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Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada
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City of nine gates – part 1   13.09.2010

A lecture given by HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Maharaja, 05 January 2010, Radhadesh, Belgium

We’re reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, 4th Canto, Chapter 25, entitled, “The Characteristics of King Puranjana,” text 43:

narada uvaca
iti tau dam-pati tatra
samudya samayam mithah
tam pravisya purim rajan
mumudate satam samah

Translation: The great sage Narada continued: My dear King, those two—the man and the woman—supporting one another through mutual understanding, entered that city and enjoyed life for one hundred years.

(Purport)

The story of Puranjana deals with mundane relationships

So Narada Muni came to King Pracinabarhisat; his sons, the Pracetas, who were performing austerities upon the order of their father to become good progeny and to get ready for marriage. But on the way Lord Siva spoilt the fun and began to preach to these boys and the nature of eternal life and the benefits of pure devotional service and that really, marriage was a total waste of time, so better that they would just invest in spiritual life. Then the king didn’t know about all of this but Narada somehow or other, who knows everything- who’s trikalajna– was very much aware of what was going on with the Pracetas and Lord Siva. Narada went there to help the father come to another level of consciousness. So king Pracinabarhisat was basically interested in mundane sense gratification. And as such, as a king, he was enjoying having more than one beautiful queen and that completely absorbed all his energy. So we see here how Narada told the king because in dealing with a king you cannot just…well you have to be a little respectful, a little considerate, that the king may have a temper and not just accept anything. So Narada, being very tactful, told him in an allegorical way and told the story of Puranjana.

So basically in the story of Puranjana, we’re dealing with mundane relationships. And of course there are also relationships between man and women on the spiritual platform. In vaisnava relationships between man and women, it does occur that both husband and wife are completely transcendental, such as with Nanda and Yasoda and such type of personalities. Whether in our grhashtha asrama we are completely on the transcendental platform, I leave it up to the individual to look in the mirror and to sort of decide where they are! But it might be at the same time wise to sort of take a humble position and consider that maybe, some mundane influence is still there and that possibly some of the dynamics that are here described about these gross, mundane relationships are still influencing us, even although we are situated in an asrama, which is meant for pure devotional service. But, you know, a little sense gratification can slip in between the cup and the lip!

The mutual pact in a male-female relationship

So with that introduction, I want to describe here some interesting aspects of the dynamics in a male-female relationship, and that is that they have a pact, an alliance, a pact against the world, (Dramatic) ‘I accept you, you accept me. I love you the way you are…isn’t it wonderful? Somebody accepts me! After all this time in the world, where people have rejected me again and again since my very childhood- it started in the cradle and it continued in Kindergarten, went on in Primary school, and all the misery throughout teenage days and even in early adult hood- rejection! Rejection– such a heavy thing!’  In the Srimad Bhagavatam, in the 5th Canto, there is a description about the forest of material enjoyment and it’s a about a man who goes into that forest to collect some goods, which he wants to sell in the city. But while he’s there he goes through a lot of adventures, wild animals and so on, and there is this constant noise in this forest (imitates sound of cricket), it’s always there…the crickets! The crickets, constantly in the background…the crickets! Those crickets, it’s sort of getting too much, the crrrrickets!!! (Imitates sound of crickets) Especially in Southern Europe you can hear it really loud, the crickets. Here it’s too cold for crickets. But there you hear it very loud.

It represents the constant criticism that is there in the material world. Always back-biting and gossip in corridors and endless criticism, ‘psst, psst, psst…have you heard? No, really? Yesssssssss! Oh I see….’ In this way criticism, ‘oh yes, he’s off, I know. Yes, he’s fallen. Yes, he has no good qualities. Yes, he’s proud. Yes, he’s arrogant. Yes, yes he has lust, greed, envy, madness, illusion…constantly under the influence of the six enemies.’ In this way we are so easily judging one another…and then there is the one you love… (makes sound effects of violin) and that one is just completely accepting you….what a relief! (Dramatic) ‘I love you the way you are!’
‘Really? You don’t think I have a funny face?’
‘No.’
‘But people have always said I have a funny face!’
‘No, no, I love your face the way it is. It’s kind of cute you know!’
‘Really? You really like it?’
‘Oh yes I do!’
‘Ohhhh, I feel so boosted in my ego after years of having being put down by people but now I have one who accepts me, and I feel strong and yes, in this love I am ready to go out into the world once again and face all the hardships. Now, no one, no one can harm me because I have the one who loves me….’

