in the forest again. Right? So could anybody ever say, their situation was as bad as theirs? Right? So therefore service goes on no matter what the situation. Does that make sense? The form of it, the particular form may change, but service always continues. Right? Does that make sense?
Prabhu: To take a specific situation, when one lives in the temple and is a full-time devotee, and at one moment he changes ashrama and he becomes a grihastha. And in that grihastha ashrama he sees that there are some obstacles that get in the way of his service. So in that situation how can he deal with these obstacles, or how can he deal with that situation? So these obstacles don’t get… It’s not his service that is obstacles, obstruct, but kind-of his normal life or… It’s not just his service, but his normal existence…
HH BVPS Maharaja: What’s normal ? In this [indistinct 01:10:48] what’s normal? I don’t mean the temple, I mean, the material world. Nice temple, nice temple. Yeah, nice temple, nice temple. [Laughter] Be prepared to that one, it’s good.
Prabhu: We put some reeds over that, too. [Laughter]
HH BVPS Maharaja: Over everything. Devotees can wear it also. “Yeah, I don’t know, he is having some problem in his devotional service,” “Oh, give him some reeds.” [Laughter]
Prabhu: So I am thinking of specific life situations. Like I used to be a temple devotee maintained by the temple, but now I am a grihastha and I just cannot think of, I just cannot think that the temple, or cannot accept that the temple would take care of me and my whole family, like when I need some Pampers, I have a kid and the kid needs some Pampers, then the temple will pay for the Pampers… Things like that.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Try diapers, they are cheaper.
Translator: I wanted to say diapers, but I said that.
HH BVPS Maharaja: What’s the point?
Prabhu: So it connects to the previous question, that when can we say that the environment or the conditions are not proper, and when can we say that it’s our own fault or our conditioned nature is to blame?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Wouldn’t it always be the conditioned nature? It means, you are in the temple, you are doing your service and all that. It’s not that the temple decided that, “Okay, our quota for this month is 12.7 brahmacharis have to get married, you know, we have to increase the grihastha ashrama.” Right? Means, you due to your own conditioning felt the need to perform your devotional activities in that ashrama. You know what I am saying? So traditionally brahmacharis live in the… Not to say temple, but in the educational ashrama environment, while grihasthas generate their own environment for performing their service. No? Means, if you want to, if you can basically live as simple as the brahmacharis and brahmacharinis, the temple can take care. But if you find you need more than that, then it’s best to generate it yourself.
So the point is is, you have, you are already in the temple, but there is something that keeps you from being focused while you are in the temple. So then the devotional service… Means, so then part of your devotional service is to remove that distraction. Right? You have to see the bigger picture. “I wanna cook the potatoes, but there is an obstacle, there is skins on the potatoes, so I have to remove that.” So buy potato, wash potato, cut potato, cook potato. Right? But here we have to kind-of backtrack, because we have to peel the potato. Or even we peel, then we find there is a few spots that need to be cut out, because they are strange color. Does that make sense? So if you are seeing the complete picture, then why is it…? The situation is there to remove those elements that keep you from being fully focused. So if you can see how dealing in this way will remove these desires, then it becomes part of your process. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: Can a devotee be proud and if he can then what and who can he be proud of?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Can a devotee be proud? And what and who can proud of? [Indistinct 01:18:54] Can be proud of the institution that has been generated by Srila Rupa Goswami, that what a very great and very efficient and very unique mechanism that it is, and everybody’s… You know, the greatness of all the personalities involved. And by the grace of the acaryas then we are able to be part of it. Yeah?
