The following is a class given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaja on December 15th 1981 in Bombay, India.
So, a lot of people take the opportunity to go out for some tour.
Jayapataka Swami: So you could organize in the future considering that. But I was very pleased to hear that tonight that there was a meeting so they asked me to come. On one occasion in the past I was able to come, that was just before the Aim of All Faiths meeting. At that time there was the organization of meeting for that program and that was also a very successful program. And then, thereafter we were graced by Ambarish dasa, Alfred Ford and that was also appreciated by the newspapers and all the members, everyone.
Actually you are the most fortunate of all the uh, members of ISKCON because… some members are fortunate to have contributed and become part of our life member family, but they have not taken into their habit the daily sadhana of chanting or participating in the special mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Actually everyone is doing some dharma, there is no one who is not doing some dharma, hardly. Maybe a few, but in India generally everyone is doing something. But our Bhagavata has advised us that we should test our dharma to see whether it is fulfilling the requirement. That sloka is
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ
notpādayed yadi ratiṁ
śrama eva hi kevalam
dharmaḥ svanuṣṭhitaḥ puṁsāṁ viṣvaksena-kathāsu yaḥ. We perform our dharma towards the spiritual objective whether our dharma is being successful or not will be how much we are attracted to the katha regarding our Supreme Personal… the Supreme Personality of Godhead, our Lord of our life. To what extent are we becoming eager to hear those messages? That is called rati. Ratiman means ruci or the taste, the bhava, the ecstatic love. Rati means actual, spiritual happiness.
Everyone gets happiness when he eats good food, unless he is sick. People get happiness when they have nice company, when there is some nice function like this, people are getting some kind of happiness. But that happiness is not very rare. It is available. Even then it is lasting for only a small amount of time, and mainly we have to struggle and work to make our living, to make our ends meet, and then at the end sometimes we are having little bit of happiness through friendship, through family, through money, through some entertainment, like this.
So, people are generally very eager for that type of entertainment, that type of happiness. But in general, Indian people are very religious so if there is some vacation, they will think about going to some holy place, going to some religious function because that is the natural piety inborn within the Indian people, because this is the holy land where Krishna, where Rama, where Buddha, where Lord Caitanya where all so many avataras have appeared. Therefore this is known as Bharata Varsa. It is famous even in other planets as being the most holy place.
So as much as one is attracted by spiritual matters, especially hearing about the glories of the Lord from the mouth of pure devotees, that is considered to be the test whether one is becoming advanced. If one has not developed any attraction for serving or hearing or remembering the Lord, even though he is practicing some type of religious principle, whatever that may be, then the Bhagavata sloka says, srama eva hi kevalam. That means that it is simply an expenditure of energy for show or for nothing. There is no real benefit.
So that is the problem that in this particular age the various type of dharma, yagna, which were available in previous ages like meditation, homa yajna, temple puja, are very difficult to properly perform. Kalau tadhari kirtanat. In this Kali-yuga, the recommended process is Hari nama sankirtan, Hari kirtan. In Dvapara yuga, dvaparam-paricaryaya it was temple puja. Tretayam yajato mukhaih: Treta yuga was homa yajna and in Satya yuga it was dhyana. In this Kali yuga, kalau tad Hari kirtanat. The recommended process is Hari nama. Why? Because by chanting the name of Krishna one very quickly becomes attracted to hearing more about Krishna to serving Krishna, to hearing about Rama, serving Rama, in this way one becomes actually advanced in spiritual life. Whether a grhastha, whether a student, or whether a renounced person, that is the goal of religion.
At the time we leave this body, whatever we think of, that is where we go. What we will think of is what we are attracted to. If we are attracted to Krishna then we will go to Krishna, we will go to God, back to home, back to Godhead. If we are not attracted by the Supreme Personality, how we can go there? So that attraction that rathi, that type of love, bhalobhasa, or prema, priti, that is a very rare thing. So that is awakened by actually chanting, by performing this process of Krishna consciousness.
If another person, if anyone is not getting that attachment to Krishna, that means something is wrong. Something must be rectified in one’s spiritual practices. It is not that dharma should simply be anustthaan or a formality that we do like a ritual, without any result. There must also be result.
It is said that, just like when a healthy man and a healthy woman, husband and wife, combine then they produce a child. Similarly, if there is a bona fide guru and a bona fide listener or disciple, if there is a bona fide pathaka and a bona fide srota, speaker and hearer, then there will be an effect that will be spiritual jnan, that will be spiritual unnati or spiritual advancement. Therefore the scripture advises one should not hear about the glories of Krishna or Hari from lips of non-devotees.
