Preaching in Vaiṣṇava Summer Festival, Lithuania, 2011. Author of the photo unknown. If you know, please let us know.

Hariḥ Oṁ

saha nāvavatu

saha nau bhunaktu

saha vīryaṁ karavāvahai  

tejasvi nāvadhītamastu mā vidviṣāvahai

oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Oṃ jaya śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare 

Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

HH Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja: Jaya! Okay, so now we are up to the outline of the four levels of strategic planning. So, basically, here then it is divided into primary elements and secondary. So primary will be the strategy and the operational, and the secondary will be the tactical and technical. As we mentioned, in actuality there is just the primary, that is the main thing. You have the strategy and you have the ways to gain that strategy that would be operational. But because you are dealing with management, then you count the tactical and technical because those are the details of the operation. The strategy, its details are all there, and by understanding that then you are able to take care of everything that is... You can actually apply yourself properly. Okay.

So and strategy, in the strategy you have three aspects. You know, strategies and goals. You have defining the goal, you have the features of the strategy, and then you have the framework for its application. Because in here, its application is also then established by the Ācārya and everything, so that must be appreciated very much. As it was mentioned yesterday, about that document that Śrīla Prabhupāda had written, that was when he incorporated or created the GBC body, that was 1970. And so, in there the first point that he makes is that the GBC is to establish and carry out the Founder-Ācārya's will, that is the main thing that is there: is that what he wants done, that's what they carry out. So then, and then everybody else is following that will. So the GBC is tasked with seeing that Prabhupāda's desire is being carried out and the temple presidents are factually carrying it out. And he also mentions that the GBC, their business is to start new temples, new projects, all these different things, they are there to expand. And then the temple president, then he will take his area and within that context expand. And so, like this then it gets done very nicely. And then, of course, then the tactical details will come along with trying to manage the various projects. Okay, so in the strategy...

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "Defining the Goal. Setting the vision, mission and purpose. Establishing the fundamental functional principles and formation of the overarching blueprint of the movement.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay, so the strategy...

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "Strategic goals for a spiritual movement are established by the Supreme Lord and the Ācāryas who have descended to execute his order. The Goal: Attainment of Love of God. Premā pumartho mahān: this pure love which is the highest puruṣārtha, is defined in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu: anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam. All the activities of devotees should be aimed at pure bhakti, sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam and saṁsiddhir hari-toṣaṇam."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Means, all they are trying to do is give up any other identities, other than that 'I am a devotee of the Lord,' and they should act in that way. And then all of their activities, whatever that is, in other words, they don't identify with, but they use their conditioned nature and the facilities around them to perform one's service. Then what is the... Okay, so then, how does one carry this out, then...

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "One should always remember Kṛṣṇa and never forget Him while performing these activities. sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So, and then...


Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "To do that one needs to have firm faith in order to execute the principles of pure bhakti. This faith is nourished only in the association of saintly persons, saintly devotees. And utility is the principle, so acting without attachment and using everything appropriate in the Lord's service, nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate and then, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So, this then establishes, we know very clearly what the goal is, there is no other goal. It is not about numbers, it is not about the volume, it is not about, you know, everybody is nice and this. The point is, everybody should be developing love for Kṛṣṇa, that is the point of it. Now, since you are supposed to develop love for Kṛṣṇa then we have the point that that requires then faith, right? Faith in this. Means, the devotional process is not... Religion is not a matter of faith, religion is the laws of God. So, the living entity is the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, that is just the fact. He is the Supreme Lord and the material nature is controlled by Him, and the jīva is the servant of the Lord. Now, their inherent principle is they are servant, so they must be servants. So, without being servant then you don't accomplish anything. Even in the material world you think you are doing something, you are a big guy, but you are still servant within that context. You are running a business, you have to serve the business, you have to serve everyone connected with that, only then it functions. The family, 'It's my family,' but then you have to serve that family. Even you are head of the country, you have to serve the country. So the jīvas on no condition anywhere are they free from this service. And we say, 'No, this guy does what he wants, he is always enjoying himself,' he is just serving his senses. Because the point is is that the modes of nature dictate: 'Do this, do that,' and he does, just like an animal.

So we have to appreciate that the lowest level of consciousness, anna-maya, where you just follow your senses, what is best for you - that is not the highest principle in the Vedic culture. The animals are already doing that, right? While then the living being is meant to elevate himself. So, understanding that position of the jīva, understanding that one gets faith in this process of surrendering to the Lord in devotional service. Then having that faith one moves forward, one associates with devotees. But as it is said that when the faith is soft or pliable, then that requires that you have to have a structure in which that can come to the position of firm faith, in which then you can develop a taste and attachment that brings you to the position of having that attraction to Kṛṣṇa or rati. That rati, then when that matures, that turns into prema, right? So, since prema is the point you are trying to get, then prema is obtained  through maturation of bhāva. Bhāva is obtained by the development in sādhana-bhakti. Sādhana-bhakti then becomes established through bringing the pliable faith or soft faith to firm faith. And so, that is done by surrendering to the spiritual master, taking initiation, hearing from him about the process of devotional service or the knowledge of Kṛṣṇa and giving up, and through that knowledge coming to the point of understanding that nothing else is as important as devotional service. Right? There isn't anything else. So that principle, like that. So it is mentioned here that it comes out that... This is from Caitanya Caritāmṛta.

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "It is the nature of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra that anyone who chants it immediately develops his loving ecstasy for Kṛṣṇa. ‘Religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation are known as the four goals of life, but before love of Godhead, the fifth and highest goal, these appear as insignificant as straw in the street. [Caitanya Caritāmṛta, Ādi 7.83-83]'"

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right? So, therefore when one comes to this point then that is showing firm faith, right? So then...

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "'If, by good fortune, a living entity develops faith in Kṛṣṇa, he begins to associate with devotees.' [CC 2.23.9] Then Mahāprabhu taught us that the eternal function of living entity is Kṛṣṇa-prema. Faith in this truth is the root of all success."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: You have to have faith in that. Not in 'Oh, no, but if we become well established, or we have a big place or, you know, no, no, if we are able to impress people by our good behavior and all the...' No, these aren't the things. You have faith - that convinces. Then,

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "By rendering transcendental loving service to Kṛṣṇa one automatically performs all subsidiary activities: this confident firm faith, favorable to the discharge of devotional service is called śraddhā."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So we see, śraddhā starts at the beginning, so there is some idea of that, though one may not be fully convinced in application, but one has that idea. So that's why that is called soft faith. And then through the association of devotees and everything, then it goes. So when you have firm faith, then that means you don't have faith that anything else is going to give you any benefit, other than pure devotional service, like that. Okay, so then... Yes. So then Lord Caitanya has pointed out that this must be appreciated, right? So then the idea is that you can only do things from scripture, means, that defines everything. For someone who has that firm faith through spontaneous love for Kṛṣṇa, then automatically these truths of the Vedas are revealed. But we only see those manifesting like in Prahlāda Mahārāja. He is five years old, but he is speaking and training his associates because of that firm faith.

Then when it is said Lord Caitanya, he was instructed by his spiritual master that 'You always keep this, always chant Hare Kṛṣṇa and keep this verse around your neck.' So,

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "Bhaktiviṇoda Thākura brings out this point, that from the words 'consider this verse and keep it around your neck' we can understand that faith is nourished and grows by following scripture."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right? Because he has made this point, 'keep this around your neck,' that means you have to follow the instructions of the spiritual master and scripture, that's how it is nourished.

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "According to Mahāprabhu, scripture, that is, Vedic literature, is the only authoritative proof."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: There isn't anything else. You can't go, 'Well, you know, I looked it up on Google and it said this,' or, 'No, no, but everybody says this, you know, we have to behave like this, we can't do... We can't go out on Harināma, people think it's archaic,' or 'Why are you pushing this on us?' or this and that. No. You just have to, this is the authoritative proof, the scripture.

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "Rules of logic and argument are no proof."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right? Means, the Absolute Truth can be presented in a logical way, but logic and argument are not a proof. They can support śabda, but they themselves... You can argue anything, like that. So, pratyakṣa or seeing things with your senses is not the proof, and then by mental speculation and argument, that is not the proof. The proof is śabda or scripture and hearing from the Ācāryas. Then in CC,

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "'The self-evident Vedic literatures are the highest evidence of all.'"

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Means, these other ones, your senses, pratyakṣa and anumāna, or the mental speculative ability, or inference, that can be used in support of the Vedic evidence, it is the highest. It is not that, 'Oh, there is these three, and each one of them, you choose which one you want to use,' no. It all has to serve śabda. Then in CC 2.21.21,

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "'The conditioned soul cannot revive his Kṛṣṇa consciousness by his own effort, but out of causeless mercy Lord Kṛṣṇa compiled the Vedic literature and its supplements, the Purāṇas.' The Vedic literatures give information about the living entity's eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa, which is called sambandha. The living entity's understanding of this relationship and acting accordingly is called abhidheya. Returning home back to Godhead is the ultimate goal of life and is called prayojana.'"

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, so then that brings us to this next position that we have to understand from this. And we see here that it is mentioned, this verse, yasya deve parā bhaktir, that one who has faith in the spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa, all the imports of the Vedic knowledge are revealed. And then... Okay, then we have this point here made in, by Bhaktiviṇoda Thākura in Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta,

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "As long as people try to approach Kṛṣṇa with pride of material knowledge, Kṛṣṇa will remain far from their reach. But when such people call out for Kṛṣṇa with a humble heart, they will see Kṛṣṇa and experience the Lord's unlimited bliss.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, so then we see is that when they have that humility... Because if you have that pride of maternal knowledge, you can't understand. That's why you have... It doesn't matter if someone is very intelligent, very intellectual or not, if they are proud they won't understand. 'No, but what about this and that?' and all these things. But if they don't have that pride then they will be able to appreciate. And if we want to advance, then it says this humble heart, this humble mood, so then as we discussed yesterday, then Śrīla Prabhupāda pointing out how do you gain that humility, it is by having the faith that nothing else on the material platform, connected with body, mind and words, or the social or political, or economic, or intellectual can actually gain anything, benefit for the soul, only Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That firm faith, that can do. So that is the whole point, is that if someone is proud, they don't have that faith. That is the symptom: someone is proud of that knowledge or proud of their position, they don't have that faith, they have soft faith. And so, therefore, that's why then it is said, Lord Caitanya then gave the scriptures, He gave the process, He gave us the Ācāryas, right? So it says here, 'with the appearance of genuine faith,' right, means, in other words, faith comes here, then genuine faith comes, then they are able to, when that deepens, then it becomes very important to them.

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "They lose their material pride and offensive nature. There is no room for caste, birthright, material knowledge, beauty, power, influence of material science, position, wealth or kingdom in cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So that basically kind-of cuts out everything, right?

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "For this reason, understanding of Kṛṣṇa remains far away from those who are proud of their material status."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, so this whole thing of that you are trying to emphasize material side, 'Oh, we are Westerners. Oh, we are academics. Oh, we are intelligent. Oh, we are First World. Oh, we are this and that,' all these are stumbling blocks in devotional service. You will not get to pure devotional service with these.

Right? So, if our purpose of the movement is pure love of God, we have to be able to remove that pride. And that [removing of] pride comes by having that faith, that genuine faith. That comes by association of the devotees, studying the scriptures under the spiritual master and coming to the understanding that bhakti comes from bhakti, nothing else. Then you can do something. It is easy. And then Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura continues,


Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "It is easy to understand then why Kṛṣṇa is disregarded in the modern world."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Remember, he wrote this 150 years ago.

