A lecture given by HH Kadamba Kanana Swami, 07 January 2010, Radhadesh, Belgium
We’re reading from the Srimad Bhagavatam, 4th Canto, Chapter 25, “The characteristics of King Puranjana,” text 45:
saptopari krta dvarah
puras tasyas tu dve adhah
tasyam yah kascanesvarah
Translation: Of the nine gates in that city, seven were on the surface, and two were subterranean. A total of nine doors were constructed, and these led to different places. All the gates were used by the city’s governor.
Purport: The seven gates of the body that are situated upward are the two eyes, two nostrils, two ears and one mouth. The two subterranean gates are the rectum and the genitals. The king, or the ruler of the body, who is the living entity, uses all these doors to enjoy different types of material pleasures. The system of opening different gates to different places is still evident in old Indian cities. Formerly a capital was surrounded by walls, and one passed through various gates to go to various cities or toward specific directions. In Old Delhi there are still remnants of surrounding walls and various gates known as the Kashmiri Gate, the Lahori Gate, etc. Similarly, in Ahmadabad there is a Delhi Gate. The point of this simile is that the living entity wants to enjoy different types of material opulences, and to this end nature has given him various holes in his body that he can utilize for sense enjoyment.
Two sides to the material world
(Laughs) That’s pretty funny- “various holes in the body that one can use for sense enjoyment.” It reminds me of a devotee who used to live next door from me in Vrndavana and he was chanting 64 rounds and for breakfast he used to “put some bananas in the hole,” he used to say! (Laughter) So in this way we indeed can do many things with our material bodies for sense gratification and try to enjoy all these various things. And, ‘oh it’s nice!’ We can look out of the window now and see snow and you can immediately think, ‘Snow! I can enjoy! I can ski or go on a sledge down the hill’- as one sannyasi did here a few years ago and broke his leg! So I’m not going to do that because that is the problem with the snow here- it’s got two sides, it’s the nature of the material world: it’s beautiful snow, it’s fun- you can put in peoples necks in their clothes, you can make balls and throw it in their face, or rub it in someone’s face as you’re coming up. In other words, snow has all kinds of varieties of fun. You can make a snowman and put a carrot as the nose and these things are great. I remember the days I use to dance in ecstasy when there was snow. This was the perfection of life. So snow is enjoyable but by now I know also the other side of snow…I have also driven in December with the sankirtana party and suddenly we saw all these cars that were off the road and next moment we sort of realised, ‘it’s slippery here!’ and we were going fast and somehow or other we didn’t go off the road. But there were other times that devotees did go off the road…if you know what I mean. It was and is not an uncommon thing and I’ve also done a drive where the car went in a spin- 360 degree spin! In other words, after the spin was over I went in the same direction! That was I guess…Krsna interfered or my karma-or whatever it was…
So the material world is like this. Gradually we begin to realise that there are two sides to things. As we mature a little we realise it’s not all a big game. When you’re a kid you just think, ‘this is great! This is just one big game! It’s fantastic! This world is so good, it’s just all far out, beautiful, exciting and full of variety and all we have to do is enjoy it!” Later on, after you’ve had your fingers in between the door and a few other varieties of things, you realise that it’s not all enjoyable. ‘Watch out- a door! The last time I had my fingers in between a door was four fingers in between a door of a car! When some helpful devotee was trying to help Maharaja out of the car and closed the door while I was still in the process of getting out…four fingers in the door of a car! Just at that moment many things were happening; from my mouth, like a siren, automatically came out, “OOOOOPEN THE DOOR!!! (Laughter) That came out, and at the same time, in my mind, the thought was, “my fingers are finished now, this is it! And the rest of my life I will have to live with little stumps like this…” I was quite convinced that that was it! And anyway, when they opened the door, to my surprise the fingers were still on there and I just realised…they designed it for that! This is amazing! These guys in the factory, they’ve thought about it, they’ve thought about it that this would happen and they’ve left a gap for the fingers and put some rubber in between! Brilliant! Amazing! So they (the fingers) were still on there; I even played harmonium that evening, although a little slow! So Krsna arranges it.
