Connecting Devotees Worldwide - In Service Of Srila Prabhupada
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From Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir
Date: March 3, 2017
Speaker: HH Bhakti Rasayana Sagara Swami
Subject: Srimad Bhagavatam 7.10.25-29
Transcriber: Madhumati Priyasaki dd
Today we are continuing to read canto 7 chapter 10 Prahlad best among devotees. Will be reading through texts starting from 25 to 29 and one which is on the board is 29. Those above that I will chant alone and then verse 29 we will chant together
etad vapus te bhagavan
sarvato goptṛ santrāsān
mṛtyor api jighāṁsataḥ
My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are the Supreme Soul. If one meditates upon Your transcendental body, You naturally protect him from all sources of fear, even the imminent danger of death.
Everyone is sure to die, for no one is excused from the hands of death, which is but a feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham). When one becomes a devotee, however, he is not destined to die according to a limited duration of life. Everyone has a limited duration of life, but a devotee’s lifetime can be extended by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, who is able to nullify the results of one’s karma. Karmāṇinirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājāṁ [Bs. 5.54]. This is the statement of Brahma-saṁhitā (5.54). A devotee is not under the laws of karma. Therefore even a devotee’s scheduled death can be avoided by the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord. God protects the devotee even from the extreme danger of death.
So Srila Prabhupada ki Jay! So we will read the translation again.
So, these are the prayers offered by Lord brahma and he explains, well, he is thanking the Lord for great relief because Lord Nrsimhadev just killed the demon Hiranyakasipu, who is giving trouble to the whole universe. And he appreciates the Lord protecting his devotee, Prahlad maharaj even though Prahlad Maharaj was just 5 years old boy, and his father was the most powerful personality in the entire universe that even the demigods were afraid. He tried to kill his own son in so many different ways and every single attempt failed because the Lord was protecting Prahlad Maharaj, therefore Lord Brahma speaks from experience, he has seen how this was happening, how Prahlad was protected by the Lord, despite of all the fears and despite all the dangers. He says under which condition and this is very important for us because, well we are devotees or trying to be devotees and want to be protected by the Lord in all circumstances, don’t want to die prematurely, because this is a great opportunity for us this life to practice Krishna consciousness and perfect ourselves. So, we don’t want to interrupt our progress of devotional service unnecessarily of course, if the Lord wants to take us somewhere, and if he comes in the form of death and we don’t mind but we don’t necessarily eager to leave our bodies and lose our opportunity for, to continue our devotional service in this life time.
Narottam das Thakur very nicely expressed that in his song, “rādhā-krisna prāna mora jugala-kiśora jīvane marane gati āro nāhi mora” he says Radha and Krishna are my life and soul and whether I am alone or death there is nothing else valuable in my life. So, devotee wants to serve whether in this life after this life as well, because the process of devotional service if it is performed correctly, makes one very, very happy. This is explained in many places in Vaishnava scriptures, bhakti sastras. “Susukam kartum avyayam”, this process of devotional service is making one extremely happy. “anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamritaswadanam”
Prahlad Maharaj, he is the best example of someone who is so happy in devotional service. Prahlada, Pra lada is a joy or pleasure, like we have the personified pleasure potency, Haladini Shakti who is Radharani herself. So Prahlada refers to pleasure, and Prahlad as Prabhupada explains pra is pratista rupena , which intensifies the meaning of the word, so Prahlada means one who is so happy so blissful, that even the ongoing assassination attempt cannot, you know ,make him feel bad, this is really amazing. Such a level of happiness in Krishna Consciousness. We can only strive to achieve.
Lord Brahma qualifies in here, what does it take for the devotee to be so fully protected by the Supreme Lord. That is to always meditate on the Supreme Lord, always think of Krishna and never forget him. If we are remembering Krishna, then Krishna remembers us, “ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham” As he explains in Bhagavad Gita I reward everyone according to their surrender.