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "Kṛṣṇa gives His mercy when a jīva shows humility born of association with devotees. This is the jīva's qualification for spiritual matters. (Caitanya Śikṣāmṛta 1.2)"

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, so we understand it. So, therefore because of this, then this sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana that is defined in the scriptures and then given to us by the ācāryas, that becomes then the process that we can use. So this becomes... The goal will be developing love of Godhead. But how, that we are going to gain that love of Godhead, then that is going to be this second aspect, or the feature of the strategy, right? So, how does sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana work in your life.

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "The Supreme Lord reveals a perfection of all knowledge to Brahmā in four verses, catuḥ-ślokī, Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.9.33-36, wherein the first two verses describe the qualities of the Lord - sambandha, the third verse describe the secret of prema - prayojana, and the fourth verse the practice of bhakti - abhideya. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu defines the essence of the Vedas as vastu-traya, the three essential principles of tattva, sambandha, abhidheya and prayojana. "In the Vedic literatures, Kṛṣṇa is the central point of attraction, and His service is our activity. To attain the platform of love of Kṛṣṇa is life’s ultimate goal. Therefore Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa’s service and love of Kṛṣṇa are the three great riches of life."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: That is Madhya-līlā 20.143. So then in sambandha, establishing one's relationship with Kṛṣṇa, then we have the science of epistemology or pramāṇa, the source of valid knowledge, which is the Vedas. Like Lord Caitanya, there it is said, there is nothing else other than that. Means, that is the supreme evidence. Then you have the science of ontology, which is then prameya or the content of knowledge that has been validated through the pramāṇa. So that then has these areas.

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "The knowledge of Kṛṣṇa is the highest absolute truth beyond the material modes, Kṛṣṇa is the source and Master of all material and spiritual potencies. And Kṛṣṇa is the source of all rasas and the topmost object of worship and the ultimate goal of life.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Then the next is,

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "Jīva is an infinite festival part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa and His eternal servant, jīvera svarūpa haya kṛṣṇera nitya-dāsa. Then we have the philosophy of acintya-bhedābheda-tattva as the ultimate conclusion of all Vedic knowledge, then we apply all that in a devotional attitude, it qualifies one to understand this knowledge. And devotional service is the only means to attain love of Godhead."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: You have that understanding - then you have actually sambandha-jñāna, then you have knowledge. Otherwise, yes, we may know about the guy with the bald head who, you know, did the book on 'The Seven' and then turned into 'Eight' things of, habits that professional people do. But the point is is that that is only tactical, technical knowledge. If you don't know your, if you don't know this actual strategy, you don't know the goal and its real process, you can apply this tactical, technical knowledge day in, day out, you won't get anywhere. So, one has to have this knowledge. This has to be why someone is senior, that is why they are mature, that is why they are in knowledge, that is why they are saying - because they have this knowledge. And you can say, 'Oh, no, but if they are on that advanced platform they don't need the knowledge,' but what are they going to do on that advanced platform? They are going to sit in the hut on Rādhākuṇḍa and not talk to anybody? Or they are going to train others? They are going to travel, they are going to preach, they are going to teach. Therefore, what are they going to teach? They are going to teach this sambandha-jñāna, right?

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "Abhidheya, acting in one's eternal relationship with Kṛṣṇa by engaging in activities of pure devotion."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because we are not interested in abhidheya that is mixed with karma and jñāna, right? We want pure devotion. So then,

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "The association of and service to vaiṣṇavas."

HH BVPS Mahārāja: "So that is the first point, as Lord Caitanya says, someone who gains that faith, they start to associate with devotees. Then you have,

Reading from Vaiṣṇava Strategic Planning Document: "The nine stages of devotional cultivation, ādau śraddhā tataḥ sādhu-saṅgo ’tha bhajana-kriyā tato ’nartha-nivṛttiḥ syāt. Then within that, means, then you have the 64 principles of devotional service as listed in NOD with focus on the five direct activities of associating with devotees, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, hearing Bhāgavatam, worshiping the Deity, living in the Dhāma. Then you have the six favorable exchanges and six unfavorable items of devotional service as Rūpa Gosvāmī gives in the Upadeśāmṛta. The six symptoms of fully surrendered souls as Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura then brings that out. And then you have the nine types of bhakti.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So we have, you associate with devotees, through that then you can go up through all these different aspects within.... Means, from śraddhā to prema, then in that you have 64 items of practice, of those five are direct or main, and then in implying that you have six favorable exchanges and six unfavorable. And then there is the symptoms of someone who is actually surrendered, and we see, one of the main points is, he is meek and humble and he considers... He is always surrendered to Kṛṣṇa. And so, then that brings us there, and then the nine types of bhakti, how they will engage on the platform of pure devotion, or at least attempting to get. Means, what we are trying to point out here, since this is the goal, you have to know that pure devotion is what you are trying to obtain. And if we are practicing mixed devotional service, that is fine as part of our sādhana, but we have to progress past that. This idea is that, 'No, everybody is a neophyte, so we will even present the philosophy that it pleases neophytes and not trying to get them beyond that,' that is bogus. And because of that people don't move forward.

Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura makes a very important point that what is important, what is correct for you to do now, might not be correct later. Just like, let's say, someone first comes in contact with Kṛṣṇa consciousness and regularly visits the temple, occasionally, but doesn't chant. If they are at a kīrtana they chant, but they don't chant any rounds or anything else. So in the beginning that is very favorable - they have just met the devotees, they just start to take part a little bit in the programs, they like to come around - that's very favorable. But when they develop more faith, when they actually come to that point of faith, then they will see, now it is important to do more. So in that association with devotees then they'll see they chant japa, so they start the chant. So they chant two rounds, four rounds a day and go like that for some time, and that is very good. But they have to know that by bhajana-kriyā that, no, 16 rounds is minimum. So with time then they come to 16 rounds. When they come... So, in other words, if they are on chanting four rounds or eight rounds, they can't say, 'Oh, 16 rounds is fanatic!' No, that is standard. And when they get to 16 rounds, they can't go, 'Well, before I chanted four rounds and I was doing well, so it doesn't matter if I chant four rounds. No, when you take a step forward, you put one foot up, right, you start to do, but it's not steady, but you still have your other foot down, and then by having that there you are fixed, and then when this foot becomes strong, you pick up the other foot, then you are on the next step. So once... Sometimes you chant 16, then you are back to eight, sometimes, you know, on the weekends or when you go to the temple then chant. But after a while you chant 16 every day, you take your foot off of that step that has eight rounds - that's progress. And so, from that you go from śraddhā, sādhu-sanga, bhajana-kriyā, anartha-nivṛtti, you keep stepping forward. But if you just say, 'Oh, no, this platform is all right, and, you know and everybody is on this platform, so it is the standard,' that won't, that is not a valuable viewpoint. So it can't be the strategy. You may use it in preaching to people that, 'It's all right, just start wherever you can, do whatever you can, chant one round a day. If not, at least turn on the kīrtana and chant along with it how much you can and slowly, slowly build.' But one must know that one has to come forward. That's the whole point. Then it is progressive. Then you know what you are trying to do. Otherwise, it's just, 'No, no, we have the maximum people, they come around, they are kind-of friendly and they kind-of like what we are doing, and we can talk about yoga, you know, and talk about India, and we can do a kīrtana, and they are cool with that. Now, we can't talk about Kṛṣṇa, really, or about God, or about surrender. But, you know, they are nice and it's really good  and so, therefore, when you come and lecture at our yoga studio, we don't want you to talk about Kṛṣṇa because they may go away and then everything we have gained will be lost.' But that they may... Okay, they are favorable, great, but they haven't made anyone serious, they haven't given anyone faith. So is the point just people like us? 'People listen to me, I can run a yoga studio and people will come and take me as an authority,' and that's the ultimate goal? I mean, if you are running the yoga studio to make money to maintain your family, so you can do your service, that's fine. But if you are saying this yoga studio is preaching, when are you going to start preaching? So that means the faith of that person is not too strong because he thinks, 'No, no, I won't be able to be a devotee if i don't have position and money and this and that. Because it's because of that, that is why I didn't do this stuff.' When in actuality, no, devotional service is independent of that. You have to maintain your body and all that, yes, these things then become an ornament for the body. But they are not the actual thing that nourishes the soul. One has to understand. So people have good qualities, have positions, have... These are great things they can use for Kṛṣṇa. But you can't replace Kṛṣṇa with those things and think, 'Oh, yes, we have done everything nice.' Okay? Yes?

Prabhu (1): Can I make one question?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes, please.

Prabhu (1): Could you a little elaborate, what in the tactical level should be considered in preaching? While the goal is still that everybody become Kṛṣṇa conscious, love of God, but in the tactical level it easily becomes a mismatch. You know, there are the U.S. lady - this is real story, but I don't mention more than... who has been in India the 10 last years, will never surrender, start to dominate the others. There are the crackpot ones, there are the academics, there are... If they are all mixed with the thing of just 'great to be together,' it will create a havoc a little on the long run. We did a little differently some years back, you know, putting academics in a different corner and like that. But what are the elements at the tactical level to be considered, that the ultimate aim will be received, but not make a mismatch, which normally falls this side or that side?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: That means, if we are starting from the bottom and looking at it that volume is success, means, only volume, then that is not very good. Because that is, technically it is called janam, 'Oh, so many people come, so many people... We run our programs and hundreds of people come, they spend money, they spend time, it's all good,' but no one is surrendering, no one is chanting, so that is janam. And Lord Caitanya says na dhanaṁ na janaṁ na sundarīṁ. Now, Prabhupāda did say that you can, one of the ways to test how successful your preaching is, is how many books have gone out, how many devotees have been made, so you do have the volume aspect. But that volume aspect is specifically because we as Westerners only think in volume. Our culture on the higher points is generally based on the bourgeois or the business community, and in general just on the general class or the śūdras, right? That's why the socialistic, the democratic, these kind-of things we look at very seriously. So, we have to see is, above that then there is the...

