The following is a class given by His Holiness Jayapatākā Swami on February 12th, 1986 at New Tālavana farm in Carriere, Mississippi. The class begins with a reading from the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Seventh Canto, Chapter Nine, Text 54.
oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
naraṁ caiva narottamam
devīṁ sarasvatīṁ vyāsaṁ
tato jayam udīrayet
mūkaṁ karoti vācālaṁ
paṅguṁ laṅghayate girim
yat-kṛpā tam ahaṁ vande
prīṇanti hy atha māṁ dhīrāḥ
sarvāsām āśiṣāṁ patim
prīṇanti — try to please; hi — indeed; atha — because of this; mām — Me; dhīrāḥ — those who are sober and most intelligent; sarva-bhāvena — in all respects, in different modes of devotional service; sādhavaḥ — persons who are very well-behaved (perfect in all respects); śreyas-kāmāḥ — desiring the best benefit in life; mahā-bhāga — O you who are so fortunate; sarvāsām — of all; āśiṣām — kinds of benedictions; patim — the master (Me).
Translation by Śrīla Prabhupāda
My dear Prahlāda, you are very fortunate. Please know from Me that those who are very wise and highly elevated try to please Me in all different modes of mellows, for I am the only person who can fulfill all the desires of everyone.
Purport by Śrīla Prabhupāda
The words dhīrāḥ sarva-bhāvena do not mean “in whichever way you like.” Bhāva is the preliminary condition of love of Godhead.
athāsaktis tato bhāvas
sādhakānām ayaṁ premṇaḥ
prādurbhāve bhavet kramaḥ
The bhāva stage is the final division before one reaches love of Godhead. The word sarva-bhāva means that one can love the Supreme Personality of Godhead in different transcendental modes of mellows, beginning with dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya. In the śānta stage, one is on the border of loving service to the Lord. Pure love of Godhead begins from dāsya and develops to sakhya, vātsalya and then mādhurya. Still, in any of these five mellows one can render loving service to the Supreme Lord. Since our main business is to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can render service from any of the above-mentioned platforms of love.
Thus end the Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda Purport to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Text 54, Chapter Nine, Canto Seven in the matter of Prahlāda Pacifies the Lord with Prayers.
So, Lord Narasiṁhadeva was very angry and everyone was afraid to go to Narasiṁhadeva to appease Him except for Prahlāda. But when Prahlāda came forward Narasiṁhadeva touched his head with His lotus hands, with His conch or His hands, I think with His hand, as soon as he was touched by Narasiṁhadeva, touched by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he became totally purified. By the blessing of the Lord, he was able to speak very eloquently. After speaking, then Lord Narasiṁhadeva was very pacified by His devotee Prahlāda Mahārāja. All the prayers that Prahlāda Mahārāja were offered the transcendental platform.
So then he gave His blessings to Prahlāda Mahārāja. He said, "My dear Prahlāda, most gentle one, best of the family of the asuras, all good fortunate to you. I am very much pleased with you. It is My pastime to fulfill the desires of all living beings, and therefore you may ask from Me any benediction that you desire to be fulfilled.
My dear Prahlāda, may you live a long time. One cannot appreciate or understand Me without pleasing Me, but one who has seen or pleased Me has nothing more for which to lament for his own satisfaction. Then He said today's verse. So, those who try to please Me in different mellows, because I am the only one who can satisfy everyone's desire.
So Kṛṣṇa was alluring Prahlāda that, "Oh, you have pleased Me, and I am one who satisfies everyone's desires. Whatever you want, you can have. So now, you just ask Me what you want, then I'll give you that."
So, Prahlāda was born in the family of asuras. That means normally the asuras are very anxious for material benedictions, for material happiness. So in a sense, Narasiṁhadeva is testing him. Kṛṣṇa, when He gives His mercy to his devotees, He may offer a devotee, "You can have anything you want. If you want to have a heavenly planet, or you want to have a long life." Different things, He may offer.
"You may want to have liberation, or to live on the planet of Lord Nārāyaṇa."
All these different things the Lord can offer one. And if anything, whatever there is one could to get. So, it's a big test. At that time, what will the person ask for? Just like ... Brahmā. He couldn't become a Brahmā, but thiking of Brahmā when he left his body, he took birth on the planet of Brahmā. So people have these different desires they develop. We have to be careful about what we desire.
