The following is a lecture given by His Holiness Jayapatākā Swami on September 28th, 1985 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The class begins with a reading from the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā, Chapter 3, Text 142-165.
jaya jaya śrī-caitanya jaya nityānanda
jayādvaita-candra jaya gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.141
tulasī sevana kare, carvaṇa,
indriya-damana haila, premera prakāśa
I think everyone knows the story of how the prostitute approached Haridāsa Ṭhākura upon being offered 1,000 gold coins by Rāmacandra Khā̐na, and how she was made a devotee. So this is describing what happened after that.
TRANSLATION: She worshiped the tulasī plant, following in the footsteps of her spiritual master. Instead of eating regularly, she chewed whatever food she received as alms, and if nothing was supplied she would fast. Thus by eating frugally and fasting she conquered her senses, and as soon as her senses were controlled, symptoms of love of Godhead appeared in her person.
It's important to note that if you want to experience love of Godhead, you have to control the senses. It's like they say, you can't have your cake and eat it too. If a person has got uncontrolled senses, then they're not going to be able to simultaneously experience love of Godhead. If one has very strictly followed the orders of the spiritual master, just as she followed the orders of her spiritual master.
Orders may differ from one person to the next slightly, but if one is always performing one's devotional service in the attitude of service, not as in karma-yoga, where one does what one wants to do, and then offers the fruits to the Lord, that will not produce love for Godhead. That may give one liberation. It may free one from the material world, but if one wants to get pure love for Godhead, one has to act in surrendered devotional service, where one is unconditionally performing devotional service.
And of course, in ISKCON, it's very important. Prabhupāda was very merciful because of course he had thousands and thousands of disciples, and so it wasn't possible for him to personally give each disciple a devotional service. But in his time, he said that well, then the administration, there's GBCs, there's temple presidents, that whatever service they give, then he accepts that they are acting as representatives on his behalf, and that can be taken as the being given by himself unless of course he's already given some specific devotional service to some devotee.
So in this way, ISKCON grew from just a seed to a worldwide organization because everyone was serving on the basis of this principle of serving the spiritual master, and Prabhupāda said this is the secret of the expansion of the Kṛṣṇa conscious movement. And our basic principle is that we do everything as the servant of the servant of the Lord. Our basic principle is devotional service to the spiritual master.
Therefore, in ISKCON, we sing in the morning prayers saṁsāra-dāvānala, we don't imitate. Other Gauḍīya Maṭhas, and other groups, they don't sing saṁsāra-dāvānala in the morning prayer. They have another song which we sing, for instance Vṛndāvana, because we do two guru pūjās, one is for Prabhupāda's samādhī, one for the temple. So, they sing vibhāvarī śeṣa, āloka-praveśa, one song like that. We don't imitate other organizations. We don't care for what other organizations do or don't do. We're just following Śrīla Prabhupāda's formula because by following his formula, we are guaranteed to be successful.
I don't know what they did at the time of Bhaktisiddhānta, something else. I don't even care to know. I know that Prabhupāda is the most expert doctor, and whatever he's prescribed for us, that's the best medicine, and as soon as we deviate from his prescription, and we start to concoct and make our on formula, disaster's what's going to be the result. Here, we can see how this prostitute, she followed the prescriptions of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, and as a result, she was able to control her senses and she achieved love for Godhead even though of course she was in a woman's body.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.142
prasiddhā vaiṣṇavī haila parama-mahāntī
baḍa baḍa vaiṣṇava tāṅra darśanete yānti
TRANSLATION: Thus the prostitute became a celebrated devotee. She became very advanced in spiritual life, and many stalwart Vaiṣṇavas would come to see her.
PURPORT BY ŚRĪLA PRABHUPĀDA: Stalwart, highly advanced Vaiṣṇava devotees are not interested in seeing prostitutes, but when a prostitute or any other fallen soul becomes a Vaiṣṇava, stalwart Vaiṣṇavas are interested in seeing them. Anyone can be turned into a Vaiṣṇava if he or she follows the Vaiṣṇava principles. A devotee who follows these principles is no longer on the material platform. Therefore, it is one’s strict adherence to the principles that should be considered, not the country of one’s birth. Many devotees join our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement from Europe and America, but one should not therefore consider them European Vaiṣṇavas or American Vaiṣṇavas. A Vaiṣṇava is a Vaiṣṇava and should therefore be given all the respect due a Vaiṣṇava.
Jayapatākā Swami: Very important points. Caitanya-caritāmṛta is the postgraduate study of Kṛṣṇa conscious philosophy. Just like Jagāi-Mādhāi, they have been very sinful persons, but once they surrendered Lord Caitanya, they were considered vaiṣṇavas, and they were respected by all the vaiṣṇavas. Even in the Western world, irregardless of one may have done in their previous life before becoming a devotee, certainly in the present state of the Kali-yuga, people do so many sinful activities, which are beyond mention, but once they're a vaiṣṇava, then they're respected as a vaiṣṇava. We don't consider a person, either by their nationality, or their color, or by their previous sinful activities. A vaiṣṇava is a vaiṣṇava. That's all we consider. Therefore, everyone is to be offered due respect as a vaiṣṇava.
Actually, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is supposed to be Vaikuṇṭha, where people, in Vaikuṇṭha, everyone has love for Kṛṣṇa, and mutual respect for all the other vaiṣṇavas, and that is what the secret is for maintaining the Vaikuṇṭha mood, is to respect all of the vaiṣṇavas, as being devotees of the Lord. Therefore, they are exalted. Nothing is small.