Time is running out
But this is the material world; it’s not all just a big playground. Prabhupada on his morning walk was walking past a children’s park and it said something, “Children’s Fairyland.” And Prabhupada looked at it, turned around, lifted his cane, pointed at the city with the skyscrapers and said, “Adults Fairyland!” And in this way we play and Puranjana and Puranjani are getting ready…oh yes, oh yes! The city is nicely arranged, everything is comfy now and it’s just starting, it’s gonna be good! And of course, we know that the city is well protected by a five hooded snake, somehow or other, the five life airs. There is…let me see if I can remember them…there is apana, udana, vyana…three I’ve got already, not too bad huh? Downwards air, upwards air, then there is vyana- expanding and shrinking- in this way…whatever there are a few more…there is all these different airs within the body and it’s all going on because of air. The joints in the body are actually working on air; they have air suspension in them. Yes, in the West they don’t know but in India it’s a well known fact. Therefore it is said that if you suffer from constant indigestion then finally it all turns into so much gas and besides that it comes out through certain holes in the body, it also goes into the joints and there it causes arthritis!
So in this way we see how much fun one can have in this city with nine gates. Gradually that serpent that is protecting us, with time is losing its power. This is what’s going on next. And time flies in the exchange between Puranjana and Puranjani and next old age kicks in! And slowly, slowly things break down, little by little. And it goes like that; one tooth gone, you just break a hip and then hmmm….it’s never going to be the same, sorry, not anymore. You might get 90 percent back if you break something but never 100 percent. That’s how it is- you break something once but never 100 percent. No that’s how it is; you break something once and you know, 90 percent…and sometimes it plays up- if you’ve had a fracture, you can tell the weather, (South American accent) ‘okay, it’s gonna rain, I’m telling you it’s gonna rain!’
‘How do you know?’
‘Well, you know, my old stars from my broken bones are aching and they’re telling us it’s gonna rain!’
And sure enough the next day is raining! There you see a walking barometer!
But in this way we really begin to realise, it’s not just fun this material world, it’s not just fun. And little by little it goes away. Sometimes calculations are done: how much fun you really have? First you’re a kid and one moment you laugh and next moment you cry because you just don’t know how to do it, you know what I mean! You want to but you don’t quite know how to really do it. Then you become expert; they say at about 12 you know how to do it! You’re expert! And then of course, well, in one sense you’re just beginning. And then it carries on and then you know, you sort of know how to enjoy! You know how to do it, how to take the right opportunities and avoid the ones that are not so good. Sankalpa and vikalpa– accepting and rejecting, the business of the mind. So we spend our time with this but meanwhile, time is running out.
The stream of opportunities
I’ll tell a story in this regard, how once I was in Cologne for a Sunday Feast and they had a real Russian clown, original from a state circus! And they’re good! And this guide was expert; he could spin plates and balls around and at one point he was sitting on a chair and he had like balls spinning on his fingers, balls spinning on his toes and to make it even more perfect, one ball spinning on a stick on his nose! So it was a good act and everyone was really excited but the only question that I had is…what did it have to do with Krsna consciousness? (Laughter) So I was giving the lecture next and I was thinking what am I going to make of this, and somehow or other Krsna gave me some inspiration…! And I was thinking…yes, imagine there is a stream of opportunities and they come, and when you’re young oh, you take three or four and you spin them around and play with them- no problem. But as time moves along, you lose that sort of elastic capacity of youth and you become more purposeful. Now you don’t play anymore, it gets serious! Take the good ones…okay here comes a good one…whooosh, got it! The stream goes by…another good one, got it! And times moves along and times moves along and as time moves along the opportunities keep on coming and (exhausted voice), ‘wait a minute…anyway it wasn’t that good…’ and you let it go…what to do! At the end there are two old people sitting on a bench and they’re watching the stream of opportunities and one says to the other, (old voice), ‘There goes a good one!’ and that’s about it!
