SB 2.9.7
….One time Tamal Krsna Maharaja said to Srila Prabhupada he said: “Srila Prabhupada I am simply a fool, I do not know what to do- please instruct me” And Prabhupada wrote back: “That is very good that you are saying that you are a fool. Because as long you are consider yourself a fool I can instruct you” So whatever humility in that statement of TKG was real or whatever was hollow that was left in the middle, but in Prabhupada’s reply he put it right down on the line – this is indeed right if you are really a fool; if you really understand that you are a fool than I can instruct you. So in this way Lord Brahma was different from us due to his great piety. He did not have all this contamination of independence, this puffed-up concept of the self. That of course we all have. Ah we are all terrible proud.
Terrible proud. The most of us Europeans, and Europeans are amongst the chosen nationalities of the world. Sweden- the ancient aristocratic nation, monarchy, for sure Sweden is with it. In Scandinavia everyone knows that Sweden by far traditionally is the most civilized country compared to the neighbors. Everyone knows that. This is the more cultural place. It is in the history books. Right. It feels good. It feels comfortable. It fits. Yes naturally I am from Holland, well, yes such a small country but what influence in world, you see- the people of Holland…It fits. It fits. Germany- efficiency, efficiency personified, yes. German efficiency never fails. I am glad about that I must say I appreciate it very much, but of course only Krsna is infallible. That is a fact. Just see, and of course- India. Yes, yes, Vedic culture, ultimately all other nationalities are fallen from the proper spiritual principles and do not have the samskaras, so what can we say; they are mostly mlecchas and so on… So everyone has an ample reason to be proud of something, we have, and it is deep. It is very, very deep. What to speak of our swimming diplomas, our drivers license, our- you know, all the other attributes. Yes, yes I was in the boys scouts and I had two stripes if anyone questions- two OK! That was pretty up there. In other words anything that adds to our glory we have not forgotten, we have not forgotten. Yes.
So it takes time, it takes time to actually become a disciple, and that is not a small thing. For Lord Brahma it may have happened at the time of initiation, but for most of us it takes a little longer. That may be the conclusion: We take the initiation-good, but than to become the disciple-phew that becomes quite the challenge and gradually we begin to realize what we have done. What have I done? What have I promised? What did I do? ………………Any questions or comments?

Devotee Q: We have no difference from the spiritual master in interest, but still we cannot imitate. Could you comment?
Maharaja : We have no difference in interest but we cannot imitate. Of course, we have to simply serve him; whatever is important to him is important to us. But we are we and he is he, right. And there is the difference between our spiritual qualification and even in our nature. I saw disciples that started to sport the same sunglasses as the spiritual master that started to walk in the same way and so on; that became the cat copies of Guru Maharaj. That is ahankara- imitation. Imitation may be in that we are trying to imitate his level of Krsna consciousness, not only externally in behavior, but that we even try to imitate of what we think his level of advancement is and act just as advanced. But one cannot act, be artificially advanced. One must be simply a servant and serve whatever is held in high esteem by our spiritual master. That is what we should do. So anukara anusara to follow, to serve. So we just serve whatever our spiritual master thinks is important that becomes important to us. But we remain ourselves; we use everything we have to serve……….. And we may be good at something our spiritual master is not good at. Nice, than we can use that in the service but for what our spiritual master says is important. And he may be good at something we are not good at, al right, then we just stand there and say: “I know I am a hopeless servant but anyway I will try to help. Please accept my service.” So we just use our own nature to serve what is pointed out to be important by our spiritual master- As simple as that. It is not complicated.

Devotee: If we are a candidate for initiation, if one does not have protection, does not have spiritual master, but still one feels one needs a protection and to take shelter of spiritual master. What to do?
Maharaja: One should understand that protection is already there. The protection is provided. First of all Srila Prabhupada provided by creating this ISKCON, it is a huge protection, huge. So the spiritual master helps us further more to become properly situated in ISKCON. So the first thing that the spiritual master says is: “Get properly situated in ISKCON.” That sometimes is difficult, because some people can only get on with spiritual master and not with anybody else. That won’t work. So we must learn to take shelter of ISKCON and devotees in ISKCON. The spiritual master cannot be the one to day to day basis be there with us; with support instructions and an e-mail a day keeps maya away, approach, He is really not going to work. It has to be that we become spiritually self-sufficient that we learn ourselves how to be inspired. It is not difficult. If you are serious about the morning program, if you, if we are serious about chanting good rounds, if we are serious about regular reading than you will feel some spiritual strength- it is really that. That is the first prerequisite. And if we start neglecting those things after a while we start to feel it. Sometimes we notice that we start to feel a little overburdened, but actually we realize; “Well maybe I should put some more energy in it, in my chanting; improve my chanting once again, get more serious about my sadhana”. That is the first thing.
So everyone has to himself do something about his own spiritual ups and downs. Cannot be- as soon as we feel little bit going down that we send of an e-mail: “Help!” sirens yelling and sign pops up on the screen of Guru-ji who has to sit a whole day behind a computer (typing sound) answering e-mails, and in this way neglecting his own chanting and his own reading. Therefore I know I am not so good at e-mail, but I always if I somehow or other missed your e-mail, whoever it is, then at least know that I am reading. So maybe I should get a sign there: “Sorry- reading now, cannot answer your e-mail” at least I am reading- that helps. Because if we just sit there whole day and just read e-mails, boy, is this the most horrible thing. So we are protected already, we already have it.