So, if we think about the Lord, then the Lord is thinking about us. If we would take shelter of the Lord, the Lord will normally give shelter. We have so many example, Prahlad Maharaj is one example but we have so many examples described in Srimad bhagavatam for eg Ambarish maharaj was ready to die if necessary when he was attacked by ferocious demon created by Durvasa Muni. Because devotee doesn’t mind, he is neutral. Ambarish maharaj was thinking and devotee is very critical of himself, this is the feature of a devotee. The devotee is seeing false within oneself, and sees good quality in other people and so he was thinking yes, I disturbed my dear guest Druvasa muni and being so disturbed he wants to kill me so ok, I should be killed as a result to become purified for my offense,. So he was ready he was ready to die, but the Supreme Lord didn’t think it was right. So the Supreme Lord protected Ambarish Maharaj because he was fully absorbed in thoughts of Him, “savai mana padaravidayayo”.
So, we have so many other examples in our Vaishnava history, those devotees who think about Krishna, Krishna is thinking about them and he is giving them all protection and history continues with our is ISKCON movement. Because there are so many devotees and I am sure quite the number of those devotees are here now, who have direct experience of protection by Nrsimhadev, let’s see show hands. How many of you have experience of Nrsimhadev’s protection, so many, see, you can see. It’s quite common, if you surrender to Nrsimhadev, He gives full protection.
We have so many amazing stories, glorified this particular deity of Nrsimhadev of Mayapur if you ask pujaris like Jananivas and Pankajangari prabhus, they actually published the whole book how this particular Nrsimhadev protected (Jai Nrsimhadev heard about himself beside the scene was going on and so) is it really such an amazing opportunity to glorify Nrsimhadev in His direct presence. So, there is a book of different experiences how Nrsimhadev, this particular Nrsimhadev protected so many devotees in so many dangerous situations even acting as a healer, healing cracked bones or even skull in one instance in a day, and the doctors running the x-ray couldn’t find any traces of the fracture, and they were thinking what’s going on. Nrsimhadev is the greatest doctor.
I mean, sometimes patient is really bad, he can do open surgery like Hiranyakasipu, as Radhanath Maharaj jokes that was the first surgery in the history of universe. So, lord Nrsimhadev is the first surgeon. But Lord Nrsmihadev is very, very expert in every field of activity and so his primary function is to protect his devotees and therefore because we need protection in all respects
Therefore Srila Prabhupada introduced worship of Nrsimhadev in ISKCON in daily basis. And we need protection in two ways one way is from external dangers, from danger of death there has been so many examples in our movement Sri sri radha madahva astasaki vrinda ki Jai , Giriraj Govardhan ki jay Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu ki jai (21:00) For those of you who don’t know a small govardhana, little caintanya Chandra daya deity on the left of Radha (small radha madahava) he is the boss of all the deities in Mayapur. Every single deity including Radha Madhava , Nrsimhadev and Pancattava they are all expansion of him aloney He is expanding into all these deities. So, He is the main personality in Mayapur he is small, but very, very important deity.
Anyway, we have so many examples, starting with Srila Prabhupada. Those of you read Srila Prabhupada lilamrita we have one poem where Srila Prabhupada was prepared to leave his body and then devotees were so agreived by these facts and number of senior devotees came to Prabhupada and told him that how can they carry on without you, we are not ready to take responsibility of the movement, we want you to stay with us. Srila Prabhupada was in such a condition, he couldn’t even eat or drink there were like, literally few days and hours remaining in his life. Prabhupada looked, and I think to Tamal Krishna Maharaja there and said only you think like that I should stay, and carry on the movement without me or other leaders also share this opinion? Tamal Krishna Maharaja was surprised, that wow there is an option that Prabhupada can stay, Srila Prabhupada let me ask other leaders, and went out and said looks like there is an option that Srila Prabhupada can stay on and everyone said of course we should ask Prabhupada to stay. And everyone came and said, Srila Prabhupada, we all want you to stay, please stay with us and Srila Prabhupada was lying in the bed wea. Ok, let me ask Krishan and so he closed his eyes, its amazing right, and within minutes also he was lying 24:00 with his eyes closed. And then he opened his eyes and said Krishna said I can stay and then he requested something to drink and after within short time he ate something and he stood up and carried on his devotional service. as if nothing happened. And all the doctors were amazed and they were thinking how is this possible. So, Srila Prabhupada didn’t stay for much longer as we know but he stayed but how this is possible, how the time of death how easily can be delayed by the mercy of the Lord even though from material point of view it is impossible.
We have so many other examples like external protection, there is one very vivid example two very enthusiastic Srila Prabhupada disciples, Brahmananda and Gargamuni swamis at that time want to do some outstanding service for Srila Prabhupada. They went to preach to Pakistan, which was at the time in the state of war with India and it was so dangerous. But they went in there with their robes and dandas and they were preaching very openly of course, after very short time they were caught by Pakistani muslim soldiers, and for them, these were the enemies, Hindus, and they decided to kill them. They put them in front of the pit which was already full with so many dead bodies, and they lined them with their guns prepared to shoot them and so I think Brahmanadna looked at Gargamuni and said looks like we are going back to Godhead now. The most important thing is to remember Krishna at the time of death so you should chant the Japa attentively. So, we should chant the japa and both of them put their hands in their bead bags, and it is described, as if they were posing for the photos. They started chanting Hare Krishna very attentively, and muslim soldiers looked at them and realised these people were ready to die, and they realized these were real saints, and they just couldn’t press the trigger and they put their guns down and their commander came to them and he said, ok we will spare your lives but you should leave the country immediately this is what they did.
There are so many amazing examples of that, if you remember Krishna, Krishna can protect you from all kinds of danger. And material world is such a dangerous place, “padam padam yad vipadam” danger at every step so this is the very easy, I mean this is not the only or main reason to think of Krishna, to be protected, but we can say this is one of the side benefits of Krishna Consciousness. In Krishna Consciousness, we have so many side benefits including immortality. People really strive for immortality, but Krishna Consciousness it just comes as one small little side benefit. Of course, the greatest benefit is to develop our loving relationship with the Supreme Lord, and serve Him with love. Nevertheless, this is not the most important feature of protection by Supreme Lord. This is not the greatest danger, the outside threats or outside demons. What is the greatest threat? Yes, demons who are lurking inside on our consciousness and who are these demons? You know them very well, they are described clearly in many places. Kama, loba , moha , mada, matsarya, kroda, lust, anger, greed envy, pride or madness, pride is equated to madness according to our acharyas, and illusions and so these are the greatest demons. That’s why every morning we sing “Bhair nrsimha hrydaye Nrsimha”, Lord Nrsimhadev is inside but also outside. Not only outside but we also want this protection from outside but we also want this protection inside from all these demons.
Actually, it seems like it is much easier to get the outside protection from the Lord than the inside protection. Anyone have this experience? The devotees who have been around, they have this experience. External benefits are much easier to get than to develop really our Krishna Consciousness somehow. There are so many problems we face individually, because we face them individually, and because we associate with each other and also we are unfortunately come in touch with material association, then we may get affected by all these problems, all these influences, and yet we need to get protection from the Supreme Lord. So how do we get protection? I would say that, I believe in mahabharat, “sanga sakti kalo”, In this age of kali the only source of power is sanga or unity amongst the devotees, we are not only talking about the superficial sanga when they see it, when we stand next to devotee, sit next to devotee, eat next to devotees or even sleep next to devotees. Now a days I mean the3se days there is Navadvip mandal parkrama and so many devotees sleep next to each other. I was thinking Navadvip mandal parikrama is such an amazing invention by our acharyas we should be so grateful to them because those who go on Parikrama they are so blissful and those who stay back they are so peaceful (laughter) right? so one of the features of Krishna consciousness is good for all, everyone gets the benefit so our acharyas are so genius personalities, and they present it in such a brilliant way of executing devotional service.
But devotee association doesn’t just mean to be in physical proximity with the devotees. It means to have the same mind set so it is really important. So, actually those devotees who have serious difficulty in Krishna Consciousness, they complain about one thing that is loneliness. Many times world leaders in the movement you may wonder how it is possible in the world to be lonely, and at the same time surrounded by so many devotees. We are not talking about external situation. One can be lonely in the crowd easy. So, these are important these types of sadhu sanga to be like minded, to have the same purpose. Of course Srila Prabhupada mercifully gave us all purposes 7 purposes of iskcon and the purpose is real unity and peace in the world. If you want to facilitate real unity and peace in the world where we should start? Begins at home. So, we should start with real unity and peace within the mind of the Vaishnavas. And there are so many difficulties we face, and many times they are obstructing, or sometimes even destroying our Krishna consciousness at the root level. So, the greatest difficulty is the very first occurrence of the holy name. Because the holy name, is our greatest hope right? That is the only hope in kali yuga. So, it is really important as Bhakti Vinod told, advised us, “Aparadha sunya hai” constantly chant Hare Krishna mantra, but what did he said before that “apradha sunay hoi” avoid apradhas and constantly chant. So, for us it is very important specially the first offense Vaishnava Aparadha, or sadhu nidha. This is something very dangerous, which can destroy our devotion at the root level. As it is explained in so many places, in every single Srila Prabhupada book, this point is stressed again and again and again. Unfortunately, despite of all the warnings devotees are still not very careful about this.
I would say from experience, and from experience of other devotees as well, the most common type of vaishnava aparadha, which is also comes in the category of prajalpa, is more detrimental to devotional service. This is more prajalpa and Vaishnava apradah and it be very clear, we call this in English language the phenomenon, the word gossip. Everybody knows very well, what is this gossiping. So, interesting one so a devotee introduced me to one lady, she lives here in Mayapur for a very long time and she’s doing a research and she is researching devotee. And so she shares the results of her results with leaders, and she says the most outstanding problem in the community, is gossip. The level of gossip is just beyond, above anything acceptable. So, we can understand that it is a very common feature, that some devotee comes to someone sand says, oh you heard about so and so, you know what happened? What happened this and this thing happen, oh I knew that, yes actually there is even more to it, I will even tell you more. So such an exciting conversation starts, right?
And normally whom we discuss? We don’t normally discuss about our friend of a devotee. But it is really exciting to say something bad, say something critical or nasty about some devotee who are very actively engaged in devotional service and sometimes it could be true and sometimes it may not be.
Even if it is true it’s like you know outsiders know us quite well knowns as peaceful people. They say sometimes, they say, these Hare Krishna’s are peaceful people. Because we are not like fighting like others we are nonviolent we don’t even kill animals to eat. But then we are not killing anyone we are not, assassinating anyone but if we engage in these type of gossip, what we do is we are assassinating person’s character, right? Character assassination and it’s not physical assassination.
Possibly person committed some mistake, but then if you assassinate person’s character on the basis of that state. Actually, Prabhupada said, i am happy, when all the cases were won and one senior leader committed mistake, and the other leader propagated his views all over iskcon. Prabhupada was upset about that and said that you make it practically impossible for you to come back. So, devotees are so rare.
So why should we treat devotees with such manners. Talking about and discussing their faults? And well, let’s see may be its not so common. How many of you had experience, direct experience of these kinds of gossips, discussing these type of faults in others absence? So, we can see its pretty common. So, the million dollar question is what to do with it? Because you may not even want to be engaged in gossips, but someone may come up to you and start sharing openly and open his or her heart right? And then you feel, I have to, I can’t shut the person and say stop offending the devotee, I don’t want to listen to you. So, you feel obliged to listen, right? It is going on and on and sometimes you get caught in. How many of you have that experience, so, it’s very common, so what to do?
Actually, when we look for techniques of spiritual life, and Bhakti Thirta Maharaj was describing it as spiritual technologies, you look for solution, effective solutions, they are all available in our tradition. Actually Srila Prabhupada is the greatest model for us, practically for acquiring solutions in Krishna consciousness. And so, Srila Prabhupada showed us the example how to deal with gossip. There was one devotee who came up to Prabhupada, and told you know Srila Prabhupada and said such and such leader has this problem and this leader is doing this wrong and that wrong and etc etc and etc and Srila Prabhupada looked at him and said so when are you planning to address that. Oh, Srila Prbhupada, I am not planning to do address? And what? You know about this problem you don’t even want to address them? You first book a ticket and go there and help him.
