Founder of ISKCON. His Divine
Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta
Swami Prabhupada
But it is I who am the ritual, I the sacrifice, the offering to the ancestors, the healing herb, the transcendental chant. I am the butter and the fire and the offering. (Bhagavad-gita 9.16)
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Sacred Space- Part 1 *(Includes Audio)   01.10.2010

*(Click on links at the bottom of transcript to listen to lecture)

A lecture given by HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Maharaja, 25 September 2010, Durban, South Africa

The fight with maya

In the 8th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam we find a description of Gajendra, who is residing in a wonderful forest at the base of the Trikuta mountains- one with a golden peak, one with a silver peak and one with…I forgot if it an iron or copper. And there was a beautiful lake, with celestial birds and everything wonderful and it is said that there Gajendra the elephant was enjoying along with his wives sporting in the water of the lake. And it was there that out of nowhere, this crocodile appeared and bit him in the leg and just locked on! It was very difficult for Gajendra as an elephant to move around in the water because his body was heavy and it wasn’t designed for moving in the water. The crocodile was therefore very fast. The fight went on for a long time and Gajendra was far stronger than the crocodile but how strong can one remain when one is fasting? And Gajendra fighting for a long time had no food in the water but the crocodile, in between attacking the elephant, let go of him, ate some fish and was again ready, fully invigorated. And therefore in the end it was becoming very clear; Gajendra felt his strength fading and dissappearing and Gajendra realised, “I’m going to lose!” something which in the beginning was not on his mind. It was at that time that Gajendra remembered a previous life and that in a previous life he had been a king who had prayed to the Supreme Lord and now in this difficult situation he remembered the Lord and remembered the prayer and prayed to the Supreme Lord.

So Gajendra is outstanding for being an animal and for actually coming to the point of praying to the Lord and that is a topic in itself but that is not the reason why I brought up the story; the reason why we are bringing up the story is because of Srila Prabhupada’s purports. And in the purports Srila Prabhupada is describing that Gajendra was weak because he was not properely situated; he was in the water which was out of his element and therefore he became weak and ultimately in the fight he gradually lost his strength. So the crocodile is representing Maya and Gajendra is representing the devotee in his fight with Maya. And that is our first situation; once we come to Krsna consciousness we find ourselves in a fight with Maya, the illusory energy, which is very strong and somehow or other we need to make arrangements for our protection. So some of these arrangements that Srila Prabhupada is explaining is that we must properely situate ourselves within varnasrama. Gajendra needed to situate himself in a good position.

At the time when Srila Prabhupada was writing these purports there was an emotional moment because one of his dear disciples and successful sannyasis was Madhudvisa Maharaja who had been sent to Australia and who was preaching very nicely, who did very well but then with time, because he was very young, it became difficult for him. And one day he decided that sannyasa was too much for him and he sent his danda in the mail to Srila Prabhupada and Prabhupada received the danda. That was it! So it was just in those days that Srila Prabhupada wrote these purports. So naturally the purports were very heartfelt and Prabhupada was saying, “even if one is situated in one position and one can no longer be successful in the fight with maya then one can change that position and then can continue to fight with maya from another position,” clearly referring to Madhudvisa. He said “All right if you cannot maintain this asrama then go to another asrama but don’t give up the fight with maya.”

So we are in this situation- between Krsna and Maya. That is our situation. Somehow or other Srila Prabhupada brought Krsna and started by chanting Hare Krsna, as Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja was describing, and started in his Matchless Gifts storefront by giving lectures on Bhagavad Gita a few time a week and in this way Krsna consciousness was slowly settling in the Western world and there were devotees. But these devotees they were situated between Krsna and maya and both were attractive to them; Krsna certainly attractive, but maya also attractive and that is the situation for most of us. It is very rare to be a devotee who is only attracted to Krsna and day and night thinking of Krsna. That is practically speaking the consciousness of the spiritual world.

Our topic is called, ‘Sacred Space’ or one can say ‘transcendental space’ and our aim is to create a shelter for us in this world of illusion. Here the illusory energy is strong; maya is creating all kind of temptations and it’s not so easy for us who are conditioned souls to ignore it. One can be philosophically strong and say, ‘oh no I will not go for this,’ but that is still a relatively low platform because then internally, one is still desiring, desiring the activities of maya.  So what to do?

