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Fanning The Spark Of Devotion

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Date: 
Saturday, June 6, 1981
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The following is a class given by His Holiness Jayapataka Swami Maharaja on June 6th, 1981 at New Talavan Farm in Carriere, Mississippi. The class begins with a reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 4, Chapter 28, Text 65.

barhismann etad adhyatmaḿ parokṣyeṇa pradarsitam yat paroksa-priyo devo bhagavan visva-bhavanaḥ

TRANSLATION

My dear King Pracinabarhi, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, is celebrated to be known indirectly. Thus I have described the story of Puranjana to you. Actually it is an instruction for self-realization.

HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaja: Rupa Goswami advises those who are attached to family, friends and society or those who want to be attached, remain attached to such things, he advises them not to look at the beautiful three-fold bending form of Govinda with His enchanting smile and His lips which are playing on His flute, whose sound attracts all of the living entities’ minds; that Govinda who is decorated by the peacock feather and surrounded by loving devotees.

Of course Rupa Goswami, he does not want anyone to not look at Govinda. So he is glorifying Govinda by stating the thing in that way that by looking at Govinda automatically one begins to become attached, by hearing about Govinda one becomes attached, by serving Govinda one becomes spiritually advanced and attached. What is the result of spiritual advancement? One becomes detached from family, material friendships and material society. This is the symptom of spiritual advancement. So that automatically comes by becoming attached to Govinda. So how Govinda attracts one? That is His causeless mercy that He is the all-attractive. Simply if the iron is placed near the magnet it will be attracted. We have placed through so many countless births in this material world, tremendous amounts of garbage, contamination over our spiritual consciousness. Therefore the natural attachment which is there is being somewhat impeded by this covering. Nonetheless, it is said if you cover iron by so many things, the strong pole of the magnet will still have its effect. But when one takes off the covering and there is simply the magnet and the field, or the iron, then the full effect is there.

So the conditioned souls, they are so covered up, and because they do not want to know Krsna, therefore Krsna does not ordinarily attract them. But simply by association with devotees who are attracted, that has the effect of awakening their dormant attraction to Krsna. It is so powerful. The Vedas are not meant, there is meant to be pain and misery, there is meant to be pain and ignorance, there is meant to be bondage in this material world. The Vedas are there to give real knowledge. There are so many books written. One can see volumes and volumes of books in a bookstore, regarding the temporary political situation, regarding the history, each history has got its own different view point. So many different books, on language, on practical things, as well as on so-called spiritual paths. But the clear path is very hard to find. Therefore although there are so many literatures written, one does not see the human society being changed by these literatures. But, not even individual people are permanently affected by any of these. For some time someone will be affected and after sometime again something else will affect them.

But devotional service is such a sublime truth that one may be completely transformed. And that transformation may be complete and unchanging. So to do that one has to approach the spiritual master. So the spiritual master, here it says ‘idmah’, one has to bring the fuel for the fire. That means one should go to the spiritual master prepared to make a sacrifice. The previous kind of sacrifice was of course the homa-yajna or the fire sacrifice. In this age fire sacrifice is not very much recommended as a daily practice. Of course we also use fire sacrifice for our ceremonies such as initiation and marriage. But the sacrifice which is recommended for this age is the harinama or the chanting of Hare Krsna. And even the fire sacrifice could not be effective in this age without the chanting. Therefore during the fire sacrifice, we are always having this chanting, reading from the Bhagavatam, those are regular happenings.

When the disciple comes to the spiritual master, he has to be prepared to perform sacrifice. What is the use of going to the spiritual master if he is not ready to take up the actual practices of spiritual life? What is the use of going to a doctor and the doctor tells you ‘Alright, stop taking ghee. Or take this medicine’ and you don’t want to follow what the doctor said. You are wasting your money on the doctor and you are wasting the doctor’s time. And you are wasting your own time. Because there is no faith in the doctor and there is no inclination to actually take the medicine. Similarly we are materially diseased. And therefore when we approach the spiritual master that means we should be prepared to accept his instructions and follow them. Otherwise there is no need for a spiritual master. Srila Prabhupada was emphatic that in the presence of the spiritual master there is no need for any type of misery or anxiety. All the doubts and misgivings of a disciple can easily be counteracted by the presence of the spiritual master if one takes the advantage. So that is the purpose. And a brahmacari or a student should not simply go empty handed, but should go prepared to perform yajna or sacrifice. That sacrifice may vary. Sometimes the sacrifice would be chanting Hare Krsna, before it was lighting a fire. These things are to be understood.

Of course generally people nowadays they find all these transcendental subject matters very difficult. We even see that Jesus Christ in the Bible, he always, Jesus of the Christ, he always told so many parables or stories and these stories have made the things more understandable. Or at least listenable to his disciples. Of course, here is one story in the Vedas giving a practical example about Puranjana. So of course, then that is described, what is the meaning of all these stories? One may tell a story, but every story has got some meaning or basis. And that basis has to be understood. Otherwise just to tell the story alone is not enough. Sometimes I am explaining some philosophical point and then a devotee raised his hand and said ‘We will hear another story about Lord Caitanya’ At the same time hearing different stories and pastimes is very relish able. But the devotees themselves have to know how to apply those stories. Here is a story about Puranjana. Of course it is very interesting to hear all these things, he is battling and he is dying and being reborn and everything. But one then has to take the advantage of what is the meaning of all these stories. What instruction is there for me within this story? Otherwise simply hearing stories is not so effective. But if we can hear this story, if we can understand something from that, some instruction or some of the glories or qualities of the Lord or His devotional service, then that has got some practical benefit to us. Without that practical benefit, then what is the use of hearing all this stories? Devotional service is practical. It is not meant just to be heard, but it is meant to practiced, it is meant to be understood. It is meant to be given to others. That is the basic nature. Lord Caitanya said:

brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva guru-krishna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija

That the seed of devotional service is received by someone who is very very fortunate.

mali hana kare sei bija aropana sravana-kirtana-jale karaye secana

And one who gets that seed of devotion, he becomes a gardener, he becomes a farmer. And he waters that plant, he irrigates it. The word is ‘secana’. Secana means to water, but then in Bengali and other Indian languages, they say for irrigation, they use the word secana. That means profuse watering. Not just like a sprinkle. So secana means irrigation.

So how does a devotee irrigate his heart, his devotional creeper? ‘sravana-kirtana-jale’ with the waters of hearing and chanting, with the waters of hearing and chanting about the glories of the Lord, about the transcendental subject matters. So that does not end in the class. Srila Prabhupada describes in a class that one is chewing; one is following all he told. But then one has to digest it. And if it doesn’t digest, then just like a cow spits out the cud and chews on, then again it should be spit out, but not all the way, just in the mouth. Then you ask question, ‘What does this mean? What does that mean? I can’t understand this.’ And then after thoroughly understanding the subject matter, then again it’s swallowed and thoroughly digested. And then later on, just like the cow produces milk, then that subject matter again is given to others. Just like the cow gives milk, gives to others in charity to the calf and to even other people. More than enough milk is produced. And that milk is also very valuable.

So similarly the instruction received from shastra, the spiritual master, that should be listened to and that should be digested, if necessary it should even be re-digested after thorough discussion and understanding. And when the thing is completely transformed, then it becomes milk, that is also given again to others. That makes a perfect cycle. What is the use of a cow if it doesn’t give any milk right? It just eats. So similarly a disciple or student who hears the subject matter but doesn’t give it to others or practically apply it in terms of service, what is the value? He is not very valuable. So it is recommended that one should digest it, and then again distribute it as far as possible. Or at least should apply it in practical everyday activities so that one’s example may be instructive to others.

Here Visvanatha Chakravarti Thakur is glorifying the attractive eyes of the beautiful young girl of bhakti. Devotional service is so attractive that someone who becomes attracted by this devotional service becomes completely successful. Actually different kind of people are attracted by different things. Some people are very gross, so they are attracted by gross things. But there is a type of quality and beauty and that beauty which is most attractive of course is of the highest quality. And some people may not be able to fully appreciate the fine disticnctions between the beauty of one thing and other. Like that the gross materialist even they can appreciate that someone who is very devoted, someone who is very faithful, someone who is very fixed, and their consciousness has got some extraordinary quality. They can appreciate to some extent but they cannot differentiate that beauty or appreciate the true value of that beauty as compared to the beauty of other gross things in this material world. But for someone who is very intelligent, who is very discerning and honest or true, he can differentiate what is the difference between gross sense gratification, gross attachment to this body and what is pure bhakti or devotional service to the Lord which gives ecstatic prema or love of Krsna. You can differentiate.

Srila Prabhupada said that this movement is meant to create gentlemen. People who have understood the purpose and meaning of life and who are situated in the perfection of devotional service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna are those who are able to take advantage of this type of activity. That is considered to be ‘bhagya’ or ‘bhagyavan’. That means ‘very fortunate’. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu explains to Rupa Goswami that there are

eita brahmanda bhari' ananta jiva-gana caurasi-laksha yonite karaye bhramana

84 lakh species of life, that means eight million four hundred thousand species of life filling up this whole universe. Amongst which human beings are few. And amongst the human beings those who follow the Vedas are very few.

veda-nishtha-madhye ardheka veda 'mukhe' mane veda-nishiddha papa kare, dharma nahi gane

Among those Veda-nishtas or followers of the Vedas, most of them accept the Vedas by mouth. Why Vedas? Even other scriptures. Generally speaking you see people, they accept by mouth. Believe and you will be saved. Simply say ‘I believe.’ That is enough. ‘veda-nishiddha papa kare, dharma nahi gane’

But they do everything that is forbidden in those same scriptures. They don’t even consider in their daily activities that these things should be thought about or should control our lives. Simply believe and you will be saved. That is enough. Just give your lip service. That is all you have to do. And everything else, don’t even consider. What is to be done, what is not to be done according to the instruction of the scriptures. This is 99% or at least a majority of the people all over the world. Or even the Vedas, Lord Caitanya said, most of the people, they may say ‘I follow Vedas, I do’ whatever, they just say something. They just do some lip service but in a practical day to day activity, do they consider what do the Vedas say? What is to be done, what is not to be done? That is ordinary people, they are like that. A devotee is not expected to be like that. He is expected to be a first class person. That means whatever he does is authorized by the Vedas. Nothing is unauthorized. Therefore one is always safe, protected. One is always safe from dangers of maya. Just like, a small child protected by the parents. It is always safe. As soon as the small child tries to grow up on one’s own, they immediately, there are so many dangers. Similarly when we are directly under the protection of Krsna, then one is always protected. And as soon as one tries to go astray, then one is responsible for one’s own activities. And that put one in great difficulty.

Caitanya Mahaprabhu, he descended to make it very easy and simple for everyone. The brahmacari doesn’t have to bring the firewood, doesn’t have to bring the ghee. All he has to do is bring his tongue to chant Hare Krsna. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. You see how Lord Caitanya, he instructed Nitai and Haridas to go door to door requesting the people:

suno suno nityananda, suno haridas sarvatra amar ajna koroho prakas prati ghare ghare giya koro ei bhiksa bolo `krsna', bhajo krsna, koro krsna-siksa

‘Listen, listen, Nityananda! Listen, Haridasa! Broadcast My message to everyone, whoever they may be! Go from house to house and make this humble request: Chant Hare Krsna. Bolo Krsna. Bhajo Krsna! Worship Sri Krsna. Koro krsna-siksa. Study the teachings of Krsna. This was the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Everyone should chant Hare Krsna, worship Krsna and study His teachings. It is not very difficult.