Just like there's that one verse that somebody, Thoreau wrote about the Gītā, nothing small and diminutive. Vaiṣṇavas are like that. There's no vaiṣṇava who's not great. The quality of being a pure devotee, the quality of being a vaiṣṇava itself is so great, that there are unlimited good qualities one can see.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.143
veśyāra caritra dekhi’ loke camatkāra
haridāsera mahimā kahe kari’ namaskāra
TRANSLATION: Seeing the sublime character of the prostitute, everyone was astonished. Everyone glorified the influence of Haridāsa Ṭhākura and offered him obeisances.
PURPORT BY ŚRĪLA PRABHUPĀDA: It is said, phalena paricīyate: one is recognized by the result of his actions. In Vaiṣṇava society there are many types of Vaiṣṇavas. Some of them are called gosvāmīs, some are called svāmīs, some are prabhus, and some are prabhupāda. One is not recognized, however, simply by such a name. A spiritual master is recognized as an actual guru when it is seen that he has changed the character of his disciples. Haridāsa Ṭhākura actually changed the character of the professional prostitute. People greatly appreciated this, and therefore they all offered obeisances to Haridāsa Ṭhākura and glorified him.
Jayapatākā Swami: It's just like a kind of focus. In the shortwave radio, they have a setting. You can turn it ahead 1,000 hertz, 100 hertz or 10 hertz, or one hertz, one wavelength. Depending how you set the dial, it goes ahead, boom, boom, boom, hundred a time, or 10 at a time, just like the Bhagavad-gītā kind of gives an overview, like every 1,000 hertz or something, the main points. There's a spiritual world, there's a spirit soul and so on. And then you get the Bhāgavatam that goes into it in much greater detail, telling who's a devotee, what's the relation of devotees, the different types of relationship, and so on. Qualities of the sweetness.
We have more qualities of the spiritual world. More qualities of the material world. Then you get in here to the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, and then it takes a particular subject, and it really dissects, it really goes into it so we can thoroughly realize the subject matter. Just like we know there are many kinds of vaiṣṇavas. Some of them may be called Gosvāmīs, Svāmīs, Prabhus. Some of them may be called Prabhupādas. So, even in India sometimes you find that like at Navadvīpa, they call every guru as a Prabhupāda.
You see, there was a time when ... well, not, "There was a time ..." Sometimes, people are not gracious, and some certain Godbrothers of Śrīla Prabhupāda, they objected that Prabhupāda was called Prabhupāda, because Bhaktisiddhānta was called Prabhupāda. But as Prabhupāda was starting was called Prabhupāda by his disciples, and because actually he had saved so many fallen souls, printed so many books, so he himself, in his humility thought that he was empowered by Bhaktisiddhānta, and therefore, if his disciples wanted to call him Prabhupāda, there was nothing wrong with that. So, then he would tell, and they'd comment, say, "Why are you allowing yourself to be called Prabhupāda?" Basically, it was like, reserved. And he said, "Well, there so many other people, they're all called Prabhupāda in Navadvīpa, and other places, so if my disciples call me Prabhupāda, what is the harm?"
A real vaiṣṇava should see the qualities in another vaiṣṇava, so when Prabhupāda had made so many devotees as a vaiṣṇava, that shouldn't be taken as a material quality. Sometimes, in ISKCON, because Prabhupāda had appointed different disciples, rather than appoint, but he ordered them to take up the responsibility of initiating new disciples, and perpetuating saṁpradāya. And of course, it was up them to qualify themselves. Not that just by the order, they could act, but the proof of whether they were really spiritual masters would be in their preaching and in their following. Not simply the by the order alone.
By the order alone, they're qualified in the sense that they have the order to act. That is seen for instance like what Śrīla Bhaktipāda has done in New Vṛndāvana, building Prabhupāda's Palace, inspiring the devotees, purifying so many devotees. What so many different devotees are doing, whether they're spiritual masters in the initiating sense, or they're the leaders, we can see by their preaching, they've been able to bring people to the path of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. The etiquette exemplified here in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, is that people would appreciate that. They would say, "Oh, that person is a great preacher."
It's not that the Kṛṣṇa conscious movement is devoid of great preachers. It has many great preachers who are actually expanding the Kṛṣṇa conscious movement. Not only the initiating spiritual masters that are there, but so many of our devotees are there. That's why we are growing very nicely, more and more. But the proof of that, just because somebody gets a particular title, either Prabhu, or as a Gosvāmī, or even as a Guru, the real proof has to come from their preaching.
By their preaching, if they're able to
inspire people to surrender to Kṛṣṇa, to develop faith in
Prabhupāda and the disciplic succession, to become purified, that will be
to their credit. And then naturally vaiṣṇavas
should appreciate that quality. That is the real thing that Prabhupāda
He asked the disciples, "I want you to do something." What is that? He wanted us to deliver fallen souls.
One time, I was chanting 32 rounds a day, every day sitting in the temple before I would go out, and Prabhupāda saw that I was staying till little later in the morning. He said, "What are you doing here?"
I said, "Prabhupāda, I'm chanting 32 rounds a day." I said, "I'm finishing my rounds."
He said, "Who told you to do that? It's my order that you don't chant more than 16 rounds. You chant 16 rounds, and go out and preach. If you just sit here chanting your 32 rounds, then who's going to go out and preach, and deliver the fallen souls? I want you to go out and preach and to deliver the fallen souls, and to save them from this māyā. Not simply sit and chant here in the temple."
