Devotees Should Not Base Their Social Development on Prana-maya

One only notices qualities one has. Now, you might notice them in the positive or in the negative. So you associate with those you see in the positive, but you have to be careful that the negative that you are seeing is actually negative and it’s not just that one has a negative view of the world. Because we have to remember, if we look at it from the modern context, the person who is considered socially better situated is one who can find fault in everybody else and they find association in others that find fault in the same way they do. If they find fault differently, then you are still bogus. Do you understand? So it’s a very rarefied atmosphere, because the amount of people that really can relate just the way you do is going to be one or two. Once beyond that, two is company, three is a crowd. So it just doesn’t happen.

So we have to remember that the middle-class slightly educated, slightly critical view of the world is actually probably the worst position to take in Krishna consciousness. It’s not a value. But, you know, popular is popular. Why is it popular? Because mass likes it. Not because it’s a value. So you have to be very, very careful. In other words, there is standards of Krishna consciousness, you have to be able to see those standards. And you have to see where the weakness is. But it’s not about the individual, because the soul is pure, the soul is actually liberated. But the soul thinks he is involved with the material energy. So that’s why they perceive in the way they do. So ultimately it’s not the fault of the living entity. And the conditionings, these are just various combinations of Krishna’s energy. Means, He is the universal form, so all the varieties of heads and faces and hands are all His. And then, by His potency they are able to be pulled together. It’s something we were reading the other day, very interesting, is that Mahavishnu first glances at the Pradhana, then everything separates. Because it won’t separate unless there is the power to separate. But now, when things separated into the 24 elements, nothing happens, because the 24 elements don’t have the potency to come together and combine. The material energy doesn’t have that power. So it’s the Lord’s power that creates the attractiveness of the different atoms of the material energy to come together that you get the forms that you see. So that’s Krishna’s attractiveness, that’s why we think forms are attractive, because Krishna, it’s His potency that pulls it together. So we think material energy, that’s just automatic, but no, it’s Krishna’s potency that holds it together. So that’s the whole thing. So either criticizing that technically is, you have to be careful, because even that’s Krishna. So the point is it’s the misuse of it that’s the problem. It’s not the living entity, it’s not the conditioning, it’s the misuse of them. Misuse that the living entity is being God instead of being servant. And misuse of the material energy that being God I am the controller and the enjoyer rather than engaging it in Krishna’s service, that’s the weakness. So the discussion is actually about that, what’s useful for upliftment in devotional service. So then, one has to be careful.

So one has to have the intelligence to discriminate, but at the same time that discrimination is based on pure devotional service as opposed to a false identity. We should be careful not  to put one false identity against another, a pious false identity against an impious, because it’s actually devotional that’s the real.

So in that association then we see that things go nicely for them, the exchange of food, the exchange of gifts, talking confidentially, these kinds of things, that’s the point. When people have confidential discussions, they actually have it in their life, then they don’t worry about the truth. You go back in the history, there is nothing that is going on today that wasn’t going on for the past thousands of years, but people didn’t worry about it, because they had relationships. Now, if you don’t have relationships, you have to know the truth, because if you don’t know, then you are in the darkness and darkness means fear, and so I feel insecure. So it’s not about relationships, it’s about my security, do you understand, it’s a covering. The point of if things aren’t going nicely is, it will disturb the devotional development, that’s the real problem. It’s not that truth stands on its own as reality, it’s not a mundane potency. Truth comes from Krishna, it’s based on Krishna, so truth means Krishna.

When people have confidential discussions, they actually have it in their life, then they don’t worry about the truth. You go back in the history, there is nothing that is going on today that wasn’t going on for the past thousands of years, but people didn’t worry about it, because they had relationships. Now, if you don’t have relationships, you have to know the truth, because if you don’t know, then you are in the darkness and darkness means fear, and so I feel insecure.

So all the “isms”, all these idyllic qualities that we put forward from the mode of passion and ignorance, which is known as prana-maya, extended sense gratification, social benefit, all of these then don’t stand on their own, because all they really mean is that in that environment I will feel safe to enjoy myself. If everybody is equal then I will feel ok, because I am not so good, so if everyone is equal, then I have a shot, therefore I will feel secure. While if it is up to everyone’s actual qualification, I don’t stand a chance. Because people who are successful, don’t say that, do you understand?

