Thursday, 7 June 2012

‘Prayers by the Demigods’

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
tvayy ambujaksakhila-sattva-dhamni
tvat-pada-potena mahat-krtena
kurvanti govatsa-padam bhavabdhim
tvayi – in You; ambuja-aksa – O lotus-eyed Lord; akhila-sattva-dhamni – who are the
original cause of all existence, from whom everything emanates and in whom all potencies reside; samadhina- by constant meditation and complete absorption (in
thoughts of You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead); avesita – fully absorbed, fully
engaged; cetasa- but by such a mentality; eke – the one process of always thinking of
Your lotus feet; tvat-pada-potena – by boarding such a boat as Your lotus feet; mahatkrtena – by that action which is considered the most powerful original existence or which
is executed by mahajanas; kurvanti – they make; govatsa-padam – like the hoof print of a
calf; bhava-abdhim – the great ocean of nescience.
O lotus-eyed Lord, by concentrating one’s meditation on Your lotus feet, which are the
reservoir of all existence, and by accepting those lotus feet as the boat by which to cross
the ocean of nescience, one follows in the footsteps of mahajanas [great saints, sages and
devotees]. By this simple process, one can cross the ocean of nescience as easily as one
steps over the hoof print of a calf.
The true mission in life is to cross the ocean of nescience, of repeated birth and death.
Those in the darkness of ignorance, however, do not know this mission. Instead, being
carried away by the waves of material nature (prakriteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani
sarvasah [Bg. 3.27]), they are undergoing the tribulations of mrityu-samsara-vartmani,
repeated birth and death. But persons who have achieved knowledge by the association of
devotees follow the mahajanas (mahat-krtena). Such a person always concentrates his
mind upon the lotus feet of the Lord and executes one or more of the nine varieties of
devotional service (sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam [SB 7.5.23]).
Simply by this process, one can cross the insurmountable ocean of nescience.
Devotional service is powerful in any form. Sri-visnoh sravane pariksid abhavad
vaiyasakih kirtane (Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu 1.2.265). According to this verse, Maharaja
Pariksit became liberated by fully concentrating his mind on hearing the Lord’s holy
name, attributes and pastimes. Similarly, Sukadeva Gosvami simply glorified the Lord,
and by speaking on the subject matters of Krishna that constitute the entire SrimadBhagavatam, he too was liberated. One may also be liberated simply by sakhya, friendly
behavior with the Lord. Such is the power of devotional service, as we learn from the
examples set by the Lord’s many pure devotees.
svayambhur naradah sambhuh
kumarah kapilo manuh
prahlado janako bhismo
balir vaiyasakir vayam
We have to follow in the footsteps of such devotees, for by this one easy process one can
cross the great ocean of nescience just as one might cross a small hole created by the hoof
of a calf.
Here the Lord is described as ambujaksa, or lotus-eyed. By seeing the eyes of the Lord,
which are compared to lotus flowers, one becomes so satisfied that one does not want to turn his eyes to anything else. Simply by seeing the transcendental form of the Lord, a
devotee is at once fully absorbed in the Lord in his heart. This absorption is called
Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah? (Bhag. 12.13.1). A yogi is
fully absorbed in thoughts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for he has no other
business than to think of the Lord always within the heart.
It is also said:
samasrita ye pada-pallava-plavam
mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh
bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam
padam padam yad vipadam na tesam
“For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the
cosmic manifestation and is famous as Murari, the enemy of the demon Mura, the ocean
of the material world is like the water contained in a calf’s hoof print. His goal is param
padam, or Vaikuntha, the place where there are no material miseries, not the place where
there is danger at every step.” (Bhag. 10.14.58) This process is recommended here by
authorities like Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva (svayambhur naradah sambhuh [SB
6.3.20]), and therefore we must take to this process in order to transcend nescience. This
is very easy, but we must follow in the footsteps of great personalities, and then success
will be possible.
In regard to the word mahat-kritena, it is also significant that the process shown by great
devotees is not only for them but also for others. If things are made easy, this affords
facility for the person who has made them easy and also for others who follow the same
principles. The process recommended in this verse for crossing the ocean of nescience is
easy not only for the devotee but also for common persons who follow the devotee
(mahajano yena gatah sa panthah).
[End of Purport]
So, demigods are offering their prayers to Krishna when He was in the womb of His
mother. So the demigods came and they started to offer their prayers to Krishna in so
many wonderful ways, and this particular verse is actually pointing out what happens
when one surrenders himself to the lotus feet of the Lord. Actually, the entire spiritual
process ultimately culminates into that point, surrender to the Lord.
