Prabhu: Mahārāja, there is one quote from Cāṇakya Nīti, [indistinct], which says, fish, tortoise and birds bring up their young by means of sight, attention and touch, so do the saintly men afford protection to their associates by the same moves. And also, Mahārāja, you mentioned in the seminar on the Third Canto, Kapila's instructions to Devahūti, explaining that the brāhmanas, they protect by austerity, and kṣatriyas, they protect by physical power, and that the both of the power of protection comes from the Lord. I was thinking in this, sometimes there is preaching, or people think that spiritual master cannot give protection, or like this, that protection means only the physical one, that one physically supervises or talks, or does something on a practical physical level. But it seems to be, there is this spiritual aspect of protection, especially, specifically, I mean, for example, brāhmanas to the society. And the last example is, like Prabhupāda mentioned also on one devotee, 'You just stay in Vṛndāvana, then things will happen,' you know.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yes.

Prabhu: Not only  stay, but you will stay and chant and preach...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Right, right, yes, yes.

Prabhu: If you can this... Maybe like subtle, or sometimes even mystical aspect of protection of the spiritual persons, if you can explain it more?

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Oh, the spiritual, okay. See, the problem comes is because we have our spiritual nature and our spiritual form, but that becomes covered by this material form, right? And so, this material form, then it has material senses, so with these material senses we can't perceive the soul, nor can we perceive the Lord, right? So that means, we don't actually properly perceive His energies either. So, means, we are in ignorance, that is the meaning that everyone is under the avidyā-śakti, even the big, big sages and brāhmanas and all that: if they are not devotees, they are under a avidyā-śakti. They may be in the mode of goodness end of avidyā, but vidyā means to know the Lord. So, therefore, then since that is real protection, because you are doing something for somebody because the soul is benefited, that is the real protection, but if we identify with the body or only see things with the senses then we think, 'Unless someone is taking care of my personal environment  then I am not being protected.' But that is why the whole Varṇāśrama system is there. Because you can... People will say, 'Oh, no, we don't need all this, we are just devotees,' then why are they getting into bureaucracy? Why are they talking about community development? Why is there so much emphasis on the family units and, you know, the equality with the men and the women? All these are social issues, social, economic issues. So how do you take care of those in a balanced way? Only through Varṇāśrama. So, therefore, by getting rid of the idea of Varṇāśrama they have shot themselves in the foot. You have that saying?

Prabhu: Yep.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah. So they have simply shot themselves in the foot, and then because it doesn't work then you have to come up with more and more speculation on how to make it more and how to make it... You know, like that, and because... So it's like, it just keeps on going and going and going. So in the name of equality there is more and more differences and segregation, and in the name of freedom there is less and less that you can say and less and less that you can do. So it is going in the opposite... That is the mode of ignorance. The mode of ignorance means, religion becomes irreligion and irreligion becomes religion. So what you are not supposed to do - that's what you have to do, and what you are supposed to do, 'Oh, that is nonsense.' Like it was mentioned yesterday, 'Oh, these...' I think you mentioned that these religious groups, that they are dangerous. Why? Because then they give an authority that is above the government, like that.

Even if you just want to look scientifically, the modes of nature are above everybody. You can say whatever you like and then comes along a storm or an earthquake, and then, you know, so they are sitting there in parliament and then the chair there says, 'So, raise your hands, how many say that we can't be affected by earthquakes? So this earthquake, this is happening now, it can't have any effect on our people,' and everything like that. 'Raise the hands! Aye, okay it's passed, the earthquake can't have any effect,' right, as the building falls down around them?

So that's the thing, is that this is the mode of ignorance. And so then that's why the prayer, oṁ ajñāna timirāndhasya jñānāñjana-śalākayā, means it is the knowledge. So, therefore, the brāhmanas by the teaching, of course, you hear, but by them doing their austerities and their sādhana, that creates a pure environment in which others may become inspired. Means, if you have someone who is... In other words, if you have someone who is very saintly... It's like Haridāsa Ṭhākura, and then there is that prostitute, she became elevated to the point where she went from being a prostitute to being a paramahaṁsa in three days. While on the other end of the scale you have someone like Rasputin, you don't hear of anybody becoming purified by his association, right? He is definitely not famous for that.