śravaṇaṁ naiva kartavyaṁ
sarpocchiṣṭaṁ yathā payaḥ
They’re avaishnava. One who is not a devotee, if we hear from his lips Hari kathamrtam, this is bad. Why? It says it’s just like sarpa uchista. sarpa means snake like a cobra, uchista means what the snakes has eaten. If we have milk which is touched by the lips of a serpent that milk itself is visakto. So therefore to hear the glories of Krishna from someone who is not a devotee, that means he doesn’t believe in Krishna.
Sometimes very famous gurus, spiritual masters, sannyasis, who are not actually devotees of Krishna, they sometimes try to glorify Krishna. But if any pure devotee is present during that glorification, that glorification for him is like a sword in the heart. Just like the guru of Ramanujacharya told him from the shloka that Krishna’s beauty is like the beauty of the ass or the monkey, like that very rosy cheek, like… some example he gave. This caused Ramanujacharya to cry. But the… that sannyasi thought he was giving a very nice description of God, but he was using such unthinkable words that it was simply causing pain.
Sometimes great… so called great leaders in the spiritual field, you will hear them say, yes, Krishna was a great man. He was a very great man, He did so many things that were very wonderful. But if a devotee hears someone say that Krishna is a man, for him that is no compliment, that is no compliment, because Krishna is not a man. Krishna Himself is svayam-bhagavan, krsnastu-bhagavan svayam.
A man means we are born. We die. Krishna told Durga devi, Yoga-maya that “You go. You take birth in Yashoda-mayi’s garbhe, you arrange like this. I am going to take birth in Devaki’s womb, in the kala ghara, in the prison house of Kamsa.” He planned everything out. Man doesn’t plan like that. “He will be my mother, he will be my father, I will take birth here.” No, we do not plan like that. We are forced. God is not forced. He comes on his own sweet will. So that is why we should be careful about who we hear religious talks from.
If someone is not actually a devotee of the Lord, he may be a great speaker, he may be a great orator but that also… you will find many scientists, many philosophers, many politicians, they are wonderful orators. If they also turn religionists, they also will be great orators, quoting from the Vedas. The real test? Do they believe in Krishna, are they actually a devotee. Are they a vaisnava? Have they surrendered to the Lord? If not, they have no jurisdiction to speak on anything about (inaudible), and whatever they speak, that will be poison. That will be… some way or other that will be a discredit because they have no access to know who is Krishna, who is Rama, who is Vishnu. Just as it says in Gita na me bhakta vinasyati.
So first thing is to be a devotee. How to be a devotee? That has made very easy in this Kali yuga by simply chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Of course in Bangladesh most of the people do not follow any particular rules about eating and so on due to the situation they are in, more or less irregulated in different ways. Few people are following some system amongst the Hindus. Amongst the Muslims there is no question. But we are requesting everyone that at least they should chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Maha-Mantra. 108 times every day, that is our request. And we were very happy to find that thousands of people came forward to pledge that they would chant every day, taking up order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
Of course more advanced than that is when one not only chants, but also eats Krishna-prasada. So like that we are requesting people to first of all chant, second of all to try to take the prasada offered to Krishna, that prasada can be made in the house, it is not very difficult. We are eating every day. If we simply prepare it in a pure manner… Our Subaga and others can give the mantras that are there before a picture or before a Deity, the prasad is placed and one bows down and offers that bhoga to the Lord in a humble manner or even chants Hare Krishna and then takes. Is that very difficult?
So if one is like that taking prasad, chanting Hare Krishna and sometimes coming together like this and hearing Hari-katha from devotees only, not from some famous speakers or some other people who may not be devotee because they will give some very tantalizing, intellectual ideas which have nothing to do with devotional service or with loving God or with actually advancement in real understanding about who is Krishna. They will touch on other subjects.
So our goal is to fulfill Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s prediction. He predicted that prithvite ache yatha nagaradi grama, sarvatra pracara hoibe mora nama, that in every town and village all over the world, His message, His chanting will be performed. So in other parts of the world, some of us are going and also trying to encourage the preachers there and other parts.
Other great devotees they are all preaching. Just now we got a very good information from Vishnupada Bhavananda Goswami, who is also the Acarya here in Calcutta of our temple and in Mayapur that there is a very successful preaching in Australia, and a record of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of books were distributed to all of the Australians during this Christmas period. Not only in Australia but in New Zealand and in Indonesia.
So this is our goal that all over the world, that our philosophy, is not simply a sentiment or fanaticism, it is based upon scientific information from the Vedas. Therefore first thing we have to have books and those books we study and we practice. So the simple practice is chanting Hare Krishna and eating Krishna-prasada. After that other things come, especially chanting is a must for everyone. So actually when I… actually Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He came from Bengal and took sannyas at twenty-four. He went to Puri on the request of His mother. From Puri He went to South India and preached for eight years… six years.
