The following is an evening darsana given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaja on December 20th, 1982 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The class is about the Teachings of Queen Kunti, Chapter 22. Jayapataka Swami:
neyaṁ śobhiṣyate tatra
tvat-padair aṅkitā bhāti
O Gadādhara [Kṛṣṇa], our kingdom is now being marked by the impressions of Your feet, and therefore it appears beautiful. But when You leave, it will no longer be so.
This is a prayer by Queen Kunti. In this regard, Prabhupada says:
There are certain particular marks on the feet of the Lord which distinguish the Lord from others. The marks of a flag, thunderbolt, an instrument to drive an elephant, and also an umbrella, lotus, disc, etc., are on the bottom of the Lord’s feet. These marks are impressed upon the soft dust of the land where the Lord traverses. The land of Hastināpura was thus marked while Lord K… Śrī Kṛṣṇa was there with the Pāṇḍavas, and the kingdom of the Pāṇḍavas thus flourished by such auspicious signs. Kuntīdevī points out these distinguished features and is afraid of ill luck in the absence of the Lord.
In the cāṇakya-śloka, the instructions of the great moralist Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, there is this very nice verse:
nārīṇāṁ bhūṣaṇaṁ patiḥ
vidyā sarvasya bhūṣaṇam
Everything looks beautiful when one is intimately related with it. The sky, for example, becomes beautiful in relationship with the moon. The sky is always present, but on the full-moon night, when the moon and the stars shine brilliantly, it looks very nice. Similarly, the state looks very well if there is a good government, with a good king or president. Then everyone is happy, and everything goes on well. Also, although girls are naturally beautiful, a girl looks especially beautiful when she has a husband. Vidyā sarvasya bhūṣaṇam: but if a person, however ugly, is a learned scholar, that is his beauty. Similarly, everything will look beautiful when Kṛṣṇa is present.
Therefore Kuntīdevī thinks, “As long as Kṛṣṇa is with us, everything in our kingdom and our capital, Hastināpura, is beautiful. But when Kṛṣṇa is absent our kingdom will not be beautiful.” She says, “Kṛṣṇa, You are now walking in our kingdom, and the impressions of Your footprints are making everything beautiful. There is sufﬁcient water and fruit, and everything looks beautiful, but when You leave us it will not look beautiful.”
It is not that this applied only when Kṛṣṇa was present and Queen Kuntī was speaking. Rather, the truth is always the same. Despite the advancement of our civilization, if we cannot bring Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa consciousness into the center of everything, our civilization will never become beautiful. Those who have joined the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement were beautiful before they joined, but now that they have become Kṛṣṇa conscious they look especially beautiful. Therefore the newspapers often describe the devotees as “bright-faced.” Their countrymen remark, “How joyful and beautiful these boys and girls have become.” At the present time in America, many of the younger generation are confused and hopeless, and therefore they appear morose and black-faced. Why? Because they are missing the point; they have no aim in life. But the devotees, the Kṛṣṇaites, look very beautiful because of the presence of Kṛṣṇa.
Therefore, what was a fact ﬁve thousand years ago, during the time of the Pāṇḍavas, is still a fact now. With Kṛṣṇa in the center, everything becomes beautiful, and Kṛṣṇa can become the center at any time. Kṛṣṇa is always present, and we simply have to invite Him, “My Lord, please come and be in the center.” That’s all. To give the same example I have given before, zero has no value, but if we bring the number one and place it by the side of zero, the zero becomes ten. So no one… excuse me. One need not stop whatever one is doing. We never say, “Stop everything material.” One simply has to add Kṛṣṇa.
Of course, we have to give up anything which is against Kṛṣṇa consciousness. It is not that because we do not stop material duties, we should not stop meat-eating. We must stop it, for this is contrary to advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. One cannot commit sinful activities and at the same time advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But Kṛṣṇa says, aham tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi: “Surrender unto Me, and I shall rescue you by giving you liberation from all kinds of sinful reactions.”
Every one of us, life after life, is knowingly or unknowingly committing sinful activities. I may knowingly kill an animal, and that is certainly sinful, but even if I do it unknowingly, it is also sinful. While walking on the street we unknowingly kill so many ants, and in the course of our other ordinary dealings – while cooking, while taking water, while using a mortar and pestle to crush spices – we kill so many living beings. Unless we remain Kṛṣṇa conscious, we are liable to be punished for all these unknowingly committed sinful acts.