Prabhupāda wanted us to do something. One time I was in Māyāpura. He wrote me a letter and said, "Sitting in Māyāpura is for the women and children to sit on the farm. You should go out and preach." Now, there are women even who are preachers. Whoever's a preacher, they shouldn't sit just on the farm, they should go out and preach, and by their preaching, they can bring people to Māyāpura, they can bring people to the farms. You should go to the city. In India, women serve a different role. Actually, in the West, the women are themselves great preachers. Women in India to a large degree, the women don't have that kind, I don't know what it is, that quality of being able to go out and preach on their own so much.
So, Prabhupāda, he really wanted that something should be done. Of course in Māyāpura, it's said eventually, there'll be millions of people coming to Māyāpura, then someone could just sit there and preach, but Prabhupāda had a particular vision, and wanted something done in ISKCON, he wanted us at least to maintain whatever he gave us without changing it, and then he wanted us to expand it.
So Haridāsa Ṭhākura was able to expand this movement of Lord Caitanya. He was able to bring people to devotional service, even who were hard knots. Normally, it's said that if someone is very attached to material enjoyment, if they're very attached to wealth and fame, the resolute determination for devotional service doesn't come in their heart. It's right there in the Bhagavad-gītā. It's a basic principle. The resolute determination doesn't come in these people's heart. But, Bhagavad-gītā, and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there's exactly a verse that says that.
Why was this prostitute converted? She was definitely a materialist. Because specifically by the mercy of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, so there are some people who are very hard persons to bring around to devotional service. Sometimes, just by mere association with a devotee, their heart changes. Sometimes, the devotees are preaching, and people are inspired to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. They start to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, and they start to surrender, and then some envious people criticize, that, "Oh, what is that? That is not the quality of a vaiṣṇava. That doesn't mean anything. They're simply able to somehow or another inspire people to chant or they might have some mystic power to just bring people around and to chanting by some kind of like mass psychology or something." Otherwise, there are some people who know no matter what happens they don't like to recognize the vaiṣṇava, and they're unfortunate. Their attitude is not recommended.
The proper attitude is to see if anyone's being able to preach and do something, "Jaya, Prabhu. Jaya, Mahārāja. All glories to your service." This should inspire the other vaiṣṇavas. And when we have that Vaikuṇṭha mood, where we see these good qualities, see the ability of some devotees to preach, we become inspired. By praising, we become purified. We become inspired, and everything starts to expand. We also can get those type of qualities.
And by coming to some kind of envious attitude, you don't want to recognize any vaiṣṇava, even if they're able to preach, even if they're able to do something, you want to say that all vaiṣṇavas, those who haven't done anything, and those who have been able to do a lot, they're all the same, all these are material conceptions. Prabhupāda, and Caitanya-caritāmṛta: Recognize someone according to what he's done, and encourage someone to do something.
Encourage them to do something. Otherwise we're encouraging people to do nothing, and get credit for it. We should encourage people. "Go out and preach. Make people vaiṣṇavas. And all glory be to you if you're able to do it. Jaya, Prabhu." That's what Haridāsa Ṭhākura did and therefore, he was glorified. And if someone does it, we shouldn't be misers. We shouldn't say that, "Oh this person shouldn't be glorified." We should glorify that person.
And if somebody's able to go up to Africa, and it's a very difficult situation to preach and be able to make people into vaiṣṇavas, to chant, to give up their... In Africa one of the habits they do they cut the jugular vein of the cow, and they make a chutney out of the blood. They have so many horrible practices. But those people become vaiṣṇavas. They become pure devotees. We should glorify the preachers if they're able to go in those situations and do that.
Here in the Western countries, people are having abortions. They're having so many things. If we're able to make a person give up these habits. In Latin America, in some places where it's a little more promiscuous, when we tell people, I don't know in North America, there's not enough people to preach to to see their reactions so easily, but there, when you tell people that our principle is you get married, and then you have sex life in marriage, it's like they start to crack up. Like it's a joke or something. They can't believe, "Why get married? Life isn't for getting married. It's for enjoying." And this is the thing in the Western world. People are so addicted to sense gratification, that even marriage to them seems like some real far out kind of thing that, "Who wants to get married? Those are old-fashioned things. No one does that anymore."
The people have become so fallen, actually this is a kind of reflection more of the European attitude that where it's become, if we're able to convince those people to take up chanting, and bring them around, in this way, isn't that something wonderful? In a sense, it shows that the mercy of Lord Caitanya, and Haridāsa Ṭhākura has been coming down. It's not a material thing to be able to convince people who are very addicted to sense gratification, but people in India, they recognize that.
The one thing, if anyone ever preached to Indians, those who are a little more sincere, who are here in America, they will say that, "You have all the facility for enjoyment, but you've given it up for chanting." and they glorify that, and they glorify that somehow or other, by Prabhupāda, they were able to, by their preaching, to have the people give up these material enjoyments, which from the point of view maybe of someone in the Third World, a little materially attracted by the glitter.
They think, for them it seems like those are very big happinesses; unlimited wealth, unlimited opulence, unlimited comfort, unlimited sense gratification, and then have someone give that up and take up to devotional service, just like this prostitute. She gave up. She was not just like a prostitute on the street. She was a society girl. She was in the court of the lord. She was like the number one practically the mistress of the lord. She was one of the number one society girls. What they were considering a prostitute here, in the present-day society, you would consider like a movie star or something.
It wasn't that she was just, what do you call it, a call girl, or something like that, she was reserved for the upper higher class. She was highly sophisticated in her situation which is practically there's a lot of professional rock 'n roll singers who think they're not any different. That was the kind of person. Practically, Haridāsa Ṭhākura, it's like making Madonna a devotee, or something like that. But this prostitute was the number one famous society girl in society at that time. She was number one, therefore she took up the challenge, "I'll break Haridāsa Ṭhākura. I'll make him into a debauchee." She went, she became converted, and she shaved up, and she's sitting there chanting Hari-nāma. The people are saying, "Oh, Haridāsa Ṭhākura ki, jaya!"
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.144
rāmacandra khāṅna aparādha-bīja
sei bīja vṛkṣa hañā āgete phalila
TRANSLATION: By inducing a prostitute to disturb Haridāsa Ṭhākura, Rāmacandra Khān caused a seed of offense at his lotus feet to germinate. This seed later became a tree, and when it fructified, Rāmacandra Khān ate its fruits.
This is a very interesting concept. Just as we have a seed of devotion. That seed grows and grows, here it says aparādha-bīja, the seed of offense. When we commit an offense against a vaiṣṇava, it's like a seed, and that offense starts to grow and grow and grow, until it wipes out our spiritual life. Therefore, we have to pull out all these weeds, all the seeds of offense.
In other words it's not that if someone says, "Oh, I'll just make some vaiṣṇava-aparādha." starts to for no reason to criticize the pure vaiṣṇava, and then immediately the person gets hit by lightning or dies. No. It doesn't happen like that. It happens as seed. You commit an offense. So, there's seed. Then, what happens to the person then, that starts to expand. The person becomes more envious and more critical and more bitter and more nasty, until finally he just becomes an out and outright demon.
He was a nice vaiṣṇava. He gets implicated in offense. He gets the seed of offense. He starts to getting that mentality, and it grows, and the person gets totally wiped out. How Rāmacandra Khā̐na didn't start from a very good position. He was already a materialist, but he wasn't a vaiṣṇava-aparādhi. But from materialist, he became vaiṣṇava-aparādhi, and then you can see what happened.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.145
mahad-aparādhera phala adbhuta kathana
prastāva pāñā kahi, śuna, bhakta-gaṇa
TRANSLATION: O devotees, please listen. This offense at the lotus feet of an exalted devotee has resulted in a wonderful narration. Taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by these incidents, I shall explain what happened.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.146
sahajei avaiṣṇava rāmacandra-khāṅna
haridāsera aparādhe haila asura-samāna
TRANSLATION: Rāmacandra Khān was naturally a nondevotee. Now, having offended the lotus feet of Haridāsa Ṭhākura, he became just like a demoniac atheist.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.147
vaiṣṇava-dharma nindā kare, vaiṣṇava-apamāna
bahu-dinera aparādhe pāila pariṇāma
TRANSLATION: Because of blaspheming the cult of Vaiṣṇavism and insulting the devotees for a long time, he now received the results of his offensive activities.
PURPORT BY ŚRĪLA PRABHUPĀDA: Rāmacandra Khān was a great offender at the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas and Viṣṇu. Just as Rāvaṇa, although born of a brāhmaṇa father, Viśvaśravā, was nevertheless called an asura or Rākṣasa because of his offenses against Lord Rāmacandra (Viṣṇu) and Hanumān (a Vaiṣṇava), so Rāmacandra Khān also became such an asura because of his offenses against Haridāsa Ṭhākura and many others.
Jayapatāka Swami: In the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Madhya-līlā, Prabhupāda said that there are, in the dress of vaiṣṇavas, there are many demons in this Kṛṣṇa conscious movement. Although there dressed as vaiṣṇavas, there actually demons because their pastime is in criticizing vaiṣṇavas, insulting them. This thing you may see, "Ah, everyone's a demon." Or something. Rather than working at it with greater [inaudible 00:31:37] the negative with hate on the same thing.
It's not that everyone is a demon. There are pure vaiṣṇavas. There are advancing vaiṣṇavas. There are pure vaiṣṇavas on different levels. Uttama, madhyam, kaṇiṣṭha. The neophyte people who are just innocent, and they're learning how to become a vaiṣṇava. Then there are materialistic people, and then are actually demons, people who are actually, even they might have been vaiṣṇavas, but by this getting the seed of offense, they might be converted to actually become demons. Then they become separated from Kṛṣṇa. The effect of offense is when we separate ourselves from Kṛṣṇa. Therefore an offense is much more dangerous than a sinful activity. Sinful activity, Kṛṣṇa can clear up very easily. An offense is something very personal. It's a spiritual sin as compared to a material sin. So it's a much more serious situation.
Rāmacandra Khā̐na was a materialist, but when he started to offend the vaiṣṇavas, then it was like, he just became like, what you call it, a spiral? A vicious circle? Worse and worse and worse. He was actually considered asura, a demon. And if someone becomes that, we find sometimes all people want to tell you about is, "This devotee fell down, and that one had this problem. This one, yada yada." And you go, and you spend about 15 minutes with the person, your brain starts to hurt like, "Ah, everything's bad. There's no pure devotees in the world." [inaudible 00:33:21].
There are people like that, the asuras. It's like they have this aura around them. "More!" of envy-fied. And those are the kind of people the Caitanya-caritāmṛta says don't even let their shadow fall on you. Don't be around such people because those people, they've got so many seeds of aparādhas in their heart that it's just like a jungle in their heart. Their consciousness is beyond association.
Unless someone's very pure and very powerful that they can cut through that kind of aparādhas, get the person out of that, that the person's heading in a spin. You know a spin is when you try to go up too fast in an airplane, you lose what you call your lift, and then you fall into what they ... the airplane can only go up at a certain angle. If you go beyond that, you need a certain forward velocity, so you try to go up too far straight up, unless you're a rocket or something, an airplane is being lifted up by its wings, so you're going too far straight up. Your forward movement is only 50 miles an hour. Each plane, like a jumbo jet, if it goes beneath 160 miles an hour, it'll just fall from the sky.
I have a disciple who's an engineer for Malaysian Airlines, and they were going around and around in London. There was a huge thunderstorm and lightning and everything, and on the computer it said that they were going 200 miles an hour, but they weren't because of the wind or something like that, the wind from behind or something. Their actual speed in terms of the wind, it's like when you're on a plane, it depends on the wind. The actual speed went below that 160 point, and starts to just drop right from the sky.
And the pilots were going all spaced out, you know, "What to do?" And so, he just jumped in the seat, and rammed the throttle full speed. Got it above the speed, and they had already fallen like 1,000 feet just a few seconds. He pulled out of it. So anyway, that's an example. But just like a plane, if it loses its forward motion, it starts to fall. A devotee has a certain momentum, and if we lose that spiritual acceleration we can just fall from the grace, so to speak.
So, we have to keep our positive devotional service going on, and we have to avoid all these kind of things which can break us down, whether it's material weeds, or whether it's spiritual seeds of offenses, which can grow and grow. And actually, the best way, because we don't want to discourage someone, even if they are becoming a little critical or something, the best way of teaching them not to be critical is maybe ignore them.
When nobody wants to hear their criticisms, when everyone's interested in hearing how to expand the devotional service, if someone's an authority, and there's something like a leader in the movement, or a senior president, and there's some authority that has to be dealt with, because he's a bad example is one thing. There's another thing where something's already, the person's been tried, it's been decided. He's repented. The person's trying to correct himself, but people still go on like this, relishing talking about the misfortunes of different vaiṣṇavas in the war against māyā, that kind of thing, we're not interested in that.
You can buy any sort of magazine. There's plenty of garbage. But, we want to hear about how the vaiṣṇavas are conquering over māyā. How even though they get difficulties, how they're still in the fight, and how they're still trying to advance. How they're still trying to make their spiritual life a success by the mercy of Śrīla Prabhupāda. We want to hear about how they expand their service, no other things.
So, by ignoring people that are too critical, then that dilemma, then they may see, "Well, it's not the proper attitude." We're not discouraging them. We're discouraging them from criticizing. Of course birds of a feather flock together, so you'll find little enclaves. Those devotees who simply want to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they find their little enclaves. And those places become Vaikuṇṭha, where there's not a lot of criticism, where devotees are more concentrating on their spiritual life, they become little oases of Vaikuṇṭha, and many people have praised that our New Orleans, and our farm project is like that. It's like a little oasis of Vaikuṇṭha, and people are coming here because they find relief. It's a spiritual refreshing that people are just serious about advancing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and I hope that it remains like that always.
So that surely any sincere vaiṣṇava then, we'll be glad to welcome them into the community. Of course, we also don't want people to come in with that kind of a bitter type of tāmasika attitude. We'd like them to rather be purified by responsibly engaging in devotional service, and trying to please Prabhupāda. That's really what it's all about.
So, this is what Nityānanda had to say:
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.148
nityānanda-gosāñi gauḍe yabe
prema pracārite tabe bhramite lāgilā
TRANSLATION: When Lord Nityānanda returned to Bengal to preach the cult of bhakti, love of Godhead, He began touring all over the country.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.149
prema-pracāraṇa āra pāṣaṇḍa-dalana
dui-kārye avadhūta karena bhramaṇa
TRANSLATION: For two purposes — to spread the cult of bhakti and to defeat and subdue the atheists — Lord Nityānanda, the most dedicated devotee of the Lord, moved throughout the country...
... Thus, when Lord Nityānanda entered the outside house, Rāmacandra Khān was in the inside house with the members of his family. When Nityānanda Prabhu arrived, Rāmacandra Khān did not receive Him personally but sent his servant to inform Him indirectly to go away.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.152
sevaka bale — “gosāñi, more pāṭhāila khāṅna
gṛhasthera ghare tomāya diba vāsā-sthāna
TRANSLATION: The servant informed Lord Nityānanda, “My dear Sir, Rāmacandra Khān has sent me to accommodate You in some common man’s house.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.153
goyālāra gośālā haya
ihāṅ saṅkīrṇa-sthala, tomāra manuṣya — apāra”
TRANSLATION: “You might go to the house of a milkman, for the cowshed is spacious, whereas the space here in the Durgā-maṇḍapa is insufficient because You have many followers with You.”
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.154
bhitare āchilā, śuni’ krodhe bāhirilā
aṭṭa aṭṭa hāsi’ gosāñi kahite lāgilā
TRANSLATION: When Nityānanda Prabhu heard this order from the servant of Rāmacandra Khān, He became very angry and came out. Laughing very loudly, He spoke as follows.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.155
“satya kahe, — ei ghara mora
mleccha go-vadha kare, tāra yogya haya”
TRANSLATION: “Rāmacandra Khān has spoken rightly. This place is unfit for Me. It is fit for cow-killing meat-eaters.”
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.156
eta bali’ krodhe gosāñi
tāre daṇḍa dite se grāme nā rahilā
TRANSLATION: Having said this, Lord Nityānanda stood up and left in an angry mood. To chastise Rāmacandra Khān, He did not even stay in that village.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.157
ihāṅ rāmacandra khāna
sevake ājñā dila
gosāñi yāhāṅ vasilā, tāra māṭī khodāila
TRANSLATION: Rāmacandra Khān ordered the servant to dig up the dirt in the place where Nityānanda Prabhu had sat.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.158
gomaya-jale lepilā saba
tabu rāmacandrera mana nā haila parasanna
TRANSLATION: To purify the Durgā-maṇḍapa temple and the courtyard, Rāmacandra Khān sprinkled and smeared it with water mixed with cow dung, but still his mind was unsatisfied.
In other words, Rāmacandra Khā̐na became so envious because Nityānanda Prabhu came to his house. He thought, "He's contaminated my house. He sat there." He dug up the earth and threw it out, that even the earth was contaminated by the sinfuul presence of Lord Nityānanda. This was how offensive Rāmacandra Khā̐na became. He could not even see that Nityānanda Prabhu was so pure or great. Even Nityānanda Prabhu was faultless, he thought that, "Oh, Nityānanda Prabhu has stopped at my house. Now everything is spoiled. This Nityānanda is such a demon." Rāmacandra is such a demon that he thinks that, "Oh, Nityānanda is a demon."
So, Nityānanda said, "Yes. This is correct. This is not fit for me. It is fit for a meat-eating mleccha. Those words have a great significance.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.159
dasyu-vṛtti kare rāmacandra
rājāre nā deya kara
kruddha hañā mleccha ujira āila tāra ghara
TRANSLATION: Rāmacandra Khān’s business was questionable, for he tried to avoid paying income tax to the government. Therefore the government’s minister of finance was angry and came to his residence.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.160
avadhya vadha kari’ māṁsa se-ghare rāndhāila
TRANSLATION: The Mohammedan minister made his residence in the Durgā-maṇḍapa of Rāmacandra Khān. He killed a cow and cooked the meat at that very place.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.161
strī-putra-sahita rāmacandrere bāndhiyā
tāra ghara-grāma luṭe tina-dina rahiyā
TRANSLATION: He arrested Rāmacandra Khān, along with his wife and sons, and then he continuously plundered the house and village for three days.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.162
sei ghare tina dina kare amedhya
āra dina sabā lañā karilā gamana
TRANSLATION: In that very room he cooked the flesh of a cow for three consecutive days. Then the next day he left, accompanied by his followers.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.163
bahu-dina paryanta grāma ujāḍa rahila
TRANSLATION: The Mohammedan minister took away Rāmacandra Khān’s position, wealth and followers. For many days the village remained deserted.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.164
mahāntera apamāna ye deśa-grāme haya
eka janāra doṣe saba deśa ujāḍaya
TRANSLATION: Wherever an advanced devotee is insulted, for one man’s fault the entire town or place is afflicted.
Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta Antya-līlā 3.165
haridāsa-ṭhākura cali’ āilā
āsiyā rahilā balarāma-ācāryera ghare…
Notice the history of Rāmacandra
Khā̐na, materialist, puffed up, tried to
play a joke on a vaiṣṇava. Sent a prostitute to make him fall down. So, then he got
implicated in offense. That offense grew so much that even though the greatest
preacher, even though the personality of Godhead Himself, Lord Nityānanda
came, he couldn't see any good quality in Nityānanda. In other words, if
somebody gets in this habit of vaiṣṇava-aparādha,
even if a pure devotee, even if God himself comes before such an offensive
person, they will still criticize. They won't be able to see the good
That's how dangerous it is to become a vaiṣṇava-aparādhī. You get someone who enjoys in offending vaiṣṇavas. As a result, someone told me that, I don't know if it's true, or someone was just making a point, that when Pontius Pilate washed his hands, said, "I don't want to have anything to do with the sin of crucifying this great devotee."
Then the Jewish priest there said, "If you want, the sin will be on you, and on your descendents, I will let them do it."
He said, "Yes. We will take the offense. On us, and all of our descendants for the future generations." Someone said that that's why so many Jews were tortured, and that that is because. They say that they actually took that sin upon themselves. If that were the case, then this would confirm. That is actually the fact that if you commit an offense against a vaiṣṇava, not only oneself, but all of one's family members, and one's associates, they all get the offense. So, something you don't want to be implicated in. There's so many kind of vaiṣṇava-aparādhas, could be so serious that anyone connected with them, they have to suffer.
Jayapatākā Swāmī: Prabhupāda explained that they're all pure devotees, but there's like three levels. He did explain in that sense. There may be some kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs who are also conditional devotees. For instance, a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī worshiping the Lord for the purpose of material upliftment. These kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs, their only purpose was to achieve pure devotional service. They weren't so advanced to really be able to recognize.
In India in fact, you can see in Bengal, a lot of kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs, a lot of people who they say that, "I want to just get love for Kṛṣṇa. I want to go back to the spiritual world. I want love for Kṛṣṇa. I want to get the mercy." but they don't understand that who is a vaiṣṇava, or just can't recognize. They are bathing the deities in the Temple, guru, that's about it. These kind of devotees, "I only follow the guru, and I don't recognize any other vaiṣṇava." That's a little bit kaniṣṭha contamination. A little more advanced, of course you have to follow the spiritual master, but you can recognize that there are other vaiṣṇavas, and you have to associate with them, and respect, and so on.
So these were pure devotees, but because they were not very advanced, they became affected by the criticisms, and they became confused, and they couldn't recognize other devotees exactly very well. But they had implicit faith in Lord Caitanya, implicit faith in the spiritual master, and they weren't themselves able to. They became a little affected when they heard the criticisms. They became filled with doubts or some kind of insecurity. But in terms of their own personal desire, they wanted to have only to have pure devotional service, but they were not strong enough to be able.
Like I said, there's different ways of describing. One thing is when a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī hears an offense or hears some kind of a criticism, then he starts to doubt. And he gets put into that kind of confusion. But then, in his heart, he thinks that it must not be true. Must be something. But actually, they're confused. And then they go to the guru, or some advanced person, or Lord Caitanya, and then they submit before Him, and if they're fortunate, they get there doubt eradicated.
A madhyama-adhikārī means that in sight of hearing some kind of a statement, or somebody asked a question that they don't have the answer for, they never doubt. Not even for a second. They're doubtless. They're steady and fixed. They know that even I don't know, my guru knows. The answer is there even if I can't answer. Their faith is fixed. Although they may not know the answer, therefore they're considered a madhyama-adhikārī. And uttama-adhikārī means that no matter what question someone gives, not only is he not bewildered, but somehow or another he's able to answer that question. He's able to establish the proper vaiṣṇava siddhānta, and to dispel the doubts of other people.
So if somebody's able to preach and establish faith in people's hearts, dispel their doubts, and to fix them in devotional service, then that person should be recognized as an uttama-adhikārī according to the scripture.
And a person who preaches, and is always faithful, even though he's not able to always, maybe a real innocent person, he can bring that person around, and help them to advance, but a real hard knot, or someone who's a little, not so easy to preach to, or not able to answer all their questions, or dispel all their doubts, but they're able to, through good association, give them some good positive preaching, help them to advance, then that person who never has any confusion or doubts about his duty, or about Kṛṣṇa conscious basic principles and things like that, is a madhyama-adhikārī.
And a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī is a person, he's doing devotional service, he may be considered a pure devotee if his desire is to ultimately achieve love of Godhead, serve guru and Kṛṣṇa. But when he hears certain statements or philosophies, he gets confused, he gets austerity, he gets bewildered, and then, "Fine, it's how it is. It must be an accident." Still they stick it out even though they're confused and bewildered. So, those are kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs.
So, these two devotees, they are definitely dedicated to Lord Caitanya. They didn't want anything material for their devotion. They weren't conditional devotees, but when they heard the criticisms, when they saw the obstacles coming to preaching, they lost their enthusiasm. They became morose a little bit the got really in the modes, not that they wanted something else. They only wanted pure, but the opposition that came up disheartened them and it came to Lord Caitanya, little frustrated because of that situation, and then Lord Caitanya, He took the action of going to Prakāśānanda Sarasvatī, and so on after that.
So you can see from that example that they are pure devotees, but they're kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs because they became disheartened, because they became confused and bewildered. Where someone like Mukunda dāsa, and Lord Caitanya, or like Sanātana Gosvāmī, where they didn't become bewildered, or they didn't lose heart or anything. Even amongst criticism, they couldn't care. There are other devotees who were chanting of Lord Caitanya, they just went on, and they were oblivious. But these devotees, maybe because whatever reason, when they heard this criticism, they became affectd. So therefore, they were considered on a little lower level or kaniṣṭha-adhikārī level. Is that clear?...
There's a verse, I forget where it is. It's a verse actually. Prabhupāda says that there can be a an uttama-madhyam or kaniṣṭha, and only guru's are uttama-adhikārī, but sometimes they can be also be a madhyama or a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī. If he fully follows the uttama-adhikārī, previous ācārya, then he can deliver his disciple, because they're completely following. Otherwise, here he's actually good. He's taking the disciple to the uttama-adhikārī, and in that case, they can get the benefit of the uttama-adhikārī. But otherwise, the guru, on his own account, he cannot teach. Obviously can't teach his disciple a higher realization that what he has. So, if he has a kaniṣṭha-adhikārī realization, or madhyama-adhikārī realization, the disciple can advance to that level.
So that is why you see like in India, the system came where a person might be a guru, but when his disciple advanced to a certain point, an initiating guru, and initiating guru means he's also the śikṣā guru. It's not that ... he's also responsible for instructing. Not just like he's a formal, just take initiation and that's it. But what he could give his disciple enough advice, or higher, then the disciple may ask, or he might send him to another vaiṣṇava who has a higher realization, and to accept that vaiṣṇava as a śikṣā guru. And then after getting instruction, then coming back to the dīkṣā guru.
That's why we had this, like in Prabhupāda's case, he said, "I am your śikṣā guru. I am your dīkṣā guru." No one needs to take... Having śikṣā guru as such, and there's two types śikṣā gurus. There's one who gives relevant instruction which helps you to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and the other one, who is not different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is directly the representative, in other words, someone who's on the same level as dīkṣā guru, or on the same absolute level as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he's actually a representative directly of the Lord. So, it mentions that there are these two categories of śikṣā guru.
I'm talking about the second category, but in a general sense, anyone who gives a relevant instruction is a śikṣā guru. So, we respect everyone like that. But that's not the same when it says that dīkṣā and śikṣā guru are one, and so on. It's specific. It means the second one. That one doesn't accept such an absolute relationship with a śikṣā guru unless one has the permission of the dīkṣā guru. Unless the śikṣā guru should be in line with the dīkṣā guru, the... It should be bona fide.
So like Prabhupāda, he said, "I'm your śikṣā guru. I am everything." As far as that level of śikṣā guru, therefore, I consider for my disciples, I'm both their dīkṣā and śikṣā guru on that level, unless for some reason, there comes a time when I cannot answer their questions, then I may consider if there's someone else more qualified to answer them. So far, by Prabhupāda's mercy, I haven't come up with any questions like that.
But there maybe, based on now with the new situation, it may be that there'll be disciples who will go to the new spiritual masters, and the spiritual master won't be able to tell them, "What is viśiṣṭādvaita, dvaitādvaita, something, or what is the different, how to preach to a certain, they may have to say, "Well, you better go to Bhaktipāda, or to someone, and study under them for a little while, and come back, because it's gone over my head. You've advanced too far for me." Something like that. Or, they'll have to go themselves and get trained up a little bit, come back, and preach to their disciples. Anyway, these are all hypothetical things. Do you understand the basic philosophy behind the principles?
In one sense that first type of śikṣā guru is also, in other words considered the vartma-pradarśaka guru, and in India, that first type of śikṣā guru is considered the vartma-pradarśaka guru, and when people say that, "I have a śikṣā guru ..." if you just read the books, it's one thing, but if you see that, "What is the general practice?" If a person says, "I have a śikṣā guru." It's a formal thing. Whatever he says, I'll do. It's just like that type of relationship. Maybe their dīkṣā guru has passed away. Then they accept a śikṣā, it's like if you say that someone is, "My śikṣā guru." it's like a very big thing. You just accept whatever they say as the word of God. So, in that sense, when the other type of relevant, another vaiṣṇava might tell them something, they don't accept them as their śikṣā guru as such. They accept them as a vartma-pradarśaka guru.
But, in a general sense, you could say they're giving instructions, so from that sense. I would consider that the first kind of guru is actually, in that particular purport, it doesn't mention about any other. It's just talking about śikṣā guru. Then if you bring it into the idea that there are five types of guru, in other words śikṣā guru, there's a vartma-pradarśaka guru, then there's a sannyāsa guru and a dīkṣā guru and so on. Then that type of śikṣā guru could also be called as a vartma-pradarśaka guru because he's showing the way.
Then, that vartma-pradarśaka guru is a category of śikṣā guru. The definition is the same. The vartma-pradarśaka guru is someone who shows you the path, and so there's two types of śikṣā guru. One is the one who shows you, gives relevant instructions on how to get back, so it's practically the same definition. So in a sense, it seems that that particular verse is saying there's two types of śikṣā guru; one is the vartma-pradarśaka, and the other is the śikṣā guru direct representative.
Although, in some cases there might be even more of a relationship with this vartma-pradarśaka in that sense. But he may not be on that same level as saying, "This is a direct representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A realized soul." Normally one won't use the term śikṣā guru so lightly as it's used sometimes in the Western world, here. A śikṣā guru is really something more where there's much more of an ongoing relationship, where someone's giving very important instructions, and the general guidance that we received, we either consider, "Well that person's a vartma-pradarśaka." Generally, how it's really used is, say when you're just joining, and someone preaches to you on saṅkīrtana, or someone joined the temple, and just like before, the first person you meet, they start preaching to them. Generally, that's considered your vartma-pradarśaka guru. He gave you first instruction to become a devotee.
Once you move in a temple, the way Prabhupāda told us to see it, was that all the people are preaching on behalf of the guru. Now, of course, that was the way Prabhupāda had taught us. Now, with the new situation, a lot of people are preaching on behalf of themselves. Who is really preaching on behalf of who, or whatever it becomes. It was very clear when Prabhupāda was present. He said, "You're all preaching on my behalf. Preaching on behalf of the guru."
Now, it's sometimes there's kind of a new situation, but that was the basic thing the Prabhupāda adjusted with the present situation. That was what Prabhupāda had given us. That devotees are actually preaching. Say a person develops faith, or is developing faith in a certain person, and that person is preaching. That was the way it was presented. He was preaching on behalf of the initiating spiritual master. That was the way the Prabhupāda had also established things. So then, the disciple, he's thinks that, "Well, I'm being trained."
To say there's an authority, if he may be a spiritual master, then he may tell other people who are bhakta leaders, or whoever that how he wants people to be trained, and what are the basic instructions, and so on. So, then they would be actually training new people according to the instruction of the spiritual master. Or in some situations, a person may be himself qualified to be a spiritual master, and then he's training people up. That's a little bit different.
So, in the one case, the person's actually acting as the representative. You could say one's acting as the representative of the śikṣā/dīkṣā guru, another person is acting oneself as a śikṣā guru, in which case, the person may ultimately accept that person as a dīkṣā guru. Usually if people receive instruction from a person, they develop faith, and they take initiation from that person, or a person may decide to take someone else as an initiating guru. [inaudible 01:04:21] Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Transcribed by Jagannātha dāsa
Columbus, Ohio, USA