The following is a Christmas Marathon speech to the sankirtan devotees given on December 25th, 1982 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Jayapataka Swami: …was very nice to be able to speak to the sankirtana devotees when they’re phoning up, and uh, I was telling them that… how uh, I’d visited some of the malls. Saw some distribution there, that they were doing, and I saw some of the other places, and uh, it seemed that uh, the… the Christmas spirit, or the spirit of giving to Krishna, even if it’s being… in America, I think Christmas spirit means the consumer’s enthusiasm.
That enthusiasm, we saw in the devotees, you see. Of course, that’s always the fact, but even more so was the contrast when the time when at least the people were supposed to be more uh more excited or more uh joyful, there’s supposed to be a euphoria, but instead people appeared to be very frightened, very concerned, very apprehensive, more so than what one normally sees, and... discussed in actually… the Bhagavatam describes that the basic feature of animal life is fear, bhaya.
The animal is all… in the jungle you see any animal, doesn’t matter whether it’s a tiger, a lion, or whatever. They’re always… have some amount of fear, you see. Especially, the little animals, they have a lot of fear. They’re always looking left and right, always nervous. So, now because here in the West, in spite of having every facility conceivable… Prabhupada said people born in America, they’re born with all good qualities.
They have all, you know… good looks, good education, good… every facility is given, from birth, but it gets covered up because the whole culture is training one instead of becoming spiritually awakened, to become one more animalistic, and as the result, in spite of all the best plans… even if they bring down the inflation rate, then up comes the unemployment rate.
You bring up this thing, then something else will go. So, whatever it is, the people are still afraid: Sum total result, fear. And fear… I understand they did a study and they found the children in the school are growing up with this idea that they may not… that they’ll probably die in the nuclear war. Born to die to nuclear… they already have this type of despondency, this type of negative attitude. So, of course, it’s not all unfounded, but the solution, they don’t have the slightest clue. Actually, when the people become Krishna conscious, when the people become aware of their own eternal nature, na jayate mriyate va kadacin nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah aho… ajo nityah sasvato purano na hanyate… no that’s… put two together, there.
na jayate mriyate va kadacin
nayam bhutva bhavita va na bhuyah
ajo nityam sasvato purano
na hanyate hanyamane sarire
, that we are unborn and that we never die, that we’re permanent and when the body dies, we don’t die, and that ultimately, mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah. Krishna says, “All the living entities are My eternal part and parcels.” If the people just knew that, then what is the reason for being afraid?
bhajahu re mana sri-nanda-nandana
durlabha manava-janama sat-sange
taroho e bhava-sindhu re
By taking shelter at the lotus feet of Krishna, one becomes fearless, you see. Actually, a devotee’s just concerned that what will the next life be. It’s for giving up the life, that we have to give up today or tomorrow. Sooner or later, we have to give up the body. What will the next body be?
So the devotee, along with leading this life is trying to do welfare for the whole humanity, through doing service to Krishna as well as engages their intelligence, their time their energy in preparing for their next birth, which, if Krishna gives His mercy, will be on a planet where Krishna is, to directly serve Krishna. So, today we’re reading in the Bhagavatam about how Krishna is surrounded by the cowherd boys. How he’s surrounded in rows and rows and their all anxiously looking to see Krishna. Krishna’s looking at them. Just for a second, He’ll glance, be with them.
Those are great souls who are doing… who have done so many austerities in devotional service.
Actually, today I read a translation from Acaryadeva’s 11th Canto, where he describes the determination… direct translation, the determination of a devotee who is being criticized, who’s being uh, sometimes captured, sometimes spit on, sometimes uh, insulted by different type of demoniac people, and through the whole situation, that person is just thinking that, “This is not due to… the reason I am suffering is not because they’re doing this… inflicting these uh, persecutions on my body, but the real reason I’m suffering is because I identify with this body. If I could actually under… realize, factually, stop identifying that I am this body, realize that I’m not this body, then there will be no difficulty, whatsoever. Difficulty would be immediately over.”
So, that type of determination to see that any en… difficulty we’re experiencing, materially, is not due to that particular thing that we’re thinking it’s due to. That’s a superficial cause. The real cause is we’re identify with our body and mind, therefore it causes anxiety, or difficulty to us. So, how can the people stop identifying wrongly with their bodies, you see? It’s like some type of insanity where a person thinks he’s his car. You think you’re the car, then you see your… unless they put the petrol in the car, then he’s not feeling happy, right? Petrol. Here, it’s gasoline. Gasoline. Nowadays, diesel also.
