Saturday, 30 June 2012
Sunday, 17 June 2012
When something happens to a devotee, then is it karma? Or Krishna? Or what is it?
That is sometimes the big question:
'That's your karma Prabhu?'
But then the other times, you know:
'But isn't it Krishna who is behind this?'
Of course Srila Prabhupada has explained about how karma works for a devotee in 'The Nectar of Devotion' book. 'The fan is spinning and you turn off the electricity at the time you take on devotional service.' So we are getting diminished reactions of karma. So are we under the influence of karma? And then is it waiting until that karma is gone? Or is it directly under Krishna's influence? The pure devotee, is he under the influence of Krishna? And is everyone else under the influence of diminished karma? One could think like that! Giriraj Maharaja had shed some light on this matter. He describes that:
'Yes as Prabhupada said that there is that diminished reaction, but Krishna is behind it and Krishna is sort of watching that karma – that diminished karma. Sometimes He interferes, then other times He just lets it act, and He's just watching it. Anumantā upadrasta – He just witnesses it and oversees everything. In anumantā He gives ajna diba – the permission. So in this way Krishna permits it.'
Or sometimes Krishna says:
'No, scrape that off the bill. That's okay, there is not need for that.'
Sometimes Krishna puts an extra test, there is no karma but He just puts an extra test – a little extra! According to our entire karma it was not suppose to happen but Krishna puts it in there! So it's interesting how we are under the influence of simultaneously Krishna's direction and karma as devotees. Ultimately, Krishna is the ultimate cause and therefore we are always seeing Krishna. So whenever something happens to us we are seeing that it's Krishna 'pūruṣa' – He's our maintainer, He is with us every step of the way. He's caring for us there is no doubt! He doesn't leave us alone. Although He puts us through things that we really don't want to go through it, but it's good for us. He's prodding us, activating us like a buffalo, because after all we have become like buffalos!
In India you see the buffalos walking in the street and some Indian cars are coming from behind, 'Honk, honk,' as Indian cars do…but the buffalo doesn't move an inch, and just keeps on walking. Even when a car touches the buffalo a bit (I've seen that happen) it doesn't move, but with anyone else they would have moved, and a monkey would also fly off the tree and bounce off the ground but the buffalo, when the car hits it, it just keeps on walking! So we have a bit of that buffalo consciousness, by being under the influence of the 3 modes of material nature. I know we don't usually look in the mirror and say:
But that is actually the case since we are dull, as Prabhupada has said many of times:
'You are dull.'
So due to the influence of the 3 modes of material nature we have become dull, we have lost our sensitivity. Gradually it again awakens and we rise above. So when things are happening in our life then Krishna is prodding us. Sometimes you see a little boy or a little girl is walking next to the buffalo with a stick, and they are not shy, and 'whack' with a stick and that's what gets through the buffalo. Then the buffalo thinks:
'Oh yeah, better to go through the side.'
So sometimes Krishna also does it to us!
(Transcribed by Smita Krishna Devi Dasi)
We have to hear from Srimad Bhagavatam. If we don't hear, then how can we enjoy in our spiritual life?
And this is the one thing nobody does somehow or other – that part reading. When was the last time we were reading one of those books? In some houses it's still in original plastic! What can we say? It's just one of those things, and then if we do read it's usually on facebook. So I don't know what you get from there. But it's exactly there in Srimad Bhagavatam that we can have the vision and sooner or later if we want to get serious about spiritual life and if we want to survive then it has to come from the Srimad Bhagavatam.
Sanatana Goswami when he was only quite young (still a boy but old enough) then one night he had a dream and in the dream, one brahmana came and offered him Srimad Bhagavatam. So he was quite happy because in those days it was quite rare. Srimad Bhagavatam had to be hand copied; some brahamanas had to hand copy the whole manuscript, huge manuscripts. So most brahmanas would go for the Bhagavad-Gita or something shorter. There were not many manuscripts of the Bhagavatam around, so then in his dream the brahamana gave him Srimad Bhagavatam and he was in ecstasy and then he woke up from the dream.
So that very day, the same brahmana came to his house and gave him Srimad Bhagavatam. That really was something mystic, since he dreamt about it before and then he got it. It was not just someone gave him the Bhagavatam. So he took it very seriously. So this story is found in the 'Bhakti-Ratnakara,' which is a very interesting book because it gives a lot of history of our movement from just after Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and something about six Goswamis, Narottama Das Thakura, Srivasa Acharya and Krishnadas Kaviraja Goswami who lived very long time. Like that Bhakti-Ratnakara is a book to read.
"When one seriously engages in the devotional service of the Personality of Godhead, fixing the Lord's lotus feet within one's heart as the only goal of life, one can destroy the innumerable impure desires lodged within the heart as a result of one's previous fruitive work within the three modes of material nature. When the heart is thus purified one can directly perceive both the Supreme Lord and one's self as transcendental entities. Thus one becomes perfect in spiritual understanding through direct experience, just as one can directly experience the sunshine through normal, healthy vision."
[ SB. 11.3.40 purport ]
Tuesday, 5 June 2012
Friday, 1 June 2012
When I joined ISKCON at Bhaktivedanta Manor in 1975 the devotees were so poor that there was no heating inside, although there was snow outside. Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda were offered garlands largely made of leaves, and the bhoga offerings were tiny. Devotees would queue up to supplement their daily semolina porridge and chickpea breakfast with a mite of maha-prasada.
Then Jayatirtha Prabhu, famed for his opulent Deity worship in LA, became the new GBC. He immediately ordered superb garlands for Their Lordships, along with massive bhoga offerings starting at 4 a.m. with 108 whopping milk sweets. He also enthused the hitherto torpid devotees to get out and collect for this increased service.
And although Sri Sri Radha Gokulananda cannot be perceived by mundane vision, it soon became obvious that Their previously slender forms were becoming rather chubby. So much so that a whole new wardrobe had to be made for Them, as the old clothes no longer fitted.
(by His Holiness Bhakti Vikasa Swami)