HH BVPS Maharaja lecturing in Mayapur. Year and author unknown

Prabhu (1): So, we'd like to welcome everybody to this... Well, at least here in Malmö it doesn't look anymore midwinter, what about in India? But we still call this 'Midwinter Leadership Seminar.'

So, last time, last summer, we had the the strategic planning, now it's supposed to be done. Narakṛti prabhu was proposing that in the light of the bhakti, and then there is also very interesting topic about the dharma, based on Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira's instructions, Mahābhārata, chapter 24. Most of all, we have the great fortune that His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja could now squeeze from his schedule these few afternoons for this topic. When you have a question, raise your hand, or in some cases you spontaneously just put microphone on, if you, you know, by your own risk feel that it's something you'd like to comment immediately. Most of all, welcome His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja... Kī jaya!

Mātājī (1): So far this morning, Prabhu, the signal was very good. Even Mahārāja's signal is full buzz, so we should be good.
Prabhu (1): Great! Please, Mahārāja, the floor is fully yours.

His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Okay. So, we're going with the Yudhiṣṭhira's moral instructions from chapter 24?

Prabhu (1): Yeah.

His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Yeah. So, this is from Kṛṣṇa Dharma's Mahābhārata, you know, his is telling of it. Okay, so on page 237 then we have... So, here is that the the Pāṇḍavas have been, dwelt in Dvaitavana and that. And then, Yudhiṣṭhira was comfortable living there, and he was taking the time because he had been asked to live in the forest for 12 years. And so, then he's  maintaining that position. That due to dharma, that Dhṛtarāṣṭra, who raised him like the father, because his father was gone from when they were young, and so then, because he as authority had been very comfortable with Duryodhana's gambling match and his stake that they all go to the forest, whoever loses, meaning, Yudhiṣṭhira. And so, he's taken that vow, so that's an important element to see, is why did Yudhiṣṭhira do this? Because he is performing his duties. Because in the Vedic system performance of your duties is the most important element. I mean, it's of course God consciousness, but within God consciousness you're going to express that through performance of your duties. Because otherwise, if you don't have duties then how do you express? What's the method? What's the way you do?

Just like, let's say, we are using language. We have to use the words, we have to use how they're pronounced, we have to use them in the context of grammar, and all those. And when you get that very nicely done, the communication is very good. So, in the same way, that devotion to the Lord, then there must be a medium to express it. So, in the spiritual world people naturally have their relationship with the Lord based on the particular attraction they have to the Lord, a particular rati. And so, in that svabhāva, then they are the āśraya of a particular attraction for Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is the object of that. So then Kṛṣṇa being, let's say the object of the cowherd boy's interest, or, in this case, Yudhiṣṭhira's and the Pāṇḍavas' interest, then they become the ones who are the shelter of that mood of service towards Kṛṣṇa in that that way. And so, they then reciprocate with Kṛṣṇa based on that mood, they don't do moods in something else. They don't do necessarily.... Let's say, they have that aspect of servitorship for the younger ones. Arjuna then is like an equal, and then Bhīma and Yudhiṣṭhira have a mix of the senior. But it's only going to have that, they're not going to act outside of that. And they are residents of the Dvārakā scene, so they are going to act within that, they are not going to act like Vrajavāsīs. So in this way then the rasa goes very nicely. So then those aspects of rasa, when they reflect the direct aspects of the rasa that give the direct experience, those reflect into the material world as piety. And so, therefore, that's why you see the devotees, they follow the directions of the scripture as given by the Ācāryas, what particular acts of religion are performed and used to express their devotion.

So the devotion is the main, but you have to have something to express it. So it doesn't really work very well when someone just spontaneously does whatever they like, whenever they like, however they like, wherever they like and all this. And maybe for them sometimes it works, sometimes not. But the problem is is, then what's the relation, what's the consistency of that expression? That will be a problem. So, therefore, to avoid that, then one follows your duties.

Now, of course, in the material world people don't like their duties unless they see that they're going to get some specific material benefit from that. 'I perform the duties, I go to the heavenly planets. I perform the duties, I get some position, or respect, or something,' then they will consider, 'Oh, these duties are good.' Right? You know, it's just like an individual say, 'Oh no, we just chant, we don't care for all these rules,' and that. He says, 'Yeah, but you go to work every day at nine, come back at five. Why don't you go at six in the morning and come back at three at the afternoon? Or go at three in the afternoon and stay till midnight and that?' No, because they get fired. So all this, you know, 'We chant, we don't care for the rules' only applies to Kṛṣṇa, it doesn't apply to anything else in the material world.

So, that's the difficulty, is that the living entity without understanding where this concept of staying within the context of your particular position comes from... They don't know it comes from Kṛṣṇa and there's relationship with the devotees in the spiritual world. And so that, we know, all that expands from Vraja. So, Mother Yaśodā just does Mother Yaśodā's stuff. Nanda Baba does Nanda Baba's stuff. Subāla does Subāla's stuff, Śrīdhāma does Śrīdhāma's stuff. The gopīs do their stuff, the cows do their stuff. You know, you don't hear of the cows coming out in Tuk Tuks and dancing at the Rāsa-līlā, you know, and then bring a few of the crocodiles from the Yamunā and all that. Of course, I mean, you know, as far as Disney was concerned, it would see good clean fun. But otherwise then it doesn't happen.

So that's the important thing: it's not about the rules. But there is a situation in which you perform your duties. Therefore, the cowherd boys perform all their riotous playing around and jumping up and down when they're in the forest, not in Mother Yaśodā's house. They won't be rambunctious in Mother Yaśodā's house. They are going to behave themselves because they are in  that, you know, the aspect of gaurava servitorship towards the adults. And so, they're going to act as children, and Mother Yaśodā is going to have that parental mood, and she is going to treat them like children. And so, in this way their rasa goes and then unfolds. So, therefore, as children, Kṛṣṇa as a child, He is taking His meal, His friends also sit down and take the meal with Him, and they follow their particular decorum. And so then it works really well, and so the rasa is very free. The spontaneity isn't in changing the situations, changing what you do and that. The spontaneity is the natural attraction and affection, and desire to express that to Kṛṣṇa, that is what is spontaneity. Can't hear us?

Mātājī (1): He's fine, Mahārāha, please continue.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Maybe we should learn sign language and all that? Then I could just talk and do all this stuff, and then we wouldn't have to worry about the sound, right?

Mātājī (1): That's somebody new just joined and their microphone was unmuted, so that's where it disturbed.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Ahh, okay, I thought someone's telling me they can't hear me.

Mātājī (1): No.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay, so that's, if one understands this, then so many of these nice stories in Mahābhārata and Kṛṣṇa Book will start to make sense. Because you never see that the gopīs are going out at some odd time of the day to meet Kṛṣṇa. They go out at noon time, they go out at night. Cowherd boys go out in the morning and come back in the afternoon. They don't go out out at night to play with Kṛṣṇa, they don't do hide-and-seek at night in the forest. Like that. Mother Yaśodā doesn't go out into the forest with the cowherd boys and all that. You know, she came out to see if everyone is playing nicely, and she is going to see that everyone's eating nicely. No, she doesn't come out at all. So, everyone has their way of expression.

So, because we don't have that natural, our svarūpa that we would have, our natural relationship with Kṛṣṇa, therefore then we follow according to what is our particular conditioning, the situation we're in, we follow the duties that that prescribes. And so, that then defines what you are doing. So what varṇa, what āśrama and that, what particular service one is rendering, then it defines what you do. So it's a very straightforward system. There is no speculation and all that. You may, of course, try to make it practical, find what will work for you, but there is no speculation.

So, for Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja then the dharma is the main thing that he is dealing with. And that's what he is famous for. And so, we have to see, that is the context in which things will be discussed. And others then, they are individual personalities, and they follow all the religious principles, like you see they follow Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja very nicely. But at the same time is, being kṣatriyas they have that passion and that that sense of righteousness, you know, of justice, what's right and wrong. So Yudhiṣṭhira is seeing it in a bigger context of dharma, and they are seeing sometimes, like we will see in this conversation, in an immediate context of dharma. And what they are saying is not wrong, but at the same time is, what Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja is saying has a higher level of correctness. And so, that's why this story is here. If it was just about going out, 'This guy poked me, I poke him back,' then we don't need Mahābhārata and Rāmāyana for that. That you just read the local newspaper and things like that, then you get that all you want. Okay? Is that good? Okay, so up to here they've gotten this whole point.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"The gentle son of Dharma was happy to live a simple life of spirituality, but he always kept in mind his God-given duty as a kṣatriya. That responsibility could not be whimsically abandoned--even if unpleasant, duty must always be done for the Lord’s pleasure."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because why people want to say, 'Oh, we only chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, we don't care for the rules,' is those rules that are good for them, you see that they are very strict about and they demand that everybody follow. But those rules where, like here, it may not be so pleasant, or they may not get a a nice result, that's the ones, that's when they say, 'Oh, we are devotees, you know, this doesn't matter...' Like you say, 'Okay, we checked the charts here, and this girl that you are insanely attached to and want to marry, you didn't check the charts first, and so it's actually only got 40 percent good compatibility.' So, 'Oh, we are devotees, you know, we're above all these things and...' That's when they talk like that. But when you see it's specifically for them, by them doing this particular thing they get a particular benefit, 'No, no I have to do this, you know, like this and that, and why you're saying I should go do something else?' You know. So that's why then one has to be stable. Like Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja is establishing that point. So the duty must be be done for the Lord's pleasure, but we're just doing this to please Kṛṣṇa.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"It was thus with mixed feelings that Yudhiṣṭhira dwelt in the forest, awaiting the day when he could again resume his duties as a ruler."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So, in the forest, he is Kṛṣṇa conscious, associating with the brāhmanas, and when he goes back and takes up his duties as a king, then he can do those duties for Kṛṣṇa.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Draupadī, however, was still sorrowful. She found the course of events that led up to their exile difficult..."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Means, the whole gambling match and everything.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"...and she burned with the humiliation they had all received at Duryodhana’s hands." 

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Not just her. She is thinking of the whole family. Means, she also got insulted. But the point is is, it's all of them, the six of them.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

“Sitting alone one evening with Yudhiṣṭhira, she revealed her feelings. “O King, when I think of the wicked Duryodhana and his followers living happily in Hastināpura, after having sent you to the forest, my heart burns. Without doubt he is delighting in our misfortune."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Which he definitely is.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"When you set out for the forest all the Kurus cried except the wretched Duryodhana, Karṇa, Śakuni and that vicious Duḥśāsana."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Those four, they were very happy with the results. Others, they understood: this is the destruction of the dynasty.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

“Draupadī again found herself weeping. She remembered her parting words with Kuntī and Gāndhārī. Both of them had grieved at her humiliation. How long would it be before she was avenged and the wrong-doers punished?"