We have to have knowledge, so we are giving knowledge. We are not the International Society for Yoga Consciousness. We have to remember, when Prabhupāda went to New York, he started when he was in that that upstate New York, but very soon he saw he is not going to get far, so he went down to New York. Where is, what is the first place Prabhupāda started preaching? Right! The first place he started preaching in New York was Upper Manhattan, and what's in Upper Manhattan? All the rich people. And where did he, where was he meeting these rich people? At Dr. Mishra's yoga center! So he started off preaching in a yoga center. But what is he preaching there? You listen to those lectures. He is preaching straight Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And, you know, Dr. Mishra lets him talk until he starts bashing impersonalism and merging into Brahman, and Brahman is the Supreme. Then Prabhupāda... Then he would tell Prabhupāda, 'Okay, well, now we will have a kīrtana, Svāmījī must be tired,' you know, like that. Because he was a māyāvādī. But he started there and he saw it's not really getting anywhere, they would come every day, it is nice to see, like that, but they are just into yoga and into, you know, the Svāmī is there saying some interesting things. Like anybody who used to... Back in, 100 years, 200 years ago, they would go to discussions on oriental philosophy, it used to be called Orientalism, like that. Then in recent, a hundred years ago it started to be called New Age. We have to remember, New Age is a 100 year old term, and that's only, they gave that when it comes into the more main society. Otherwise, before, the aristocratic society, it was going on for another 100-200 years before that, right? So, then, so he saw that, Kṛṣṇa gave him a sign, he kind-of sold all his stuff, this time he went down farther south on the island and ended up on the down there with all the artists in the east end there, the East Village. And, you know, hippies, crazy, this that, but they would take it seriously and surrender. They didn't have the culture, they didn't have the money. I mean, a few that were cultured, Mukunda Mahārāja, you see, he was always cultured, Satsvarūpa Mahārāja, Bhavānanda Prabhu, they were all cultured, they came cultured, like that, and they remained cultured. They just took it seriously, moved forward. Brahmānanda Prabhu, he was a teacher. So they actually, then you see, they were the ones that were leading the society then. And so then they surrendered, they took it seriously, they took up chanting, they developed that faith. They didn't know so much, they didn't necessarily have so much culture, but they had that firm faith. And they only thought, just what Prabhupāda says, chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, that's it, and when they preached, they just preached that. Someone comes to the Sunday program - you just talked straight philosophy, you didn't bother with anything else. And you see, they made so many devotees. You could say, 'Oh, but it's all the hippies and all that,' okay, the guys that are saying that, were they hippies before they joined? Ambarīṣa was a hippy? Bhavānanda was a hippy? Satsvarūpa? Bhavānanda? They were too old, they weren't hippies, they were already mature guys that had finished college, went to, you know, had jobs and were situated nicely in the contemporary environment. They weren't hippies.

So the thing is is, yes, and where were the hippies from? Were they just from off the street? They were living on the street, but they were generally from decent families, middle class, upper middle class, even rich families, right? So they could afford to do nothing, like that. So the thing is is, yes, they may have preached there and all that. But the point is is, the nature of the soul is, that always is about the living entity taking up Kṛṣṇa consciousness, there is nothing else to the soul. So then when you are preaching, now the point of preaching is that you are talking to the living entity. That you are speaking to a person, you talk to the living entity, for the living entities benefit, right, because that's what the strategy is. But at the same time is, you have to see what is their conditioning. You are talking to a politician, they have that kind of conditioning. You are talking to an academic, they have that conditioning. You talk to a businessman, they have that conditioning. So you have to consider that, 'Now the wording that I will use, the examples that I will use, the tone of voice that I will use will be something that this person in their conditioned state can relate to.' Because they identify as that conditioning, that types of bodies. They aren't. So you have to, through their medium, give them the Absolute Truth. You don't cater to their conditioning, unless you are very impressed by mundane conditioning. And that we see, sometimes people get distracted by that, 'Oh no, but they are all professionals, so we don't want to disturb them.' But the point is is, they are professionals, they will get old and they will die. They won't be disturbed at dying? They won't be disturbed when Yamadūtas show up and drag them off? That's going to be a lovely time for them? The Yamadūtas will go, 'Oh, oh, be careful with him, he is a lawyer,' like that, 'Oh, oh, oh! He is an academic! He is a PhD, bring the labradors, don't bring our regular three-headed big teeth dogs that would rip off your leg. No, no, we bring the nice labrador there, you know, and have them just slobber all over them.' Right? No, the point is is that you have to get through.

Now you see, you push how much you can, and when you see it is going, you keep going, when it's not you pull back a little bit, until it starts again, and then you keep going. That is how anything gets done. If you are developing practically in the material, everything works like that. If it is moving, you keep pushing, you don't stop. But if there is resistance, then you come back, and you see at what point, okay, at this point they were cool. Like if I just said 'Supreme' or I said 'Lord' they were cool, but as soon as they say 'God' then they have a problem, so then stick with 'Lord' and 'Supreme'. But if you see as, no, you can say 'God', that's all right, then you go to there, but if you see when you say 'Kṛṣṇa' then they have a problem, then you pull back to God and keep discussing there. If you find that's something, you find another avenue, go through some other cultural aspect or some other intellectual approach. Because we have unlimited philosophy. And so, then you just see what works for them and how much they can take at that time, and however much, it is great. In other words, for the soul, serving Kṛṣṇa is perfection. So if they are listening, if they are doing anything, they are taking prasādam, that is great. It is not that, 'Oh, the only took prasāda, that's nothing...' No, but it's got to be that something is being cultivated.

Now, if you have a group of people and that's all that is around you, are people who only can handle kīrtana and prasāda, don't want to hear any philosophy, don't want to do anything, practices, like that, then fine. You give them prasāda and kīrtana - that's what Brahmānanda Prabhu was seeing when he first went into Africa, when he was preaching in the tribes and all that. They weren't that much into philosophy, and no one is shaving up and chanting their rounds. But they loved prasāda and loved kīrtana, and Prabhupāda said, you keep doing that, and he says, the effect of that you will see it later, it won't happen right then. And then he was saying, Brahmānanda Prabhu himself would not see the effect of all this preaching, that will come later, others will see it, in fact. And so, yes, there is nothing else, if that's all the far you can take, that's all the far that you go. But this whole idea is that, 'Oh, we don't want to disturb, this and that, because we revere their position of professionals and intellectuals, or people in power with money,' then that, what's that got to do with anything? Then we are just another guy that they can't so much respect. They may like that you give a nice thing, it's a nice experience, you know, it makes the mind peaceful and that, they sit there. But they are not going to take it seriously. And if someone else comes along who is better at it, then they will go to their yoga studio, not ours. So we have to see is that you have to balance between this. It is not about numbers, it is about the quality, but at the same time, as we are trying to, as much as possible, to the maximum amount of people, expose them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the whole idea. We, by practicing will go back to Godhead, so the point is is, how many people can we take with this in the process? Does that work?

Prabhu (1): Yeah, yeah. I kind-of thought like in the... [to the side]Thank you. From the managerial point of view, like the different preachers... Like Your Holiness is, for example, discussing quite regularly, one of the topmost educators in the whole Western world, I think she is the top, but she said to me that she turns always to you because you always see beyond, you see above, so you see like that. So I have been also last days exchanging, just there is one lawyer who is with his top three in the Finland. So he always asked me something, like, you know, to see a little beyond, like beyond the material laws. Like this morning he just wrote, he said that the points I gave to him, although he has PhD in the Law, he said, they are all just beyond that. So it seems to be that the preacher should be, you know, it's not only about their devotion but it should be that they are kind-of a little above them, then they take them as an authority. I might kind-of...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes, means, there has to be something that is, that they feel is beyond what they have: either knowledge beyond, a vision beyond, wisdom beyond, devotion beyond, commitment beyond. Because if you are committed... Like we were hearing about when, that whole whole point yesterday about, when, I think, when Prabhupāda came, I think it was to Germany or something. So the devotees, they went to the... Oh, Pṛthu Prabhu was saying that they went to the ambassador, I think, of... Maybe he was the Indian ambassador or something, and they went there and said 'Prabhupāda is coming,' and this and that, 'You have a nice facility, you should let him stay here.' Right? It's a government facility. But they were so convinced, he was so impressed, that Prabhupāda stayed there. So that is the thing, is people want to be, have conviction for something, they want to have something that has a direction and a goal and a value in their life. And when they see people that are convinced, that's why the necessity of being firmly... Firm faith is you are convinced, that's why you convince others, right?

So many times, let's say, a small child, there will be a whole group of adults there, and a small child will see something and they will say it just as they see it, and all the adults are impressed. Because they know, because they have to run anything they think through all this social-political-economic, you know, kind-of things and diplomatic, but the child just says it straight. Or you have the elder person, they can also just say straight, because what do they have to lose? How it says, you know, they got one foot on in the grave and the other foot on the banana peel. So to them what does it matter? They just have life's experience, they say it straight, you take it - fine, you don't take it - it doesn't matter to them. It's working, they are comfortable. And so these kind-of things people respect, they appreciate. That's why you see is that these big personalities that are very powerful, then they want to keep around them people who are more, have greater understanding or knowledge, or devotion, or qualities that they themselves appreciate. That's why they always have all these positions. Does that make sense?

So that's the point, is we are professional spiritualists, Prabhupāda makes that point. Who else is a professional spiritualist? So we are thinking, 'Oh, no, they are professional and I am not educated as much as they are in their area, and that, and so, you know, all the respect is theirs, and we don't...' But the point is is, are they educated in spiritual knowledge like we are? So, therefore, for having a spiritual discussion we are the authority, not them. You deal with their questions, you try to get them to appreciate and understand, you move them forward, and so in discussing it is all about them. But it is all about getting them to appreciate who they are, who Kṛṣṇa is and what their relationship is. That is what we are trying to do. So with that kind of focus and all that, then we see is that it is not about numbers. It's just like before, we did food... We did the ISKCON Food Relief, people knew it was us, right? Food for Life, that's some knew it was us, but some try to hide behind just with charitable work, like the church and other people. So, 'See, we are great guys,' and all this and that, okay, nice. But then it comes to the point where it is just about public opinion, it is nothing about giving Kṛṣṇa consciousness or even knowing who we are. So then it just becomes, it comes to ajñāta-sukṛti, so people are just doing ajñāta-sukṛti, while before they were actually doing devotional service. So that becomes more important, 'No, no, but we feed 300,000 people,' that's nice. But the thing is is, how many of those people then come to... So is there some other program to preach to those people? You say they are taking prasāda, and so in that way they'll become purified, move forward. Great! Fabulous! Do you have a different program then where you are preaching to those people? If you are feeding school children, are you going into the schools and preaching? If it's something, poor people and that, in a particular neighborhood, are you going there and having programs and Harināma in their area? So what are you doing?

So we have to get beyond this pliable faith where we think just something being done that's pious is good enough. We have to remember, pure devotional service is beyond pious and impious, it is transcendental. Not that these other things can't be used. But you can never think that that is enough, that is all we have to do. Sometimes devotees say, 'Oh, but it's enough just to raise them to the mode of goodness.' Anybody who says that is not in the mode of goodness. Why are they doing that? It is about volume, so there is a mode of passion there. They may be using yoga or Āyurveda, or that, which itself, being śāstra, then has the point of goodness. But their motive that they are trying to get the maximum amount of people involved because of the volume of it, then that is the mode of passion. How they are going to bring anybody to goodness? And the point is, goodness can change. The modes change, it goes, you have to bring them to pure goodness. It has never been one of our things, 'We will just bring them to goodness and that's all,' and this and that. That is not the point. Because the point is is pure devotion. So if even one person goes back to Godhead, then we will consider our effort in preaching to be of value. But if we have hundreds or thousands of people and they are all just situated in goodness, it's kind-of like, in India you already have tons of people like that, and they are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Smārtas aren't interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, right? Like that, you have to see is, no, they have to be focused on... Smārtas are one... We have 13 apasampradāyas, smārtas are one of them. So are the caste gosvāmīs. Smārtas, they worship Viṣṇu if they are vaiṣṇavas. If they are śaivaites, they will worship that. They don't care, it's just whatever their family does. So they worship Viṣṇu, they offer prasāda, they do all the same things we do. But for them all it is is a piety, so they'll go to the heavenly planets, they'll get liberated, there is no bhakti there. They use the medium of bhakti, but as soon as... Bhakti is only an aṅga of their process, not that what they are doing is an aṅga of bhakti. So then...?

So the point is to point out: pure devotional service is what you are trying to gain. So, therefore, preaching anything, even if we are speaking to Christians or Buddhists, or anybody else, Muslims or... It's about pure devotional service, pure love for God, that's the goal. We don't have to discuss the details about practice, we have to discuss about, your goal has to be pure love of God. If that's there then everything else can be reconciled.

Prabhu (1): Thank you very much. The other point, which somehow or another I like to mention, like I kind-of realized, we had... Some time ago we were meeting with the Mayor and the District Magistrate here, waiting the President to come, and we had some time to chat there. I asked from the Mayor, I said, 'What do you think is like your... What is your real job?' And he said, 'To serve citizens in four ways,' he said, 'Education first, healthcare, transportation and social things like, you know, all this.' Then I asked from the District Magistrate, he said, 'I don't have any power,' he said. He has area of 300,000 people, he said, 'I just, I can just cooperate and inspire the others.' They actually, they are very successful persons of whom I speak. I don't mention the name, but kind-of, you know, it seems that they get it together, although without Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But I am a little like kind-of a... How would I say? What did we lose, or am I just subjective? I think we lost a little bit this service attitude in the long run. I don't see the same ISKCON anymore that, you know, the service is almost like a competition or something. It's... Something has changed, and not to the positive. I don't know what it...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: You are only dealing with consciousness, that's all. Consciousness will change because details is that the facility that we have, this, that, is, you know, ten times greater than what we had before, sometimes more. And so, being established, being all this and that, you know, we have, we are very much part of the scene. But the point is is, what we always have to see is consciousness. Because consciousness is that thing that if we are not careful it can get distracted. But by proper association it can come back to the  natural position in a moment. Like we see, Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga, it only takes a moment to surrender to Kṛṣṇa. So the point is is, if we are coming up through these modes of nature, and we have to be very very... And we come up, we have to be very careful to give up any attachments we have to lower positions, right? Because a lot of times you see, is devotees can get distracted by these things of equality and social status and all that, and justice, you know, justice becomes a very important part that someone has done something wrong, then there has to be a... How you say? A social reaction for that, and these kind-of things. Or, if I am doing good, you know, everybody should be getting good facilities and good this, and, you know, everybody should have a very nice material arrangement and that. Or, the material world is very difficult, so you want to keep away from that and not get involved, and so you don't want to do anything to do that will entangle us anymore or anything like that. So these kind-of attachments that we have arta, arthārthī, jijñāsur and that, these things we have to move on because it's out of fear, or about a material attachment. That material attachment means karma and beyond here, because... Yeah.

So we have to be able to move on from that and be aware. Because otherwise, if we are not aware, then Māyā will just let it... Means, Māyā will poke its head up, and we won't even notice, and then we will be worried about equality and seeing that all the different people will have the same opportunity, that's great. But the point is is that, is it a matter of anybody can do it? Or is it a matter of those who qualify, anybody who qualifies could do it? What you want to be careful of, someone who is qualified is not allowed to do something because of politics or somebody else's material desire, this or that, envy and that - that shouldn't be there. But to say everybody can do, then that means then everybody could be the president, now why not just have... Like that, how many devotees do you have in the temple? Okay, let's say, we have 30 devotees. Okay, so that means, let everybody be a president for the day! Or if we want to say, 'Okay, baby, that's not enough,' okay, 12 days. Everybody could be president for 12 days, and then that way then in a year everyone's got to be president, like that, and so it's just like, let everybody! That's equality, you know, like that. And then the lady sitting there says, 'My 10-year-old kid here, they also want to be president, they want their 12 days! They are just as much part of this as anybody else.' So that's the whole thing, is that one has to understand, no, guna and karma: you have the ability to do something and you have the nature to do it. Just because I can do it doesn't mean I have the nature to do it, right? Like somebody can manage, but they don't have the nature to manage. So, therefore, in managing they are always getting grumpy or upset and it disturbs them, it disturbs others, but they can manage nicely, technically. Just like, let's say, someone can cook, but they hate cooking. So they have the karma, but not the guna. So like that, you have to see that both of them are there. And when both are there then, yes, then if they are qualified, why not?

So these kind-of things. But we get distracted by that, you know, this and that, whatever it is, and then... Otherwise you get distracted. And then it gets, you miss the point of pure devotional service. So one has to see, is no, pure devotional service is the main thing. And that's the thing: pure devotional service is the richest of all things. It's the thing that all people can be involved in. See, the particular political level that you are into, only certain people can be into. Like I mentioned yesterday about the woke and all these different things. and there is a good chance that basically nobody listening even knew what I was talking about, right? And your devotional service is going on perfectly fine without it. But there is other parts of the world where all these things are so important, you have to be really involved in this and that, and so many things, no. It is a matter of, we do these things to please Kṛṣṇa, and if they are useful we consider them, and if they are not useful we don't. But they themselves don't have a value on its own. Just having money, it's not valued on its own. If the person has a lot of money and they don't spend it for anything, they are called a miser, right? Guy is rich, but won't spend anything on maintaining his house or himself, or his health, or take care of his family members, or give in charity, he won't give. Just money itself is valuable. They even made a whole, there is a whole story about that, you know, Scrooge, it's just about that point.

So, we have to be careful that what is our conditioning we don't get distracted by and that in itself is important. We have to see is that's what we have, that's what we use. So what is useful from it, we use. Every position has something useful, and every position has a weakness. So we engage the thing that is strong and we avoid the weak part. Just like, let's say, the brahminical nature. They are situated in goodness, right? That's a good thing. But the weakness of that is, being situated in goodness they don't want any trouble, therefore they may not take up any services that will cause any trouble for them. You know, every day they do the same thing and that, and so, therefore, to go out preaching is a trouble for them. So they won't do it - that's a problem. Right, so their weakness is going to be liberation. So each one has their weakness, and so then one has to be careful about that. And as long as one is careful and engaging oneself in Kṛṣṇa's service, one moves forward very nicely. So the whole point is is, yes, we want to be encouraging, but know what we are encouraging. We are encouraging prema, right? We are encouraging going to... Means, the Spiritual World is so full of all these wonderful personalities, that these are the nicest people in the Cosmos, you know, Nanda Bābā and Mother Yaśodā, and all the other, the gopīs and the cowherd boys, like that, they are the nicest. Even the cows are going to be the nicest. They are all wonderful, and so these are people you could spend eternity with. And so that is what is being offered, and what is the difference? We have to stop identifying with the body and identify as servant of Kṛṣṇa, then we can go there. As long as we identify with these upādis... So that's why you see that this philosophy of 'We are Westerners and so we can't follow all this Indian culture' - extremely dangerous apasampradāya, extremely dangerous. Because it makes one think that my upādi, defining myself as a Westerner, is a valuable element in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, instead of it just being, 'Okay, as a Westerner, let's say, I am not so much into rice, I am into cāpātīs, so I eat cāpātīs,' haribol, that's it, that's all the more it has a value. But to try to take it beyond that, then 'Oh, it's Indian,' and then the Vedic culture you say is Indian, that's just xenophobia. These are really, really, really dangerous, even though it's presented that it is very liberal, it's very, very dangerous philosophy. Because then with this philosophy, then we see is that then one reduces, and the culture and tradition is of no value, and it's just whatever we do, that's the value. But what we do as a lifestyle, is it regulated? Does it bring one to goodness? Is it going to, is it in line with the activities that Kṛṣṇa does with His devotees? And we see is that it is not necessarily. But because we are putting the upādi as the defining factor, not śāstra, not Prabhupāda, and then what do we use as our source? Logic and modern academia, and whatever the social platitudes that are going on today, we use those as evidence, and so that's the problem, we use these things there and then try to say is, 'Oh, but people are happy.' Okay, happy, but then the point is is, they are happy with their false ego. See, is because you have the problem, is, 'Okay, I am not so advanced, I am very attached, I can't do all those different things. Let's say I am having trouble chanting 16 rounds. I am so attached to just my looks, I hate going out on the street and not looking like everybody else, and so people look at me different, I just can't tolerate that.' So that, so then fine! Don't do that! Don't shave your head, don't do these things, how much you can do, chant a little bit if you can, offer your food to Kṛṣṇa, try to read some śāstra, read some Kṛṣṇa book, go to the temple when you can, associate with devotees, you know, try to do what you can. But be humble! And so you think, 'I am not so advanced, but this is the best I can do for right now,' and then you with that attitude you will advance. And from doing devotion, knowledge and detachment naturally come. So with time, after, maybe not today, but after five years, ten years, something, you'll start to be able to get into chanting and get into this, 'Oh, I don't mind this or that.'

But if we take it, 'No, we are Westerners, we don't have to do, that's Indian stuff,' then they are maintaining their upādis, and with pride they are saying, 'Oh, we don't need to do all that because we are Westerners, it is not for us.' And with that pride you can't advance in devotional service. So, therefore, those attachments won't go away, and so therefore all you are doing is guaranteeing yourself another birth in the material world, that's all. So if you are looking for stability, there you got it -  in the material world. You want to go back to Godhead - that is another discussion.

So we have to be able to tell the difference between what is sampradāya and what is apsampradāya, right? We have to be able to tell the difference. So that is the whole point of knowing the philosophy, knowing the culture and everything like that. Because Prabhupāda points out, the Vedic culture is for humans. So if they want to say 'We are Westerners, we are not humans, we are subhuman, therefore we can't follow these human things,' then do that. But then there has to be some humility: 'I am subhuman.' Like you see in Bhāgavatam, the kinnaras and kimpuruṣas, they say, they offer their prayers to the Lord and they say, 'We are just forest people, we are not even humans, technically.' You know, they got a human body, a head of a horse, or a head of a bear, this kind-of stuff. That's why they are called 'ki-nara' -  'what kind of man is this?', 'ki nara' or 'kim puruṣa' is like 'what kind of person is that?' 'Did you gig on the guy with a horse head? Man, wow! How does he brush his teeth?' It's like, you know, stuff like that. So it's... They are humble. But this whole thing is that, 'No, we are Westerners and proud to be Westerners.' The point is is, but that, it is a fallen position. Being in the  society of cow killers is not an elevated position. You can say, 'No, no, but we are vegans.' But you are still living the lifestyle of them. You are still in their cities, doing their work, and where is the regulation? You do whatever you want because we are Westerners, you do anything you want any time you want. So how is there going to be elevation? So we have to see, is that these kind-of things that come in from these intellectual, liberal, so-called liberal platforms are not progressive. They will, they are destructive because they break down any tradition.

So Prabhupāda made the point, is that what he is  speaking, that is universal. So this idea that, 'No, this is, we are Westerners, this is Indian,' what Prabhupāda is talking about - this is not theistic, it is not devotional, it is of no value for a human being. Human life starts at following Varṇāśrama. We follow it as guide, Varṇāśrama, it is very simple. It is not a major, it is not an upādi. But they are making it that 'Being below the Varṇāśrama system, being outcast, you know, this is our right, outcast and proud.' So  what's the point? And so we get distracted by these things and think these are important, 'Oh, yeah, the latest political things and all that, and  we are going with that,' but they change moment to moment. And the point is, as you see it in the news, that doesn't mean that's what very many people are doing. In the news, the news generally tends to be more leftist, and so they present all these kind-of anti-tradition and kind-of aspects. And so, it will look like everybody is doing it, but it is not. There is a huge backlash from from people who are opposed to all this nonsense. And then that's the whole thing, then you limit who you can talk to. And then you think these guys are everything. 'Oh no, but if we please the professors at the university, then that's pleasing everybody,' no, that just pleases those professors. But the point is is, when you speak  logic and these things and show Kṛṣṇa consciousness beyond, then those who are intelligent will see it, and those who don't won't. It's simple. If they are interested in knowing something beyond themselves, they want to know who they are, who God is, or they don't. And the innocent just means, they haven't necessarily thought about it, but they are open to it. They would like to know, but who is going to tell them? So they just go on the rat race. But then those who can explain they are willing to listen. But there are those who, no, they are opposed, no, they don't want these things, because then 'My speculation is finished, my position as an authority is finished.'

