The following is a lecture given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami on September 23d, 1984. The class begins with a reading from the Sri Caitanya-Caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter 14, Verse 45.
kāṅgālera bhojana-raṅga dekhe gaurahari
hari-bola’ bali tāre upadeśa kari
kāṅgālera bhojana-raṅga dekhe gaurahari
hari-bola’ bali tāre upadeśa kari
Observing the beggars eating prasādam, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chanted, “Haribol!” and instructed them to chant the holy name.
Observing the beggars
Devotees: Observing the beggars
Jayapataka Swami: eating prasādam
Devotees: eating prasādam
Jayapataka Swami: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chanted
Devotees: Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chanted
Jayapataka Swami: “Haribol!”
Jayapataka Swami: and instructed them
Devotees: and instructed them
Jayapataka Swami: to chant the holy name.
Devotees: to chant the holy name.
In a song, Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura chants:
miche māyāra vaśe, yāccha bhese',
khāccha hābuḍubu, bhāi
jīva kṛṣṇa-dāsa, e viśvāsa,
ka'rle ta' āra duḥkha nāi
"Everyone is captivated by the waves of the ocean of nescience, but if everyone would immediately accept Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as their eternal master, there would be no chance of being carried away by the waves of illusion. Then all sufferings would stop." End of translation. Kṛṣṇa conducts the material world under the three modes of material nature, and consequently there are three platforms of life-higher, middle and lower. On whatever platform one may be situated, one is tossed by the waves of material nature. Someone may be rich, someone may be middle class, and someone may be a poor beggar—it doesn't matter. As long as one is under the spell of the three modes of material nature, he must continue to experience these divisions.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore advised the beggars to chant "Hari bol!" while taking prasāda. Chanting means accepting one's self as the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. This is the only solution, regardless of social position. Everyone is suffering under the spell of māyā; therefore the best course is to learn how to get out of the clutches of māyā. That is the verdict of the Bhagavad-gītā (14.26):
māṁ ca yo 'vyabhicāreṇa
sa guṇān samatītyaitān
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman."
One can overcome the spell of māyā and attain the transcendental platform by agreeing to engage in the devotional service of the Lord. Devotional service begins with śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam; therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised the beggars to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra for elevation to the transcendental position. On the transcendental platform, there is no distinction between the rich, the middle class and the poor.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta Purport of the Caitanya Caritamrta Verse 45, Chapter 14, Madhya-lila in the matter of The Performance of the Vrndavana Pastimes.
Lord Caitanya had ordered Govinda His personal servant to call all of the poor beggars, you see who are very unhappy due to their poverty and on Lord Caitanya’s instruction all these beggars were sumptuously fed Krishna prasada. While they were taking Krishna prasada Lord Caitanya told them to chant the Harinama, chant the names of Krishna, by calling out to them “Haribol! Haribol!, chant the names of Hari, chant the names of Hari.” So all these beggars they began to chant.
Similarly in Mayapur when we distribute prasadam at that time we ask all the people to chant and you can hear the thousands of people, they will all stop taking prasada for a moment and thus start to chant Haribol! Haribol! Gaura Haribol! Or before taking prasadam they will chant Hare Krishna, then we give everyone prasada. So this is our basic program to feed people prasadam and to ask them to chant,
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Maya or the illusion is that we think we can be happy by following the different programs for happiness provided by the three modes of material nature. By the mode of ignorance we may think that we can be happy by insanity, by suicide, by destroying something, becoming angry, bitter, jealous, envious and so on. By the mode of passion we feel we can be happy by profit, by accumulation, by fame, fortune, so on. And by the mode of goodness we feel we can be happy through cleanliness, religiosity, charity, kindness and then you have the mixtures of those three. But all of the various programs provided by the three modes of material nature they do not offer the satisfaction we are looking for. To achieve real satisfaction in life. There has to be the transcendental connection with Krishna.
miche māyāra vaśe, yāccha bhese’
khāccha hābuḍubu, bhāi
We are in the midst of the ocean of maya and we are floating on the waves of maya. Different types of waves are like the different types of material situations, material allurements, material happinesses, but just as one is uplifted by a wave next minute one is thrown down by the wave, so, khāccha hābuḍubu, bhāi, that here we are in this material ocean, sometimes the wave is lifting us up, sometimes the wave crashing us down. In this way we are forced to drink the salty waters, we are forced to accept this plummeting and beating by the waves of material world.
So another verse is there in the Caitanya Caritamrta
kabhu svarge uṭhāya, kabhu narake ḍubāya
daṇḍya-jane rājā yena nadīte cubāya
Sometimes we are brought up to heaven to enjoy happiness like the demigods, sometimes we are taken down to hell, to hellish existence, to experience the suffering like the suffering in the animal species and lower. So… dunking arrangement where sometimes we are getting a little relief, sometime we are given some relief, sometimes we are put into extreme anxiety and suffering. Normally people who get a little material happiness they become little proud. As a result that makes them not very interested in spiritual life. Especially since the kings were the symbol of material happiness in the rajo guna. Rajo guna is named after rajas, passion, the name of a king is raja. So practically its synonymous.