Sometimes there is a consideration that, what actually is initiation? Initiation actually is
the surrender, a formal surrender. Initiation has two aspects. One is getting the mantra. In
other ages mantras were kept as a secret and only through initiation the spiritual master
used to give the mantra to a candidate, to a disciple, who in turn also used to keep the
mantra as a secret. Diksha was important and through diksha spiritual life used to begin,
because then only one used to get the mantra. Otherwise one could not possibly get the mantra. Mantras were kept as a secret and without the mantra the spiritual life couldn’t
begin. But Chaitanya Mahaprabhu gave the mantra publicly. Anybody can chant.
So nowadays, in order to begin our spiritual life, we don’t have to chant mantra. We
don’t have to get initiated to get the mantra. Mantra has been already available to all of
us. As a matter of fact, in ISKCON to chant the mantra sixteen rounds is the qualification
to get initiated. You have to first chant the mantra in order to become qualified. So we
can see that nowadays, due to the mercy of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, we don’t have to
receive the mantra through the process of initiation.
Then the question is, then why initiation is still necessary? Actually, Chaitanya
Charitamrta very clearly says that this Hare Krishna Maha Mantra doesn’t depend upon
diksha and purascarya.
diksha-purascarya-vidhi apeksa na kare
jihva-sparse a-candala sabare uddhare
[CC Madhya 15.108]
This Hare Krishna Maha Mantra doesn’t depend upon diksha and purascarya, process of
purification. In other ages diksha and this purascarya were the qualifications. One had to
become qualified then only he could get the diksha and through the diksha one could get
the mantra. But Mahaprabhu is saying Hare Krishna Maha Mantra doesn’t depend upon
these formalities of diksha and purascarya, initiation.
But then the question is, why did Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura instituted this
process of initiation? And Srila Prabhupada followed. In ISKCON we have the process of
initiation. Why? This initiation is important. Initiation is important because through
initiation one makes a formal surrender. One aspect of diksha, one important aspect of
diksha, is to get mantra, and another important aspect of diksha is surrender.
diksa-kale sisya [bhakta] kare atma-samarpana
sei-kale krsna tare kare atma-sama
[CC Antya 4.192]
At the time of initiation the sisya, the disciple, surrenders himself and at that time
Krishna accepts him. Sei-kale krsna tare kare atma-sama, Krishna accepts him.
So surrender is the most important consideration. Those who are surrendered they’re
fortunate. Those who do not surrender they are unfortunate and they suffer the conditions
of the material existence. So ultimately we can see the surrender is the most important
consideration. It is through surrender that spiritual life begins. Just surrender unto
Krishna. Krishna Himself is broadcasting, “You surrender unto Me, then I’ll take care of
you. You surrender, I’ll take care of you.” Aham tvam sarva papebhyo moksayisyami ma
sucah [18.66]. You surrender, you don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to undergo
severe austerities and penances. You don’t have to perform so many sacrifices. Just
surrender, then I will deliver you from all your sinful reactions, meaning then you won’t have any suffering. Sufferings are caused by sinful reactions. So if you don’t have any
sin, then where is the question of suffering? So life will become full of happiness, full of
So in this way we can see that the surrender is the most important consideration. We must
surrender and then, through the surrender, our devotional life will begin and we must
execute our devotional service in a mood of surrender. It is not that in order to get
something we surrender and then we forget it. No surrender. We surrender and now that
we got it, get rid of it. No need to surrender. I am the lord and master.
Prabhupada pointed out that’s the problem with the Mayavadis. They accept a guru to get
something, but when they got something then they say, “We don’t need the guru. I don’t
need guru. I don’t need anybody. I don’t even need God. I’ll become God myself.” So
that is their mistake, that is their misfortune, whereas devotees surrender. And when we
surrender what happens? Just the simple process of surrender very easily takes us across
the ocean of material nature. We surrender at the lotus feet of the Lord. When we
surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord, then what happens? The lotus feet of the Lord, as it
has been described in this verse, the lotus feet of the Lord becomes a boat. We surrender,
immediately the lotus feet of the Lord becomes a boat and we situate ourselves in that
boat, the boat takes us across the material nature.
