Full Lecture Video, this passage starting 01:28:35
Mataji: Hare Krsna, I am trying to practice Krishna consciousness almost 30 years and I don’t have still friends who would love me more than some of my relatives, and we all need love. I don’t understand, is it love that I get from the relatives? So I even don’t know how to formulate the question…
HH BVPS Maharaja: No, no, no, it’s okay, let’s just translate as we go, otherwise… The point is is your relatives, what do they love? You as the soul or you as the body?
Mataji: That I don’t know.
HH BVPS Maharaja: You don’t know.
Mataji: Because… if they want they are quite spiritual.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, yeah, but I’ll give you a hint. It’s because you said ‘family members’, what connects you to that family? Your body. So, in other words, their love your body more than the devotees are loving your body. And so, therefore that connection to them through the body then that attachment, then they are expressing it, so that means they are pious. So that’s why they are nice, because other people have family and they are not as nice. But still, it will only give the material benefit, it won’t give spiritual benefit. Because the affection is not based on the spiritual, it’s based on the bodily connection, and so it’s more obvious, it’s more easy to direct the affection. While devotees, it will be based on their interaction with you and service and these kind of things.
Mataji: Still, I don’t have those devotees. I have a few, maybe it’s scattered and I…
HH BVPS Maharaja: Yeah, but the love for Krishna is centered around Krishna, and so the taste of that affection is even greater than the love that’s exchanged based on, centered on ourselves. So this position of relationship, that comes from Krishna, so we are tasting it on the material level, but on the spiritual level it’s even higher. But it’s just a matter of taste, it’s a matter of purification. Because it’s not that, ‘Well if all the devotees were so wonderful and nice, that then devotional service would be better. The environment in which we are performing devotional service would be nicer, but affectionate family members, it’s not based on devotion. It’s a nice environment, but it’s still not the actual devotional service. And you also have to remember that everybody is coming from various backgrounds, so they all have different experiences of what family interactions and relation mean. So they will reciprocate and interact based on their background. But ultimately we are not this background, we are the soul, we are servant of Krishna, so loving relationships is there, but it’s centered on Krishna, not on ourselves. That’s why the Vedic culture has recommended because it generally gives a better emotional experience. But generally…
Mataji: Do I understand correctly that if we have a nice environment around us, emotional environment will help us to serve better?
HH BVPS Maharaja: Only if we are attached to a nice emotional environment. They are two different things. Means, you have, let’s say, I have a nice kitchen. But if I am a bad cook, it doesn’t matter. And if I have a bad kitchen, it I am a good cook, it will still be good. So it helps but it’s not devotional, that should be understood, it’s not devotional, it’s the atmosphere in which it’s done. Like this, we have a wood floor, so it’s comfortable to sit on, but it’s not because it’s a wood floor, that’s why we can have nice classes here. It makes it nice, but it doesn’t affect the quality of the discussion. So since we are trying to do something for Krishna we try to do it as nice as we can, so, therefore, we have a wood floor. But it’s not that the wood floor makes devotion, like people walk in the door, and as soon as they step on the floor then they start chanting the holy name and rolling on the ground in ecstasy. And especially rolling, because then more surface of your body is on the wood floor.
So we see, Prabhupada is always recommending, that’s why he is explaining these things, but then ‘bhunkte bhojayate’, you sit down with somebody, and theninstead of just discussing about Krishna, then it’s all about ‘Is this organic?’ and ‘This has got sugar in it, sugar is going to kill you,’ and ‘Is this from this, is this from that?’ and you just can’t eat. So it’s like… So the point is is Prabhupada has already given it, it’s a matter of us following it. So since you have experienced nice exchanges and all that, then you help others understand how to do it. But we have to understand, devotion is separate from a nice atmosphere. We may use it for Krishna, but it’s not that it is. These are the symptoms of exchange.
Mataji: But still devotees are in the bodies and they have different physical needs, emotional needs, and I understood that it’s… That it is supportive in devotional service, material senses, the body, emotions.
HH BVPS Maharaja: Means, we said, it’s a secondary aspect. Like how important are the pots and pans for cooking? If you know how to cook they help a lot, but if you don’t know how to cook, you still can do nothing. So even if you create this wonderful loving exchange between devotees not based on Krishna, then you will accomplish a nice place, a nice way of staying in the material world. Because we say we need love, but who is we? Who is the ‘we’?
HH BVPS Maharaja: The soul, but the soul is not connected with the body, so then…? So why would pleasing the body please the soul, unless the soul is attached to the body. So, therefore, you have to deal with the exchanges on the physical and the emotional platform, so that they encourage the devotional development because that’s the only thing that is actually going to give satisfaction. Means, the nice emotional exchange may be satisfying to our material needs, but at what point will we be engaging these needs in Krishna’s service? Because the principle, let’s say, ok, we have our mother, she loves us so much. But where does that potency of motherness comes from? It comes from Krishna. So, therefore, Krishna is the universal form, He creates principle of motherness, and so, therefore then we can experience that. You gain that through your family, the dog it through interacting with their mother, the birds with their mother. So the principle, the experience of the mother and child experience, that potency is coming from Krishna, and so then it’s matter of recognizing that the motherness, if that’s coming from Krishna, it’s not actually the mother that’s creating this nice environment, it’s actually Krishna. So then we come to the point of appreciating that it’s Krishna, so then we focus our attention on Krishna. But it doesn’t mean we don’t interact with our mother nicely, but we know that that principle of dealing with the mother, the exchange that we gain, that’s just the modes of nature. So that’s why the Vedic system has this whole arrangement for family life, so that we can experience those things. But one is supposed to see it in connection with Krishna. Does that make sense?
(Lecture on Nectar of Devotion, text 4, 11 Jun 2018, Riga, Latvia)