To be the head of government, especially to be a absolute monarch can provide unlimited facility for power, sense gratification, enjoyment of the senses, apart from all the other responsibilities that come with it. There is ample facility for enjoyment. So if a king, executive head had the objective to lead his life in a God conscious way, to have the kingdom to be spiritually aware that was considered to be something very glorious, and they were known as rajarsi, simultaneously they were raja and rsi. Raja is king and rsi means wise sage.
So the sadhus though, they would avoid the grossly materialistic kings. So sometimes they would test. For instance, when Maharaja Prataparudra tried to get the audience of Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Lord Caitanya refused him, that “How can I associate with you through messengers, you are our king, you are involved in politics, sense gratification and so on?” So for a mendicant in renounced order it is not good to associate with too materialistic a person. But Prataparudra Maharaja when Lord Caitanya saw him sweeping the road for Lord Jagannath in Puri, although he was a king he was accepting the most humble position as a servitor as even a sweet sweeper for Lord Jagannath. In fact this had impressed Lord Caitanya very much. The sweeping of the street for Lord Jagannath is not a new thing, but it’s been performed for thousands and thousands of years.
The king Indradyumna he also swept the road for Lord Jagannath, thousands and thousands of years ago. In fact Indradyumna was engaged to marry another princess of another king. When that king saw that he was sweeping the road, he wasn’t a very Krishna conscious king, he refused according to the history given in Orissa, he refused to allow his daughter the princess to be married to king Indradyumna. He forbade “My daughter will never marry a street sweeper.” In India sweepers are considered to be, of course there you see they don’t have a municipal sewage system, sometimes its manually cleaned and the sweepers do that job. So traditionally sweepers have been considered to be the depressed class. They do not always follow all the hygienic systems. Or even if they do due to their occupation the aroma and other things which accompany them are such that people generally keep a healthy distance. So somehow they also get the job of sweeping the streets although that’s not quite as despicable an occupation but alongside the streets the gutters sometimes in these older municipalities they serve for the open air sewage system. So it more or less it kind of merges in more ways than one.
So of course to clean the road before Lord Jagannath is not a material duty and to have lumped in king Indradyumna as a street sweeper, not seeing that actually he was a great devotee of Lord Jagannath and for Jagannath he can take any role as devotional service offered to Krishna whether it is sweeping or whether doing arati or whatever it may be its all absolute on the transcendental platform.
So Indradyumna he felt actually more than a matter just insulting him, it was an insult to Lord Jagannath, that it was a lack of appreciation of the transcendental position of Lord Jagannath. So he declared war upon that king. Willingly or unwillingly he was going to marry his daughter. It was a matter of, or he was going to die in the battle. The other king was very powerful. So there was some doubt as to whether he would be victorious or not. The pujaris of the Jagannath Puri temple they say that Indradyumna did a great puja for Lord Jagannath, Krishna and he went off. Of course in his mind he was wandering whether in fact he would be victorious or not. But as a matter of principle he wasn’t going to take any kind of even indirect insult against Lord Jagannath or His devotional service.
So in front of Lord Jagannath’s army there were two generals according to the legend, the history who were riding to scout the situation. These two generals they stopped one lady who was carrying some yogurt to the market and said that –
“Give Us your yogurt! We are hungry.”
She said, “I am very poor! What will you pay me?”
They said, “We don’t have any money!”
“How will I be paid?”
“King Indradyumna he will pay you. He is coming.”
“He won’t pay any attention to me. Who am I? I am a simple village woman. If I try to see him I won’t get any audience whatsoever.”
They said, no you can take this ring. You show this ring to him and he will give you ample reward.
So she accepted the ring from one of the generals, gave the yoghurt and went on. So then when she came, she wanted to see the king. Big cavalry procession, whole hall, big elephants, this humble woman wants to see the king. “Get out of the way!”
“No no I have this ring!” Some commotion in the side the king saw. “What is that, what is that? Bring her here! What does she want?”
“She said that you have to reward her, she has given yoghurt to some of your generals.”
“What? All my generals are here!”
“No there were two generals, they came and they took my yoghurt and they gave me this ring!” and when he saw that ring, “This is Jagannath’s ring! What did those generals look like?”
“One was very black and he was riding a white horse, and the other one was pure white and he was riding a black horse. and they were both very young and very powerful looking.” and described… and then you know Indradyumna Maharaja became completely ecstatic.
He said, “It was Jagannath and Balarama!” Then they knew that their expedition would be completely successful.
So like this there are so many histories that how the Lord has given His mercy to His devotees. Of course he was victorious and that daughter became his queen… that princess. And the other king later could recognize what was the value of devotional service. So Lord Caitanya he also tested the King Prataparudra. When he saw him sweeping the road and doing so many devotional services His heart softened to him.