And how easy it becomes to travel across the ocean of material nature? Just as
insignificant as a hole made by the foot print of a calf. Does anybody make any endeavor
to go across the hoof print of a calf? No. That is how easy it becomes for a devotee to go
across the ocean of material nature. In other words, for a devotee going across the ocean
of material nature is not an issue at all. It is automatically accomplished. Just by
surrendering they have achieved it. Then why worry about it? So this is how wonderful
this process of devotional service is. So wonderful! We just surrender and Krishna takes
care of us.
Another example we can consider, [altar curtains open]
Jaya Sri Giridhari Gopala ki Jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Sita Rama
Lakshmana Hanumana ki jaya! Gaura Premanande!
Hari Haribol! Another consideration is, like, say for example, in New York there are so
many tall buildings, Empire State Building, so many other buildings. There used to be
World Trade Centre. Now, it is very difficult to climb such building, but when you go
there, is it at all difficult to climb that building? We just get into the lift! Some lifts stop
at seventieth floor, some stops at ninetieth floor. In one shot it just goes to ninetieth floor
and then it stops at ninety first, ninety second, and so forth. Now when once we get into
the lift is it all difficult to climb on top of the building? No, the lift takes us. The
surrender is something like that. Just step into the lift! We surrender to the lotus feet of
the Lord and just what do we do then? Don’t do anything. Just stay there, chanting Hare
Krishna and the lift will take us right on top of the spiritual sky.
Such a simple process, such an easy process. But unfortunately people do not understand
that. This process is so easy that’s why this process was kept as a secret. Like one had to prove himself in other ages, prove his sincerity, prove his, there were lots of difficulties
atually in order to come to the platform of devotional service. One could not get an easy
access unless and until one came across a pure devotee. It’s only by the mercy of a pure
devotee one could become a devotee. That is the condition and we found that so many
people, rather insignificant individuals, became devotees of the Lord by receiving the
mercy of a pure devotee.
Narada Muni came across this hunter, Mrigari. What happened? Such a sinful, terrible
hunter just by coming in contact with Narada Muni became a pure devotee! Ratnakara
was a bandit, was a dacoit. By coming in contact with Narada Muni he became the great
devotee of the Lord, Valmiki. So in this way we see, just by coming in contact with the
Supreme Personality of Godhead, one becomes a devotee, irrespective of his
qualification. So, in this process everyone is qualified if he surrenders.
Now, what does it take to surrender? The surrender, this expression is also used in
wrestling match, isn’t it? In wrestling match, like surrender means, okay, I’m not going to
fight anymore. I surrender. Now the fight is very struggle some, very strenuous, very
difficult. Fighting is difficult, to wrestle is difficult, but surrender is easy. Just as soon as
the wrestling [war] began, as soon as the bell rang, if we surrender [laughs], then you can
avoid all the trouble of this fighting the wrestling match. And especially when we are
fighting with Maya, struggling with Maya, trying to overpower her. That’s what we are
trying. We are trying to be the lord and master. We’re trying to become the controller. So
it is actually a struggle against Maya and in this struggle we’ll never succeed, but mam
eva ya prapadyante [Bg 7.14]. When one surrenders to Krishna, mayam etam taranti te.
One can easily go across Maya.
So, now what is the intelligent proposal? What is the intelligent man supposed to do?
Struggle hard? Sometimes we come across people they say that, “Oh, you are escaping!
You are escapist. You are escaping!” I said, “Yes, when the house is on fire and the
house is in fire, we must escape! [laughs] Only a fool will stay in the house and say, well,
I’ll get burned.” Now if you want to be that kind of fool and get burned, okay, stay in that
house that is burning. Stay in the forest fire of material existence. We’re not going to get
burned. We are just going to get out. Escape, yes! Escape from a dangerous situation.
That’s the sign of intelligence. Yes, we are escaping, but escaping from what? A very,
very difficult situation.
And escaping is so easy. Escaping from this miserable, material condition is so easy. All
we have to do is, “Krishna, Krishna! Please save me! Krishna, Krishna! I’m taking
shelter of Your lotus feet.” Then Krishna says, “Come.” That is how merciful Krishna is.
He is always there just waiting to deliver us from this miserable condition. In one hand,
yes, we have rejected Krishna, we have gone away and as a result of that we are
suffering. In one way we can see our situation in that way, but there is another way to see
also. Another way we can also see our situation, that is the father has taken the child.
