Skip to main content

Spreading the Sankirtan Movement

Type Of Talk: 
Date: 
Friday, March 12, 1982
Collection: 
Audio player: 

SB 8.11.8

tad idaṁ kāla-raśanaṁ jagat paśyanti sūrayaḥ  na hṛṣyanti na śocanti tatra yūyam apaṇḍitāḥ 

Translation:

Seeing the movements of time, those who are cognizant of the real truth neither rejoice nor lament for different circumstances. Therefore, because you are jubilant due to your victory, you should be considered not very learned.

Link to the purport : http://vedabase.com/en/sb/8/11/8

Gurumaharaja's Elaboration :

Here we see how Bali Maharaj, the grandson of Prahalada Maharaja, although born in a family of demons, king of the demons, has got spiritual understanding as to the cause of suffering or enjoying in this material world.

One time Srila Prabhupada was taking us to Mayapur, with him in his car. And then in the front of his car he used to keep a Krsna Balaram picture. And then he asked that, “There is Krsna Balaram. They are… He asked two questions actually. The first question he asked was, “Who is more powerful – Krsna or Balarama. Krsna’s elder brother Balarama or Krsna himself?” There was the picture with Balaram having his hand on Krsna’s shoulder, standing there. Balarama being taller than Krsna.

GM : Anyone knows the answer?

A devotee : Prabhupada said that Krishna…

GM :You already know. Anyone… Any new bhakta?

A new bhakta : Krishna.

GM : Krsna? Why?

A new bhakta : Balarama is putting his hand on Krishna and Krishna is holding Balarama.

GM :Yes. Balarama is holding all the planets, but Krsna is holding Balarama. Prabhupad used, because Balarama is having his hand on Krsna’s shoulder. But anyway, it's a fact that Krsna is the basis of Balaram. And then all of a sudden Srila Prabhupada leaned back and he said that in this world there is the good and bad and they are always fighting with each other. Sometimes the good overcomes and sometimes the bad overcomes. But Krsna and Balarama are aloof. They are neither on the side of the good or the bad. They are transcendental. And Krsna’s devotees are also with Krsna Balaram. They are neither side. So sometimes it appears that a devotee may be on the good side. This is also instructed by Srila Prabhupada. But actually the devotee is simply acting on behalf of Krsna. Neither piety nor impiety – nor sinful activity - are performed by the devotee. Two forbidden things are paap and punya, no one should do, pious activity, nor should one do sinful activity.

So, Indra is fighting for his own elevation, fighting for maintaining his heavenly kingdom. So that is not very learned. So Bali Maharaja of course is also superficially fighting for a similar purpose but he is adding a more philosophical touch, some Krsna conscious philosophy that ultimately Krsna is the Supreme controller.

So how a devotee’s mentality is more important than what he is doing. Of course there are certain things which we are restricted from doing because that will affect our mentality. But the most important thing is that we should have our consciousness properly situated. Everything is aimed at that. We avoid eating fish, meat, eggs, onion, garlic, taking intoxication, gambling or having illicit sex, because these affect consciousness. They pollute the consciousness. Similarly, gossiping and various other things they also pollute the consciousness. We are advised how to act, so that our consciousness may be directed to Krsna easily. Srila Prabhupada gave us the story of the wedding party and the boatman crossing the river and they are rowing, but the boat was always anchored on the one side. So they couldn't get anywhere. So where our consciousness is anchored, if it's are anchored on the lotus feet of guru and Gauranga, then we will be dragged to Krsna. If our consciousness is anchored to the mud of material life, then even we make this show of rowing back to Krsna, we will not make progress.

It has been explained by our previous acaryas that why this chanting was not always effective in other ages. I mean it is always effective, but why especially in Kali yuga it is effective. It'sBecause in other ages, you see along with chanting one naturally commits some offences. So due to those offences the chanting effect is nullified. In this way if one chants with offensive name he can chant for millions of births he will still not go back to Krsna. But in this Kali yuga Caitanya Mahaprabhu, He is so kind, He does not accept the offences. That is why before we chant Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare, we chant Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His Pancatattva’s names. Because by their mercy all the offences are nullified. That's why before we visit Vrindavan we go to Mayapur. By going to Mayapur one is forgiven for the offences and one can easily worship Vrindavan.

However, Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu he requested not to commit vaisnava aparadha. This is one aparadha that even Caitanya Mahaprabhu cannot tolerate. And Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us such a facility but he has requested us not to allow the weeds amongst devotional service to take over our hearts. Because then that real devotional creeper which is being watered by the mercy of Mahaprabhu will be smothered, and its growth will be stopped.

So in this regard we were reading from the poem that Srila Prabhupada repeatedly quoted to us called ‘dusta man tumi keeshe vaishnav’ – evil or materialistic mind, what type of a vaisnav are you? This is by Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. So we have completed the whole poem, except for the 7th, 8th and 9th verses are remaining and they just suit today for this particular sloka.

Basically just to give you a prelude. Bhakti Siddhanta is describing how one who leaves the sankirtan of Caitanya Mahaprabhu to go off and do some type of independent worship or activity, even if it appears to be in devotional service, is actually simply one who is hankering after his own false prestige and he is doing so out of a false ego. He is describing basically that there are many egos which can attack our consciousness when we enter in the devotional path. He warns us against money and wealth, that even if we leave the association of devotees and put on a show of being a great more advanced devotee that our mind will still be attracted to women and wealth, sense gratification. So therefore there is no use in doing such things.
Hari Bol..! Jai Radha Govinda! Jagannath, Subhadra Balaram…

Then he advises us that in desiring one’s own prestige we become just like a Ravana, who is always envious of Rama, and who was ultimately killed by Rama. He advises us that the real prestige is to be a vaisnava, to be the servant of the servant. And for that we have to be very careful, and if we don’t worship Krsna in that mood to actually be established as simply the servant of the servant as a vaisnava, then for all our worship we will simply gain hell, known as rourab. Then he advises us that someone who is suffering the misery of desiring his own personal aggrandizement becomes envious of the devotees of Krsna. And therefore he advises that we should never be proud or confident in our position of desiring our own position or respect, because with it, comes the disrespect of other vaisnavas. Behind pure vaisnavas there is automatically a desire for achieving the highest position of being a servant of the servant. And behind that desire there is no materialistic tinge. And in that pure relationship with Krsna, there is not even the slightest touch of any material flavor. No cheating propensity is there. On the other hand the materialistic desire to elevate oneself is like a ‘chandali,’ a witch which catches us up in her net of desiring to be a separatist, or to solitarily worship. So we should know that both of these, the desire for becoming a renowned devotee or the desire to go and be separate and simply worship also as a great devotee – both of these are simply the different hellish existances of maya. So that is a prelude.

Verse number 7 is

kirtana chadiba, pratistha makhiba ki kaja chudiya tadrsa gaurava madhavendra puri, bhava-ghare curi, na karila kabhu sadai janaba So, kitana chadiba (translation) to give up the sankirtan movement, to accept, literally it is to anoint oneself with the desire for personal prestige, or to accept one’s own attainment of some material position as the goal will simply be a matter of great shame and regret. Madhavendra Puri used to run away from the crowds of people to avoid his own prestige. If one falsely imitates him running away from the people for his prestige then that is simply a cheating.

Madhavendra Puri was sincere and he was living out of the highest philosophical sentiment. So in this regard I would just like to comment that the sankirtan movement of Sri Krsna Mahaprabhu, which was spread by Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada all over the world is a great science and one cannot imitate great devotees who are eternal associates of the Lord who have come down and participated in this sankirtan movement. But they have to follow the system of guru parampara, take the instructions as was handed down through the disciplic succession, not imitate those exalted vaisnavas and neglect their instructions. Just as Bhakti Vinod Thakur he ordered Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur should always preach, develop Mayapur, distribute books, print books. He said, “Don’t do any nirjana bhajana, don’t spoil everything by going off and solitarily doing worship. This was the last instruction that Bhakti Vinod Thakur gave to Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. “Don’t do solitary separatist worship.” So similarly the same instruction Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur gave. He also instructed that everyone should cooperate together and jointly under a Governing Body Commission the Gaudiya mission should be managed.