Prabhu: So can we be proud of the fact that we have the Absolute Truth and that we are preaching the Absolute Truth, or is it better to kind-of approach in a humble mentality representatives of other religions?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, it’s not ours, it’s ours because we are assisting those who it belongs to. So one has to be careful of what that pride means. You know what I am saying? That pride, if it… Means, if we think we are the doer, that’s a problem, but we are not the doer, we are just taking part, so we are very happy to be able to take part, but we never think that it’s due to our endeavor that it’s successful. It’s the blessings of the acaryas that what we do is successful. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: In the Bhagavatam I have read that it’s a mysterial thing how the individual can advance in spiritual life due to the help of the spiritual master, so it’s something which we cannot understand or which we cannot perceive of. And can it be connected to what you just said, that it’s because of the grace of the acaryas etc and the spiritual master?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah. See, the point is, Krishna is a person. We have a relationship with Krishna, but through Krishna’s people. Does that make sense? Expanding means, your connection is from the previous one, so therefore Krishna is pleased when we are trying to please the spiritual master. Right? Then we advance. But the point is is that we have to be wanting to please him.
Translator: Please Krishna?
HH BVPS Maharaja: No, the spiritual master. Does that make sense? So that well-wishing then Krishna takes seriously. The mystic part is that somebody wants to, is desiring your welfare. That makes it work. Does that make sense? But you are trying to please the devotees, and the devotees desire your welfare, that’s why we advance. We are advancing in relationship, it’s not something else. You know what I am saying? Means, the external form of something… Means, the external form of what we call sadhana, its regulation, its austerity, its sacrifice, the charity, that remains even in the topmost manifestations of that, but the form doesn’t look the same. Right? You know what I am saying? If you think about it, what’s more austere? Doing something that’s physically difficult, or actually doing something for someone else without any desire from your own side to get a benefit from it? Do you understand? It’s easy for the demons to stand on their toes and not eat and not breathe, because they are gonna get something from it. But what they are trying to get is for themselves, so the relationship is simply existence, it’s not actually interaction with others. But sacrifice means…
[To the side] I think it’s over this side. You go in front of the middle car, you’ll see. You come up on the top and then you go along the front edge, and you’ll see the appropriate spot.
Does that make sense? So that, it’s actually self centered.
[To the side] That was what you were looking for?
Does that make sense? While sacrifice in that way where you are voluntarily giving up something for someone else’s happiness or satisfaction, then that’s much greater and it’s personal, it is actually based on an active relationship, rather than simply a state of existence. Do you understand? But because of the impersonal tendency, we don’t see… We are gonna approach relationships from the idea, “I am gonna get something from it.” So in the beginning it appears that standing on your toes out in the sun is actually more austere. Something is happening, but what we are doing is generating a state of austerity. There is no application for it. You know what I am saying? It doesn’t generate a relationship with someone by being physically austere. But at least it generates the concept that “I should be giving up something.” But it hasn’t generated, “I should be giving up for someone else’s happiness.” Because I am giving up for my satisfaction. Do you understand? So for someone who is not austere, therefore this external form of… How you say? I think it’s called cohesion of the senses.
Translator: Cohesion is you retreat?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Retreat or just you are in a strong way just controlling them, by force. Then is a step forward, but as you advance actually the further thing is is that sacrifice is being done for someone else, then it’s a dynamic relationship. So therefore the devotees that are doing activities for Krishna’s pleasure exclusively, that’s the greatest austerity, greatest sacrifice, greatest… I mean, that’s the perfection of all these other external forms of elevation. Because ultimately austerity should be connected with the person, so that person is Krishna and the devotees. Does that make sense? Did that answer your question?
Mataji: Do we have to understand the impersonal Brahman in order to be able to become pure devotees.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Not really. The main thing you are trying to do is develop attachment to Krishna, attraction and attachment to Krishna. So if one can do that, then all these other intellectual gymnastics are not important, but if we are attracted and attached by something else in the material world, then applying the intelligence then is quite useful. Right? Does that make sense? So that’s where we understand, we use the understanding of the platform of Brahman, because the Brahman understanding frees us from material endeavor, but it doesn’t get us into the spiritual world. That’s by Bhagavan realization. So then we practice, the focus is on Bhagavan, but if we need to use for removing the material consciousness, then we may use the Brahman aspect also. Does that make sense? So it’s very useful, but if one doesn’t need to use it… You know what I am saying? Does that make sense?