So, here, they’re feeding the body with every conceivable impulse, still they’re not satisfied. They go between liberal to conservative, this that, but actual solution is there in its perfection, simply when we realize our eternal relationship with Krishna. Just as Krishna’s surrounded by His friends. He’s come here 5,000 years ago, just to give us a glimpse of the type of loving exchanges which are ever-existing in the spiritual world. Those loving exchange is what everyone is hankering for. Tonight, Christmas night there’ll try to be having some loving exchanges in their families, exchanging gifts, but all this is simply a dim reflection of what is going on eternally, between Krishna and His devotees. Krishna bringing His prasada from the house, some laddus and sometimes His friends are having just maybe some more simple foods, simple prasada, so Krishna, He’ll take the simple prasada sometime from the devotee, and trade, or there’ll be trading back and forth. Sometime Krishna might put one flower in the mouth of His friend as a joke. Sometime they’ll be massaging Krishna, be having so many intimate loving exchanges.
So, this exchanging of gifts… just like when Krishna was born, at that time, so many great pr… personalities came and offered gifts to Krishna, and to His uh, parents, Nanda and Yasoda. Where Lord Caitanya came, the demigods came in disguise and they offered gifts to Krishna Caitanya in His baby form, Sacisuta. So, in the same way, of course, we even know that when the empowered incarnation of Krishna, His celebrated son Jesus came, there were some wise men came, wherever, they were also offering some gifts, you see.
So, nowadays, of course, instead of offering gifts to God, we offer, they offer gifts to their kids. Kids offer to the parents, to the relatives. This one, that one. But where is the gift back to God? That’s the only thing missing. That, actually the relationship, sure, it’s a very nice relationship, friends, love, society, but we know that once the holidays are over, then everybody goes back again to the same old situation, everybody runs back to the malls to return the things they got, get what they really wanted. The desires are not satisfied, but the devotees of Krishna, they’re in the spiritual, they’re completely satisfied. Completely satisfied with their relationship with Krishna. They’re always trying to increase their service. They’re trying to imp… improve their dedication in their own way, their service to Krishna. That way, there’s an ever-increasing desire, but the uh, desire for anything else, any other relationship, that’s not there.
So, this Krishna conscious movement is actually bringing love into the world, bringing Krishna, God, back into the world in His most sublime and… sublime and uh, loving way, that’s all the mercy of Prabhupada, that he has brought the message of Sri Sri Nitai Gaura, all over the world, Lord Caitanya’s message of love is there for everyone. He didn’t consider who’s qualified, who’s unqualified, who is fit, who is unfit. He accepted everyone. Just as they came forward, they wanted the mercy. He gave it, you see.
So, the more we can be part of Lord Caitanya’s transcendental tree, distributing the mercy of Lord Caitanya’s sankirtana movement, engaging people in the service of Krishna, the… we become just fixed up as a permanent branch, leaf, even a bud, whatever you’d like to call it, even a speck of dust there on the tree… and it says that one part of that tree is capable doing a part of any other, that ordinary trees can’t move, but that tree can move, and therefore it’s moving all over the world, and it’s trees and branches are spreading the Krishna consciousness movement all over the world.
That’s why sometimes you see the book distributor, he’s able to express in such a way that he convince very many big people, uh, that he may meet about Krishna consciousness. Or some… even a simple devotee in the temple, different devotees, by their service, they’re able to touch the heart of people. The one part of the three can do the part of others. What will bring a person to Krishna consciousness? Simply being fixed up on the tree of Lord Caitanya, working together in a combined way, for spreading the sankirtana movement. That empowers every devotee, you see.
Therefore, we offer our respect to all the devotees. We call the devotees as prabhu, master. We respect devotees. Even though the devotee’s not God, but the devotee’s most dear to God, so we respect like that. A devotee’s very dear to God. We should respect the devotees and we should uh, also be friends with them. We should love them, because they love our Lord, as their common interest. So, thank you very much for your enthusiasm, and preaching uh, the movement of Lord Caitanya. Like to hear the results, sometime how the thing went.
Are there any questions?
Devotee: How do you feel, being a guru… you know, that if you have to explain… you know how do you give a talk, (inaudible)… especially you know, young people, a new guy? I mean, he’ll always be like…
Jayapataka Swami: How do I feel about it? Well…
Devotee: Don’t you get scared, like… you know, like, “It’s a new guy.”? Are you nervous? (Devotees laughing) Jayapataka Swami: We don’t usually get nervous talking with the new guys. It’s a bunch of old guys around, they can catch us if we make a mistake, you see? (All laughing) You see, because our responsibility is to repeat the message, exactly as we heard it from Srila Prabhupada.
We may change the wording. We may change the message uhm, medium so that the person can understand, but we’re not supposed to add any of our own, you see, any of our own concoctions, but we’re supposed to transmit, just like a telephone, a postman, we’re supposed to transmit the same message. So, you get the same message that Krishna spoke 5,000 years ago. You’re getting that same message, you see. In the… in the… in a form that you can understand, but it’s not a different message. The same message. The same truth, you see.
Otherwise, everybody, they’ll walk… “Well, I think…”, and then people… normally, they have people sit around. They talk, and each one says what he thinks, and if somebody agrees with him, then he thinks, “This boy, that… that pshew, really intelligent person. He’s my friend. He agreed with me.” Right? And if someone doesn’t agree, think, “Well this guy’s a shmuck. Some kind of enemy. He doesn’t agree with me.”
La… Ye… Last night there was uh, a new person visiting the temple in uhm, Murari, and uh, he asked a few questions and then all of a sudden he started to say, “Well I don’t agree.” Then uh, we were discussing, but then he just said that, “Listen. Now I listened to you. Now you have to listen to me. I should get equal time.” Said, “I don’t mind.” I told them, “I don’t mind if you have any inquiries. I’ll try to listen to what your ideas are, and try to explain to you (clears throat), the version of Krishna.” He says, “No. I don’t want that. You have something to learn from me.”
I told him, “Frankly, I don’t have anything to learn from you.” (Devotees laughing) I says… I say, “I have al… my spiritual master. He’s already taught me all I need to know.” He said, “Well that’s very closed-minded.” I said, “You can say whatever you like, but the point is I don’t have anything to learn from you, you see. I already have it from Srila Prabhupada and the guru-parampara, and if I’m willing to listen to you to help you, you see.” It’s not like, we’re… when we advertise that anybody wants to learn about Krishna, they can come here, but this person, he was insisting on teaching us, then I told him, I didn’t want to… I didn’t have any desire to learn anything new, because I was already learning everything that I needed to know from my spiritual master. He got offended and walked out.
So, you can’t please everybody.
Devotee: I mean, that wasn’t in a public place. We’re obviously here…
Jayapataka Swami: Public places… I like public places. I like to preach when there’s like 5-10,000 people in one place.
Devotees: (Laughing) Jaya! Jaya!
Jayapataka Swami: We get those crowds in India. Here, we don’t get those type of crowds. We get a few hundred at a time. I was a little then, New Orleans… In the New Orleans ratha-yatra, I was uhm, trying to think what to say to the New Orleans people that were there, this Summer… in Octo… well, this fall, October. There’s, it’s a bit like Summer, still. But, uh, that way we pray before we speak:
mukam karoti vacalam
pangum langhayate girim
yat-krpa tam aham vande
You know what that means? Is that “I offer that respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of my spiritual master, by who’s mercy, a blind man can see the stars, a lame man can cross over the mountains, and the dumb… deaf and dumb man can become a great orator.” So, in other words, we pray to the spiritual master, and to Krishna, that they take over our senses and they just use us like a… one microphone, one loudspeaker box.
They can just use us to broadcast their message, and that way, if there is many people there, then some of those people must be sincere people that, “So many people have come.” Usually, you feel that Krishna is taking over their senses. That when you’re just speaking to one or two people, it seems to be just like a light bulb, that you can dim it or increase it, depending on the desire of the listener. Krishna also provides that much uh, energy, and depending on the desire of the speaker, and the purity of his purpose, that also is able to transmit.