Srila Prabhupada, Bhakti Vedanta swami in his Vyas puja offerings to Bhakti Siddhanta after his disappearance he commented on the situation in the Gaudiya mission after he left, that instead of following Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s order to have a Governing Body and work in that way they imitated and made again one acharya like he was one acharya. He said that by imitating we will simply go to hell. By following his instructions we will be glorious. So we can see that Srila Prabhupada is following exactly in the mood of Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur. We should take up the sankirtan movement that is the order of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, that is the example of great acaryas in our line, and by doing so, real fame or real prestige or real position, eternally will be given to those devotees in the sankirtan movement. But if someone instead leaves the sankirtan, leaves the movement of Caitanya Mahaprabu’s sankirtan, that means many together joint preaching program, then that is simply out of a desire for his own prestige out of some false ego. And that here is said to be a very poor imitation of Madhavendra Puri. One should not imitate Madhavendra Puri. Actually one should follow in his footsteps, that he gave everything to satisfy the Lord. When the Lord told him that he should stay in Remuna, he took up that order and remained there. Finally whatever the order of the Lord is, even it is… seems to be distasteful in the beginning, we have to accept that. So, we should not imitate the so called examples of the six goswamis and Madhavendra Puri, because that imitation is not a real imitation, it is a superficial imitation.

The six goswamis wrote so many literatures for the whole future of this gaudiya vaishnava movement. They uncovered all the sacred places of Vrindavana. And if one simply imitates that they were living under one tree every night and running through Vrindavana, that will be a very poor imitation. Neither can they do it properly neither is it a real imitation because, is it a real following in their footsteps? Because they were expanding and preaching by their excavations in Vrindavan, by their writing literature, by their worshipping Krsna in the absolute platform they were purifying the whole world. And the example we have is that Jiva Goswami and Gopala Bhatta Goswami and Raghunatha Das Goswami, who were still remaining when the Caitanya Caritamrita and other literatures were completed, they ordered Narottam Das Thakura, Srinivasa Acarya and Shyamananda Pandit and others to take the books, leave Vrindavan and distribute them all over the then vaisnava jagat. Although they were liberated souls eternal parshadas come down to join the movement, they did not stay in Vrindavan but Srinivasa Acarya and others, Narottam Das Thakur they all took these literatures and went on book distribution party to Eastern India. This is the movement of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Even if one would like to stay in a solitary place if it is not the desire of the Lord, one does not do it but keeps on with the sankirtan, with the preaching. Jai!!

So the next verse 8

tomara pratistha,--- "sukarer vistha", tara-saha sama kabhu na manaba matsarata-vase tumi jadarase majeche-chadiya kirtana-sausthava

So now the mind is being addressed. Remember this poem is to the mind. So ‘tomara pratistha,’ your importance is just like the stool of swine. And to be thinking in that way is not even on the platform of being a real human being, simply controlled by various shades of enviousness. You are now firmly under the control of material emotions. And you are now enjoying this illusion having given up the real nectar of sankirtan (end of the translation)

In this regard, mind is cancala, flickering. Mind can go anywhere, if we don’t control it. Even a devotee may be considering material influenced thoughts, become on the mental platform thinking of his own importance, “I am an older devotee, why this more recently initiated devotee has been elevated to the higher position than I? Why he is the sankirtan leader and not me?” Why this why that? In this way on the mental platform one may suddenly become under some type of illusion, some kind of false ego and actually give up the real attitude of a vaisnav, just to take up of service. Instead of concentrating on the service starts to be envious, starts to be resentful of other devotees, to the extreme degree that type of wrath in the heart can cause one to give up the sankirtan, to give up the movement of Lord Caitanya. And just out of false ego to show that ‘I am a great devotee’ they go on chanting but do it in their own house, do it in some private place, or do it even in the holy dham, but actually it is all out of their own mental concoction. Rather than simply surrendering to the yagya, the sacrifice, working together and spreading the sankirtan movement they become influenced by their own mental desire for importance, prestige or material sense gratification.