Sometimes the father takes the child to the field, to the park, and lets the child play. The
child finds its friends and he plays in the park. And the father is just sitting on a bench,
watching the child, looking at him. And he is waiting for when the child will finish his play and come back to him. So the father is just waiting. And we are allowed to play in
this park of material nature. We’re playing. We’re completely absorbed in our game and
we have forgotten the father. But then, all of a sudden, when it becomes dark, all our
friends are gone, we are left alone, we become afraid, then what happens? The child calls
out, “Daddy, daddy, where are you?” And then daddy comes and picks him up. So all we
have to do is tell Krishna, “Daddy, daddy, where are you? Krishna, Krishna, please
deliver me.”
So when we surrender unto Krishna in that way- Krishna, Krishna, please deliver me,
please save me from this dangerous situation- then Krishna will come. He is waiting to
pick us up. Otherwise why should He be in our hearts? What business does He have to go
with us wherever we go, in all kinds of dirty, undesirable situations? Because He is our
extremely compassionate father. He is our dear most friend who is simply concerned
about our well being. And He is waiting. So when He is waiting to pick us up, can it be
difficult to be picked up by Him? All it needs is just one simple effort, surrender, to call
out to Krishna with all sincerity and just surrender unto Him.
But in the material nature what we are doing? What is the opposite to surrender?
Opposite to surrender is to be independent. And the norm in this material nature is to be
independent. Everyone is trying to be independent. “I want to be independent.” But it is
such a foolish thing to do, especially when you have such a rich father, why should you
be independent of Him? When you have such a rich, capable, compassionate, powerful
father, why shouldn’t we surrender unto Him? Why should you try to be independent?
That is our disease and that is the disease that we have to cure. We have to become cured
of this disease, the disease of independence, and the cure is surrender! So just surrender!
So, demigods, they’re very exalted personalities. They understood it and they’re praying
to Krishna.
Thank you very much! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!
So did you find out the easy way out? Surrender!
Hare Krishna! Gaura Premanande! Hari Hari bol!
Does anybody have any question?
Devotee: Ajaya prabhu has been asking me
Another devotee: Maharaja already talked about it.
BCS: Yeah, we briefly discussed about it. You got the answer?
Audience member: Yes, Maharaja.
BCS: His question actually was about our being, the process I mean, our way is non
violence, then why there are so many battles, killing and all that. So I pointed out, our
way is not non violence. When violence is necessary we’ll use it. These wars are not
actually a matter of violence. It’s a matter of justice, crime and punishment. Punishment
is a violent reaction in a way, but it is actually justice. You do something wrong, you’ll
be punished. Like, when the father punishes the child is it seen as violence? Nowadays of
course in the West it is seen as violence. The child complains to the police and police
comes and arrests the poor father. [laughter] But it is actually compassion. It is concern,
because if he doesn’t correct the child, the child will be spoiled. That’s the kind of mood we find with Nanda Maharaja and also Jagannatha Mishra. Jagannatha Mishra is
chastising Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Some brahmana comes and chastises Jagannatha
Mishra; “Do you know who is this? He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead!”
Jagannatha Mishra’s response is, “So what? He is my son. If I don’t chastise Him, then
He’ll be spoilt. So it’s my duty as a father to correct Him.” So, this is the duty of a father
to correct the child. It’s an expression of his compassion. It’s not violence.
Devotee: His other question was that in the scriptures, about this killing, it’s not much
described like violence to the animals and those who are subordinate to you. It’s not
specifically mentioned, so he wanted a reference to find that, that it is propagated.
BCS: Yeah, it has been described in Manu Samhita. Especially kshatriyas can kill
animals in a certain condition, but brahmanas cannot. Vaishyas cannot. Candala’s can,
because they are candala’s, those who are below the varnashrama category. But they live
in the forest, they live with the animals, kill the animals, eat them, that’s fine. Not in
cities and civilized society. Or in a yajna an animal could have been sacrificed, but that
sacrifice was to benefit that animal, to check the efficacy, the success of the sacrifice.
And the result was that the animal would be promoted. The animal either would get a
young body, an old animal would get a young body, or the animal would be elevated to
the higher planetary system. So this is how it has been pointed out. Some animals can be
killed but not cows. Cow killing is completely prohibited. Rather, the human culture is go
brahmana hitaya ca. For the benefit of the cows and the benefit of the brahmanas one
must act. Then the society will prosper.
Yes, Madhupati prabhu?
Devotee: Maharaja, you talked about this independence and we see that independence
comes from a false ego. How can we give up independence? We see in our society,
ISKCON society, many times devotees they want to be independent to do their own [?]
things. What is to be done, this concern is there.