If a child unknowingly touches ﬁre, does it mean that the ﬁre will excuse the child and not burn? No. Nature’s law is so strict, so stringent, that there is no excu… no question of an excuse. Even in ordinary law, ignorance is no excuse. If we go to court and say, “I did not know that this action was criminal,” this plea does not mean that we shall be excused. Similarly, ignorance is no excuse for transgressing nature’s laws. Therefore, if we actually want to be free from the reactions of sinful life, we must be Kṛṣṇa conscious, for then Kṛṣṇa will free us from all sinful reactions. It is therefore recommended, kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ – one should always chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare / Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
We should always keep Kṛṣṇa within our minds, for Kṛṣṇa is like the sun. This is the motto of our Back to Godhead magazine:
kṛṣṇa—sūrya-sama; māyā haya andhakāra
yāhāṅ kṛṣṇa, tāhāṅ nāhi māyāra adhikāra
(Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya 22.31)
Kṛṣṇa is just like the brilliant sun, and māyā, ignorance, is just like darkness. When the sun is present, there cannot be darkness. So if we keep ourselves in Kṛṣṇa consciousness always, we cannot be inﬂuenced by the darkness of ignorance; rather, we shall always walk very freely in the bright sunshine of Kṛṣṇa. Kuntīdevī therefore prays that Kṛṣṇa consciousness… that Kṛṣṇa continue to be present with her and the Pāṇḍavas.
We simply have to apply our mind and senses in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, as done by Mahārāja Ambarīṣa. Sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayor vacāṁsi vaikuṇṭha-guṇānuvarṇane (Bhāgavatam 9.4.18). First we must ﬁx our minds on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, for the mind is the center of all sensory activities. If the mind were absent, in spite of having eyes we could not see, and in spite of having ears we could not hear. Therefore the mind is considered the eleventh sense. There are ten senses – ﬁve working senses and ﬁve knowledge-acquiring senses, and the center of the senses is the mind. The Bhagavad-gītā (3.42) says:
indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ
In this verse Kṛṣṇa explains that although we consider the senses to be very prominent, beyond the senses is something superior – the mind – beyond the mind is the intelligence, and beyond the intelligence is the soul.
How can we appreciate the existence of the soul if we cannot understand even the psychological movements of the mind? Beyond the mind is the intelligence, and by speculation one can at the utmost approach the intellectual platform. But to understand the soul and God, one must go beyond the intellectual platform. It is possible to understand everything, but we must gain understanding through the right channel. Therefore the Vedic injunction is:
tad-vijṣānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet
samit-pāṇiḥ śrotriyaṁ brahma-niṣṭham
“If one is actually serious about understanding supernatural, transcendental subject matters, one must approach a bona ﬁde spiritual master.” (Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12)
Thus end the… Prabhupada’s commentary on the Teachings of Queen Kunti, the Beauty of Krishna’s presence, the 22d Chapter.
So here Queen Kunti describes how Krishna’s lotus feet are special, that they contain particular marks which ordinary people do not have on their lotus feet. Flag, thunderbolt, an instrument goad, also an umbrella, lotus, disc and so many other marks. So when Krishna would walk on the ground you look at His footprints, you would see all these marks. And that’s how, there was once a devotee called Akrura and he was driving his chariot to the land of Krishna and as he was driving he looked on the ground and he saw the footprint of Krishna and he could see that it was Krishna’s footprint because it had all the marks on it in the sand… in the dust it would leave… because He would walk barefoot, it would leave all those marks and he looked down and saw the marks, saw that it was Krishna’s footprints. And immediately he became overwhelmed with love for Krishna. And he became so ecstatic that while he was driving the chariot, he stopped the chariot, and he fell on the ground and he started to roll in the dust where Krishna’s footprints were and he was crying “How wonderful! How wonderful! How wonderful to be here in Krishna’s land!” and he was celebrated as the greatest devotee for his spontaneous attraction to Krishna’s lotus feet.
You can see here how unusually attractive Krishna’s lotus feet are. The Goddess of fortune is always seen massaging the lotus feet of Krishna and the great devotees they are known as bumble bees because they say that Krishna’s lotus feet are emitting some sweet honey-like nectar and the devotees who are chanting His holy names and who are engaged in His devotional service they are like bumble bees. They are going there and eating the honey which is at the lotus feet of Krishna.
So, actually there is also a story about how when Krishna was a bit older, at that time before the battle field of Kuruksetra, He offered to His friend and to the cousin brother of His friend, Arjuna was His friend and Duryodhana was the opponent of Arjuna, he was cousin brother of Arjuna. He offered them that whoever He would see first, He would give them the choice, that they are going to fight and Krishna said that either I will fight or My army. You can have either Me or My army. So Krishna was taking rest and then Arjuna came first to Krishna’s room and he thought “Let me sit by the feet of Krishna, let me sit there.” he took a humble position. Duryodhana came in, he thought that “I am not going to sit by the the feet of anybody, I will sit over there by His head. So then I will be by His head, He will see me first.”