So our capacity to enjoy becomes diminished quite rapidly with time. Srila Prabhupada says, somewhere between 17 and 30, that is prime time! Prime time between 17 and 30! The only problem is that between 17 and 30, usually we have so much traumas from our childhood that psychologically we are not able to enjoy because we’re all mentally cut up. So we have all the facilities but mentally we’re a mess and therefore we’re not enjoying. After 30 you get a little wiser and by the time you’re 40, mentally you’re settled. You know, ah yeah…you don’t worry about anything anymore but you don’t have the power to enjoy anymore. So it’s what they call, ‘catch 22’, it means you can’t win; in any direction you go you lose, you can’t win… ‘catch 22.’ You go left or right, you gonna lose! So this is the material world actually. And at one point one comes to his senses and realises that it doesn’t work.
Falling back into the hole
All right, the story of Puranjana is lots of fun. And Puranjana was attached to the end of his days and as a result he was always thinking of his wife and therefore in his next life Puranjana became a woman! Still in the story, it is said that Puranjana was very fortunate because in that life he became Queen Vidarbha, who had a very pious king as a husband and served that king very nicely and as a result spent a whole life in devotional service and at the end of life went even back to Godhead! So end good, all good…Narada Muni is sort of making it clear: don’t waste your time just playing around in these material bodies trying to enjoy the different holes that are in it…it sounds so funny right (Laughter)…enjoy a hole! That’s all we’re doing if you think about it! Anyway, Maharaja Pracinabarhisat, for whom the story is told by Narada, is sort of pointed towards spiritual life.
Now we are already there; we are in spiritual life but there are a few remnants of the ‘Puranjana-Puranjani’ enjoyment and sometimes we sort of fall back into the hole, if you know what I mean…! Again in the old trap, again some old attachments re-occur and re-temporarily become overwhelmed. After all, Maya is very powerful and Maya, Maya, it is said by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Maya is not only outside, Maya is also inside! Maya has infiltrated. Just like when two armies are opposing each other then the armies are not only standing opposite of each other but spies have also infiltrated into the ranks of the enemy. In the same way Maya is also in our mind and she knows what we think and Maya therefore knows your secret, most private desires! Yes she does, yes…! And not only that, then what she’s doing, she just has this throwing potency, the praksepatmika sakti, and she takes exactly that, what you always wanted and just when you’re getting serious about spiritual life, she puts that opportunity in front of your nose….’oh my God! Oh no! The chance of my life! Oh no! What to do now…? Anyways I can always take up devotional service tomorrow or again…!’ Then we go for it, for a day in Maya or for a few years or for a few lifetimes…and ya, it goes like that! So this throwing potency can capture us in this way and is very tricky.
Then there is the covering potency, the avaranatmika sakti, which is the philosophy that well, it’s based on wishful thinking. Wishful thinking is basically that we hope that it’s going to be perfect. The example would be a young girl who’s always dreaming of the dream prince who’s coming on his horse and he never comes. That guy on the horse never comes but one day someone comes around the corner, he doesn’t have a horse and he has cauliflower ears but anyway you’ve waited so long, so you know, what can you do! Here is the prince- cauliflower ears and all! And it’s going to go on for many more generations; genetically those cauliflowers will remain and you’re going to be seeing them for a long time in the family pictures! But you know, because of our desires we just want to see that it is that we are a success. ‘Yes, yes I’m getting my desires fulfilled, yes, yes this is great, yes, yes it is wonderful, yes I am enjoying it, yes…’ and then up to the point where even someone who is with a broken leg in the hospital and you ask, how are you? ‘Great!’ Ya I can see…This is our nature of the covering potency.
So like this we are carrying on in this material world and we want it, we want it to be full of happiness. Now that I’m telling stories, I also have the Mr Bean story: Mr Bean, he comes into a hotel with the little Mini, which he parks outside. He comes into the hotel and on the desk of the hotel there is one of these bells with the metal pin and you have to hit on it. So Bean goes like, (imitates) Bing! Bing! Bing, bing, bing! And then he wants a room and they show him a room all the way upstairs and he looks around in the room and he takes it. All right, he is in the room and then he looks around in the room and he is thinking, ‘well, let me a make it a little nicer!’ so he opens up his suitcase and he takes out a Black and Decker drill and different paintings and (drill noise) drills a hole in the wall and starts to hang the paintings. Then he has a flower vase with plastic flowers and he takes it out and he puts it, and at the end, out of the suitcase comes a sign, ‘Home sweet home’ (drill noise) and that also goes on the wall. Then, after all that, he wants to use the bathroom and he realises that there is no attached bathroom but that it is out in the corridor! So he goes and checks it out (imitates) and he sees that it’s right there next to his room. So…bing! He puts a saw blade on a drill (saw blade noise), cuts out a door, hangs some hinges also, fixes the whole thing, locks the bathroom from the inside and everything great, puts on his sleeping hat, takes his teddy bear and goes to bed, ready for the night! It’s ridiculous! It’s totally ridiculous! And why is it ridiculous? Because he treats a temporary situation like a permanent one! Isn’t it? And that’s the ridiculous thing! And we are just as ridiculous! Yes, that’s the situation.
