Saturday, 19 May 2012

The Treasure of Bhakti

Class on BG 4.22: He who is satisfied with gain which comes of its own accord, who is free from duality and does not envy, who is steady in both success and failure, is never entangled, although performing actions. 

Purport by Srila Prabhupada: A Krsna conscious person does not make much endeavor even to maintain his body. He is satisfied with gains which are obtained of their own accord. He neither begs nor borrows, but he labors honestly as far as is in his power, and is satisfied with whatever is obtained by his own honest labor. He is therefore independent in his livelihood. He does not allow anyone's service to hamper his own service in Krsna consciousness. However, for the service of the Lord he can participate in any kind of action without being disturbed by the duality of the material world. The duality of the material world is felt in terms of heat and cold, or misery and happiness. A Krsna conscious person is above duality because he does not hesitate to act in any way for the satisfaction of Krsna. Therefore he is steady both in success and in failure. These signs are visible when one is fully in transcendental knowledge.
Here Krishna is explaining to Arjuna the symptoms of a person who is experiencing His eternal relationship with Godhead. Because, he is satisfied within that relationship with Krishna, he is not attached to the results of actions in this material world. When a aperson is devoid of Krishna Consciousness, then the ony substance of enjoyment comes through the mind and senses.

This world is a place of uncertainty and such a material state of consciousness leads to unlimited suffering. At any moment, anywhere, if things are just right according to our expectations then we can find some temporary happiness, otherwise, the Bhagavad Gita explains that the conditioned soul is hankering over what the conditioned soul has not achieved and lamenting over what one has lost. In the interim period, we might achieve something; even in that there is always a fear of losing it. As soon as we have anything that is valuable, people will be envious of us and will make all efforts to take it away from us. If we have good reputation, then people will try to slaughter your reputation by blasphemy and nasty rumors. If we have wealth, competitors and thieves will be there to steal the wealth.

A few years ago, I was in Paris, there was a beautiful museum. At one time, it was the palace of one king and queen and they built it so nicely. It takes hours and hours just to walk through and every part of the building is a masterpiece of art. So he would invite so many other kings and princes and entertain them by food, beverages and actually his purpose was just to show-off how great he was. Everyone would come and just talk about how wonderful his property was. In actuality, no-one appreciated him but only burnt with envy. What a miserable condition. You are tying to impress people, but people don't like you for it; in fact they hate you for it. Like in Bombay, we have nice cars to impress people. Externally, others will show appreciation and impressed but in their heart of hearts they are thinking, why do you have this; why not me? This is human nature. So sure enough, the same people he was entertaining, they created a revolution and killed him and cut off the head of his wife. What is the use of a beautiful palace, if you don't have a head to see it with? That is material nature. We make so many material arrangements to impress people but the people we impress only envy us. 

What are devotees impressed with? They are impressed with the humility, service and devotion and these qualities impress Krishna. So Krishna is explaining that we should not strive to work like asses simply to create a condition to enjoy in the material world; because we cannot enjoy in that position. The wealthiest people in the world are no happier than the poor people.

I have told the story that when I was hitch-hiking in Thailand without a penny and one of the biggest television starts of America, picked me up in a Mercedes limousine; the whole way he was telling me what a miserable life he was leading! He said, I was living with the biggest movie starts, politicians and I will tell you something, I was making 20,000 USD per day (Rs. 9,00,000 a day) and so much other money and he was on the number one show for many years. The most beautiful women were co-starring on that show and they became his girlfriends. He had beautiful houses in Hollywood, in Beverley Hills etc. And he says, I am miserable. He said that all these people who come on television and flash big smiles are miserable, lonely and it's all a show. They are lonely, insecure and they know that nobody loves them and everyone is tying to exploit them and use them. I also came to the realization that nobody loves 'me.' So he started crying and said, Swamiji, I want to become like you because you have some peace in your life; I have no peace. Then he saw some peasants on their knees picking rice so he said, I rather be with them than be with these big politicians as these are real people. Then he looked at me in desperation and asked, 'Is there any hope for me?' I said, 'You have understood the futility of material life and you are seeking something higher so you are a special soul.' In the end he took Prabhupada's Bhagavad-gita and he was desperate.