So, we have to say that it is punishable so Srila Prabhupada was using that approach. You can say that ok, I don’t have such an influence as Srila Prabhupada, if I am with that devotee go and sort it out what would devotee tell me, probably he will tell me to go. It is important for us in following Acharya. We can’t imitate Srila Prabhupada unless we have the level of trust, like someone is talking and tell that person what to do and what not to do. But then, there should be some way of effectively dealing with gossip, cutting it at the root level, immediately. If you would like to know the technique, I thought to make it so relevant. It’s very simple. I will give and powerful one. i hope you will start using it as often as this issue will come up and all of us together, we will be able to tackle this problem.
How many of you would like to see ISKCON gossip free? So even those who fell asleep, woke up. so now everyone can listen carefully. So, formula its very simple, whenever you hear anyone complaining about anybody or anything, just say four words. It’s really simple, just four words. And the words are, what is your plan? Anyone complaining to you about anyone, so ask them what is your plan, what is your plan of action, what are you going to do about it. The person may say, I just wanted to share, so what are you going to do next. Because it places the responsibility on that person and why gossip occurs in the first place, it’s the lack of responsibility, I am not thinking what I am doing, this is the problem. It’s is really good idea to think before we act, but sometimes devotees are not doing that. and so by short question, what is your plan you have person to think in responsible terms to become responsible for his words.
And so, I hope it helps Let’s repeat the formula. Please repeat after me, what is your plan, one more time, very good thank you.
So we still have few minutes left, Vijay prabhu, microphone.
Devotee: Couple of comments. In one class Prabhupada is stopping another devotee, and Srila Prabhupada called him, he said I can’t remember what he was talking, But Srila Prabhupada said, its gossip, the devotee said no Srila Prabhupada we were just talking, Gossip? Yes, its gossip and Prabhupada said gossip will destroy our movement. Haribol!!
So, his wife heard that and she stopped gossiping and one thing also. It's about gossip is Jayananda whenever he heard a devotee speak ill of another devotee, he will think of something good he is a good kirtaniar he will say something positive. He wouldn’t challenge him, but not like what is your plan, is kind of challenge you know, but if you say positive about the devotee, that kind of, but if you just praise about the devotee who’s been spoke about then that kind of in a gentle way rifts off the conversation, thank you very much.
I have a question, we are reading in the section of Srimad Bhagavatam how Lord Nrsimhadev protected his devotee Prahlad, in so many ways and you said about the experience of so many devotees praying to Nrsimhadev and being protected. In fact Krishna makes the same promise in Bhagavad Gita, actually Krishna instructs arjuna, “kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati” so sometimes Krishna’s words are trusted, he ask Arjuna to say it loudly my devotee never perishes. But at the same time, I would say, it’s probably equal but not greater no of incidents the devotees were apparently not protected. They were dying, car accidents, literally been murdered in so many ways we see the devotees perish they were dedicating their lives to Krishna but so many times pray to Lord Nrsimhadev. So how do we understand that?
Maharaj: Thank you prabhu. Good questions. It’s all happening according to the will of the Lord the Lord is protecting us as long as He considers that this protection will be beneficial for us and at some point He will withdraws them and help us to move on with the next life in the next body. So, this is my understanding
Just one quick pastime of Nrsimhadev. One woman she was a devotee in California for many years and then this devotee left the movement and she married a non-devotee and she never told her husband about Krishna Consciousness. Ten years now from there she is driving with her husband and had car accident the car was going 70km and she started chanting “ Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”, chanting and chanting, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna” and the car stopped and both of them were shocked. They felt, where am I they were so shocked but both of had not even a scratch. Then her husband came towards his wife and asked, what was that you were chanting? what was that? you were chanting what’s that I never heard. Well, I used to be a Hare Krishna, I never told you that, but He just saved your life. And then he says tell me more, and she started preaching to him like anything and he became initated devotee and they are still distributing the books. (applause)Grataraj Srimad Srimad bhagavatam ki jay, Prabhupada ki jay.