Devotee: Six years in South India.
Jayapataka Swami: For six years, and I was wondering that where was the sign of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s pracara because although He was preaching there for six years, whether there is any symptom of that preaching. So I actually found that everywhere I went in Tamil Nadu, in Bangalore, and even when I was in Trivandrum in Kerala at the very tip that actually everyone has a great faith in the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. Even in Kerala at one of the Ayyapa temples which is a temple devoted to one form of deity connected with Durga and Subrahmanyam. There also they were chanting
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
After so many Malayalam kirtans, all of a sudden they started chanting Hare Krishna. There I found that also most of the people know this Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. Even in some villages we found some people are having similar drums and they are chanting also. But no one can remember that who brought this chanting to South India. We know in Bengal or in Orissa, here, everyone knows Caitanya Mahaprabhu, because He had so many followers who kept on preaching. But He alone went to South India. So everyone knows of Him from history books and so on but Ramanujacharya, Shankaracharya, the other acaryas… Madhvachayra, none of them chanting Hare Krishna so far that we know, it has not been recorded. So then, how is it that through the whole South India everywhere, people are chanting Hare Krishna? I take it, this must be the only sign of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s preaching that still today, so many people are having faith in Hare Krishna chanting due to the original preaching which He performed five hundred years ago.
So now we are trying to establish in India that in every town, in every city, in every community, in every school, in every college, in every village, that people should regularly chant Hare Krishna. In Bengal there was before Hari-sabha, in Orissa there was Bhagavata-tumis, in Assam they have of course the Shankardev, but they have the Naam ghara. In different places they have different programs of meeting together and doing these type of things. I don’t know what they have in U.P. or Rajasthan, other than they have beautiful temples. But this program of coming together and chanting is very easy.
Just like, we are having one group meeting every two weeks here. So like that now we have started in all the villages, in all the towns, in many of the universities a program to have the people meet once every week in their own place. Come together, chant Hare Krishna, read little bit from the Gita or Bhagavata and then discuss, sometimes write questions and our sadhus go there. That is called the Namahatta. Namahat is Bengali, actual Sanskrit is Namahatta. One of our big life members in Bombay, Brij Rattan Mota, he told me “What is this Namahatta? Hatta means hatau. That means get out!”
I said, “No, no, this is Sanskrit.”
He said “No no. I know Hindi and Sanskrit, I have never heard of this hatta.”
I said “No.” I said, “‘ta, ta, hatta. This is Sanskrit.”
So he took out his big dictionary and he paged through it and he looked up and he saw “hatta, accha, bazar.”
I said, “accha.”
“You are right!”
Jayapataka Swami: Hatta.
Jayapataka Swami: “hata”, they said, but “hatta” this… Sanskrit. Idea’s in the bazar, if a Muslim comes or a Hindu or a Christian or a Sudra or a Brahmana or whoever, if they come with their money and want to buy the goods, they can buy and take it away. No one is restricting in the bazar. (Inaudible) and so many things are being brought and sold, and so many things are being bought and taken away. So like this, Nityananda, He made a bazar for giving out Krishna prema, Krishna-nama. That bazar, anyone can take it, but what is the paisa, what is His fee? Denero? The money which that nama can be purchased by? That is Sraddha or faith, bhakti or devotion.
With those exchanges, then you can take as much name as you want, irregardless of your caste, creed, whatever you may be. No restriction.
So like that these namahattas in Bengal… two years ago we started, just… few months before Gaura Purnima. At Gaura Purnima we had 40, in a very short time. Last year Gaura Purnima we had about 150. I predicted that by the next year we would double. But now already we have 450 namahatta sangas who meet at least once every week. Amongst them about 10% in the villages, they are meeting every morning and every night and some of them also, they want their… some have donated land and some of them have already constructed some natha mandir, some out of grass hut, some out of corrugate, some also want to… building pakka… some structure so they can meet together and chant in their village. They’re are also organizing program.
Our sankirtan party went from Calcutta last month and they went to Pascim Dinajpur, that is West Dinajpur, to Jalpaiguri, Kuchbihar and other places. And there I found that nowadays there are a lot of different type of groups out there, giving different type of mantras and different type of instructions. Some are telling you “All God… You don’t need to do anything.” So many different things are going on. But generally speaking, most of the people have faith in the Maha Mantra given in our Veda and Purana. In the Kali Santarayana Upanishad it very clearly says
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma
rāma rāma hare hare
iti ṣoḍaśakaṁ nāmnāṁ
that these sixteen… iti ṣoḍaśakaṁ nāmnāṁ, these sola-nam, sixteen names, kali-kalmaṣa-nāśanaṁ, all the kalmaṣa of Kali yuga destroyed, nāśanaṁ. nātaḥ parataropāyaḥ, no other upaya, no other way, sarva-vedeṣu dṛśyate, all the Vedas, they confirm this. You can find so many proofs. So the people generally believe in Hare Krishna Maha Mantra. They are coming forward. They are very eager. They say that “No one cares for our spiritual life. We are here in a village, only sometimes once in every four or five years they come to get vote but nobody comes to give us any spiritual life. You are coming, we are very grateful.”