So we don’t want to put too much emphasis on this because we don’t want to break down the engagement of the conditioning, but the point is is, if the conditioning is not connected to the Lord, it doesn’t have any value. So in other words, Bhaktivinoda Thakura mentions that every position that one may take has a value, otherwise why would one take it, why would one commit one’s life to it? But in doing so, if it is not connected to the Lord, if it’s not favorable for pure devotional service, then it actually isn’t real. In other words, its social standing is not enough. Because it’s popular in the modern world, doesn’t mean it will actually work in pure devotional service. Because what’s popular in the world keeps changing. Give it a few years and it completely changes again. So Prabhupada is talking about a movement for 10 thousand, so we have to see that what we are establishing actually has a universal principle. Because Krishna is able to reconcile all these contradictions. Like He is equal with everyone. Everyone gets, how you act, you get your results, you get your position, everyone has an equal chance to function in the material world and be Krishna conscious. At the same time those who reciprocate with Him in devotion, He gives attention according to that. So it appears that there is a difference, but the others are only dealing with Him as Brahman and Paramatma, so He only reciprocates that way. So when we deal with devotion, He reciprocates on that platform. So that’s loving, the other one is just formal. So they seem to be contradictory, but they both work together very nicely.

So like that, we have to be careful that when we are dealing that it has a value, but we have to know where is the value, like Prabhu’s first question – the regulative principles or association, which is more important. They are both important, but you have to know which is primary, which is secondary, therefore all these qualities, they are all Krishna’s qualities, therefore they are a value. So the social qualities only have a value, because they are based on Krishna’s qualities, but you have to know the proportion and their position, that they are only useful in serving pure devotion. But if they take on their own life, that’s material existence.

It’s just like we want to take care of the cows. Good thing. But is it because the cows are there, they are nice animals, ‘We should deal nicely with cows,’ you know, ‘People aren’t taking care of the cows,’ ‘It’s nonsense, how can you be a devotee if you are not taking care of the cows?’ ‘Nobody thinks about the cows, who visits the Goshala, who goes over and pats a cow?’ I can take that as a platform, just like I was saying before, I can take the whole platform that the floor is a real thing, it’s not about the class. But why am I taking that? Is it because Krishna has an appreciation for the cows? Is it that cows give milk which is then used in sacrifice, it’s used for the Deities, it’s used in yajnas, it develops the finer brain tissues? So therefore if the cows are happy, they give milk, Krishna likes the cows, so if the cows are happy, Krishna is happy, are we taking it from that? Or are we taking it from the modern-kind-of social platform? That’s my point. It’s not that taking care of cows has a problem, it has a problem, when it’s only approached from prana-maya, that’s my point. Because who is talking about it that it’s my duty? Westerners don’t talk about duty, unless it comes to the army, yeah, that duty to your men, your country, like that. But outside of that, they don’t talk about duty, it just doesn’s cross their mind. If there is some kind of very traditional old world, orthodox background, then there might be that sense. So people have it here and there, ok, the man takes out the garbage, the wife washes the dishes, ok, maybe they have some sense like this, but other than that then it’s not coming up, so it doesn’t even come up to dharma, so it’s sub-religion.

It’s just like we want to take care of the cows. Good thing. But is it because the cows are there, they are nice animals, ‘We should deal nicely with cows,’ you know, ‘People aren’t taking care of the cows,’ ‘It’s nonsense, how can you be a devotee if you are not taking care of the cows?’ ‘Nobody thinks about the cows, who visits the Goshala, who goes over and pats a cow?’ I can take that as a platform, just like I was saying before, I can take the whole platform that the floor is a real thing, it’s not about the class. But why am I taking that? Is it because Krishna has an appreciation for the cows? Is it that cows give milk which is then used in sacrifice, it’s used for the Deities, it’s used in yajnas, it develops the finer brain tissues? So therefore if the cows are happy, they give milk, Krishna likes the cows, so if the cows are happy, Krishna is happy, are we taking it from that? Or are we taking it from the modern-kind-of social platform?

So that’s what I am talking about. The modern culture is all based on subreligion, that’s on a good day. Its basis is actually sense gratification. So therefore we can’t take that as a basis for our own social development. Minimum we have to take is dharma, what is the nature? So therefore, how does each nature get what they require and how do they add what they add to the whole equation. That’s the minimum Krishna extends down into when He expands into things into the world. Then you have to connect artha and kama to that, we have to make that endeavor. Krishna comes down, He is the religious principles. He doesn’t say I am the economic development. He doesn’t say I am sense gratification. He says I am the engagement of the senses in sacrifice or giving in charity. Do you understand? When artha and kama come up to the platform of dharma, then it connects to the Lord. So that’s indirect devotional service, connecting these lower ones up. Starting from there, then you get into things that are more. Does that make sense? It’s a science.

We can’t neglect these other aspects, the social aspects, the family aspects, but we have to know their place, their proportion. They are not more important than Krishna consciousness. So that’s why we have to be able to see what is the thing, so direct is always more important than indirect. If there is an opportunity for direct, why not take it? And then, whatever is left, that’s indirect, then you connect that to the Lord. So in that way one can connect anything connected with your conditioning. So the point is is it’s a comprehensive, but why we are strong on these points, is that we make a distinction between them as primary and secondary. Otherwise the tendency is, we don’s see the difference, we don’t discriminate, so something that’s secondary rises up and becomes more prominent than it should. It may be important, but it’s important in a particular context.

(..)

We are as good as we are. But with time then, because the movement is powerful, people will be purified, and then the quality will naturally go up, so it’s just time.

Prabhu: Like waiting in the airport or something. I spent one time almost 20 hours in Singapore waiting in the airport.

HH BVPS Maharaja: Ok, well, Singapore is better than Moscow.[Laughter] Yes, so the point is is all will happen in time. That’s why I am saying that the process is so perfect that if you focus on hearing and chanting, even if one is not so good at the others and one is totally materially frustrated, but as long as the prominence is on the spiritual, one can still go back to Godhead. It may not have been a nice ride, but it will still work.

But as time goes in the future, as the group is more purified, then these aspects of culture that Prabhupada is talking about will be more prominent and then it will be a more pleasant program. But still, we have the histories of Ramacandra and Yudhusthira Maharaja, so even though everything is perfect and perfectly religious, still the material energy is what it is, and there will be times when it’s not ideal. So that’s still to be learned, it’s just a matter of whether its 50/50 or you are working with one or two percent.

So what we are talking about is that socially we can get a better structure with time, because it requires the mode of goodness. The weakness is is coming from the background of passion and ignorance, then the techniques of goodness we can’t relate to. So how dynamic, how technically perfect is the Varnashrama system, we can’t appreciate, we say it’s old or archaic, but it’s actually so perfect that it’s above our head. Just like, to give an example, a 3rd graders talking about how calculus isn’t of much importance. It’s just over their heads, so the reason that we can’s see the importance of Varnashrama is because it’s over our head. It just requires a consistent mode of goodness to be able to function. Or at least a strong appreciation or situation amongst the leaders to make it happen. So when that comes up, then it will naturally happen. But the devotional process is so strong that devotionally it will work even if you can say, externally it’s not very well organized. So that’s the beauty of bhakti, it’s not dependent upon karma. It’s just a matter of since we are living a life of pure goodness, at least the external form can be goodness, rather than the devotional intent is pure goodness and the lifestyle is passion and ignorance. That’s why we see the problems, because of that gap. So you give it time. So individuals are able to do and others aren’t.

Prabhu: In the meantime, we criticize? I can offer solutions, is that all right?

HH BVPS Maharaja: The gentleman behind you, he was talking about little huts in the Himalayas. It’s just a matter of if you can see something to do, come up with it, if not, it’s just how the material energy is functioning at this time. Because otherwise why let it get in the way of development of your devotional service? Because you can go back to Godhead despite. So that’s the thing. It’s so perfect. The institution is designed to generate opportunities of cooperation, so we can make dynamic devotional service, that’s the point of it. And to do that, you require some management, it’s not that management is the prominent, it’s not the primary, it’s the secondary. So therefore you want to have a good system of management, so that cooperation of devotees, that cooperative effort can be used very nicely. And to do that requires money, so that has to be spent properly, so all the things come into play. But if we get distracted by these secondary aspects, then we miss the point. The only point of management is that it organizes sadhu-sanga and preaching. Because preaching is actually sadhu-sanga. When we have it ourselves, we call it sadhu-sanga, when we apply the same thing outside, that’s called preaching.

(From Lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam 5.14.37, 20th April 2014, Sridham Mayapur)

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