So whatever arrangements we make for material happiness, if we develop a little bit of realization of reality, we will be able to see through the facade of maya. In association of devotees we can understand what is real happiness. Real happiness is to love Krishna. Even in our immediate glimpse of life, we can understand that happiness through association, through chanting, through chanting of His message, through Krishna Consciousness.Therefore, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has declared that the greatest treasure, is theTreasure of Bhakti. No money can buy Bhakti. It is free for one who simply has a sincere heart and one who is willing to re-pose his/her faith in the truth. Lord Nityananda Prabhu is freely distributing Krishna Prema and the only price he was asking fo this great treasure, was our faith. There is nothing more precious the faith.

In wrong association, maya will steal that faith our heart. We should protect that faith with more attention than on our bank-balance, family and our own body and lives; these will perish in anytime. But faith in Vaisnavas, Guru and Krishna will lead us to eternal love, satisfaction - therefore that is real wealth

Bhagavad-gita explains how we can remain disentangled from the unlimited illusions and intricacies of material bondage if we keep our mind fixed on this goal. Bhaktivinoda Thakura says the senses are a network leading to death. The work of a net is to trap you and nets are designed in such a way that the victim does not see it until the victim is trapped. Just like the fishermen throw these nets in the ocean and just sit there. The innocent fish they just swim right into the net and then the net does it's work; net-work and then they are trapped. It's no accident that all these television stations are called networks; they trap us.

Bhagavad-gita teaches us how to never be entangled in the network of Maya. When a person dedicates his human birth in the service of God, it is glorious. When a husband and wife come together for the purpose of helping one-another to purify their heart and when they come together to serve Krishna, the Vaisnavas; this is a very rare and glorious offering to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If people are living following the regulative principles according to their varna and asrama and are performing devotional service - that is glorious.

Tomorrow is the appearance day of Advaita Acarya. So I would tell a little story about Advaita Acraya. Although Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the greatest of all sannyasis, he would take great pleasure in stealing the dust from the lotus feet of Advaita Acarya. One time in Puri, Advaita Acarya invited Chaitanya Mahaprabhu at his home and he and his wife were cooking together. Advaita Aacarya was thinking that when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu comes, atleast 10-12 sannyasis would also come; but we want to serve Him very personally and taste the great remnants of His Prasad. Just when it was time to serve Prasad, there was a massive storm in Jagannath Puri. Then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to Advaita's house and they served Him nice prasad. Then he offered Him prayers that Indra offered to Krishna after Govardhana Pastime. The Lord asked why you are offering these prayers? Advaita said, it is by your desire that these rains have come. Then Chaitanya Mahaprabhu accepted these prayers. 

Sita Thakurani and Advaita together had no other mission in life than glorifying the Lord and devotees in perfect harmony. This is the perfect example of how glorious a Krishna conscious marriage can be. Srila Haridas Thakur was one of the most intimate fiends of Advaita Acarya. Years before this pastime, they were living together and every single day they would sing and dance together in Sankirtan and pray that Lord Krishna would descend to propagate the chanting the Holy Name. When Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu appeared, Haridasa Thakur and Advaita saw everyone chanting the Holy Name because it was an eclipse. In their hearts, they could understand that the Lord has appeared and they were dancing in ecstasy. This is a very nice example of how the most austere renunciant and a householder were intimately united in serving the Lord and the Vaisnavas; in performing Sankirtan of the Holy Name together. 

So, Srila Prabhupada has given this great gift of Bhakti and we have this opportunity to share it with one another. We must learn to protect each-other from the temptations of illusion because they are everywhere; Maya is waiting for you. But the association of devotees will protect us; as in that association Krishna's service and name will always be prominent. Srila Prabhupada says the only safest place in the fourteen worlds is where devotees come together to chant the Holy Names. 

- HH Radhanath Swami

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