Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi Lila, Chapter 9, “The desire tree of devotional service,” text 1:
devam vande jagad-gurum
mahabdhim santaret sukham
Translation: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the spiritual master of the entire world, Lord Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, by whose mercy even a dog can swim across a great ocean.
A devotee doesn’t think himself as a great
This is the mood of the vaisnava; he is not thinking, ‘I am so powerful, I am so great, I am so intelligent, I’m so qualified,’ but rather realising that, ‘all my power simply comes from Krsna.’ When Krsna gives, we can do so many things. When Krsna takes, then everything is gone. Why be proud of one’s brain or one’s beauty, one’s position of birth? All these things are given to us and Krsna gives to His devotees. Not only to devotees, but He also gives to materialists according to their karma. But whatever He gives to materialists according to their karma, that will break down quickly. That will just temporarily be there and then it will be gone. But to His devotees He gives lasting spiritual powers. We see that it is described that the demigods are much more beautiful than the human beings. In comparison the human beings are just a lower creature. The bodies of the demigods don’t perspire, for one thing, and there’s no dust ever clinging to their body. The demigods, they never touch the ground when they walk. So from a demigod perspective, human beings are not very attractive. But it is said that from the perspective of the residents of Vaikuntha, their beauty is nothing in comparison to the residents of Vaikuntha. Then if we look at the residents of Goloka, those residents of Vaikuntha, they look just ordinary compared to the residents of Goloka. Amongst the residents of Goloka, the gopis are certainly the most beautiful. And amongst them, undoubtedly, Srimati Radharani, is the most beautiful.
So in this way, one becomes empowered by Krsna and a devotee becomes empowered by Krsna to go beyond his material conditioning. The materialist is trying to build up his own power- take some pill, take some energy food, do some exercise and you have muscles like Hulk! And then you are very powerful. Everyone shudders in fear when they see you! You’re just walking down the street and, ‘look at those arms! Woah!’ In this way we are trying to build our own power. Of course, such powers will not last and such powers will always find a greater power. That is the nature of the material world, that no matter what we do, we will always find a greater power in this world.
So Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami is saying,
“It is by the mercy of all these vaisnavas and gurus that I attempt to write about the pastimes of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Whether I know it or not, it is for my self-purification that I write this book.” (Cc. Adi 3.5)
So one should never think that, ‘I am a great devotee.’ Just like when we are speaking, we should speak for our self-purification, we should speak and think like, ‘okay, let me say something about Krsna.’ It’s not like, ‘I now, I’m the one who’s giving the talk today, I’m going to say some really far out things and I’m going to share some real deep realisations.’ No, but let me simply describe something about Krsna and about devotional service and let that speak for itself. If we simply describe the nature of devotional service or the nature of Krsna, then that speaks for itself because that is perfectly pure and that is the potent thing. Just like who am I? Or who are we? We are just limited, very much so. Somehow or other we became involved in materialistic activities and the result is that we became covered. Our powers became covered and now we have these material bodies, which limit us very much. How much can one do with a material body? Very little, actually. So it means that we are sinful and that we have become limited due to our sinfulness. Everyone who is embodied in such a material body is sinful and as a result, has become limited. So when we take to devotional service and hear about devotional service, hear about Krsna then gradually we are liberated from this imprisoned state.
Those who are in Maya, they think that, ‘this body is a tool for my enjoyment.’ That’s illusion because this body can never supply us enough enjoyment no matter how we try. In this way or that way, to squeeze some enjoyment out of the body and it seems like, ‘oh no, I am having a great time,’ but it’s not a fact. All those who are trying to enjoy through their body are experiencing frustration. So Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami is completely aware of that. Although he was in a material body, he had come to a stage of perfection. He was so deeply absorbed in devotional service that he had become purified from material conditioning, he had become attached to serving Krsna that he had gone further, he experienced the presence of Krsna everywhere. In this way he was living in his relationship with Krsna. He was going deeper and deeper in that relationship with Krsna and he was always, always, always fixed in pure devotional service. Still he was not thinking, ‘I am not very great.’ And still he knew, ‘what can I do without the mercy of Krsna?’ Krsnadas Kaviraja, however, knew that the world was in great need. He knew that people were living in ignorance, he knew that ignorance had become the standard and he knew that people by nature are inclined to do what others do. ‘If everybody is doing it then why should I not do it? Give me one reason. If everyone’s doing it, then why should I not do it?’ Well what if everyone is in hell by the way they live, then why should you also be in hell? There’s no need for that. Then you can actually get out.