If we desire to please Kṛṣṇa, if we desire to please the disciplic succession, Śrīla Prabhupāda, then that desire is completely spiritual. We have other desires, Kṛṣṇa may satisfy those desires. Just like He satisfied the desire of Dhruva Mahārāja who wanted to be a great king. So, He gave him the planet to be a king of, and He made him a king or 36,000 years on this planet. But that time Dhruva Mahārāja was in great separation from the Lord.
When he actually saw Kṛṣṇa, he didn't want to those things, but it was already too late. He had already prayed. He had already desired those different benedictions. So here, Prahlāda is being offered, "what benediction do you want?" So in our heart, we actually have to purify our consciousness of other desires. Because if we don't, as we say, bottom line, yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram. When we leave the body, or it's time to make that decision, we'll choose whatever we've been thinking about.
So, it's not enough to give lip service. "I want to have pure love for Kṛṣṇa." But all the time, we're thinking about other things. We have to train our mind to actually think about serving Kṛṣṇa. When other thoughts come, we have to relegate them to their appropriate position in our mind. That, "Oh, this is a secondary thing. My first priority is love." We have to train our mind continuously, so that it's reflex.
As soon as it comes to desiring something, we automatically desire love for Kṛṣṇa. There may be intermediate things that come in there, just like every day, when we go on saṅkīrtana, of course we desire to offer something to Kṛṣṇa, but that's also part of the offering to Kṛṣṇa. We want to see that people get Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that we can distribute more books. In the international BBT meetings that I came for, now BBT is being reorganized in North America, and in the world, basically in those places where it's not already organized like that, that very strictly, the total production cost of books will be doubled, according to Prabhupāda's formula. And the doubled part of it, 25% or half of that, be used for printing more books. The first 50 is just for reprinting the same book, and then for printing either new volumes, like the remaining Bhāgavatams in English, or in other languages the books that have not yet been translated and published, or in other different languages.
... the more America's given the Spanish, Portuguese and African languages to to develop further books into. Then, the other 25% goes for construction. The majority of which of course is for India: Either the samādhīs, or the Māyāpūra project. So, in this way, of course America's always been giving, but sometimes in retrospect, different percentages were being given, where Prabhupāda wanted a bigger percentage. Usually northern Europe has been giving the biggest percentage. We found that southern Europe was only giving 7, 6%, where they're supposed to be giving 12 to 15. America had been giving 10 very regularly, 10 to 12. So now, it's going to be a very steady remittance.
So in this way, every time a book is purchased, that means that simultaneously, there will be new books being published, as well as Prabhupāda's project in India being built. So that's a further impetus for purchasing more of Śrīla Prabhupāda's books, distributing books. In any case, Prabhupāda, his desire was that we should engage people in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, whether they have different desires or not, but for the devotees who are engaged in the pure preaching, they should refine their own desires. It's up to us. No one else can say what we're thinking.
Of course, we can get some idea from outside, seeing a person's activities over a period of time. What's their desire? But maybe somebody's really good at hiding what they're thinking. Only a most expert person would be able to figure it out. But Kṛṣṇa, He knows our every thought. Just like there's a saying, don't fast underwater on a fast day. The story that some time on a fast day, devotee goes to the Ganges River, and although he's taking a nirjala-ekādaśi, or a nirjala fast, where he doesn't take any water, but when he is going underwater, taking his sacred dip, gulp, gulp, gulp, gulp, he takes some water. So there is a saying, taking water underwater on the fast day.
You’re thinking, "No one is watching, so I can take water underwater." That is why devotional service is not easy. Why the Māyāvādīs, they say, "Oh, bhakti yoga is very easy. It's too easy. You have to do the more difficult way." Basically bhakti yoga is not difficult in that sense. Although sometimes devotees take different austerities to preach, that's their glory. But it's not the type of simply unrelated austerities, like the Māyāvādī or Yogīs do, sitting in five fires.
Devotees voluntarily accept so many austerities for preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is their object of austerity. Devotees purify their mind, they constantly watch their mind that it's not developing desires other than Kṛṣṇa conscious desires. Where the Yogīs, they don't have that process. So actually for them, bhakti-yoga is very difficult. So how do we purify the mind is constantly, we purify the desires. Whenever we see different desires and thoughts come up, which are every moment, then if something comes up which is not Kṛṣṇa conscious, we reject it immediately. Drive it out, or try to change it that, "No. This is not proper." Then we change it. So it's a constant endeavor.