In Navadvipa Jayadeva took his birth about a thousand years ago. At that time Laxman Sena, cant remember if it was Laksman Sena or Balala Sena, one is the father, one is the son, two great kings. I think with Jayadeva it was Laksmana Sen, but I am not 100% sure, could have been Balal Sena of the Sena dynasty. Anyway take it as Laksmana Sena went to see Jayadeva, to request him to become his minister, to become the royal poet… for the whole kingdom because Jayadeva was such a great poet, Vaisnava. He came with his ministers and Jayadeva became very angry because here he was a brahmana and his residence was being intruded by a king. He began to chastise the king. He said that “I am leaving Navadvipa, I refuse to reside here. The king has come here and polluted my residence. Kings are always involved in so much materialistic activity. So I am leaving.” very offended.
Then Laxman Sena he paid his obeisances to Jayadeva and he pleaded that “Please don’t leave my kingdom, that I meant no offence. Yes this royal order is such a despicable occupation. We have to be involved in so many undesirable activities to protect the country. So if you leave our kingdom then it will be a great loss. So kindly don’t, you have given your word, I know you can’t break it. So don’t leave my, please take your residence just across the Ganges river.” Jayadeva was living just near our temple, just near the Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandira. He requested to stay across the river. This is another proof that the original Navadvipa was on our side of the river because at that time he said to take his residence across the river so that… “At least you will be within our kingdom. Otherwise if we lose the association of such a great Vaisnava in our kingdom this will be very unfortunate, inauspicious for everyone. We want the blessings of the Vaisnavas. Only for that purpose did I come to you, to request you to use your knowledge for the upliftment of the entire kingdom.”
So Jayadeva seeing, by testing, by little criticism and seeing that he didn’t get angry and puffed up but actually he became humble, he could see actually he was a devotee not just a materialistic king who wanted to exploit him for his own name and fame. So then Jayadeva said “Alright I will live across the river and you can also come and see me. But don’t come as a king, come in ordinary dress like a brahmana, the Vaisnava, you come and see me in secret. We can discuss Krishna katha.”
So like this there were some tests given by Lord Caitanya, by others, because people sometime when they are rich or powerful they want to use the church or the religious people to, the religious issues for their political power. They don’t actually… they are not interested in spiritual life. The pure devotees they don’t appreciate that. But they did appreciate it if the king was actually was a devotee, if he was a rajarsi.
So here people when they become wealthy sometimes they become very proud. Sometimes in sankirtana the devotees find that even poor people although they don’t have much money but generally they are easier to get them to stop or to discuss to be receptive but they don’t have the capacity to give much. But the very wealthy businessmen they tend to shove aside the preachers, they become very hard, cold. So that just means that their wealth will very soon be depleted as soon as their pious activities run out then again they can fall back down.
So here the poor beggars have been invited to take prasada, to take Lord Jagannath’s sacred food, so how fortunate they were! Although they didn’t have any money but they are able to eat Krishna’s prasada, that means that their spiritual good fortune has been made and then Lord Caitanya wants to give them even more good fortune, He is telling all of them to chant.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
So whether one is rich or poor or middle class everyone can chant the holy name of Krishna, they can achieve the transcendental platform and on the transcendental platform there is no distinction between the rich the middle class and the poor. If someone tries to bring his distinction on to the material… the transcendental platform rather that becomes an obstacle, you see. So just that the rich they wouldn’t try to use their material accumulation of wealth as some kind of a qualification to achieve God consciousness. It’s not a qualification. Qualification is to chant Hare Krishna, to take Krishna prasadam, to serve the devotees of the Lord, to be humble. The easiest way to get over the attachment to wealth is to see that the real proprietor of the wealth is Krishna. If we see that Krishna is the proprietor then even the wealthy person is not wealthy in that sense. He won’t be proud because he will say “Well its actually Krishna’s property, I am trustee.”
Actually in India this was a system that many of the rich land owners, the landlords, the zamindars, they would put their entire property in the name of a Deity. They call it devatara. And the Deity was the proprietor. And they would manage the estate of the Deity as a sevaite, as a servant, and they would get a house, they would get the prasadam of the Deity and their clothing but everything was in the name of the Deity, neither could it be sold. It had to be managed in that way and all the profits from that property held as a devatara Deity estate would be used for having fabulous Janmastami festivals, Gaura Purnima festivals, Jhulan festivals, Rasa-lila festivals so that in the villages, in the cities you find that throughout the year there would be income coming to the deities fund from the rent on the land there would be these fabulous festivals going on, and the zamindars they would get the great happiness of building a little temple like the rasa badi a special temple just to take the Deity for the Rasalila festival. They’d take the Deity and all the devotees would dance round and round, and chant Hare Krishna around the Deity throughout the night for Rasalila, Jhulan, swing festival and so on. Now unfortunately must be due to some offences on the part of those sevaites for one reason or another most of these devataras or these estates or due to the demoniac influence of the government after the British left, socialistic trend in India, they became envious of the deities, they had so much property. So instead of making a system whereby these estates could be run for the social benefit instead they said “Oh these people are misusing the name of Deity worship, they are avoiding tax.” So they took away all the deities property and gave the Deity a token payment. They definitely could have made some other arrangement but actually they were, some people were envious of the Deity worship.
