Vyasa Puja lecture given by HH Kadamba Kanana Swami Maharaja- 16 May, Nrsimhaksetra
I’m trying to extend myself, to not look for my own comfort- sometimes against good reason- to support and inspire others in Krsna consciousness and especially all of you. I for my side think that these relationships that we have are very important and I don’t see…like someone said that you’re having a relationship with me as a special person and I have a relationship with many others who are just more common to me- no, all these relationships are special to me. So basically I think that all of you are nice people- of course, you know, with some I have a special relationship! Like with Mayapur Chandradoya! But I think all of you are nice people and I think you are my friends. I don’t see it so much like…all right I happen to be acting in the position as the spiritual master but I very much consider you all my friends. Okay, sometimes we even speak of a family relationship. My point is this, is that my relationship with my disciples is not just a formality- I like all of you!
My situation is that when I came to Vrndavana in 1978 I got a lot of mercy, already before I got a lot of mercy, but then in Vrndavana it really solidified and I became a devotee. And the mood in that Vrndavana temple was so focused on Srila Prabhupada- everything was just centered on him. There was Prabhupada’s samadhi- at that time it was a small, little shed; and there was Prabhupada’s house, where we would chant japa in the winter; there was the bell of the temple and it was Prabhupada’s bell and the security had to ring that on the hour and on the half hour and Prabhupada wanted it to be on time. And it became my service to make it on time- and that was 24 hours around the clock! And they would always sleep of course, these guards, and miss the bell! And then few minutes later I would have to be there to just ring-that-bell! So in this way, somehow or other, I developed a very strong connection with Srila Prabhupada and so many senior disciples of Srila Prabhupada came and reinforced that. So, somehow or other, it wasn’t just a sentiment but I also learnt a lot about what was important to Srila Prabhupada and I tried to do my best to accept responsibility. I’ve always been like that; even at home I use to take responsibility, even as a kid.
So these things of taking responsibility for Srila Prabhupada’s mission, I think is an important factor for my life. So that might be one reason for being where I am now because otherwise of course, there is the extraordinary broad-mindedness of my spiritual master. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is known as namo mahavadanya- the most magnanimous incarnation- so my spiritual master, Sripada Jayadvaita Swami Maharaja, has that vadanya mood, that magnanimous mood. So in that spirit he said, “We need more people to take care of devotees. So you become a spiritual master…” Actually that same day, the GBC body had asked me to become the GBC body of France- they asked many times, because I speak French! Holala! So anyway, so I was on my way to him and I said to my spiritual master, “the GBC body wants me to be GBC for France.” He said, “Ag, forget that!” He said, “There’s something else I want you to do.” And then he explained that he wanted me to take disciples and become a spiritual master. And I said to him, “They want me to be the GBC for France, they don’t want me to be a spiritual master.” And it seemed just an impossible idea but somehow or other, he knew how to maneuver and how to arrange it in a very expert way. He said, “First you can be my rtvik representative!” I said, “Ah…oh…really?” I was thinking, ‘what are people going to say?’ but he was firm about it and he said, “No, we’ll just do it.” So in his last days, Srila Prabhupada started rtvik initiations for the period of the end of his life. Of course some people say that it was to go on after Prabhupada’s departure but that is wrong. Anyway, Srila Prabhupada wrote a letter on the 9th of July telling that, “From this day on some disciples can now give initiation on my behalf as rtvik.” And my spiritual master did the same- he wrote a letter on the 9th of July! And it was like a tennis game between him and the GBC and I was the ball! Anyway they came, the GBC, and they said, “Jayadvaita Swami, you can’t do this!” he said, “Why not?” they said, “It’s against the law!” he said, “Which law? Which law do you want me to follow- the written law or the unwritten law? Where is it written that I cant do this?” so they looked and looked but they couldn’t find anything! So then they let us do it for a while. So I initiated a few disciples on behalf of my spiritual master who were placed under my care.