That's why we chant gāyatrī mantras, we chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra to purify the mind. It makes it easier to change the way we think. Actually we change the way we desire. Instead of desiring sense gratification, we desire to do things in such a way that Kṛṣṇa is pleased. Some natural desires will be there, so we learn how to dovetail those desires, so in this way they become purified. Just like you have desire to eat. We can't say, "No I won't eat. That's material." We say, "No. I'll only eat prasādam. That's Kṛṣṇa's mercy." śarīra avidyā-jāl, jaḍendriya tāhe kāl, jīve phele viṣaya-sāgare.
In this way just like now were having the Christmas, the Prabhupāda Marathon for offering to Śrīla Prabhupāda very intensive service, so in this kind of rigorous preaching, we have to always be very careful to keep our consciousness fixed on, "What is the goal? What is the objective?" If we are fixed that we are doing everything for the pleasure of guru and Kṛṣṇa, we're trying to satisfy Lord Caitanya, Śrīla Prabhupāda, the disciplic succession, then, the devotional service becomes nectar, it becomes very relishable.
But when we are, just like Prabhupāda said that sometimes the guru gives the Deity, installs the Deity for the disciple, and then the disciple’s worshiping, and then after some time, the disciple thinks, "Oh, the guru's given me so much headache. We have to do the āratīs, and get up in the morning, and we have to do so many things for the Deities. It's too much." Then it becomes material. Prabhupāda explained that it's a burden of love. So we take our service as an opportunity to serve Kṛṣṇa. It's not some external duty.
Just like somebody's working 9 to 5. It's something external. They want the money. But it's our personal service. It's our personal offering to Kṛṣṇa, whatever service we do. Whether we offer an āratī, or our service bathing the Deities, or whether we offer service in the fire preaching and we offer our thoughts words and deeds in the fire of devotional service. In this way, we have to always see the mind what it's thinking, and what is coming up, and continually purify it, that we're doing everything for the service of Kṛṣṇa. When we are in consciousness then we start to feel blissful.
That flow of nectar gets interrupted, or doesn't come as easily. That's why it's so dangerous will be start to get absorbed in offenses, where we start to get absorbed and materials talk, gossip and things like that because it distracts our mind from the constant desire of simply offering something to Kṛṣṇa. Then we start to get distracted. That's why Lord Caitanya said:
grāmya-kathā nā kahibe,
bhāla nā khāibe bhāla nā paribe
Don't talk materialistic, work don't engage in gossip. Or materialistic thought don't listen to it. Nā śunibe, nā kahibe. Don't speak it. Don't to have luxurious clothing. Don't desire to simply eat luxurious things. Simply engaged in worshiping the Lord Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa devotional service. Kṛṣṇa's mercy, the Deity is offered nice prasādam. Sometimes we get very nice opulent prasādam. Sometimes we get simple prasādam. All these things the devotee simply takes in stride, and keeps fixing the mind on, "What is the actual goal?"
We know that. We've already experienced that this material world doesn't give us complete satisfaction. So then, why should we harbor in our heart the idea that, "Maybe there's some material arrangement I can be happy in."? Ā-brahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino 'rjuna. Whether you go up to the Brahma-loka, down to the material, most insignificant position, there's no complete happiness in this material world. Duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam. As as we harbor at idea that somehow by some arrangement I could be happy in the material world, then when Māyā it gives us the opportunity, when we get some opportunity to enjoy it, then we think, "Oh, maybe this is the chance. This will make me happy." And then we can fall down.
So this is the thing we have to beware of. We have to always watch our mind. Purify. This is what they say. Pulling the weeds. Even some advanced devotee, due to committing offenses, or due to being overly proud and not being careful of association which he takes, gradually these little weeds and these little poisons can enter into the consciousness. But if one is an expert gardener, it's not a very difficult task. It's not some huge ... that you have to become some kind of great self-realized soul first. It automatically happens. One becomes self-realized.
One becomes a great soul but serving the greatest, but it's not something externally that one can easily recognize. It's through the very humble careful gardener of his own spiritual creeper who's able to guard against the weeds and the mad elephants and things that come in, and who's able to very religiously water the creeper with chanting and hearing, the nine practices of devotional service.
So, we know that even on one practice, we can go back to Godhead. So, normally we practice so many practices. But during the marathon, sometimes we only practice chanting and hearing. Chanting our japa, and listening to the japa. We don't always necessarily have time for Deity worship or other things like that. So then we have to learn how to depend even on one practice devotional, or two practices. Or we do service during the day, and we chant and hear in the... to purify our consciousness. We need to chant and hear always, because otherwise, we may start to see our service as material if we don't purify the consciousness by chanting and hearing. So, these are some of the aspects.