So as a result now these big festivals are not so gorgeously performed as… in a regular manner as they had been in the past. Some of these big temples built up by these zamindars, they come to us and say “Please take over, we can’t maintain, because they have no estate, we have no land.” The government gives them fifty dollars a month to maintain this huge building. Its nothing.
So anyway the point is that on the transcendental platform there is no distinction between rich middle or poor. That if a wealthy man actually so long he takes everything to be a property of Krishna then he can remain in a very… Those zamindars they were very happy. According to history they were many great devotees of Lord Caitanya were these landlords. Raghunatha dasa Goswami was a zamindar, Sivananda Sena might have been, definitely Pundarika Vidyanidhi was a zamindar and there were many others, Vasudeva Datta, he was zamindar. In this way even though they were wealthy… they were almost like kings but they put their whole small kingdom or more like dukes or counts in a European context they put everything in the name of the Deity. The whole area was in trust and the actual landlord was the Deity. One had to pay.
Recently… in Orissa, this system is still there. There are literally thousands and thousands of tenants on Lord Jagannath’s land. One time they decided to stop paying. They said that “No we wont pay Jagannath His rent, His share.” They are supposed to pay 1/3 of all the crops to the temple. They stopped to do so and as a result temple was put into some great difficulty. The people they started to preach some atheism that, “Awe, if Jagannath wants let Him come get it.” some communistic kind of influence or something came there. “He is the Lord of everything, He doesn’t need it. We were working it; it’s ours.”
I remember about ten years ago, it came in the papers there was a tropical storm formed in the Bay of Bengal, off of Jagannath Puri when this movement was going on. and huge tidal waves struck Jagannath Puri and salt water and sand completely covered all the land of Jagannath where these people where refusing to pay the rent and it became completely useless. There was a lot of soul searching after that. (laughter)
So… of course that’s another side of it. We shouldn’t take a responsibility from God and try to cheat Him and not expect to get the short end of the deal. But if we rather take the opportunity to serve Him, to chant His holy name, then this suffering that is there in this material world that ends, (jīva) kṛṣṇa-dāsa, ei viśvāsa, we should have the faith, the very deep conviction and belief that we are in fact the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we are the servant of Krishna. karle ta’ āra duḥkha nāi. When we have that deep conviction that the material suffering which normal karmis have to endure, that hopeless and helpless situation,that suffering is no longer experienced. As we advance in Krishna consciousness the suffering goes. All the sufferings would stop, karle ta’ āra duḥkha nāi, no more suffering.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is asking them as He is feeding them Krishna prasada, asking them to chant this is a complete… giving them their material need, giving them their spiritual upliftment which in turn will stop all their material sufferings. Therefore this welfare work that He is giving them is complete. It doesn’t leave any stone unturned; it doesn’t leave any area undeveloped. All their suffering, their disease, their old age, the death, rebirth, adhidaivika, adhibhautika, adhiatmka, suffering from natural calamity, from others… other living entities, from their own body and mind, all these things are stopped as one completely surrenders unto Krishna. That’s the only solution regardless of one’s social position. So in our Ratha-yatra festival we’re also inviting people to take prasadam, to chant Hare Krishna and that is the real medicine.
We were discussing this morning that here Atlanta often we go to different places with Harinama trying to get different people to come to the temple. We were discussing how coming to the temple is for very very fortunate people, to have the darshan of Nitai Gaurachand and Jagannath is not a small thing. We have to be quite fortunate to come in a temple, a very powerful and sacred temple where Prabhupada and these very powerful deities reside. It’s for very fortunate people. And that many people they may not have the requisite fortune to avail of this mercy you see. Sometimes the devotees give them that good fortune by inviting them to come and they may come out of curiosity or out of desire of knowledge, out of distress or out of economic desire. But if we encourage them as Lord Caitanya here is encouraging here all these poor beggars to chant Haribol, if we can give them some prasadam, also request them to chant Hare Krishna, if we present it in such a way that they can see that they can chant Hare Krishna in their house. They don’t have to change their American way of life, they can you know… which they are very attached to, they can chant the Mahamantra in the closet, in the living room, in their house, in the park while they are jogging, they can chant Hare Krishna.