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because as kṣatriyas, that's their business: to see to that proper things happen, and if something goes wrong it's corrected. That's their occupation, right?

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

“Seeing you seated here on this grass mat, and remembering your ivory throne incrusted with jewels, I feel such anguish that I can hardly look at you."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, so she is feeling bad. He is qualified as the emperor of the world, and now he's sitting on a grass mat, while Duryodhana who is, you know, a rascal, he is sitting on the throne. So you feel, this is wrong, he should be there, not Duryodhana. He won't be a proper ruler.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

“Your body is smeared with mud from the riverbank when once it was daubed with the finest sandalwood paste. You once wore costly silk garments: now you wear deerskins and tree bark. How can I bear to see my other husbands, who were once waited upon by numerous servants, now scouring the forest for food?”

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, before the servants would take care. So they would just perform their their kṣatriya duties and all that, and their servants, then they'd do their servant duties, and this way everybody was nicely engaged.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Draupadī’s sorrow suddenly turned to anger. “All this is due to the evil schemes of sinful men. O King, does your plight not arouse anger in you? Why are you so peaceful? Look at Bhīma, glancing at you again and again. Constrained only by his love for you, he does not rise up and destroy the Kauravas. Honoring your promise he sits containing his anger."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So, Yudhiṣṭhira made a promise. Bhīma, out of his affection for his brother then doesn't do anything. Otherwise, if at this moment Yudhiṣṭhira said, 'Yeah, this is wrong. These guys got to be punished,' before he even finished the word 'punished,' Bhīma would have already run off. And, you know, he would have just run straight into the palace, straight into where Duryodhana is, and just killed him right on the spot. Just like that. So the whole point is linked to that gambling match. When he saw things were wrong, at that time he would have just taken his club, gone over and smashed Duryodhana over the head - problem solved! I mean, literally, problem solved. But because, we know, Kṛṣṇa has a bigger plan, then this is how it unfolds. And so, that's why then Yudhiṣṭhira makes the point, is that even if the things aren't are unpleasant, that's Kṛṣṇa's arrangement. There's some purpose there, some greater purpose.

So, yes, there may be some injustice, that this person has done this, that person has done that. But overall, if it's happening to you and you're a devotee, there is some arrangement of Kṛṣṇa. Maybe you deserve it, maybe not. But the point is is, it's some arrangement of Kṛṣṇa. Because we'll say, 'Maybe I deserve it because I know I did this, and so therefore this happened. Okay, that makes sense.' But you could have done something last life, or ten lifetimes ago. You could have done something a hundred lifetimes ago that for a hundred lifetimes you have to be harassed like this. So here in this life you are still being harassed. So those kind-of things, then you can understand it doesn't make sense why this is happening to me. But it does happen, and that's important to note, one, because it will happen to the leaders, [two], it will happen to the juniors. Therefore, as a leader then you can explain this to the juniors, that it happens, but we continue on the best we can. And as as a leader then again it's going to happen to you too. It's not that because, 'Oh I am a temple president, or I am this or that, therefore nothing will happen to me.' If it happened to Yudhiṣṭhira, it can happen to anybody.

That's the reason that the stories that are chosen in the Mahābhārata are always, you can see, generally quite extreme, quite unique. Because if it wasn't, we could say, 'Oh, yes, the Pāṇḍavas are having problem with their relatives, but not as much problem as me. I'm having so much more problem. Why is Kṛṣṇa [doing that]?' But the point is is, they have problems to the point where they have one hundred.... Anybody has a hundred brothers? You know any devotee with a hundred brothers? I know one, he had 125, a Godbrother of mine, 125 siblings. But that's boys and girls, so but he has that many. But I think that's about 25 moms, but one father. And so they're all, they all would interact together. So that's the only one that I know that has even that many, and I never heard him say that they were all giving him trouble. Like that, I would never hear him say anything about anybody who was giving him trouble. So no one can say that.

Then you say, 'Oh, I lost so much...' Have you lost the empire of the whole world? No one can say that. And in losing it you end up out in the forest. It's not that you have to go back and, you know, crash on the couch at your mom's place. No. You are out in the forest. And, okay, you have this problem, like that, you know, it happened. And so it takes you a few months a few... 12 YEARS in the forest. Right? So all these different things, it's always there so that no one can say, 'Oh, it doesn't apply to me. My situation is worse.' So if Yudhiṣṭhira can handle this, that is our example, that's what we try to do. We may not be as good as Yudhiṣṭhira, but we try our best. That's what we try to do.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Look too at Arjuna. He understands Bhīma’s mind and is forever pacifying him."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, because otherwise he is going to explode.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"By the power of Arjuna’s bow thousands of kings were obliged to wait upon the Brāhmanas at your Rājasūya. Now that same Arjuna has become grief stricken. Does this not make you angry? And look at Mādrī’s youthful sons. They are as dear to you as they are to your mother Kuntī. Now they are forced to live the hard lives of ascetics."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right? Because those who are junior, you try to take care, so that they don't suffer as much as you. And so, they being the youngest then, does that not bother you?

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Does this not make you angry?' Yudhiṣṭhira listened impassively to his wife, carefully taking in her words."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So, notice here, it's impassively. Means, he is not getting angry, he's not doing anything there. But he is listening carefully. This is what we are not used to. We are either listening carefully and then getting too involved in everything like this. Or if we are not going to get all involved, then we don't really listen properly. So we see here, this is important: he is listening, but he is listening and waiting and seeing what's the whole mood, what to do, where to take it, how to.... What direction to go with it.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"She was surely entitled to her anger and frustration."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because there is a wrong here.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"He knew that and felt wholly responsible. The king remained silent as his wife continued. “I cannot understand why you have not risen up to destroy the Kauravas. Surely after all that has happened such a response would be in accord with morality."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because on one level of morality they have done wrong, they have behaved wrong, and so therefore it is wrong. And so, her point is is, why haven't you risen up? Something is wrong here.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Is is your discrimination failing?"

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Means you can't tell what's right or wrong.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"It is always appropriate for a kṣatriya to show anger when sin is committed, and sin has surely been committed by the Kauravas. How can you sit here as if you forgive them? If a king cannot distinguish between the time to be angry and the time to forgive, then he is lost."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So, she is making a very good religious point here, is that they have to know when you forgive, when you don't. But it also is said here, 'when sin is committed.' So we have to remember is, what's the Bhāgavatam's definition of sin? Bhāgavatam's definition of sin is: if it's being done in connection with Kṛṣṇa, to please Kṛṣṇa, that's pious, and if it's not being done in connection with Kṛṣṇa - that's sinful. So that's then how you have to see, is what's right is how it's being done connected to Kṛṣṇa, what's wrong is how it's not connected to Kṛṣṇa. Right and wrong don't have the value other than this for the devotees. For the materialists, of course, they have right and wrong. But then there is five levels of consciousness. So they are going to have their right and wrong on these levels. So we're using the standard of the fifth level, Kṛṣṇa conscious level.

Otherwise, senses, what's right [is] what's good for my senses, what's wrong is not good. That's why the dog, he perfectly follows his dharma and follows doing what's right and wrong. He sees something to eat, he goes over and eats it. He doesn't see something to eat, he just lays there. So if you don't want him to eat what's there, you can't let him see it, or you have to have a nice stick. So when he comes over, you whack him, then he knows, 'Okay, I'd like to eat this, but it appears that there's some higher divine power that's not allowing me to,' and so then he sits down and looks sad, until you get, you know, until he wears you down emotionally, and then you give him something. So the whole point is is, that's there.

So you also have the economic: what's good for profit, what's bad for profit. What's good for... What we have decided amongst our community in the world that is righteous, then that's good and what we say is not good, that's what's not good. That's what's professed by the atheistic moralists and all that. You know, the sophists and all these kind-of people, is that vox populi, what the majority say is right - that's right, what the majority say is wrong - that's wrong. So then everybody's saying, 'No, no, this is right and this is justice,' but on what platform? Which one are you talking about? From which which angle?

Then you get to the third level of consciousness, then it's what the śāstra says. Because before that, the first two, it's not about śāstra. And third one, it's about śāstra. So what does śāstra say is right and wrong? And so, as we were discussing in the beginning, that's not necessarily the most popular position these days. It's like, if it says that in śāstra that's okay for me... Like if it says, okay, 'Brahmacārīs don't talk to women,' okay, that, you know, it's like written in stone, like this, and if anybody does then they'll be tarred and feathered and drawn and quartered, and, you know, whatever else you can think of. But when it also mentions that gṛhasthas are very careful about that, 'Oh, we are not fanatic, you know, we have to be practical...' So we take the rules as we like. We don't necessarily apply them according to what śāstra says, but more according to our background and what our previous saṁskāras are of right and wrong. So that's why in the material world there is no right and wrong. Because it's whatever anybody feels. So only śāstra then defines what's right and wrong. And that means, what's right brings you closer to Kṛṣṇa, what's wrong takes you away from Kṛṣṇa. And so, that's then how the definition of right and wrong. But what she is talking here, then this is, yes, in the Dharma-śāstra, a wrong has been done, it's sinful, the king is supposed to punish. But she is only looking at that aspect of it.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"The beautiful Draupadī looked intently into Yudhiṣṭhira's eyes as she went on..." 

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, she is trying to see his response, his reaction, what his mood is.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"I also know the scripture..."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, because as the queen she will be trained in the scripture, she'll know all these things.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Scripture states that Duryodhana and his brothers deserve to be punished..."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Which they do, they are aggressors.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Scripture states that the humble and ever-forgiving person is always neglected."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Now she is talking Nīti Śāstra.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"...while he who is powerful and assails others at the proper time is respected as a king." 