So Krishna was laying down on his bed and when Krishna opened His eyes naturally He was looking down to His feet. So then He saw Arjuna first and said “Oh, Arjuna, you have come, how are you?” And then He looked, “Oh! Duryodhana, you are also here!” So then this way Arjuna was seen first, “So you get the first choice. Who do you want? Do you want Me to be on your side or do you want My army?”
So Arjuna thought “What’s the use of the army without Krishna? If we have Krishna we have everything.” So he said, “I want You.”
So Krishna said “Well you can have Me, but I won’t fight. I won’t lift any arms.”
“That’s all right, if I have You that’s all I need!”
So then Duryodhana thought, “Well what’s the use of just having Krishna? He is not even going to fight!” Cause he was a demon, he was a non devotee, had no faith in Krishna and His divine power or anything. So he was just materialist. So he thought that…
Can I have some water?
He thought “This is much better. I will take his army. Krishna is not even going to fight.” So everybody was happy.
So I was just pointing out that Arjuna by getting Krishna, he was successful and he won the whole battle of Kuruksetra. Not only that but also he was elevated because the mood that he fought the battle was in the mood of service to Krishna. He didn’t fight for any other reason. That’s of course a long discussion of the Bhagavad-gita. And the whole basis of having Krishna on his chariot was that he sat at the feet of Krishna. So devotees are recommended that when they approach Krishna, when they first meditate in a circular form, looking first at His feet, then going to His knees, then to His waist, then to His lotus chest, His neck, His smiling mouth, His eyes, lotus eyes and then go back to the feet. So not as to be so forward as to just immediately look at His lotus face but to first go up from the lotus feet and then of course the lotus face.
Like that everything in Krishna consciousness has got a system. There is so many systems that it’s practically unlimited. Just like in playing the drum, I am not very good, this is fiber glass drum, in India we have clay drums, but there are certain mantras that you learn, its very tight, there are certain mantras for playing the drum. Each sound has got a certain spoken vibration called the bol, so when you learn to play, you learn [Begins playing bols]
ki ta ta, ki ta ta, ki ta ta, ki ki ta ta, ki ta ta, ki ta ta, ki ta ta, ki ki ta ta
Each sound has… each beat has a specific sound. Then there’s others.
[Continues playing the bols]
te o te nak, ge duk dha, duk dha, Ge
tini tini ta, te o te nak, ge duk dha, duk dha, Ge
tini tini ta, te o te nak, ge duk dha, duk dha, Ge
tini tini ta
And there are hundreds of mantra’s like that, even while the drummer is playing he is singing various mantras. Often you see four drummers playing in unison and they saying outside the different mantras. Ki ta ta ki ta ta, ta ta you can hear them in unison, in their beating drums and playing. It is very beautiful to see. But actually what happens is their consciousness becomes completely fixed, there is no other thought, they are playing one thing and their mind also is on that playing. They are meditating on that particular vibration. In this way its actually a meditation.
If one is able to do their service for Krishna, do some activity for Krishna with that type of concentration, very careful that it’s done perfectly, even though it may appear externally what he is doing is sewing or cooking or driving the car, whatever it may be, that type of concentration if one is fixed to do it perfectly for Krishna then it’s considered that devotional service is a perfect meditation. As perfect and more perfect meditation than say just sitting down and meditating hatha yoga because in hatha yoga one may be sitting and meditating for some time but then as soon as one stops, the meditation is broken. While the active meditation can go on, can go on through all the activities and moreover hatha yoga at that moment you are stopping activities and by stopping activities you are not creating any new karmas . But you are not actually getting rid of the old karmas at a very appreciable rate but while serving Krishna as we mentioned here that He promises
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
That He protects one from all of the sinful reactions, from all of the bad karmic reactions which we have accumulated by killing other living entities by creating pain for other living entities which we cannot avoid doing. Even unknowingly we are doing it, while walking on the street we are crushing ants and of course knowingly you know if we are eating meat and things then naturally we are also killing so many living entities when it may not be necessary. So as a result we start to accumulate so many karmas. Bernard Shaw is a contemporary writer, recent writer, he is not like really ancient...
Jayapataka Swami: 1900’s he wrote that “How can people, how can people expect the evils of war, something like that, to end when they are killing the animals unnecessarily?” He wrote it, he is a great writer, I can’t remember. I didn’t memorize the quote. But anyway something to that effect that because we are killing the blood of the animals is on our hand, they have a right to live and we are killing them. So how do we expect that we are going to avoid the bloodshed of wars. So even the modern world can also understand that for every action there is a reaction but how to get out of these reactions. That is a great secret of transcendental realization that to get out of these reactions one has to take some specific recourse.