The spiritual master, yes, he will give us some protection and support, but that is not his main function. His main function is to help us develop the vision- the vision of where we are going with our life. The spiritual master is the visionary. Sannyasi is the head of society, of the varnasrama system, he is meant to give the vision; where are we going, what is my goal, how to progress. Yes when major difficulties appear he may be consulted, but he cannot be consulted on the basis of constant, you know the emergency department. And we just every time we feel a little difficulty we call an ambulance to bring us in. No, we must learn to deal with things ourselves and to take shelter of the devotees also- Because our problems are not so special.
Our problems are the same like everybody else’s problems. Our problems do not need such a special, special, special solution. If the spiritual master is a specialist in compare to the doctor- a specialist, most of our problems can be solved by the general doctor and there are plenty of those around. Senior devotees are very qualified to give us the support. So we must open up to the senior devotees and take their advice and guidance. And then we do not always need the spiritual master to sort of be there as the flying doctor. You know- flying up here he is quick, quick, quick. And that the spiritual master… I call it the slow leaking bicycle tyre syndrome. It is like when the tyre is slowly leaking you can still pump it up and you can keep on riding. So each time when the air goes out, you just pump it up and that you can still go further. So on your bicycle you just have a bicycle pump on the back, and when the tyre goes little flat you pump it again and you keep on riding. So in this way the spiritual master comes in like a flying doctor with his bicycle pump and pumps up the slow leaking tyre of our enthusiasm: “Quick, quick, quick… (Inflating sound)” “Yes I can go again for a mount” “OK, good, someone on the other side of the world…. Quick… ok that was…” I do not think really that that is what the spiritual master should be doing.
I think that we ourselves if we notice that our tyre is slowly leaking we should put that tyre in the bucket of water and see where the bubbles are and stick a piece of rubber on top. We have to do. We have to find a fault in our own spiritual practices and fix it. And if we cannot find it well then ask senior vaishnavas and they will tell you. “It is there, see” …. They say. “There is a hole this big, a huge hole.” And put a good piece of rubber on top with super glue and it will never come up again and just chant that Holy name and everything will be fine

Devotee: How essential is for female disciples to personally serve the guru?
Maharaja: Yes that is the always the friction point, because the female disciples they have a handicap that the guru is male, and we have so many restrictions in the interaction between men and women, so it is a problem. There is a fundamental difficulty in the relationship, because one wants intimacy and yet one is by dharma bound to keep distance- So how to deal with that? It is an ongoing friction point. Because of fundamental things, it is an ongoing friction point. On the one hand because ladies are already restricted, they cannot just walk into the room and sort of chat, as between man it may sometimes go like that, little bit of casual association it is already getting quite difficult. If there is some personal interaction it is like in a formally staged darshan and there is some male entity as a chaperone which does not sort of help the atmosphere for opening the heart and so on. OK, things can be written in letters, but than the tendency is write very long letters and they are also becoming difficult, that is your only chance and then a lady writes a 7 page letter and then the spiritual master looks at that and gets cross-eyed. That is not easy to digest – the 7 page letter with someone’s really heard felt revelations in there, which deserve to be taken serious, but at the same time one wonders: “And how am I going to deal with this? When am I going to reply to this? I have to take one week off to reply to this letter.” When letters are too big you have to take a few days off because you have to think about what you have to write. It is not just: “Ok here is the 7 page letter, let me write (typing sound) a quick reply.” You have to actually think of what is the proper reply. There is 20, 30 points in the letter, too much. So it is difficult. What to do?
The personal service is there, on the other hand, especially when the spiritual master is a sannyasi, there comes extra complexity in the whole situation because the sannyasa has this rigid dharma of like not mixing with ladies, as little as possible. So when a sannyasi becomes a spiritual master he has a double role and these two roles are in the sense conflicting; they are of a different nature. So sometimes he has to- the guru has to sometimes put his spiritual master hat on and say: “Ok as a spiritual master, all right I will be a little less into the sannyasa mode.” But he must be careful with that, because if he is too much stretching his boundaries of the sannyasa restrictions he might endanger his own ashram. He may be above, but he should not think that he is above the influence of maya. He should never take it like that.
So it is complex. Therefore the spiritual master who is a sannyasi will be inclined to accept service from female disciples, personal service. And Prabhupada did. He allowed Malati, and Bhalika to cook, he allowed Daivi-shakti to look after his quarters and she was like basically then- looking after the quarters means that her presence was there. If someone looks after your room they are present, because they put things in a certain way, and they make some flowers there it is like there are all these unspoken actions which create presence in the room. So if you accept a personal servant, someone gets in your consciousness; gets in your room, gets in your consciousness. So Prabhupada allowed that. Sometimes, though he did not. Sometimes, better the ladies do not cook, sometimes Navayogendra was cooking then or something like that, he had the men cooking. But than again he had allowed the ladies to cook. So, Prabhupada sometimes went up and down a little bit. Sometimes in the mood of the guru who engages the ladies and other times he emphasized his sannyasa side. He was really going up and down in his moods. So it may not be that there is a one line.

The ladies have to also; anyway being in the female body is anyway an austerity. There is an added austerity. Because according to the Vedic culture women are like fire, man like butter and that fire-butter thing does not create equal roles, although the men and women are equal on the spiritual platform it does not create equal roles because for example women have these have more directives to cover their bodies then men, and so on. So this whole chastity thing is an added element. Because the female body is supposedly more potent in bewildering the mind of men than the body of the men… that is because the Radharani is more powerful in bewildering the mind of Krsna, then Krsna is in bewildering the mind of Radharani- that is were it comes from.
Anyway so these complications are there. Therefore although the ladies like to render personal service they have to still keep in mind that it should not go too far- That they should also do something to protect the sannyasa of their spiritual master. It should not like always be pushing to see how far they can push that opportunity to render some personal service or get some personal association; they sometimes have to also sort of they have to realize: “Ok I should keep a little bit of reservation.” That is the dharma. And the dharma is not always easy to bare I sympathize with that you see.
It is like when I have female disciples on the personal level I totally am a well-wisher of these female disciples, and it is quite amazing because I try to think really at their situation from their perspective, which before I never did in the same way. I never thought of it as much of their perspective as I do now as a spiritual master. So I can appreciate that, that dharma is hard to bare but to some extent it is inevitable. It is inevitable. So there is some a little more distance and it cannot…but that does not mean that they get any less mercy. That is really not the case they get the full mercy as much as any male disciple. They do, they do. They are not missing out. They are actually not missing out. The spiritual master is equally concerned that his female or male disciples are going back to Godhead. He is equally investing in that although he may act a little different in the external relationship.

Devotee: …we find this hellish intelligence, naraka budi… one of them is to view the spiritual master as the ordinary person. So question is- this is a very strong statement. How is it that this is hellish and what does it mean, could you describe a little more what does it mean to view the spiritual master, for example

…sanskrit… there is more, so seeing the Deity or the Supreme Lord or Spiritual master as an ordinary person- that is a hellish mentality. Padma Purana. What does it mean- it means that this mentality will ultimately drive us towards hell towards suffering, it will pull us down. It will pull us down. The result of any- it may not be that one is immediately suffering so much, but ultimately one is then on the road to hell, that is what it means, it is a modern way of saying it. And may be a long road but one is on that road- And, yeah, because the spiritual master is not an ordinary person.
We must practice that. It is not easy, because in the mind we do tend to sort of minimize. And that is way there is all the external pomp- like huge seats and… look at this seat- it is almost like a car. To have a gears stick here on the right maybe it could drive also that would really be good. But the big seat and all these paraphernalia to sort of remind us: “Do not take the spiritual master as an ordinary person.” That is there. And still we do it, so it is a constant practice. At this age we can only do it in practice. All our devotional service is only in practice. Therefore such an instruction to not see the spiritual master as an ordinary person we cannot fulfill- we can only do in practice- that is our stage. We are only practicing the devotional service, we can only practice that and that means remind ourselves again and again: “Do not see him as an ordinary person now, remember”, that is what we have to say to ourselves.

Devotee. …could you give some examples of what does it mean to see…
Maharaja: Why don’t you give an example? If you were thinking abut the example why don’t you
Devotee: I was thinking if one is arguing, for example.
Maharaja:. But sometimes, sometimes one might even argue but than there is even a way to argue. Krsna-bhajanamrita, which is a book of which I referred to yesterday, which gives a lot of etiquette about guru-disciple interaction is describing that one might if one has arguments to present based on scripture and logic, based on scripture one might present them in the submissive mood, but if the spiritual master rejects them then one should not challenge- Then one should simply accept. But one might sometimes present, but if one does this every time, every time it becomes too much. And really it is better if we could just: “Ok, I accept” that is also what it means to remain a fool in front of spiritual master let me say:”Ok I accept, whatever he says.”
Thinking of the spiritual master as an ordinary person, think that he has opinions. Think that, reading, projecting feelings upon him, projecting the normal human feelings that exist of likings and disliking, and therefore to think: “Yes, he does not like me, and therefore he is not treating me nicely now.” In other words to minimize him and to think for a moment that he is not acting as a representative of Krsna, that he is not living in this perspective of Krsna’s instructions and Krsna’s mission- that is a mistake. The spiritual master whatever he is doing he is doing that within the perspective of Krsna’s instructions and Krsna’s mission. So if we see him outside of that perspective that is what it means.
We are going on really long now…
Thank you very much…

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