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So when he knows when to use the thunder, when to use the rose, he will be respected. Because you have to understand, it's not necessarily that everybody is religious, or everybody cares. Power will be respected but when it's used at the right time, and forgiveness will be respected if it's used at the right time. So if when you should be powerful you're forgiving and when you're supposed to be forgiving you're powerful, no one will respect you. That will end up in weakness, others will take over, revolution, all these things will happen. So she's pointing this out to Yudhiṣṭhira.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Yudhiṣṭhira looked with compassion upon his wife."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because the point is she doesn't... What she's speaking has its validity on a particular platform, on the perspective she's looking at it from. But at the same time then there are certain things that you have to see a bigger picture. So, therefore, the compassion, just because someone's wrong doesn't mean that they they will be dealt with roughly. They are wrong, but you have to see also the situation, what she deserves, how she was wrong, all these different aspects like that.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"She had suffered so much, and if anything stirred his heart it was her suffering."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because, you know, the boys, they are more tough, they can handle these things. But the dealing with her, that was very inappropriate.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"It was her suffering, for which he felt he had been the cause."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because if there was no gambling, nothing would have happened to her.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"His heart still burned when he thought of how she was dragged in the assembly hall."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Means that he is a kṣatriya, it still burns. So that's the thing, for kṣatriyas it does then burn, doesn't generally go away. So, you know, here that Draupadī is pointing out, 'Feel the burn,' that aspect, 'and so you should do something.' And so now he will explain.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"The pain of the moment would stay with him for the rest of his life."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, because we don't forget those things very easily.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

“But this was not the time to make war."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Now we see, now he is bringing up his point. Because if you go in there, it's war, right? Now, someone has something to say or something? No? Okay. So war. Then, if at the moment Bhīma had just killed them by surprise, no one would have said anything. Because the kṣatriyas, they are fighting... Like you see, Balarāma, He is playing, gambling there with Rukmī and some other guys there, I think, the king of Kaliṅga and this and that. And they're cheating, same scenario: cheating and saying they won. And Śakuni is feeding, but it's not that the dice didn't fall the way they should have fallen, it's just that he has these magical dice and he is a professional gambler, therefore it's cheating. Because if he gambles, rolls the dice against someone else who is a professional gambler, it's okay. But here is, he is a professional and Yudhiṣṭhira is not, that's wrong. And the match is established, Duryodhana against Yudhiṣṭhira, so then Duryodhana should be rolling the dice - that's fair. Because he would have sometimes won, sometimes lost. So it was actually unfair. So if at that moment Bhīma had killed everybody, no one would complain. They would just, hopefully... That they are not one of the ones he's trying to kill. But now that they are out in the forest and everything, he has to see is, no, this is not going to work.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Draupadī could not understand the entire situation..."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: She is just seeing the immediate thing and she is correct in that. But you have to put that in the context of the bigger picture. Then you may think, 'Yes, we are going to do something about it, but we can't do it this instant.’

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"He replied gently, “O intelligent lady, through anger we may sometimes gain wealth, but anger ultimately destroys mankind.""

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, because it's by anger you're doing. No, it has to be that it's just, that's why you're doing it, if we are talking about these rules, kṣatriya rules.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Real prosperity crowns one who conquers anger and brings adversity to one whom anger controls. Anger is the root of all destruction."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because anger means, as you see in the Gītā, one loses one's intelligence because it's based on frustration after desire.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"An angry man commits sin blindly. An angry man will kill even his preceptor and insult his elders. He cannot distinguish between right and wrong."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So she is talking right and wrong, but if she bases it on anger, the problem with anger, once it's unleashed, you can't tell what's right or wrong in life. So if the point is this, wrong should be corrected with right, you can't do it through anger, that's his point. So nowadays the thing, you know, rage and getting out there and burn down everything, and steal everything out of all the shops, you know, because those rascals deserve it and all this - it won't solve any problems. It absolutely won't because trying to use these methods, then it's just going to to further agitate other people and create more envy, so everyone will just rage against each other and everything will be finished. So anger is not the basis, though nowadays people try to make it out of it, to be this 'No, he's angry! He has the right! We should do something.' No, but you have to do it with intelligence. That's why he pointed out, 'intelligent lady,' because she gave intelligent points, but not seeing the bigger picture. And it's not the time for war, he hasn't even gotten to that point yet. Even if you're dealing you are dealing from the platform of anger.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"There is nothing an angry man might not say or do, even to the point of sending himself to Death’s abode."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Even if he's right there, it's obvious he's going to be killed if he keeps talking or keeps doing, but he'll keep doing. His anger will make him think everything is all right, he is going to control the situation. And then that doesn't work out.

Reading from Mahābhārata Retold by Kṛṣṇa Dharma, Chapter 24:

"Knowing this, I will not indulge in anger, Draupadī. Rather, I will strive to control it.”

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So, his first point is is that, okay, the point is there but her thing is 'Don't you become angry? Why? How do you not become angry?' But he's pointing out that you won't solve the problem by anger anyway. You could become destroyed by that anger. So, therefore, if you are trying to put yourself in a better situation then you are going to want to make some adjustments in that that it's not done with anger.

Prabhu (1): Mahārāja, can I ask one...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes.

Prabhu (1): Cānakya Paṇdita is saying that, you know.... Basically, he is saying in one verse that the man doesn't become good by... It's a certain... What I'm looking, that there it goes to a certain limit, that doesn't matter what one is doing, they remain evil. So, where goes the line that the person don't change, they are like asuras for their whole life?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: On the material platform you are going to get those kind-of things. It doesn't mean that they won't eventually become good. It just may take some time in the wheel of saṁsāra. You know, it's just like, if somebody's going up on the wheel then they're going to be getting better and better. But once they get to the top then they start making mistakes and start going down. And so, you might have someone who is in a poor position, but has more piety than someone in the rich position who's losing it. And so it will just come around. But the point is is, Kṛṣṇa consciousness goes beyond that. Because the point is is, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is about the soul. And so, the soul then, they have the nature to act in the capacity of soul. On your condition nature maybe that wouldn't happen. But now it's devotees, then they can act within that context. So then that's why your focus on Kṛṣṇa consciousness becomes the actual major point. That's what you have to do, that's why it's very important that it's understood, that the strategy of this movement is how to educate everyone in the practices of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, so they understand who they are, what they're doing and what the ultimate goal is. If that's understood then you can actually move things forward.

But if you try to do it from the material point of, 'Oh, you know, mundane piety and all that, these kind of things, it's not going to happen, I mean, never. Just can't. Like that, there has to be that that higher principle is there. You have to be connected with some aspect of authority and the Supreme, Kṛṣṇa. So, therefore, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that you can do something. Because otherwise you see, like it is being pointed out, in the history so many nice, nice people, nice, nice communities get wiped out by people who are not nice. So that kind of aspect is there. But what is the whole point? It's ultimately for pleasing Kṛṣṇa, you are taking care to please Kṛṣṇa. And so, then if they are bothering the temple or this or that, doesn't mean that you are not going to protect the temple. You may be nice guys, it's like, what is it? I think it was Teddy Roosevelt, president of America like a 100 years ago. He made the point, 'Speak softly, but carry a big stick.' So you do have that aspect, is that we have to see in the context of Kṛṣṇa consciousness and other... Temple, the devotees like that. One time Prabhupāda was there and the devotees asked him, 'So, Prabhupāda, you know, what happens if someone's attacking and all that, should we...' Prabhupāda said, 'No, no you just depend on Kṛṣṇa, try to please...' 'No, but, you know, Prabhupāda, they're like this...' And Prabhupāda so many times said, 'No, no, you just need to depend upon Kṛṣṇa.' And then finally, after so many... the devotee was able to blurt out, 'But they're attacking the devotees!' And then Prabhupāda just stopped and said, 'Then you burn like fire.'

So you have to see the context. About yourself, that's one thing, others - that's another, you know, Kṛṣṇa's interests - that's another. So we know here that the Mahābhārata, that the war will happen, that's Kṛṣṇa's interest. Because then you have all those demons on the planet, they are all together at once because before Bhārata-varṣa was the whole planet. So kings and their armies came from all over the whole planet, and then in one war in 18 days He got rid of all them. And if He had just done one here one there and all that, you may or may not remember. Like all the different kings. What happened with Śālva? What happened with Dantavakra? What happened with so many... This one, we may or may not remember. But if you say, 'What happened at the battle of Kurukṣetra?' everybody remembers that. So the whole point is is, therefore, that aspect then was Kṛṣṇa's plan and would get the most done. So, how are we going here? There was something on Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, right?

Prabhu (1): Yeah, that he says, you know, that kind-of he's using certain example, that doesn't matter if the... Kind-of, basically saying, that dirty person is washed hundred times, he still remains what he is, so...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Oh, yeah, because that's the... Conditioned position will be like that. But in devotional service, then by the power of the holy name, then we see, you know, it always mentions, even a caṇḍāla can come to the platform of pure devotional service. So, that we know, for dealing with the outside of the karmīs, that if the guy is bad, he's most likely going to remain that way. Don't make plans that he'll be wonderful, and we get out in the park, sit in a circle and get out the guitar and start singing songs. You know, we're not going to do that. The point is is, we're understanding that the only thing that will change is if it's something spiritual. So if they take prasāda, they hear the Holy Name, that way they deal, then they'll get some benefit. So we try to find either if there's some way, or we just avoid. So that's just understood. But if someone has taken up devotional service, they're already being purified, so that's another thing. For the devotees then we see is, because they are acting on the platform the soul, then from the platform of vijñāna-maya, then they can move forward. But if they are karmīs, they are stuck. Is that okay?

Prabhu (1): Yeah, Suhotra Mahārāja, once he said, I think he quoted something from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, that the... He said how the asuras are coming, he said, those who are refusing to hear Kṛṣṇa-kathā, even getting a chance for that, then he quoted that Kṛṣṇa is... Those are the ones who Kṛṣṇa is sending to the lowest species life after life after life. But it's a little conflict... In my mind that they still heard Kṛṣṇa-kathā, it should be like kind-of... For their progress later on... So, are they eternally...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: That benefit will remain. Means, you heard, but then you reject it. It's another thing you're bad and you hear it, don't don't reject it. Because if you reject, then okay, you don't want, then Kṛṣṇa will arrange you don't have. That's the point of narādhama, lowest of mankind is the person who has that chance or has that opportunity, but won't take it. You know, it's like you have those, they go to the heavenly planets, and when they come back they are born into wealthy families, aristocratic families, religious families, like that. And so, if they refuse to take up Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they come in contact and reject it, then they become the lowest of mankind. So they will just keep going down. But that they have heard the Name and all that, unless they committed some great offense, that will remain with them. So you just have to see. If it's every day they walk by going to the office, that's going to have some effect on them. They are hearing the kīrtana every day, and at some point it may change, like that.

So, the point is is, this is the position, but if one has is taken, if one has contacted the devotees and the Holy Name, and prasāda, you know, directly Kṛṣṇa, then it's going to have effect. So that's the side you should look at. But, at the same time is, when you're preaching, those who are are taking it more more easily... Means, if you have a choice that 'This person I talk to, they're interested, this person is not interested and just argues,' talk to the one who's interested. Don't think, 'Oh, no, I'll sit down here and save this one,' no. You talk to the one who is more interested. Because we have limited time, so, therefore, we put in the effort that's going to give the maximum result. You know, it's like the medic, when he is out in the, on the front lines, then ideally he is going to save everybody that's out there. But if there is a shortage of time, he is going to save those who have... The guy who you know he's going to die, you're not, he won't spend the time with him. He might get his morphine or something, but he won't spend the time. He will spend the time with the guy if he did spend he will live. So that's the way it works. You have to put in your effort where you are actually going to get the return. The return is for Kṛṣṇa, not for us, like that. Means, if you do find someone that it it, is but they are a hard case, you can put in the time. But if you have 10 other people that are so enthusiastic, they might get more time. That guy you might see once a week, the other guys you might see more. Or he gets, you know, half an hour, they get a few hours. So, you have to see. Is that all right?

