The following is a lecture given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami on December 16th, 1983 in Atlanta, Georgia. The class begins with a reading from the Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta, Adi-lila, Verse 42 and 43. Jayapataka Swami:
Text 43, taken from the Visnu Purana:
yad eveha paratra ca
karmaṇā manasā… manasā vācā
tad eva mati-mān bhajet
“ ‘By his work, thoughts and words, an intelligent man must perform actions which will be beneficial for all living entities in this life and in the next.’
Unfortunately, people in general do not know what is to take place in the next life. To preserve oneself for this… for his next life is common sense… to prepare oneself for his next life is common sense, and it is a principle of the Vedic civilization, but presently people throughout the world do not believe in a next life. Even influential professors and other educators say… …do not believe in a next life. Even influential professors and other educators say that as soon as the body is finished, everything is finished. This atheistic philosophy is killing human civilization. People are irresponsibly performing all sorts of sinful activity, and thus the privilege of the human life is being taken away… taken away by the educational propaganda of the so-called leaders. Actually it is a fact that this life is meant for preparation for the next life; by evolution one has to come through many species, or forms, and this human form of life is an opportunity to promote oneself to a better life. This is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā (9.25):
yānti deva-vratā devān pitṝn yānti pitṛ-vratāḥ
bhūtāni yānti bhūtejyā yānti mad-yājino ’pi mām
“Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; and those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me.” Bhagavad-gītā (9.25)
Therefore, one may promote himself to the higher planetary systems, which are the residence of the demigods, one can promote himself to Pitṛloka, one can remain on earth, or one can also go back… go back home, back to Godhead. This is further confirmed elsewhere in the Bhagavad-gītā (4.9): tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti so ’rjuna. After giving up the body, one who knows Kṛṣṇa in truth does not come back again to this world to start… to accept a material body, but he goes back home, back to Godhead. This knowledge is in the śāstras, and people should be given the life. The Vedic civi… should be given the opportunity to understand it. Even if one is not able to go back to Godhead in one life, the Vedic civilization at least gives one the opportunity to be promoted to the… excuse me, to be promoted to the higher planetary systems, where the demigods live, and not glide down again to animal life. At present, people do not understand this knowledge, although it constitutes a great science, for they are uneducated and trained not to accept it. This is the horrible condition of modern human society. As such, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is the only hope to direct the attention of intelligent men to a greater benefit in life.
Thus end the Text Thirty uh… Forty-three, Adi-lila, Chapter Nine of the Caitanya-Caritamrta Translation.
“ ‘By his work, thoughts and words, an intelligent man must perform actions which will be beneficial for all living entities in this life and the next.’
So just as in the Bible it says, as you sow, so shall thee reap or something like that. Basically a person is eligible to get a particular kind of body according to the activities that one has performed. So that means the body is basically a product of our karma, according to the amount of karma we perform of a different type we will get a particular body, we will have certain desires and to fulfill those desires a particular body will be given. So if we learn to live in Krishna… not to desire sense gratification but rather to live in Krishna consciousness then we go back to Krishna. And rather if we fix our mind in Hindu consciousness or Christian consciousness or this consciousness or father consciousness or country consciousness, some type of limited consciousness other than pure devotional service, even if it is mukti or siddhi, mystic power or fruitive activities, then as a result we get stuck up on the material platform.
We go to that particular destination which is appropriate, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante
tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham – this is the basic mercy that Krishna gives according to how you desire, He satisfies. So therefore one has to be very careful how one desires, especially if a person wants to advance in devotional service. Then very scrutinisingly, very meticulously one has to refine the desires. So it is not to desire any of the material things. One material desire can be enough to get us stuck up in this material world.