By chanting you have a lot of home chanters, then they will be able to get the good fortune to come to the temple and appreciate fully the mercy of Lord Caitanya, Lord Jagannath. So many people are doing this different forms of meditation that are being sold in the market for a good price. Somehow we need preachers to be dedicated devotees to spread this movement but we want to spread it to the mass of people, we want them to get this good fortune. Just as Lord Caitanya was giving prasadam and telling the beggars to chant Haribol! So practically speaker… speaking they may be materially not beggars, spiritually most of the population is bankrupt! They are beggars, they don’t have any spiritual asset. They have no spiritual conception of life. They are suffering, they are habudubu’s the suffering of the mlecchas and the yavanas it’s so great that practically its overwhelming to see the suffering in their face.
In spite of having money they are so frustrated trying to enjoy the senses, their broken homes, and addictions, different problems, their struggle to maintain the status quo in ever-changing waves and throws of this material ocean of birth and death. They are breaking practically every conceivable law of nature and then trying to maintain the equilibrium while karma is completely against him, is very terrifying predicament for them. You can see the result in so many untimely deaths, so many accidents, cancers, diseases, political upheavals, mental disorders, broken relationships. People are suffering in so many ways in spite of economic development being rampant, spiritual development is practically nil. Even religion has been prostituted for the sole purpose of economic development, and very little attempt is made to actually develop a personal relationship with God and His pure devotees. Rather God is made as our order supplier. So this is a very unfortunate position for these people because as a result they are suffering from so many ways especially those who don’t have any religious faith at all they are very unfortunate.
So Lord Caitanya He called the beggars, He fed them Krishna prasada, “Whether you are rich or poor, Krishna prasada, we are all beggars for prasada.” Actually in India if you distribute prasada the wealthy people will also come but they say give us kunika matra. Even a touch a bit, they are not anxious to sit down and take a full plate, its not, we may insist upon them but if they get even a small piece they are quite happy like Chida dahi festival if they get even a morsel of prasada they are quite overjoyed. Even if you give people a small particle of prasada even a drop, even a tiny bit kunika, just a fragment of prasada… kunika matra only a small fragment of prasadam is enough to give them all good fortune in their life to begin their spiritual life, and then on top of that if they, by taking prasada if that has given them enough fortune that they again can do this spiritual meditation of chanting the holy name
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Jaya sri krsna caitanya
sri advaita gadhadhara
srivasadi gaura bhakta vrnda
Well then their spiritual life is well on its way and their suffering are soon going to be ended. So this is our objective. We want to somehow induce the people to take up the chanting, eating prasadam, and then certainly they will come here to the temple with great respect and appreciation for this spiritual oasis, here in this material ocean. This island of transcendental joy, peace and enlightenment.
Jaya Sri Krsna Caitanya!
Jaya Nityananda prabhu!
Jaya Jagannath Baladeva Subhadra ki jaya!
Jagannath rathyatra mahamahotsava ki jaya!
Devotee: Yes Srila Acaryapada. Do you have quite… I’ve had a few friends come to the temple and like, given donations, like that, but… they’re materially, somewhat so-called happy and… they have a good job, decent car, nice place to stay, so they’re just floating along, thinking everything’s okay, so I’m wondering what is a good technique to get them to chant.
Jayapataka Swami: What is a good technique?
Devotee: They’re not so motivated.
Jayapataka Swami: Well probably the same technique that people buy life insurance. Everyone knows that down the road there is difficulty so, they may not be so sincerely and heart… they won’t be so sincerely chanting, they wont be chanting so much from the core of their heart as a surrendered devotee who has given his everything to Krishna. But if they do chant even just as a type of… every person is a individual, you can present chanting in countless ways, as a protection from danger, as a increasing your concentration and spiritual control of the mind. Without being able to control your mind… you have to preach to people, you won’t get peace, without peace even you have money you cant be happy. So if a person chants Hare Krishna and learns this process of yoga, every yoga is to control the mind and senses. Unless they are able to bring the mind and senses to some sort of control which is normally not possible then they are going to be put into so much difficulty. Why wait for trouble? You should already take some precaution. So by chanting that protects one.
In Dvaraka so many people were devotees of Krishna. But they lived in a very opulent way. It’s not that one has to, by being a devotee change their standard of living but rather they should simultaneously begin to serve Krishna, gradually bring up the service to Krishna to that same standard. There are so many wealthy people they are buying these courses, they are going to health spas, they are going to yoga clubs, paying for TM. So make a course, home yoga course, home meditation course, 100 dollars, mantra is free, we will teach you how to chant, you give them a kit. Here in America most people pay for, we can’t charge for the mantra, we can charge for a course how to set up a home yoga, home chanting or something.
But somehow by preaching they should know that by chanting they will get more peace of mind than by any other process. Not that immediately they have to give up everything. Rather they should just add the chanting and then gradually by association with the devotees they will learn how to utilize what they have in a more productive Krishna conscious way. We should definitely understand that we are not… that is definitely a much neophyte stage of devotional service. We are not offering it as an alternative for a devotee who is already absorbed in preaching. Somebody who is in a higher level of dedication to Krishna is entitled to keep up the same level of productivity for giving to Krishna. But this is for spreading out the mercy.