BCS: Yeah, well, at least be surrendered to the highest authority. Okay, you can’t work
with the temple president, at least function under the GBC. You can’t work under the
GBC, function under Srila Prabhupada. But there the buck stops. And also Prabhupada,
we cannot divide the GBC and Guru. Srila Prabhupada also, because Prabhupada has said
that GBC is the ultimate managing authority, the GBC body. So there we have to stop.
And of course we have to expect that the GBC body will be just and fair. But then again,
the other thing is, even if the GBC body is wrong we should remain submissive for the
benefit of her institution. Otherwise everything will fall apart if we all start to function
independently. Generally we have seen, like when somebody is sincerely trying to serve
the mission everybody recognizes that, or at least, you know, ultimately will recognize
that. And with the passing of time it will become more and more clear. Then again
another thing is that the higher authority should not try to impose their power. You see
that is the difference between material and spiritual.
Material platform is the platform of exploitation. So there, you know those who are on
top, they actually get into a bigger position or a better situation to exploit. Like today, why are people running after political power? Because there they get the maximum
opportunity to exploit people. Whereas the spiritual platform is just the opposite to that.
Spiritual platform is just the opposite to exploitation. That’s the platform of service. So,
higher you go, bigger is your sphere of service. And ultimately, see Krishna, who is the
topmost, what is He doing? He is serving everybody! Isn’t it? He is taking care of
everyone. And when we create that spiritual atmosphere then everybody will become
happy. You see, when I come to lord over then everybody will be worried. “Oh my God,
he has come. When will he get out of here. When will he leave.” That will be the
tendency, I mean, that will be the, they may not say it, but in the back of their mind
they’ll feel that. But if I come here to serve, then who will not want me, right? So, that is
the thing. The spiritual platform is the platform of service. So, more advanced we are,
that means greater is our attitude of service.
Prabhupada actually has created an International Society for Servants! International
Society for Krishna Consciousness means an International Society of Servants. And in
this society the bigger the servant you are, the higher is your position. That’s how it
should be. Like, we have seen what Prabhupada was doing. Prabhupada was actually
serving everyone, but unfortunately after Prabhupada’s disappearance, when we failed to
recognize this underlying spirit of this Movement, instead of becoming servant when you
try to [become]lord and master, then things started to collapse. Devotees started to leave.
And, you know, today we lost so many thousand of devotees, but what is the bottom line?
Because we tried to lord over them. We didn’t really care for their spiritual welfare. As
senior devotees we didn’t really think of how we could serve them. Rather, we thought
that these are our servants and we assumed the position of a master. Now we have to
realize that. Now we have to actually assume the position of the servant, then ISKCON
will start to flour ish.
Devotee: Maharaja, aham tvam sarva papebhyo mosayisyami ma sucah, when a person is
serving Krishna out of fear to get free from the sinful reaction, is that a high level like
that of gopis who did not care about fears, happiness and suffering?
BCS: Yeah. Well, Bhagavad Gita is actually the preliminary study. Therefore in
Bhagavad Gita Krishna is giving the assurance that, “I’ll deliver you from your suffering
condition.” But then what assurance is given? Ma sucah, don’t worry about that. That
will be just the by-product of your surrender. The actual result of surrender is not the
sarvapapebhyo moksa. The actual purpose of surrender, the actual goal of surrender is to
develop Krishna prema. Therefore we find that where Bhagavad Gita ends, sarva
dharman parityaja mam ekam saranam vraja, and that is the beginning of Srimad
Bhagavatam. Dharmah projjhita-kaitavo ‘tra paramo nirmatsaranam satam [SB 1.1.2]. So
anyway, but some way let us begin. [laughs] If we begin the process then someday we’ll
reach the end. If we are on the right track and if we stay on that track then some day we
will reach the ultimate goal. But important is that we get into the track. And what brings
us to the track, is surrender! Yes?
Devotee: Like, monkeys with Lord Ramachandra that we have been hearing, they have
such an exalted position. Who were they in their past lives that they got such an
BCS: The demigods.Devotees: They were all just demigods?
BCS: All the demigods came as monkeys. They’re not ordinary people. Like Sugriva,
who was Surya. And Hanumana is Vayu putra. Neela was Vishvakarma. So these are all
demigods who came as monkeys.
Devotee: There were not just thousands, there were millions of monkeys.
BCS: Yes, millions of…
Devotee: They were all demigods?
BCS: Yeah. Thank you! All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Gaura Premanande! Hari