The following is a lecture given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami on December 31st, 1984. The class begins with a reading from the Sri Caintanya-Caritamrita, Madhya Lila, Chapter 19, Text 20-27.
māra sthāne vaidya pāṭhāiluṅ
vaidya kahe, — vyādhi nāhi, sustha ye dekhiluṅ
The Nawab said, “I sent my physician to you, and he has reported that you are not diseased. As far as he could see, you are completely healthy.
āmāra ye kichu kārya, saba tomā laṣā
kārya chāḍi’ rahilā tumi gharete vasiyā
“I am depending on you to carry out so many of my activities, but you have given up your governmental duties to sit here at home.
mora yata kārya-kāma, saba kailā nāśa
ki tomāra hṛdaye āche, kaha mora pāśa
“You have spoiled all my activities. What is your intention? Please tell me frankly.”
sanātana kahe, — nahe āmā haite kāma
āra eka-jana diyā kara samādhāna
Sanātana Gosvāmī replied, “You can no longer expect any service from me. Please arrange for someone else to tend to the management.”
tabe kruddha haṣā rājā kahe āra-bāra
tomāra ‘baḍa bhāi’ kare dasyu-vyavahāra
Becoming angry with Sanātana Gosvāmī, the Nawab said, “Your elder brother is acting just like a plunderer.
jīva-bahu māri’ kaila cāklā saba nāśa
ethā tumi kailā mora sarva kārya nāśa
“By killing many living entities, your elder brother has destroyed all Bengal. Now here you are destroying all my plans.”
sanātana kahe, — tumi svatantra gauḍeśvara
ye yei doṣa kare, deha’ tāra phala
Sanātana Gosvāmī said, “You are the supreme ruler of Bengal and are completely independent. Whenever someone commits a fault, you punish him accordingly.”
eta śuni’ gauḍeśvara uṭhi’ ghare gelā
palāiba bali’ sanātanere bāndhilā
Hearing this, the Nawab of Bengal stood up and returned to his home. He ordered the arrest of Sanātana Gosvāmī so that he would not be able to leave.
It is said that the relationship between the Nawab of Bengal and Sanātana Gosvāmī was very intimate. The Nawab used to consider Sanātana Gosvāmī his younger brother, and when Sanātana Gosvāmī showed a very strong intention to resign, the Nawab, feeling familial affection, essentially said, “I am your elder brother, but I do not look after the state management. My only business is attacking other states with my soldiers and fighting everywhere as a plunderer. Because I am a meat-eater [yavana], I am used to hunting all kinds of living beings. In this way I am destroying all kinds of living entities in Bengal. While engaged in this destructive business, I am hoping that you will tend to the administration of the state. Since I, your elder brother, am engaged in such a destructive business, you, being my younger brother, should look after the state management. If you do not, how will things continue?” This talk was based on a family relationship, and Sanātana Gosvāmī also replied in an intimate and joking way. Essentially he told the Nawab, “My dear brother, you are the independent ruler of Bengal. You can act in whatever way you like, and if someone commits a fault, you can punish him accordingly.” In other words, Sanātana Gosvāmī was saying that since the Nawab was accustomed to acting like a plunderer, he should go ahead and take action. Since Sanātana was not showing much enthusiasm in performing his duty, the Nawab should dismiss him from his service. The Nawab could understand the intention of Sanātana Gosvāmī’s statement. He therefore left in an angry mood and ordered Sanātana Gosvāmī’s arrest.
śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
hare kṛṣṇa hare kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa hare hare
hare rāma hare rāma rāma rāma hare hare
When so many other devotees are able to acclimatize to the environment in a temple or in a asrama, so that means basically there is no bar for anyone to surrender and to live in an asrama. If there is any difficulties due to some personal deficiencies on the part of that individual, in general. Sometimes a personal is not totally ready to take that degree of surrender, just like before one would try to swim in deep water one would first practice swimming in shallow water, so before one is able to take on a large degree of surrender, one should practice building up one’s service attitude, one’s tolerance, one’s determination. Abruptly sometimes, if we try to change our environment, our mind is not able to adapt to that sudden change. Some people are more uh, flexible than others.
Prabhupada gives the example that there was a very rich businessman, who was a supporter of Gandhi’s movement in India, and Gandhi told him to give up everything and suddenly become... and become just like him, walking you know, with the loin... you know, with his little dhoti and fasting and doing all those austerities. So he did so, he gave up his luxurious palace-like house and his car, you know, whatever... all this facilities, and followed Gandhi, and within one year he died. Its that uh, it was such an abrupt change for him, to change his environment that his nervous system, or his body, whatever, it couldn’t adapt to it. So he died.
So there may be, for some people, just that uh, to suddenly change their environment, unless they are actually prepared, unless they have got a taste for spiritual life, or unless they have got a tremendous determination to do so, then it may be premature. Now there is no loss, even if they enter into a temple and leave, because whatever service they do, that’s also to their credit, the problem is that by leaving they may lose uh, a certain amount of their enthusiasm or self-confidence. Actually there is no loss, they shouldn’t feel any type of loss uh, in trying because at least they tried, and uh, that’s to their credit. Rather a person should be then determined, just like if someone is trying to read some type of uh, athletic uh, goal, if they are not able to cross over the high jump or they... they practice jumping more and more until finally they get up to the requisite height.
It’s kind of very crude example, but in a more just introspective way of… we see “Well, where are my shortcomings? What are the reasons why I wasn’t able to ...surrender in association of devotees, where is my false ego, need to be trimmed down to size more?” and we should work on uh, purifying ourselves, taking as much association as possible, advancing in Krishna consciousness as much as possible in the association of devotees, and uh, in this way we can bring ourselves into a better situation.
If the... in a more ideal position for advancing in Krishna consciousness, shouldn’t lose our determination, we shouldn’t in any way feel that ah...because I tried and wasn’t able to at the first or second or whatever attempt to achieve success, well I then should somehow lose heart, because we are in the material world since millions of births and uh, making a couple attempts... It’s not that the first attempt, one is immediately able to receive. If you study the lives of great sages like uh, Visvamitra, he has tried so many times, again and again, and he would make a mistake, fall down, again he would start up, just trying to become a great rsi, when he was born in a ksatriya family, what to speak of someone born in a yavana, mlechha, culture, trying to become a pure devotee of Krishna, there may be so many stumbles.
Just like children when they are walking, they learn to stumble, I mean they fall down… but they go on trying, eventually they learn to walk and talk, so similarly in our spiritual advancement we shouldn’t lose heart even if over a period of several years we had different difficulties. We should be determined to cling to the lotus feet of Lord Caintanya and Nityananda knowing that as long as we can cling to Their lotus feet, They will deliver us. It’s more glorious to continue trying to make advancement, then just uh, becoming uh, frustrated and thinking, “Well, there is no hope”
There is uh, no one who is so fallen that Krishna Caitanya Mahaprabhu cannot deliver them. As far as each individual who is ready to live in a community, what type of service they should do, these things have to be given in an individual basis considering each particular case history and personalities involved, so on. Some people are not at all prepared to live in a asrama, and it is better for them to practice in their own residence. Some people are overdue and they should move in and they should live in a direct association with the devotees and that would be the best thing for their spiritual advancement. So this questions are normally dealt with by the spiritual leaders on an individual basis, and even if someone tries and isn’t able to succeed, they should also be just taken as the part of the learning process, and one shouldn’t have any other attitude than just determination to continue in making whatever progress one can from the present situation.
Devotees: Hare Krishna!
Transcribed by: Sadananda Krishnaprem Das
Revised by Jagannatha dasa Brahmacari