Of course those who are preaching full-time, yogis, they are doing sixteen rounds, they are worshipping in a regular way every day, and they are studying the teachings, reading the Bhagavatam every morning and every evening they are having classes. Even if one just chants a little bit, worships a little bit and reads and understands a little bit from a pure devotee, that is the beginning of one’s spiritual life. Therefore we are encouraging people all over the world to at least begin. Those who are in our temples, they practice fully. There may be others who are not in our temple. If they can practice fully, then all glories to them. But then even if they cannot, they should not hesitate to practice whatever they can. Because that will hold them in good stead, the good fortune they need. Caitanya Mahaprabhu of course, His holy Dham, His devotees, they are always under the protection of Bhakti Devi. Bhakti Devi ki jai! Bhakti Devi is very kind to the devotees of Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

So just like for instance, when Sankaracarya, when he was doing his dig-vijay. That means in all directions he was going around and he was defeating all the different people and establishing his Buddhistic like philosophy. He went to Nabadwip Dham and there in Nabadwip Dham he was also trying to establish his Mayavadi philosophy. So what happened was that evening when he went to sleep, Lord Caitanya appeared to him. Of course, Sri Sankaracarya was an avatar, an incarnation of Siva. And He told him that ‘You are of course my dear Lord Siva, Rudra, partial incarnation. And you are so faithfully carrying out my instruction. You are so faithfully carrying out My instruction in establishing this Mayavadi philosophy, driving out Buddhism from India. But don’t do your preaching here in Nabadwip. Because Nabadwip is the place of devotees. Don’t do that preaching of Mayavadism here. Do it outside. Here you should know that you are always present as Rudra Deva. And in Antar-dwip, the center most island, you are there as Vriddha Siva, along with your consort Prauddha Maya, Vriddha Devi. So you spread your message in other places and leave Nabadwip under pure devotional service.’ Pure devotional service is protected, then of course Lord Caitanya disappeared. And then Sankaracrya, he left Nabadwip and he went to other places.

So in this way one can see that how, Lord Caitanya, He protects His devotees. And devotees they stay free from such materialistic things such as impersonal philosophy, sense gratification. Sense gratification he enhances ones impersonalistic ideas. Impersonalism also enhances ones sense gratification. Because when there is a Personality of Godhead then we are attracted by His qualities. And to be attracted by the qualities of Krsna means that one becomes detached from sense gratification. And wants to engage in self-realization and understand more and more about Krsna. Sense gratification is like the night and Krsna consciousness is like the day. Day and night, they don’t mix. Whenever the day light comes, then the night light goes. Whenever the night comes, the day light is no longer there. So just in that way, sense gratification, impersonal philosophy, these things are like the night. So when one believes there is no Personality of Godhead then one does not become very attracted to spiritual realization. There is no quality. One thinks that this material world has got all this variety. ‘Variety is the spice of life, let me enjoy’ Of course finally when one becomes frustrated, then he thinks ‘Well, actually this enjoyment is not so successful. So let me merge and become one with God.’ So it is like two sides of the same coin. They nurture each other: impersonalism and sense gratification. Just like performing sense gratification, one starts to realize that everything is impersonal. In impersonal relationships, the more that one has sense gratification, the more they become imperosnalists. And one simply thinks about serving his senses. And the persons who are involved, they become less and less important. And the less there is gross sense gratification, the more that even the personal relationships remain very strong.

So ultimately in the material world we could see these things. Where is the question of personal relationships amongst the very fallen people? They are simply using each other to advance their materialistic sense gratification without any responsibility, without any real affection or service attitude. And here it says that very clearly in this material world, one has to take the advantage of the spiritual master. One has to take the advantage of the shelter of the advanced Vaishnavas. And by doing so, one is guaranteed success. Just as Puranjana, when he took birth again as a woman, then he took shelter of the husband. And the husband, being a devotee led Puranjana along the path of Krsna Consciousness and in that life it was possible to reach perfection. One should take the advantage of Vaishnavas, take the advantage of devotional service, and be determined to finish up ones business in this life. If one is determined, no doubt Krsna will hear the call. Just like when Visnuswami was also traveling around India. He also came to Nabadwip Dham and Visnuswami was very eager to be attached to a bonafide Vaishnava sampradaya and to establish pure Krsna consciousness or pure devotional service to the Lord, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The holy Dham has all the tirthas in it. So there in the same Rudra-dwip where Lord Sankaracarya came, there Lord Siva appeared to Visnuswami and said that “Your devotional service is very pleasing to Me, what would you like?” “I like the devotees of Krsna so much, I like the devotees, the Vaishnavas.” “Whatever you like, I will give you as a boon what you want.” And he said that, “Please establish me in a bonafide Vaishnava sampradaya and bless me that I may be able to establish pure devotional service.” So Rudra himself, he initiated Visnuswami and established the Visnuswami sampradaya. And Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu also appeared to Visnuswami and told him that “You should know that you are trying to be participating in My pastimes through Vallabhacarya, Vallabhbhata. So you should immediately go.” In this way Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu, we know how He met Vallabhacarya in Prayag as well as in Jagannath Puri. Vallabhacarya following the footsteps of Visnuswami preached the Suddha-advaita philosophy. It is also one of the bonafide Vaishnava philosophies.

So in this way, the point that I was trying to get through, if one has the desire, one is brought to the bonafide spiritual master. Even if it is not someone who is so great like Lord Siva or Narada Muni or someone, if one is determined to serve, is determined to reach the truth, Krsna brings that person to the bonafide spiritual master, brings that person to association of devotees. We have to cultivate the desire. What is that seed that we are to farm and to water? That seed is the desire to serve Krsna. That has to grow and grow and grow. And that growth comes by constantly watering and cultivating, keeping out all the weeds. Until that desire becomes so strong that Krsna Himself is attracted. Just like Krsna, we know that how sometimes He was playing around, running away from the gopis. And one time He ran away and took the four-armed form of Visnu. And all the gopis they ran by Him. And they saw Visnu and offered their pranams with hands ‘Please accept our obeisance. Have you seen Krsna? Have you seen Krsna?’ Even when they saw Narayana, they are only attracted to Krsna. They wanted to know where is Krsna. They went on looking for Krsna. Then when Radharani came, actually Krsna was there as Visnu, Her desire was so intense that two of His arms kept falling off. Two of his arms kept falling off. And just like when the baby was crying, Srila Prabhupada gives the example, the mother knows. If the sincere cry is there the mother immediately goes and picks up the baby. Narada Muni was crying so sincerely that Krsna immediately appeared to him. Like that there are so many examples. Desire in the beginning is a small spark, you fan and fan and fan, it becomes a big blaze. So it consumes that. If we don’t have that desire, we should be eager to have that desire. If we are not eager to have that desire, then we should be very eager, very anxious, ‘Why don’t I have that desire to have that desire?’ If we are not anxious that we don’t have the desire, then we should become very anxious that why we are not anxious that we are not anxious to have the desire to have the desire? If we are not, then we should be that we are not anxious that we are not anxious that we are not anxious that we are not anxious to have a desire. Anyway we should be very eager, enthusiastic and anxious to be Krsna conscious. That is the point. That is the real thing that is the fuel for the fire. Jai Sri Krsna Caitanya Prabhu Nityananda Sri Advaita Gadadhara Srivas adi Gaura Bhakta Vrinda. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.

Tags : Rupa Goswami, Radha Govinda, Sankaracarya, Visnuswami, Nabadwip Dham, Puranjana, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, devotional service, Lord Siva, impersonalism and sense gratification, spiritual master

Date of Completion: 25 December 2013