So we have to be very very careful about these kind-of distractions. That's why it opens, what was the...? This opens with that point, what is it? Sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam. So it's about engaging in the service. So one has to be convinced that what Prabhupāda has given: the lifestyle, the philosophy, the understanding  - that's for everybody. It's not, 'Oh no, that's only for Indians.' No, Indians are pious enough, they have enough the mode of goodness, they appreciate it, and then in the West they have basically just ignorance and a little touch of passion, like that, or if they are New Agey, a little touch of goodness here or there. But their  interest in New Age is still in passion, it is for their benefit. They are into yoga not because of that ... consciousness, [but] because their health will be better or their mind will be more peaceful, so they don't get distracted at work. So even they are following this lifestyle of so-called goodness that people say, but their whole motive for doing that is purely passion. And why? Because they think they are the body, so that's ignorance.

So we have to be very, very careful. But it is important that who you are talking to you talk in a way that they appreciate. But you have... That's where you use your intelligence, how do you get that through. I was just looking at something, Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura is just starting off and saying, 'Okay, in this material world there are three things: there is matter, there is consciousness, the living entity, and there is the Supreme who is controlling that.' Right? In matter you have rocks and stone, I mean, what it is? Air, earth, you know, this and that, that's non-sentient. Then you have the living entities, you have all that, and then there is the Supreme who is controlling all that. He starts, that is in the first paragraph. Right? And then he goes on saying that this Supreme is beyond, so that's why you can't see Him with the senses. But those who demand that they must see everything with their senses, and if they can't see it it doesn't exist, they will not know that God is there. They will say there is no God. And because they think like that, they are the one that loses out, not God. God knows who He is, He is still there. Right? And so, he is saying about that the living entity can't therefore see beyond who they are as the soul. But he is just... So nicely, just very pleasantly, just throws out something, just keeps going, and then just builds. Like that. So that's the thing, is that there is a structure, and then you follow, it works so nicely.

Because that's it, there is cit, acit, īśvara, sādhana, sādhya. There is five things. Cit, the living entity, acit, the material energy, Īśvara, the Supreme Lord, you have sādhana, means, the process to elevate yourself to know the Supreme Lord, and sādhya, having reached the Supreme Lord, what is the position that is there? Right? Because for us that means prema, then you are in a relationship with the Lord. For a māyāvādī that means you merge in Brahman, for a Buddhist that means you stop existing. So you have to know these five, and through that you can know anything. Any philosophy, any religion, you just have to... You want to know what it is, ask these five questions. Because otherwise, 'Oh, what's Christianity...' will go into this whole big thing like that. No. What is Christians' definition of the soul? Of matter? Who is God? What is the relationship of those three? What is your process to elevate yourself? And what are you trying to attain by that elevation? Very straightforward. Any philosophy, any religion, they are symptoms. And you can see this because that's the original thing. Also in here, even here in the management we are using the same thing.

Mātājī: It looks like the connection has gone with Mahārāja for a moment...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Jaya!

Prabhu (1): Jaya Mahārāja! So the... Whenever this question is over, then there is on the queue Tapas, then Pātri and then Līlaśuka Prabhus.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay.

Prabhu (1): So, whenever you see.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Then as you like... I think that's been discussed, we'll just keep going around and around. So I would say is, whatever is your next question, then...

Prabhu (1): TapasJī. Tapas has been preaching to the 50 Bengalis and doing Sunday program, and holding the center, and all that stuff the last few days, so, jaya!

Prabhu (2):Okay. Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja, please accept my humble obeisances. Yeah, I have a question which is, of course, connected to what you were speaking lately. It is about our responsibility as leaders and ISKCON to protect the siddhānta. We see that especially in Kali-yuga then you got... The tendency is, spiritual traditions, religious traditions tend to go off track, become compromised. It also happened in the Gaudīya tradition. And one of the reasons is, compromise is made because of opportunities to become more expanded or popular and like that. And so, for example, there are discussions about Prabhupāda's books, should we write footnotes because there are certain things which are provoking to current issues in society and people might not respect those because, you know, you have to make some explanations, and then... So... Then there is, of course, the  statement of Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā, the austerity of speech is, you speak truth, but it should be, not be disturbing and it should be beneficial and so on, and... Could you say something about this balance about these things. I mean, what I understand, Prabhupāda, in terms of reaching out, he was very, very liberal. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura also. But they were extremely strict about siddhānta and deviations, like that. So what is our responsibility also there, because... as leaders. Okay. Thank you.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes, yes, very nice. The point is, the siddhānta is what it is, it's not a matter of whim or what you like or not. It's not just taking what you like, or going and just taking the panīr out of the sabjī and leaving everything else, you know. It is a matter of this is what it is, it's just facts. And so, you try to present it as nicely as you can, as pleasantly as you can, as specific to the audience as you can. But if they get disturbed - that you can't, you can't do anything about. You know, this whole idea is, if someone gets disturbed we are wrong - no. If they get disturbed, that is because they have an atheistic attitude. We try our best to present it in a way so that they can appreciate it. But then getting disturbed is another thing. So how many people are reading the books and finding those points? One is, how many people are reading the books that much that they might come across something like that? And two, how many of the people that are complaining that 'these things in the books, if they are there no one will join,' but they joined anyway themselves. Right? In other words, a point will bother you because it bothers you. And then other people like you, in your circle, you are worried they will be bothered. For many others these are very normal points. And, as you say, in the contemporary environment, how long until that changes?

But the point is, Prabhupāda said, they will write purports to my purports. So then write a purport! That's fine. But you write it in such a way that the purport has a longer shelf life than just today. You have to write it based on the eternal principles and how that's trying to be brought out, what Prabhupāda is trying to say, what is the point that Prabhupāda is trying to make here, right? And so then that has some value. But simply to dismiss what Prabhupāda says as, 'Oh, you can't say...' what is it? I mean, you look at the Western culture. No meat eating, no illicit sex, no gambling, no intoxication - how does that go down with anybody? So now we are going to remove that? Because where does it stop? As you see, if the left gets inspired, they don't stop - everything is bad. Police, in America police going out on the street and telling people, 'Don't do this because this is wrong,' that's now called racist, right? If a guy goes into a shop... They made law in California that if a guy goes into a shop and steals less than 900 dollars worth of goods, you can't prosecute him. Nine hundred! That's a lot, you know, I mean you could get some guys go into shops with garbage bags this big, just haul things off the shelf and walk out, and the security can do nothing. So, and if you tell them, 'Oh, you can't do that,' 'Oh, then you are a racist!' So anything can be turned.

So that's the thing, is if you're going, 'Oh, no, but someone will become disturbed by that, someone will that... Oh, but Prabhupāda's language and all that... He is not using this language or that...' Point is is like are people becoming offended by Mark Twain? Are they becoming offended by Shakespeare? Are they becoming offended by the Iliad and Odyssey, you know, or Beowulf? Right? Beowulf is some of your neck of the woods, right? So, people are getting offended because, you know, it doesn't say 'the door of the house,' it says 'the mansion's mouth'? So, 'What is this?' you know, like that, 'I don't want to be used,' so, you know. So that is the thing, is this idea that we have to pander to the modes of nature that people are going through today, no. And then... No, we don't. We present the Absolute Truth. You try to present it nicely so they can appreciate it. But you can't change it, you can't cut it out. So, yeah. And then that point is, 'Oh, no, but then, you know, people go and then they criticize us,' so, preach! It's the whole thing is, I want to walk down the street and everyone just goes, 'Wow!' You want to be a fabulous guy. But even you walk down the street in karmī clothes, who is going to say you are fabulous? Right? Who is even going to say you are dressed nicely? Right? Basically, no one. So the whole thing is is, this idea is that, you know, 'I wanted to... I don't want any trouble, and so we should change Prabhupāda's books, so I don't get any trouble.' The whole point is is, good or bad - it's all publicity. The karmīs know that, they know they put out things as fabulous and it turns to good. Things that, let's say, a few years ago were conspiracy theories and bad, today they talked about is that they are just perfectly normal things. So karmīs know, and we claim that, 'Oh, no, we are working on professional levels,' and this and that, you know, 'We are up to date.' No, we are not. The point is is, it doesn't matter. If it is publicity, people are listening.

It was said that at the day, the week after 9/11 in America the maximum amount of books on Islam were bought that ever had been recorded before. People wanted to know who are these people. And you didn't see any anti-Muslim riots at that time. And even after that then Europe let in millions of Muslims. So that's the whole thing, this whole idea, 'Oh, bad publicity, no one will join,' it's kind-of like, who is this 'no one'? Would they join anyway? Would this academic that you are worried about? 'No, so many intelligent people...' Who are these intelligent people? Real intelligence is understanding your relationship with Kṛṣṇa.

So that's the whole point. People living... I just found out something, I don't know if I mentioned this here. I was actually shocked because I grew up in in an environment that would be tend to be more left, more liberal, like that. And this whole thing is, you know, there's always this push that the Democrats in America, they are always for blacks, and this and all that, everybody like that. While the Republicans, the conservatives, they are anti these things. So I saw this clip where there is an elderly African-American gentleman. He may be a professor or something like that. And he has written a book called 'Misplaced Loyalties,' that people are loyal to one political group. But if you look back in the history, I don't know if you have heard of it, there is this group called the Ku Klux Klan, totally anti-black, they just, any opportunity they could to get them and kill them, they would. But the party was started by Democrats. And even recently then the sitting president, when one of the most senior men of the Ku Klux Klan died, he was making a eulogy. That was just recently. So all these things that they say, it's 'Oh, the Conservatives are all... They won't give you any... ' all of those, every last one of those in the political field were all pushed by Democrats because it got them the votes. And now when they see it doesn't get the votes, all they do is reverse it and now say it is the Republicans fault, right? So that is politics. So this whole thing is, 'Oh, no, no, intelligent...' It's just a matter of politics, it's how you play it.

So if they are worried, then write an intelligent, Kṛṣṇa conscious purport. But if you are just going to make some political note, who needs that? It's just something that the future generations will have to remove because we were so un-Kṛṣṇa conscious, right? So the point is, write a nice... Like somebody writes, Śrīdhara Svāmī writes a commentary on Bhāgavatam, and then other ācāryas, Sanātana Gosvāmī, writes. But what he does is either bringing out other points there to support that, or some other angles. Then Viśvanātha is writing, others are writing, they are all writing, but they don't contradict each other. So if they think Prabhupāda is wrong, then they shouldn't even be part of the conversation. Prabhupāda is speaking the Absolute Truth, it is correct what he is saying. And if you say it's not, means you don't know material nature.