So that's the whole thing, is when that is there, it works. So that's why that austerity, those things, that is what is then appreciated. And when that is done then it works, and since we are doing it for Kṛṣṇa, it is not about the austerity, it is about that things are being done for Kṛṣṇa, so one is living a simple lifestyle for Kṛṣṇa. And so, then that's why then that works very nicely. So that's why then Prabhupāda said, just by them being there, because the person themselves was a very strong leader and sādhaka and that, and so just by being there everyone would tend to be more serious about their sādhana and more disciplined, just by sitting there. And especially at that time you had the two of them sitting there, so one was in the Gurukula and the other was sitting there that they would have the influence over the administration because they were the GBC. And so, between the two of them the place was running super smooth and very nice program and everything like that. But because of the subtlety then there is always that doubt, 'Well, how much effect... I don't see things happening.' So for people who can only function on seeing things happen, then you push them that they are getting a result that can be seen. But as they do that in Kṛṣṇa's service, they start to become purified, so that besides just seeing that result they also see the devotional benefit.

So that's then the whole point of the... Between the strategic and the operational, that cooperation is that they can see what will work best to engage individuals according to their nature in Kṛṣṇa's service, so that you are getting the maximum benefit for the individual and the maximum benefit for the society, so that that benefits others. So when you benefit the society you benefit others. So the individual should get benefit and they should be adding benefit for others. And if not, if they are just sitting in their home, at least they are getting benefit, if they are just a friend of Kṛṣṇa or something like that, just considering themselves part of the movement, but not taking so much seriousness of the society. Like that. So they are getting benefit. But then as they come in more and they take the association more seriously and the practice, then they become part of the society. And then there will be the individuals who are running the projects and all that, then they will be directly part of the institution, means, the legal entity. Because ISKCON means the whole thing, but at the same time there is the legal entity that just means the temple and those officers and those devotees, it doesn't mean the community, unless the community is involved. Like what we said, in Chowpatty, then the community runs the temple. So those ones who are doing that then they are also officers of ISKCON, right?

Prabhu: Yeah.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: So one is a member of ISKCON meaning that they are part of the society, but it doesn't mean that they are a legal member. Just like the church, you have the church and the people involved there, then if there is something wrong with the church, legal things only happen to them, they don't happen... It's not that a case comes up with that local church and then therefore everybody in the country can be put in jail. No, you can only go after those persons that are legally there. So this balance has to be understood, this is also not a clear point.

So these social things aren't understood, Varṇāśrama is not understood, and so then you have that problem, that you don't know how it all fits together. And if you don't know how it fits together, then it is a problem. So that's why then it starts out... Means, let's say, if you want to do a jigsaw puzzle, one of the first things that they tell you is, find the four corners. And then get the corners in place, then you start around the edges to connect those corners and that, then you fill in the middle. So that's the thing, you get the brāhmanas, you get this knowledge, then who is doing administration, who is doing this and that, then you can fill it in. Means, if you don't have the GBC, you don't have the temple president, you don't have his officers and you don't have the temple devotees down there, then how do you figure out now how to develop? Right? This guy knows how to cook, this guy is  good at the book distribution, this guy knows how to do this and that. And so, then you put it together and now you have your temple and you expand. You can't expand, let's say, doing a cultural program, if you don't have anybody who can sing and dance and do dramas and those, right? Right. But you can have a nice little, just a kīrtana and worship the Deities and just a simple thing. That's the point, is that it is so... Because the principle is the main, it is so easy and simple that anybody anywhere can run a bona fide full program. And then if you have others that you can expand from that and you have a dance, you have a drama, you have some other things, great! It just gets more. But that depends on what you have, then you fill it in. And then you have that person, then you do that. When you don't have that person, either you find another one if you can or you focus on something else. So that's the meaning of the time, place and circumstance. Circumstance means, who do you have? What can you do, what can the others do? And then, of course, time and place, in that field what is available, then you can do something. So it works.

It all, that is the beauty of the Vedic system - it is all perfectly integrated. So like that we can be talking, we are talking strategic planning, we are taking that as a focus, but actually to make it work we have to discuss Varṇāśrama, the philosophy, pure devotional service, relationship, proper qualities of devotees, all that to make it work. Does that make sense? But if we are just having a class on the philosophy, you have to discuss all these same things anyway. So that's why you see, Prabhupāda in his purports, everything that we are going to talk about here is all in his books. So, if he is talking about Pṛthu Mahāraja and that, then you are going to hear a lot about administration. You are hearing about Kardama Muni, then you are hearing about the āśrama aspect and and how he is developing, how he is going from a brahmacārī through gṛhasta and then to renunciation. Does that make sense? So you are always going to hear about that. Vidura and Maitreya, they are talking about the creation, how it all works, how it is all connected to Kṛṣṇa.