We have the way out- hard work in devotional service
So in this way, time goes by. So as devotees of course, we know better and we know about the eternal goal and it is that eternal goal that we should just keep in mind and we should invest in it now because this is the amazing nature of Krsna consciousness, is that here in the temporary domain, we have access to the eternal. That is the amazing thing! Here no one else has. When I was, before Krsna consciousness, well, I was part of the 60’s and early 70’s and as a result I smoked a few things and I swallowed a few things that changed my perception of reality a little bit! And one day I was in the garden of my parents and I felt I was in an aquarium! I suddenly realised I was in an aquarium! It dawned upon me, my God you know, I always thought I was exploring the world but I’m actually in an aquarium! And being in an aquarium I was like, ‘how do I get out of this aquarium!’ It became a big question in my mind, how do I get out of the aquarium? But…THERE WAS NO WAY OUT OF THE AQAURIUM!!! And that was the situation. Until Krsna consciousness, THERE WAS NO WAY OUT! THERE WAS NO WAY OUT! Did you also experience it like that, that you felt caught in the situation of your life and you didn’t want it but there was just no way out? So for years I was looking for a way out, ‘is there a way out? IS THERE A WAY OUT OF HERE?’
‘THERE IS NO WAY OUT!’
Again and again Maya told me, there is no way out, just accept it, just be normal…’No, there must be a way out!’
‘There is no way out, just be like everybody else.’
‘Son,’ my father said, ‘life is a compromise.’
‘No way! It can’t be! No! There must be perfection!’
‘Son, life is a compromise.’
‘Maybe for you but not for me!’
Anyway I had these big discussions with my father in those days, looking for a way out. But in Krsna consciousness we have it, because although we are in the temporary aquarium, swimming up and down, at the same time we can make a connection with the eternal. You can put an apple on the altar and that’s eternal benefit! Very easy! We can do devotional service.
So anyway, Puranjana or Puranjani, we’re not going to make a big thing about it. All right you’re in love, anyway you know…in lust of course…aha! But whatever you may consider it, we don’t care, we’re not going to worry about it, we’re not going to speak the whole day about it, about the fact that your mind is taking you for a ride! We’re going to leave that simply for what it is and say, just connect, connect to Krsna in devotional service- more devotional service. That’s the key, that’s the answer that will change everything, that will do it! Cultivating detachment will never work- very, very difficult. Just by trying to become renounced, fasting on every Ekadasi…nice, but more important is just get to work… ‘Work?’
Ya, work! Work for Krsna! That is ultimately the one thing that will make the difference, simply hard work in devotional service.
The gopis, they have that special, transcendental lusty relationship with Krsna, Kamsa attained perfection through his fear, the Vrsnis through their family relationships and we, the ordinary devotees, through hard work in devotional service can attain perfection. So Srimad Bhagavatam is also making the same point. And if somehow or other we can just take shelter of devotional service, then we can overcome our material desires. We say, ‘yes, yes I have faith in that and I’m still waiting; they’re not completely gone yet but I keep on doing my devotional service. But as soon as they’re gone I’ll become renounced.’ No, not exactly.