The mood of the eternal residents of Vrndavana

The scriptures give us the example of the eternal residents, the residents of the spiritual world and let us read a little bit from there.

Chapter one: Setting the Scene

Krsna is the centre here. The eternal residents of Vrndavana are leading the way. Their minds are always drawn to Krsna with intense eagerness, samutkanta, to be in His presence. They see only Him, either directly or indirectly without wasting a moment. Even a most common things are not casual experiences for the gopis. Everything is touched with the same magic. “Oh Mother Earth, what austerities did you perform to attain the touch of Lord Kesava’s lotus feet, which had brought you such great joy that your bodily hairs are standing on end. You appear very beautiful in this condition. Was it during the Lord’s current appearance that you acquired this ecstatic symptom or was it perhaps much earlier when He stepped upon you in His form of the dwarf, Vamanadeva or eben earlier when He embraced you in the form of Lord Varahadeva?

 So that’s a verse from the 10th Canto and it’s an interesting verse because we see how the gopis, when they are looking upon the world, then they see the trees, the forests and they see these trees on the body of the earth and they see that the hairs are standing on end! So they are seeing that the earth is in total ecstasy. We may not see that; we may see that like, ‘well, lots of trees here!’ like that. But they see it all in connection with Krsna. Now we can also see things in connection with Krsna; we can see that this is part of the material creation and the material creation is connec ted with Krsna because it is Krsna’s energy and Krsna is the cause of all causes and Krsna is behind everything and that is philosohically seeing everythig in connection with Krsna. But the gopis they see connections that may not be there; they see that the earth has ecstatic symptoms whereas the earth may not have ecstatic symptoms. But the gopis see it anyway because the gopis they are so absorbed in their ecstasy, in their own remembrance of Krsna and in their own love for Krsna that they project that upon everything and thus they see earth as having ecstatic symptoms. That is how deep their Krsna consciousness is.

You see that that happens more with the residents of Vrndavana. They are so much absorbed in Krsna consciousness that they see everything in connection with Krsna. It is said that there are some elder cowherd boys who are the age of Balarama. They are a little older than Krsna and it is said that sometimes these cowherd boys, they suddenly saw a big dark cloud in the sky and immediately they thought that Aristasura had returned! Of course there was no Aristasura but they saw Aristasura. So we see that these devotees, they live in some kind of world of their own and some might argue, a world that may be has not so much to do with reality. But then again, ‘what is reality?’Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja ended with Ted Patrick who was trying to bring people down to reality. So what is reality? Reality is Krsna and to remember Krsna is reality and is the essence. Everything else is secondary. It is Krsna that is important.

The world appears like a mirror and the gopis only see the reflection of Krsna everywhere in an unlimited variety. The entire residents of Vrndavana share the same mood throughout. There is nothing in Vrndavana which is not meant for the pleasure of Krsna. Rupa Gosvami describes it as Prema Antaranga, deeply immersed in love for the cowherd Krsna. And charming Krsna, the playful, mischievious cowherd boy is not passively awaiting for the worship of his unlimited devotees. When Krsna vibrates His flute, Vraja’s bulls, deers and cows standing in groups at a distance are all captivated by the sound and they stop chewing their food in their mouth and cock their ears stunned. They appear as if they are asleep or like figures in a painting.

This is also from the 10th Canto. So nothing is casual in Vrndavana, everything, everything is touched by magic because even the trees are waiting for Krsna. It is said that the Kadamba trees are loaded up with flowers or fruits and the branches are so heavy that the trees are bowing down and in this way are offering obeisances to Krsna. It is described tha Govardhana Hill is offering so many nice arrangements for Krsna and it is said that Govardhana Hill is always worshipping Krsna and that there are beautiful champak trees on the slopes of Govardhana Hill and that the trees are moving in the wind. And as the trees are moving in the wind, with their branches they are offering arati to Krsna. So all are worshipping Krsna, all are waiting to worship Krsna, all are always remembering Krsna and that is the mood of the spiritual world.