Just like Srila Prabhupad said that for one who is very fascinated by the sunrise, by the natural phenomena, the beauty of it, who doesn’t just see it as uh, insignificant as compared to the beauty of Krishna, or is a product of Krishna’s beauty and imagination, but say one is very attached to the sunrise as an example. So, since the sun and the moonlight is not essential in the spiritual world, there is no sunrise or night or so on as we are experiencing here so then that means you would have to stay in the material world so you can see all these natural beauties. Because the nature of the natural beauties there are much more grand and glorious but they do not fit within that particular category. So in this way there are so many pitfalls, if one is careless in desiring material sense gratification and not augmenting that with an adequate amount of devotional service, preaching etc. the danger is that one can be completely misled from the strict path of devotional service.
Yesterday when I was talking to different devotees they were expressing how they were having so many realizations about Krishna consciousness. Some of the devotees are distributing, most of them are of course, collecting. One distributor was mentioning how when distributing books in the airport, approaching people and giving them a… what do you call it, lollipop or candy, candy cane or something? Whatever they give, that there were three very conservative looking businessmen standing there and sometimes they tend to be a bit aloof but in this case they were quite friendly. They all gave a small donation couple of dollars, and one said “I know Krishna.” Gave him a Coming Back and Science of Reincarnation, “Oh I know about Krishna.” Then that party met up with the other party in the city and were standing with the whole party about 9, 10 people watching the devotees engaging in book distribution. And they were enjoying it.
So that person who said, “Oh, I know Krishna.” he came and said that “You appear to be having a lot of bliss doing this, could I try it?”
“If you want to.”
So, he then approached people and then gave them the candy cane and requested them and sold three books right there in the airport. And he says “Isn’t this the highest bliss?” the distributor asked him, and he said “Yes, it is incomparable.” And then he went on. So the sankirtan movement is very contagious, someone is a little bit not envious, they can easily get a taste for it, and they can become attracted, you see. So normally people their work, their thoughts, their words are performed simply for their own sense gratification.
This morning I was translating from Srila Prabhupada has written Vrindavane Bhajan and there he very clearly states, using the example of Arjuna that if somebody takes the… is fortunate enough to get the teachings of Krishna, from either Krishna or His bona fide representative and follow those teachings then that person is as fortunate as Arjuna was, you see. And all success in his life, and all perfection definitely are going to be achieved. On the other hand you study the nomenclature of the battle of Kurukshetra; Arjuna was fighting against the Kurus whose leader was Duryodhana. So Duryodhan, his motive was different than Arjuna’s. Arjuna’s motive was to please Krishna, to follow Krishna’s orders and Duryodhana’s motive was his own sense gratification. He wanted to win the war for his own prestige, power and sense gratification, for his own material motive. So the difference of course was that Arjuna achieved life, he achieved victory and also eternal life and Duryodhana, he died along with his entire family members.
So here we are told by work, thoughts and words an intelligent man must perform actions which should be beneficial for all living entities in this life and in the next. That most beneficial work means giving them Krishna consciousness. This is most auspicious and beneficial work which can be done. So by acting in that type of a dedicated mood one is not only benedicting the very… one’s self but all the people that one is helping. They are getting a permanent benefit. So what is real intelligence? If one is working for one’s own selfish interest rather limited sense gratificatory interest and if that is the cause of one’s own destruction then where is the value?
It is not to one’s real interest because we are not the body so to act simply for the bodily sense gratification not only does it ultimately lead the body to annihilation but it drags the soul back again and again into repeated birth and death. But by acting for Krishna’s satisfaction then one is liberated from the bondage of material life and one is actually brought into higher, higher realms of spiritual understanding and satisfaction and realization. What to speak of the jnanis or yogis who get… or rather of the materialists who are the fruitive workers are insignificant, even the jnanis, even the yogis who don’t follow this principle of service to Krishna, even they get trapped by maya, like Visvamitra and others, Saubhara Muni, they are forced to get down to the material platform. So we should take advantage of the process of devotional service. We should be very careful to analyze our own desire and refine the desire from desiring our own sense gratification to actually desiring to please Krishna.