Opening our darkened eyes
Krsnadas Kaviraja Gosvami came to give this knowledge, the knowledge about pure devotional service as taught by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. So this Caitanya Caritamrta is that description. Krsnadas had not personally been on the planet or in the association of Caitanya Mahaprabhu but he had heard from His devotees. Hearing from the pure devotees is the same. In that way we also, through them, approach Krsna, through them we can see Krsna. When one is following the directions of the pure devotees then one is connected to Krsna. If one is engaging in activities under the direction of the pure devotee then these activities are accepted by Krsna and then in that way we are also directly connected with Krsna although we can’t see Him. But then through that service, gradually the ignorance becomes destroyed. Prabhupada use to say that one can see Krsna but it’s just like when you have cataract. Cataract is a disease where something grows over the eye and covers it and someone like that goes blind. But someone can take it off; they can operate there and then you can see again. So Prabhupada said, in the same way you can see Krsna but now you are blind due to ignorance. If that ignorance is removed, then again you can see, literally see. So this is the difficult state of Krsna consciousness where we cannot see. That’s the most difficult state.
But still, by hearing we can also experience and we get a better quality of life because one who is trying to engage in materialistic activities is getting caught up either in lust… and then when you get caught up in lust then so many things need to be done just to satisfy sex desire. So many complications arise from that. So lust is not an easy thing and it’s never satisfied. So then one goes for stronger activities. That’s the nature of things and therefore gradually one becomes degraded and engages in more degraded types of sex. Greed- the same thing, money, money, money! We see so many people, they work so hard to accumulate a lot of money and then a big wall around it, arms and everything to protect it, to fight to keep that property. So in this way one becomes obsessed. All these things obsess us. With lust one becomes obsessed, with greed one becomes obsessed, with anger one becomes obsessed. A devotee gradually becomes free from this obsession- not overnight- but gradually does become free from this obsession.
Staying free from material anxiety
Well, even if we don’t become completely free in the beginning, at least we can’t take it so serious anymore. How can you take these material things so serious? Money, money, money…okay but everything has a price. We would like money if they would come and drop it off on the door step. That would be nice! The problem is that you would have to slave for it and sell your soul to the devil for the money. That is the problem. Then you’ll get it. You will have to do so many things that you don’t want to do and then you’ll get your money. Some people go for the shortcut and go for crime but then you’re at high risk. You can be killed at any moment, jailed any moment and all these things. So then there’s that- the high risk. So it all has a price, everything has a price and the price is not worth it. That is the thing.
So a devotee comes to the conclusion that, ‘all right, let me just be satisfied with something more simple.’ So if you can be satisfied with simple living, then it is much easier and a lot easier. Some are taking to devotional service and then they go and try for a while to sort of experience what it’s like to enjoy in the world. But they become frustrated because that is the nature of the material world. Devotional service is nice. In the beginning you test it out and you say, ‘well, the kirtana is not bad. Yes, this Caitanya Caritamrta, the Bhagavatam is deep, there’s good knowledge there, prasadam- it’s good’- and in this way we are experiencing some taste, undoubtedly. But there is more- there is much more! There is the taste of becoming very active in changing the world, in changing the lives of other people- that is a level of juice that keeps us going. And if you become obsessed with that, if you get in the fire of passing on the mercy of Krsna to others, then actually you realise that it gets better. Then we become more and more free from all the remnants of this lust, greed, anger, illusion, envy… all these things that just hound us. People are actually pushed, pushed by these things- everybody. It’s just driving people, it’s just tirelessly whipping them along. Lust is like a whip, (dramatic), ‘Go! Go! Go!’ we are whipped along the path and so many things it forces us to do.
So devotional service is liberating us and that brings us to a point where we are just free. When one is free from material desires then it is very peaceful. Then there is no anxiety. When we have so many material desires, then, ‘anxiety! Anxiety, anxiety! It’s not happening! I’m trying to make it happen but it’s just not happening and I don’t know to say! It’s like I don’t know why, it’s not fair! And others are getting it and why am I not getting it? This is just too much!’ and we just gradually become really, really angry. ‘This is just too much! It’s unfair!’ So we have to see this very clearly, we have to see that people are not free, people are obsessed and it’s not nice to be obsessed. Like I use to smoke cigarettes and the thought of waking up without a cigarette was unbearable and the idea that I would have to wake up in the morning and not have a smoke to begin the day, that was too much! So I was ready to walk five kilometres to a machine to get cigarettes so that I could like at least wake up in the morning. Insane! And that’s addiction. All material things are addictive. It’s addictive and locks us in more and more because there is the hope to be happy in the material world. We hope that, ‘somehow or other I will be happy.’ This is Maya!
So a devotee is not hoping that, ‘I’m going to be really happy in this world.’ No. A devotee is also not desiring to suffer. It’s not that a devotee is thinking, ‘let me suffer in the material world.’ No. A devotee is trying to live a decent life and everything okay- nice food, nice place- as much as possible, of course, but not at a very high price. Not at the price where it takes so much energy. That’s not worth it. We can make some endeavour to live in a decent place but if it becomes too difficult then oh well, what to do; we will just sort of make the best use of a bad bargain. And we can’t bargain so much with that. Like I can have this chadar or I can have that one or this jacket or that jacket- at the end of the day, oh well, we try to stay warm and sort of something that’s a little comfortable. That’s enough. How many things do we need? So one has to look at that. We have to look at what drives us in our lives. Devotees cannot just be blind. Devotees must know that we are conditioned souls. So because we are conditioned souls, we are not liberated souls, we are being driven by lust, greed and all these things but it’s not intelligent. One should control it with intelligence, one should choose and say, ‘so much yes, and not more than that.’ The less we get involved with these things then the better life gets.
My boss is Krsna
Sannyasis have the best time! Yesterday one of the students was saying like, ‘how is it possible that you are a disciple of Jayadvaita Swami? I mean you are so different!’ No, we are not. We are not different at all! We’re both sannyasis, we’re both staying out of trouble…oh yes, we are very much the same. Okay we may be speaking in a different way- one may speak karate and another one may sort of like give it to you straight in the face! But sometimes I can speak like very sweet and then you think like, oh, we’re so different. But we are not so different because we both decided that it’s really smarter to stay out of all this entanglement. Why bother trying to have a nice situation in this world? It’s not going to be nice enough. And we are convinced about that, very, very sure about that. No matter what you do, it’s not going to be nice enough. Therefore we became sannyasis and forget it, we are not going to bother with all this. And sannyasi means being free, be free for Krsna. I don’t have to go to work at 9 ‘o clock or 8 ‘o clock or 7 ‘o clock and put on a tie and a suit- forget it! I don’t have a tie and a suit- no way! I don’t have to wear shoes that are too tight, the whole day! Forget it! I don’t have nothing like that. I don’t have to say, ‘Yes boss, sure boss, whatever you say boss, haha boss, how nice boss…’ no way you know! My boss is Krsna and that’s it! And to Him I say, yes whatever You want. That’s the better way of life and anyone can have it, no problem. But then you have to preach, preach Krsna consciousness. If you simply preach Krsna consciousness and you live it then you live just that, just Krsna and nothing else. Then people will give you more money than a PhD will ever get! That’s the way it goes- you get everything.
Someone was interviewing Prabhupada and saying, ‘So, you’re driving in such an expensive car?’ and Prabhupada said, ‘you will also like to drive in such a car, isn’t it? You can, but then you have to give up sex life!’ Then he shut up. So like that, we can see that the more we just dedicate ourselves to serving Krsna, the more people simply will become impressed. Not everyone but some people will become so impressed and they will just support us in whatever we do. So there’s no anxiety, no anxiety. Like I don’t have a health insurance but I’m not too worried about it. In South Africa especially I don’t have to worry about it because when I am not well, a doctor comes to my room, pays obeisances and if I need an X-ray, then he takes me to the hospital, takes me in front of all the queues and get helped immediately- I don’t have to wait and go right through- he takes me back in his Mercedes and offers his obeisances and says, ‘I’ll get back to you with the results!’ (Laughter) So all we have to do is preach Krsna consciousness actually and that is our insurance, that is our security, that is the best security. What other security is there? Krsna is the best security.
A devotee has to choose smartly
Not everyone is ready to do that right away. That’s okay. Then you can do something in the material world- get a degree and then find yourself a material situation, which is comfortable but don’t do anything that harms devotional service. No sinful activity, no not all. So certain jobs are out and that’s obvious. There are many professions in the world that are compromised, what can be said. People make their money off sinful activity and of course, it’s hard to avoid. For example, if you take a job in DHL then you can’t avoid it. Sometimes you are just going to have to ship some things that are sinful. So in this way you get compromised. If you work in a hospital then you have to serve meat in many departments, if you’re a nurse etc. So many professions get compromised. Someone here in Pretoria came to me and said, ‘I got offered a job where I can earn three times more than I’m earning now. Should I take it?’ Well tell me more about it…They said, ‘well, I’m basically just doing the office work…’ So I asked what is the business? They said, ‘Arms- weapons.’ Well…that’s not a very clean way to make your money, by selling weapons, obviously. It pays well but then you also get karma. It’s not just that you can have that job and that, ‘it’s my profession so what can I do? I’ve got to live…’ No, no, no, you get karma at the same time. So one has to be careful in choosing a profession in this world and all the sinful things, they pay more.
So a devotee has to be smart. Everyone wants something but we have to be intelligent. We have to look at like, ‘okay, I need some money if I want a few material things…’ It’s not forbidden for a devotee to have an I-phone or something even better than that. If you want a sexy phone, that’s okay you can have but not at the price of sinful activity. That’s how it is. If you want a little snazzy car, sure you can have it or even a big one- you can have, no problem. But not at the price of sinful activity. And that’s a little difficult in this world because the better paying jobs are usually a little compromised. There are people working in a nuclear power plant and it’s not really very pious; a nuclear power plant is a kind of a very destructive thing! The radioactive waves are killing a lot of the planet. One who works there shares in the karma. So it’s better to avoid.
We see that story of King Nrga, he was very, very pious and his life he was giving away charity and he gave away many cows to brahmanas and this that. And one time he gave away a cow and because this cow was attached to home, somehow or other the cow walked back to the King’s stables (or whatever) and joined the herd of the King. So he didn’t know that he had already given away this cow to the brahmana. Then he gave the herd away and this cow was a part of it. So effectively he gave the same cow twice to different brahmanas then both the brahmanas came and said, ‘we want our cow.’ And then the King came and said, ‘Oh my God, this is a mistake, it’s an accident, what can I do? This cow just wandered back and anyway what I’ll do is, I’ll give you both a 100 000 cows with gold plated hooves and horns. I’ll give you that instead.’ And both the brahmanas said, ‘no, no, we want our cow.’ Why did they do that? Because the brahmanas wanted to make sure that the King could not touch the property of the brahmana, under no condition, and to make sure that that standard was maintained. That is Vedic scripture.’ So they didn’t agree to a compromise because otherwise some king can take the property of the brahmana and say, ‘oh, I’ll give something else.’ No. So at the end of his life Yamaraja was asking the King what he wanted first- the result of his pious activities or the result of his impious activities? And he said, ‘I’ll take the result of my impious activities.’ So then for giving away this cow twice, he had to become a lizard and he was a lizard for that. Then later because of all that pious activities he was delivered from that lizard existence by Krsna and Krsna’s sons found that lizard in a well, they tried to get him out, they couldn’t take him out and then they called their father. This Krsna came and this well was about 10 meters deep and Krsna just stretched His arm and it became 10 meters long. He grabbed the lizard, pulled him out and then he got a celestial form and told the whole story.
Better to be poor and pure
So even in profession, even in what we do on a professional level, we get reactions for it. That is interesting. So if we get involved in the world and if we want some things of the world, then we have to also be very careful. The more we take shelter of Krsna, the more easier it becomes and the more simpler it becomes. Automatically there’s no sinful activities, automatically you don’t have to worry and you don’t get involved in any reactions. Everything is auspicious all the time. Krsna can save us from these reactions. Let’s say we do some material things and also spiritual things, if Krsna is sufficiently pleased with us then He can save us from these material reactions and for that we pray. It’s a little risky…
So better to be poor and pure than rich and compromised! But that takes strength of character, then you have to be very strong to say no. Not that, ‘because everybody is getting it and I also want.’ Like Shakespeare said, ‘the deep, dark, sinful things that are behind great possessions…’ what can we say? Like when you’re in the process of becoming very wealthy then what can you do? When it comes to profit then, what to do? Sometimes what can be done? You have to just take it. In this way devotees are choosing a pure life and in order to help that, Prabhupada had the idea that devotees should live together in communities. Actually Prabhupada started many communities and these communities were all based on putting Krsna in the centre and everyone would just live simple in their community, together serve Krsna and in this way they could live a pure life. But then after some time, the leaders of the communities, they were not mature enough, they didn’t have enough love in their heart…A leader must be by nature a very kind person who is always thinking of how to look after others and to help them. Not that help means to give them everything they want but help also means to sometimes say no but a principled leader who is kind and compassionate. Such leaders were missing and they didn’t always look after people. Then people lost trust and they said, ‘no we don’t want to live in these communities anymore, we want our own place where no one can touch us.’ And then the communities broke up. But actually, Prabhupada initially started communities. You get farms and everyone was living on Krsna’s farm in small cottages (or whatever), serving Krsna. Now because the trust broke down and because the leaders are not mature, now the second best model is villages, where people have their own little property but live together in communities. But then everyone has to make his money and may get compromised. Still it can work also…
Like I have a group of disciples in the Czech Republic and they have started a prasadam business. They package prasadam and sell it and they all moved into a village. One of those villages where there are no more young people. Houses are cheap because everyone moved to the city. And they moved back to that village and they are producing prasadam, which they sell and more and more devotees are moving into the village. They bought the local bar on the corner and they are changing it and turning it into a temple now. We’re going to open it on Janmastami! So like this, where are we going to go next in South Africa? Pretoria is nice, you can have a little bungalow and a picnic on the grass and we can make samosas and have a good time! The ladies are well engaged in the right occupation! But how does it go on after this? So somewhere along the line we need some community but then we need saintly householders because the renunciants can’t look after communities. They have to be free. The sannyasis must be free, they cannot be bogged down. They must just be free to come and go and preach and not like get all kinds of people who are saying, ‘This one is saying this to me and that one is doing that and we are having a big problem and we need to start a solution and we need help…’ For that you need saintly householders who will solve the problems and look after. Sannyasis don’t bother with these things. Forget it! They just preach the glories of Krsna, the glories of devotional service that set you free. And by being free they can encourage others to become free and that’s the best way to live. Therefore the first option is that you all become sannyasis and the ladies, they can take up university preaching and then the sannyasis can come and visit the university programmes. (Laughter) That’s a good idea!