I personally had experience in this regard that the tendency is that one will not recognise a junior devotee even if a person has done some very important contribution to the sankirtan movement. That tendency is there due to material contamination. When I was sent to India in 1970 by Srila Prabhupada, then we obtained a place for Prabhupada to come to. At that time, I think in 1970 there were already about 40 temples in the world or near about. And I was also assigned with the duty of inviting all of Prabhupada’s godbrothers to come and meet him at the airport and a reception, that now that one of the Gaudiya sampradaya representatives had achieved a goal of spreading Krsna consciousness all over the world as Caitanya Mahaprabhu had predicted. Naturally in ISKCON we have an experience that if some devotee does some nice preaching we are all very happy about that and we like to congratulate that person. But in this case in the Gaudiya math when I was going around everyone was avoiding saying that they would come. I couldn’t understand why. So one very senior devotee, one senior Maharaja in one Gaudiya math, one of Prabhupada’s sannyasi god-brothers, I requested him on the stairway where I met him, “Will you please be coming to the airport to meet Prabhupada?” He said, “Yes, I am very happy with his success.” And then all of a sudden some grihasta godbrother came up and said, “No, you cannot go. You cannot go and meet him at the airport.” He said, “Why not?” “He has taken sannyas after you. You are senior sannyasi godbrother. He is your junior. How can you go and meet him who is your inferior by seniority?” And he was so heavy that Maharaj said alright… alright… He backed down. So part of the difficulty in accepting Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada by some of his godbrothers may be that he was a grihasta for a long time and he took sannyas later than many of them. So they were thinking that sannyasi is all in all, even a fully dedicated grihasta they weren’t giving that much credit. Although Prabhupada was writing, he was editor of their newspaper, even as a grihasta he was doing so much preaching. He had understood the mood of Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur from the beginning. But due to some type of material vision… Actually we take on sannyasi, we take on varnashram, colors for preaching purposes. But we see each other as vaisnavas. Externally we may follow some etiquette, but that etiquette is only so far as it is useful for preaching. That shouldn't cover our perception of any real vaisnava. That is why Srila Prabhupada said that the cream will rise to the top automatically. That automatically devotees will become self-manifest in our movement, we may not know that what devotees in the future will manifest great qualities, great powers for preaching the sankirtan movement, may not be one of the stalwarts we see today, may be junior devotee coming up, no doubt it will happen. So we have to have a broad vision. But someone who is overwhelmed by considerations of his own importance, naturally, there will be in danger of becoming envious of someone else who succeeds to do some great Krsna seva.

That was warned by Rama when Hanuman was throwing big boulders, and by the side was a spider, a squirrel. A squirrel was throwing in small pebbles, and Hanuman said, “Get out of my way, you squirrel. Don’t you see I am doing a big service? And then Ramachandra said, “No, don’t become falsely proud. This squirrel is throwing in the small dust or pebbles, up to his own capacity. That is also fully satisfying to me. Devotee should not consider his service to be bigger or smaller, more than another devotee who may also be fully trying. Because the amount of service one is able to do is ultimately by the mercy of guru and Krsna. That one is a devotee, that one is somehow or other one is honored by the opportunity to serve Krsna. That importance that somehow or other I am being engaged in service, that one may feel. But to what extent service was able to be performed, personally we give that credit to Guru and to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Of course, the other vaisnavas – they will give the credit to the devotee who has performed it. The devotee himself will give the credit to the vaishnavas and Krsna. In this way if one takes the proper attitude of devotional service, then one is freed from all this type of ‘matsaryata’ – enviousness, the influences of rajoguna, tamoguna and sattva guna. So this mind is very devilish, mind can just go anywhere. So we have to purify the mind, we have to again bring it back to the lotus feet of Krsna. Take out all types of resentment, all enviousness. If something even difficult happens to us we take it to be the mercy of Krsna. If we are put into difficulty that is also a test given to us by Krsna.

Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur, we are told by Srila Prabhupada, told all his devotees that, in the morning he would everyday do a purification of his mind, and that everyone should do the same purification. That is taking a pair of shoes one should beat the mind 108 times. And taking a broom one should again beat the mind a hundred and eight times to surrender at the lotus feet of guru and Krsna, guru and Gauranga, so that was verse 8.

And now verse 9.

tai dusta mana, "nirjana bhajana," pracaricha chale "kuyogi-vaibhava" prabhu sanatane, parama yatane, siksa dila yaha, cinta sei saba

So my materialistic mind when you desire for solitary worship you have begun to propagate falsely the glories of bogus yogis, of false transcendentalists or imitation transcendentalists. Our revered master Sanatana prabhu gave instructions with great care. You should consider those instructions very carefully. (end of the translation)

So the mind is being chastised for considering leaving the sankirtan movement of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, for considering performing some type of separate or independent or solitary worship on the excuse of some higher purpose, higher consciousness. On the excuse of this higher elevation actually one is propagating false doctrines, doctrines against the principles of the six goswamis, doctrines which are destroying the pure principles of pure devotional service. Although appearing to be some exalted philosophy actually this solitary worship, giving up the preaching spirit, giving up the preaching mood. They are preaching anti-preaching. Therefore they are doing the greatest discredit to themselves and they are establishing false religious principles in society.

So Sanatana Goswami, the six goswamis they have given so many wonderful instructions.
Just as we study the Brihad-bhagavatamrita or the Hari bhakti vilasa, Upadesamrita. These transcendental literatures instruct us to make followers for Caitanya Mahaprabhu all over the world, is the result of full sense control, of transcendental consciousness. It is not a material activity. Rather to leave the association of vaisnavas, to imitate Haridas Thakur going into some cave and meditating, or imitate falsely Madhavendra puri and avoid the sankirtan preachers, thinking oneself to be aloof. Or highly situated as to go against vaisnava as some babaji, or some special devotee, It is the greatest discredit to the six goswamis and Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And the result we can see in the modern day babajis, they are not able to maintain the prestige of Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s movement. Often they are simply creating illegitimate children in the widows who are living in the holy dhama. And in the meanwhile, while so much irreligiosity, so much atheism, materialism is covering the whole world, they are doing nothing to stop that.

When Lord Caitanya ordered us, ordered all the people who are under the couch of Bharat,

Bharat bhumi te manusha janma hoilo jaya| Janma sarthak kore kori paropa kara||

They should perfect their lives, become spiritually realized in Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teachings and then help others. Where is that paropakara in this so called solitary ‘nirjana bhajana’, an excuse to becoming more intimate with Krsna, more elevated with Krsna’s pastimes. One is actually doing harm, doing violence to so many living entities who could be benefitted by actually hearing to who is Krsna, how to serve Krsna, what is their eternal relationship with Krsna. So this International Society for Krsna Consciousness (ISKCON) is based upon this principle that we must work together to deliver the people who are suffering in this material world, to their original Krsna consciousness. That is the highest service we can do. Once we have done everything to deliver them to their consciousness, then only one is allowed to, in the last leg of life, take up some solitary worship, otherwise not. Rather one’s full energy is to be aimed at spreading this sankirtan movement. And in that sankirtan flow , just like the Ganges coming down from the spiritual world flowing down to the ocean everyone is swept away in its flood. And one can taste constantly the highest relish of intimate association, intimate relationship with the Lord and his devotees. But this imitational solitary worship of so called nirjana bhajana one will not taste the relationship, rather one is separating oneself. This is against the teachings of the great authorities in the line of Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu.

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

Rather one should chant with so many people this mahamantra

Transcription by: Lilamayi Rukmini Devi dasi