Preaching in New Vraja Dhāma, Hungary. Photo courtesy of Madirekṣana dd

Reading from Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: "[1.16.19] Dharma [in the form of a bull] asked: Madam, are you not hale and hearty? Why are you covered with the shadow of grief? It appears by your face that you have become black. Are you suffering from some internal disease, or are you thinking of some relative who is away in a distant place?


The people of the world in this Age of Kali are always full of anxieties. Everyone is diseased with some kind of ailment. From the very faces of the people of this age, one can find out the index of the mind. Everyone feels the absence of his relative who is away from home. The particular symptom of the Age of Kali is that no family is now blessed to live together. To earn a livelihood, the father lives at a place far away from the son, or the wife lives far away from the husband and so on. There are sufferings from internal diseases, separation from those near and dear, and anxieties for maintaining the status quo. These are but some important factors which make the people of this age always unhappy."

His Holiness Bhaktividyā Pūrṇa Svāmī Mahārāja: So, you can see is that Prabhupāda is giving an essential point here of the Kali-yuga, and so these effects here, these symptoms that you see. So, of course, it is coming from the principle of not following the Vedic culture, the less they follow the more that this comes, but even if they are following they will still have these problems because of the mentality. So we see is that these aspects: anxieties, disease and being separated from those that one wants to be close to, you know, the family and friends and everything like that. So these are just... And then the last one he mentions about that anxiety from maintaining the status quo. So these are symptoms of Kali-yuga, and we always have to be careful to, one, consider that things are taken care of properly, but also at the same time is that we have to see that we don't get caught up in these. Does that make sense? Disease will be there, it's just the nature of the Yuga, but life goes on; we have to be Kṛṣṇa conscious, things just go on. The family is being broken up, we try as much as possible to keep things together, we should understand is that this is given as the effect. We should understand that previously families were together, so this is something that you try to see that that works. Does that make sense? It's not...

So why aren't families together? It is because of efficiency, right? So much of the talk today is just about being practical, being efficient, being effective. But that means, the work itself, the generation of economics is taken as more important and more prominent than the family, right? The whole idea of family life is to spend that time together and become Kṛṣṇa conscious. So then the difficulty comes is that the anxieties come up because the families are not together. They are not able to interact, they are not able... So in this way then if there is attachment it will get in the way of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Does that make sense? So that is the whole idea, is that the gṛhasthas should be... The idea is, they are best if they are together. In other ages they could be. Like you see, in traditional business communities  and that in India, then the ground floor was the public level. Like now is that you have an area where you live that is private, it is a suburb, everyone just lives there, there is no businesses, the business is somewhere else. So previously if you are in the city environment, the ground floor - that is the public environment, and what is upstairs, that's the private. So you lived upstairs, your business was on the ground floor. So your commute to work meant walking down the stairs. So that means... Yes

Prabhu (1): Mahārāja, like in India, also in Vietnam I have seen...

HH BVPS Mahārāja: Yeah, you see it in so many places. Even old cities it's like that. Some of the old, old cities that go back hundreds of years, it's just, you see that aspect. But the point is is, previously things were closer. But now the way it is arranged that you want to live, and you want to live in nice place, so you have to be two hours out of the city, and then you have to commute in two hours and out two hours, and then eight hours... So that's twelve hours. Even if it is one hour commute, it's 10 hours. So just like this families are broken up so much. Does that make sense? So, in other words, it is not about family, it is about being Kṛṣṇa conscious, but the point is is, family life means it is about these aspects of being together, that experience. So it has to be considered in the arrangement of things. Does that make sense?

Another aspect to the thing is that maintenance of this status quo. See, in other ages you just did your duties and people, everyone did their duties, and so then naturally the status quo is established by the performance of duties. But nowadays status quo is a separate endeavor, you know, how you dress, what you drive, where you live, all these different kinds of things that creates the status that may have nothing really to do with your work and other things like that. So we have to be careful ourselves not to get caught up in this. Because sometimes it is thought, 'Oh, if we do this it will be more prestigious,' and this and that. But the point is is, people turn to Kṛṣṇa consciousness not for prestige. They turn because it has answers that their prestige doesn't address. So we have to be very careful we don't get caught up by these. Means, we do things nicely, we do things... By nature we do things very properly: we are clean, we are orderly, we do things scheduled because we are functioning in the Pañcarātrika environment, so we see that everything is kept very nice for the Deities and everything works like that. That, those qualities themselves already it will put you into culturally the prestigious environment. Because those who are in a established prestigious environment, they are clean, they are tidy, they are orderly, and they do things on time. Does that make sense? So we are doing it for Kṛṣṇa, and as a by-product the prestige aspect is there, but we are not worried about that. So we have to be very careful that we don't get caught up in it like the karmīs because that's the cause of their anxiety: it is prestige, another thing that breaks up the families, because it's prestige. Because you could just work your normal hours, like that, but if you do those extra times, like that, then it will move you up in the company and you will get a better facilities and this... It means you'll get... It's just like, let us say, 'Oh, but if we do this, then when I go for these, traveling for the company, then, you know, they'll send me in business or first-class.' But that has zero effect on the family. Do you understand? You are more time away from the family and they give you a nice facility for being away from the family, but it doesn't do anything for the family. Maybe you get more money, but when do you spend it? Right? You have money, you spend it with the family, but you are not with the family, so how do you spend it? Do you understand?

So one has to be very careful that these Kali-yuga elements... These are Kali-yuga elements. We take it that, 'No, this is modern society.' It has already been mentioned 5,000 years ago that this is what Kali-yuga does, and this was at the beginning of Kali-yuga, this is Parīkṣit Mahārāja, right? So it is just the way it works, it's not that it's different. It's not that the modern is something unique and special and it has never been like this. It has always been like this. Every Kali-yuga is like this. And in the other three they don't have that anxiety. That's why it says that when you have the mission of Lord Caitanya during the ten thousand years, there will be a Golden Age. So that means these anxieties will go because people don't worry about these things, right? They are comfortable. Because if you are not worried about status quo then you are comfortable to be with the family and just do things that work. But if it is a matter of prestige and everybody has got to do that, then that is at the expense of the family. And then the more the anxiety, the more the disease. So even then you can't enjoy yourself. Do you understand? So we have to be...

Why we are mentioning this, is because being in the administrative area then you have to see that we don't get caught up in that same element of just being... That being practical is God. Do you understand? Practicalness, yes, is Kṛṣṇa, but you also have to understand that He as a person is also Kṛṣṇa. Does that make sense? Just being practical, being efficient: these are important, but these are qualities of Brahman, they are not qualities of Bhagavān. He has the qualities, but we don't see that it's about being practical. It is about relationship. So for Kṛṣṇa, spending time with the devotees - that is what is important. Just getting things done, He is already doing that as Paramātmā, and He is not with the devotees, that's why it is considered a lower level. He is creating this whole creation just by breathing, He maintains it, He regulates it, He controls it. He is the witness, He is the judge, He is the efficient cause - I mean, everything gets done because of Him, but that's not of interest to Him. It says, He maintains the material creation with one millionth of a millionth portion of His potency. So that means, it is 1/4 by volume of the total creation, so 3/4 is in the spiritual world and 1/4 is the material world. But He maintains that one quarter by one millionth of a one millionth of His potency, that's all it takes to... You know, what does it take to breathe in, breathe out?

So we see is, for Kṛṣṇa the aspect of relationships based on the connection with Him - that's what's important. So we always have to see is: this is what is being managed. You are managing that devotees are getting a Kṛṣṇa conscious experience - that is what is being managed. Just getting things efficiently done, status quo, all these different things like that - that's not actually that.... Those are the lowest level of the management, that's the mechanical side. The actual main thing is the consideration of the whole picture and how the whole thing holds together. Does that make sense? This makes the difference between leadership and management. Because you have to remember, you can hire managers, right? Isn't it? Means, you can put out an ad and hire managers. Can you put out an ad for leaders? Can you hire a leader? It doesn't exist. So this is the difference. So the examples we will see here, Parīkṣit Mahārāja, Arjuna, the Pāndavas, all these great personalities -  they are leaders because that is the main thing. That's the real thing, leadership is the real thing. Management is a skill, just like cooking or any other kind of art and science, making money, these are all skills, but the point is is to be a person that you inspire other people. Just like you look, politicians, are they inspiring anybody, personally? No. What about the big corporate businessmen? No. So that's the whole thing, is that if they are taken as your prominent element, but where is the inspiration? So they are not leaders, they are just managers. because it is not based on qualities, it is simply based on efficiency. They get control, they have money. So we have to be able to see the difference between management and leadership. If that is not appreciated then... It's no big deal. Does that make sense?

So, Prabhupāda is saying, 'These are some important factors which makes the people of this age always unhappy.' So then as leadership then you have to address these things. It's not... We are not family-centric. We are Kṛṣṇa-centric.

From Leadership Sanga, Helsinki Finland, Day 1, Part 1, ISKCON Helsinki, Finland. This passage starting at 6 mins.
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