Just like Lord Caitanya is calling in the beggars and telling them to chant. This is our distribution of mercy. In many ways the rich people they are suffering more because they don’t have any information that simply, they think that I am wealthy they why am I not happy? Why am I still frustrated? “I got a house, I got my car, I have got my job, every, but still I am not happy.” So they become alcoholic so they become something else because happiness is already within us, its already there. These external things only bring the flickering material happiness but the real permanent happiness is already within us, the satisfaction. To get to that, that’s the process of bhakti-yoga, that’s the process of chanting and hearing then one feels fulfilled.
Somehow, each person is an individual, somehow by any means you should get them to be Krishna conscious. So that’s what Rupa Goswami said, yena tena prakarena krsna manah nivasate, by any means you get them to be attached to Krishna. You can’t just you know it’s not that it’s a packaged stereotype. Each person is an individual by, each person by whatever means you can you get them attached to Krishna, you get them to chant Hare Krishna. Then after that, once they make some advancement when they see that the other devotees are even more happy what to speak of peace, the other devotees are more ecstatic “How is it that I can…” just like that one devotee he got the touchstone, “I went to the devotee, I got what I wanted but he must have something more valuable.” Then you can introduce some of the higher, to establish Krishna consciousness Prabhupada needed brahmanas to preach, so he had to give the highest standard right from the beginning. But he instructed that next stage is varanasrama, that has to be given to the total society as whatever position they are in they have to be trained how to become gradually Krishna conscious, how to use their occupation as the jumping board to go back to Krishna as the method of serving Krishna. Its not that our society is only for brahmanas but brahmanas are the core, they are the ministers of religion, they are the preachers. All of you are the preachers, everything is dependent upon you. But its not expected that everyone in the world will be able to come up to that standard.
So we also just like Lord Caitanya called the beggars, gave them prasada, told them to chant. We are also calling all the people and somehow trying to involve them in this process of chanting and serving. And as they advance then they can also utilize their energy for helping this Krishna conscious movement expand. Then you will want to know how there will be temples in every town and village as the devotees are there in every town and village they will pitch in and build, just like they build churches in America in every neighborhood. In Atlanta there will be so many temples, and every house will be a temple, not that we even need a lot of institutional temples but we can train them also how to make their house into a temple. These temples are training centers where people can learn how to be Krishna conscious and then bring that in their local area. The whole responsibility is on the brahmana, vaisnava preachers to liberally distribute Krishna consciousness to the suffering souls.
Tonight I wanted to start a program just as an experiment Sunday feast, I happen to have about a couple of hundred samskara patra cards from Malaysia in English. So we thought that maybe we can ask the people at the end of my lecture, how many like this chanting process and see as we do in many other places if anyone would agree to chant or try to chant everyday one round of Hare Krishna. See if anyone, just as an experiment see what type of response we get. Maybe we will be pleasantly surprised. Although for America I would custom make the card a little differently than what it is but it’s an experiment, it’s alright. That’s our basic program if we could somehow get the people to chant even a little bit every day then their good fortune increases and increases. And in this way they get absorbed in love for Krishna even they don’t expect it. Then their total mentality gets transformed. We don’t tell them in the beginning if you chant Hare Krishna your total outlook on life is going to change. Then they won’t chant. In India there are many people they say I am not going to chant. If I chant I will become like you. (laughter) That’s their fear. Its not that they have to become like us externally. But internally it’s a fact that there is a change when someone chants their outlook on life takes on transcendental vision and they become peaceful and happy.
We don’t want everyone to give up their work and live in the temple. We’d rather have them work and give Laksmi to the temple so that the preachers could concentrate more on book distribution and on educating the people at large on the principles of Krishna consciousness. So we don’t have to utilize so much energy for fund raising which at the present time is essential. Under the circumstances its better if we can by direct preaching have people as vaisyas contribute to supporting the brahmanical programs. That will be our strength. As time goes on they are going to try to take away this different kind of fund raising avenues that we discovered as the demons become more and more concerned with Krishna consciousness progress. So they are going to try in various ways, they are already trying to stop us, but if we have a very strong grassroots base that people are congregational supporters they contribute. So then there is nothing anybody can do.
That’s what happened in England, recently they lost some court cases and they can’t do street sankirtana anymore. It’s been declared illegal. So but now in the meantime they are forced to go to all the congregational members and each of the members have pledged to give certain amount every month. It automatically goes from the bank account. Just like when you get your pay check and take off for your social security, income tax, Hare Krishna tax, Hare Krishna, it comes right off. (laughter) And the government gives a tax rebate to the temple for that. So they get 25, right now they are getting about 20,000 pounds per month, it’s called covenant, in direct donation that just goes right into their account and the government gave them their first check, 8,000 pounds. 42% tax kickback in England. So they are trying to build it up so that they get 40,000 pounds and then from the government they will be getting about 15, 16, so it turns out, if they get 25 then they will get a total of 40, something like that. And that’s enough to maintain the entire Bhaktivedanta Manor, everything. Then all the devotees can just concentrate on other types of direct preaching festivals, putting on displays, things.