And then a few months later the GBC body changed everything and they suddenly changed the rule, so they said, Okay even if one’s spiritual master is also still present, with the permission of the spiritual master one can also initiate. There are many examples of that in our sampradaya: Srinivasa Acaraya was initiating in the presence of his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura was initiating in the presence of his spiritual master… So it is a precedent in our tradition. Anyway I see it as the generosity of my spiritual master, not my qualification. But because of the blessing of my spiritual master I did receive the qualification, it was that blessing that made me qualified. So that is why I am here as a bona fide spiritual master in the Brahma Madhava Gaudiya Vaisnava Sampradaya.
Anyway, so I am traveling around the world looking for people that are interested in Krsna consciousness and I meet so many nice people who are interested. So our relationship has two parts to it: one aspect is that I’m acting as the representative of Krsna, I’m acting as the via medium of Krsna’s mercy. The service of the disciple is offered back up from the spiritual master to Krsna and the mercy of Krsna is coming down through disciplic succession. So in that way there is our formal relationship. So part of this Vyasa Puja is a formal duty for our purification. Disciples are renewing their commitment and the spiritual master is also being reminded of his commitment. And in this way all are being purified in such a Vyasa Puja celebration. And the other part of it is our personal relationship- our friendship, our trust that we will invest in this relationship. And from both sides we are investing in this relationship. Of course the only purpose of the relationship is to go back to Godhead this lifetime! That is what we will try for. So in this way we use our friendship to attain the most valuable goal in life. So therefore it’s actually very nice to have such relationships. I also really appreciate to have such relationships with people and people I like, who really make commitments, somehow or other to take shelter of Srila Prabhupada and of the process that he taught. And I’m sure if we just somehow or other remain faithful to this whole arrangement to the best of our ability, then everything will be successful, then surely we will go back to Godhead.
Once in Mayapur, Srila Prabhupada was giving this lecture and during the lecture he was especially stressing the need for surrender and pure devotional service and a 100%. And again and again the whole lecture was based on this theme- cent per cent surrender and then there will be success. So at the end of the lecture all the devotees were a little, “Ah…” looked a little depressed! So Prabhupada was sitting on a high vyasasana, which had steps coming down. So as he came down the vyasasana, he came down one step and he said, “90% will do.” He came down another step, he said, “even 80%.” And he came down one more step, he said, “even 70!” and he stepped down on the ground, threw his chadar over his shoulder and walked away! So surely, surely we may not be always perfect but don’t become discouraged, carry on. Somehow or other carry on and let us just carry on and go forward. I’m always ready to help; it doesn’t really matter what happened, we can just carry on and go forward again. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura said these vows of initiation are so powerful, even if we cannot always follow them perfectly still they will be successful- of course that doesn’t mean that you’re not supposed to follow them perfectly okay! Some people, you cant give them an inch! So we must try to do it perfectly. But even if somehow or other it doesn’t work, don’t worry, we’ll carry on and there will be success.
So we’ve come here together for that; we’ve come here together so that we stay together and so that we then go forward, back to the spiritual world together. And whoever gets there first has to get the rest! That’s our deal okay! In the pastimes of Dhruva Maharaja it is described that at one point that death bowed down to him, Dhruva stepped on the head of death into this puspaviman, which means “flower airplane.” And it is said that then Dhruva’s plane was going up in the air and then Dhruva was thinking about how his mother had actually given him instructions and that it was by her mercy that he was now going back to Godhead. So he was thinking, “Well, what about my mother?” and then he saw another plane and his mother was in there. So his mother was also going back. So Srila Prabhupada wrote a very famous purport there and in that purport he writes, he said, “Yes, and the same way I hope that one of my disciples will become a pure devotee of Krsna and take me back to Godhead!” So therefore I’m saying, whoever gets there first, he has to get all the others! One for all and all for one! I think in this spirit we are having this spiritual relationship and let us just take advantage of it.
I have some advantages; for one, I’m getting older now- 55 today, so looking back at a life behind me. I have some pictures and some of these pictures show myself 30 years ago in Vrndavana- I look like a kid! I didn’t think I was a kid, I thought I was very experienced! Now 30 years later, I’m a little more experienced! Therefore I hope that with the commitment to Srila Prabhupada and with the experience in spiritual life and material life and with the friendship that exists between us, that I can be of support to you in your spiritual life so that we can go back to Godhead.
Thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya!