One can very easily sit upon that ship, or the boat of knowledge. You do not have to swim, and how can one swim in material existence and ‘see’ at the same time. The gopis say, in the Gopi Gita:
Your appearance in this world has destroyed all the sins, as You have come to Brajabhumi, all are receiving benefit because in your coming all sins on this earth are destroyed.
So, previously it is said, that pure devotees are so kind. Through them you can sit on this boat of jñāna and develop real vision and very easily cross over this ocean of sin, even if you are the topmost sinner in this world. Bhagavad Gita 4.37 tells the power of jñāna, knowledge:
yathaidhāṁsi samiddho ’gnir bhasma-sāt kurute ’rjuna
jñānāgniḥ sarva-karmāṇi bhasma-sāt kurute tathā
As a blazing fire turns firewood to ashes, O Arjuna, so does the fire of knowledge burn to ashes all reactions to material activities.
Here the power of jñāna is told. As there are so many woods and if there is fire in the forest, that fire can burn even a great forest or jungle. Therefore, this fire of jñāna or knowledge, will consume all your infinite sins. But where will you get such top most knowledge or jñāna? It is only sold in one shop; there is only one place where you can buy this jñāna. There is only one market; otherwise you cannot purchase this jñāna anywhere else. In sloka 4.34 it is revealed, where you can obtain this jñāna;
tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā
upadekṣyanti te jñānaṁ jñāninas tattva-darśinaḥ
Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service to him. The self realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.
This means you cannot get this knowledge by your own sadhana. Only by taking the shelter of the ‘tattva-darśi mahātmās’, the most pure devotees. If you take such shelter then you can get that pure jñāna. And you should not think that surrendering to a pure devotee means just going and listening to his lecture, “Then I will get that knowledge”. No, it says you should not ‘approach’ as one would do in a ‘tamasā’ or a drama, where people just go to be entertained. You should not go just for ‘sādhu-saṅga amusement’, like people do on the internet. You should not approach a pure devotee in this way.
‘Pranipat’, what is this? This means taking the shelter of the pure devotee, then you will achieve that pure jñāna. If this is not your motive, then you will get nothing. In the Gita 4.39 it is said;
śraddhāvāl labhate jñānaṁ tat-paraḥ saṁyatendriyaḥ
jñānaṁ labdhvā parāṁ śāntim acireṇādhigacchati
A faithful man who is dedicated to transcendental knowledge and who subdues his senses is eligible to achieve such knowledge, and having achieved it he quickly attains the supreme spiritual peace.
That means only a person who has ‘śraddhā’, can achieve jñāna, without this there is no possibility of knowledge. Faith is the only means towards real ‘śaraṇāgati’ or shelter. Yesterday I described two types of sraddha, ‘aparaśraddhā’ and ‘paraśraddhā’. What is the distinction between the two? Paraśraddhā means full shelter, full dedication in service to a pure devotee, and with little endeavor, and effort, you can get pure knowledge. If there is true authentic śraddhā then ‘jignāsa’, curiosity follows, encouraging one to search for jñāna. When you have heartfelt jignāsa, then the pure devotee through sound will give you information in transcendence. And there is no other way to get this pure understanding. By individual sādhana nobody can achieve this. That person is completely foolish, who thinks that by personal effort, I can receive knowledge. This jñāna can only be attained in the association of a tattva-darshi mahatma. When you take shelter of that soul, with faith, then they will enlighten you with a vibration that will keep you from falling down. You will not come under the influence ‘moha’, illusion.
But, you have to escape from ‘kusaṅga’, bad association. For this safety faithfulness is essential. It is also said this type of ‘praṇipāt umbrella’, when you have some attachment to other things, persons or outside relations, then the protection is ended. Therefore, only through one pointed saṅga with a sādhu will all the barriers, obstacles, and material desires will be removed, eliminating all your material attachments. Without the grace of a pure devotee, you cannot get pure jñāna. Without such exposure, you will take refuge in the wrong place. As people say, “I am under the shelter of Kṛṣṇa”, but the person is speaking from the mouth, which means they have succumbed to their mind and senses. If you take shelter of money, thinking “Without money how can I function?” then you are under a fallible shield or if you take help from another, then you are under the ‘influence’ of that person. This is again another type of śaraṇāgati. However, if there is no authentic safe haven, one will exhibit improper dealings, deceitfulness and cheating, undermining the desired goal.
As you know, in the story of Karṇa and Parasurama in the Mahabharata, Karṇa had taken the shelter of Parasuramaji but because Karṇa was cheating, there was some fault on his part, he had concealed himself, he had gone there simply to learn about bows and arrows and the science of war.
[Bhamani Sharan: For the knowledge of weapons, he had gone to Paraśurāma, but he concealed himself. He went there saying “I am a brahmana” because Paraśurāmaji would only train brāhmaṇas and not kṣatriyas. Karṇa was a kṣatriya but he said that he was a brāhmaṇa. He was serving so much in that guise but this approach was like kitcharī, a mixture of motivations and cheating. As a result, he could not take full advantage of the fruits of learning, which were lost later on. When Paraśurāma came to know that “Oh he has cheated Me, even though he has served me so well, I curse him!”. Then one day when Paraśurāma was sleeping in the lap of Karṇa, there was a powerful worm, a demon named Dansha, who formerly had been cursed by a rishi, came and bit the thigh of Karna, torturing him and even as the blood was coming, he did not want to move his leg because he thought; ”I do not want to disturb my guru maharaja”, so he tolerated the pain. When Paraśurāmaji woke up He saw so much blood and He said ”What has happened?” Karṇa replied “Oh nothing just a worm”. Paraśurāma,“Oh this worm was cutting you in such a way? So much blood who are you? You are not a brāhmaṇa , a brāhmaṇa can not tolerate so much pain. Are you a ksatriya? Because any ksatriya can tolerate such pain.” Then Karṇa had to reveal that “Yes I am a ksatriya”. Paraśurāma replied, “Oh you mean you have tried to deceive Me? Ok I give you a curse that in the end you will forget all the knowledge of weaponry that you have taken from Me!”]
In the Mahabharata, Karṇa forgot this knowledge of weapons. So he died. That means if somebody just takes the outward shelter of a guru or a pure devotee, serving with some kitcharī cheating, then he cannot get the full fruit of praṇipāt, śaraṇāgati, or pure shelter.
Your thinking should not be negative, and your approach should be very positive with regard to the pure devotee. You must not have any undermining feelings that can affect your outlook, vision and actions. Taking shelter is not a game, it’s not so simple as eating a laddu. If somebody gets and achieves something, that is only because of this praṇipāt safe haven. Following such great knowledge, which burns and destroys infinite things, comes great power. Such knowledge will save you from the ocean of unlimited sins.
And what is our attitude in this process and ‘who’ are we operating under? We should not be fooled to think “Oh here is someone in the form of devotee and he is saying he is a sādhu, and is lecturing from the Gita and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam ”, but in reality is running after some sensual desires and money on the side, dressing outwardly in the guise of a sādhu. You should not waste time with such a person. But who do you look for? You must find a tattva-darshi, one who has attained pure or practical knowledge of the all the sastras. That is called jñāna, pure ethical knowledge, and vijñāna refers to the practical knowledge. The tattva darshi must be a pure devotee. Your association will train you in a particular type of jñāna. But how will you know that this is a pure devotee, because in Kali-yuga, there is so much hypocrisy? Then it is said, only when you have sat saṅga for long time, not short time, then you can understand if he is pure devotee, and that you are not.
There is a saying; guru koro jnana kere pani pure chan; It means, when you make somebody a spiritual master, you should do some research, you should study thoroughly. Is he capable of being a spiritual master or not? So many people are making or saying “Oh he is very great mahātmā, a very great sadhu, he has so much knowledge, and his lecture is very fine. So many people are becoming his disciple; I should also go in shelter of him.” No, not just like that. It is said only by knowing, and understanding in very great detail, should one make somebody your spiritual master. As you drink water, you take pure filtered water, employing a scientific method, similarly you take shelter of a master, not just simply anyone.
After long time association, what is truly in the heart of a person is known. You can examine his habits, what he does, because one will act according to his interests. Then you can understand. A tattva darshi, knows and sees the essence of something, we people, see only outward things. “Oh this ladu is very delicious; Oh I should eat this. Somebody is beautiful, handsome; we can go to see them.” The pure jñāni is not interested in outward things. He just goes deep. What is the result of this? In Bhagavad-gītā, 2.41 it is stated;
vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca buddhayo ’vyavasāyinām
Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.
What’s the meaning of this vyavasāyātmikā? It is said the tattva darshi, whose mind is vyavasāyātmikā buddhi, is situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A pure devotee has such a mind. Buddhi means mind and ekeha means one, his mind is one pointed.
And another thing here is; bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca buddhayo ’vyavasāyinām. ‘bahu-śākhā’ refers to intelligence that is many branched and ‘vyavasāyātmikā’, that of the pure devotee is fixed. A person like us or materialistic persons, who are bahu-śākhā, have what is called ‘avasatmika buddhi’. Those persons like us are ‘avasāyi’, not vyavasāyātmikā buddhi. Our minds are bahu-śākhā, many branched. Why? We desire other things. We want fame, comfort, facilities, opulences, and sensory pleasures.
Many people don’t come on my yatra because they want facilities. They think “How can one go on yatra and do tapasya?” They want some luxuries and conveniences. Many people say on there is no facility for even a latrine. You have to go outside, this is very bad. So many prefer to go on other yatras and parikramas, that are very costly and convenient, where there are so many comfortable facilities like flush latrine or even air conditioning.
So this is called avasayi, Kṛṣṇa says bahu-śākhā. These many-branched persons are avasayi. They want, “Oh, you have this or not? Do you have air conditioning or not, you have fridge or not, you have mobile or not. You have this or not?” This is bahu-śākhā. A person whose mind is one branched, wants only one thing. What is that one thing? Are there discussions of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa katha, Kṛṣṇa kirtan, or not? This is the vavasayi person, who has one buddhi. They want only Kṛṣṇa’s shelter, Kṛṣṇa katha, Kṛṣṇa kirtan. Whether you are dying hungry, or whether you are dying thirsty. Whether a doctor is available or not, they only want Kṛṣṇa katha, Kṛṣṇa kirtan. Many persons are bahu-śākhā, disturbed by many mental branches and die. And those, who are avasayi, think that we have to just fill up our belly and satisfy the hunger.
The vavasayi are satisfied with eating only two roṭis. And after eating, they are engaged in bhajan. When I first came to Brajabhumi, to Maan Mandir, I had gone to visit a very famous ‘mahant’, who was in charge of a temple. We went to take prasadam together and there were so many things there to eat, but there was no chutney. Even though there was so much variety, he chastised his servant “Why did you not bring the chutney?!” I felt insulted and did not like it, even though so many things were available, then he was very angry about the chutney, a sweet chutney, not like what we take here. This is bahu-śākhā. When they are eating, they want 50 kinds of preparations, this and that. Wherever they go, they are bahu-śākhā, their minds are distracted. Wherever they go they will look and think “Oh such and such is available, this thing or that thing”. This person is bahu-śākhā. And their śākhā, branches of desire, are always increasing, “I want this, I want that”, one subtle desire after another.
One time, one grhasta devotee from Agra went to a house of a friend. There he saw so many ‘chapals’, just hundreds of shoes. He said to his friend “Oh you have opened a shoe shop”? He said “No no no, these belong to my babi, my wife”. This devotee questioned “Why so many?” His friend replied “When she wears a green sari, then also a green bindi, green bangles, and then green chapal; red sari, then red bindi, red bangles, then red chapals; she wears various chapals according to cloth color.”
This is bahu-śākhā, complete foolishness. These foolish people cannot see beyond these finite concerns, thinking themselves very forward and progressive. In developed countries, they are running after so many externals, but they can’t see their predicament, feeling that they are advanced in a modern sense. In actuality, they are totally backward, controlled by their minds, absorbed in mundane affairs. When there is red bindi, then red chapal etc. What has happened to their mind?!
The śastras criticize such a mentality. It is said that such persons can never cross over Maya, the ocean of birth and death. It is mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatam, tenth Canto, 87th chapter, 22nd sloka:
tvad-anupathaṁ kulāyam idam ātma-suhṛt-priya-vac
carati tathonmukhe tvayi hite priya ātmani ca
na bata ramanty aho asad-upāsanayātma-hano
yad-anuśayā bhramanty uru-bhaye ku-śarīra-bhṛtaḥ
When this human body is used for Your devotional service, it acts as one’s self, friend and beloved. But unfortunately, although You always show mercy to the conditioned souls and affectionately help them in every way, and although You are their true Self, people in general fail to delight in You. Instead they commit spiritual suicide by worshipping illusion. Alas, because they persistently hope for success in their devotion to the unreal, they continue to wander about this greatly fearful world, assuming various degraded bodies.
This śloka, one of the ‘stuti’ verses, declares that the person who does not do bhajan is only left with sensual pleasures, working for the comforts and pleasures of his body. And when the body goes towards the Lord, when it is engaged in seva, then that body becomes like Kṛṣṇa. Why? Just like people touch the lotus feet of sādhus because their body is so closely related to Kṛṣṇa, similar to God. Why? Because they are leaning towards God, they are taking shelter. And it is said in this śloka, who is Kṛṣṇa, who is God? He is our most beloved; Kṛṣṇa is our most dear one. Only He can truly benefit us. He is also our Soul. And in this sloka, one who is devoted to Kṛṣṇa, leading a life towards Kṛṣṇa, then what happens? If somebody absorbs oneself in Kṛṣṇa, some special qualities manifest in him.
God or Kṛṣṇa is also waiting for us. Why is Kṛṣṇa waiting for us? He is very eagerly waiting for us, as a mother waits for her child. If a mother’s son has left from school or some other place, and it’s very late, and has not come back to the house, then the parents will very eagerly wait for their son. “Oh why hasn’t the child returned? It’s so late”. In the same way, Kṛṣṇa is looking after us, because we are His children, and we have fallen down into Maya. Our parent father, Kṛṣṇa, thinks “Oh why are My children not coming back to Me?” and waits for us in the same way.
He thinks only of our welfare, He is our Soul, so we should engage our body in His service, because He desires only what is best for us:
carati tathonmukhe tvayi hite priya ātmani ca
But unfortunately, although You always show mercy to the conditioned souls and affectionately help them in every way, and although You are their true Self, people in general fail to delight in You.
There are four qualities of Sri Kṛṣṇa. He’s waiting for us, He is our most beloved, and He makes positive arrangements for us thinking only of our welfare, and He is our Soul. This goal to attain Kṛṣṇa is all positive, so our body should go towards Him. But at present where is our body is going? It is going opposite to Kṛṣṇa, We are opposite to Him as we try to forget Him. Kṛṣṇa is immortal, but we are going towards mortal things. Our body is going towards the temporary things of this world. So it is said that except for Kṛṣṇa, except for God, nobody can be a better friend, One who brings the highest good into our life. We live in a very selfish world; everyone is running after shallow things. People should think, “I should make Him my friend”. But they say “Oh everybody is selfish in this world”.
Your best friend is only Kṛṣṇa. Only He can take care of you. The selfish persons love you only for their self interest. It is said in this Vedic stuti of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, if someone’s body is utilized for Kṛṣṇa, then he is walking on the appropriate path. And then that body becomes like the Soul, the Atma, that body works like Kṛṣṇa, and is very valuable and loved by us. But remember the second line of this sloka is very dangerous:
na bata ramanty aho asad-upāsanayātma-hano
yad-anuśayā bhramanty uru-bhaye ku-śarīra-bhṛtaḥ
Instead they commit spiritual suicide by worshiping illusion. Alas, because they persistently hope for success in their devotion to the unreal, they continue to wander about this greatly fearful world, assuming various degraded bodies.
Why it is dangerous? The reason is because not every person is engaged in service or bhajan. Also, there is the description of a person who is not engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; what is their future situation. They get a negative birth and worship a bad body. A person who is not engaged in the devotional service of Kṛṣṇa will experience the nightmare of going through 8,400,000 species, 84 lakhs of various births.
Just as women use lipstick, with so many creams and powders, decorating the face and body, they are just decorating a machine. They say, “Oh let’s wear this type of cloth, and this chapal. We should wear these type of things”. These people are called ‘asādhu pasana’, which means they are worshiping the temporary, just bodily concerns. What is the result of that? In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, it states that even though they are sādhu, they become ‘asādhu’. They wear very opulent ornaments, lockets made of gold, and their hair is very curly, cut nicely by a machine.
Even though they are sādhu, they are mostly worshipping their body. They will wear make up and fashions that even a film actor would not be interested in. I am told that on some TV channels, people are doing Bhagavat kathās are like singers, so many are decorated with golden rings. And they will say “Krsna does like that, Krsna then did like this, and then Krsna said like that”, showing their fingers with the gold ring, this kind of sādhu.
The sastra declares that these types of people, who are only sitting, living a luxurious life with all facilities, will have to wander in the 8,400,000 bodies, birth after birth. What facilities are there? If one simply decorates the body, then one must undergo repeated birth and death. Even though they can give first class lectures from Gita and Bhāgavatam, they will still go through over eight million bodies. And in these bodies there is so much fear, because those bodies are very miserable. In this sloka it’s said that this is the punishment, you have worshiped your body so much, now here is the penalty.
[Bhamani Sharan: One who decorates the body can become a butterfly in the next situation and soon the ants and worms will eat the butterfly. You decorated your body so much, then so many bad births will come your way.
Any person who is too absorbed in the comforts of the body with such decorating will get the 8,400,000 births. Most are overly distracted in the maintenance of the physical, running after temporary goals and comforts. This sloka, 10.87.22, is very important. Even great mahātmās, have said this in their Hindi bhajans as Kabhir dāsa (in Bhaktamal Nabaji has said Kabhir dāsa is an incarnation of Prahlada) has written:
mukhara khya dekhteho darpan mai tere daya dharma nehi hai man mandir may
Your heart is hard and you have no sympathy for others, so what is the use of looking in the mirror?
What do you see, why are you sleeping in front of the mirror? When people are in front of a mirror, they say “Oh just look at my face” and decorate their features. If someone has hair, he just combs like this and that. So, this is ignorance, ‘ajñāna’. Kabhir dāsa says, “Oh what are you decorating?” He is chastising sadhus in his bhajan. He was bringing attention to hypocritical sādhus. “Why you are combing your hair? This hair is like grass, coming from the body. Why do you decorate? It is nothing but grass. Oh foolish man why are you combing the straw and grass on your head?”
To see the face in the mirror is a folly, a foolish affair, and will only increase the bodily concept, ‘dehabhiman’, attachment to the temporal. If somebody is always looking, then attachment grows with respect to the body, and people begin to think “We are this body,” and when we identify with the body, we do everything in relation to the body. Constantly looking in the mirror is for fools and Kabhir repeats “Oh stupid person why are you looking at your face in the mirror, you should look inside your heart. By studying your face in the mirror, you cannot see your heart, look at what is there in the heart, there is no mercy, kindness, or anything good. Just look at the heart, not the face in the mirror”.
Now whenever you go into the house of a rich man, there are so many mirrors here and there, in the bathroom, bedroom, and latrine, in a variety of areas. Now Kabhir dāsa describes how a materialistic person thinks himself very fashionable, with so much fragrant oil in the hair. He dresses the ‘paga’ like in the western countries, people wear these hats, so Kabhirji says that they are just adorn their ‘paga’, just pamper the body.
Even modern time sadhus and Vaiṣṇavas also decorate their body “Oh I should dress like this and that”. Even devotee sādhu, they are using tilak, just as the white tilak should represent the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, but now modern sadhus go for the public ‘face impression’, “Oh the face should be very beautiful”. An impression should be made on the community, unfortunately they use tilak in this way, they don’t mediate on how “These are the footprints of Sri Kṛṣṇa and we are His servant,” with this emotion tilak should be worn. The modern sādhus reflect “Umm oh is it good or not? Is my face looking notable or not, will there be an impact upon the public or not?” We find this observation in such bhajans of the pure devotee Sura dāsa also, that many utilize the ‘sadhana tilak’ as a medium to beauty, “Is our face looking handsome?” They use tilak for ‘face impressions’, which is integral to sensual pleasure. They are using tilak in such a materialistic way.
Most persons are doing the worship of their physical. Previously, a mahatma used to come to Man Mandir, he was very very black, and he had some vina sitar with him, and because his face was very black, he used to put red powder upon his cheeks. His cheeks were actually red. Here he was doing the worship of ‘black’.
We should live a life of simplicity ‘ārjavam’, just live in a simple way. This simplicity is described in the Bhagavad-gītā 16.1:
abhayaṁ sattva-saṁśuddhir jñāna-yoga-vyavasthitiḥ
dānaṁ damaś ca yajñaś ca svādhyāyas tapa ārjavam
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Fearlessness; purification of one’s existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity.
Ārjavam refers to simplicity in a person, as it is said “Simple living high thinking”. This arjavam is the quality of a pure devotee, uncomplicated, truthful, and full of life. There was a great saint in Punjabi, whose name was Guru Nannak, who said “Truthfulness, simplicity, and honesty, this makes a person a saint”. To just decorate the body is against the principle of arjavam, against simplicity.
In Gita, chapter 13, verse 8, again ārjavam is described.
amānitvam adambhitvam ahiṁsā kṣāntir ārjavam
ācāryopāsanaṁ śaucaṁ sthairyam ātma-vinigrahaḥ
Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control;
In this sloka there are 20 features of jñāna described and then we go to verse 7:
icchā dveṣaḥ sukhaṁ duḥkhaṁ saṅghātaś cetanā dhṛtiḥ
etat kṣetraṁ samāsena sa-vikāram udāhṛtam
Desire, hatred, happiness, distress, the aggregate, the life symptoms, and consciousness-all these are considered, in summary to be the field of activities and its interactions.
Here it is shown that ‘make up consciousness’ is hypocritical, whether for a sādhu or a materialistic person, this only increases material attachment, dehabhiman, keeping us very far away from Kṛṣṇa. But the good qualities only manifest in the proper sat-sanga, the association with a pure devotee, and when there is sraddha, faith, then such good qualities will easily manifest.
Without conviction in this pranipat, so many people will make an about face and turn back. They fear the yatra and say, “OH no latrine, no facility, how can I go there?” What to do? Nowadays-aspiring sadhus are so weak, they will not go on yatra, what to speak of come to sat-sanga, without proper comforts and facilities. The modern persons have become so fragile, they say “I cannot live without air conditioning”. They think that they are very developed but actually their situation is diseased. In the Srimad Bhagavatam within the holy forest of Naimisaranya, 88,000 rishis were listening to the katha puranas by Sutaji under a banyan tree, Saunaka was also there.
What is vyavasayatmika buddhi? One, who has such a focus, perceives the essence in all situations. On the other hand, we are the opposite, avasayatmika buddhi, our mind is bahusaka, accustomed to so many distractions.
Many years ago here at Man Mandir, a man was chastising another that there was too much chili in the prasadam. He was very abusive, saying that these people are such rascals using so much chili, and a sadhu came to rectify the situation by simply adding water to the preparation.
Just like now in Rishikesh, there are so many ashrams with good facilities, but earlier there were no ashrams, only a few sadhus. And you know what they used to do? They would bring rotis, there was no dhal, no pulse, and they would mix together and eat. Sometimes they would take their rotis with subji in water, or even just take with pani only, just eating one or two to fill the belly. Now on the occasion of too much chili in the subji, they would just add water, then the heavy chili would be destroyed. If you are eating some vegetables and you find that you can’t honor because of too much chili, then if you add water the negative chili effect will go away.
The point is why should this man become so angry, so overwhelmed “Oh so much chilli, so much chilli”, and become agitated? One should in all situations adjust oneself to the conditions and atmosphere present, and tolerate. An intelligent person is one who adjusts to all situations. A devotee has this quality, that in every circumstance, he can adjust. We cannot change the society; most of the people in India eat chili, the general public is not ‘sattvic’, they are not in ‘sattva-guna’, the mode of goodness. The present collective social order is neither sattvic, nor can they attain this level.
Now also, if you don’t mix chili in the prasadam, many will become angry. “Why don’t you mix chilli in this? This is vegetable? How third class, there is no chili!” But if you don’t add, then so many Brajavasis will say, “Oh, you are not putting chili in with the vegetable?” Then on the opposite end, you always have the others who say there is too much chili.
One should not give too much concern to this body, only saints have such divine qualities of transcendence in simplicity. Only by approaching these great souls, can we imbibe these qualities. How to be always satisfied, this we should learn. If you have got something, you are content, if not, then equally comfortable. Even as you eat, you have got your needs, your prasadam, sanga, you are satisfied, and if you are hungry, then you are also satisfied. Such a mood is developed in association. In the Bhagavad Gita, chapter 12, verse 14 this is made clear:
santustah satatam yogi yatatma drdha-niscayah
mayy arpita-mano-buddhir yo mad-bhaktah sa me priyah
One who is always satisfied-self controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me-such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.
Santustah means satisfied. Krsna said this is quality of pure devotee, ever satisfied. Then in 12.15:
yasman nodvijate loko lokan nodvijate ca yah
harsamarsha-bhayovegair mukta yah sa ca me priyah
He by whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me.
One who is fixed, does not feel affected by others, does not oppress, disturb, or agitate. This is a quality of a devotee, one who is not troubled, overwhelmed, or in anxiety. Also in the second line, ‘harsamarsha-bhayovegair mukta yah sa ca me priyah’. Krsna has said, he is free from harsha, pleasure and happiness. ‘Amarsha’ means distress, ‘bhayayavegair’, fear, anxiety, ‘mukta’, free from agitation. These qualities keep us away from Krsna. Some people can become so angry and perturbed; these things are not dear to Krsna. A person who is liberated from these bad qualities, is dear to Krsna, free from material pleasure, tolerant, and without fear and agitation. In the Gita, chapter 18, verses 37, 38;
yat tad agre visam iva pariname ‘mrtopamam
tat sukham sattvikkam proktam atma-buddhi-prasada-jam
visayendriya-samyogad yat tad agre ‘mrtopamam
pariname visam iva tat sukham rajasam smrtam
That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar and which awakens one to self-realization is said to be happiness in the mode of goodness.
That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion.
[Bhamini Charan: Baba Maharaj is quoting these slokhas why? Because a sadu stood up and said “Baba, Krsna said a devotee has no harshamarsa, pleasure, “Oh there should not be harsha?”]
This pleasure means material pleasure, not pleasure of devotional pursuits. If someone is satisfied in Krsna Consciousness, one gets pleasure, which is a different kind of satisfaction. Here, in the Gita, Krsna is not discussing that kind of contentment. Krsna is referring to material pleasure, sensory pleasure.
This pleasure means material pleasure, not pleasure of devotional pursuits. If someone is satisfied in Krsna Consciousness, one gets pleasure, which is a different kind of satisfaction. Here, in the Gita, Krsna is not talking about contentment in spiritual enjoyment. Krsna is referring to material pleasure, sensory pleasure, not devotional pleasures. Krsna consciousness is a different kind of gratification.
There are three kinds of pleasures, sattvic, rajasic and tamasic. What is sattvic suka, happiness and pleasure? In the Gita, 18.37 Krsna has described sattvic happiness. That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar.
yat tad agre visam iva pariname mritotopamam
In the beginning things may appear very bad, like poison, for example, for people going on the yatra for the first time, they may feel “Oh so much heat, and barefoot we must walk, and there are so many stones and thorns”. This may be very painful, but the end result is just like nectar. By going through the dhama of Radharani, on yatra, one get rid of 84 lacs of yonis or births.
I went yesterday to Vrindavan and some women were there who were singing some melodious bhajans. They met me and they said “Baba, we don’t come in your yatra because it is too difficult to go barefoot on so many thorns and stones”. I did not say anything to them, but the acaryas declare that when you go to Brajabhumi, on Braja yatra, that if you tolerate these difficulties of thorns and stones, then you have saved yourself from tortures of hell.
[Bhamini Charan: In hell, one is tortured, but if you undergo some difficulties with thorns, stones, and heat, then you will saved from this predicament, and repeated birth and death. You will be free. And if you are enjoying a luxurious life here without remembering Krsna conscious bhajan, then you may say “Oh, I can’t live without air conditioning, I will travel by car”, living such a life immersed in sensual things thinking “I don’t want to perform austerity”, then you will have to go to hell, and experience the tortures there.]
Then there is rajas suka, rajas pleasure, as described in verse 38;
visayendriya-samyogad yat tad agre ‘mritopamam
pariname visam iva tat sukham rajasam smrtam
That happiness which is derived from contact of the senses with their objects and which appears like nectar at first but poison at the end is said to be of the nature of passion.
What is this rajas pleasure? When the material objects and the senses mix, then rajas manifests. And what is the nature of this combination? Firstly when you taste this pleasure, it looks like nectar, but it is not nectar, it is poison. As worldly people eat some delicious things, there is the full belly, eating is fun, but then indigestion and loose motions may follow. Many people who partake of unlimited sexual activity, they experience, enjoy, but invite many bad diseases like aids, and then die.
Then there is tamas suka, gratification by sleep and idleness explained in verse 39;
yad agre canubande ca sukham mohanam atmanah
nidralasya-pramadottham tat tamasam udahrtam
And that happiness which is blind to self-realization, which is delusion from beginning to end and which arises from sleep, laziness and illusion is said to be of the nature of ignorance.
They like to sleep, doing nothing, just saying “Oh, I am just resting, I have nothing else to do.” What kind of pleasure is this? This is tamas happiness.
The pleasures are of many kinds. What does Krsna prohibit? Only sensual activity, not devotional pleasure, is to be avoided. Sensual orientations are not positive.
[Then someone made a comment that people are using tilak in a duplicitous way, in a material sense. Then a Bengali Vaisnava, who had come on yatra, stood up, and said “Baba, in the Caitanya Caritamrita, it is written that if somebody doesn’t use tilak then it is against ‘Vaisnava dharma”.]
All these regulations in devotional service, one should follow, but these practices are for us, not a ‘puppet belief system of superiority’, forcing others to do the same. We may follow, but if we are criticizing others, ”Hmmn we are doing but he is not”. This will be bhakta aparadhe, looking for the faults in others. We should be very careful. In the Padma Purana, it is described that the purpose to all these rules and regulations, to do this, not to do that, is to simply remember Krsna, and never forget Him. This is the perfection of ‘vaidhi’, rules and regulations.
In Vaisnava culture, wearing tilak is there to remember Krsna. If you are not concentrating on Krsna, but seeing the faults in others, then you are making a great aparadhe. There is such a high class of pure devotees who go beyond these rules and regulations in the bhakti marg. It is written in Radha Sudhanidhi, from the Vallabha sampradaya, the Gaudiya sadhus affirm, by the famous Prabhodananda Sarasvati, about the importance of Radharani, and the pure devotees of Radharani. They are of two kinds, some are pure devotees of Krsna, and others concentrate soley on Her, as Radharani is higher than Krsna, then the devotees of Radharani are higher than the devotees of Krsna. This is also there. What is the position of the devotees of Radharani? The Radha Sudhanidhi describes how the great devotees of Radharani don’t use tilak upon their forehead or Vaisnavic markings like the shanka and chakra upon their body. We cannot estimate their position. We only think in terms of outward identification “Oh he is Vaisnavic, he is not Vaisnava”. You cannot understand the pure devotees of Radharani.
In the Caitanya Caritamrita, there was Pundarika Vidyanidhi, a pure devotee of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Caitanya Mahaprabhu had sent his devotees, headed by Gadadhar Pandit to go visit him and what did they see? He appeared to be living a very luxurious life, lying upon a very opulent bed, eating beetle, pan. And the devotees of Mahaprabhu thought “How is this, Mahaprabhu has said that he is a pure devotee, is this possible?”, but then Caitanya Mahaprabhu, knowing that they were not perceiving his position, inspired Mukunda Datta to quote some slokas from the 10th canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam about Krsna lila. And when he heard, his interior emotions manifested externally. The symptoms of prema bhakti appeared upon his person, they could then understand that he was a pure devotee. But on his outward body, there was no Vaisnavic tilak or markings, he looked like a worldly person, but inwardly he was a great saint. Therefore we cannot ‘know someone’ from the outer appearance if he is devotee or not, because it is a matter of the heart, not outward body.
In the Bhaktamal, there is story of a king, his name was Antarnistha Raja, meaning he had so much strong faith in the Lord, but kept it hidden inside, not in the public eye. Externally, he never showed any signs of devotional service, he even used to chant name of Krsna silently so that no one, not even his queen, knew that he was a devotee. He chanted harinam sankirtan, and invited sadhus to his house, but his wife was so sad that her husband-king had no faith, and was not interested in devotional service. But once, when the king was sleeping in his bed, the name of Krsna came from his mouth, she excitedly thought “Oh, listen, my husband is chanting the name of Krsna”. That morning, she arranged an ‘utsavah’ festival with great musical accompaniment. Many sounds came from the palace. When the king heard this, he asked, “What’s all this?”. She said, “Oh, I have experienced a very wonderful and mysterious thing”. Her husband asked, “What’s that? Please tell me”. Then she said, “While sleeping, the name of Krsna came from your mouth”. He said, “Oh no what? The name of Krsna came out from my mouth?!”. He was so shocked, “My devotion, was expressed outwardly before the public?” then he died and left this world. He was a pure devotee, but she could not comprehend his position.
We cannot understand others from the outward show. Many people are so hypocritical, lecturing Bhagavat katha, doing Krsna kirtan, fainting and rolling about, imitating the bhava of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, “Just see my Krsna prema, I fainted”. But in the heart there is no prema, just cheating. Then we cannot, from outward show, recognize a devotee or not. It is a matter of the heart.
As I have already told you, there is another story in the Bhaktamal where appearances give the wrong impressions. There was a pure devotee; his name was Sadhana Kosai, a butcher. He sold meat, but was so pure. He had a shaligram sila, but he did not know it was the Lord, and he was using as a weight on the scale. Whether 50kg, 80kg, according to the opposite weight, the shaligram became like that. If the meat was 1kg, then shaligramji adjusted Himself, so he was thinking “Oh this is very good stone”. But he was a devotee, even while selling the meat; he was chanting the glories of Krsna and doing harinam sankirtan.
When a Vaisnava sadhu saw this, he said, “What kind of person are you using Sri shaligram in meat transactions?” The sadhu immediately asked for the sila “You must give to me” and he took the sila away. Sadhana, being was very humble gave to him the shaligram, “Please take this”. And that sadhu brought the sila back to his house to worship. He first offered scented oil, pancamrita, dupa, dipa, puspa, and bhoga, but when he slept, Vishnu came in his dream and said “What have you done? Please return me to the Sadhana. I am pleased with his service, not by your abhishek and upacaras.” The sadhu replied “Oh, He is just using You to weigh meat!”. The Lord responded “Yes he is using Me like this, but his heart is very pure, whatever he does, I am getting pleasure from his bad habit, because he is chanting harinam kirtan. His heart is full of bhakti. You have no such pure devotion, I am not pleased with your pujas, return Me to him”. Now outwardly, even that sadhu Vaisnava could not understand from the externals of the situation, he returned the shaligram, knowing that the Lord was pleased with Sadhana.
There was also a great devotee, an old woman, named Karmabai in Jagannath Puri. She would offer Jagannathji kitchari bhoga. How? She had such love for Jagannath, she would get up very early in the morning and without taking bath, or cleaning her house, prepare kitchari for the Lord. And Jagannathaji was so pleased with her service, and in the early morning He would come to eat. But when a sadhu came to her house, he said, “What are you doing oh foolish women, you can’t offer kitchari in such a way, without taking bath, without cleaning your house?! In such a dirty condition you offer kitchari to Jagannath, you are committing a great sin, this is an aparadhe”. She replied, “Oh Maharaj, what should I do?” He said, “You should first take bath, your cloth should be washed, house cleaned, kitchen, pots, everything should be very tidy. Then you should offer the bhoga”. And when she did this, because of all the cleaning, and the fact that she was very old, the offering was always late. She would slowly slowly take bath, slowly slowly clean the whole house, slowly slowly wash her cloth, and slowly slowly clean all pots. And every time Jagannathji came for kitchari, He saw how now she is doing this, and now doing that, cleaning this and that, the offering was getting later and later.
One day the temple pujaris began to simultaneously make an offering as Karmabai, which was always on time. They would ring the bell to invite Him and Jagannath had to run away from Karmabai’s house to the temple without finishing His meal, and when they opened the doors they saw kitchari on the hands and mouth of Jaganathji. The pujaris exclaimed “Whats this? Prabhu, what has happened? We did not offer kitchari, how is it on Your hands and mouth? Which devotee has offered you kitchari and did not clean your hands and mouth?” Then at that time Jaganathji spoke to the three pujaris “My pure devotee Karmabai, prepares kitchari early every morning for Me, which and I like very much, but a Vaisnava sadhu came there and adjusted her schedule, forcing her to clean her body and care for the house, this and that, and everything has become very late. Finally when I was able to honor the kitchari, you rang your bell and I had to come back here. This is why kitchari is on My hand.” Jagannathji said to the pujaris “You should go to that sadhu and tell him to inform Karmabai to return to her old habits, not take bath, not clean anything, and prepare kitchari for Me as in the past.. I don’t like all this bathing and cleaning, in whatever condition, just prepare kitchari for me”. Then the pujaris went to that sadhu and said “Why did you adjust her schedule? Jagannath is very angry with you. He wants you to tell Karmabai “Return to your previous ways and in the same way cook as you have done before.”
What is this pure bhakti? We cannot understand, it is thing of the heart. This is shown here.
Another story from the Bhaktamal, was about Ramanuja acarya, from the Sri sampradaya, who was an incarnation of Sesa Naga. When he came to Jagannath Puri, he saw the pujaris of Jagannath were doing puja without any sastric rules and regulations. He had 1000 disciples with him, who were expert in the sastric ‘viddhis’ in deity worship.
He decided to kick Jagannath’s pujaris out from this service, claiming that they were very uneducated. So he said “I and my 1000 disciples will do the seva of Jagannathji”. And those pujaris were outside of the Jagannath temple, crying “Oh, Jagannathji, our service has been stolen, how will we make a living, what will be our profession?” It was from of this Jagannath seva, they were earning money, and it was their livelihood. So Jagannathjii, Who was very merciful, could not tolerate this, so He ordered Garudaji “When Ramanuja acarya and his 1000 disciples are sleeping, take them upon your feathers and carry them to Sri Rangam, South India”. When they were sleeping, Garuda came and placed Ramanuja acarya along with his disciples upon his body and carried them there, 1000 miles from Jagannath Puri. In the morning when they got up, they saw, “What has happened here, where is Jagannath Puri, where is Jagannath temple?” Then Ramanuja could understand that Jagannathji Himself had done this. Even though he was an incarnation of Sesa Naga, Jagannathji corrected him in this way.
This shows that all the rules and regulations of the Vaisnavic tradition are there for us only. It’s not that you should examine others in terms of following these things, or not. We should not look for the faults of others, for this is bhakta aparadhe.
[Someone asks a question…inaudible]
If you give up material desires, sensory desires, that is called ‘vadsana’, if you give up passion, then real life will be generated within, and inside others also. There you will find, infinite jnana, infinite power, infinite shakti, only lust has covers that natural ability. In the Gita, this is stated, chapter 4, verse 19:
yasya sarve samarambhah kama-sankalpa-varjitah
jnanagni-dagdha-karmanam tam ahuh panditam budhah
One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every endeavor is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker for whom the reactions of work have been burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.
[Bhamani Charan; Everything Baba is saying according to the sastras]
Summary Part 3
• This pleasure means material pleasure, not pleasure of devotional pursuits. Material pleasures are to be avoided, not spiritual gratifications.
• Sattvic happiness: That which in the beginning may be just like poison but at the end is just like nectar.
• By going through the dham of Radharani, on yatra, one get rid of 84 lacs of yonis or births. The acaryas declare that if you tolerate these difficulties of thorns and stones, then you have saved yourself form the tortures of hell.
• The pleasures are of many kinds. What does Krsna prohibit? Only sensual activity, not devotional pleasure, is to be avoided. Sensual orientations are not positive.
• Rajas pleasure, firstly when you taste this pleasure, it looks like nectar, but it is not nectar, it is poison.
• Tamas suka; gratification by sleep and idleness.
• All these regulations in devotional service, one must follow, but these practices are for us not a ‘puppet belief system of superiority’, forcing others to do the same. If we criticize others for not doing as we do, then this is bhakta aparadhe. We should be very careful. In the Padma Purana, it is described that the purpose to all these rules and regulations, to do this, not to do that, is to simply remember Krsna, and never forget Him.
• There is such a high class of pure devotees who go beyond these rules and regulations in the bhakti marg. In Radha Sudhanidhi, the importance of Radharani, and the pure devotees of Radharani is described. They are camps of devotionals, some are pure devotees of Krsna, and others concentrate solely on Radharani. Radharani is higher than Krsna, then the devotees of Radharani are higher than the devotees of Krsna.
• The great devotees of Radharani don’t use tilak upon their forehead or Vaisnavic markings.
• Pundarika Vidyanidhi: On his outward body, there was no Vaisnavic tilak or markings, he looked like a worldly person, but inwardly he was a great saint. Therefore we cannot ‘know someone’ from the outer appearance if he is devotee or not, because it is a matter of the heart, not outward body.
• Bhaktamal: The story where appearances give the wrong impressions. There was a pure devotee; his name was Sadhana Kosai, a butcher. Krsna was attracted by his harinam kirtan.
• Bhaktamal; There is story of a king, his name was Antarnistha Raja, meaning he had so much strong faith in the Lord, but kept it hidden inside, not in the public eye. Externally, he never showed any signs of devotional service.
• There was also a great devotee, an old women, named Karmabai in Jagannath Puri. She would offer Jagannathji kitchari bhoga, she had such love for Jagannath, she would get up very early in the morning and without taking bath, or cleaning her house, prepare kitchari for the Lord. And Jagannathji was so pleased with her service, and in the early morning He would come there to eat.
• What is this pure bhakti? We cannot understand, it is a thing of the heart.
• If you give up material desires like passion, then real life is generated within, inside others also. There you will find infinite jnana, infinte power, infinite shakti, only lust has covered that natural ability.