So, this way, we’re trying to always perfect our tuning, the proper mood of surrender to Krishna, so that He can use us as instrument, and if we’re fortunate enough to have people who are eager to know about the absolute truth, who want to know the truth, want to know how to perfect themselves, practice yoga, you see, then that makes a perfect uh… perfect uh circumstance, situation. Prabhupada wrote a book, or a book was published by the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, which was a discussion between Prabhupada and one uh, Peace Corps. Worker in India, and the title of the book was Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers, you see.
If the questions are good, then we can give good answers, by Krishna’s mercy. If there’s nobody coming, then you get nervous, you see, in that sense. You could get nervous, even then, it’s a question of faith. Prabhupada, when he first came in New York, he would come to the program, and the… there was nobody there, you see. Normally, if you… a person goes to a public program, and nobody’s there, you fold up your book and leave, but Prabhupada said, “No. I’ll go on with the program, anyway.”, and he went out and gave the whole lecture, even there was nobody there. Spoke as if there were a… thousands of people. That when we announce we’re gonna have a program, we’re gonna have a program, whether they come or not. And then, he said that there were so many living entities there, from other planets that were listening, you see. But, of course, Prabhupada could see them. Only a very few fortunate people could actually see those entities.
Jayapataka Swami: He can ins… describe eternal pastimes, which are going on always, in the Supreme Personality of Godhead… in Krishna… in God’s kingdom, He has unlimited pastimes. That means activities, and so those activities are recorded in various Vedic literatures, and also the devotee realizes those, and so he can express those as they’re… as they are occurring… as they’re happening, because they’re all happening sometime, somewhere. Have you chanted Hare Krishna?
Reply: Actually, I try to do 16 rounds.
Jayapataka Swami: 16 rounds!? Pshew Pakka!
Devotees: Jaya! Haribol!
Jayapataka Swami: You know pakka?
Jayapataka Swami: That means uh, mature, ripe. How long have you been chanting for.
Devotee: Well I been… I think it’s been about a month… Yeah. A month. Not that… About a year, on and off… you know I been (Conchshell blows) … chant.
Devotee(2): Some of these devotees at the airport we’ve been cultivating, he’s talked with for many months.
Devotee: But, see I didn’t chase…
Jayapataka Swami: You’re at the airport?
Devotee: Yeah. I been chanting right where you grab your bag… where… you know…
Jayapataka Swami: (All Laughing) Haribol! Why did you ask the question, whether I was nervous? Do I look nervous to you?
Devotee: Right from the start, you know… from the first day here, you have to go… when you’re (inaudible) out… all… you know, all these people, you know… they just be rush… rushing, here and there. I sit with them, talking, you know. I used to hand them snaps fingers the book about chanting. Really happy to see the devotees, you know. (laughing) I just go out with them…
Jayapataka Swami: So, are you going to have a feast with us, today? You like to feast on prasada, also?
Devotee: No, no… as a matter of fact, I… you know,.. (Toddler babbling) (inaudible talking)…
Devotee(2): FOLK… FOLK devotee.
Jayapataka Swami: He’s one of your folk members? Actually, the whole Calcutta Airport, above… most of all the airline employees are all members of ISKCON.
Devotees: (Laughing) Jaya!
Jayapataka Swami: You see, we distribute books there, every day, and some of the air… air… airline employees, also, when they have, like, their coffee break, they go out and take the books and help distribute them. (devotees laughing) In fact, what happened one time, was Bhavananda Maharaja forgot that he had 2000 rupees in his bag.
You’re not allowed to take rupees out, and so… uh, of India. He was leaving for uh, Australia, for the marathon, just… just, you know about 3 or 4 weeks ago. So, then uh, he didn’t know what to do. They said, “You can’t take it through.” He said, “We won’t confiscate it. We know it was an accident, but what to do?” So, he went out, and somehow, here’s one of the airline that distribute the books, “Here. Please take the rupees and give it to the… you know, devo… Co… give it to the devotees who may come. And everybody there is so you know, friendly and everything, in turn, that even they didn’t you know… that pro… they called up and gave the money.