So Krsna consciousness is a great philosophy that makes sense, it is about being liberated from suffering due to obsession, it is about preaching Krsna consciousness and in this way inspiring people and we have to find a way to live according to what we need. So sooner or later you have to make a plan and you have to decide, ‘what do I want?’ and then make a plan. You have to ask yourself, ‘how much do I need in the world?’ and then accordingly make a plan to keep it clean and pure- for those who cannot be sannyasis. What to do…but a few should try, why not? And those who want a member of the opposite sex, they got to get married because they’ve got to take care and good family life is the basis of peaceful society. Broken family means moral standards, ethics gone- out of the window. You can see in Africa also: when the tradition culture was in place, there was marriage and there was a much more stable situation. But then, urban life began, people moved to the big cities and all the values just broke down and what do you get? A city jungle!
Well, I’ll stop talking now because I talk too much…so any feedback from the floor?
Question: Hare Krsna Maharaja. Thank you for the nice class. As you were speaking I was thinking about a recent experience I had in Cape Town. I went to my agent and she said, ‘we’ve got a great job lined up for you and you just have to do it for 3 months and you’ll get R 48 000 just from 3 months!’ and it’s part time not full-time at all. So I was so excited, I thought yeah I can pay off my student loans! Krsna you’re amazing! And I get to the office and she said, you just have to promote this alcohol brand…! She thought I was crazy because I said no and I did sink in a weeks depression because I’m not so elevated that I can say I did this for you Krsna…also one week before Ratha Yatra I was stuck to get a ticket to Durban so I got a promotion to shoot a food show but it involved eggs in it and I’m ashamed to say it but I did shoot it because I needed a ticket to Durban…but why does it hurt so much to do the right thing for Krsna? And the second question is, if we are going to use the money for devotional service like going for Ratha yatra, does it lessen the effect of karma?
Maharaja: Ya, well, obviously the world is demoniac and they are designing it. Study loans are designed to enslave people. There’s a strategy behind it; it’s not only that they want to help you finish your studies, but they want to lock you in and therefore, ‘take the study loan, take the study loan,’ and then you’re locked in and you have to slave for so many years and be submissive because you got a big debt. So in this way, ‘we got you!’ So the system is in this way enslaving people. ‘We like debt, debt is great! The more debt, the more loans people have, the better it is!’ because basically people become slaves. It’s modern slavery. If you think slavery has been abolished, it has not. It’s just presented in another way called study loan. So naturally you felt the oppressing pressure of that money and think like, ‘woah! In one shot I can knock a big hole in it!’ and you smelt freedom! ‘Freedom! Freedom!’ and then you were like dancing all the way and then you saw behind that ticket to freedom, the smiling face of the devil, who said, ‘just advertise this little thing…just sell your integrity here, for the money.’ So no, what can we do? We live in this crazy, modern world but take some more time to get rid of this study loan, eventually you will get rid of it, don’t worry about it and don’t get compromised. Okay that’s part one. Part two, the eggs…
You can disguise yourself at the end of life with a moustache and you can say, ‘Yamaraja, it wasn’t me!’ And you have to do some real acting on that day!’ I wish you lots of luck! In this one you’re on your own, I can’t sign off on it. In the beginning sometimes these things happen but we shouldn’t do it again.
Okay, next? Savya…
Question: (Reiterated) What happens when a devotee uses money for his religious work that has been given by someone else who earned it through sinful work?
Maharaja: Every work is covered by some fault and you cannot give it up. That’s true. But just like, to choose for it, you know what I am saying…like if he works at DHL and there’s a shipment of some stuff which is not exactly within the four regs, then okay what can you do? But if you choose for a contract, then it’s already a conscious choice. So that’s difficult. If you choose to have a job to serve meat then you’ve chosen for it. But if you work in a company that also does something like touches these activities then what can you do? When I was a kid, my father was in textiles and producing textiles. There was this big factory. So when I was a kid, he put me in a suit and he took me to the factory and everyone was like treating me as the kid of the boss, so I enjoyed it! I got a full tour of the factory- everything. But when it came to the point where the wool was coming in, I saw all this blood on the wool! And I never thought of that, I never thought that textiles was something like compromised. So I was shocked because it was quite some blood, not just a little! I thought textiles were clean but it wasn’t so clean after all. It shocked me actually when I saw that.
So yes, every work is a bit compromised and you can’t avoid it altogether, that basically what it means. Every work is covered by some fault; you can’t avoid it. But still the principle better be poor and pure than to be rich and compromised.
Now what about the Swami, who gets a donation from the drug dealer or from the butcher? We see in traditional, Vedic culture, money would not be taken from any impure source. The preachers of Lord Caitanya, they may take things from people but if they really know that it is from an impure source, they may not take it. Like if you know it’s all drug money, then let it go. Sometimes drug money, made its way to Prabhupada and obviously it’s like so much of drug money around. But when Prabhupada found out about it then he didn’t approve and he said, ‘no we shouldn’t take this.’ So even those who live off donations must be a bit careful. But if there is a fault in the work because the company is touched by some fault- every company is touched by some fault- that gets purified and that we accept. That’s all right. But if money smells like crime, we don’t take it. The criminal is trying to buy some good karma, no thanks it’s okay. We don’t take it, even if it’s big bucks.
If you advertise in the airlines…for example, one brahmana can come and say, ‘how can you advertise the airlines because they serve such impure things? You cannot do that either.’ But that you can do, you can advertise that. It’s not direct and we all fly in airlines so what can be said? But to directly stand up and say, ‘this is okay.’ No. Like, if you advertise the airlines, you are not really advertising meat but you are advertising flying. But if you’re advertising eggs and you hold it in your hand and paint a face on it and all the kids are like (dramatic)…then that’s not okay because you are directly advertising the impure activity. But advertising airline…it’s obviously touched by the fault…
Question: Maharaja you were speaking about service and committed to being just Krsna’s servant. Also sometimes you are taking service without consultation. Are you able to do what you want?
Maharaja: Well, when we are new then we should kind of for a while be ‘Mr, Miss or Mrs Surrendered Soul’ and just sort of do everything so that we can become a servant. But then at one point we can develop a particular service that is suitable for us and that is needed and that we are good at. Then we cannot just accept any other service. So then sometimes you just have to say no. Like, if someone becomes a book distributor then there’s no need for him to spend a lot of time cleaning the time or something. Say no, go that same time out on book distribution. That’s more important. So as we are getting more experienced we may get a little more selective about our service and just specialise in a particular field. But in the beginning you have to learn to do some service, whatever it is- yes! One should not say no too quickly to service. We should always think it’s a gift, it’s a great opportunity, it’s mercy that I’m allowed to do this. Can I do it? Okay, I’ll do it. If it interferes with more important service then we should not do it. Like you can see I do nothing- I eat, sleep and I talk- that’s it, nothing else. And you must be saying, ‘God you know, can’t you even do something else? Cook his own chapatti?’ No, I don’t even do that. Nothing! (Laughter)
Comment: Like yesterday I was telling Maharaja, ‘you always do so much of kirtan.’ And maharaja says, ‘yes, any other suggestion?’ and I was thinking that’s so clear, what you do. When you say we must surrender to it, like in the Mela, my name was there and I had to…
Maharaja: Yes, that happens to me too. Like I’m not a kirtana machine and then sometimes it’s very difficult and it’s announced that, ‘Kadamba Kanana Swami will lead an ecstatic kirtana,’ (laughter) give me a break you know! I’m not a machine, you know. You can’t order an ecstatic kirtana, it comes on its own. Sometimes it’s an ecstatic one and sometimes I don’t want to lead kirtana, that also happens. Anyway we live in the world…in the traditional world a sannyasi would just go into the forest and come out of the forest whenever he wanted. He was all by himself and with Krsna. But now we have a preaching mission so we are working together with others for the sake of pushing on this movement. So then you have to adjust sometimes and be what Satsvarupa Maharaja used to call, ‘the dancing bear.’ A sannyasi has to be the dancing bear, ‘dance bear! Dance!’
Question: (Reiterated) Maharaja, I forget which philosopher it was but he said that one should work and then pray because everything depends on God. So, when we are making some plans to do some service we want to do something nice for Krsna…we do all the small arrangements but at the same time we are dependent on Krsna. We make our plan in devotional service and then we pray please help me this, and then oh, I got into trouble with this…it feels like we are bothering Krsna. So how do we go about in making our plans in devotional service?
Maharaja: Well, we have all our limitations and it depends how powerful we are in inspiring others. Prabhupada always spoke about lazy intelligence. Prabhupada said that in his youth he got involved in a soccer team and Prabhupada said that he became the goalie because he was too lazy to run around! He said, ‘I always was lazy,’ and he would speak in favour of lazy intelligence, which meant, inspire others to do. So the more we can inspire others to do, the better it is, because if we ask others to do things for us, that’s very good because people cannot chant Hare Krsna the whole day. Who can do that? But they can help to do something practical, they can help to put on a program in the university. That they can do. But who can chant Hare Krsna the whole day. 16 rounds is like, siiiiixxxxteeeen rounds! So in this way it’s very good that we create many practical engagements for people. It should not become an over endeavour where we try to take on so much and that we ourselves start to neglect our rounds and our reading and our hearing and chanting. That we must always protect and when that gets affected, then we are over endeavouring. Of course everybody does that; like me, I sometimes get so busy and then get so exhausted by all the activities and then I have no more energy to chant properly. And then I know that okay now I over did it, now I went too far. So the nature of living in the material world is that sometimes we get out of balance. As soon as you notice it then you have to somehow return to do that good balance. There’s no such thing as being situated in a balanced position. It doesn’t exist. One has to always go back to a balanced position. That comes from experience then we learn to look at all our interest, not just at one thing but at everything. Preach up a storm but also reserve some energy for good sadhana. How to balance? It’s not easy. I speak for myself, it’s not easy.
Like I did Ratha Yatra, I forgot what I did before Ratha Yatra…I did something in Cape Town- I forgot it but it was busy- and then I got into the Ratha Yatra. Then after the Ratha Yatra I crashed for one day, which everybody does. Then I did a program and went to a meeting, then I had a birthday and then I drove to Ladysmith, which is far, because I’m crazy and back the next morning! And then I went to a National Council meeting because I’m crazy! Then there was this Kirtana Mela and Savyasaci was there and he is also crazy! He started to sing like in such a crazy way and Vraja Vallabha was playing mrdanga and he was also playing in a crazy way! And the kirtana went crazy! Then I was totally finished and people wanted to see till 11’0 clock and the next morning I left at a quarter to five because I’m crazy! Flew to Johannesburg, did a Sunday Feast in Lenasia then drove straight to Soweto and did another Sunday feast there. And I told Mahaprabhu that I’m not going to do a rocking kirtana but I did one because I’m crazy! Then at the end of that Sunday Feast, Svaha told me that she wanted to have a Ratha Yatra meeting and I told her that she was crazy! And I crawled, crawled to the car! And on Monday, tired was not even the word. I knew I had overdone it! And now I’m in Pretoria and I’m trying to keep cool and therefore today, I don’t care that the university program is really great, I’m not going! I’m sending my servant, Jananivasa, he’s really good and it’s good for him too and good for me too- I’m staying home! I’m not going to Soweto, I’m not going anywhere the whole day! Because I’m not crazy! (Laughter) I try to keep a balance in my life.
Okay thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya!