This course is part of Sastra-Caksus, Year 1 and consists of 91 lectures, available on:

Given in Bhaktivedanta Academy, Sridham Mayapur, September 2010-April 2011

The following are lecture notes briefly delineating its contents.

  • Demigods, demons, ghosts - they are main categories, general categories. Krishna points them out, so He does not have to give every little detail. They have some power, position, opulence that we are interested in and that they can give us. We can get something from them. We can't gain anything from someone we don't appreciate.
  • Krishna can't give all possible examples.
  • 7:45 Paramarthika guru

  • "The rules explain how to deal with the field in relationship to God. And everything is connected to God, it's just a matter of the explanation given in scripture, its point is a personal relationship with God through the Parampara, in devotion. So the activities are favorable, they are given in shastra, they are approved by authority and they are to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a person. So that's what the Vedas are for. That's all the Vedas are defining."
  • "You go out and appreciate the morning surise, you are actually appreciating God, so you become purified. That's why you feel good. You are out there in the fresh air, you smell, you go, "Wow, this is nice," you appreciate it. Then why do you feel good? Because you've appreciated a potency of God. And then you go in the sun, the sunrise, the birds are chirping, all these things, and you feel better and better about it. And then you go and say, "Yeah, so, it's so nice going out early in the morning, that's what happened." No, that's not what happened, it's because you appreciated God in all these different forms, that's what happened. Because you go out another time and you don't appreciate it, "Oh, it's so cold," this and that, "And these birds, they make so much noise," and then you don't feel good."
    The problem with demigod worship is not seeing the demigods in relationship to God.
  • "God is a person, and He is not really that enamored by this place, because this only takes a spark of His potencies to manage. Full manifestation of potency is when He is there and trying to make Radharani not upset with Him. That's using full potency. Do you understand? So that's much more tasty. Managing the material world, that's a spark of His energy does that, that's no big deal at all."
  • Bhagavan is greater than Paramatma or Brahman, because the emotional content in the relationship is greater. One is just the qualities, the next is that there is a person who is managing those qualities, then there is the person from whom all those qualities come. So therefore the scriptures are only talking about one thing, the relationship between God and His energies, that's all that's being described.
  • But we have to be able to take the essence, otherwise if we do not see how scriptures are describing just one thing, we will think they are contradictory. Intelligence to see that will be working properly, if it is not controlled by material desire.
  • Lakshmi is seeing what's the purpose of Krishna and accomplishing that. She perceives whatever is Krishna's mood and makes the arrangements for that.
  • Shastra always gives adjustments, if the ideal form is not available.
    The sages know, the material world does not go the way you want it to. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. So they've made alternatives, they are smart. Modern man is not that smart. But modern man due to pride thinks, "I am more smart, so the sages, they are not practical, I am practical." No, the sages are practical on how to get everything done you want in relationship to God and His laws. And modern man doesn't see that, so it seems to work, but actually does it?
  • What does the attainment of modern perfection actually look like?
    "We can't say, "Well, the Vedic is not practical." It means, the modern looks pretty unpractical also. So material world is what it is, you understand that, you can deal with it. You don't understand it, you won't be able to deal with it, you will be bewildered, because it says here, "whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires." So the only way that one will focus on that, because there is an appreciation of that. So that's nice, one is seeing God there, but one doesn't know it's God. "Oh, modern is so practical." So practicalness, that's God, you are appreciating God, but you don't see it in relationship to God, therefore your intelligence is stolen by illusion. Because if you understood it's God, so God makes the practical work, so therefore how else is God applied, how else is God involved?"
  • Demons are very austere - working 16 hours a day is austere, they are very materialistic and nasty and annoy all others - they perform austerities that give pain to others.
  • If we don't engage the relationship with the Supersoul, He will step back. Demons lose the mercy of the Lord, His mercy is that interaction.
  • Persons of normal mental condition must obey the scriptural injunctions.
  • Not necessary to take bath after eating or passing urine, but some devotees are making up their own rules of penances and austerities. At the same time, they are not washing their feet after eating or going to the bathroom.
  • We should see what are the demoniac tendencies in us that keeps us from being Krishna conscious in all situations. Gradually, by seeing what pleases Krishna as a person we improve our activities.
  • Pious sattvic people are more likely to receive the mercy of devotees and develop their Krishna consciousness. While people in rajas and tamas are more likely to reject Krishna consciousness.
  • Generally, daityas are more sophisticated and refined, while danavas have more gross power.
  • "Whimsical is created by material desire. And so, by following the rule one feels one's material desire will be compromised. So by being whimsical one gains what one wants. But because it's such a natural habit of the conditioned soul that one doesn't even notice one's whimsicalness, it just becomes normal. And even devotees will sometimes sit around and discuss them as normal, standard, cultural ways of dealing, but they don't understand they are whimsical, because where is the connection to scripture?"
  • ""Varnashrama means everybody is out growing carrots." But where does the scripture say everybody is growing carrots? No, it means, it has agricultural basis, but who does farming? When Krishna mentions the varnas, who does farming? Vaishyas. So it should be, vaishyas should consider farming. But it's not the business of brahmanas and kshatriyas to do farming. They support it, they create facility for it, but they are not the ones doing it. Vaishyas do farming. So if someone says, "No, these brahmanas sitting around and talking all this theory and that, why don't they do something practical and get out get their fingers dirty? Why are they so worried about getting their fingers dirty? Get out here and grow cabbages?" But that is whimsical. Why? "Because I think it's important, and so if the rest of the world doesn't do it, I have a problem." No, you like growing cabbages, grow them! Who is stopping you? You know how many more cabbages would grow if you weren't writing emails on the subject and just out practically doing something? But of course, they have nice organic dirt on their keyboard, so they are still in touch."
  • If someone engage in direct devotional activities doesn't want to be concerned with little details of shastric details - that's a minor issue. But one situated in indirect activities and saying that - that's a very weak position.
  • Hard to see faith, easier to see what someone eats, speaks and does.
  • 53: 10 AUSTERITY means what trouble you are willing to go through to accomplish something. How we view the result.
  • SACRIFICE means in that accomplishment, that endeavor is for someone else's benefit. How we view the result.
  • CHARITY means that benefit that you've gained you are willing to share it. What we are going to do with the result.
  • FOOD - everyone is going to eat. Otherwise you don't eat, there is no activity. Food is the basis.
  • These four basically cover everything - sambandha, abhideya, prayojana.
  • There are higher and lower quality grains. Some are healthy, but for animals, not for us.
  • Too sweet is not in passion.
  • If we are not fanatic, just have a big kirtan, but if any ritual is performed, it should be done according to the rules.
  • Celibacy means that one is not engaging the senses outside of what is one's occupation.
  • Passion appears to be more attached than ignorance, but actually when passion becomes very great, it turns into ignorance. Freud only studied crazy people, so he concluded that everything is sex.
  • The most purifying food is prasadam. The point of health is the ability to do service, health is the only thing that a sadhu or devotee may pray for or endeavor for materially, so one can perform service.
  • Food too bitter, sour etc. throws things out of balance, but all these tastes have to be there, because tasteless food is also not good, it's in the mood of ignorance.
  • Pungent we notice in the mouth. Lot of spices will create heat in the stomach, though they may not feel hot in the mouth.
  • 81:50 Are ripened cheeses in the mode of ignorance? They are leaning in that direction, but at the same time Srila Prabhupada said that milk products are never completely finished.
  • Pickles even though they are old, are not considered in the mode of ignorance.
  • Very important aspect of eating in the mode of goodness is how food is being served. Formerly, only second initiated devotees would be serving prasada.
  • 87:30 Should those who serve the feast eat first? They might take something, but how much should one eat not to die for 2 hours.
  • Small children, really elderly people, pregnant women, the diseased - they may be fed before everybody else, but they should be fed in a separate place.
  • Etiquette regulates us even though our senses may not be controlled or we may not know the philosophy.
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