So the thing is is, if those wordings then get a connotation of something else, you show what the wordings are meaning, what they are actually meaning that you keep the principle of it and give, show that you bring out that real purport. You don't get distracted by modern uses of language because, especially in English, it is constantly changing. A word that is good today, tomorrow is bad. So it is just like that, you have to to see, is that we have to be very, very careful that what Prabhupāda has spoken we try to speak it. You try to get the audience to understand what is the point Prabhupāda is making, what is the purport - that is the responsibility. So it is the responsibility of every devotee to the best of their ability to do that. But it is specifically, 100 percent, the responsibility of the GBC and of our project leaders and the sannyāsīs, the traveling preachers - that is their business. So the preachers and the GBC - that is their business, that is all they do, right? While, let's say, a temple president, then he is doing that and he is trying to manage. So as much as he can he does that whenever it comes up. But for the GBC - that's all they have to do. Sannyāsīs - that's all they have to do.

So that's the point, because if one is not Kṛṣṇa conscious and one is not moving forward in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then what's the point? All this endeavor and that, and if no one moves forward, what's the point? And we become politically correct, yes, today it's nice and tomorrow it turns on you. I mean, look  at... Just let's go back and just give a good point in history: we go back to France, right? Okay, the King is there, things aren't going well, the guy, the King is a bit of a bozo, right? And so then, you know, 'Liberty, Equity, Fraternity,' good stuff, right? You know, equity - be equal. Fraternity - everybody should be friends and have that sense of community. Liberty - everyone should be free to be able to do what they like. Good stuff, right? So the man who headed all that, Robespierre, then it's going along great - they cut off Louis's head, they cut off so many other people's heads. But give it a little time - the people cut off his head. Because ultimately they just want, you know, 'How come I am not getting rich? You say I am poor because the King is keeping all the money, but now we have killed the king and Marie-Antoinette because she would spend all the money on parties. And then we killed all the business people that were hoarding all the money, and now there is no money because no one is there to make the money or manage the money.' And so, then they cut his head off. So that's the whole thing, is if you are going to take the political route, then you heard the saying, 'Live by the sword, die by the sword,' right? You have a saying similar like that? Means, if you live by fighting, you will die by fighting. So, in other words, your position, your only position is that because of your political ability you will also be destroyed by that political government. So the only thing safe in this world is the Holy Name, is kīrtana, it is the association of vaiṣṇavas, that's it. Nothing else is safe.

So that is the point, is that one has to know, is that that's kept in place. [Indistinct] Devotees who wanted to re-edit Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura's Brahma Saṁhitā, Prabhupāda said, 'You don't change one syllable.' So the point is, you don't change one syllable of Prabhupāda's books, but you can write purports. Right? This is different from when... That means, technically it is not necessary, but at the same time is that it's done when Jayādvaita Mahārāja went back to the original tapes that Prabhupāda dictated and then put the words in that are in the tape. Because sometimes the devotees didn't know the word because of the accent, or they didn't know the Sanskrit. Like there is one, you see sometimes in that discussion on Prabhupāda's on the Jaladūta, and Prabhupāda in his diary is saying that today... I think he is saying, you know, it's a nice day and all this and that, and the water's smooth and that, and 'Today I cooked bati-chachari.' But they didn't know what it is, so they put in brackets 'kichari.' They thought it was, maybe it was kichari. But bati-chachari is a particular kind of Bengali preparation. Prabhupāda really liked that. So, in other words, the sea was calm, it is time for a festival, right? Instead of always being like this. And he cooked bati-chachari. When he taught Bhakti Cāru Mahārāja, when Bhakti Cāru Mahārāja was his servant and cook, he taught him to cook bati-chachari, and when he showed him he had him cook it for two weeks every day. One, is that he likes it, two, to get it to it's perfect and three, Prabhupāda really liked it, it's a really nice preparation. So things like that, then Jayādvaita Mahārāja would adjust. So that's not changing the thing. He went back to what Prabhupāda said and that. It wasn't that he was taking something else.

But this thing, idea is, 'No, no, you know, Prabhupāda says... How do you say? "Women appreciate if they are raped by an expert man."' And so, all that anybody ever sees is 'rape.' No one notices the word 'expert.' Right? So here, what technically it means, rape means, someone is not into it, right? So then... So if a man is expert, he knows how to, basically, how he speaks, deals and everything, it seduces women. Like Casanova, you can guarantee that those nuns down at the nunnery were not interested in having sex, but because he is just so nice and so smooth and that, they ended up having sex. That's what Prabhupāda is talking about. He doesn't mean gross guys that come in and rape and pillage and all that and move on. Because he used the word 'expert.' He didn't say 'women like to be raped' - that's how it is presented. So we are dealing with those who don't know culture, and then they are making a comment on a point that Prabhupāda is making that's dealing with the nature and culture. So we are not saying it is good. We are just saying, you have to watch out for that. Men and women have to watch out for that. Because the guy is so smooth that women get attracted, and so they have to be careful. That's why they don't just hang out anywhere with anybody. Because some guy is smooth, you know, I mean, James Bond walks into the room, there is going to be ladies in bed with him that night, right? Every movie, right? Any movie it doesn't happen?

So that's the point. So, therefore, there in the Vedic culture we are careful about that. And in the modern culture it is eulogized. You know, James Bond is, they think him to be... He is a cool dude. So that's the point, is that you, that's why then you are careful. Because if somebody is expert, things happen. Sparks fly. So that's why then we are very careful about these things. And Prabhupāda was commenting on something that women had said after World War II, after the Germans left. It probably... It could have easily have come out of Belgium. Because the Germans moved in, and so many of the Belgian women slept with the German officers. And they just said... They didn't like it, but they were attracted because just how they dealt. They were so manly and so.... and dealt with them so nicely, 'Frāulein,' and everything like this, and trying to make the women feel important, and they... You know, things happen. Women commented on that, and Prabhupāda simply gave that as an example. And then they're saying, 'Oh, Prabhupāda is saying these things, that's not...' That, it's just a fact in time. How many times do you have is that the girl is there in school, and the guy is there in school, they are there. And he throws his... That thing that, you know, when you write with a pencil, you have that little rubbery thing that you rub it out with? And he throws that at the girl, every time she walks by he bumps into her, and this and that. Fast forward a few years, and they are married. Because the point is is, Vatsyāyana says, women appreciate it when they are made the center of attention. So that is the meaning of expert: he knows how to make a woman a center of attention. One, is just the culture that that is how you are supposed to deal. But that's why then it is restricted: because if it's just everybody, you are moving with everybody, everybody has to deal with that, then the problem is is, now things can get distracted. That's why there is limitations: brahmacārīs don't deal like that, others don't deal like that. Because otherwise then it gets to be a distraction.

Does that make sense? So Prabhupāda is making a very valid point, based on testimony of women who went through that. And then, 'Oh, now it's politically not correct,' and 'How can you say that?' and 'This is not true,' this is all bogus. Anybody who doesn't understand that this is not true, one, is uneducated, doesn't know the nature of women. You can say, 'No, but they are a woman themselves,' that doesn't mean they know who they are. They don't know their own nature. And so the whole thing is is, it's true. Now, if you want to write a purport where you explain all this, having explained this who wouldn't appreciate? Which honest person wouldn't accept that? But someone who has an issue, 'No, no, no, you can't say this and...' Who is trying to politicize Prabhupāda's books - they'll never understand. So why should we change the books for politicians, those who have material motives? But if it is thought that there's some point... But that's why Prabhupāda said that there will be purports written to his purports. Because with time language change with the things that you have to explain it. You don't have compendiums for reading Shakespeare? Right? Shakespeare is there, and then there are people who write things that go by either verse or a speech and then explain what's happening, what's bringing out, what is the context. When Hamlet says something is rotten in Denmark, then you, 'Well what's the context? Why Denmark? Why it's rotting in Denmark? Why not somewhere else?' So there is a context what he is saying. And so they bring all those out there. I think they call them compendiums and stuff like that. They go and you read along. So in school when you study those things, you study along with those things, at least on the higher levels. So it is a very standard way of doing things. So you want to do, you... Fine! Then let's have a purport that actually is in line with the philosophy and the culture, in other words, someone who is, their claim to fame is that they are an academic and they don't appreciate Prabhupāda's writings in his books, they are the last person qualified to write anything. You have to have someone who appreciates and understands the culture - they can write. But this point won't get traction because it is a political position and people are working on it from a political stance. They want to be able to walk down the street or ride on a bus or a train or on a plane and not have someone go, 'Oh, you are the guys that believe that women want to be raped!' And then they say, 'Oh, no, what am I gonna do?' you know. Then - then preach, idiot!

So that's the point. I have had it so many times. Not now, I haven't had for years. But I remember back in the 1980s, 1990s that people, 'Oh you are... Varṇāśrama, you are into the caste system!' And then you have to explain what it is and how it's been... People made it by birth when it's by guṇa and karma. The very thing that they want, equality, Varṇāśrama is about equality: anybody who has the ability to do that, they can do that. I mean, yeah. Gautama Muni, right, you know him, he is a big, big ṛṣi, he is the one who wrote the nyāya-sūtras and all that, so he is the authority in logic. So one day this child, eight-year-old kid comes to him and said, 'Can you be my spiritual master?' He says, 'Okay, what is your background? What is your gotra? Just so I know something about you.' And the kid said, 'I don't know, I will go ask my mother.' So he goes off, asks his mother. He asks his mother, he says, 'I was to Gautama Ṛṣi and asked him, I want to be his disciple. He said he needs to know my gotra.' And so the mother said, 'Well, actually I see so many men every night, I actually don't know who your father would be, so I have no idea what the gotra is.' Right? So then this this kid goes back to Gautama and he then says, 'So, did you ask?' He says, 'Yes, but my mother says she doesn't know. She sees so many men, she wouldn't know which one is my father. But she thinks it might have been a brāhmana, but she doesn't know.' And so, Gautama said, 'I'll accept you as my disciple.' Why? Because only a brāhmana would be that honest. Kṣatriya, vaiśya wouldn't do that, or śūdra, because they would think, 'Oh, if I told them that, I am basically saying my mother is a prostitute, you know, and I have no father, that they would reject me.' But Gautama said, 'Only a brāhmana would say that,' so, therefore he accepted. So in history he is known as Satyakāma-jābāla. Because I think, his mother was... Her name is something like Jābālā so then, you know, like 'Kaunteya'. Kuntī, son of Kuntī, Kaunteya, like that. So he is known as Jabāla, and Satyakāma means he speaks truth. And so, he is known as one of the major self-realized sages in the Vedic literature, Satyakāma-jābāla. That - Varṇāśrama is the only one that gives real equality. All these other systems, they feign equality and then it's not. The junior guys are oppressed, and as soon as then they get... You know, you stop oppressing them and they get in power, they oppress. Like that. Why? Because they are materialists. So only vaiṣṇavas can not do that. And so, the social system that works is the Varṇāśrama. It is the only thing that is equal. So why aren't we preaching that? Smart people would go, 'Okay,' you know 'This is there.' We have explained this to very... Persons who are working on the... You saw, you could say, an international level. And explaining to them how Varṇāśrama works and what is the real considerations, and why it is there, then their comment afterwards, 'This makes sense.' And these are guys that actually had influence on how international politics works. So to say, 'Oh, no, no one will accept this,' that means that you are foolish, then you are not understanding it, not presenting it properly.

And for us, unfortunately that is just human life, that is just our basis. We see in Rāmānanda, the teachings to Rāmānanda Rāya, then the first thing he does is, 'Performance of your Varṇāśrama duties to please the Lord.' And so, Lord Caitanya said, 'That is external.' He didn't reject it. He said, 'It is not the ultimate goal, that's external, go farther,' right? But we see is right in Bhāgavatam, in the first Canto, I think it is in the second chapter, you know, that sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhokṣaje, it is very much said, you perform your duties to please the Lord. But that is just there, it is not 10th Canto. And so, devotees use that to, 'Oh, see, Lord Caitanya rejected Varṇāśrama! So we don't have to have anything to do with it.' It's kind of like, why don't you read our philosophy? Why don't you understand our philosophy? Lord Caitanya didn't say that. Prabhupāda in a lecture, I think was in Hawaii, then he is saying that that that is where it starts. So human life begins there, then you develop from that. So we are not here to establish Varṇāśrama, it is just something we do. It is just like, we are cooking for Kṛṣṇa, okay? Let's say, in the temple, you want to cook for Kṛṣṇa, but there is no pots or pans, there is no vegetables. So we go out and buy them, and we make a nice kitchen. But it is not that we are going out and preaching how people should make nice kitchens. No, we are preaching how people should cook for Kṛṣṇa. So that is the same way, is that Varṇāśrama is just the structure that we use. We are not preaching Varṇāśrama. Some make it into a thing, to preach Varṇāśrama, and then that is a problem also. You know, you can either take things too far right or too far left. That's why it is said razor's edge is in the middle, and it is that wide, a razor's edge. That's why your point on keeping it very strict. Because it is only the width of a razor's edge. And yes, you have unlimited out in the way of the smārtas, unlimited out in the way of sahajiyās. But razor's edge because that takes you directly... Because otherwise you start here and if I go off that way then where do I end up? Right? So that's the whole point, even you want to fly from, let's say, Copenhagen to Australia, to Sydney, okay. Now if you fly that exact line you'll get to Sydney. What happens if we move it over one degree? Right? You may end up in Antarctica. So between here and Goloka it's got to be a razor's edge. So, unless that's understood... But Prabhupāda says, you have to be conscious. Otherwise you can also get cut with that razor's edge, you know. It is as sharp as a razor, and if you are not careful you get cut.

So the whole point is is, that is why the association of vaiṣṇavas, that's why this all-important thing, the senior vaiṣṇavas and preachers, they are making sure everybody understands this. Then you don't get all these other distractions because these distractions simply create dissension. Kṛṣṇa is the center, everything is reconciled in Kṛṣṇa because everything comes from Kṛṣṇa. There isn't anything in the Cosmos that doesn't reconcile itself in Kṛṣṇa. That's because He has the acintya-śakti, so acintya-bhedābheda-tattva. But the material world doesn't have acintya-śakti. Right? It doesn't have acintya-śakti. So because it doesn't have it, it can't reconcile these differences in details. And so, all these things, all they do is put an emphasis on the dissension, on the differences, and you can't reconcile them. And so in the name of trying to make a better place and trying to make it more broad and more universal, they are simply creating more dissension. This is not real. This is not of value. This is not service. It is just distraction due to one's own particular attachments, that's all. And, as we said before in the previous question we were talking about, is that 'I want to be... I want to not follow all the rules and regulations, but I don't want to accept that that's a lower position. I want to be able to hold my head up high and I can be proud that I am as good as the guy who is very strict about following all these rules and regulations.'

[To the side] Why does this keep coming up?

And so, it is due to pride. So that means, they don't actually value to that depth Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So that is not firm faith. That is pliable faith that has been applied to often another direction. So that is the business of the senior devotees, that is the business of the preachers and the GBC, is to see that we are not going off course. And then details of management - that's up to the managers. Now if they are managing in such a way it's not Kṛṣṇa conscious, then that has to be pointed out. So they are supposed to manage in a way that is Kṛṣṇa conscious. But the details of management - that is not as important. If it is getting done and it is Kṛṣṇa conscious, then it works. Is that okay?

Prabhu (2):Yeah. I have follow-ups question to this, that the tendency to... I have observed that

sometimes academic devotees, even Prabhupāda's disciples, who have been... They are very appreciated by quite a few people. But coming up with this procedure to try to explain provocative things, that could be provocative in the modern society, statements in the books, by relativizing and explaining this is a product of, you know, the social culture at that time when Prabhupāda was operating and... In other words, this tendency to relativize.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah.

Prabhu (2):And it seems to be very dangerous.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Oh, it is very dangerous because it is purely mundane, that's why it is dangerous. Because it's, they are looking at, 'Oh, it is that in the past and this and that,' and all that. But then they have to know is that their political correctness stand now, give it another some years and it will be completely useless. People will go... I remember.... See, when I was a kid then it was actually thought, you know, being a hippie was kind-of in one sense glorious because you were looking for spiritual, you were looking for something more subtle, and you were a searcher, you were a looker for truth and all this and that. And so, you had a real like an idealistic concept about it, and so those... And then you see devotees also kind-of had that thing about, 'Yes, hippies!' That's why 'When the hippies were there... But when the hippies are gone it is harder to make devotees' and everything like that. Then I remember once I was at one farm project and they had a Gurukula there, they asked me to speak to the teenagers. And so, you know, we went out on the lawn and that, it was like maybe like... How much? 15 or 20 like teenagers at, and sat down there, so, you know, it was just a general conversation or not. And then one kid raised their hand and said... His question was, 'Were you a hippie before you joined?' And when he said 'hippie' he actually started laughing, and the other kids laughed because the kids there, they thought the hippies were the weirdest, most lame social thing possible. And when I was a kid I thought it was something glorious and something, you know, some highly elevated kind-of position, and here these kids are saying, 'Hippies, like they are such wastrels and that.'

So that is the whole thing, is that we can get into this whole leftist kind-of liberal thing. But give it a few years and it will swing the other way, it is the modes of nature. And then having taken that position, then they will be rejected by the people who actually run the planet. So wouldn't it be better to be those who actually run things than the ones who talk like they run things? So they have to be very, very careful because saying, 'Oh, it's for another time and this is not...' That's not the point. Prabhupāda is making a principle about feminine nature. And so, you have to get down and describe and explain that nature. Because they want to say there is no difference between men and women, and it's just a social construct. Then why is it in every culture, everywhere on the planet and every species of life you see this construct? Then you have to take it, 'No, it is real.' That's science. Science means, every culture on the planet, unless told otherwise, they always make this difference between men and women. So that means everybody. Just like every culture, they all believe in God in some level or another. You have to be trained to be an atheist. There is no cultures that are inherently atheist. They are all God conscious to some degree. That means, that is the nature of the soul. And it is also, you can see this matter of, that is the nature of male and female. But that they are... It is not about science, it is not about logic, it is about their particular sentiment, about their false egos. So, if they use a cultural presentation, that is just wrong. Because then you relativize everything. So, about being Kṛṣṇa conscious, about getting up in the morning and taking bath, where does it end? The point is is, who made women? Kṛṣṇa made women. And how do the women behave in the spiritual world? Right? So you have to see that nature. And to say is that there isn't, that this is just a construct that men... Men are so good that they can establish that? Are you kidding? You know.

So the whole point is is that, no, you have to speak on the principle and make the principle presented in a way that someone can appreciate it. That's what you do. If you simply go after that social thing and just say, 'Oh, it is time and all that,' then you can relativize everything, and relative means material. Absolute means it is real today, it was real before, it would be real in the future. Prabhupāda left the movement in 1970 because of this. He went to Japan and said, 'I am not going back, I am not coming back. You guys, I have taught you everything, society is yours, I am leaving.' Because of the relative thing that somebody, some Godbrother from India was writing to his devotee... I mean, through a devotee was trying to tell him, 'Oh, Prabhupāda saying this, but then, you know, there is other things, he is not giving all the...' So he relativized Prabhupāda, so that he could himself get a position. And Prabhupāda just said, 'Okay, I will go.'

So this whole thing of relativizing things that they don't see things in the nature of the Absolute, their vision is mundane. No ifs, no ands and no buts. And people don't come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness for another mundane perspective. Because whatever it is, our perspective will not be left enough, will not be right enough, and will not be in the middle enough. It's just some blasé thing that you kind-of... You know, it's just like we are talking about being professionals, right? Looking professional, dressing professional. And then they are wearing Crocs, right? Not that there is a problem with Crocs. But don't talk 'professional' and 'Crocs' in the same sentence. You know, 'Oh, we can't wear all this stuff, you know, it doesn't look good, we have to be more presentable.' Crocs are not presentable if you are talking about being professional and keeping up with guys in suits and this and that. Just for the devotees wearing, going around and... It matches. But to say, 'Oh, we have to be professional...' But that doesn't... That's not professional.

So that is the difficulty that comes, is that we have all these problems with these things, and so, no. You have to know what is what and know how to use the things properly. Then it has a meaning. But if you are not based on the principle... We are a descending process. That means, principle first, then detail. That is why people think Prabhupāda is speaking just basic stuff. You know, various persons, and this and that, inside and outside the movement, then they have the foolishness to think that what Prabhupāda is speaking is just basic, basic stuff and that if you want more advanced, you have to go to other people and other societies, and, you know, other books of the ācāryas, and all that. But the point is is, no, Prabhupāda is speaking the fundamental principles, which are so simple that even a child can understand them. Then details comes out from there. But we are used to the inductive, where inductive means you give the basic to the kid, and then you get more and more detail as you go up, and so the finer the detail, that's the higher the philosophy. But then they don't know the principle. Like that example of where Prabhupāda was sitting there, and there was a professor there. He said, 'Who is God?' and the man said, 'Oh, that's a very difficult one, you know, there is so many things like that,' and he starts fluffing on like that. Prabhupāda turns to an eight-year-old Gurukula kid and goes, 'Who is God?' He says, 'Kṛṣṇa, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.' Then Prabhupāda turns back, because it was an Indian gentleman, and he turns to the Indian gentleman, he says, 'Was that so difficult?' So that is the whole point, is that unless you are trained nicely in the.... That's why you put so much emphasis here. You are going to have leadership, if you don't know this philosophy in principle in this way, you will have problems. And you see, those who know the philosophy like this, their zones don't have problems, they are flourishing. And the ones that don't see like this, that see with these modern, leftist kind-of things - they have problems. Because for us it is not about right and left. We have our path, we just stick to our path. If I say leftist, it is because it's off the path to the left.

Prabhu (2):Actually it is relative, I think, that it is actually śūnyvāda, and... Which Prabhupāda came to fight.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Because then you relativize them also. But if you do that, they will become very, very angry, 'You are non-cooperative and you are insulting and you are uncultured, and...' you know, all this and that. But they can do it to Prabhupāda and it is fine. You know, that paper you were talking about, that is the opening statement, the first point of the nine points is that the GBC, their purpose is to carry out the will of the Founder-Ācārya, that's their only business. All the other stuff that is mentioned - that's all tactical and technical details, and even some of those things I think he may have changed because he is talking there about voting for the GBC. But then later I remember always hearing that Prabhupāda said GBC is for life. Because he mentioned that, but that was just the start of it, but it didn't seem to get any traction, so it didn't happen. But that point there is, that doesn't change. That doesn't change then and it doesn't change today. The detail can change: you vote for them, you don't vote for them - that is a detail. But the principle, that is always there, the principle is eternal, it is always applicable. And the detail is then secondary, it is supportive. That's why we say, primary - these things don't change. Secondary - that's constantly changing. Even in the temple, today, what you are doing this week, you may find next week or after a few months you have to do something different. It is summertime - you are going to run the restaurant one way, it becomes winter, you are going to run it differently. Details change. Yeah? All right?

Prabhu (2):Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa!

Prabhu (1): Pātri Prabhu? [indistinct]

Prabhu (3): Unstable connection here. Thank you, Mahārāja, very much. I had several questions, but I will just... I really wanted to hear maybe a little bit elaboration on these wonderful, nice points. You said that if you want to understand the philosophy or any tattva, you have to ask them five questions: 1.Who am I? 2. Who is God? 3. What is our sambandha? 4. What is the sādhana? and 5. What is the goal? Basically. And you said that the same principle, which is pretty much okay, can be applied in organization and in building community, whatever, in management. So to... In our case, in Nepal, for example, me personally, I traveled in many, many communities all over the world, and I spoke with the leaders in Christian communities, Buddhist communities, or maybe even Auroville(?), or whatever, our Kṛṣṇa conscious communities from Hungary to Śaranāgati and Gīta-nāgarī, and, basically, I collected the points how to put things together, as I spoke yesterday, HOLD, how to hold things together. To create Home Of Love and Devotion. And we came here, and I make kind-of general principles collecting the essence from everyone, and we make kind-of constitution for our community, and all the leaders signed in, and we discuss together. And in our case, we made seven categories of members of our community, you can say, ISKCON: those were missionaries, those were well-wishers, they are friends, they are visitors, they are guests, they are whatever. And so, we are including them according to their commitment, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante. So in your case, you said it is very important to understand who am I in perspective to organization, who am I in organization? What is my place? What is my level of dedication to the mission etc, what is the goal we are pursuing, prema-bhakti? But I wanted to ask you a question: what if some senior devotees, for example, let's say in our context, in spiritual context, they are spiritual devotees, very wonderful, old devotees, maybe not necessarily advanced devotees, but they are really very old devotees, and since the time immemorial staying. But they are kind-of strong 'no-no,' challenging all the time, though they may be informationally knowledgeable, but not producing any efficient and effective results in terms of organization. But they are demanding their position in organization, right? And always they are complaining and whatever, all the time. 'By the way man is fool, when it's hot he wants cool, when it's cool he wants hot, he always wants what is not.' All the... So I technically call them dukhī-club. They are coming together and making some club, they call themselves and think themselves be advanced and 'we know everything.' But as a practical result, Prabhupāda says, is phalena paricīyate, by result I can see they can't produce anything, neither they can make other devotees, though they have so much big head of information and Sanskrit ślokas. What is their position? How, in terms of management and keeping them together, what is the place for them in structure, you can say, how we can include them? Or should we include them? If we have to include them, how to see these things practically?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: You see that you always have this position, it is there, it is always there. It's like in the corporate world they make them executive vice presidents. Right? There is maybe 50 of them, they have... You know, you respect them, but they have no authority or power. So, in other words, everybody should deal with them because that is the etiquette, but it doesn't mean that you have to take seriously what they say about how you are managing. You are the manager, you do. If they say something spiritual and give a good point, you take it. But if they want to get into details, 'You should do this and that,' if you have seen it doesn't work and you are not like that, you just nod your head, say 'Yes, yes,' and when they go away you do whatever you want. It says that right there in 7th Canto, Nārada Muni's instructions to  Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja. You are always going to have family members and close things that are going to have their own ideas, and you just smile and, 'Yes, yes,' and then do whatever needs to be done. You know, you are always going to have. But the etiquette is always there. But the point is is, that etiquette is that as a senior devotee. It's not that it means... That's the difficulty in the Western kind-of environment, from that influence, is that 'If I have respect in any area, I have respect in all areas.' It's just like 'I am the manager, therefore I know everything.' You know, sometimes you end up, you have a president like that, that he won't listen to anybody because he is the president, even though other people are actually more expert in a particular area, he won't listen to them because he says 'I am the president, why I have to listen to you? I am in charge.' So it is the same kind of principle. So if you are respecting them because they are senior, then they think they can tell you what to do on everything. No. Like that. Point is this, they are there, they may give a nice class on something or come for a festival and give a class on, you know, Rāmacandra's pastime, or whatever it is, do all these nice things. But when it comes to the management, it is none of their business. You don't have to tell them that, but you just... Like this and just with time they will kind-of do their own thing. And you see that others know you have the respect and deal nicely, but the point is is, they are not the one in charge of this. You have to listen to your authority. Right? So if a devotee has been listening to these guys and he gets bewildered, you tell him, 'He is not your authority. He may give a class, he is talking about if Kṛṣṇa is God or not - that you can listen to. But what you are supposed to do, you have a department head, you listen to him. He is not in the position of authority, so why are you listening to him about management details?' It's like we said, you also have, let's say, in driving, I don't know if you have the saying, but in in English we have the saying 'backseat driver.' You know, you are driving the car, and then the typical is like, let's say, your mother-in-law or something is in the back seat? They are saying, 'Oh, you are going too fast! Oh, watch out for this! Oh, you are going there?' They are just telling you everything about driving, but they themselves can't drive, like that. So it is called a backseat driver, this is, it's not important.

So etiquette is there, you behave nicely, but at the same time is that's part of the thing. We may say, 'Why do I have to do it? It's not efficient,' but the point is is, relationships are the important element. For Kṛṣṇa the relationships are important. So, therefore, then we are humble and we deal nicely if they are senior, but it doesn't mean that they are in charge. You are in charge. If you are the president, you are in charge, they are not in charge. But if they can tell you, you know, 'Why aren't you chanting your rounds?' or this or that, that is another thing. But telling you how to manage your temple - that is not their position at all. But that is the difficulty with kind-of the Western cultural thing, is that if you have any authority, you have authority over everything, everywhere. But let's say, like in the academy, okay, say, let's say, someone is a chemist, he is a PhD in chemistry. Can he say one thing about biology? No. If they are having, let's say, a conference and all the PhDs in biology are coming, he can't come and speak. So you have your area, you can speak there - that's it. So that's the problem, is we have this false idea, is that if I am senior I can talk on anything. But no, you talk in your area that you know. And since they haven't proven that they have done that... Because otherwise then go out and open it... You don't like it - go open a temple. Why, there is no other... Kathmandu is the only place in Nepal where there is people? You go outside that and it's just like, you know, nobody is there? One or two sherpas are there on K2 and that's it, otherwise then out there is nobody? Go out and open your own temple! 'No, no, but no facility, no this, no that,' he says. How does everybody else...? That is how everybody else did. You go there, you find people, you make it happen. Otherwise be there, be happy and all that and leave the devotees alone. Otherwise then there will be problems. And if you have to tell them, you tell them nicely, speak nicely and tell them, 'We won't tolerate that you are trying to create politics here against... With the devotees, get these devotees against those devotees, it's not accepted. You are supposed to be a senior vaiṣṇava. So are you a senior vaiṣṇava or are you a politician? If you are a senior vaiṣṇava, we respect you as that. You are a politician, then now and then we have a problem.'

Prabhu (3): Yes, Mahārāja, thank you. So that's what actually exactly what we have to do. And we practically for the last 10 years, for example, to sum this kind-of devotees, I said, 'Okay, if you want your own kṣetra then why don't you show that you can do?' Very nice, wonderful example of this backseat driver, really I like it. Because... And then we gave them the space, we give them piece of cake, you make your own... We gave them land, we, you know, we gave everything, funds give, and they couldn't do anything in 10 years, and then still they say... want to keep their upper hand and tell us what to do.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah, but you just tell them, 'First you do there then you tell us... First make yours as successful as what we are doing or more, then you tell us what to do.' That was Prabhupāda's position, is that unless you can do what they can do, don't comment on what they are doing. He would make that all the time on temple presidents, somebody, 'Oh, he is not a good temple president...' like that. 'Are you a temple president? Have you done it?' And so, if you haven't then don't comment. Otherwise, everybody has got an opinion. There is also a saying in English that opinions are like belly buttons. You know belly button, navel? Everybody has got one. So that's the point - everybody has got an opinion. I mean, if we want to know opinion about ISKCON, we could go outside the front gate here and talk to all the rickshaw walas. I am sure we could get a 100 page document on all the things they have to say and what we should do and how we should do it. Means, just like, let's say, you go into a... Typical cliché is you go into a pub, you know, pub? The places that sell alcohol and that the men go after work and hang out there and stuff like that. So now when all those men get together, and after one or two beers they all are commenting on how the government should do things, right? That means, in their conversation they have got it worked out, the whole world is perfectly set in order by their conversation, right? Or another thing is that, let's say, the sports are on and there is a game going on, a cricket match or football, that, 'Oh, you should have done this! Why did he do that? These guys are so useless!' And the guy couldn't even, you know... You threw a ball at him, he would get hit in the head. So that's the thing, is when it comes to opinions, everybody has got them. So the point is is, they have to learn that. But if there is no one there to tell them to be quiet, then you just have to tolerate it and figure out how to make it so they create the least disturbance possible, and you can engage them maximum in doing something that is valuable for their advancement and that it benefits others.

Prabhu (3): Yes, Mahārāja, very nice!

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Okay.

Prabhu (3): And in that seven... I just mentioned that we make the list of seven categories of members of our community because it's 'common unity' - community. And, in fact, first three levels, like missionaries, those who mānasa, deho, geho, jo kichu mor, everything actually, completely brahmacārīs or gṛhasthas, those who are 100 percent in the mission. Second is well-wisher, those who stepped down, went to gṛhastha life, whatever, but they are giving 50-60 percent time to the mission, preaching, temple, whatever. Third one, life members, but active life members - 16 rounds, four principles and also actively involved - only these three categories, they have power of voice and give advice. And those who are less - friends and those who are not involved, coming once in a year in Janmāṣṭamī and giving 10 rupees of donations, and they got initiation...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: They only come at prasāda time.

Prabhu (3): Yeah, so correct, on the Saturday and also for prasādam, and they got initiation in previous Dvāpara-yuga, so... But they think themselves that they are very senior, but they are giving advice from backseat of the car, and we used to say, 'Well, thank you very much, very nice advice, we will ask for advice when we need it. So you keep it on car parking with you, but when we need we'll ask for advice.' Very politely we are accepting only advice from three categories of people: those who are ye yathā māṁ prapadyante, or even they may be not perfect in śāstra, or even initiated five years ago, but they are fully giving their life. So better I will find out the advice of the dedicated person than some theory from the sky. So that's why our principles, I have perfectly used to... Head in the sky is nice, but nice to keep the legs on the ground. So those who are hands-on people... So better we can have practical advice for those who can follow this advice and walking their talking, not just simply speaking. Thank you, Mahārāja, nice example of the sports. People, they can win Olympic Games from TV.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah, yeah, sitting there drinking their beer, they can. Everything has been won. All gold, all gold.

Prabhu (1): It's actually in Finnish time 10:30.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Oh, okay.

Prabhu (1): So, Līlāśuka, are you okay we continue tomorrow with your question and the...

Prabhu (4): Yeah, of course, of course, perfectly fine.

Prabhu (1): Great, great. Jaya!

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Jaya!

Om Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare

Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

Śrīla Prabhupāda kī jaya!

Prabhu (1): Jaya! Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Mahārāja kī jaya! Jaya Nitāi-Gaura premānande Hari Hari bol!

Vedic Leadership and Management Summer Seminar Part 3, given as Zoom Conference on 14 July 2021 with ISKCON leaders