So that's the whole thing, is it is a perfect system because Kṛṣṇa is perfect and complete and everything that comes from Him is perfect and complete. You just have to accept Kṛṣṇa and how it is all coming from Him, then it becomes perfect and complete. But if we try to avoid that, leave something out, saying, 'Oh, Varṇāśrama is mundane,' and bureaucracy is spiritual? You know, when did that happen? Daivī- varṇāśrama lead by the brāhmanas and kṣatriyas, and we are going to add bureaucracy, which basically means śūdras controlled by vaiśyas, and somehow or another that can be engaged in Kṛṣṇa's service? You know, it is just like when the Ācāryas talk about yukta-vairāgya, that means engaging your body, mind and words in the Lord's service. So whatever your nature is, that's what you engage. In other words, according to your position in Varṇāśrama you engage in Kṛṣṇa's service. Yes, sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo... [ŚB 1.2.6]. But it is taken, 'Oh, no, this all, this Vedic - this is all mundane.' So what is yukta-vairāgya? Using anything that is not Vedic in Kṛṣṇa's service. Means, we have our phone, you see, 'I have this phone, that's yukta-vairāgya.' You know as soon as you say, 'Oh why aren't you doing that stuff?' 'So, yukta-vairāgya, you are not using planes? You are not using phones? You don't use the internet?' Do you ever hear any other point made? No, I haven't heard any other point in the last 40 years, but that is the only thing that they ever say. But it is about your body, it starts there. Means, how do you use the phone if you don't use your hand and your eyes and your brain?

So, therefore, the whole thing is that, it means engaging yourself, whatever is that conditioning, in Kṛṣṇa's service - that is yukta-vairāgya. So that's the whole thing is that, you know... And if they do use the Vedic, then they take all these aparā-vidyās, or these mundane Vedic knowledge, and because it is Vedic it is automatically spiritual - like astronomy, or Āyurveda, these things - no it's not. Bhāgavatam - that is spiritual, everything else is in support of that. All the other branches of Vedic knowledge, if they are in line with Bhāgavatam then it is useful in Daivī-varṇāśrama. If they are not, we don't care. That's how we can go on and preach, even though no cultural aspects are necessarily applied, but people say, 'Oh, we are uncultured' and that. That's because... The more you are Kṛṣṇa conscious, then you can properly use the culture. But if you think you are going to be cultured without Kṛṣṇa, I don't think so, you are not going to be any more cultured than you were before you joined, that seed, it is not going to be anymore. Means, were you going to operas and listening to Beethoven and all that before you joined? If not, you are not going to get more cultural now. Did you appreciate going out and from whatever it is you ate, but going to a restaurant that served Polish food or Mexican food, or German food or this or that? If you did then you can appreciate across, if you didn't you are not going to like Indian food now.

And so, you see that, they are talking culture and refinement, but they are only talking the same thing that they talked 50 years ago: be nice, be good. We have to remember, communes, you know commune, where everyone lives? How did that work out in Israel? They set it up with communes, they are not running now, they all have to... They can't make money, so they are all doing business and that. Otherwise they can't function, so they have to make it more... They have another name for it when everyone kind-of does their own thing, but there is a tight community, so it's more of a co-op, like that, they've gone into that. But everybody does their own thing. So these more kind-of socialistic tendencies, they are there in the Vedic system, but if you think that... Means, you don't manage the place by socialism, socialism is the benefiting the common person, but you make your money through business  and you manage through administration, not through socialism. And the philosophy and all that, the intellectual has to be applied. And without administration how do you apply it? If there is not a safe environment, how do you apply it? So you have to combine all these together, and that is the Vedic system. So if one has been focusing on it, not focusing, but appreciative of this over the last 40 years, that people would know how to use it. But if you have been opposing it for 40 years because 'We are not this body, Prabhu, we are the soul,' then, then what? You can't teach, you know, how you say? You can't teach old swans new tricks. Is that okay?

Prabhu: Yes, thank you Mahārāja, thank you very much! Hare Kṛṣṇa.

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Hare Kṛṣṇa. So that means that... Just directly on the thing, just one point, is that... In other words, you are always thinking about it, that will prosper the thing. Because you are thinking about it, therefore then those environments you are going to see. It is just like, you have done cooking? Much? Okay, so now if someone is actually good at cooking, why they are consistently good at cooking? Why? Because they are always meditating on what they are cooking. Let's say, they are doing something, they put something in the pot, they walk away from the pot to get something, get something out of the fridge or cut something, they are meditating on the cooking, they can tell when it needs to be stirred. They are in the other room, they can tell: time to go back and stir. And so, they never burn anything. The guy that burns stuff is the guy that walks off and doesn't come back, right? And then when they come back, they are so surprised. There is no meditation, right?

And then by touch... By sight, you are always seeing, like the kids are playing and that, you are always seeing what they are doing. You are seeing, are they getting too near the stairs or [indistinct]? And if they go toward that they can fall over. So by seeing you are seeing what is going on. And then by touch, you are there, so you are reassuring and all those kind-of things like that. Like I think there was something done, some study done on monkeys, I am not sure which monkey, but I think it was chimpanzees, if you don't touch the babies, they don't actually grow, they don't physically grow unless they are being touched, they just stay small because, you know... But because someone is touching it, like that. So the whole point is is, through these three things, you are meditating on, let's say, your preaching, how preaching will go on, and then you are seeing where are the opportunities, how it's going like that, and you are actually involved with those things that are there, who is preaching and that - that's how everything goes. So being a temple president, being a GBC, being that, you have to use all these three. And the better you can use... So the higher up you go, the more then the meditation and the touch works, I mean, the meditation and the sight works, because just by seeing they can see. On the bottom then they physically have to take their skill and use it, and only when they use it then you get something. But you see, as you go up then more sight than that, but then the meditation is the top. So then you... Like that. Like the turtle sits in the ocean meditating on the eggs, they hatch, and what happens when they hatch? Those little baby turtles run to the sea. You know they go and find, they find where their parents are because of the meditation. So that's why then all this has to be there.

So this whole thing of, like what you said in the beginning, that the guru is going to protect us, or the temple is, by touch, then it is part, but it has its limitation. And so that's the thing, they expect you to do everything for them and all that, but no. That's why in Varṇāśrama you have all these things, that's why there is marriage, there is community, the family takes care, then the group of families, they take care. Someone has a problem, someone gets sick, they can't take care of the family, the other families step in and help and all that, until the person has got their health back - that's what it is all for. So all these social things are there for the purpose of just things run smoothly, so you can be Kṛṣṇa conscious. So one has to understand the whole thing and how it has to go back to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, then all these things...

Like this thing: is it community or temple? Community or temple? You know, we can't have both. What do you mean? What are they talking about? The temple is the center of the community. It is like in India you have Udupi and it is the center of the town. I don't know if they still do it, but they used to do it when we used to go there, the Deity eats at noon, and when He has finished eating or a little bit before that, they they light a cannon, it makes a big boom, then everybody knows, okay, then Udupi Kṛṣṇa has eaten, now they will eat their lunch. Otherwise then in that area no one eats lunch before the Deity has eaten. So I mean, the temple... Just like I remember sitting in, I was in a shop in Jaipur, I am not sure when, 1990s or 1980s or something, sitting in a shop, looking at some stuff, like that. And  suddenly the guy said, 'You have to excuse us, we are going for darśana, it is seven o'clock.' And they got up and left the shop, we are there right there, they could... You stay - nice, if you don't... Some, because they have a smaller shop, they go out, lock the door, go for darśana, go for the āratika, āratika is over, they come back, open the shop and stay there until 10 o'clock. But Maṅgala-āratika and evening āratika, that everybody goes. So that's the whole thing, is the community thing, it is around the Deity. So how can you not have both? So this idea is 'one or the other,' you might start with one and then... Just like Chowpatty started with community, it actually started with three people, you know, Mahārāja and one couple, and then from there is more, and then you had community, and then they made the temple and now they have one of the best temples as far as made in the movement. But at the same time is, there is only like 120 people living in the temple and the other... How you say? What you call it? Fifteen thousand people, they live in their homes and stuff like that. So, one has to see is, it all goes together, but it's such a perfect system, it can have any blend and balance in that, depending on what's there, it's so perfectly individual. But as soon as it is said, 'Oh, no, but if you had this, it wouldn't work,' because you would adjust it for that. But then as soon as, 'Oh, we can adjust, we'll adjust everything! You know, why God... Why Kṛṣṇa has to be God, why not my baby?' Ever seen Hindus? 'Oh, baby is God,' you know, it's like, hey, come on. We've had enough Hindus around here. Is that okay?

Excerpt from Vedic Leadership and Management Summer Seminar Part 5, given as Zoom Conference with ISKCON leaders

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