So this kind of mutual pact- ‘I love your Maya, you love my Maya’- is a bit of a ‘scratch each other’s back’, you know, ‘you scratch mine, I scratch yours’ philosophy. Yes, and we can carry on with this until old age when skins starts to hang loose and it’s like (in old voice)‘bone in bone, skin in skin, hand in hand and still supporting each other, and still together…you’re okay?’
‘Yes…’

And in this way we start to believe it, thoroughly, and are convinced, ‘yes I am fine.’ Isn’t that the famous psychology book- it’s been around for quite some time- it’s called, I’m okay, you’re okay. And that’s supposed to be the ideal model, ‘I’m okay, you’re okay.’ It’s said that there are also people who have this problem, ‘I’m not okay and you’re okay.’ Those are people with an inferiority complex, who are walking around totally depressed and constantly feel like, ‘I’m a mouse and all around me are tigers and as soon as anyone speaks (squeaks) help! They’re rejecting me!’…I’m not okay and you’re okay!
And then you have, ‘I’m not okay and you’re also not okay!’ this is the other one. So this is like everyone is a loser, we’re all losers, (dramatic sound effects) be honest, you’re a loser too…and play the banjo while the whole things going on! And then you have, ‘I’m okay but you’re not okay!’ that one also is found at times! And then the book is sort of exposing the faults of all these different models and points out a healthy situation, ‘I’m okay and you’re okay.’

Our vaisnava view

Now, what is our vaisnava view on that? Well, vaisnavas first of all, they begin with the, ‘I’m not okay model.’ Think of Krsna das Kaviraja Goswami, “I’m lower than a worm in stool.” Now worm existence is not the best and stool worms are of course not the most aristocratic worms! There are obviously worms that are much more respectable you know! Apple worms…or whatever (laughter) but a stool worm amongst worms is not what you call very aristocratic! So ‘lower than a worm in stool’ is getting quite low and “anybody who sees me, loses all his pious credits.” Now any psychologist doing a little work on Krsna das Kaviraja Goswami will think, ‘This guy has an acute problem! An extreme case of low self esteem- extreme, absolutely extreme! But with years of therapy possibly it can be fixed.’ So here we are in our vaisnava situation! So what’s wrong with Krsna das Kaviraja Goswami? And really, if this is vaisnavism and this is the way that we are supposed to be is it then that I have to all day remind myself, ‘Kadamba Kanana Swami, you’re useless! Kadamba Kanana Swami, you have no brains! Kadamba Kanana Swami, you have no bhakti! Kadamba Kanana Swami you are sinful! Kadamba Kanana Swami you are fallen! Kadamba Kanana Swami you are ugly- an ugly guy with glasses! Kadamba Kanana Swami…’ Now, if I do that to myself, you know, for three days, then possibly on the third day I get quite depressed! It might start to get to me, right. And if I do this for a few years I might even get suicidal, I might just think, ‘where’s the bridge? I’m gonna jump! It’s not worth it, I’m useless, I’m hopeless, I may as well give up…’ So it’s one of the mysteries of our vaisnava philosophy that we are supposed to consider ourselves as the most fallen. And that is kind of…isn’t it awkward? Is this really healthy? And, ‘I’m okay, you’re okay,’ isn’t that a lot more normal? And amongst devotees, can’t we just get to that level? I mean you’re okay, and I’m working on it you know…almost there. Can’t we get to that level?

No, no…we really look at ourselves as rotten to the core but somehow or other we have some good fortune because there is a third verse also found in the narration of Krsna das Kaviraja Goswami and that third verse is describing that, “then how amazing it is that I got the mercy of Lord Nityananda- considering I’m a stool worm and all that- and I got the mercy of Lord Nityananda!” So that is amazing! And that makes it all okay again. ‘I may be a rat but I got the mercy of Lord Nityananda!’ Yes, so like that, ‘I may be a fallen resident of this age of Kali; I may be mandah sumanda-matayo
manda-bhagya hy upadruta, I may be slow- slow brain, slow in intelligence. Why slow in intelligence? Because, even when I hear a thousand times what I’m supposed to do, and I say, ‘Ya I agree with that’ still I don’t do it! This is the amazing thing; thousand times I hear the philosophy of Krsna consciousness, I say, ‘Yes, I agree with this,’ and still I don’t it! That is slow intelligence, isn’t it? Quite slow! It takes a long time between accepting that something is right and then actually….acting upon it! It can take many years! So slow intelligence. Ya, we’re all unfortunate. You know if you start to ask people how they are, it’s shocking, it is shocking! This one has a hole in his heart, that one misses a kidney…serious! I meet a lot of people and I ask them…this one broke his hip you know, and then on Skype someone went on harinama in the dark and stepped in a hole, broke a foot and two toes…and you know you can go on and on and on. And (speaks with a lisp) just during the last Sunday Feast…crunch! You know what I mean!

So in this age of Kali, there’s always something. It’s not easy, it’s not easy. It’s amazing what’s wrong with people. Some people have half a brain and still they’re walking around! So indeed, if you look at it, in the age of Kali, manda-bhagya, not very fortunate, not very fortunate at all. So here we are loving each other…what kind of existence do we have in this world? And we’re trying to make it into an imitation of the spiritual world. And this Puranjana, he saw the lady come into the forest and he said, ‘oh my dear goddess of fortune, have you just lost your lotus flower?’ Oh dear, oh my God, when you read that part you really think, ‘oh no have you just lost your lotus flower!’ that’s too much!

Male-female relationship in Krsna Consciousness

So in Krsna consciousness now, yes we come together and we may enter into the grhastha asrama. Well, Bhismadeva gives an explanation of varnasrama; he explains the four asramas in particular. He says there are two asramas which are detached and there is one asrama which are both detached and attached and there is then one asrama which is attached. So the detached asramas are sannyasa and vanaprastha, they’re detached. The brahmacari asrama is both detached and attached, depending on what kind of a brahmacari one is. And then the grhastha asrama is attached. So yes, can you be together with a member of the opposite sex and only live purely on spiritual principles? ‘Haribol spirit soul! Good morning spirit soul!’ Is it possible to relate to a member of the opposite sex purely on the spiritual platform? Or are we going to get a little bit attracted to those twinkle, twinkle starry eyes? And so on. And do we need to find a little bit of romance in the relationship?

We see in many cases it’s like that; devotees also try and make it a little romantic- some maha prasadam over a candle light (laughter) you know! And you can expand that gradually, and before you know it you’re on the beach and to see how far you can take it! And then you may stand there hand in hand and say, ‘well I guess we have taken it to the edge!’ Yes, so it is like that. There is an edge and it is a deep fall- it is a deep fall if you go over it. And of course, there are in spiritual life various possibilities; one can say well, (dramatic), ‘Watch out for the edge! Watch out, watch out! Watch out for the edge! (Chants fast) Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare…no Maya, Maya!!! No, no! In our house no television, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna…Maya! No, no, no mundane books! Hare Krsna Hare Krsna…nooooo mundane music! Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare…no Maya!’ Well, good luck, good luck! Because, somehow or other it just comes in, through the windows, through the back door, through the leather box, through you know…the internet! Or through the kids! Yes, you may not want to be in Maya but your kids might want to be! (Imitates child crying) ‘wah, I really wanna go…’ and then you have to, then you have to be in Maya for the kids! It’s inevitably so.

Every verse of the Puranjana story is written for us

So it’s not so easy and with time we realise, well you know, there is the ideal story- the perfect vaisnava story- and then there’s real life. And well, what can you do! And with the years we realise that in our devotional practices there is real life and we see that practically every verse of the Puranjana story is written for us. Not just for the grhasthas by the way, but also for the brahmacaris because the brahmacaris, they may be really fixed up- even their socks may be in the right colour…but under the surface there is also the other side of the coin! Under the surface there are those few moments of thought that, ‘actually…it doesn’t look that bad! Actually, I could have that too…’ Yes, this is the mind; the mind is always thinking the grass is greener on the other side! So even those in detached asramas can sort of look over the fence sometimes and see that it looks actually quite good on the other side- although they wouldn’t publicly admit it- but privately the thoughts will occur. That’s also there and therefore, even the most strict brahmacari may have his moments of thinking, ‘maybe, maybe I just should…no, no, no…’

In this way we are seeing that the Puranjana story is important for all of us because it really shows how you get distracted, how you get thoroughly distracted from Krsna. If you want to get distracted from Krsna, here’s the script- just follow it, just do as they did and boy, will it work! Surely we will forget Krsna! Everything was ready for forgetting Krsna! And today it’s all about ‘mutual understanding,’ it’s about ‘supporting each other,’ it’s about ‘accepting each other,’ it’s about really ‘being together,’ it’s about the ‘two of us and the rest of the world…’ John Lennon and Yoko Ono (yeah, don’t ask me why he went for Yoko Ono, I never understood that) but God you know! I mean somebody who’s got billions and billions could have come up with something better than Yoko Ono! (Laughter) Sorry about that but anyway… (to devotee) well, I don’t know if you have a different opinion Guru Padma…Guru Padma goes like…maybe he like Yoko Ono, I don’t know (Laughter)…but I don’t! Gosh was she ugly! (Laughter)
Anyway, then you know, they had this thing where they were going around in a plastic balloon sort of, in a bubble, you know they had their own bubble, and they walked around in this bubble and get themselves filmed like that and you know…

Everyone has his bubble

And this is really what it is- ‘our bubble!’ Everyone has his bubble- maybe not a plastic one- but definitely a psychological bubble and there you are, a couple in a nice bubble of common things that you share and appreciate, (Dramatic), ‘Oh this is nice!’
‘Oh yes it is, very nice!’
‘Oh yes I love that!’
‘Oh yes I love it too!’
And in this way a nice bubble is created of many different things that we like, things that we stand for, ‘oh yes, I stand for honesty!’
‘Yes, me too!’
‘But I stand also for diplomacy and tact’
‘Yes, yes, me too!’
And like this the values are shared and the taste is shared and then the clothes…you put on a unisex outfit, both the same T-shirt, same shoes, and you go together to the party and you come in and everyone can see like, wow! They’re together! Things like this.  It’s a whole circus actually! Like animals that sit up and do different tricks- it’s a whole circus of arrangements! And it’s a circus of illusion, a circus of distraction and then we thoroughly forget Krsna.

Too much in the comfort zone

So the Puranjana story was particularly meant to break Maharaja Pracinabarhisat’s self satisfaction. The king had a very nice happy, self satisfied life and this whole story is particularly designed to smash it! So we could for a moment step in the royal shoes of His Highness Maharaja Pracinabarhisat or one of his queens and we can just for a moment apply the Puranjana story and consider that it is meant to crack our comfort zone. Yes, just as life was getting really nice and comfortable here comes this Puranjana thing to crack our comfort- completely! And to put us out into austerity, to once again wake us up and force us to make a renewed endeavour. That’s what we’re doing here this morning. The aim is that we say, ‘I have actually blown it in my spiritual life. I’ve blown it! I have somehow or other gone for comfort.’

Now in ISKCON you may just not be a grhastha who is married to a member of the opposite sex, but you also marry a movement. Every member of this movement is married to the Hare Krsna Movement and well, that’s a real good marriage because the Hare Krsna Movement gives you lots of things! You know, you don’t have to slave as much as in the world. If you have to work in an office in the world…it’s a little more tough than walking around in the Hare Krsna temple, ‘Haribol!’ Yes, life is sweet, life is softer. If you don’t show up one morning, you can say, ‘well, Prabhu I really didn’t feel well today, please forgive me…’ you can always appeal to vaisnava mercy you know, and in this way you can get away with a lot in the Hare Krsna Movement!

So the Hare Krsna Movement provides us with an enormous comfort zone! Sometimes we are being criticised by outsiders for being escapists. We can of course, have two reactions to that- one is we can get very angry, ‘how dare you say such a thing!’ and the other thing is we can actually admit it that we are escapists! And that really, probably one of the reasons why we joined the Hare Krsna Movement, is not so much because we wanted to become a Hare Krsna, but also because there were certain things that we didn’t want to be. We really didn’t want to be like our parents, like so many other people- work from Monday to Friday- we just didn’t want to! Hmmm…So therefore we found a niche in the world called the International Society for…’comfort’…for Krsna consciousness, a very nice place, where everything is arranged and taken care of and you know, and you just act helpless and they’ll take of you! That’s how it works- act humble and helpless and you got it made! And it says three things you should never learn- driving, computers and…what was the third one Madhava Gopala? Cooking! Right! This is from the Gangadhara Samhita! (Laughter) and he’s right; if you avoid those things, then you’ll do great in your comfort zone in the Hare Krsna Movement!

We have to do something to change the world

So an intelligent analysis of how to have a cushy life in a temple! So yes, even without marriage, Puranjana type of elements also creep in our life- too much in the comfort zone. So we have a very nice, nice temple and we have a very, very nice community and we are all very, very nice to each other because we are devotees, ‘Hare Krsna!’ and it’s so nice. But what about the demons? The demons, what are we going to do about them? Srila Prabhupada said that this movement was particularly mean to attack the demons. Just recently I heard about a lecture that Ramesvara- now Prabhu- gave in New York City, (because these days he is becoming quite active again), and he gave a lecture in New York and in the lecture he was explaining how Prabhupada said that this movement particularly was meant to take on the demons. And particularly through book distribution and it’ said that first it would destroy communism- the atheistic view of communism. And then it would destroy the gross materialism of the more capitalist system. So Prabhupada foresaw what would happen, foresaw how things would collapse and this movement has a role to play in it, that is the point.

So, comfort zone is nice enough but we have to also do something, we have to actually do something to change the world. That was quite clear and that was Prabhupada’s view. Otherwise if we don’t, then we cannot expect that we will not become influenced by Puranjanic influences in our life. Surely we will get some because if we want a nice, comfortable, sweet niche in spiritual life, then we should understand that we’re cultivating the enjoying spirit, we’re still maintaining the enjoying spirit. And as long as we maintain this enjoying spirit then Puranjana will be there in our life, for sure! That’s interesting, these dynamics. So we have to get out of comfort zone and do something- something– to present Krsna consciousness to the world, because the world is on fire! And we cannot just sit in our own temples and expect that that fire will not affect or temples…it will! The world is on fire! Samsara-davanala-lidha-loka, and we have to become rainclouds to tranaya karunya-ghanaghanatvam, we have to become rainclouds and save the people who are afflicted by this blazing forest fire. This is truly a serious point.

From ’69 to 2009

In ISKCON 2009, it sounds a little bit fanatic! In ISKCON ’69 it sounded far out. In ISKCON ’79, it was the reality- ‘we’re gonna take over the world!’ And Prabhupada said if you’re all pure we can do it in 18 days and because we’re not pure it may take a little longer…that was’79! In ISKCON ’89, shoo, everyone was getting tired, you know, ‘so long we already trying to take over the world and still not working! Can we have a vacation?’ In ISKCON ’99, everyone was like, ‘what in the world are they talking about? Taking over the world? I mean let’s just try and sort out our own life!’ and ISKCON 2009…you can all tell me what we have to say about it all because I don’t know! So with that I’m inviting your comments, realisations, or whatever to this lecture.

Thank you. Okay, shoot.