In building the big projects in India, there are so many big guest houses and ashrams and temples and structures, very opulent, very wonderful. At that time Prabhupada said that if you are building all of these wonderful things only for your own comfortable living, then that is what you will get, a comfortable life, period. But if you are doing this for the sake of preaching, for the sake of serving Krishna then you will go back to Krishna. So everything we do if we take the basic goal that is to please Krishna, we do whatever is favorable to Krishna, our progress in Krishna consciousness and reject whatever is unfavorable then we are guaranteed to go back to Krishna. But if we compromise and we formally want to keep Krishna in the front but in actuality our desire is to somehow accommodate an… an unauthorized amount of sense gratification, what normally is not beneficial for our advancement in devotional service, then in that case Krishna might satisfy our desire, you see. But then we will be the losers to get that sense gratification in exchange for devotional service.
Just like having some kind of a bond which is worth a million dollars but then prematurely we can cash it in for ten dollars. We can’t wait. One’s immediate prayas, we were discussing, one’s immediate we want some sense gratification. So we should keep our mind fixed on the sreyas of the ultimate benefit that we can achieve, so that our existence is meant ultimately not for ourselves but for others, primarily Krishna and because Krishna’s desire is so wonderful, He wants us to bring the fallen souls back to Him.
So while serving Krishna… people say in India all the time that service to man is service to God. But it is just the opposite. Actually when one does service to God naturally Krishna says what service to do, you help others to become God conscious. There the devotee is actually the welfare worker for all the humanity. But the so-called social worker who is saying no, just serve man you don’t need God. Actually their service because they have no proper understanding of Krishna consciousness because they are inimical to Krishna, they are envious; actually the result of this so called welfare work is simply creating more problems for those individuals. Simply getting them more entangled in material life even though temporarily it may seem that their life is being made comfortable that is like making someone’s life comfortable the week before one has to go to the electric chair. What is the value of that?
Here in the newspaper they publish about the electric chair. The man was claiming that his last word was the strap was too tight. One second and there is a lot more than to worry about a tight strap. Even to the last second we are concerned about comfort. At that moment if he could only fix his mind on Krishna, right then even such a sinner can purify himself. Instead at the last second we are worrying about our comfort. The strap is too tight. We are going to die in a second, we are worried about how tight the strap is but where we are going after that we have no vision to see it.
These people are suffering. Whether they know they are suffering or not they are actually suffering. They may not see the solution; their solution is another form of suffering. It is simply extending the period they are going to have to suffer in the material world. Just like if there is some truck going along, has an accident and dumps all kinds of radioactive waste, maybe the ordinary people do not know it’s radioactive is, the person could just leave it and not tell anybody. But the scientists know, “This is radioactive, barricade and keep the people away. This is bad.” this is considered to be not beneficial. Although you can’t see it is radioactive, you don’t know until you get there, get contaminated. So in the same way when the Krishna conscious preacher can see that this this this, these different things are contamination they are actually detrimental to the common people.
Even the common person doesn’t realize it, still they do their best trying to guide people, steer people to the safe ground where they can be free from all of these dangers. Actually in uh, lifesaving, it is common knowledge that when a person goes out to save someone who is drowning one of the very common reactions of the drowning person is to completely grapple on to the life saver and in doing so practically drown him. Grab out and hold on like that and he can go down himself. So in fact what they say at that time… it’s a little off the point but, they teach the life savers that sometime they have to punch the person, knock him out, otherwise if he drowns you then both of you are going to drown. So the basic thing is that you are trying to save people in the material world, they are so foolish that either they distrust you and don’t understand that actually you are there for their benefit or in their foolishness they try to pull you down. One thing or the next. So one has to, of course we don’t punch them but what we do do is that we don’t come down to the level of the people we preach to.
We don’t engage in activities so we can relate better, we will sit down and have a beer together or something, we don’t do things like that, it is ridiculous. Although that is a very gross thing, of course you don’t break the four regulative principles, but on more subtle levels a preacher has to keep in his mind the distinction between his Krishna consciousness and the material consciousness of the other person one is preaching to. Otherwise gradually the mentality of the very people you are preaching to starts to rub off and then that can contaminate one and give one’s own mentality more of a passionate or sense gratificatory kind of drive.
Prabhupad said this is the danger preaching to gross materialists. That their karma, their attitude, even if their karma is protected their attitude may wear off. That is why it is important for us to have… to see the deities. Otherwise preaching is good and chanting Hare Krishna is as good as deity worship, one doesn’t need deity worship technically speaking but because this mentality, doubting mentality or rebellious mentality or self-motivated mentality could rub off. So seeing the deities, purifying our vision, hearing the Bhagavatam class tasting prasada, all these things are essential to help to bring the mind continually back to the proper devotional attitude. Sometimes going to India and visiting the holy dhamas Vrndavana, Mayapura, these also have a massive dose to put our mind in the proper keel. It can get unaligned so to speak, if we are not careful.
The very people we preach to they can also be a contamination to us over a period of time, if we are not careful and we don’t take the proper precautions. So that is why of course in a year during the marathon sometime we reduce the amount of our devotional practices for ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty days, in the sense we compress them or condense them and squeeze them into a more inte… because of the opportunity for preaching has become so much more due to the particular attitude of the people during this holiday season so we put the maximum effort, but then subsequent to that when the more normal situation comes back, then again we come back into our normal routine of devotional practices, Deity worship and so on.
Of course normally we see mangala arti everywhere that they do the marathon but some things might be a shortage of time available one should be careful also that after the marathon, one gets back to the normal routine. It’s normally not too difficult. This marathons are very ecstatic. But that’s the basic reason why although we are the sankirtan movement this is not the age for temple worship still we have temple worship. We need it to teach ourselves cleanliness, for purification, internal purification, to get the mind in the proper mood of subservience and surrender to Krishna. But then going out and helping others to come to Krishna consciousness, this is our prime purpose. This is actually what we are meant for.
By his work thoughts and words an intelligent man must perform actions which would be beneficial for all living entities in this life and the next.
Is it time now for the Deities?
Reply: No. Almost.
Jayapataka Swami: Hare Krishna.
Question: By words, acts and deeds…
Jayapataka Swami: Excuse me, work, thoughts and words.
Reply: Work thoughts and words?
Jayapataka Swami: …work, thoughts and words, an intelligent man must perform actions which would be beneficial for all living entities in this life and in the next. Mano, kaya vakya – mind, body, words.
Jayapataka Swami: Yeah, normally the brahmana accepts charity. With that they accept some of the karma of the people who give the charity. That is why in India some brahmanas won’t accept charity if a person is very sinful, don’t go to his house and won’t accept charity. But because as devotees whatever they give in charity we give it to Krishna so that the devotee doesn’t have to take any karma for the charity given because there is no personal motive there. Motive is to benefit that person to serve Krishna. Gives it to Krishna and then for Krishna just takes whatever Krishna leaves on His plate, lives in Krishna’s house as His servant.
So the Vaisnava is a post graduate stage even to the Brahmanas. Brahmanas have twelve qualities and the Vaisnavas have thirteen.
Question: (inaudible) … about karma.
Jayapataka Swami: Sure. He gets to take the karma from that person. Whenever somebody gives charity that means that you are indebted to that person. Now you owe him that. So with that, along to pay back the debt if he is giving, in most cases he is giving it for pious activity. So he takes your pious activities and gives you his sinful activities which is alright if you transfer on to Krishna because He’s apapa-viddham; He can uh, accept any amount of sinful reaction, burn it up.
Jayapataka Swami: He can’t hold him in the water forever and tread; you want to get him to the shore.
Reply: I’m just wondering… (inaudible)
Jayapataka Swami: Until they read Prabhupada’s books, or understand the philosophy they might be attracted. Someone might be attracted because Krishna is there, Krishna is all attractive, so the all attractive nature coming out but then until the person engages in cultivation of knowledge or performing some devotional service, then it is hard for them to get to a more refined state.