The alarm clock goes off
We see that in the Vedic culture there is varnasrama and varnasrama is an interesting thing because it’s like an alarm clock! At age 50 the alarm clock goes off and you know how it is when the alarm clock goes off, you just go like, ‘No, it’s not true!’ Our first reaction is, ‘it’s not true! It’s not going off now, I’m dreaming it, I’m dreaming that the alarm clock is going off! So it’s not really going off; I can keep on sleeping…’ or you try and turn it into something else, ‘it’s not the alarm clock, it’s the car of the neighbours who is packing up and it’s making that noise! So I can keep on sleeping…’ But that alarm clock is very persistent to a point where is doesn’t work anymore. And one devotee here in Radhadesh had a special lila with alarm clocks; He was staying in the brahmacari asrama upstairs, in room no.20, which is the big room where they put anyone and everybody who doesn’t have a room- or they use to- and pack it up and then everyone would put an alarm clock- all the devotees! The first one would put it at 2 ‘o clock but of course not get up, and the thing would beep! And then there was another one who would put it at 2:15 and they wouldn’t get up either! 2:30 wouldn’t get up, 3 ‘o clock wouldn’t get up, 3:30 wouldn’t get up…until finally this devotee lost it, got out of bed, grabbed the alarm clocks and started to throw them out of the window one after another, which is very understandable if you live in a Hare Krsna Temple! I can sympathise with this principle because nothing is so disturbing as an alarm clock!
So at age 50, pancasordhvam vanam vrajet, it begins to beep, the alarm clock, beep beep! Beep beep! Beep beep! Beep beep! (Alarm noises) This is a nasty alarm clock! So pancasordhvam vanam vrajet at the age of 50, one is meant to start thinking about vanaprastha. I said it the other day somewhere and I’m beginning to repeat myself- a sign that I’m getting old! So I’ll just say it again! My grandmother was like that; she told us the same things again and again and she didn’t mind! That’s a sign that you’re old! Pancasordhvam vanam vrajet, at age 50 we simply have to become renounced and we have to start giving up our sense gratification…and now I’ve even forgot what I was going to say…that shows I’m getting senile as well! So what to do, little by little we lose it! Yes, up to 50- we may be in the grhastha asrama or not- up to 50 we spend for this life, to make all the arrangements- you need to get your house together and a little more money is needed- up to 50 we work for this. And after 50 we work for the next life. So after 50, that’s it, you’re no longer allowed to work for this life, you have to start working for the next. So you have to simplify your life and you have to just basically minimise all your involvement with the material energy so that you have time for the eternal activity because in our thing we’re aiming for no next life, isn’t it? Going back to Godhead…So after 50 we got to get serious- very serious…
You can die any moment
But…well, I learnt this lesson when I was 5 years old; I could read somehow or other and I was proud of it because I hadn’t gone to school yet but I’d learnt to read! And then my grandfather died and my father took me to the cemetery for the first time and I wasn’t so impressed to see the grave of my grandfather – that didn’t do anything to me. But I was reading the tomb stones and as I was reading the tomb stones, I saw the dates and then I saw the date on one tomb stone of somebody who was born after me, and I was already there! And that really impressed me! My grandfather, I didn’t care, but the thought that I myself could be in the grave and that somebody younger than me- and I was only 5- was already dead!!! That shocked me. God, I thought about it for the rest of the day! That was a serious realisation I got there and I still remember it now, you know…you can die any moment- any moment!
After I had a serious operation in India and I had just survived it, I was in Delhi temple lying on the sofa. And Trivikrama Maharaja, all old and wrinkled, came into the room and I said, “Maharaja, I can’t bow down just like this- pranamas.” He said, “It’s all right because you’re supposed to offer respect to an elderly person and you are older than me because you are closer to death!” (Laughter) These are things, like a bucket of cold water, waking you up and I sort of realised it again that yes, that there is no guarantee that we may even get 50! So therefore at 50 you have to but you may as well…you know, when you go into the grhastha asrama, there are different ways you can approach it. In the scriptures you know that the grhastha asrama…everybody is in bright white so I think it’s a relevant discussion! How do you get it so white? (To devotee) Only a wife can wash a dhoti so white! When a man is alone, you have to go in saffron because it’s such a drag to wash a white dhoti! God, you see every spot you know…absolutely! So you have heard in scriptures that the grhastha asrama has been compared to the andha-kupam, the blind well! Isn’t it? Have you heard? Huh, you have heard. You may as well admit it you know!