Prabhu (1): Thank you very much. If there would be any other questions, could we take... Please, somebody who has just... If we don't see the hands of... We trusted your questions anyhow, just to... Okay, my wife has some question from the beginning of the session.
Mātājī (2): Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja, please accept my humble obeisances. You were speaking in the beginning about results. That some people are more motivated by material results, but sometimes it is a little difficult to find the balance, let's say, if person like myself with limited energy and capacity would... If I would say, 'Okay, today I would just prioritize my sādhana.' But then it would mean that my work would be suffering, and maybe I would not do my work. But then if I prioritize the work, then the sādhana will be suffering, so... So, I mean, it feels like you have to prioritize, of course, spiritual life and sādhana, but then the work will be suffering, and then if I get fired then there will be even more suffering. So how can we kind-of create that balance?
Prabhu (1): In any case...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: It's not a matter of prioritizing the work... Something was there, or...?

Prabhu (1): No, I just said...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: It's not a matter of prioritizing the work...

Mātājī (2): Yes? Yes, Mahārāja?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Are we okay? It's not a matter of prioritizing the work, it's just being intelligent to know what what they expect and seeing that it gets done. And then you see that because the sādhana, it's important, so then you might put the sādhana at another time... Be inspired, try prioritizing sādhana... That at this time I do sādhana instead of doing my other work. It means that if work, it has to be done from, let's say, for example, nine to five, that means sādhana is done before nine and after five. You know, you just have to find where it will work. So it's not a matter of it's this or that. It's a matter of you have to do the work, and so that's what is done. Or, if that's not working for you at all, that particular occupation, then you can always find a different occupation that may work for you. But if this is the occupation that does work for you, then you just have to work around it. You just have to figure out how to get it all done. So your 16 rounds get done and then whatever else. So you can't do a lot of reading or that every day, but then on the weekend, then you can do more reading. You know how to work it in. That's what balance means. It's not 'this or that.' Does that make sense?

Mātājī (2): Yes, Mahārāja, thank you very much.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah? We continue?

Prabhu (1): Kṛṣṇa Kīrtana, you had a good... Which was there before, does it relate to this one that was the 3b(?), which could be now? About your ambitious elements? So is it out of this topic?
Prabhu (2): If it fits, sure. Can I ask the question now?
Prabhu (1): Yeah, you could, you could, if it's okay.
Prabhu (2): Basically, Mahārāja, question about ambition. From one side we are like encouraged to achieve things in Kṛṣṇa's service, we can compare it to Yudhiṣṭḥira Mahārāja properly ruling the kingdom. But like, ambition comes from mode of passion, so it's not working with the present situation. So in this sense you are actually missing the service opportunity if you try to pursue your ambition. It's a dilemma that I personally have since years. You are trying to go, achieve something nice, but ignoring the present.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: But to achieve something nice you can only do activity in the present. You can't do activity in the future. Activity has to happen in the present. But you see that the activity you are performing is moving you forward in the direction of what you're trying to accomplish. It means, if I am cooking lunch, I can't cook lunch tomorrow for now, or yesterday for now. I have to right now, cook now. And then cooking now, then I have something done. Now, I can think about what it is I want to accomplish, or what in the past, what has happened. I cooked this or that, or how much time, or what was the effect -  those I can look at. But action happens only in the present, there is no such thing as action in the future, action in the past. It only happens in the present. It can't happen any other time.

So the point is is, you have to see. Like Yudhiṣṭhira, he is planning for ruling his kingdom. But for right now, in the present, he just performs his activities nicely in the way that he becomes more qualified to do his duties. Now increasing his hearing and chanting, increasing his association with the brāhmanas, increasing his going to holy places and becoming purified. You know, all these different things, he is doing this. And from doing that then he becomes more and more qualified. So Yudhiṣṭhira, even though he is not able to rule the kingdom at the present moment, at the present moment he is doing things, preparing himself in ways that are valuable for if he was ruling the kingdom, right? Because the whole point is is, it's just like if I want to cook lunch then you have to be able to have things to cook for lunch. To have things to cook for lunch means that they have to be prepared. And to be prepared you have to actually physically have to have them. To have them you have to have gone to the market. To have gone to the market you have to have money. To have money you have to have done your occupation. So, therefore, by the guy doing his work, he actually has this facility for the future. But it's happening in the present. So that's one aspect.

The other aspect is, ambition, where does ambition come into it? Why it's ambition? Then that's being misapplied. One is... Rūpa Gosvāmī uses the term 'enthusiasm', utsāhān. And it's defined by Prabhupāda in the purport as endeavor with intelligence. That's a value. But ambition doesn't really have any value at all. Like that. I mean some, how much you can fit into there, that's how much it has. So, therefore, ambition is not the thing. But you have someone who is ambitious, yes, you can engage them, but you have to keep watching out it doesn't get in the way. For yourself, how would ambition have anything to do with it? It's what are your duties, what can you do for Kṛṣṇa? And therefore, what can you do for Kṛṣṇa now in the context of that, and then move yourself forward? And that things don't... Because... Go ahead!

Prabhu (2): I think so like that, to be more precise, then it's actually question of proper discrimination. Because let's take an example. We have a temple, the temple is a mess. If we start a preaching program then it will be counterproductive because it will not help us to clear up the mess first. And anybody, even if somebody comes through the preaching program, then people will just get spoiled because there is no possibility to cultivate them with such a mess, for example. So how to have a proper understanding what's there to be done for Kṛṣṇa? Because enthusiastically we may start doing something, but missing the present situation, missing what's actually...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! You can't take the word 'enthusiasm' and use it in the negative, when I was pointing out the ambition was the negative, and now you're bringing in some other aspect of being discrimination.

Prabhu (2): Passionately start something.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah, means don't shift your argument to try to make the ambition now look better. I understand that was the wrong word, and so therefore you do. But then don't take Rūpa Gosvāmī's term, which is one of the six favorable aspects for devotional service and then put it in a negative light. Otherwise, if you do that you will never be successful.

Prabhu (2): No, I look...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: I understand that was the wrong word, and so therefore you do. But then don't take Rūpa Gosvāmī's term, which is one of the six favorable aspects for devotional service and then put it in a negative light. Otherwise, if you do that you will never be successful...

Prabhu (2): No, I used, of course, in a different...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: ...in your life personally, in your service, or in going back to Godhead. Don't make the mistake of putting the teachings of the ācāryas in a bad light to make your political point.

Prabhu (2): No, I used, of course, in a different...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: And you have to remember here, Yudhiṣṭhira is the one who doesn't become angry. I happily become angry if someone says something stupid about the ācāryas. And for your God-damned political position that you were ripped out of, and which is wrong, but now you are going to take it out on the ācāryas because it doesn't agree with you? You have zero support from me. And that may be what Kṛṣṇa is trying to teach you, and that's why you are sitting in Belarus instead of where you were sitting. So be very, very careful about how you deal with the ācāryas and their teachings. It's a serious matter. Politics is for idiots. Using your intelligence... Prabhupāda said, enthusiasm means endeavor with intelligence. So then why would you take the word and use it in a negative context? 'Oh, we are just enthusiastic like a bunch of newbie kids and that, and doing all kinds of stupid stuff...' Didn't you listen, endeavor with intelligence? Endeavor gets something done, and using your intelligence means discretion, telling the difference between what to do and what not to do - that's what intelligence does. Why would you take it out of context? What is the political purpose? What's your ambition, as you pointed out? What are you trying to get from this point? That you're right and all the other guys are wrong?

Prabhu (2): No, I just wanted...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Do you want to learn something? You want to move forward in pure devotional service? Or do you just want to be right?

Prabhu (2): No absolutely not. I just wanted to...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Your question is a very good question, your question is a very valid question, very good question. But I wouldn't take Rūpa Gosvāmī's terms and take them out of context to make your point. Use a different word, use a different term.

Prabhu (2): Yes. I am sorry for going in such a way... I just wanted to express my point because by your explanation I was able to more clearly see where is the problem. It's with lack of discrimination of understanding the field and not understanding what's specifically to be done...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes, but not enthusiasm. Because enthusiasm means, now with intelligence you see, 'Okay, something is wrong here. Okay, the place is a mess. We want to preach. And so, therefore, do we clean the place up or do we engage ourself in preaching?' As you pointed out, that, okay, the place is a mess, even if we do preach, then people come to the temple, they won't be impressed. But at the same time is, how you want to clean it up, others see it's not important, so then there's a fight about this, and then you end up in Belarus. So, the point comes here is: why is it a mess? That's the actual question: why is it a mess? That means, people are not trained. So that means, the first preaching is to whoever is there. New people will take on the mood when they come and see the people that are already there, and they have an attitude, and they like to do things properly and that. So, that's why Kṛṣṇa at the end of the Gītā says, preaching to devotees is the most important. Because you preach to someone new, yes, that's compassion. But once they join Kṛṣṇa consciousness, if you don't keep cultivating them there and moving them forward in Kṛṣṇa consciousness then they're going to do this stuff just like you said goes on. They're not going to care about this, they are just going to do their own thing. The place is a mess, you know, no one can organize it because everyone's going in the wrong direction. But that's due to the lack of training.

So, therefore, when you say 'clean up' and you say 'preaching', the two are synonymous. By your preaching to those devotees then it gets cleaned up. Because it's cleaned up and because of their mentality, new people now that you invite, they are going to see both the clean place and the mentality and be impressed.

Prabhu (2): So this principle...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So you have to.... Go ahead!

Prabhu (2): Thank you... So the principle is to like invest in the quality of the situation in which you are in. Basically, not try to dream about some other situation, which is like this what I'm trying to bring down, that problematic aspect, but just... In whatever situation you are in.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes, yes exactly. Because you see, that's what Yudhiṣṭhira is doing. He is preparing for his future ruling, rulership by qualifying himself in the forest. So you see is, while they are in the forest they are not... They are every day doing their exercises. They are prepared for battle, but that battle is going to happen after 13 years. But they are preparing today, and they are seeing that they are qualified. They are not affected by anger, they are not affected by lack of sense control or anything because that's what's going to destroy Duryodhana. He gets immediate... In other words, mode of passion gives you results now, and then you lose everything later. Mode of  goodness, it's a little slow now, but in the future you get very good results. And ignorance means, you get nothing now and nothing in the future. So, like you said, seeing what you're in situation now, that you see. How best to serve Kṛṣṇa now, how best to qualify yourself and to engage yourself. And that's what you do. You don't worry about what could have been, what would have been, what should have been, no. It's just a matter, this is the way it rolled. Why? Who knows? Kṛṣṇa has a bigger plan, you know. So, therefore, then you go with it. And so, you yourself then in your situation now, you see what I can do to somehow or another become more Kṛṣṇa conscious and to help push on the movement however we can in whatever little way we can. Sometimes it can be big and significant, sometimes not.

That's why Prabhupāda gives the example of the sādhu in comparison with the fire. Sometimes the fire, you see the flames, and sometimes it's covered by the ash, and you don't see it. So, Prabhupāda is mentioning in the purport there that when it's favorable then they preach very nicely, when it's not then they just cultivate their own development and all of that. And whenever there is an opportunity they do. So maybe you have two or three people you can preach to, you do that. And in the future then maybe you can preach to hundreds and thousands. Because it's... The principle is what's working, the principle. And so, therefore, if you can catch that then you yourself become qualified. So whether it's one person or thousands. Like we see, Lord Caitanya's associates, you have that one associate of Lord Caitanya, they were insisting that he take disciples because he didn't want to. And then he says, 'Okay, tomorrow morning, first person that I meet I will make them my disciple.' And so then he went down to the the Gaṅgā, went into the water to take his bath, and at that point a dead body came floating past. That's the first person. So then he touched that person, they came back to life, made him his disciple and - Haribol! But there is others, they have thousands. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura, it is 60 thousand. But it's not that the one is more powerful than the other. It's just a matter of what's... The principle is the same, and then just what are the situations and your position, and then therefore how it manifests. Because Rāmānanda Rāya, I think it's Rāmānanda Rāya, he mentioned to Lord Caitanya... No, Svarūpa Dāmodara, I think. What activity will be done at what time and through which devotee - that only Lord Caitanya knows. No one else knows. So that's the point is, we ourselves try to qualify ourselves. And then at the same time we try to do our best. You know, to do. So it's not ambition that we are doing our best. It's just following your nature. Because the result is for Kṛṣṇa we want to do the best for Kṛṣṇa - that's not an ambition. One has intelligence, one has drive, one has a vision, one has, you know, all these nice things. But the attitude's not wrong. One has to see it's for Kṛṣṇa, and then... But the results are up to Kṛṣṇa.

So we make our endeavor. If the results come - nice, it's for Kṛṣṇa. But if the results don't come, we still do our work. Like Prabhupāda mentioned, the rice husking machine, it husks rice whether it's in heaven or in hell. It doesn't make a distinction. So things are nice and not nice, we try to do our service. So that service may expand, it may contract. But the quality of the service, that's the constant, the quality. And then if we can do quality and quantity, that's what the ācāryas always do. You know, if they can. But if not, it's quality and small. Some say, 'Oh, is it quality OR quantity?' But Prabhupāda's point was, no, it's quality and quantity. Acyutānanda Mahārāja was riding with Śrīla Prabhupāda in the rickshaw. They would spend the day at Devānanda Gaudīya Maṭha with Keśava Mahārāja, but in the morning and evening then they were staying at Śrīdhara Mahārāja's Maṭha. Because we had no ISKCON facility at that time, so that would have been quite early. So I am not sure if it was 1970, 1971. It was quite early. And so, then after some days or, you know, some time of going back and forth, and Acyutānanda seeing what's happening in Śrīdhara Mahārāja's Maṭha and what's happening in Devānanda Gaudīya Maṭha, then he was riding in the rickshaw, he was pointing out that Śrīdhara Mahārāja is interested in the good quality and everything like that and he won't expand, unless he has that quality and everything. So it's about quality. He always would say, 'Quality, not quantity.' But when they would go to the Devānanda Gaudīya Maṭha, they had all these brahmacārīs, and sannyāsīs, like 20 sannyāsīs, like 20 sannyāsīs, and they were all dressed perfectly, and the color the clothes was all perfect. And they would dance together and do all these amazing things, you know, as an organization. And so then Acyutānanda was thinking, 'So, Śrīdhara Mahārāja it's about quality, and Keśava Mahārāja then it's about good presentation and quantity,' he says, 'But in seeing your mood, Śrīla Prabhupāda, you want both.' And so, then Prabhupāda turned to him and said, 'You understand.'

So, that's the thing, is that if we can we try to do something in quantity, but with quality. We are not interested, you know, like some devotees say, 'Oh, no, but look at the Christians, there's two billion of them! And look at us, you know,' and this and that. But most of these Christians wouldn't even know... They wouldn't know anything. They don't go to church, they don't do this, they don't do that, they don't really have that... Something goes wrong, okay, then they pray. But other than that, very rare, a few moments in a week they might be actually Christians. So that kind of 2 billion isn't very worthwhile. Prabhupāda's point is, one pure devotee is worth all those two billion. So, that's the mission. The mission is, if you can you can somehow or another help to make one person a pure devotee then the mission has been fulfilled. Śrīla Prabhupāda said that, Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura said that, and they did things grand. But the point is is, you are throwing the net wide, trying to catch people and then training them so that they will come up to the standard. But the emphasis is on that point of training and going back to Godhead. That's what has to be seen. And so, then all your organization, all your everything else that you're doing, you have to see is that it's accomplishing that.

So if the place is messy, of course, who's going to be impressed? But at the same time is, you have to address, why is it messy? Why isn't anybody cleaning up? Because it's not necessarily that big of a place, you know, two three guys could clean it up in a couple of days very nicely, making it look really good. So, that means with all the people that are around and in the community and all that, they don't actually understand what the standard is of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, what we're trying to do as a mission. That kind of preaching you have to do, but that doesn't mean you don't still preach to the new people. Because the point is is, it's constant, people are coming in, people are being cultivated, people are advancing. So you want to kind-of see that bigger picture like Yudhiṣṭhira is seeing, and then see to all of that. So then you're going to be talking to devotees, preaching to devotees here and there, talking to them individually, giving them the classes, trying to do things together, having mahā cleanings with everybody, you know, out there working yourself, and all these different things. Various ways, like you said, using the intelligence, using the discrimination. Define ways to engage everybody and to educate them at the same time, and see that they're engaged. Is the chanting going nicely? Is the reading going nicely? Are they avoiding criticizing devotees? Are all the things in place that they can advance nicely? And if that's all in place then it works very, very well. You'll see that they'll move forward very, very nicely. But if they're not, means something is wrong in the devotional process. You know, too much for prajalpa, not following the rules or being too stuck on the rules, or there is greed, there is lust. There are so many of these these things, and so one has to deal with these. The six symptoms that are unfavorable, you have to see that those are understood and being avoided, and the six that are favorable, those have to be practiced. And then you'll see is, then you'll start to get results. But it takes time. Because you're doing something very special, something unique. You are purifying a living entity that's been in the material world since time immemorial. But it's possible by the strength of the Holy Name. So, therefore, in one lifetime a person can go back to Godhead. One has to have that faith. But this process has that power. It will do that. The Ācāryas have said, Kṛṣṇa has said, Bhāgavatam also says, one lifetime. In the verses there's one place where it mentions about how in one lifetime you can perfect yourself. That's what's so wonderful about the human form of life. So it's not just Prabhupāda or Bhaktisiddhānta saying that to just make us feel happy. That's the śāstra.

And so, we do the best we can. We may get more results, someone else gets lesser. Like you see, Rādhānātha Mahārāja uses his program and he has got thousands and thousands. Someone else uses the same program and, you know, they get a few. It's just a matter of time. Because he started out with nothing. One devotee's apartment, dinky apartment, studio apartment, literally. There's a living room, a little dinky kitchen, a bathroom, and, I think, there is a loft for a bedroom. That's it. And from there then it just expanded. So they have thousands, and then they have, I think, like seven temples that are connected  in the Chowpatty circle, and like that it's just expanding. And then from there their men have gone out, they're doing service, they know they are impacting, they help in Vṛndāvana, they help in Kolkata, they help in so many places. And so like that, it has come from just being happy with that one place and preaching and seeing that the mood is understood. And then those devotees, then they develop very nicely. And then they are able to do so many wonderful things.

So just it takes that determination, that steadiness, and it takes time. And then you will see is that, like you said, that approach, using your intelligence, using your discrimination. But you have to know what to discriminate with. People becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious - that's what you are trying to apply. So, whether you clean up or whether you run a... Whether you don't clean up and do a preaching program, if these are the two alternatives, who is becoming Kṛṣṇa conscious in this? Because it seems that the people who have already been made aren't as Kṛṣṇa conscious that they'll allow the temple to be dirty. So what's being done to make them more Kṛṣṇa conscious? And the same thing that makes them more Kṛṣṇa conscious will make new people Kṛṣṇa conscious. So it's not the externals that are the problem, it's consciousness. Does that work?

Prabhu (2): Yes, thank you.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay.

Prabhu (1): Narakṛti Prabhu?
Prabhu (3): Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja, my obeisances.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Hare Kṛṣṇa! Jaya Nitāi! Haribol!

Prabhu (3): I just was thinking, can we say that in this case the strategy is paritrāṇāya sadhūnām vināṣāya ca duṣkṛtām, and that's the goal, actually, what Kṛṣṇa wants to achieve with the Yudhiṣṭhira and Pāṇḍavas, in this case? And then the operational can be the Kurukṣetra? And like you say, Yudhiṣṭhira preparing for battle with others can be tactical, in the sense of this relationship to operational, Kurukṣetra?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: That would be, on that level. Means, what is the first part of that verse? Means that He comes to protect the devotees and destroy the demons. So protecting devotees is the primary. Destroying the demons is the secondary. So, one has to understand is, in the secondary aspect, that's the aspect where that what you just described is going on. But the primary aspect of them being devotees, cultivating their Kṛṣṇa consciousness, others becoming inspired and that - that's the primary.

Prabhu (3): Yes.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because we have to understand, is that strategic planning, that's going to apply to all. You're going to have the overall, but then within that... Let's say, we take a particular operational aspect. So, therefore, the tactical is to achieve that operational aspect. And then that tactical itself, then you have so many different tactical things. So in that way the operational being the goal that you are trying to obtain, then the tactical becomes the operational for the operational being the goal. And then within that tactic it just keeps going down. But the point is is, that operational, if it's not attaining the actual strategy of pure devotional service, then it's not a proper operational or tactical, or technical application.

So, everything, even if it's immediate, it still has to be connected all the way back. That's why it says, Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate goal, the ultimate. Because so many goals... It's just like, okay, you want to eat lunch. So, okay, the immediate goal is to sit down in the chair, right? And so, therefore, to sit down in the chair, I have these options that I could do. And then within that, well, the tactical is that, well, okay, to get there I can't walk through these two devotees, I am going to have to walk around. Now, the technical is going to be, do I walk quick, slow and that? How I put my feet, you know, which one I step with first, how I get around? You know, like this. Do I just go straight around and ignore them, or do I go by and smile and kind-of turn, and then kind-of plunk myself down? And so, I just described the whole  strategic planning on how to get into that chair. Do you understand? So, this is the problem, is that if one doesn't understand, strategy means making pure devotees, you don't really understand strategic planning, literally. Because it's a system that you apply in everything. I want to pick my nose, it's still, it's the thing, the goal is to pick my nose. Okay, so what can I... How am I going to do that? Okay, so what are the options? Well, you have to use something that fits into your nostril. Okay, my big toes won't do that. The other four digits will, though it's very hard, I don't have the flexibility of a kid or a monkey. So, okay, I have to forget about the toes. So now that leaves ten of these fingers, like this. Thumbs are too big, okay, that leaves me eight fingers, right? Now, okay, now I've chosen, okay, now which of the fingers do I want to use? I'm going to use this finger here, okay. So now my operational is complete. Now, what's the tactical about that? How am I going to put in my nose? And then the technique is, when it's in your nose, how are you going to move... Do you understand? So sometimes this strategic planning, they make so much of a big 'ta-da' about it. But it's as simple as that. But if it doesn't go up to the actual strategy, which is pure devotional service, it's not real strategic planning. It's real, I mean, but it's not real.