Now, Narasiṁhadeva is asking Prahlāda, "What do you want? What are you going to ask for?" Of course when Prahlāda was given this opportunity, and his reply is that, My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because I was born in an atheistic family I am naturally inclined to material enjoyment.
Therefore, kindly do not tempt me with these delusions. I am very much afraid of material conditions, and I desire to be liberated from materialistic life. It is for this reason I have taken shelter of Your lotus feet.
O my worshipable Lord, because the seed of lusty desires, which is the root cause of material existence, is within the core of everyone's heart, You have sent me to this material world to exhibit the symptoms of a pure devotee.
Otherwise, O my Lord, O supreme instructor of the entire world, You are so kind to Your devotee that You could not induce him to do something unbeneficial for him. On the other hand, one who desires some material benefit in exchange for devotional service cannot be Your pure devotee. Indeed, he is no better than a merchant who wants profit in exchange for service.
Little Prahlāda is such a great devotee, so he was offered this benediction which included any kind of benediction, even materialistic benediction, but he rejected that. He said in fact, don't tempt me Kṛṣṇa because I was born in an atheistic family, but actually I don't want any of these things, because these materialistic desires, they cause the seed of our attachment to the material world. So please don't tempt me with these illusions because I'm very much afraid of material conditions.
In other words, even though when we preach and when we do active service sometimes we may feel, because of Kṛṣṇa's own inspiration we get some taste of bliss, but we shouldn't become fearless of material conditions. We become fearless in one sense, but we have to be fearless in the shelter of Kṛṣṇa. In other words, not that suddenly we think, "Now because I got a little bliss, I got some results in my devotional service, or I feel kind of enthusiasm, somehow by the mercy of guru and Kṛṣṇa, that now I don't have to be very careful about the material condition. We always have to be careful when it comes to sensitive issues of sense gratification.
We have to be careful because Māyā is such that when a devotee's heart is very soft, actually that makes it a ripe place to plant the seed of devotion. It also makes it a rape place to plant the seed of material activity. So we have to be very careful to not allow material desires to creep in. We have to be very careful for that.
Just as Prahlāda said, "I'm afraid of material conditions." We have to be fearful of material conditions, therefore we constantly do service. We constantly remain absorbed. So I hope that during this marathon, everyone can take advantage of the additional services, and try to experiment with being completely absorbed in Kṛṣṇa's service in a very intense way, and be careful. See that the mind doesn't take on material bents.
If you find that the mind is somehow experiencing some material changes, then you should feel your and to some devotees, that actually are experiencing some material doubts or something like that. Because we don't want any casualties in the battle. If somebody sees any dangerous symptoms, they should allow themselves to be preached to, or to analyze that from a more objective view and try to get purified from any doubts.
So these are some of the points. We should follow in the footsteps of Prahlāda Mahārāja, one of the Mahājanas, and pray to Kṛṣṇa that He'll always give us His mercy to have pure devotional service.
jaya śrī-kṛṣṇa-caitanya prabhu-nityānanda
śrī-advaita gadādhara śrīvāsādi-gaura-bhakta-vṛnda
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare
When I went back to Māyāpura, we actually, in Atlanta we had a very nice little ratha-yātrā procession. We did like we do here, where we carry Prabhupāda sometimes they carry Jagannātha-Subhadrā-Balarāma palanquins in the park. A few hundred people came. It was a nice little procession, little festival. Then I went back to Māyāpura for the full moon rāsa-līlā festival of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the end of the caturmāsa, and about 200,000 people came to Māyāpura. The devotees they did a little three-day marathon. Because so many people were coming through, all the devotees, from morning to night were distributing books. They distributed about roughly 20,000 pieces of literature or lakṣmī points in the two-three days.
At time there was also a minister, and some justices from the Supreme Court were there, some other respectable personalities, so I was preaching more to them than to the devotees, but they were very enlivened by understanding Kṛṣṇa's pastimes from the Kṛṣṇa conscious viewpoint. Because normally in India, even though everyone knows about Kṛṣṇa, and His rāsa-līlā, but they have some material idea about it. When they understood the spiritual nature, how the gopis were giving everything to Kṛṣṇa in a totally spiritual sense, then they became very inspired.
So, I came here for especially we have international BBT, and then, we're having on the 3rd and 4th, North American GBC meetings in Dallas, So I came for representing New Tālavana, and New Orleans, Atlanta, Murāri Sevaka, the southeastern United States zone in those meetings. Today, since I thought that Ācāryadeva and Tamāla Kṛṣṇa Goswami and the other members of the North American BBT contingent, That I come in just take the opportunity of seeing the devotees, having come so far from India. Right after the meetings basically I'll be heading back because there's a whole chain of preaching programs organized for December and January in India.
And on the way back, I'll be stopping in Tokyo. I just phoned up. I have disciples there, and just for a day or so. There's going to be a ratha-yātrā in Malaysia on the 13th in Penang. Then on the 16th in Orissa, There's a festival in a place called Sambalpur, In the western part of Orissa. Then there's a whole saṅkīrtana, three-month marathon they're doing which started on December 1, and going until ... or two-month rather, 60-day Going until the end of January through three states in India. So I'll be participating in those festivals, and then there is a ratha-yātrā in Madras on the 14th of January, and one in Bangalore on the 23rd.
So, a lot of preaching programs. And after doing Deity installation of Nitai and Gaura at Vāsudeva Datta's place in Bangladesh, near Puṇḍarika-dhāma, then I'll be coming back here for the Mardi Gras festival in February. That's the basic itinerary now. Of course anything could happen in ISKCON. Don't be surprised.
Are there any questions?
Chanting and hearing and remembering keep the fever down. Then we come back to the dhāma, and we see the deities and that helps to purify our consciousness. Just seeing the beautiful form of Nitai-Gauracandra, Rādhā-Rādhākānta, this helps to take away the images of passion and ignorance that come in the mind. That's why we do Deity worship is to help purify, and why in kīrtana, we enthusiastically chant and dance. When we are out road, We don't get to see the deities, so we developed sometimes some more attachment in separation for the deities. Sometimes when ones in the temple they take the deities for granted, and sometimes they don't come to all the programs, or they don't think it's so important. But when you're out preaching, and you have to face all the time association of passion and ignorance, Then you really appreciate how great a fortune it is to be able to come, to be able to worship the deities and take association from the arca-avatāra.
In traveling around the world, people are surprised when I told them but that actually I hate flying. Actually flying is very uncomfortable for me. But to be able to and see the effulgent faces of the devotees, and especially to see also the different deities established by Prabhupāda, or on behalf of Prabhupāda in ISKCON, that actually is very purifying. Is very enlivening.
That's why it's important how we direct your thought. Neophyte is usually always like one foot in Māyā, and one foot in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and their mind is not real clear on thinking about service to guru and Kṛṣṇa. It gets a little bit splayed out with other considerations and attachments, little, like false ego attachments. Feeling comfortable. Or just being absorbed in the modes. But if we can cultivate this attachment to the Deity through the disciplic succession, to the Kṛṣṇa conscious process, then actually that can help us. When you're out preaching, if you feel separation, "Oh, it would be nice to have association with the deities." That's very purifying. We should cultivate dealing separation for Kṛṣṇa, separation from the guru, separation from the spiritual pastimes.
Then when we develop that greater taste, the greater appetite, it's just like Kṛṣṇa left all the gopis during the rāsa-līlā because by having separation from Kṛṣṇa, when He would come back in the future, they would have a greater appreciation. So, even if we're out preaching, we're thinking of the holy dhāma, just like when I travel and preach, I'm usually thinking about Māyāpura. Actually, if I had the choice, if everyone was Kṛṣṇa conscious in the world, I'd prefer to stay in Māyāpura dhāma. It's so transcendentally relishable. One immediately feels separation from Lord Caitanya even in the dhāma. You immediately feel a connection.
But Prabhupāda instructed we have to go and preach and bring the message of Lord Caitanya, the message of Māyāpura dhāma to different parts of the world so that the devotees feel that the holy dhāma is their own place. Actually we don't belong to the material world. We belong to the spiritual world. Then while we're in the material world preaching, then we can feel some separation from the spiritual world, that's good. If we start seeing that, "Oh, this mode of passion this looks pretty enticing. It's pretty nice. These people are really enjoying. They're having a good time. What am I missing out in?" If we start thinking like that, we're in trouble.
Fortunately, usually the modes of passion-ignorance, Kṛṣṇa gives us intelligence to see that these people are actually suffering. They may think that they're enjoying, but we can see that how their enjoyment is the other side of their suffering. Just so gross but usually the activities in the mode of goodness, they can see that these things are actually not real happiness. But if we start to get affected, and start thinking, start analyzing, just like before we're put to hell, you're taken out of this body, and you're put in a little training camp, say you have to take birth as a pig, so they'll take you to hell and they'll start forcing you to eat stool. But then until when finally you start to differentiate that, "Well, that stool is a little better than the other stool." Then they put you in the pig body.
So the point is that when you start to see that when you categorically see that how the material world, it's Māyā, there's no enjoyment there, then you're safe. When you start to differentiate, "Well maybe that stool is a little better than this stool. Maybe that material enjoyment is a little better than this one." That's material. So we have to train our consciousness in seeing from the absolute point of view.
Question: Śrīla Ācāryapāda, sometimes when we're on saṅkīrtana, and the matter of prasādam will come up, and some devotees say different things that they eat. There's always like a controversy as whether they should eat it or not. Like different cheeses that may have animal rennet.
Jayapatākā Swāmī: Well, in a real state of emergency, the śāstra says that a person can bend certain rules. Something like cheese, in a real emergency could be bent, because basically it is vegetarian. But in America, generally speaking, they have soft cheeses, cheese spreads cottage cheese so many different kinds of soft cheddar which doesn't use basically as far as I understand animal rennet. It's the hard cheeses that use it.
Either hard cheese or soft cheese, if there is a soft cheese of some sort or another, than she uses such a thing that in any case, it keeps for a long time. I know that in Murāri Sevaka, they go to the cheese factory. We have our cows, so usually there's places that make cheese in the rural area, and if you go to them, they'll make the cheese for you without the animal rennet, And you can buy the big clumps of it for what's called 15 pound blocks, they're circular. I forget what you call them. There's a name for it, and it costs about a $1.80 or $2.00 per pound, where if you buy it in the store, it's a little more expensive.
People can get a big chunk, and devotees can carry a little half a pound of cheese in their baggage or something. Anyway there's more important... Cheese is not. One should always take the best alternative. If there's nothing else, and the person's ready to collapse out of fatigue, well I wouldn't think that would be a sin, but we have to avoid the mentality of when there is an alternative, we always take one which is more risky, which this may be more nebulous.
Right now there are a lot of companies that don't use the animal rennet. So someone can research it. But it's more important if we buy things likeby cooked foods. That's more dangerous. But a lot of times the demo tedious by cooked greens or something vegetables I don't know different things. But milk products and fruit contains less karma, fruits doesn't contain any mentality from the person you buy it. When you buy cooked foods, and not again processed, just like sometimes you might buy puffed rice but normally we could get some kind of ... But grains are a little bit more risky especially if it's green that are cooked by a person then the mentality of the person cooking might go into the grain a little bit. So that's more dangerous.
And in preaching, the śāstra does say you can bend the rules a little bit, but we have to be careful just to take whatever the best alternative at that particular time is, rather than just say, "Well I'm preaching, I have a carte blanche. Then I can do anything." You should always take the best. Try to be cautious. Be afraid of the material energy. Otherwise we get into that mentality, then even when we're not doing so much preaching, maybe we will be protected because we're preaching, then we get into that idea that, "Well, I'm preaching so then I can do anything." Then when we are not so fully absorbed in preaching, we'll do the same thing, and then we'll be in trouble.
So, Kṛṣṇa provides something, and if there is nothing else, all right. But if we take the best, always just take the more cautious alternative. Actually, he was relating how, when on traveling saṅkīrtana, they were mainly taking salads and nuts, and things like that because in India, especially you don't even buy breads usually, because when they cook the breads, usually the bakers are Mohammedans, and when they cook the breads, they don't usually use animal fat in the bread, but they use it for greasing the pans. Sometimes they put it in the bread also. So usually, what they call pal(?) ruṭi or the cooked breads in India are very risky. So that unless unless we have it specially ordered or something by some known baker with some devotee there, we don't usually use any kinds of breads in India. So, Prabhā Viṣṇu Mahārāja was explaining to Prabhupāda how they're eating salads and fruits and nuts and things like that, and Prabhupāda said, "Ah yes, this is very good. You can simply eat Ekādaśī always. There is this one nut. What do you call that nut? It is like this, bent."
And then someone said, "Oh, cashew."
He said, "Yes, You can eat that. It is very good."