Question: (inaudible)

Maharaja: Yes, very difficult to give up the material world- very difficult. There are so many dynamics, you know. First you’re young and insecure, you have a lot of traumas to deal with and you have to psychologically get over your past and find your mental balance and it takes you years. And then you know, at one point you sort of got there, ‘I am what I am and I’m not going to worry about it!’ By then, when you get to that point, ‘I am what I am and I’m not going to worry about it,’ by then your hair starts to grow grey, your body starts to bulge in a few places and by then a new problem comes…the insecurity of old age! ‘Who will take care of me when I get older? (Sings) when I get older…’ and so on. That comes up then and then we look again for a relationship just to have some companionship, to have some security in the loneliness of old age! See, when you’re young you have lots of friends but old age brings loneliness and emptiness!

So it is over the years again and again, it comes back. And one has to come to the point where he just says goodbye all together to the material world. I mean the material world, forget it! It is broken and it can’t be fixed like an old broken car that can’t be fixed. That’s the material world. No matter what you do it cannot be fixed! It is broke and it will always be broken at any given time. So as long as we’re looking for a situation in the material world…it will be broken! And even if it doesn’t look broken just wait a while and it will be really broken! That is the nature of the material world.

So you know, you fall in love, just wait a while and your heart will be broken! It’s the natural nature…one has to be deeply, deeply convinced that there’s no happiness in the material world. He has to be totally convinced. As long as you think that there is happiness in the material world, you’re gonna try again, you’re gonna try again…this is the thing.

So even in very qualified people in our movement, who have done substantial devotional service, may still have some hope against hope; hope against hope that there is happiness in this material world! We have been discussing…just one more point…that for every person there is this counter pole (I brought this up in Germany also); there is this one person in the world, somewhere on this planet, who is the perfect match for you! And that person is walking around and may be you didn’t meet that person yet but one day, one day it could just happen…! And even when you’re old, it can still happen, you never know, you never know…that one person you can still meet! So this idea is very strong in us, that there is such a person, the perfect counter pole, the perfect match…well, let me tell you one thing, THAT PERSON DOESN’T EXIST!

(Audience): Soul mate!

Maharaja: What?

(Audience): (repeats) Soul mate!

Maharaja: Yeah, forget the soul mate! Your ‘soul mate’ is another way of saying it. Hmmm…every pot has its lid you know! They say things like that. Forget it! It’s not like that; marriage is a dream that starts very idealistic and romantic by candle light and then turns into Kuruksetra very quickly! And then after you’ve gone through the Kuruksetra phase then you come to a truce, you know, you come to truce where you agree that, ‘alright, we will not throw anymore astras at each other!’ and when you come to the stage of the truce, that is the point where your marriage is a little bit more mature and then you will only fight when you really want to! No more accidental fights…

So that’s how it is and if you want to go through that you know…and some marriages are just Kuruksetra all the way! This is the situation! So you know, forget it…better forget it…better really! Prepare for sannyasa is a much better idea (laughter) and the ladies can also be renounced; stay in the family, live on kichari and chant 64 rounds everyday- no problem! It can be done! If you want some companionship just start Deity worship! (Laughter)

Any other questions?

Question: (Inaudible)

Maharaja: Ya, you know, let’s see how nice they will be when they grow up! (Laughter) But if some stay nice throughout, that’s good then our movement has one nice devotee more…but I’m sure if you calculate all that effort gone into that marriage, if you would’ve just put it out to preaching, I’m sure you would have brought another nice devotee to this movement as well, you know! Possibly with a lot less effort than bringing up that child! So nice, nah, it didn’t convince me…sorry, I’m not buying it! (Laughter) I stay with my danda! (Laughter) Sorry!

Dina Dayala…I’ve rolled up my sleeves (Laughter)

Question: (Inaudible)

Maharaja: No, no, no, no, no, no, it was a failure of the leaders and the followers as well, you know; it wasn’t just the failure of the leaders, there was also a failure of the followers. The leaders were not leading properly and the followers were also not following that nicely. ’66 was…I did a seminar in 1999, and it was From ’66 to ’99. And in ’66 there was total optimism, like ‘we’re all going back to Godhead and this movement is a total success story and it’s just growing and expanding and here’s a new temple and this is our latest temple and these are the new devotees that have joined…it’s just getting bigger and better…it’s a big success!’ but then some failure started to creep in also; some devotees left- ‘Inconceivable! How could they?’ Some temples even didn’t work and some leaders left and then now the failures were becoming really apparent and suddenly we realised, it’s not so easy. Isn’t it that we use to think that the new gurus, some of them were devotees for 10 years and they were all pure devotees? So you know, we all thought, well in 10 years you’re a pure devotee basically! They are the proof the living proof! In 10 years you’ll be pure devotees! And there are others who are devotees for 5 years and they are already 50% on the way! Some of us are like 2 years in the movement so we’re already 25% there!  So there was really an idea in the early days of ISKCON, that we will all be pure devotees quick.

By ’99 it was the opposite. I usually give the example that, ‘if your guru is a parama-prestha-priya-sakhi then theoretically it would be possible- for argument sake- that you could go back to Godhead this life time. Of course it won’t happen; it will take many, many lifetimes and you’d better be realistic about that! And you know, there’s no point in trying to be fanatic because sooner or later the truth comes out! And if you’re too renounced, later on you will be confronted with your real self! So slow, slow and steady wins the race…’

So that became the later mood and well, in one way we are a typical text book case; everything that happened in ISKCON happened in all new religious movements. There’s nothing extraordinary about ISKCON; it’s just completely text book! And ya it’s natural that it takes that, it takes this failure to sort of smash naive idealism and as a reaction you get depression and it takes a more mature effort. I don’t know if we have already got there to the level of the more mature effort. We’re talking about it but because of mandah sumanda-matayo, because of slooooooow intelligence, we have the idea but we don’t do it. So the more mature endeavour has to be made. A good balance between personal commitment to spiritual practice, to being compassionate and giving out this mercy and being really responsible in trying to fulfil Srila Prabhupada’s vision and desires.

Ya, now our movement is gradually becoming main stream; we are a church now. Some of us liked it better when we were an underground movement, I must admit. Nowadays we have lots of committees. I once was in Mayapur for a social development meeting of ISKCON and they divided us up in groups and we had to speak about what the ideal ISKCON would be like. And I was with Madhudvisa in the group, who’s a blast from the past! And his proposal was that, ‘there will be no more meetings like this!’ (Laughter) which I thought, ‘spot on!’ you know! I voted for it…not to be negative but you know, so much bureaucracy Dina Dayala, so much bureaucracy…now we have laws and legislation and it’s just the era of bureaucracy.

There was a time when Srila Prabhupada came and it was very personal. Subsequently, even in the zonal acarya days there was no bureaucracy because it was just ‘Gurudeva’- whatever he said- that was it, he was the law. But then after, somewhere in the late 80’s, the bureaucracy started to slowly come in and by now…we have a quite developed bureaucracy. I thought about it and personally I think it’s just another phase, like all the others- the periods or phases. I think this bureaucracy is also a phase. I think one day we have to really come close to have a society based on sadhu principles. And the first principle of sadhu principle, you find in the Govardhana lila, where Krsna is explaining to Nanda Maharaja that Nanda Maharaja should explain everything about the sacrifice that they’re preparing for. And He’s explaining to Nanda Maharaja, “Nanda Maharaja you cannot keep any secrets from Me because amongst devotees there should be relationships of trust; relationships where no secrets are kept for one another.” And He starts to explain there the relationships amongst saintly persons. And I hope that one day our movement will put that into the foreground to have a society placed on sadhu principles and then maybe we’ll stay on the cutting edge. Because I think now our movement has become a little…well in some ways it has become a little dry and the revolutionary spirit is a bit down; it’s not exactly exciting- on the cutting edge! We could bring some more life in there.

I guess that’s all I have to say. I mean I could give a huge seminar and end at 12 ‘o clock on this topic, but I guess that’s for a rainy day and it’s beautiful weather outside! So we can leave it as food for thought, especially since you’re involved with the Euro GBC (to devotee) so I wanted to put that in! And I’ll end because it’s getting late.

Thank you very much, Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya!

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