Prabhu: The question is in connection with the previous one, well-wishing of the devotees. We can advance due to the well-wishing of devotees, and what happens if we lose well-wishing of a certain devotee? How can we advance and how can we re-gain that well-wishing of the devotee?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Why would one lose the well-wishing of somebody?
Prabhu: by offending that person, for example.
HH BVPS Maharaja: So then remove the offense and then things continue. So humility, tolerance, respect.
Prabhu: So if we don’t comply to expectations, if we don’t do what others expect us to do?
HH BVPS Maharaja: We try, we discuss with them what is realistic. You know what I am saying? It’s relationship, you can interact. Interaction is not bad. Does that make sense? So if there is expectations that you can’t do, then discuss and work out expectations you can do. Does that make sense? There is no absolute standards of what is to be expected. Means, Hanuman moves mountains, because he can, and then the spider kicks dust, because that’s what he can do. Does that make sense? Like that.
Prabhu: How important is Deity worship for grihastha life?
HH BVPS Maharaja: How important is Deity worship for grihastha life? If you really wanna know, Deity worship is technically only meant for grihasthas. Brahmacharis, vanaprasthas, sannyasis don’t need it. They don’t have much distraction. You know what I am saying? Whatever time the brahmachari gets up or goes to sleep, it’s all connected to service. In the early years, the devotees would be going to bed eleven, twelve, one, because every day they would go out on Harinama in the evening. So like that, it doesn’t matter. Grihasthas are the ones that need a serious regulation. They have to get up at this time, otherwise they will just get up when they like. It’s not based on service. Brahmachari puts on what he is supposed to put on, but a grihastha only dresses up if he really thinks it’s worthwhile. You’ll see grihasthas dressed better than brahmacharis, or worse than brahmacharis, nothing in-between. So they are regulated, you have to go to the temple, you have to wear it like this, and you have to take your bath, your place has to be clean, and your standards of cooking and all that have to be there. Brahmacharis don’t have kitchens, they don’t have beds and this and that, that’s always contaminated. Do you understand? Grihasthas eat anything, any time, so therefore there is a regulation, it has to be offered, cook according to standards. Like that. Brahmacharis eat what they are given, grihastha creates his own food. Does that make some sense? Like that.
So the idea is is you start transferring all that material independence into connecting it to the Deity. So Deity worship is specifically meant for neophyte grihasthas. You know what I am saying? If you look in India, unless it’s a monastery where it’s only brahmacharis, then every temple in India, the worship is done by grihasthas. You know what I am saying? Like that. The brahmacharis can work, they use the regulation of the Pancaratra, but their lifestyle is basically Bhagavata, but the grihastha requires the Pancaratra, just to create a form to their family life. Does that make some sense? So that’s the funny thing is, they leave the brahmacharis in the temple and all the grihasthas go out do whatever they like, but the temple is meant for grihasthas, not for brahmacharis. Brahmacharis live in the temple, but technically the regulated, the regulation generated by the Pancaratra is specifically for the grihasthas. You know what I am saying?
Prabhu: You said, especially for neophyte grihasthas. Does it mean that later, when they become more advanced, it’s not important?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, means when they are functioning on the platform of naishkarmya, then it’s not so important. Sakama, it’s important, naishkarmya it’s less important. Does that make sense? But Pancaratric system is so good, everybody can take advantage of it. So if the brahmacharis follow it, it makes things very, very fast. But the Pancaratric system makes it possible that the grihasthas can make advancement. Do you understand? The position of brahmachari, he is already advancing. And the Pancaratra will give a form to it to make it more regulated, more focused, so it will work even quicker. But without the Pancaratra, where is the form even to the grihastha life? Means, the brahmachari gets up in the morning to do service, right? What does the grihastha get up? He gets up, expects to see the smiling face of his wife or a little interaction and something and then think about breakfast, or the kids, or… Brahmachari gets up because there is some service. You know what I am saying? So anyway they’re already engaged. The grihastha needs a form to engage. Does that make sense? So therefore the Pancaratric and the Vedic, that’s important for the grihasthas. Does that make sense? And one can see that it must be important because they are the ashrama that most avoids using it.