Prabhu (3): I know...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So one has to see that. Is that  that is the strategy in taking part in that battle, to help Kṛṣṇa on that part. But at the same time, the main thing... See, because when it's written, Mahābhārata, that's the problem that Nārada Muni points out, people are only going to catch that part of the whole thing. And in Bhāgavatam then you see the same thing defined again, but now from the angle of pure devotional service. And so now when we, from reading First Canto, that understanding of pure devotion of Mahābhārata, then we actually understand the Mahābhārata. So at every level you are going to have this. But it has to be that each one has to go up until it gets to pure devotional service, pleasing Kṛṣṇa, prema. If it doesn't get to there then it's not a real strategy. I mean, as we said here, [reading or quoting]

"Strategy: setting the goal, mission and the vision of the movement."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Like that. Okay.

"The strategic goals for a spiritual movement is set by the Supreme Lord. The ācāryas would descend to execute His desire."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right? They set, not us, like that.

"Goal: attain love of Godhead prema pumārtho mahān, that pure love is the highest puruṣārtha as defined in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: That's the highest thing. That is the strategy we're trying to attain. Then what are the techniques we have? Then we have the philosophy and religion, through that, then within that philosophy how we are going to deal. Then we have the sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana, like that. Then we see, within that, the sambandha, then you're going to have the science, the epistemology, how through the senses, through śabda, through mental speculation. But we are given this, it's through what the śāstras say. And then the ontology, that's the Daśa-mūla. Sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana, it's Daśa-mūla that Lord Caitanya gave. Then, how is that all going to be seen, how is that all held together, so we have a solid sambandha? That's going to be your acintya-bhedābheda-tattva. Then we can say, the sambandha aspect of understanding Lord Caitanya's mission is complete. Now, that means that then we're going to try to give to others. That makes for the preaching. Then abhidheya, we're going to engage ourselves in devotional service. So, we have the stages of the devotional service, ādau śraddhā tato sādhu-saṅga, like this. Then you have the nine types of of bhakti, śrāvanaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇaṁ, and you're going to have the six exchanges that are favorable and the six that are unfavorable. Then we are properly situated, and that gives rise to Vaiṣṇava-seva. Then your prayojana, attaining love of God. You are going to understand that that's the highest form of liberation. Is that prīti is beyond, that's the highest form. Means, being in a relationship with the Lord: that's the actual liberation. This other stuff, that's useless, right? And then you have the primary and secondary rasas  in the prema, and then you have the different, all the bhāvas, anubhāvas, all these things that come up from that. Then you know, okay, so this is what we are trying to establish. To get that goal you have to follow the philosophy and religion that gives these.

So these sambandha, abhidheya, prayojana, that's what's in there. And so, now, that's what we're trying to obtain, right? So now, how to get that done? That's the seven purposes of ISKCON. So, these seven purposes that give the mission, the vision, the statements: how to fulfill the ultimate goal of attaining the love of Godhead? And then, based on those seven purposes, now you have all the different areas in which you can now try to apply that strategy. So Prabhupāda has given. So they're going to... Means, those are all your temples, your GBC, your farms, your restaurants, your book distribution, the BBT, all. Whatever it is that are these different projects and this, these are all operational aspects to attain that strategy, nothing else. They have no other purpose. If it's not doing that, it's useless. And so, in that, we have to see is that the operational is attaining that. So that means, the people running it have to know the strategy, and the managers. But if they're just managers and don't know the strategy, what's the use? And if they know the strategy [but] don't know how to apply it, they can give some advice, but someone else should be doing it.

So, therefore, what we see is that Śrīla Prabhupāda has established all these different things, the strategy and the operational he has given. And if there is something more to extend it, he has shown us how to extend it, how to do. Means, you have educational preaching, okay. But now that educational preaching can be in a university, it could be at a college, it could be at a high school, it could be at a junior high, it could be in a primary school, it could be a Sunday school, it could be a nursery school. We can go in some specialty school and go preach to the... What do you call it? The doctors or the lawyers, the engineers, the IT walas, that's just expansion of the same principle that he has given. And so, therefore, this strategy has led the blueprint, and then that is what you're trying to practically apply in the operational. And so, that's the point is, the operational governs that everybody is coming together in your area. Let's say, it's the temple. Everybody is coming together through their various aspects what the temple does to bring it to the strategy. That's what has to be seen, that this guy is going there, this guy's going there. It's like the previous question, if the temple is dirty. Now, the point is, temple is not supposed to be dirty. It is supposed to be Vaikuṇṭha, right? There is no dust there, right? So, therefore, then that means, people don't know what Vaikuṇṭha is. And so, therefore, they have to be trained. And so, by them understanding what it is, we are trying to develop love for God, how are you going to develop love for God if you are dirty? Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Pure. Yes, you can sit down and chant. But I notice that if you're going to go out with your wife to dinner, that you you clean up a bit. You know, some friends are coming over to your house and that, your house doesn't look like a mess. So, therefore, don't tell me, 'Oh, we just chant,' or 'Oh, no, we'll just have.... We just will sit under a tree,' don't tell me that nonsense because you're not following it.

So you can say that. Then, as you were saying before, your tactical is: now you're going to look at the consideration of facilities available, this and that, who does what, what's the nature, what we can do, how much we can do. You know, there's three of us, and that's all there is, so we can do this much. Another temple, 'Oh, we have 250, we can do this much.' So all the management starts at tactical and technical. It's right at the bottom. Operational and strategy, those aren't management. Those are understanding, that's the primary aspect. You are trying to see what it is, where it's going, why? Are we going in the right direction? In other words, we are going to put energy, is it going in the right direction? So, like you said, discrimination. How to see that the energy is actually getting the result? So that's strategic planning. That's our strategic planing. As pointed out here, is that, [quoting]

"You have the goals of educational, political and corporate institutions that are different from each other. Because an educational institution is focused on elevating the consciousness of people. The political is focused on protecting and ruling over the masses, and the corporate is merely focused on gaining of profits."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: And that's all it is. People can tell you whatever they want, but corporate only wants profit.

"Hence, each of their approach to the strategic planning will be different. As ISKCON movement is established by Śrīla Prabhupāda for the purpose of educating people about spiritual life, our strategic planning model should concur with that of an educational institution, not the political or corporate institutions."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So, therefore, a corporate model of strategic planning, basically, is absolutely useless for us. Because they can't even explain so that the devotees understand how it even works. Because the point is is, they're not about to point out that the strategy is to make money. And so, therefore, the operation will be anything that can be a medium for making money, and tactical will be how to manage that, so it does make money. And the technical will be the little points on who does what when, who sits where, who turns on the lights, who turns off the lights, who mops the floor. And so, that much, if you say this is what is strategic planning in the corporate world. And everyone understands, 'Okay, well, we're not making money, let's put pure devotional service here, pleasing Kṛṣṇa, prema.' Okay. And so, what's the operational? For us, temples, this that, blah. Then tackle how to run a temple, how to run a farm, how to run these things, like that. And the technical is going to be the little points. You know, which room the guy is sitting in to do the accounts? Which one the president sits in? Does he have a desk? Not desk? How many chairs go in there? You know, how many people come and and see him? If 10 come at a time, you need 10 chairs. Only one at a time - you need one chair. So, that kind of stuff. It's like, it's so straightforward, and 25 years it can't be explained, means somebody doesn't know what they're talking about. They don't know what is strategic planning, and they don't know the difference between the corporate, the political and the educational application. Does that make sense?

Prabhu (3): Yeah, thank you.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah. And this is just the outline, it's just one page. There's another, you know, another eight pages will explain this in detail. But the point is is, from that one page you can actually understand what is strategic planning and how it applies to us. Does that make sense?

Prabhu (3): Yes, thank you, jaya!

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes? Okay.

Prabhu (1): Mahārāja, I don't know if this is proper, but I'd like to... We discussed few days ago with M. Prabhu...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: M.? Okay.

Prabhu (1): ...in Lund, he is now here in South Sweden. And the question came how... What should be expected from the ISKCON as, you know... In one sense he said, like his ex-wife and so many others are like kind-of... How would we say? A very polite way, ISKCON didn't take care of them although they surrendered fully. So, in that sense, what I figured out, that when I turned to my karmic duties for a while, then all the economy was arranged and like that. So a little... We were kind-of a little bewildered, what could be expected in a healthy way? Because like in the beginning it was said by the GBC here in Sweden that, you know, 'You just surrender and you know, we will build you a samādhi if you happen to die on the way on saṅkīrtana.' So, but it's kind-of a mixed many things, and therefore I'd like to a little clarify. What would be the proper expectations of ISKCON maintaining us when we so-called surrender? Or did we understood right what the surrendering meant?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes, yes. So, let us look at a progression here. So, you are going to have Śrīla Prabhupāda's teachings, which then the central points are the books, right? Because he is going to have conversations, he is going to have letters, you know, different things are happening, but the books are the main thing. Now, in those books there is a message, right? It's about developing pure devotion, pleasing Kṛṣṇa. As we mentioned, the strategy. Then you are going to have, therefore then people are going to be impressed by that and that will be your movement. Anybody who somehow or another in some way appreciates some aspect of Prabhupāda's teachings. You know, Prabhupāda's teachings, the devotees, like this, they appreciate it. Now, of those who appreciate, of the movement, those who associate together, that's called the society, right? And then within that society you are going to have individuals who are managing the places that are the legal entities of ISKCON. That those legal entities, like a temple, or some other aspect that belongs to the institution, that is there to set a central standard for the movement and, specifically, for the society.

So now, those who are, you could say... When you say 'ISKCON', ISKCON includes the whole thing. But as far as taking economic responsibility, you can only do that for those involved in the institution. You can't take for the community, right? You know, it's just like you have the church. It only takes care of those who are in the church as the institution. But it tries to minister to everybody in the community, so it tries to help everybody spiritually and emotionally, and all that in the community, but it doesn't say that they will, they can take care of the... What they call it? You know, the finances and that. That community is supposed to take care of. So we say it's failed, they failed as a community, not as an institution. That should be very clear.