Of course Prabhā Viṣṇu Mahārāja still eats grains now and then, but he told me one time Prabhupāda encouraged it, "Yes. You can even eat nuts and fruits and things." So I personally find it's very nice when I go on these long journeys, I try to take some bread, or take some things with me, and actually in Germany, they used to have granola and cheeses and things like that. They'd have a special pack which apparently would last the devotees. They'd buy fruit and other things. It would last the devotees a week, six days. Then they come back on Sunday and have a Sunday feast, and that's how they did saṅkīrtana for years with different kind of little light trekking prasāda.
And I know the devotees in San Diego, who used to go to Malaysia and do painting sales and things, they used to carry a little hotplate with them, and have one of those Prabhupāda cookers from Vṛndāvana, where it has four stories. And the bottom story you would put your rice, and then above it, the sabjis and things. Would you put the ḍāla, was it? The rice in the bottom, then vegetables come in compartments above that. So as you cook your rice, the steam coming from the rice steams your vegetables. By the time the rice is finished, the vegetables are also cooked.
So, while you're chanting, the whole thing's just happening automatically. When the water is finished in the rice, you take it off. The vegetables are steamed. Then you take the top of the cooker, has the handles on the side. So then you turn it over, and it becomes a little wok. And then on the hot plate, they put a little chauṅka in there, then put the chauṅka in the vegetables, because just steamed vegetables, maybe you like a little spice. Spin it around, and then maybe take the rice and vegetables. Because they got tired of just eating out all the time in a fast food type thing.
I've see a different devotees have developed different techniques for survival. But we have to just try to be as responsible as possible. And the more that we can eat food that's cooked by devotees, the less we can eat things which are risky, the better. But within, there's some gray areas. Like sugar is put through bones, or some cheeses come out with something used to curdle. I understand it's one billionth of a part, but some minor part. So if there is some kind of alternative, then just take the more safe alternative.
But these are borderline cases.
Prabhupāda onetime said that in this Kali-yuga,
everything is. They told him that sugar even was put through bones or
something, and he said, "Well sugar is definitely vegetarian, but they
spoil everything." If we can try to avoid it, that's better, but those
things are a bit borderline. Things we should just try to avoid. If it's a life
or death, or if it's something that there's nothing else then, if you're doing
the rule without really trying to please Kṛṣṇa, and not that
we become whimsical that, "Oh." Where there is a loophole in
something, then we just take the loophole, then we just actually do it because
we want to do it. Not actually because it's for Kṛṣṇa. We
should look for the loopholes. We should try to do whatever's the best
alternative for that time within the scope that we have.
Yeah, Bhakta Ken?
Those things are made by machine. Lord Nityānanda used to take puffies, puffed rice, but normally we had a little ghee to it. That's one thing is that usually when we take this type of grain, you just take a little ghee, and then just sprinkle it over it. So that kind of purifies it. Added something, and then we offer that. Then it's cooked by machines like that. Technically, in a temple, they don't like to offer the puffies and things from outside. But The secret is that Lord Nityānanda, He used to take puffed rice. He used to take a type of puffed cereals, fried rice crispies, fried puffy chīṙa, things like that.
So, for Lord Nityānanda, you can offer these type of cereals. But generally, we don't like to just offer Him something dry, so we had a little ghee to it. Just a sprinkle a little bit. Or, if there's a cooking, just add a chauṅka to it. That's usually what we do. I know in India sometimes they also offer, I don't know if that's Nityānanda would, they used to take this. But sometimes they add mustard oil in Bengal because they're so attached to mustard oil. They take mustard oil and chilies. I don't think in the West, this taste has been developed. It's a bit passionate. They just take the cereal, sprinkle a little mustard oil on it, and then take green chilies and eat it, hot chilies. I don't know how bona fide that is. That's kind of a regional habit they have.
But Nityānanda used to take the cereals. When you add a little ghee, it's offerable. One time, Prabhupāda said, "Just add a little ghee, it becomes all right." One time we went to a feast, and they cook everything in oil. Prabhupāda said, "Oh, just sprinkle some ghee over it."
There's two aspects. One of the courses the gross results that "Who's Kṛṣṇa empowering more for preaching, for collecting, or for whatever particular service?" That's certainly recognized. Just like Hanumān, is he lifting mountaintops? Certainly it wasn't thought to be insignificant. He was doing a very big service for Rāma building the bridge going into Laṅkā. But the little spider who was throwing the flecks of dust into the ocean doesn't get the same write up but there is also a consideration the Kṛṣṇa considers a person's own personal capacity.