No problem, and actually uh, Mukunda Maharaja came through and took a picture of one of the uh, mothers that was distributing. It was one of the airline stewardesses on a ground staff that was doing the distribu… he didn’t even know, (coughs) that it wasn’t a, you know, full-time devotee. So, uh, of course, there, you see they… they’re… they’re s… they’re smart that if you become a ISKCON member, then you can go… stay at the guesthouses, all over the world. So as the ag… as airline employees, they get the (inaudible) tickets. About 15% or something on certain airlines. Maybe 10% or… It’s very cheap for the airline employees. So they become life-members, and then that… because actually their salary’s not that great, but then they get the cheap tickets, and then they can stay with our temples, but in the meantime, they get purified.
Jayapataka Swami: So a lot of times that I’m flying, the captains of the airplanes now in India are also… many of them are uh, are also the uh, life-members. In fact, one pilot called me up. He said, “Are you Jayapataka Swami?” Said, “Yes.” He said “I’ve heard about you.” He said that uh, you know, “I wanted to become a life… a life-member of ISKCON.” He’s flying the Boeing, you know. He brought me up in the front, and he said, “How can I do it?” I said, “Well, you just pay the fee. (all laughing)” He said, uh, “Well, when can I pay?” Said, “You can pay at any time.” Said, “Even now?” Said, “Sure… just I don’t have my receipt.” Said, “Well, I just happen to have it on me.” And right there, in the airplane, he became a life-member.
Devotees: (laughing) Jaya!
Jayapataka Swami: I think that’s the first, you know, in the flight, the captain, while he was steering, he became the life-member. Said, “This is very auspicious for you, because this is your occupation.” And uh, now sometimes, what happens, I can’t get a reservation, I call up one of the captains, say, “Can you swing a reservation.”, and they al… they… apparently the captain is… gets to keep a seat or two. At least in India it’s a special privilege they have. So, they actually helped out a couple times. I don’t know, maybe in Atlanta Airport, you’ll be able to get a lot of members. They know that they can stay in the guesthouses, why not?
Jayapataka Swami: One lady… one lady became a life member from uh, Belgium. Uh, Sabena Airlines, or KLM… KL… Whatever… what I… One of the two, and she uh, stayed at our Kathmandu temple. She went trekking in the Himalaya mountains. Nice woman.
Devotee: That’s a good preaching practice.
Jayapataka Swami: Yeah, I always take some… when… As soon as I, you know, see the stewardess, with anybody, I immediately tell them, “Oh yes…” In Calcutta, all of the air staff, they all are our life members, because they can you know, I explain it to them, and then it takes them… They don’t know what to say. But it’s a good deal for airline employees. Plus, of course, they get purified. That’s the main deal.
Devotee(3): Srila Acarypada, when uh, when one’s confronted with a situation, that uh… one of the devotees is not mature, he tends to think that, you know, this… this person is perpetrating an attack against me, (inaudible)… mind, what should he think? I mean what… what should go in his mind to counteract that emotion, so that you don’t get involved…
Jayapataka Swami: Well, you can remember these other great devotees who were in the same situation, were determined not to stop their devotional service. The point is that in spite of all the difficulties, the… the… they didn’t, at the thought of uh, giving up their devotional service, that never entered their mind.
That’s the actual thing, is that we become fixed, nishtha, in our devotional service, you see. We become so attached to that devotional service that no matter what, we won’t give it up, you see. Actually, Prabhupada… I… I personally saw this pastime. He explained what attachment in devotion meant.
In the Montreal temple, there was uh, a boy, and… there was a son and devotee there, and mother and father came and told him, you have to go home, and he said, “No. I don’t want to go. I want to stay here.”, and Prabhupada was uh, you know, telling this story, I remember that how, I think even Prabhupada might have been on the Vyasasana, giving a lecture when this happened, but I heard him give it as an example, later on, so the parents, they grabbed their son one… you know, by one arm, one the other, they just picked him up, and said, “You’re going with us.”, you know, and they started dragging. He said, “No! No! I don’t want to go! I don’t want to go!”, and he was saying, you know… and they’re pulling him, and he’s pulling back, and then you know, they overpowered him, you know. They just were pulling him out the door… finally, got to the door.
He grabbed onto the doorknob, and one was pulling his arm, and other was pulling on his leg. He was high up in the air. “No! No! I won’t go! I won’t go!” (Devotees laughing) Prabhupada said, “That is attachment.” (Devotees laughing)
Devotees: Hare Krishna.
[End of Recording]
Transcribed by Jagannatha dasa May 5th, 2015 Sri Mayapura Dhama