So it's like so many of these big cities, how many hundreds of devotees are out there in the city of the community? So if somebody is having some financial problem, then, you know, if there are 500 people in the community, if everybody gave one euro, that's 500 euros. Somebody gives one euro a month, that's not a big problem for them. And even if you have a few people like that, a few ladies or this or that, they can't take care, some kids, even you give five or ten a month... But that's what community does. We talk community, but the question is, which orifice are they talking out of? So the whole point is is that we talk community, but where is community? Because they are expecting, 'Why isn't the temple taking care?' Are you living in the temple, are you doing full-time service to the temple? And if you are, okay, great, how do you expect the temple will take care of you? How do you expect the temple to take care of you? We may have our standards, but the temple has what they have. So when you said 'Yes, we are on saṅkīrtana, we do that,' who is living that lifestyle now? You lived in a bus, you ate this and that, you came back, there was a room that was bare, and you took your sleeping bags, slept on the floor, when you were finished, you stuffed it into a box and put that in the closet. Who are these people complaining ISKCON didn't take care? Are they living like that now? So then? Yes, if everybody lived like that... But the problem came was that everyone wants their own house, their own car, their own this, they want dental, they want this and that, they want... Wife wants to go on a vacation and... That's for community to take care, that's what gṛhastha means: you go out, you make your money, you do these things.

So, brahmacārīs, vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs, they may have more benefit from the institution. But, at the same time, it's the community that is taking care of the institution anyway. And for the gṛhasthas, then they take care of themselves, and if somebody is having difficulty in that, the others should help. They will sit around complaining that, 'Oh, yeah, ISKCON this, ISKCON that...' But who is giving money? Who is doing stuff from the community? What is the temple supposed to do? Right? Means, all those people that are complaining, they used to be in the temple, they used to bring in the money. So they didn't.... During that time they weren't taken care of? And if they weren't, that's just bad management. Is that ISKCON, or is that just bad management? Did Prabhupāda... Is there a rule, Prabhupāda said, 'No, don't take care of anybody'? So that just means bad management.

And so, yes, people are young, people are enthusiastic, they make mistakes and all that. But it's okay. It moves on. So that's how we look at it. Because at the same time is, we can't say, 'You know, my karma should be this. I should be living like a king,' we can't say that. Otherwise, we would already be like that. We would be the ones giving money to everybody else. But we are not. So, therefore, then this is our life.

So, we have to be practical and clear that, yes, there are problems. But most of... The problem, as Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura said, the only thing lacking in the material world is Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So, because of our lack of Kṛṣṇa consciousness - that's why there is problems. Like we said before, the temple is dirty because there is a lack of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And so, therefore, you raise the consciousness. That's why we were saying before, originally, in the last discussion on Saturday, that's the GBC's main job, to see that the consciousness is elevated. The temple president is doing his best, but he also has to manage. So he has to see that the tactical and technical are going on, and at the same time people have a direction. But that's what the sannyāsīs, the preachers, the temple, that's what they are supposed to be talking about. Not whether, you know, women are supposed to be gurus or not, and talking about that in Vṛndāvana on Nityānanda Trayodaśī, and that's what the class is about. That we don't need. You know, there is a plenty of people who are woke and who have issues around the world. Let them talk like this. Our businesses is how to be Kṛṣṇa conscious, what is the standard of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, how to attain it. People are having difficulty attaining it. Like before, the first was that question, how do we balance between our sādhana and our services and this and that. And that's someone who is engaged nicely. How to solve that? That's what the preaching is about, that's what the training is about: how to get that. Because then if that person is balanced, then they can influence so many others. That's what the GBC is supposed to be doing, that's what the sannyāsīs, the preachers are supposed to be doing. Because that is the most important. But somehow or another it's taken, 'No, no, if I say you should spend money or not spend money, that's the ultimate position. And that one decision makes me the ultimate managerial authority, and I accomplish the goal.' Is this... It's kind-of like, who's kidding who here? It has come right down to, it's about the money, is that management? That's called an accountant. And the point is is, who has got a CA degree?

So, we have to be very clear. When we say that the strategy is pure devotional service, we have to understand, this is what it is. That has to be the focus. All this political stuff, that has come up because people don't know the direction. And therefore you can come up with unlimited speculation. So that's why I mentioned there, there's philosophy and religion. So you get rid of the religion, now there is just mental speculation. Or those who are attached to it, you know, the pro-varṇāśrama, this that, but then where is the philosophy? Then it's just sentiment. It has to be the balance. Otherwise they can't function. These are strategic elements. These aren't political elements. Because Prabhupāda said what's there, so it's not about 'Well, is it this or is it that?' No, Prabhupāda said this is what it is. We use our intelligence, as Kṛṣṇa Kīrtana brought up, how to discern, how to best apply it in the situation we are in. That's why it is called buddhi-yoga. Buddhi-yoga means, you are taking karma-yoga and jñāna-yoga and using them together. In other words, fifth chapter of the Gītā, that's describing buddhi-yoga. And then, as you become more mature, you can add in some dhyāna-yoga, you actually remember Kṛṣṇa. So, that combination between those three - that's buddhi yoga. By that, we use our discrimination and bring ourselves to the point of attraction to Kṛṣṇa, love for Kṛṣṇa. Does that work? Does that make any sense, or are we...?

Prabhu (1): Yeah. Could you make it still... Simple question. So many... Or should I say, we thought it's a simple thing. What does it mean properly 'sarva-dharmān parityajya'? You know, what we have to...
HH BVPS Mahārāja: It means, give up all mundane concepts of religion or made-up religion, and just follow what Kṛṣṇa says. Just surrender to Kṛṣṇa and follow what He says. That's sarva-dharmān parityajya. Means, all our ideas that, 'Oh, you know, #blacklivesmatter, #everybodyisequalmatters, you know, #myguineapigmatters,' you know, all these things - just give it up. It's not about all these things. People are still talking about all this equality. Do we call women Mātājī, or is that a big insult? We should call them, 'Hey you with the funny lumps on your chest,' I mean, what are you supposed to do? So we argue over all this. That has nothing to do with pure devotional service and it will never get anyone any closer to it. We have to give up all these manufactured religions. Religion means the inherent nature of something. So an STW, it has an entire inherent nature. The academic mentality has an inherent nature. So now they take that combination of all these social justice warriors, and then you take with this political correctness and all that, and you take that combined with the academic ascending approach, that mental speculation, and then it just turns into a mess, and it has zero to do with Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It's not part of our strategy. So, therefore, if it's not part of the strategy, it can't be part of the methodology. This idea that the goal justifies the means - no one who said that ever got anywhere properly. You can't use stupid means to get the proper result. You have to use the appropriate means.
I want to cut up the carrot nicely, I can't use a sledge hammer, or put it under the front tire of my car and roll over it, and then take a putty knife and scrape it off the the cement. You can say it's, 'No, no, but we didn't have time,' and this and that and, 'I didn't want anyone to get cut, so I thought it's much better to run over it with my car...' Sarva-dharmān means, give up all made up religions. All this stuff, that baggage we come with, all our biases that we have, whatever it is that we think. Give that all up, just surrender to Kṛṣṇa. Just it is pleasing to Kṛṣṇa - that's what we want to do.
The ācāryas have said, this is what to do, we look at it, we try to understand it, we ask questions, and then when we're convinced we do it. That's what sarva-dharmān means. It doesn't mean, give up all religion, means I follow no religious process. Because not following a religious process is a religious process called an atheist. They follow no religious process religiously.
So, one has to understand what dharma means. Dharma means the inherent nature of something. So when we only see things as Kṛṣṇa defines the inherent nature, what is the dharma of somebody  - that's what Kṛṣṇa defines. But we want to say, 'Oh, no, no, we don't have to follow that. That's old, that's for India, that's not for us.' And who is this 'us'? Who are we? So then, that's the problem. Someone is saying 'Oh, we are Westerners, so this dharma doesn't apply to us.' What's 'the West'? What countries are 'The West'? Because the Orient, they say they are not the West. Africans, they are not the West. South America is not the West. Central America is not the West. Okay, North America claims they are the West, unless you get too far North, then you get the inuits and that, and they don't claim that they are the West, right? Then you go over to Europe. How far into Europe do they say they are the West? How far down? Does Turkey, is that the West? So like this, you know, it's just a matter of what you do. So that means, you are talking about a very small amount of the population in comparison to the world. You have to remember, India itself is one seventh of the whole population, one seventh. You know what I am saying? Many countries in the world aren't even as much people as in Kolkata. You know, they are more like Ranaghāta or Kṛṣṇanagara, these little, what we call little towns here, and that's a whole country in other places.
So people have, these are the biases, these are the religions that have to be given up. This attachment to our upādis, our identities, that has to be given up. We are not these bodies. Kṛṣṇa doesn't speak for Indians, He speaks for the world. When He says human life is meant for self-realization, He means anybody in human form. That's what's meant by it. And so, you see, Prahlāda Mahārāja is a demon, he is Kṛṣṇa conscious. Vṛtrāsura is also a demon, he is Kṛṣṇa conscious. Ghaṭotkaca is a rākṣasa, and he is God conscious. So, any of these forms that have a head, two arms and two legs, they are Kṛṣṇa conscious. Hanumān is a monkey, he is Kṛṣṇa conscious. Jāmbavān is a bear, right? Because they are kinnaras and kiṁpuruṣas, which means 'what kind of human is this'? You know, it's got a human body and some animal head and all this kind of jazz. Garuḍa is a bird. So this whole thing is that, 'Oh, America, that's the universal understanding,'  these guys have really, really missed the point. I mean like, you know, REALLY missed it. Like trying to get from America to London and ending up down in the Cape in Africa or something like that, or down on Antarctica. You know, like that kind of mistake.
So they are just really, really missing the point. Kṛṣṇa consciousness means you are giving up any of these mundane biases that we joined the movement with, that we have, that we've been carrying with us for life after life, that includes 'I am the controller and enjoyer,' and so that has to be given up. How good we are at giving it up, how much effect we have had - that's another thing. Everybody is individual, they're trying their best. But one has to have that determination that that's what one is trying to do. You can't say, 'Oh, but I don't see that everybody is pure.' But are they trying? If they are trying, that is success in itself. And someone else is sitting on the side and criticizing, 'Because they're not, I'm not going to do,' that guy's life is wasted. Means, wasted, śrama eva hi kevalam.

So, Kṛṣṇa consciousness is serious. It's something that you in one lifetime can correct the misfortune of millions and billions and trillions of lifetimes, in one lifetime. In one lifetime you can come to that perfection. That's what is being given to us by Kṛṣṇa and the ācāryas, we have to have that kind of faith. And if we have that faith, we see, Kṛṣṇa reciprocates. Because you can't know what is beyond the senses. So, by Kṛṣṇa's grace you can know that, by His mercy. And then these things are revealed. But if you don't want them, you just want to say, 'No, we are Westerners,' then Kṛṣṇa is not going to reveal anything, other than newer and newer ways that you can get distracted by your upādi. Is that all right?