Just like if we have put some weights here, and different devotees try to lift weights, depending on how big their muscles are, they may be able to lift different sizes of weight, but with practice, a person can gradually increase. So like that, a certain person might have a natural kind of level in a particular service. By Kṛṣṇa's mercy, that can go unlimited. No limit to it. It's not like we have to think that, "I'm only limited by some characteristic." But it unlimited. It can go unlimited. But in our [inaudible 00:46:56] Kṛṣṇa is seeing that, "Well, how much energy a person is giving." and He's also recognizing that service. Just as when Hanumān wanted to brush aside the spider, and then Rāma said, "No. He's also serving to his capacity."
So, Lord Caitanya advises we should be humble.
tṛṇād api su-nīcena
taror iva sahiṣṇunā
kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ
Amāninā We should desire any false, or any kind of honor for ourselves. Actually, if we get some result, we always give credit in any case to guru and vaiṣṇava, to Kṛṣṇa. It's a competition who can please Kṛṣṇa the most. Competition is actually to please Kṛṣṇa. So when another devotee sees that, "Oh, that devotee won this transcendental competition. That devotee has done so nicely. So Kṛṣṇa is more pleased by that devotee. He served, so that's very nice. The goal is to please Kṛṣṇa. So, may Kṛṣṇa also bless me that I can do more service."
In other words, the goal is that Kṛṣṇa should be pleased. So, everyone who's trying to please Kṛṣṇa, so on any particular day, one person may somehow appear to be more empowered for pleasing Kṛṣṇa in a particular service. That doesn't mean that we also won't to our capacity try to please Kṛṣṇa to the maximum. We are all very pleased if someone does more, because objective is that everyone should do more. There's no loss. So in that sense, we're not attached to the results in the material sense, but we want to offer something more to Kṛṣṇa. But since our only objective is to offer to Kṛṣṇa, therefore we don't think that, "Well, I can't offer more to Kṛṣṇa, therefore, then I shouldn't offer anything to Kṛṣṇa." That's material. Objective is only to offer more and more to Kṛṣṇa, to give more devotion. So someone else is doing more, we're also happy. Because it's for Kṛṣṇa's service. So we have to keep our consciousness transcendental. Then it's transcendental competition.
Just like when they have these bicycle races and things, when they're going around the corners, and nobody's looking, then they kick the other person's bike, it's not transcendental. It's mean. It's dirty sometimes. Recently in one of these football games I just saw in the newspaper front page or something it had a headline, purposeful injury, where they had sent out big mobber who comes out and he just picks up some million-dollar quarterback or something and just picks him up and just smashes him on the ground and breaks a bone or something, so then for the rest of the season ... out, then he gets kicked off the game, and fined $10,000, but they ruin the opponent's million-dollar whatever they pay those people, so much.
So, it's like in a competition in the material world, it's dirty business. Just like they found out recently that in Wall Street, those people've been cheating the government, cheating other people for hundreds of millions of dollars. So of course, they got caught. So, they have to spend time in jail, and pay $100 million fine. Pretty big fine. So that's the material because... the transcendental. So, transcendental competition actually, we feel happy if we hear that someone has done a really good score, it makes us feel blissful. "Oh that's wonderful." But then it also inspires that, "Well, if that person can do, then Kṛṣṇa can also empower me to do."
And just like before, people never thought that you could break a four-minute mile. But now everybody breaks four-minute mile. So, when the first person did it, there was a new goal. I remember that we used to do Harināma in Toronto, and we used to collect, and the whole temple would go out on Saturdays, and do Harināma and collect, and we used to collect $400 a day, $450 Canadian a day for the whole temple, and that was the best collection in the whole North America. At that particular time there were about 20 temples in North America. So, but then somebody developed new ways of book distribution and things like that, and gradually so new heights were achieved.
So, we don't know what capacity a person has to do a particular kind of service except under very intense situations. Then we can see. What are the limits? Then that can help us to assign new goals in our mind. It helps to build our own faith that, "Oh, I can do more than I'm doing now. If other persons can do, then I can also do." Usually in our mind we relegate ourselves to a particular level of service, then if somebody does more, we "Oh, how that person is doing more? He must be cheating." That attitude shouldn't be there.
Is that all right? Everyone is all right? Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Audience: Śrīla Ācāryapāda ki, jaya!
Transcribed by Jagannātha dāsa