So some places also we are also organizing schools in the village, gurukul or some religious instructions in the evening. In some places other programs have been taken up like prasada distribution and so on. It is still in the very beginning stages. Here in Calcutta area we have about twenty groups who have applied to be members. But we have not fully developed them yet. In Trivandrum in south India now Bhakti Swarup Swami has taken it up to make a nama-hatta in every university and every major high school and in every major town and in surrounding villages.
So already many students have come forward to have weekly meetings. In this way we want to revive the whole spiritual life of India so that the whole world can be purified, so that the youth can be brought up in a nice atmosphere, so that the actual country can be purified. So this is certainly blessed by Caitanya Mahaprabhu, blessed by Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, our Founder Acarya who has started this, you can say, spiritual revolution in motion and who is still present and giving his constant blessing to all these attempts.
So, many members are not here, but I feel that for the proper implementation of such a broad… such a broad program as this namahatta program is, that in different ways the guidance and the experience of the members can also afford a great contribution. When we told the leading Hindus in Bangladesh that we had already 500 nama-hattas in West Bengal. They said “We will have 5000…”
Jayaptaka Swami: “…here in Bangladesh.”
Jayapataka Swami: They said, “There are 68,000 villages in Bangladesh. Of that 15-20% have some considerable amount of Hindus. That means we have 10,000 villages. So of the 10,000 it is not at all difficult to have 5,000 namahattas. We challenge you. Because you are having 40,000 villages to 48,000 in West Bengal, of which only about 25% or 20% are Muslims in all the… at the most or even less. That means at least 30,000 are clearly having a Hindu population. So we are challenging, we will do 5000.”
So like that they are also very enthused. So we feel that Calcutta itself is one whole district, that we can make on a higher level for the university students just like we have our Vaisha rishi program… a type of program suited for them because generally speaking I found that there are many, many nice boys and girls going to university but because of the whole political atmosphere, because of the whole moral degradation, all the cheating and everything going on in the schools, that… many of them get spoilt. And even the good ones, they don’t have anything to do there. So gradually they also fall into the bad association. So for these, the only solution is to provide a positive alternative. That positive alternative is to have nice service programs including chanting and discussing different things, this is very important. This is the only hope. Anything else is too difficult, but anyone can chant.
I personally, when I was in Dhaka this time we did a program at the Jagannath Hall which is the first time that there was a program done in the University of Dhaka in Jagannath Hall which is the big Hindu dormitory with 1,000 Hindu students. All of the students were present there. Justice Ranabir Sen the only Hindu Justice from the High Court of Bangladesh, he also was present to grace the occasion. So we gave our discussion. One man commented that in Bangladesh people have become so undisciplined in religious functions that generally you will always find someone smoking a bidi or cigarette. But he said in this particular function there was no sign. There was no any…
…written “Don’t smoke.” nothing. But anyone who came into that gathering, not one person dared to light a cigarette. He said “This is a divine power.” This was his (inaudible) So anyway there 1,000 students… we only brought 200 cards with us. 200 cards of people… they… they pledged to chant 108 times Hare Krishna every day, to start. And out of that many students have already formed together and made a cultural society based on this Krishna conscious principles and they have already formed three branches in two other universities. So like that they are already beginning to work in that side. But they have so many obstacles. Here there are no obstacles, except our own lethargy. So anyway this is one of our programs we are hoping for seeing the actual effect of Krishna consciousness reach everyone, to help them become peaceful, become happy and to become lovers of God.
So we are thanking all of you for taking the active part and we feel that you are all wonderful devotees and that with this type of association of devotees more and more will be able to increase this association of devotees and the effect on the whole society. Actually you are the leaders in terms of religious matters of the society. Government is so-called communal or non-communal, whatever they call it. That means they take no interest whatsoever,
Jayapataka Swami: Secular. So as a result if we don’t take the interest, no one will take the interest, because no one else is going to take the interest for the peoples’ spiritual life except devotees who are dedicated to seeing the whole society become God conscious. So I feel that all of you are taking a part in that great movement, therefore I offer you my humble respects. Thank you very much.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Jayaraseshwari devi dasi 31 August, 2014
Revised by Jagannatha dasa Brahmacari