Like you look at it. Man, his duty is to be sense-controlled. Why? Because that’s his strong point? No, because that’s his weakness. He must be sensitive, because that’s his natural, strong quality? Because that’s his weakness. Does that make sense? Women, it’s chastity and satisfaction, because that’s where the weakness is. Brahmachari must be respectful. Why do we have the term “punk kid”? Because they are not respectful. Brahmacharis must do menial service, because punk kids are proud and lazy. They must study, because they would rather play all day. Do you understand? So everyone’s duty is is according to giving support to where the weakness is. Does that make sense? So therefore we can see, because grihasthas avoid it, that must be because that’s actually what they should be doing. The brahmacharis avoid the temple commander, because that’s actually what they are supposed to be doing. Do you understand? But unfortunately, it’s not a very popular perspective.
Prabhu: So the Deity worship helps them to develop sense control and sensitivity?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes.
Prabhu: Also women, chastity and satisfaction?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes. I mean, that will do that, plus anything else that’s there. When the life is regulated, then you can advance. If it’s not regulated, then it’s very hard to make anything, so in an environment of the need for variety, there must be some regulation, otherwise how advancing or devotional activities will even factor into the variety? Does that make sense?
Prabhu: Regulation helps sense control?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yes, because you are under someone else’s control, so you are not the controller. And it regulates enjoyment, because we are not the enjoyer. So the living entity thinks they are God, so then they are trying to be the controller and the enjoyer. So if you follow the Pancaratric and Vedic systems, then someone else has made the rules. Does that make sense?
Prabhu: How it nourishes sensitivity?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Because you are doing something for the Lord’s satisfaction, so you have to be focused on how to do that nicely. Because proper Deity worship then includes interacting with devotees, serving devotees, taking care of guests, studying the scriptures, worshiping Tulasi, cleaning the temple and all, taking prasada – that one works pretty well, worshiping Tulasi. So if we are not properly interacting with it, if we interact nicely with the Deities, but not with the devotees, Krishna doesn’t consider that very good Deity worship. Deity worship takes on perfection when you regard the Vaishnavas with proper attention and all living entities. So when you behave properly with everybody, then your Deity worship is good. Does that make sense? That’s Kapila Muni, 3rd canto. Does that make sense? So you are very focused, “Here is God.” And everybody else is part and parcel. Is that okay?
Prabhu: So how should we consider this phenomena that did we do something wrong in the training our grihasthas previously, so that when they become grihasthas, they become not so interested in the temple and in Deity worship? Or it’s the nature of things that devotees who join Krishna consciousness as adults are just like that, that they are not so attracted by the temple activities and Deity worship?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Could be both. Basically, if your brahmacharis are trained… Because brahmacharis become grihasthas. So if the brahmacharis are trained, then they’ll be nice temple devotees, they’ll be nice grihasthas, they’ll be nice anything. So therefore if that’s done nicely then everything else will work. Does that make sense? But in any case, the general principle is, if devotees are trained, whatever their position, whenever they join, then it will work better. Does that make sense? Because the Deity worship is the whole picture, it’s not just the Deity. You know what I am saying? Like that. So it means, basically, one’s whole sadhana, one’s whole lifestyle, the whole etiquette. So, means, Deity worship doesn’t mean you have to be in the Deity room. Means, you are taking part in devotional activities, means, you are worshiping the Deity or in some way supporting that the Deity can be worshiped, or that you are at the programs where the Deity is being worshiped.
Like on Janmashtami, only a few devotees need to bathe the Deities, everybody else watches, they both get the same benefit. You know what I am saying? So, seeing the Mangala aratik and offering the Mangala aratik, you get the exact same benefit. Not a very popular contemporary concept, but… It’s Pancaratric concept. [Laughter] You know what I am saying? Because the point is is the pleasure of the Deity. So someone pleasing the Deity and others appreciating that, then it’s the same thing. Gaura aratik, who does the aratik? Does it say, “Brahma first started and then after that then Shiva came and offered something also and then after that then Sukadeva came and offered something, and then after that someone else came and…” You know what I am saying? Brahma did the aratik, Vasu Ghosh sang, Shrivasa held the umbrella, you know, like that. That’s how it works. Or, you have that picture of Ramachandra. Everybody is carrying something. Someone has got the umbrella, supposed to be, of course, over Rama’s head, but he is holding the umbrella. [Laughter] Someone has got the sword, someone has got the fan, the chamara. You know what I am saying? So that’s their service, they don’t think half-way through, “Hey, I wanna change, I wanna get that mercy, if I do all the things then actually I get the mercy.” Does that make sense? So like that then one is taking part according to what is appropriate, but the point is, life is regulated and one is involved, and who does what, that doesn’t matter, main point is, one’s own life is regulated. Is that okay? Yeah?
Prabhu: I heard Srila Prabhupada’s lecture where a devotee asked this question actually from Srila Prabhupada, he said, “Srila Prabhupada, can I be Krishna conscious at home and not come to the temple?” And Srila Prabhupada says, “Well, that’s the purpose of the whole processs. You come to the temple, you get trained how to be a vegetarian, how to cook, how to worship Deities, how to be brahmachari, how to be cultured, and then you go home and then you make your family devotees, and then you be Krishna conscious at home. [Indistinct 02:00:08] Be Krishna conscious, worship Deity.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah. Yes.
Prabhu: That’s the purpose of living in the temple, to learn how to be cultured, how to worship Deities…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah.
Mataji: Maharaja, you were emphasizing that grihasthas should worship the Deity, but even if they get more advanced then it’s not so important. But sometimes another concept that’s being said, that actually whatever the ashrama, varna or ashrama, Deity worship makes God specific, and we neglect Deity worship, wherever situation we are in, then we have the tendency to make God into something fictitious, because then we don’t necessarily… Because like when you do direct Deity worship, then you have to adhere to the rules and how Krishna likes things and adjust, but if we don’t then we have the tendency to not make God specific.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah. But at the same time is, the point is is the tendency is that, so the point is is if one, if the effect, if the purpose of that is obtained, then that process doesn’t necessarily need to be there. But in any case, we always follow Pancaratric lifestyle. Devotees as it is now, they may or may not understand what’s Pancaratric. This is Pancaratric rules: When you wake up, then you chant the Lord’s name, then you offer your obeisances to the spiritual master. Then you put your bed properly in place, then you go to the toilet, then you brush your teeth, clean your tongue, take a bath, and that may be with or without soap. At the end of the bath, the last, final rinse you remember the Deity. Then you dry yourself properly, then you put tilac, you wear neckbeads, keep a sikha if that’s appropriate. Then you wear appropriate clothes, you chant Gayatri, you clean the house, like that, you go to the temple, you ring the bell, you offer your obeisances, you say the Deity’s name, you attend Mangala-aratik… Sound familiar? That’s straight Pancaratra, that’s not Bhagavata, that’s not Vedic, that’s Pancaratra. You can see is, that is our lifestyle. So the point is if devotees do that, then it regulates, if they don’t do that, then it’s difficult.
Mataji: But grihasthas can also do that, not just brahmacharis..
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, grihastha, means… That’s what we were saying, it’s specifically there for grihasthas, but everybody gets the advantage of it. You know what I am saying?
Mataji: Yeah, and yet they say that sometimes we have the tendency to do these activities without making God specific, but when we do direct Deity worship, then…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Generally anyone who follows all that nicely would start making God specific, because if you saw, you have to chant His name when you first wake up, you have to offer your obeisances, and you have to remember the Deity when you are taking a bath, you remember Him when you are chanting your Gayatri. Right? And then one is going to offer things to the Deity, so that means, there has to be somebody you are offering it to. Before you take rest then you contemplate the activities you’ve done in the day, offer that to the Deities. And so that will naturally generate a determination on how to better serve the Deities the next day. Means, if… So therefore then you take caranamrita, you see the Deities at darshan, you circumambulate the Deities. So then that works. So this is because we are chanting and hearing Bhagavatam, because otherwise traditional Pancaratra is when someone gets initiated, they get a Deity, and the full Deity worship they offer their Deity. But that’s if you are following specifically a Pancaratric system like the Shri’s. While our main Deity is the Holy Name, so we connect the two together, the Pancaratra support. So the point is if you are regularly seeing the Deities, at Mangala aratik, Darshana aratik, and like that, attending the festivals and all that, then the Deity is a person that you are dealing with. Like that. And then if you have the facility to worship the Deity directly, then that’s nice.
Mataji: So can we say that if the focus is proper in all activities, then directly worshiping the Deity, I mean, doing arati and taking part in these things, it’s just another aspect and it actually doesn’t add or…?
HH BVPS Maharaja: It’s another aspect, but it more than adds.
Mataji: [indistinct 02:08:54] specific…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, but so does Gayatri. Depends upon how you define worship. If it’s only ijya, then, yes. But the point is is, how much you can be involved, the maximum amount you can be involved, that’s how much you should be involved.
Mataji: [Indistinct 02:09:52]
HH BVPS Maharaja: Worshiping the Deity.
Mataji: The ijya part or just the whole process?
HH BVPS Maharaja: The whole process, the whole thing is worshiping the Deity. Because as we said, if you worship the Deity through ijya, but you don’t relate properly with the Vaishnavas, the Deity doesn’t accept your worship actually, because if one is proud and a separatist, because he thinks he is the pujari, then that’s the mode of ignorance. So therefore it’s supposed to start at, okay, your focus is on “Krishna is God instead or me,” and then “Krishna has devotees.” So making the Deity, I mean, making the Lord specific through the Deity is a major step, but it’s not complete until the devotees have also been included in that spiritual vision. You know what I am saying? Is that okay? So these things are there, so if we can do that, that’s good, that’s why in second initiation yaga means worship of Deity.
Prabhu: For neophyte devotees, or neophyte grihasthas, what’s the recommended murti, Deity to worship?
HH BVPS Maharaja: It’s in the temple. Do you have Radhe-Shyama? Means, the Deity in Eger is sitting here. Anybody else’s Deity is expansions of this one. Does that make sense? Just like, let’s say, you have devotees in Sri Rangam. So He is the Deity, and anybody else, they have a Vishnu murti in their house, it’s His expansion. Does that make sense? Budapest, it’s Gaura-Nitai. You know what I am saying? Like that.
Prabhu: The question has two aspects. You mentioned that every ashrama has its duties, like menial service for brahmacharis, Deity worship for grihasthas, and if someone neglects his duty, what are the consequences? That’s one aspect, and the second one, how can that person correct that neglect and take on the duties?
HH BVPS Maharaja: One can correct the neglect by doing them, right? Just means that what it is you are supposed to gain from the ashrama won’t be gained so strongly. Does that make sense? Yeah? Okay.
Prabhu: It’s in connection with well-wishing. So between persons with contradictory moods, or, not contradictory, but opposite moods, their relationship is superficial. And is that superficial relationship enough to gain each other’s well-wishing?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Superficial, generally superficial you would use to mean not sincere, or self-centered. But because you have persons of different natures, doesn’t mean that what interaction they do have is not… Has some substance. Does that make sense? Yeah. So it doesn’t have to be… I mean, it can have some, it can have meaning. You know what I am saying? Because also, if you say “contradictory,” then much of the time that works together, opposites attract. Right? Parent-child, that’s contradictory. Man and woman, that’s contradictory, master-servant. Right? So it’s not actually a problem. It’s a matter, you follow the etiquette, then it works. Is that okay?