Question: Well, we’re talking to those individuals who... (inaudible)
Jayapataka Swami: That is putting them in Krishna’s orbit.
Reply: So Prabhupada told us how to do that?
Jayapataka Swami: Prabhupada said you fan the fire. If there is a little bit of spark, you fan it. Just like lighting the wood, start a little spark if we keep fanning it, it can light up the whole big chunk of wood there, the big block of wood. A little spark, you fan it. Was that your question?
Jayapataka Swami: Well just like… It is natural you know, you are friendly, they don’t understand it, “This guy’s giving me a cookie. He’s telling me some nice things, and it’s far out.” You know, so their natural response is try to invite you to join in some sense gratification with them, right? They don’t know any better. (scoffs) But the preacher knows that… I mean, he can’t compromise on that. So then just tries to get the person to the dry ground to some better understanding of Krishna consciousness so they can get on their own feet and then… then they don’t have to be… you know, or just like you are in the ocean, so your lifesaver on, but take him to the ship. So you are trying to take the person to the spiritual master, take the person to the deck of the ship and then from there one can be taken to the shore. So naturally one is trying to always bring a person to take shelter of more senior devotees, ultimately to the spiritual master. To do that, then one has to preach and cultivate that the person develop a little bit of faith in Krishna consciousness, and from there they can develop faith in spiritual master then the spiritual master will be keeping… taking that person to Krishna. So that is why then you can say the person that rescues one and takes the one to the ship, he is the vartma pradarsaka guru and the spiritual master is the ship the captain of the ship.
When the ship comes in to dock, when it comes into the port like Calcutta is about sixty miles north of the Bay of Bengal so just at the mouth of the harbor or the mouth of the river there is a force called the Port Authority and they have a pilot that comes on board and he sometimes takes the ship in. So sometimes just like the position kind of the siksha guru. In ISKCON normally the dikha guru is also the same as siksha guru but another qualified pilot who is coming on board just for the… for some period like a pilot that is the position of a siksha guru. But if the captain himself is present and able to guide into the water, he takes one right in and that is not a problem. Prabhupad was both siksha and diksha guru. The captain is one but the pilots might be many. Diksha guru is one and siksha gurus are many.
How much time?
Yes, Punadeva dasa
Punadeva Prabhu: You mentioned about Brahmana’s got the twelve qualities and the Vaisnava has fifteen...
Jayapataka Swami: Thirteen.
Punadeva Prabhu: Thirteen.
Jayapataka Swami: That’s a uh, separate list.
Punadeva Prabhu: Why…
Jayapataka Swami: In that… you see there are two separate lists. Like if you read in the Bhagavatam it gives the qualities of work of a Vaisya, Sudra, Ksatriya and Brahmana. So in the Gita it mentions it is nine and in the Bhagavatam it mentions twelve qualities of a brahmana. The additional quality the vaishnava has is this devotion to Krishna, pure devotion to Krishna. But in the other list Krishna has 64 qualities; the demigods can have up to 50 of those 64 qualities, and we can also have up to 50 because we can also become a demigod. But the quantity might… is… would…. would be considerably less and some of the reserved qualities of Krishna He may empower someone that is why then they are called saktyavesa if they are having some power which normally is not allocated for the jivas. And the power which is normally allocated for the jivas… and that power which is normally not allocated for the jivas is called a vibhuti. So Lord Siva, he is any exception that he is greater than other demigods. He can have 55 of the 64 qualities. But greater than Siva is Narayana who can have 60 and greater than Narayana is of course the Supreme Krishna and He has 64, Him and also Balaram, have both 64. Rama is somewhere between Narayana and Krishna. I think now there is no time.
Transcribed by: Jayaraseshwari devi dasi 25 October 2014
Revised by: Jagannatha dasa Brahmacari