Prabhu (1): Thank you very much, thank you very, very much. I think Gurudāsa, you had a question still. Do we have still time?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes, we still have a few minutes, we still have... 23... We still have seven minutes. Yes?

Prabhu (1): Gurudāsa, do you have a question?
Prabhu (4): Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Hare Kṛṣṇa.

Prabhu (4): My question is regarding that statement that behind every particular situation there is Kṛṣṇa's plan. How to distinguish when that statement is said based on devotion, experience and knowledge, and when it is said just based on one's selfish motives?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: The point is is, we have to see it for ourselves. Because the point is, self-realization means, you realize it. So you can see how it connects to Kṛṣṇa, then it works. The other person that does... Like Yudhiṣṭhira sees how it connects to Kṛṣṇa, Duryodhana doesn't. That doesn't mean that Yudhiṣṭhira's seeing it is any less, or that Duryodhana is more practical. It's just a matter of, you see how... Means, the overall plan we can't see, we can't necessarily know. We know what the ācāryas have told us and all that, and so they are giving us ideas that this is how Kṛṣṇa works. And so, we see that it's there. Because the point is is, there is the aspect of what we are doing, but there is also the aspect of our own development.

Because we ourselves are doing something, and it may be we are doing something nice. But, at the same time, our attitude is wrong, and so then we are not learning by any other method. And so, then things start to go wrong, and when they go wrong we lose that mundane confidence. And then we might come to the point where we can surrender to Kṛṣṇa, and then it may be understood as, 'Oh, all this was just to get me to stop behaving in a particular way.' Because for Kṛṣṇa, we are trying to do all these nice things to express it for Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, people, others who come, they are inspired by having a nice environment for Kṛṣṇa to do service in. So, therefore, that's why we try to create the facility and everything like that. But for our own personal development, whether we have nice facilities or not, that's not the real driving point. The driving point is, are we remembering Kṛṣṇa or not? But, at the same time is, by having facility, then it works. People are inspired. You have a nice, clean and organized brahmacārī āśrama, then their consciousness is better. You have a dirty one, funky like this and that, no one has cleaned the bathroom in weeks, then the consciousness goes down. So, therefore, we are affected by our environment, so we try to keep the environment nice. But at the same time is, ultimately it's not dependent upon that. So that's why then for Kṛṣṇa it's that devotion. So then, sometimes we may find ourselves in an unfortunate situation, like we see Yudhiṣṭhira and that. They have nothing to learn, but we can learn by what they do in that situation. Because as it is, Yudhiṣṭhira is not blaming Kṛṣṇa, he is not blaming the society. Is Yudhiṣṭhira saying, 'Varṇāśrama sucks.' Is Yudhiṣṭhira saying that, you know, the whole thing of kṣatriya-dharma is bogus? Is he blaming it on somebody else? Anywhere, does Yudhiṣṭhira blame anybody else?

Prabhu (4): No.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: No. But we just heard the last question. The person was trying to blame ISKCON. 'What did ISKCON do for us?' Now, that's a valid question amongst managers, that they themselves who are responsible, how are you supposed to take care or not? And where does the line... Because as it is now, no one can tell the difference between the institution, the society and the movement. They can't explain it to you. So, therefore, they take care of nobody. But the point is is, you have to have certain things, they are taken care of, and they do full-time service. And these others, then they do what they can. There the temple takes care of the full-time. Those who are outside and doing, that's what the community takes care of. That can't be explained, so then they are blaming, 'What did ISKCON do for for me?' It's kind-of like, 'Oh, so you have been doing service all these years that ISKCON is going to take care of you? Is that why you are doing it? So, it was all karma all along. It wasn't actually about bhakti. Is that what the person is saying? If you say this to them, it's a 'No, no, no, no!' Then why are you talking like that? Stop talking like that! You know, yes, he has done so much. I know a devotee, he had at the time when he kind-of stepped out, he had at that time collected half a million dollars. That was back in the 1980s. That's a lot of money back then. Now, you are probably talking millions. And then he is going, 'Oh, what did I get for it?' Why? You were supposed to get a gold watch, or what do you think you are going to get? Permanent vacation in Hawaii? Or what did it say? When you joined, was there a list on the board of what you were going to get? No. It's you are going to develop love for Kṛṣṇa, that's the whole point. But they are saying, 'What material facilities did I get?' What about what is your advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness? Do you know about Kṛṣṇa? Do you have faith in Kṛṣṇa? Do you have taste for the Name? Do you like associating with devotees? Do you like worshiping the Lord? If he says, 'Yes,' so then that's what you are getting! That's the highest thing. And then to throw out all that out the window because you don't get an apartment that somebody's paying for? And then, it's not the apartment you want, and the windows are on the wrong side, and 'I want that apartment. Why he got that apartment? I am senior to him, I have been around longer than him. Why did he get the apartment with the big window? Why did I get this one?'

When are we going to wake up? All these devotees, would they have said this before? They say, 'Oh, but ISKCON did this...' ISKCON didn't do jack sh*t to you. You do this stuff to yourself, because we behave badly. What? Kṛṣṇa needs our money? Cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu... lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānaṁ. He has hundreds of thousands of Lakṣmīs. Each Lakṣmī has all the money of the universe. So we do something, that's His mercy that we get that opportunity to do something nice for Kṛṣṇa. And He reciprocates with you Himself, personally. But we are throwing that out of the window because, you know, we were expecting we were going to get... 'Oh, but if I worked in this company for this long, I would get this much.' But it's like, that's why people join that company, to get money for this much. But we joined ISKCON to go back to Godhead, to solve the problems of human life. That's why we did.

So we have to move beyond this self-pity and self-centered kind-of thing, where it's all about us and 'what did i get?' and it says... So what? Who are you? Who gives a damn? You don't give a damn about anybody else. Is M. worried about all the people over in some other place, other than a political thing? Is he doing anything? Is he putting together that, 'Hey, we got to take care of all these old ladies in our movement. You know, they have given their life,' and he is trying to get people to be conscious of that, 'Hey, everybody can just give 50 cents a month,' like that. And if everybody in Europe, they gave 50 cents a month, you know how many widows you could take care of, and old ladies? You could take care of hundreds. Anybody has done that? Not one person. They are only worried about their own a*s. So, talk is so goddamn cheap. Like before it was, if you are saying something that's not worthy, they would say, 'Oh it's two cents.' I don't even give it worth of two cents. It's just such stupid political talk about themselves. 'Oh, society did this, society did that...' So what? You want to go back to Godhead or not?

That's why Mahābhārata is there. Look what happened to Yudhiṣṭhira! That didn't happen to anybody. Emperor of the world lost every paisa, living out in the forest. No one has had that bad of reaction, and look at Yudhiṣṭhira's response. So that's what we are supposed to learn: how to see things like Yudhiṣṭhira did. How to have the patience like Arjuna had. Not that, 'Oh, I got a phone and I got two thumbs, and so I can type all kinds of political messages and complain about this and that.' That anybody can do, and everybody is doing. You see the riots in America? See the riots in Denmark? Why are they rioting? Because they don't want to stay at home. They are simply saying, 'Stay at home, so you don't get sick.' 'How can they tell us? I have the right to walk around the street,' and this and that. Yeah, it's just, uhh... Do you see riots in France? No. You ask the French, 'What's going on here?' 'Government told us to stay at home, they [indistinct]. We are staying home.' No riots.

So, that's the whole thing, is that as soon as we make it about ourselves, the whole thing is lost and nobody cares. And you can say, 'Oh, but that's the problem, nobody cares.' But how can you care about something that doesn't exist? Right? The senses of that complaining devotee, the mind, the intelligence, the life airs - those are all coming from the Universal Form. What's him? He is the soul. So what is he doing for the soul? He is simply saying, 'ISKCON didn't take care of my body.' The Universal Form, it is part of the Universal Form, it's Kṛṣṇa's. He will take care of it however He likes. What are you doing for yourself, the soul? So that means, when I say 'self-centered' I mean centered on the body, not on the soul. Because if we cared about the soul, then we would do something for the benefit of the soul. Which is, you know, associating with devotees, chanting, taking prasāda, studying the scriptures, and then doing whatever you can to maintain that position. Keep yourself a little job, whatever it is, to maintain. But if you want to be the rich guy walking around with the gold teeth, like that, the chains, and driving around in the Lamborghini, you know, with the guns and everything 'Hey! Yeah...' like that, then maybe you got to work a little hard. You got to get off your own butt and go out there and get it. ISKCON is not going to give you that. Who said ISKCON is ever going to do that?

Prabhupāda was talking about Kṛṣṇa's taking care. We had temples with 250 devotees in. Prabhupāda said, at the time there was an average of eighty thousand dollars a month being spent on temple maintenance, taking care, and there was nothing in the temples in those days, so it all went into prasāda. Or a little bit rent, this and that. It all went into prasāda. So all Kṛṣṇa did was take care. And Prabhupāda is pointing out, Kṛṣṇa is taking care. So now, if there is no money, why? It is not ISKCON's fault. ISKCON is the institution established by Śrīla Prabhupāda to carry on this strategy that we talked about. This isn't the institution that's been established by Prabhupāda to establish all kinds of... How you say? Mental-speculative, you know, political issues that people have had since they were a kid, and now, finally, when they are 70-80 years old, now they can get out there and 'Yeeeaaah...' Vanaprastha is meant to kind-of-like give these things up. Not meant for 'Now I got more time, I have less to do, so now I can get more political.' That's not exactly what it's for.

So, I'm not sure if we are off the topic now, or people are a little bit...

[Devotees laughing]

HH BVPS Mahārāja: A little bit this and that, but the point is is, that's why Yudhiṣṭhira here in this point here, he says 'There is nothing an angry man might not say or do, even to the point of sending himself to death's abode.' But 'Knowing this, I will not indulge in anger. Rather, I will strive to control it.' So, therefore, you know, we do our best.

Prabhu (4): Thank you Mahārāja! Very convincing. Thank you!

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay. Okay.

Devotees: Thank you Mahārāja.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay. Jaya ho! So, yeah, we are basically at the end of the line now. I get ready for bed in 20 minutes.

Prabhu (1): So, anybody who has question, tomorrow we continue at the same time.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes. Tomorrow, same time? Same time, same place, same station. Hopefully, same... How you say? Potency of the internet.

Devotees: Jaya Mahārāja!

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay. Jaya ho! Jaya ho! Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Prabhu (1): ISKCON Leadership Managers Satsanga Seminar Kī Jaya!

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Nitāi-Gaura Premānande Hari Hari Bol

Vedic Leadership and Management Winter Seminar Part 1, based on the instructions of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira in the Mahābhārata, given as Zoom Conference on 8 March 2021 with European leaders