Devotee: We were discussing about doing this kind of program, trying to figure out what would be the best way to go about it. (inaudible)
Jayapataka Swami: Well the point is that you can’t suddenly change. The way that they can do is in England there are two million Indians there and about 90% of those donors are Indian community. And Indian community in England is much more conscious because so many of them they are able to keep a lot of their traditional values. But in America a lot, when they come over here a lot of them are on their own, and so they forget in some cases their traditional values. Definitely the Indian community could be a source. But basically we have to take a little longer if we have to build up the congregation. That means first of all we have to have a lot of people chanting Hare Krishna out there and then amongst those who chant Hare Krishna who become a little serious, who can recognize that they gain something from chanting then they will feel very encouraged to giving something to help the Hare Krishna movement.
So it’s a gradual program when we preach and find favorable people to get their names, they call this contact sankirtana in the West, in the Europe, where they also visit them trying to get them to take whole sets of books, Peshawar paintings, Indian rugs, things like that, different, but the ultimate issue is to get them to be a congregational member, and even to pledge, according to their, not that we you know, according to their capability, whatever they feel. The FOLK program in England, they have a, a more integrated FOLK member, a person gives a pledge, they don’t put any amount, they say whatever, you fill in the blank. So some people gave one pound, some people gave even up to five thousand pounds. In those days it was ten thousand dollars, now it’s only seven.
So the basic thing is to get names and to cultivate them on a very gradual basis but at least they start to chant Hare Krishna. So we were discussing if we had some more brochures and things. What do you call those, those little pamphlets, there is a name for that, leaflet. But that like a kind of technical name they call them, the general… leaflet, like…
Jayapataka Swami: No, no… it’s almost like, it’s like within that advertising propaganda business, something like that, it’s only… huh? Some catchy little name, it’s not publicly used, its only used by.
Jayapataka Swami: Everyone knows pamphlets, brochures, flyer, anyway you got the point. We have a few of those that might help. And you will see in the New Orleans Ratha yatra they bring their full Rathayatra display they have some really nice displays on reincarnation, I saw in New York. They show how Thomason Jefferso… Thomas Jefferson, President Adams, what’s his name John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, George Harrison, more recently but in the past all those great American figures, they didn’t really have anybody there from Dixie, according to our research, Thoreau, where is Thoreau from?
Jayapataka Swami: Wrong State. They considered Yankees? Is Benjamin Franklin a Yankee or is he above that? He is accepted…
Comment: Jefferson was…
Jayapataka Swami: But that was before the civil war, so is he?
Reply: Jefferson was from Virginia.
Jayapataka Swami: He is a Virginian.
Reply: He’s a father of this country like George Washington.
Jayapataka Swami: Right, so Thomas Jefferson was known as a brahmana, he believed in reincarnation, had discussion. Henry Ford said “When I was twenty six year old I accepted the principle of reincarnation.” So they have all those quotes with pictures, a few brochures like that may be helpful to get them Coming Back magazi… book but if we can get many people to chanting. If they don’t feel intimated then gradually they will come more and more part of our Krishna conscious movement, and they can be engaged as supporters and in this country you get 100% tax exemption. In England they don’t get any tax exemption for the donors. In India you only get 55% but in America so far, thank Krishna, if a person donates to the Krishna conscious movement, they get, to the church, to the society, they get a 100% tax exemption. It’s a big incentive. Why pay Uncle Sam? Pay Krishna and get spiritual benefit for that and help your, help this great culture be spread.
So it’s not going to change overnight, our devotional service but its something that has to be built up very gradually. So many books have been distributed, so many favorable people are there, now they have to be cultivated and encouraged to practice a few basic principles, just a few, just the principle of chanting nothing else and then after that may be cooking their own you know vegetarian prasadam but the main thing is just to get them to chant, get them somehow to be attached to Krishna through art, through culture, through whatever their interest is, whatever their common interest is with Krishna, through that interest try to get them attached to Krishna and then from there you see one should have that beachhead, then you build on it, a little spark you fan it until they become more advanced in spiritual life. Those who are able to become full time devotee they are already flaming, they are already effulgent, they are very very fortunate people. So it says out of thousands one person is interested in spiritual life and out of thousands those interested one person practices the principles of spiritual life and of thousands of those one person who realizes and out of thousands of realized someone is liberated and out of thousands of liberated someone is a pure devotee of Krishna. If we can get people to be just a little interested in spiritual life, just to chant, they they can very quickly come up to the perfectional platform.
The basis is book distribution, get them to read Prabhupada’s books, getting them to chant, getting them to take prasadam but Prabhupada said the research work, we have to do research work how to give the people Krishna consciousness. That is the real research work. There is a purport like that, real research work is researching how to have the people become Krishna conscious. We can take inspiration from other places but in this particular place we have to research. Just like in Japan, there are ways to reach the people, it’s not that they are unreachable. It’s not that the people there are not, innocent people in the world. There are very few actually out and out demons. General population are innocent. They don’t know. In America 99% of people say they believe in God. But the attendance in organized religions is down very much. I mean there is a lot of people that believe in God that don’t have any religion, that don’t have any real practice or method. Lot of people may have religion but that not really doing it much. They could benefit even in their own religion by knowing these Krishna conscious techniques. They could become better Christians, better devotees of God.
So it’s great scope but requires some research work, some dynamics. Just like as we are constantly researching how to improve our sankirtana, what’s a better line, a better place, a better method. Similarly this is one other area of research which has to be developed not by everyone necessarily but at least by someone in each temple could concentrate, taking suggestions from the other devotees who may get some inspiration from Krishna. But that is also an important service which has to be developed along with, that’s our future, that’s the real future. That’s what is going to change people’s outlooks and to accept the Krishna consciousness movement as a actual culture, a religion not as something negative. That’s why more and more people chant Hare Krishna.
Just like people come up to my mother, because she chants Hare Krishna now although she still believes she is a Christian, doesn’t feel she has given up Jesus or anything. And they come and she says “Oh my son is a Hare Krishna devotee.”
Then they say “Oh we sympathize with you.” (laughter).
She says “No it’s quite good, I mean he is doing a lot of good work.”
And then you know because someone says that oh no its good work, then people this is very interesting. They are used to just hearing you know, oh another, cause this is a regular thing I guess. Parents will say that my son has joined this group or that group, my daughter. When they find someone like that, no they are doing good work you know. Its quite nice. “Oh yeah I stay there, in the center.”
That’s the one that really works (laughter).
“Well we didn’t know if we could come out after a certain time.”
“Do you think I am prisoner?”
You know people have all these strange ideas, she tells me. Why don’t you come over? Are we allowed? (laughter) Even in India some people think that it’s all secret. You can’t go inside the Hare Krishna temple. It’s normal, its open for everyone.
In Sweden they have school groups come because they have actual buses, every day two, three, four, five buses come to their temple at ? guard to see the deities. Just yesterday there were two classes of Loyola University in New Orleans Friday and Thursday where the devotees gave comparative religion class lecture. But here even in America just like we have Sunday feast few college groups came here. In the future as we get more and more acceptance amongst the people then school groups will come just to see Indian culture, show them a video, show them a system, same system. And when they gave the lecture, somebody said they don’t believe in you know in this, they started opposing, “You believe that that Deity can speak?”
But other people they were very supportive, “Well yes if you are that pure! You can hear, the Deity can speak to you.” And they said that actually most of the students they appreciate, they could understand. Rabble-rousers didn’t any support, they kind of faded out.
We just have to continue through harinama, through our book distribution, through our different programs more and more exposure and as people get association and as we provide them systems also that they can chant and they can themselves practice even the basic principle of chanting Hare Krishna, reading Prabhupada’s books, taking a little prasadam then their hearts will gradually be changed. You think their sinful attachments are more powerful than Krishna? The point is that they are avoiding Krishna. They are avoiding. Using their economic development, their material culture, even their religion, everything to avoid God. They know that, this is where you are directly performing, many can sense that there is something very strong.
In South America I went to one of the monasteries and I went in toward their little dispensary. The nurse said that “It appears as if he has come just to take over.” Just coming humbly you know, but and one of the nuns came and said that when they heard that you are coming all the preists became afraid. So we never saw, actually they were very afraid because they know that the Krishna conscious devotees know their philosophy of theology so well that nobody can stand up to them. The priests, act… literally they were shaking. No defense because whatever is in the Bible we know it even better than they do. Plus we are actually practicing. They know that you are practicing, they are not doing.
This nun says that if you knew what went on, “There is not one priest or one nun that is celibate or does anything as far as I know in my life.” That’s what she said but I can’t believe that, she may be exaggerating but she said they have all got some scam. There is not anybody that she knew that you know, that’s why they are afraid. A Hare Krishna devotee, even a simple devotee they practice what they preach. They practice what is given in the sastra. So just be association even on ecumenical level will force the ministers of religion to become more sincere, to bring up the standard in God consciousness. Already if you read these books like the Plain Truth, you will see many of Prabhupada’s arguments being used in those books now. Some ministers have admitted that they are reading our Back to Godhead and our books before they give their sermon and using those arguments they are giving their sermon. Where is the better source of spiritual understanding? So we have to continue giving Prabhupada’s literature out and encouraging them to take up the chanting, do some service, Nitai Gaura will do the rest!
Nitai Gaura premanande Hari Haribol!
Transcribed by: Suvilasi Madhavi dd Date: 01 July 2015
Revised by Jagannatha dasa Brahmacari