Mataji: The question refers to the classes of previous days, that if in our relationship the husband always shuts his mouth and is always humble in arguments, then how will he feel that his wife is following him and his wife is doing her duty properly?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Because according to definitions, I mean, explanations that we gave in previous class is, if the husband does that, the wife will do it. So that means, he started, she followed, very masculine. Does that make sense? Of course, with the other boys then may not look good, but who cares? Who makes the rules? God or a bunch of idiots? [Laughter] Okay?
Mataji: How does a woman withdraw her female energies?
HH BVPS Maharaja: How does she withdraw her female energies? And?
Mataji: Yeah. And what does it mean? Just in day-to-day dealings.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, the body is a medium for… Okay, let’s say… You have a saying “The face is the index to the mind”?
Translator: Yes. That the eyes…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, that’s even better. So eyes are the same, but it’s a matter of what energy you put out or not. So that means, you control, you are in control of that energy. So you don’t use it… You only use it where it should be used. So one doesn’t use one’s attractive energy for people that one is not supposed to attract. A woman can turn off the energy, and you won’t even notice her go by. You notice wherever she puts the energy. Some put it in their hair, into their chest, into their backside, into their bag, you know. And so, you notice that. She doesn’t put in the energy, you don’t notice it. The body is dead matter. So only if you put in energy then it means something. But in this case “off” means neutral, not implode.
Translator: Implode is the opposite of explode?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, means, suck things in. Vacuums are also very powerful at attracting things. You know what I am saying? One is in the positive, one is in the negative because you work both. But it’s just neutral. Does that make sense?
Mataji: This concept of implode I don’t understand.
HH BVPS Maharaja: You don’t understand implode? You pull all the energies in, but you pull it, you are still centered on it, so therefore it pulls everybody else in with them. Right? Like you get embarrassed, you just pull in all the energies, but everybody notices, because… You know what I am saying? Does that make sense? So outgoing, ingoing, both there can be relationship, but if it’s neutral, how do you relate with neutral? You do something stupid, and then all the energy goes in, and then everybody notices that, then they can laugh or… But if you do something stupid, “Oh, that was stupid,” and then just move on, what can they do? No one can laugh, no one can do anything with it. So, yeah. Does that make sense?
Mataji: I just wonder, where do these energies go and how do you use them after all? You don’t put them out, you don’t pull them in, but somehow it happens that these energies…
HH BVPS Maharaja: It just sits there.
Mataji: They don’t grow and after a while then…?
HH BVPS Maharaja: “Sit there, the energy that ate Budapest.” [Laughter] We are gonna end now anyway. Does that make sense? Means, it’s just energy that’s there, it’s Krishna’s potency, it’s coming from Krishna, so whether it flows or not, that’s a matter of whether you are an instrument or not. The water is not flowing out of the tap, where does it go? Doesn’t go anywhere, right? You turn it on, it flows, turn it off, doesn’t flow. You know what I am saying? It’s very important for the girl to understand the flow of energy. Means, woman is fire, so it’s her duty to know how to control it. Okay? We should end here.
So thank you very much. Very nice, nice questions. Jaya ho!
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Samaveta-bhakta-vrinda ki jaya! Jaya Nitai-Gaura-premanande Hari Haribol!
Prabhu: I am not going to improvise a big speech. I only would like to thank Srila Bhaktividya Purna Maharaja for visiting us. These ten days that you spent with us remain an invaluable asset for us. Thank you, and we hope that we will see each other again soon, very soon.
Srila Bhaktividya Purna Maharaja ki jaya!