So we are not there; we are far removed from that world but Krsna has become a part of our life and now we spend some time remembering Krsna. Again and again we are regularly hearing about Krsna. We are chanting, we are reading, we are taking darsana…So Srila Prabhupada created a transcendental space, a sacred space within this world by chanting Hare Krsna, by giving us Srimad Bhagavatam, by then translating the 10th Canto, the pastimes of Krsna in Vrndavana as Krsna book and by giving us the Teachings of Lord Caitanya, later the Caitanya Caritamrta and by making so many temples all over the world by inspiring Ratha Yatras…and so on and created a whole transcendental shelter for us. Still we need to give more shape and fill in the details ourselves. We cannot go on automatic planet simply being part of the Hare Krsna movement and simply going along with the flow and live from Sunday Feast to Sunday Feast and from Ratha Yatra to Ratha Yatra and so on and in between chanting Hare Krsna. That is all very nice and surely we will be successful if we do that, but how much taste will there be in our spiritual life? That is the question.

The balance between taste and duty

Sometimes but a lot of time we are spending our spiritual life in struggle, struggling with the mind, struggling with the senses, struggling to chant, struggling to read, struggling to go to the temple, struggling to anything in Krsna cosciousness. That is the situation. So the theme of my writing here is how to rise above struggle and how to actually come to a stage where we relish our spiritual life. And one point that I would like to bring up now is the principle of following our taste.

Spiritual life is not all about following our taste but spiritual life is also about prescribed duty. There are plenty of precribed duty and that must be done: rising early- whatever is early for you, chanting Hare Krsna…these are activities that we are performing out of duty. So many things. So that is there and then there are responsibilities that we take in Krsna’s service that are always not so easy. That is all duty and all in the spirit of sacrifice so that must be there. So when I’m speaking about following our taste, I’m not meaning to say that we should neglect our duty but on top of our duty we follow our taste, additional to our duty we follow our taste. That is what I’m rying to highlight here.

Follow our taste…taste we have for something. Let us collect things related to Krsna that we like. Why not? It’s not forbidden. Since we have walls we may as well put some pictures on there and we might as well put pictures on there that we like. Of course, we are supposed to like pictures of Krsna but still, some pictures we may like more than others. Here there are so many pictures and if I look around the ceiling then I particularly like the one of Mother Yasoda looking at Krsna’s mouth. That’s a really good one! I also like the one of Krsna taking prasadam with His devotees. Kamsa above my head being killed…he deserves it! So like that, these pictures speak to us and tell us about Krsna and because they are pictures that we chose- we choose one and say, ‘that one I particularly like, that’s my picture! That one! And that one I will put in my house. Not just any picture but that one. So everytime I see it i think, boy such a nice picture!’ That’s the kind of picture we put on the wall and why only one? Put more than one! And life goes beyond pictures… there are so many things relating to Krsna. There is music, different tastes. Let us follow our taste. It is not forbidden to follow our taste, it is not forbidden to like something and to get into it. And if we just build a whole world around us full of inspiring things about Krsna then we wil gain from that.

The need for an external sacred place

So in this way our first step is external. Let us recap for a moment how we started; we started with Gajendra who was situated in a fight with maya just like us, and who had to situate himself properly in varnasrama. That, in other words, is to create a good material basis. So all right we situate ourself in a good material basis, something where we are a little bit comfortable. Done. Then we move on and then we fix ourselves in the regulated practice of devotional service and accept the duties of the one of a saddhaka, of one who is performing devotional service in practice. But that is the stage where most of our spiritual life is duty and we feel weak at that stage, very weak. We feel that we are doing these things and we believe in it but we are not sure if we can maintain it. We are doubtful in our heart, ‘am I strong enough to keep on doing this?’ the only way to rise above this stage of doubt is to come to the stage of taste.

So my first proposal was that there is taste even if in the conditioned stage of devotional service and we may not be free from material desire but it doesn’t matter, still there’s taste. So let us at least externally create a sacred place where we can live and make that sacred place very wonderful. Make the house a place of pilgrimage, why not? That would be very wonderful! Why just camp there? Why just make it a place where we sleep and eat? Let it be a bhajan kutir. So that is our position. In this particular book I am speaking about, here in this land of Vrndavana, where all the residents are absorbed in the magic of Krsna, somehow or other we are also there. Not by our own qualification but somehow or other we are also part of this world of Vrndavana because of Prabhupada’s mercy. We have entered into this Vrndavana through the gate that Srila Prabhupada created for us and that is the only reason why we think about Vrndavana, why we know about Vrndavana, why we can go about in Vrndavana and why a little bit of our consciousness is in Vrndavana. It is because of Prabhupada that we know something. The Yamuna, and we think, yes the Yamuna is very dear to Krsna! Dark Yamuna, having the blackish colour of Krsna. The Yamuna, yes! We are remembering in this way the Yamuna and Vrndavana at large.

What am I doing here?

Gradually we will hear more and more, again and again. This is the way that we can slowly become residents of Vrndavana, a little bit. But we are not like these eternal residents of Vrndavana who are fully absorbed in remembering Krsna with great love. We are poor, poor in our bhakti, poor in our surrender, we are miserly in the service that we surrender to, we chant as a matter of duty, all that comes out of our mouth are broken names at best. And we want love of God, we want but we want it for free! We don’t want to pay for it. ‘Why do I have to make a sacrfice for this? Can’t I have it for free? Why do I have to pay?’ This is our situation. So we are miserly, we are beggars, we are poor and we are here in this but we are in the spiritual abode. The temple, where we are now, it is a fact that  it is Vrndavana. It’s not only that we have to imagine that the temple is Vrndavana but it is because it is said that the Deities when They come They bring Their abode along with Them. So the temple is the spiritual world.

So we are here but we are not able to enter into the levels of the eternal residents of Vrndavana who are totally abosrbed with incredible absorption of Krsna. We can’t approach that but we can catch a few drops heres and there by being in the association of the devotees. Sometimes we catch a little inspiring moment and of course we have invited you for a whole weekend. Spring! Well in spring it sometimes rains; it’s good for the grass I guess and the grass needs it because boy, is it dry this year in Durban! I’ve never seen it so dry actually, myself, in all thes years that I came. Durban is green normally and this year Durban is brown. So all glories to the rain! Still we hope that tomrrow will shine!

So our program here in the afternoon will continue here in the temple but it will be a spectacular problem! It will not be a continuation of the morning; the morning is a more serious time where we spend our time with philosophy and with hearing. But the afternoon will be more of a transcendental experience. Exactly how and what I will not tell you! But I recomment that you call your friends and relatives and tell them that they better be here at 4h30pm or they are going to miss something, if you know what I mean! They’re going to really miss out if they come too late and it will be one of those things where the say, ‘boy, why wasn’t I there!’ So just to warm you up of what else is coming…something is coming for sure.

But here, we are brought by Srila Prabhupada who was clearly an eternal resident of the spiritual world, brought into this atmosphere of the spiritual world but we are not feeling appropriate residents and we are wondering, ‘what are we doing here?’ I don’t know if any of you have this feeling but many times in my spiritual life I’ve had the feeling, ‘what am I doing here? Why me? Why? The rascal that I am, got to do with this? This is so exalted and I am far removed from all of that.’

All right, that is good to have these kind of contemplations. Last night Partha Sarathi Maharaja addressed that point; he was pointing out that with contemplation in a mood of humility actual love of God is born. But that’s not the all in all. We can also get practical. It’s not that we only have to repent, ‘I am so fallen, I am so fallen, I am not qualified…’ no, we can do something, something practical. And that is what I proposed. Let us bring in what attracts us to Krsna more and more in our life. It’s like me, no day went by in my life that I didn’t sing, I can’t remember. I don’t think that there has been such a day. That would be absolute misery if there would be a day without singing. But the songs have changed over the years; when I was a kid there were sort of kid songs and then electric guitars came in and the whole neighbourhood was enjoying my music… it was loud! But then I grew over that, I got over that and I got more towards the mode of goodness and to a more gentle, meditation type of music. And next…the Hare Krsna maha mantra came in! And I guess you know what type of Hare Krsna maha mantra kirtanas I do! I will not describe them…

For me that is something that is life and it gives me so much inspiration. If I don’t sing then after a little while I feel, ‘why am I doing this? What is the point of it all?’ So that’s me; it has to do with nature. Different people have different natures and different people find a different service. If I look around the room then I can see different devotees and Im looking at Gopal Pizza! And he loves to feed people pizzas! It’s just an addiction! Other people are addicted to eating pizza but he’s addicted to make people eat pizza and he’s tried to do it to me many times! One thing is if you sit in his house, in the dining room and they would run up and down for the pizzas in the kitchen, so when they would run to the kitchen I would quickly put my pizza on the plate of my neighbour! (Laughter) and then look really hungry when Gopal would come back. In this way I survived! Now I’ve told him the secret, sorry for that…

Finding our taste and being absorbed

But different devotees, they take pleasure in various services and we need such things. We follow our taste, whether it is…some people they really like to chant mantras, they chant mantras for hours just one after another! In Mayapur our Bhakti Vidya Purna Maharaja is into mantra and chanting all these mantras. Maharaja is deeply inspired by the Vedic culture, he so much likes Vedic culture. Me, I don’t always like Vedic culture. Some things are too cumbersome for me: wash your hands 12 times with clay- instead of one time with soap! I’m a modern Swami; give me some soap and that will do the job! 12 times with clay and I have to get it off again and then put it on again! That was only the second time…can you imagine 12 times with clay? You would go nuts! But different tastes…And I use to make jokes of Maharaja because that’s my nature. Besides singing I like to make jokes also! And Maharaja use to have a straw parasol because he read somewhere that a sannyasi either carries a danda or a parasol. In some scripture he read that and the next day he appeared with this huge straw Vedic parasol, a huge thing! So I started calling him Vamanadeva and all these things! And I use to make fun of it but he took it so serious and now it’s becoming deeper and deeper and more and more meaningful and just a wealth of knowledge and through it he can really offer something.

So that’s how it is. Aindra is an example of one who became absorbed. He said, “I’m just going to chant Hare Krsna,” and some said, ‘what is this? Do some practical service…’ but all he wanted to do was chanting Hare Krsna. So they couldn’t engage him in anything else and he would just go on in the harinama in the beginning in New York and then finally he came to Vrndavana and started the 24hr kirtan in New York and that 24hr kirtan developed. Gradually he started to develop his music abilities, learn more and more melodies and it became a whole universe, which touched so many devotees around the world. And even some of the tunes that others have made famous, they originally started with Aindra. So many tunes have started from there.

So in that way we are seeing the result of someone who follows his taste, who gets absorbed and really does it and makes something very wonderful out of that. So that is allowed in spiritual life. We had one devotee…well, in Vrndavana in 1984, there was a change of management and this management wanted to tighten the screws and make sure that everyone pulled their socks up, if you know what I mean! And when the new management arrived there was a leader who spoke out very, very strong and who said, “No one, no one is qualified to stay here in Vrndavana. No one!” We all didn’t like that because we all lived happily and stayed in Vrndavana for a long time and we just felt, what is this! Then he continued and then he said, “yes, the only chance that we have if we are just very humble and are just willing instruments in the hands of the senior vaisnava…” we didn’t like that also, because we were not the senior vaisnava! And then the Maharaja said, “is there anyone in this room who is not willing to wash the pots?” and then there was one Prabhupada disciple and he just raised his hands and it went up like this…it was an act of rebellion! And then they said, “then? What do you want to do?” and then he said, “I want to read Srimad Bhagavatam!” So they gave him a one-way ticket to another temple. But besides all that, he did it, he read Srimad Bhagavatam. He spent years and years just reading Srimad Bhagavatam and he was always reading Srimad Bhagavatam. And even now, always reading and reading the Bhagavatam. And if one could only do that, just read and read the Srimad Bhagavatam.

So we must find something, find something according to our taste and we should just get into it. We have a nature and some are more attracted to one thing than to another. But whatever it may be we should get into it and we shouldn’t do it a little bit, we should do it very, very seriously. If someone wants to take care of cows then take care of cows but then really do it. Not just a little bit but completely. In the Caitanya Caritamrta Lord Caitanya met an astrologer and the astrologer, Caitanya Mahaprabhu asked Him, “who was I in My last life?” so the astrologer decided to calculate and he looked and he calculated and he just came to the conclusion that, “You were the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Your last life!” and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “I don’t know where you get it but it must be all wrong the calculation…I happen to know that in My life I was a cowherd boy and because of the pious activity of looking after the cows, this life I became a brahmana.” So like that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was playing and then the astrologer said, “whatever You are You are, but I am bowing down to Your lotus feet again and again!” So the astrologer wasn’t fooled. Like this we are seeing how Lord Caitanya, how much importance He gave to worshipping Krsna’s cows. By worshipping the cows one can develop devotion for the Supreme Lord and one can attain the mercy of Krsna. It is as simple as that- simply taking care of the cows!

But we must get absorbed in something, that is the first principle. Follow our taste and find something that is inspiring and that we like doing and then just get into it. That is the way to break through the stage of devotional service performed in doubt, devotional service in struggle. Or as I sometimes compare it to the desert…people were living in the desert, of course not in the desert but in an oasis because you can’t live in the desert. So they lived in an oasis and this oasis was the oasis of sense gratification. The oasis of sense gratification had some enjoyment but it was limited, it wasn’t fully satisfying. A stranger came and spoke about the green land with unlimited fruits and rivers and he brought some samples. That stranger convinced people to embark on a journey because if you want to go from that oasis of sense gratification to the green land then you have to travel through the desert and first you have to give up your sense gratification and go through the dry desert where the hot sun of lust is buring on your head and it’s dry and there is not much juice and it’s a long dry stretch…until you finally get to another oasis. The second oasis is the oasis of the mode of goodness. That is where we begin to enjoy spiritual life. In the first oasis of sense gratification we enjoy material life and in the second oasis we enjoy spiritual life in the mode of goodness. But not good enough. Then still, we have to go out and take austerity and give Krsna consciousness to others. Then we will gradually reach to the other side.

All right, that’s a little analogy. So that dry stretch in our spiritual life can be overcome if we begin to follow our taste and then whatever we gain we share that with others. If we don’t share it then whatever we gain will again dry up. But if we share whatever we’ve gained in terms of taste and inspiration with others then it will expand and come to more and more life.

So this is part one of this seminar, which deals with follow your taste, additional to prescribed duty. So there’s 10 minutes and maybe we can have some questions and some comments?

Devotee: The spiritual master or your authority gives you something specific to do for some years. Should the disciple spend more time and energy to perfect that or also on the other side cultivate his or her different other Krsna conscious hobbies or activities?

Maharaja: Krsna conscious hobbies… (laughs) Yes the spiritual master will give us an instruction. May be he will say to a new bramacari, ‘distribute books.’ Maybe he will say to someone else, ‘worship the Deity,’ which is not so easy in the beginning because to worship the Deity and to really appreciate that the Deity is Krsna is not simple. I was a pujari once for three months and it was hard for me- I’m honest. It was difficult; after that I felt I just want to go out. I’m here all day and five times a day I have to go to the altar and I felt like sort of locked in and I felt like I want to be with people, I want to breathe! I didn’t have the depth to see that I was dealing with Krsna. But it was a service that was given to me. So I did it dutifully. So that is there but that doesn’t mean that you don’t follow your inclinations next to that. We all did our service but amongst us was one who really had a desire to learn slokas. Now he knows the whole Bhagavad Gita by heart! I was too lazy for that; I still don’t know the whole Gita by heart but some do.

So that’s not a hobby; the word hobby is for hobbits but not for devotees. Devotees are not into hobbies; devotees are engaging only in pure, transcendental activities. And yes, besides our prescribed duty there are additional things and according to our taste we can do so. Of course it can be that your spiritual master may say, ‘learn slokas!’ then it has become an order; now you must do. But maybe you also have a secret desire to learn and sing many beautiful melodies on harmonium and you may never have that order. But if you have a little bit of that desire then do it because it will give you juice, it will give you life. But we must do it additional to the order that our spiritual master gave.

Devotee: Hare Krsna Maharaja. You were talking just now about sharing with others and learning to share. I heard Srila Prabhupada saying that if we don’t share with others then we will become envious. Can you expand on that please.

Maharaja: Ya, I said that we will become dry again if we don’t share with others and when we get dry, it means that we will get some taste in spiritual life but it will dry up again. And then we sry up, we will sit there in our dryness and look at others and we see some inspiration and then we get envious. (Dramatic) Of course all living entities have become overcome by the illusion of lust and envy and these feelings of lust and envy are very deep and very strong and very difficult to overcome. So we naturally already have envy within us and we already look at each other with envious eyes so many times. So many times you look at someone and think, ‘hmph! Strange person! A bit strange!’ that’s envious. We think, ‘well, I just think he’s a bit strange…’ no, it means that we are envious. So the mind so many times does that, ‘this one is a little strange, that one is a little strange as well.’

So envy is already a part of us and we just hope that one day Krsna will take this envy away and under the circumstances we are careful that this envy doesn’t rise to the surface. So we are keeping it under control and when we feel that the envy is rising to the surface, we check ourselves and say, ‘oh, oh, we are not going this route, forget it! I won’t allow my mind to go into the strange person mode,’ as simple as that! Srila Prabhupada also said that an envious person takes pleasure in someone else’s fault and mistake and an envious person is very unhappy when someone else is successful. So an envious person will like to push himself up by pulling others down.

So it’s not only that we are envious and that we want to be equal to others, ‘they have all the glory and I don’t,’ no, then the next stage of envy is where we are trying to pull others down and in this way elevate ourselves. That’s the problem. So therefore envy will disturb us. The six enemies- lust, greed, anger, madness, illusion and envy will disturb us from time to time. They will come but we are not going to entertain them; we are not going to sit them down and say, ‘what can I feed you? How can I treat you? So nice that you came. I missed you so much and I’m really happy to spend some times with you my dear lust, my dear freed, my dear anger…Happy that you’re back again!’ No, whenever any of these six appear, immediately with the intelligence at least we are sort of, ‘no, no no, I’m not going to entertain them, I’m not going to bother with this. I’m just not going to dwell on it, I’m not going to get into it, I’m not going to be controlled by this…’ That is our current stage.

And that is not all and say, ‘I’m not going to be bothered by this, but ‘ I’m just going to get into devotional service! I’m just going to get into serving Krsna, I’m going to chant my bhajans, I’m going to read, I’m going to do some service, I’m going to listen to lectures, I’m going to make sure that I’m engaged in nice service for Krsna and then all these influences of these six enemies will go in the background and will gradually drift away, until the next time that one of them is coming to the surface…and then again same solution. In this stage we cannot be expected to conquer them. We can conquer them to some extent maybe and we can control them. We can say, okay lust- controlled. One can decide an asrama to deal with lust. There are asramas designed to deal with lust and that’s what an asrama is for. So an asrama gives us a facility for lust. So one can choose an asrama accordingly but that doesn’t mean that lust will not attack. But the asrama will help to control it because the asrama gives a certain code of behaviour and that helps to control it.

So the six enemies will attack us. But if we make our whole spiritual life a battle ground (dramatic), ‘I am fighting with the six enemies and I’m just fighting with these enemies! Lust again! Greed again! Anger again! When will I conquer it?’ Conquer it now! Just stop it! If you’re getting so angry all the time, well then stop expressing it. That’s the first thing. Like, ‘Agggh! I feel like breaking something!’ stop breaking something right now, stop it! Just stop it! That’s your nonsense. You are allowing yourself to get so overwhelmed by anger that you are going to break something and now you stop it! You got it? One has to be a little firm with anger! You can’t be sweet, ‘dear anger, please, please calm down…’ ‘Agggh! Who are you to talk to me!!!’ So just draw the line and the line is very simple; there’s no negotiation, it’s non-negotiable, the line is, stop expressing it! I don’t care if you have a problem with anger, you have no right to express it! Finished! That’s how we conquer anger.

So that’s a battle. As they say in the world, ‘count to 10 and go for a walk around the block’! it’s the same principle- no right to express it. So we are fighting with the six enemies but if our whole spiritual life is fighting with the six enemies then we will have a hell of a time! We will have a hard time. Therefore I’m saying, look, those things are there but we are not going to give them so much of attention. They will sometimes attack us but we will spend our time with the positive, we will follow our taste and we will develop our service. And then the other things, they will disappear in the background. Sometimes they will emerge and we push them again in the background, they emerge, go away! And like fly, ‘bzzzz..’ oh, he’s lost again, ‘bzzz…’ get out of here! Chant Hare Krsna, ‘bzzzz…’ like a fly! So we’ll just chase it away and stay absorbed in our service.

Okay so now we’ve reached a quarter to two. We thank you for your time spent here and we will start here again this afternoon at 4h15pm with the arati and then after the arati we will start our Vrndavana pastimes and we hope that you will be there. Thank you so much.

Srila Prabhupada ki, jaya! Hare Krsna

Sacred Space- part 1-01

Sacred Space- part 1-02

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