So Krishna has offered that if someone surrenders to Him, if someone takes shelter of Him, if someone engages in His service then He protects. All the activity done for Krishna there is no reaction for that. But in material life everything we do for ourselves good or bad there is a reaction. And we have to take the responsibility for the reaction when it comes. It may come now, it may come up next birth, it may come ten births.
We may suddenly walk out on the street and suffer, Krishna forbid, some kind of accident. That may be the reaction of something we did five births in the past, ten births in the past. We can’t say… that when what karma is coming out. We may walk out someone may hand out million dollars. That may also be our karma from previous birth. No one can say what the future holds. But it is more people that are having accidents than are getting handed million dollars in general. But somehow or another whatever happens. That’s because right now this age is called Kali-yuga when the people’s fortune is very bad. Because people are doing so many bad type of karmic activities therefore they are getting so many painful, sinful means what, sinful reactions means reactions which cause us pain. There may be so many Christian connotations to sinful but in a purely scientific terminology sinful reaction means that reactions which is going to cause us some physical and mental pain. Because of some pain that some how or another directly or indirectly we have caused unto others.
Colonel Sanders has caused a lot of living entities pain, he is going to have to suffer pain himself. Anyone who causes his own body unnecessarily pain even, say one is torturing one’s own body that also is a type of sinful activity, a type of karma producing that which again puts one into difficulty. On the other hand you are uplifting people, helping people, say materially you do some welfare work for other, you build a well that people can drink water out of, you put trees by the side of the road people get shade, or say if someone gives a donation to some poor person, well whatever you give in a donation you get back the same amount at least. And if the donation is given to some more spiritual person then you get ten times, hundred times, million times, unlimited times, depending on the level of advancement of that person because the more advanced he is, the more welfare work he is doing for countless living entities and the higher level of welfare work he is doing in terms of spiritual welfare giving.
So there is lot of dangers to material good work. Say that you give a donation to a poor man. According to the law of karma you are therefore the benefactor of the poor man. The poor man becomes indebted to you. To repay that debt you may have to take birth as the son or daughter of that poor man in a future life because the parent is always serving the children. And by serving the children naturally the children become indebted to the parent. So some of the children are children because in some previous life they had been benefacted, now they have become children so that person can repay the debt by raising them as children.
So that's why it is recommended not even to give charity without thinking. If one without considering proper time, place, person just gives say to a bum, you take hundred bucks, you take ten dollars or something like that, in the law of karma that type of indiscriminate charity also binds one by karma to that person. So therefore even charity is supposed to be given in proper time, proper place. Food is supposed to be done in a proper time, in a proper way. Everything has its different way of doing it where you are going to get a different reaction. If it’s done in the mode of goodness you are going to get a good reaction. If it’s done in passion it brings misery and if it’s done in ignorance then it brings bondage, it brings further ignorance, madness, illusion, bewilderment.
So Krishna consciousness takes because the charity or activity, the meditation is directed to Krishna, it takes one completely out of this whole material chain, ring of perpetual action and reaction and by doing that immediately one feels relief, immediately one feels that relief.
sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
As soon as one engages in devotional service then immediately one feels a satisfaction, feels completely fulfilled right to the core of the soul. So this is the basic Krishna consciousness movement, we read a little bit about the teachings of Queen Kunti and I thought it was appropriate about Krishna's lotus feet we were talking about feet before. Also it was coincidental or Krishna's arrangement.
So actually Krishna consciousness is a great science, its for everyone, its described its like a big rain cloud, or even like the sun. The sun is distributing very munificently sunlight to everyone you see. Its up to the individual if you want to stay in the sunlight. Rain is showering down the rain, it doesn't consider “This is grass, this is a street, this is the crop.” rain just comes down. But you can put up your umbrella and stay in your house or also you can go out in the rain.
Like that Krishna's mercy is there, its coming down and its up to each individual how much of Krishna's mercy they are able to monopolize or able to accumulate you see. The mercy is there for every one, that nectar is there for everyone, but the capacity of an individual to take that mercy, that is the only difference. Some people are taking twenty four hours of the day the mercy of Krishna and some people are taking occasionally and some people are avoiding it like the plague. All different kinds of people. So those who are able to take it part time they are very fortunate, partially fortunate. Those who are able to take the mercy of Krishna more, then they are more fortunate. Those who are able to take Krishna's mercy completely they are completely fortunate. and those who are able to give out that nectar of Krishna to others, that is also a great fortune. That is the way of winning special favor with Krishna.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Question: I was gonna ask you some other questions, but how come… I just saw you do something. How come you didn’t put that cup to your mouth? You just kind of… Figure I shouldn’t ask that sort of question. How come you got the glass. You didn’t put it up to your lips, you just go through the air
Jayapataka Swami: Aerated water.
Reply: Oh, okay. Well, I was just… you know. You don’t normally put your lip to it, like that?
Jayapataka Swami: No because the mouth is considered to be uh, generally a little… if we touch our mouth we’re supposed to wash your hands, especially if you are dealing with scriptures and everything. So because of the way you need to wash your hands all the time. So then if you are drinking without touching you don’t have to wash.
Jayapataka Swami: That's the basic reason. Also water tastes better that way.
Reply: Yeah, cause you don’t have the metal pressed, or the material pressed to your mouth, so you get that flavor.
Jayapataka Swami: That may be one of the reasons because you are not… the water is also, once you touch your lips to the water then it’s already touched also. So when you don’t touch the water then it’s in the original state. So the first taste will taste like the last.
Reply: It would be like going outside when it’s raining and open up your mouth and drinking water, like that.
Jayapataka Swami: Yeah.
Comment: (inaudible) I don’t do it now. (inaudible) (laughter)
Jayapataka Swami: Now you do that in America you’ll get acid rain. (laughter)
Reply: That’s right.
Jayapataka Swami: Prabhupada sometimes he would have a big ball and he would joke with his disciples and take a piece of candy or something and throw it in his mouth without touching. “See I did not touch.”
Then some other disciple taking, “You have touched! Now you have to wash your hand.” Get up, wash the hand and try, it hits. ( laughter) You know somebody without thinking they took and they just… “He touched.” He is training us like that.
Because what happened in the West people they touch their mouth, and they may get hands dirty in different ways and they are not usually that conscious about cleanliness. Actual in India and even in Krishna… you will find that devotees eat with their bare hands but before they eat they wash their hands or at least they are supposed to. And generally they are supposed to keep their hands clean because we are always dealing with chanting beads, especially once the beads are chanted on by the spiritual master then you are supposed to be careful not to get the beads dirty and things like that.
So just to train the devotees in a different level of cleanliness like washing after eating, these are even in America I was always trained like that, even in my childhood you know they used to say you have to wash your hands before and after you eat, things like that. But that’s also… when people are dealing with spiritual paraphernalia they have to be specially conscious of purity. There's guidelines. I have been living in India for twelve years, I learnt how to drink without touching. Just simplifies matters. Don’t have to run to wash my hands but it’s not that… it’s not very important. mainly the importance it to chant Hare Krishna.
Reply: Yes of course its interesting you know, (indistinct)
Jayapataka Swami: Of course. What do you think, John?
John: I enjoy your company with us, I sort of feel part of the temple here because I visit so often. I’m enjoying your teachings, and I’d really like to ask a couple questions. I’ve been discussing with some peoples and acquaintences the trends that our American society is starting now to mix in, such as uh, just… just a general trend. Say like, things such as uh, crime. What would… what would be your outlook for the near future considering these things in America? I mean, do you foresee like a… a big… a big uh…
Jayapataka Swami: I think they… I think they haven't seen anything yet.
John: You think there’s still a lot more to come. Heavy.
Jayapataka Swami: Unless people are turned around from this mad race after materialism it can’t help but get worse. Just like the government is asking the psychiatrist to explain why somebody would put uh, cyanide in a Tylenol bottle. And they may say well that person was a split, skepto, paranoiac, manic depressive, give some you know definition in Latin terms or something, but ultimately doesn’t answer the real question. Is that because the whole society doesn't have any aim no spiritual objective, so people get more and more frustrated in their material desires.
The more you have the more you want. Everyone knows it. So in India this they knows that that’s not good, that that’s not the goal, that there is actually a higher purpose which is beyond just accumulating material objects, is actually to become spiritually advanced.
Like someone was telling me that you know they always feel obligated to do something just to try to make a success of their life you know like accumulate certain amount of prestige, position, just to satisfy the society, the family, the other people. But ultimately just accumulating, if you have enough accumulation of material objects you know, you have a big car, you have a big house, you have a stereo set, or you have a good job, you have a fame, money or something but then you are a success, all right, but that’s like so superficial.
That even the people who have that, just like in this recent interview with George Harrison when you have all the money you don’t even know what to do with it. You have everything then you start to realize that all the people that you thought were important, you went to see them, and found out they were not really worth seeing, they weren't really that important in terms of you know, maybe they are important but they weren't really interesting people, they somehow had some accumulation of material objects. He got a whole different perspective that there is another side of life, a higher purpose to life. And when he met Prabhupada then he started to take up Krishna consciousness in a very serious way.
So many people search what is the real purpose. If it is just accumulation of material things I mean who has more material gizmos and gadgets and things than Americans. Of course the Japanese are beating the Americans now. They are creating better gadgets and they are accumulating more. But the point is in that sense, it’s just emptiness. You may… the analogy is that if you have a bird in a cage and you fill the cage with you know refrigerator, little fan, you know, you can give him a little video game, anything you want but you don’t feed the bird then what’s the use. So what’s the food for the soul, these are all food for the external senses but it doesn’t actually really hankering of the soul, the real spiritual desire of humanity is left unfulfilled.
Devotee: Our society they were not necessarily Krishna conscious. However, they had a…
Jayapataka Swami: They were more God conscious.
Devotee: they had a goal so to speak, where a majority of people had in mind, and they agreed upon a certain spiritual concept. But we have lost that I think that’s basically why our society is in the condition that it is in.
Jayapataka Swami: If you read quotes by you know Thomas Jefferson, other founding fathers of America, there are many God conscious quotes you know. “In God we trust” you know, “We stand one nation undivided under God” they are very God conscious. There is no other nation in the world I know that has God we trust printed on their money.
Devotee: To me it seems that as though
Jayapataka Swami: But now it’s just like a clichī.
Devotee: Its only printed there.
Jayapataka Swami: It wasn’t that consciousness in the beginning. It was obviously, maybe there was you know, still some material, definitely it wasn’t that they had the perfect concept, at least they had some good idea, they had a little God consciousness was there. But in the royal road to success you know they achieved the success, but like they threw out the baby with the bath water, along with it they threw out whatever little God consciousness they had and now all that’s left is some little religion, you know, some social… you know, religion is almost like a ritual just pray to God, “Give us our daily bread.” not really in a sense of developing a relationship to… in one sense. Or even if if they want to develop a relationship how can you, in the Bible it is very difficult. Because there is no real information given about God in a, I mean, very little.
If I want to become friends with you, even come and sit with you discuss with you or we would do something together or talk with your friends about you. Then we will somehow get to know each other. Where when someone who is say the President of the United States, some big movie, star you may not be able to associate too great for that, too important, too elite. So then you may read about them or hear about them you can then… gradually you may become attracted by them some of their qualities. So in the Vedic literature's they have book after book about the pastimes of Krishna, the qualities of Krishna, the devotees of Krishna, the most wonderful thing are the devotees of Krishna.
It’s just like the example was given that you see the sky. It may not be so beautiful ordinarily but when the moon is there its very beautiful. So Krishna and His devotees together that combination is the most beautiful. You never see Krishna alone, He is always with His devotees, either the cows or His friends, His parents, some, there are always some devotees there. So Krishna with His devotees, and their qualities, their courage and their determination, their generosity, their purity, their selflessness, their love, reading about that is so inspiring. That we have a little bit in the Bible, some of the devotees of God, that’s very inspiring. But then if you want to go a little further and really know something about God. When it came time when Jesus could tell some more, he said that “I have so much more to tell you about the kingdom of my father. But you don’t even know… you can’t even understand the things that I am telling you about this world. What can I tell you about the next world?” So it was cut off, it didn’t go on. It’s an abridged version.
So now is the modern day. Now you can fly from here to Singapore in about eleven hours by Concorde jet you see. But at the same time although we can exchange views on every subject, you can exchange views on science, in art, in news, in any subject. But if you want to exchange views on spiritual matters that’s taboo. “I am Christian.” “I am a Jew.” “I am a Muslim.” “I am Hindu.” whatever, they don’t want to discuss. Of course the Hindus discuss but you know they just hold up a barrier. And then, its time that people understand that there is only one supreme truth, one spiritual truth, one spiritual reality and different people have different view points on it. The are not talking about, it is not that anybody has a monopoly on the truth. Its just that different people have different, you know amount of informat…
Is this for everybody?
Devotee: Actually… there’s more but you have to take first. It’s… we’ll offer it after you take.
Jayapataka Swami: It’s not offered to the Deity or anything? It’s pretty light. (laughter) It looks pretty light.
Question: I’d like to ask you, did you study directly under Prabhupada?
Jayapataka Swami: Oh yes. Always. Also as a personal servant, secretary, worked under him.
Question: So when did you first meet Prabhupada.
Jayapataka Swami: 1968
Question: How long he’d been here at that time?
Jayapataka Swami: Two years.
Question: He’d been two years before that, huh?
Jayapataka Swami: Well first year he hadn't… he hadn’t. He only… July 1967, he formally registered the International Soceity for Krishna Consciousness. His first disciple is Mukunda dasa who’s my… who I gave sannyasa… he is my sannyasi disciple, Mukunda dasa Goswami. He is the first person to also preach in England. Mukunda dasa Goswami.
When I joined the movement there were three temples. One in New York, one in San Fransisco and one in Montreal. I joined in San Fransisco at the Rath Yatra festival. And when I heard that Prabhupada was… I was going to go to India, but I heard Prabhupada was in Montreal, so I flew to Montreal and then when I reached Montreal he just told me to stay there. He saw me in the audience and he said, “Who is that?”
And someone introduced that, who I was, “Just came from San Fransisco.”
“Bring him to my house tomorrow. He can take lunch with me.” And he sat me down and he was seeing that I was… there was two other people also who came, one President from San Fransisco Garga Muni and Brahmananda from New York. And they were very big, and i was at that time very thin and they were, I was between them and Prabhupada just made us take more and more of prasada. They had a tremendous capacity but I did not have that capacity at that time, and I was very fortunate because that day Prabhupada smelled a rose and said “I love roses.” That “When I smell a rose offered to Krishna it extends my longevity. It improves my health.” So then I would personally go everyday to the florist and get a rose and bring it to Srila Prabhupada, give it to him and do other little services like that, cleaning his room, washing his clothes.
Right in the very beginning he had a lot of opportunity. He was in Canada for five months because his American visa had expired. And he was waiting for an American visa. So while he was waiting then I had that opportunity to do a little service. When he left then he made me the president of the Montreal temple. Then I went opened up the Toronto temple and from there he sent me to India, and since 1970, I have been in India.
Jayapataka Swami: And I didn’t leave India till 1979. I was in India nine years at one stretch. (Hindi “Everything okay?”)
Guest: (Hindi “It’s all good. I could not meet that man today.”)
Jayapataka Swami: (Hindi Oh, you didn’t find him?)
Indian Man: (Hindi No. I’ll meet with him tomorrow. I have brought pickles for you.)
Jayapataka Swami: He brought special chutneys. Achar is pickle.
Jayapataka Swami: Store them. This should be kept in the fridge or just?
Guest: Just outside.
Jayapataka Swami: Just in the cabinet, here.
So then Prabhupada he came. After I was in India for two months then he came there in 1970. He sent me a telegram and asked me to get him a place where he could stay. He wanted to go out to Mayapur, he wanted to get a place at Lord Caitanya’s birthplace to build a big international center there, and so since that time Prabhupada would spend about well about up to 74 maybe four months a year in India and after that 75, 76, about six months in India a year, and he would spend three months in Mayapur where I was, generally speaking at least three months and outside of Mayapur I usually spent one month with him. So we were together four months a year which was, anywhere else Prabhupada would be traveling he would only stay a week or two. But he would stay two months one time.
He was building it with, all the books that were distributed all over the world 10% of the money from the books would be sent to India to build up these three temples for the whole world. So he was directing me what to do in those regards, directing how to preach, how to establish deities, how to do schools, he was personally teaching us.
Devotee: prior to…
Jayapataka Swami: Because also how to deal with the Indians because we didn’t have any experience being Westerners. Indians are more, have a different mentality. So he took us through those tender, you know initial periods of learning how to deal with the people, I mean how to you know not to (inaudible) and how to work with them in a proper mood.
Question: Did you… (inaudible) …the temple in San Fransisco, visit?
Jayapataka Swami: Yes, for about ten days.
Question: What was your life prior to that, if you don’t mind?
Jayapataka Swami: I was actually going to Brown University and then I was there for the summer, then I decided to go to find some kind of a spiritual master but I went around America and saw the contemporary spiritual master, didn’t find anybody really worthy of the name.
Reply: You found a breakdown… like you were speaking of earlier, a breakdown in the spiritual background of America.
Jayapataka Swami: I had been practicing meditation, different things, I practiced Zen Buddhism, Tibet Buddhism, different things like that. Even was reading Jewish scriptur… all kinds of scriptures and book and spiritual books but then came to the conclusion that just reading a book and experimenting was, its about, its useful shouting out in the dark, but I wanted someone who had already was in touch with truth and could actually guide and give instruction. Who could, who had already gone through the path and could actually give advice. So when I was going to the people who wrote different books figuring that they were the people that would know. So then the people I met, they were… just weren't really convincing at all. Rather they were really convincing the other way, they didn’t really practice what they were writing, or didn’t really know even as much as what they wrote in practical terms.
When I met first the devotees of Srila Prabhupada, I could immediately sense that there was some something, lot more spiritual potency, that is like a vibration, they had a special mood about them and after I met Prabhupada, then I had to come to the conclusion that if I had to understand Krishna consciousness it wouldn’t be possible to do that half-heartedly.
I mean I could stay around and observe everything and practice little bit but I would only be able to so to speak, scratch the surface. That to get into it, if I did it wholeheartedly for even say two months, I should be able to able to understand you know whether this is the real thing or not. Once I reached the limit, then I said I could go on give it up and do something else if necessary but unless I actually get into it I won’t be able to really understand what it’s really all about.
Comment: So you got an idea, and just jumped right into it?
Jayapataka Swami: I jumped quite quickly into the whole thing and I jumped in… in a… to do it wholeheartedly but in my own mind in a non-committal way. More as an experiment. I wanted to really check it out and just do it and then… then I never stopped. I never found the end.
Question: Did you start any building activity in Mayapur for this big Vedic cultural center?
Jayapataka Swami: Prabhupada’s samadhi.
Question: The big… what do you call it? The big Vedic…
Jayapataka Swami: We are doing Prabhuapda’s samadhi first.
Could you give me a hairbrush?
Question: This is a kind of basic one, but what’s the explanation for a sikha? What is the significance of a sikha?
Jayapataka Swami: A tuft of hair at the back of the head.
Question: Why do we have it? Why don’t we shave it?
Jayapataka Swami: The people who believe in the Personality of God, they keep the sikha. And those who are impersonalist who believe just that ultimate truth is just impersonal light or something, they shave their head all the way.
Comment: All the impersonalists do, (indistinct)
Jayapataka Swami: Right. The Buddhists, they shave their head completely. They either let their hair just grow, they don’t shave it or shave it all up. Anyone who believes in the personality of Godhead, personal yogis, they all keep the tuft. There is some other mystical significance which you won’t really understand. But that’s the basic. It’s been described by some as a spiritual antenna. (laughter)
Devotee: Sometimes you hear it’s so Krishna can pull you back to Godhead.
Jayapataka Swami: Yeah. He will grab you by the hair and pull you back.
Jayapataka Swami: Well just like even in the Bible, they had a time when they said that those people who put some kind of mark on their house then uh… Lent or (inaudible), or something like that?
Comment: It was the blood of the lamb on the doorpost.
Comment: The Angel of Death’ll just pass ‘em by.
Jayapataka Swami: Something like that. So then those people were spared, others were killed. People that wear the sikha, wear their neck… the tulasi beads, they are protected from certain type of gross misfortunes, delivered by Krishna. Of course the women don’t shave their hair. They wear tulasi beads. That’s especially important to wear tulasi.
Question: Are they blessed? Are these blessed by the spiritual master?
Jayapataka Swami: These beads don’t have to be blessed but in the time of initiation then again new beads are put around the neck. But anyone can wear beads. In India people are afraid to wear tulasi beads unless they are… unless they’re vegetarian, they don’t like to wear tulasi.
Question: Why would they not like to wear the beads?
Jayapataka Swami: I don’t know the details. Prabhupada never explained. I just know...
Guest: They don’t want to be offensive to the tulasi plant. Here of course they don’t observe but in India you don’t pluck the leaves any time. You pluck the leaves from the tree, from the branch at a certain time, you have to be bathed, properly dressed, you can’t just go and… (inaudible) if you’re not in a pure and clean habit, then you are offending the plant... people who are pious.
Jayapataka Swami: More mainly its superstition that has developed in terms of not wearing tulasi because they are not, I think it’s because I think they are more afraid that if they wear tulasi they may gradually stop doing all those things that (laughs) because of the effect.
Comment: So in other words if they are unclean they should not wear the beads.
Jayapataka Swami: No, rather they should become clean, backwards logic.
Comment: reverse psychology, reverse logic.
Jayapataka Swami: Reverse psychology.
Guest: They are afraid to wear, to do anything, first you have to make yourself qualified. If you put tulasi beads people think that he is very pious man. So if he wears, people will think he’s a very pious man, and if he does anything wrong then they will say hey...
Jayapataka Swami: Tulasi.
Reply: Oh, yours too, huh? Those you keep in the greenhouse. Those are smaller plants. I imagine some of the ones over in India, where…
Jayapataka Swami: Some are so… this big around.
Reply: The trunks of ‘em, huh?
Question: Wait. It makes you think…
Jayapataka Swami: Twelve feet high.
Comment: Oh they do get twelve feet high, okay. Is that the highest ones?
Question: How do they take Krishna’s pure devotee and make it into an ornament like that?
Jayapataka Swami: You don’t kill the tulasi plant. Only after the plant is no longer living.
Reply: As it naturally expires?
Jayapataka Swami: Yes. Then you take it and use it as a decoration.
Reply: Oh. When it’s naturally. I see. Alright.
Question: You said the highest kind of…
Question: I wonder if you could use your mystic power to get a stolen car back that was stolen from me out here, about three days ago.
Jayapataka Swami: Well, as a sannyasi, someone who is renounced from the material world you don’t get involved in those kind of material things. I think what Krishna is doing by this that He is showing you that the material world is temporary and that everything is possible to be lost in this material world except for Krishna. If you just capture Krishna in your heart then you never have to worry about losing Him. But cars, Seiko watches, Walkmans, Sony…
Comment: You need to higher yourself…
Transcribed by : Suvilasi Madhavi dd Date : 11 May 2015
Revised by Jagannatha dasa Brahmacari