The scriptures are practical…if you follow them
So when you enter into the grhastha asrama there are different ways to approach that. One way is that well, ‘okay here we go! One, two, three…’ head down and you dive in! And the other way is, of course every well has some steps on the side, a little ladder and you could possibly go some steps down. And you know, you know what? It’s not absolutely necessary to go all the way to the bottom! Believe it or not, it’s not required! You don’t have to! Even when you enter into the grhastha asrama you don’t have to actually go to the bottom, no. Some people think you know, ‘Now that we’ve gone in, now we will see how deep we can take it! Still going deeper!’ But it’s not a law of nature or not absolutely required that way.
So therefore one could even possibly before 50, already start thinking like, well, maybe some types of sense gratification, maybe we just don’t need them. ‘Agh! Come on you know! You don’t be a square! What did we get married for?’
‘Well, what did we get married for? To go back to Godhead.’
‘Come one, be real!’
‘I mean really, I’m serious, to go back to Godhead!’
‘You’re not telling me that you got married to back to Godhead?’
‘No really, that’s what I thought it was for.’
‘Agh, come on you know! We read about that in the fairy tales; we read about that in the Bhagavatam but not in real life. Isn’t it?’
I always like to tell how Jayadvaita Maharaja gave a seminar here in Radhadesh called, The hopes and horrors of household life. And you know, even before he started it was already a big thing, a big discussion, people were saying, “who’s he, who’s he to speak about the hopes and horrors of household life? What does he know about it anyway? He was never married; why doesn’t he speak about the hopes and horrors of sannyasa life!” So there was a lot of discussion before the actual seminar took place and then somehow or other I missed the first session- I don’t know why, I had something to do- so I came late. But I reached here in Radhadesh. The premier was here in Radhadesh and I reached here and I just came after it was finished and people were just getting out of the seminar room. So someone else had also missed it and was just ahead of me and asked the devotee, “How was it? How was it?” and someone said, “oh, it was very theoretical, all quotes from the scriptures…” I thought that that was really a far out answer, that was really so revealing…yes, when the scriptures remain theoretical for you, that means you’re not following them! That’s obvious. And when you’re following the scriptures, they become practical.
So the scriptures dear devotees- I learnt this from Sacinandana Maharaja (laughter) every once in a while you say, (Sacinandana Maharaja’s accent), “Dear devotees, I’m going to tell you something very important, so I want you to really pay full attention to this and you will find that it will very much benefit your spiritual life!” (Laughter) So you know…and what was it again? Oh God, I’m senile again, forgot again what I was going to say! Huh?
Maharaja: Following the scriptures becomes practical…that’s what I was saying, yes. So, may be the scriptures indeed, are actually a guide to life! Ya, if you follow them then something happens to your life, it’s pretty far out! ‘Far out! Amazing! Never thought of that! Really, I thought it was very interesting these books but I never thought that they were designed to be followed.’ But that actually is the deeper purpose of the Bhagavatam, it’s known only to a few but actually Bhagavatam is a guide to life- believe it or not! I know it’s a shock but this is it! So with that I got to wrap it up now…
Do something for eternity
So, let us just do something for eternity. Shall I have a dramatic end? Go out with a bang? All right I might as well. Otherwise you know, the class doesn’t have oomph. You know, the hand book of, ‘how to give a SB class’ says that at the beginning of the class you must have an attention getter and your class must have oomph, you know…so okay, a few years ago I was in the Czech Republic for a Summer Camp, which we have every year out there in the forest somewhere- lots of fun, 400 devotees- we have a whole camping to ourselves. And it was pretty good, it was lots of fun and we just finished all the seminars and this that and it was just getting in time for prasadam and I was just getting ready for the kind of stuff that sannyasis eat, you know, steamies, while everyone else has pakoras and all the other stuff…So I wasn’t there but suddenly I heard Namaste narasimhaya…400 devotees! So I go like, that’s not sarira abhidyajal! What’s that? Why are they chanting Nrsimha prayers for? So I was thinking, what’s going on you know? I thought, well maybe I should have a look. So I came there and I saw this man lying on the ground all grey and flapping…he was dying! And in the middle of prasadam- what a thing to do! (Laughter) I mean better die after prasadam! But he died in the middle of prasadam and you never know when it’s going to happen. And he was lying there and all the devotees were chanting; they had shifted to ‘Hare Krsna’ now but the temple president had called a helicopter! So you know, within a minute there was a helicopter there, or two minutes (sound effects), guys in red overalls running in carrying machines and you know, running in , emergency, getting ready, ‘move over! Okay everybody quiet!’ So you know, president told us all be quiet so we all like, ‘Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna…’ softly chanting. And the guys bring out this machine and try to give the man an electric shock on the heart to bring his heart back to action. And 400 devotees are all thinking, ‘let him die!’ (Laughter) ‘Let him die now!’ because if he lives they are going to take him to the hospital and he’s probably going to die in the hospital. ‘Let him die now in the middle of the devotees!’ and there was some soft chanting still going on- even the TP couldn’t stop it. Well he didn’t want to make it look too much like a heavy sect you know what I mean. Ya, something to say for that also- keep some good PR.
Anyway, so we all wished the man to die and I’m happy to report to you that it worked! (Laughter) he died and that was it. Gauravani was there because she’s nodding like anything! One devotee was so shocked that she also almost died! Anyway, so the hospital team took care of her instead of the guy and saved her life. So at least they had something to do! Well, afterward nobody knew him so we sort of found out a little bit more about this man. And it turned out nobody knew him but one devotee knew him and said, “Yes, I know this man, he has been buying books from me for years. And actually, some years ago he bought a full set of Bhagavatam and then recently I had met him and he had finished the Bhagavatam. He said, ‘I finished it, do you have any other books?’ And ya I sold him another book but I said, ‘why don’t you come to the Summer Camp, it’s very soon.’ He said, ‘okay, I’ll come…’” So he came to the Summer Camp and in the Summer Camp it was the first time that he chanted Hare Krsna and that he walked around Tulsi etc and then he just, just left! That’s amazing! He finished Bhagavatam, started chanting Hare Krsna, walked around Tulsi and everything and then just died! That was amazing! Who was this man that this was given to him? This is not given to many devotees. But we could see that in his life he had invested in his eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord.
So enough talk about Puranjana and Puranjani, enough talk about asramas this way, that way- choose whatever asrama you like and be happy with it- but do something for the eternal relationship with the Supreme Lord. Now does that have oomph or not? Okay, so any questions, any comments? Too much oomph!
Okay, well I’ll drink a little water…Gosh, I’ve been too clear!
Maharaja: Ya, vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yoga, at one point you realise that the material energy is a lot of trouble. Dealing with the material energy is a lot of trouble; at one point you realise it. Isn’t it Manohara? And then you just think about it you know, and think, ‘Do I really want this?’ and at that point you think, ‘well you know, maybe I don’t need to do all things anymore.’ Like these day I see…you know, before when I saw mountain, I had this strong urge to go to the top. No w I don’t have that anymore! It’s like, I see the mountain and I think, ‘nice mountain!’ and that’s it you know! I’m quite happy to stay in the valley, quite okay with that- absolutely no desire to go to the top! But before, I had to go! I had to go do it! So at one point you just realise that it’s nice to go to the top but it’s a hell of a lot of trouble also to get there and you got to go back down and on shoo! It’s quite a trip climbing mountains actually. So eventually we become naturally renounced and the more we get attached to Krsna, the more we think why bother with all these material things?
Like Srila Bhaktisiddhanta chanting in his hut and the roof was leaking and he just put up his umbrella and said, “why would I bother fixing the roof and stop chanting, Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna…” This is the natural tendency where renunciation develops. See renunciation is not even one of the limbs of bhakti; it’s only preliminary. It’s a little helpful it says, that’s all. It’s not even spiritual. But renunciation is good because it gives you time and energy for Krsna. Because if you have 12 kids and you have to feed them all day then you have no more time for your Deities, it gets difficult. Then when you get rid of the kids, you say, ‘you’re old enough now, time to take care of yourself…’ then, suddenly you have an ocean of time. I went through all the asramas and when I took vanaprastha, the one thing that I noticed is that I had so much time. I chanted all my rounds and then I still had time left! Then I read and then I thought, what do I do now? I had so much time! This is the one thing about the grhastha asrama…I have nothing against the grhastha asrama; the only thing I have against the grhastha asrama is that it takes so much of time. It just eats up all your time! That’s why I took sannyasa.
Any other question? Yes…
Maharaja: Well, well, well, well…this sounds like politics! You want me to advise you to revolt against the temple presidents (laughter). It’s a joke actually, I’m sorry. The whole class is full of jokes so I can’t resist it this morning! But no, from a spiritual point of view it may not always be necessary to call in the helicopter but we have obligations as a society, as a movement. You know we are living in the bigger world and we have to be part of it and we have to follow certain things. So we cannot just live by the Bhagavatam alone, we also have to live by the government standards and laws. And if someone’s dying and you don’t report that, that is neglect. You have a duty to report…112 and call them and then the helicopter or whatever it is comes and they do their thing. So if we don’t do that then we are reconfirming that we are indeed a fanatic cult and that actually our ‘cult’ is harmful, harmful for public health and that we are irresponsible and not properly taking care of our people. And then maybe we should go on the black list again and things like this. These things are sensitive, so temple presidents, they have a good brain for these things, they’re sensitive to these kinds of social connections that we have and they consider all these, whereas others may not always see all these practical considerations in the same detail. Therefore we should just trust our TP’s and one has to become detached and just leave it up to the management and let them side, let the management decide.
We should not all become back seat drivers; nothing is as disturbing as a back seat driver! (Dramatic) ‘Watch out! To the left…’ four people in the car… ‘No, no, no!’ I mean at one point the driver just, (makes breaks sound) stops the car and gets out and, ‘okay, drive yourself!’ and they don’t have a license! Although I don’t always agree with the management or- I could say it another way- although I rarely agree with the management (laughter), still I let the managers manage and I try not to interfere with that and say, ‘okay, whatever you guys do as you like…if you want to call the helicopter, call the helicopter…’
But when I die don’t call any helicopter!!! If I die in a temple, just let me die in a temple. When I was in Vrndavana, severely injured, I couldn’t speak but I managed to say one thing to the devotees and that was, “Not-out-of-the-dhama!” because I wasn’t going to die in a parking lot in Delhi! Get injured in Vrndavana and die in Delhi? Forget it! So I sympathise with you…but also with the temple president, because what to do, we live in a rotten world.
What do you think? (To devotee) You’re thinking like anything!
Maharaja: Sometimes the temple president’s not a devotee? (Laughter) Excuse me…
Maharaja: What to do, Prabhupada says one man for a village, a village for a nation, remember? One man for a family, a family for a village, a village for a nation. So we have to think about that, we have to think of the interest of ISKCON which is the collective facility for all the devotees. So just to put so much effort for one devotee…you know one year there was a devotee here who one day was chanting japa in the fields and saw this beautiful, little calf. And then he couldn’t resist it anymore and he felt for the calf going to the slaughter house and he just took the calf and saved the calf and put in the barn in hiding here in Radhadesh! Well, from my sentiment I felt sympathy for the calf also. In fact I even offered to raise money to buy the calf. But anyway that was too complicated and in the end the calf was returned. I felt a little sorry that the calf, who for a short time found shelter of the devotees, had to back to ‘dooms day.’ So I’ve also had thoughts like that over the years; I saw a hundred calves locked up at a railway station and I felt like letting them out while I was chanting japa in Australia. But I also thought, what’s the point? They’ll catch them anyway…
So we are caught between our feelings and our intelligence. So for the interest of ISKCON as a whole, we have to co-operate to some extent with the authorities. But if it happens to you, we won’t call the helicopters and if it happens to me, don’t call no helicopters either! Okay, we have a pact! I don’t want no helicopters! Gosh, she’s not satisfied but what can I do…it’s hard to satisfy everyone. But we don’t have to call a helicopter for somebody who cuts himself in the finger, or we don’t have to over-do-it, you know what I mean? But that much I grant you…
Okay, getting out of hot water and getting ready for a break! Thank you very much.
Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya!