syan nas tavanghrir asubhasaya-dhumaketuh
ksemaya yo munibhir ardra-hrdohyamanah
yah satvataih sama-vibhutaya atmavadbhir
vyuhe ‘rcitah savanasah svar-atikramaya
Translation: Great sages, desiring the highest benefit in life, always cherish Your lotus feet within their hearts, which are melted by love for You. Similarly, Your self-controlled devotees, desiring to cross beyond the material kingdom of heaven to achieve opulence equal to Yours, worship Your lotus feet in the morning, at noon and in the evening. Thus, they meditate upon Your Lordship in Your quadruple expansion. Your lotus feet are just like a blazing fire that burns to ashes all the inauspicious desires for material sense gratification.
HH KKS: So great sages are personalities with knowledge. They are not just acting according to their own ideas but sages have absorbed, they have heard transcendental knowledge and they have implemented it in their life- they have taken shelter. The essence is that Krsna gives us so many directions in so many ways: He gives us many ways to take shelter; He appears in the form of His name, we can take shelter by reciting. We can take shelter of the meaning of the maha mantra and we can in this way understand what actually our duty is- to serve Krsna, the all-attractive Supreme Lord and that happiness will be the result. We can take shelter of the Deities…there are many shelters all along but if we don’t take shelter and then even if these shelters are there, the result will not come. So the sages are those who have adjusted their lives into the directions and desires of Krsna. Thus such sages are highly qualified, their desires have become purified.
In the beginning we may come with so many desires because the living entity by nature is pleasure seeking, and when we are forgetful of Krsna then our search for pleasure will become linked to the material energy. It’s inevitable, it must happen. If we are not full of Krsna and full of a desire to serve Krsna, then surely so many other desires will awaken in us- automatically, immediately. And the opposite is also true- if the heart becomes filled with service to Krsna, material desires disappear more and more and become insignificant, and become no longer so burning, so pressing, so difficult to overcome. They actually diminish day by day and disappear into the background until eventually they disappear altogether.
So, the sages, they desire the highest benefit in life. It is said the highest benefit in life; earlier in the Bhagavatam it is said: vasudeva-para gatih (SB 1.2.29); Vasudeva is the ultimate goal in life, there is no other goal in life. vasudeva-parah kriyah (SB 1.2.28) is also ‘benefit’. So the greatest benefit is Krsna because nothing else is so beneficial. There is nothing in this world that we can possess that can match Krsna. So why would we waste our time with the possessions of this world? Okay, while we are here we need to use some things. Some days are hot and some days are cold and you never know, so we need to adjust today- a little more clothes for us- than a few days ago. It’s amazing how things can change, how quick. And naturally we need facilities in this world to deal with the material energy but beyond that, why would we get involved with the material energy? What is the benefit? It will simply make us forget Krsna. The more one becomes involved with the material energy, the more the risk is there that one forgets Krsna.
Of course, nirbandhah krsna-sambandhe yuktah vairagyam ucyate, if one uses the material energy in the service of Krsna then it will not cover our remembrance of Krsna, then it will help us to remember Krsna and then one can use everything in the material world. But in our own private life, why would we? For service- yes- but for ourselves- ah, ‘simple’ means free for worshipping Krsna.
“Great sages, desiring the highest benefit in life, always cherish Your lotus feet.”
Yes, it is not a matter of performing one’s religious duty-‘ I must perform these processes as my duty…’ as long as spiritual life is performed out of duty then the motivation in spiritual life is fear, srutim apare smrtim itare bharatam anye bhajantu bhava-bhitah, different people are worshipping Krsna through various ways: some are following the sruti, some are following the smrti, others are following the Mahabharata, but all of them are worshipping the Supreme Lord out of fear so it is said. Out of fear, because out of duty. That means, out of understanding, out of jnana, out of knowledge, out of understanding that this material world is a difficult place, the senses are a network of pap (sin) leading to death…but this is all based on fear. If you hear ‘the senses are a network of pap leading to death’ you think like, wooow! The senses- dangerous! The senses are poisonous snakes that bite! My God! The senses! Watch out for the senses! Snakes…pap, leading to death…what’s going on here! Thus through transcendental knowledge we are getting different warnings. We think, ‘yes, I’m afraid of my senses because my senses pull me down…’ so in this way a devotee, out of duty, is acting in spiritual life. And that is good, that is good because that’s intelligent. One who has no intelligence is just a slave of the senses.
So an intelligent person is seeing the danger of the senses and the dangers of the material energy and so on. But that knowledge itself doesn’t warm the heart; ‘okay my senses are like snakes- all right- and I have to ignore them- all right I’ll do that…but after a while it gets tough, it gets hard, it gets painful. How long, how long can I perform this austerity?’ Thus if spiritual life is only based on duty, on sense control and so on, then we are weak, then we are constitutionally weak in our spiritual life. Spiritual strength means relishing, it means actually we are relishing spiritual life, then we are strong. When we are relishing, what will maya do? But when we are not relishing and it’s all austerity then, ‘ohhh no! Please take maya away!’ then we are weak. When we are relishing prasadam, ha, then we are not attracted to material things- chocolate! No, not really. When we are relishing, the material world cannot capture us. Therefore it is said, “Great sages, desiring the highest benefit in life, always cherish Your lotus feet within their hearts…”
So they are relishing, these sages, they are having taste, they are experiencing how nice Krsna is, they are realising that Krsna is wonderful- that is necessary. We see that in the Krsna book, there is a chapter- Wonderful Krsna- and the residents of Vrndavana; they are just dwelling on all the pastimes. That chapter sort of gives a summary of the previous chapters of all the pastimes. They are remembering: Krsna lifted Govardhana Hill, they’re remembering when He was very small, only a little baby, there was this terrible witch that came but she disguised herself as a beautiful lady. That day, Nanda Maharaja and the cowherd boys were not there and there were only old men and ladies in Vrndavana. And then Putana took that form of such a beautiful lady that everyone was overwhelmed; the men- they might have been old but they were just overwhelmed! The ladies, they thought she must be a goddess! No woman in this world can look like that! And Putana in this way entered the house and very nicely went for the child, ready to give him the poison. And Krsna killed Putana- such power He had, such incredible power He had! And Krsna, then He not only killed Putana, but He also delivered Putana; He gave her the position of His mother in the spiritual world.
So in that pastime we see that only Krsna, although He’s a child, that He is limitedly powerful but we are also seeing that Krsna is very nice and He has quite a nice nature. If someone would come and try and give me poison…(dramatic) well, you know, ‘poison you’re trying to give me huh? Well, have a little yourself!’ You would be tempted to say, ‘have a drink, go for it! Taste! Now you taste it; it’s your turn now…’ that tendency is there, if someone gives you poison, to let them have a bit of a taste to have their own poison. And I’m sure everyone has the same tendency in this regard. But Krsna? No He overlooked it; He didn’t care, ‘All right, you gave Me poison, but that is your problem. I understand that you are a little bit affected by a problem- you have a tendency to give poison to little children. That’s not so good Putana. But still, you gave Me milk also. So that is all right. That’s more important- that’s much more important. You voluntarily offered Me service, so for that I’ll reward you. And the poison- oh well- for that I’ll kill you…but besides that, that’s also My mercy, only for your purification.’
Anyway, so it shows how Krsna is nice, how Krsna is very nice. So in this way, the residents of Vrndavana spent their time to enter into the pastimes of Krsna. It’s difficult for the passionate mind, to take the time to sit down and hear about Krsna: ‘He’s not gonna tell the Putana story again! Oh, no! God! Everybody knows that one! We’ve heard it a million times! Oh Putana again! Here we go…’ Yes, I know the restless mind, the passionate mind, is thinking like that, I know that, ‘(Indian accent) Yes, yes swamiji, we know all these things, we know all these stories, we know them very well! Yes, yes, yes…so nice that you are telling these old stories…’ no, they’re not old stories- you have old ears! It’s not that the stories are old, your ears are old and stuffed up, because the stories are fresh and full of little details- it’s about the detail where the juice is, and that we realise how kind Krsna is. Krsna actually gave that witch the position of a mother in the spiritual world. He purified her a little bit- yes, that He did. So it shows Krsna’s kindness and that is the most important point in the whole story- Krsna kindness.
So when we meditate on Krsna’s kindness, then it gets a little closer to home. Then little by little we can go through the stage of performing devotional service in duty to performing devotional service out of appreciation for Krsna. How nice is Krsna actually. And if we think how nice is Krsna, then little by little a real desire naturally comes then, ‘Yes I want to serve Him! He’s so nice.’ This is the trick. So it is there in appreciation for Krsna that a change of heart takes place and that we begin to relish our devotional service. So the sages went through that stage. The same thing that I’m saying is confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita, in the verse, aham sarvasya prabhavo, it is said, “I am the source of everything spiritual and material…” and in the last line it’s said budha bhava-samanvitah, “those who know that, they develop bhava. Those who know My unlimited glories, they develop a natural desire to serve Me, they develop eagerness to serve Me.”
I’m going step by step through this verse because it’s so long I cant remember it all at once actually, that’s why…Great sages- yes! Great sages are full of knowledge, desiring the highest benefit in life. They are purified by prolonged association with devotees and Krsna. “ Always desiring Your lotus feet,” yes they have heard about Krsna and they have begun to appreciate Krsna and thus they have taste now in their devotional service. They cherish the lotus feet within their hearts and thus devotional service has gone beyond duty- it has touched their hearts. These hearts are melted by love for Krsna, their appreciation…appreciation is the beginning of love, it is love. It is interesting that when we are studying the scripture that we find out that the position of the kanistha adhikari, the madhyama adhikari and the uttama adhikari. Kanistha adhikari is a neophyte devotee, he’s a materialistic devotee, he’s full of material desire and he’s not so easily surrendering. The madhyama adhikari is the intermediate devotee. He has firm faith. And the uttama adhikari, he is full of love for Krsna. But interesting enough in the Bhagavatam, a definition is given of the madhyama adhikari and it is said,
It is said that a madhyama adhikari also has prema, he has prema- he also has love for Krsna. It is said “isvara”, prema is for Isvara. “tad-adhinesu” means friendship for the devotees; “prema-maitri-krpopeksa,” for the innocent there is mercy; and then for the “dvisatsu” those are the envious; “krpopeksa,” “upeksa” means ‘indifference’. So the madhyama adhikari in this way has different relationships with different personalities, but for Krsna he has prema, he has some love for Krsna. It may not be the same level of prema that is found in the uttama but there is already prema. And that is interesting because it means that the prema of the uttama adhikari is not something inconceivable, is not something alien, is not something we cannot understand right now- may be we cannot experience that same depth, that same intensity- but already, to some extent, that prema is there. Thus the prema is gradually developing- it’s a gradual process, the melting of the heart by love for Krsna.
It’s not that we serve Krsna our life out of duty and then one day…boinggggg- love of God has arrived! (dramatic)- ‘Krsna! Krsna…’ Not like that; not like a light switch is flicked on but rather a gradual, growing of love within the heart. Thus sometimes we tell ourselves, ‘No, I have no love for Krsna, I cannot love Krsna, I am not so exalted…’ ah, a little bit, come on! Don’t you love Krsna a little bit? ‘No, I have no love for Krsna!’ You do- a little bit- come on! He’s nice! He is! He’s actually very nice! He looks pretty charming there; kind of very attractive- without a doubt! And He’s also very merciful, so He’s quite lovable… ‘no, I have no love!’
But there is more love in us that we actually think; it is actually there. Remember that story of Sruta Kirti who was saying…all the devotees had assembled at the airport to greet Prabhupada- a few 100 devotees in America- and Prabhupada arrived and he came back from India. He had been in America, went to India and came back to America, so it was such a thing; the devotees had been in separation for a long time. So when Prabhupada came back they all cried tears and everything- except for Sruta Kirti! No tears, not one- nothing! Completely dry, and he was thinking, “boy, I’m so hard-hearted, I have no love at all.” And he was massaging Prabhupada and then he said to Prabhupada during the massage, “Prabhupada, all these devotees in the airport, they saw you, they cried, they had so much love for you, but me, I have no love at all!” Prabhupada didn’t say a word- nothing! But the next day when Sruta Kirti was massaging again then Prabhupada said, “This is also love, this is also love, this massaging.” He had been thinking about it and that, “this Sruta Kirti! What does he say he has no love? He has love, but he doesn’t see it! He somehow or other doesn’t see it but it is there! This is also love this massaging, this service…”
In this way it is nice if we can appreciate that we are actually getting there. It gives us a little bit of faith. If we have this mood from, “I don’t have anything- no love” then spiritual life looks impossible to attain the goal. But actually, we’re well on the way! We’re being purified! It’s happening! The transformation is taking place! The change of heart is happening! I noticed it, when I first became involved with Krsna consciousness; I was a little bit reserved because I saw that it was having very far-fetched consequences. And I thought that if you get involved with this your whole life goes upside down! And I’m not so sure if I’m really ready for that! That’s a lot! So I thought, well, okay…but it wouldn’t go away; it would always come back in my life again and again. So at one point in my life I decided, well maybe I should try- try- to stay in the temple! I’m not saying that I’m moving in and really going to do it but I’m first going to try. And I was trying and I was going through many moods. One moment I was thinking, this is really good, the next moment I was thinking, it’s too much, I’m getting out of here! I’m going to pack my bag! So I was going up and down between these moods and I wasn’t so sure if I was going to stay. So after about 2 weeks I decided to leave and I left! But then I came back to my old friends and I found that, to my own surprise, that I could only talk about Krsna! I hadn’t thought of that; I didn’t think that it had affected me so much but I was just talking about Krsna! And they didn’t mind- for 5 minutes! But after 5 minutes I was not finished, I really had to hmmm (keep my mouth closed). I knew they couldn’t take it. After 5 minutes they wanted to speak about something mundane and I totally had no interest in that and I just wanted to talk about Krsna! And I realised, God! I had become more Krsna conscious than I thought I had become! It’s amazing how powerful it was- a few weeks in the temple! So it was my first experience with this principle that actually we make more advancement than we think we do. It is like that. Well, I’m moving along the verse; I’m already 1/3rd gone.
“Similarly, Your self-controlled devotees, desiring to cross beyond the material kingdom of heaven to achieve opulence equal to Yours, worship Your lotus feet in the morning, at noon and in the evening.”
Yes, so even if we see opulence of the heavily planets- of course we don’t see that- we just see the opulence of planet Earth, and when we see it the mind goes like, ‘whoa! It looks so good! Ooooh! It looks so good!’ so therefore here in the Bhagavatam, it is said “Your self-controlled devotees, desiring to cross beyond the material kingdom of heaven…” so that’s even beyond the enjoyment and opulence that we have here. So then we can think that yes, those great devotees, they’re not even tempted, so what kind of wretch am I? I’m tempted by this earthly enjoyment, which is low class compared to this heavenly enjoyment! So these devotees are self-controlled and we know that they are self-controlled by higher taste, because they are constantly worshiping the lotus feet of the Lord in the morning, at noon and in the evening. They take shelter but we don’t!
If we do it in the morning, were doing good. So many mornings we sleep too late and then oops- no morning left! Oh well I can still worship the Lord in the afternoon and in the evening! No! Morning- morning very important! ‘Brrr! Tired, sick! Not well! Went to bed late- no…’ Yes!
A fool’s dictionary! Get up!
‘Why are you so mean?’
I’m not mean, I am merciful… says the intelligence to the mind, which is arguing every morning. So in this way one must strengthen the intelligence and control the mind, and to enter into an argument with the mind, ‘No mind! If I listen to you, what would I become! I will go down, I will go down! Because now I will neglect the morning practice and when I don’t practice in the morning, I won’t do it in the afternoon as well and maybe I’ll sleep till noon. And then what? Then I’ll miss the morning and the noon and then only the evening is left!’ And then what do you do at night? (Dramatic) ‘Ta da…it’s a Saturday night and ain’t got nobody!’ then what…?
‘One stitch in time saves nine’, so a stitch in the morning, it’s like by having a good morning we are sort of getting on top of the day. But if we don’t have the morning then there is a good chance that the day will get on top of us. I have sometimes used that…that this material life is like riding on an elephant! And it’s not easy to stay on an elephant! I don’t know if you’ve ever rode an elephant but it’s tougher than horse riding, because an elephant really goes like (dramatic)! So when you sit on the elephant you slide from one side to the other and you have to really hold on. And before you knew it you are no longer on top of the elephant, but the elephant is on top of you!!! And that’s material life! So in this way we have to somehow or other be self-controlled- a stitch in time saves nine. So don’t allow ourselves just unlimited leeway; it means intelligence- that’s there. One who has higher taste doesn’t have to worry so much because one who has higher taste automatically rises in the morning. The thought of staying in the bed, in the morning? ‘Yes, have a nice sleep tomorrow morning!’ Nice sleep in the morning! But that’s when we’re having kirtana, that’s when we’re having a party!
One time I gave a lecture. It was a school program and they came to the temple for a visit and they’d ask me to give the lecture and it had turned out to be a class of only girls of 13 years old! So, okay, I gave the talk and I kept it short and then I asked for questions and the first question was, “Are you ever going to a discotheque?” and I go like, my God you know! What am I going to say to this! I thought, if is I say no, then I’m a total square and then the whole class would just decide that I’m not even worth listening to. So I was thinking, what am I going to say to this? So then, by Krsna’s grace, I got some inspiration and said, “No, no…I don’t go to the discotheque because we have a party here every day! Every day! And it’s a big party; we already start early in the morning! We sing and dance all day till night! We don’t wait till night to go to a discotheque; we have it right here! You want to try it out as well?”
“Yes, let’s do it!!!”
So we did later on. But that’s how it is. So who wants to miss the party? Sleep in the morning and chant no rounds? It feels like horrible! Nine in the morning- not one round chanted! Oh my God! It’s gonna be a hellava day! You know for sure, ‘Oh, no! Today is going to be a hellava day!’ So worshiping in the morning is essential and then noon and evening automatically follow. Once morning and noon is in, then evening will also come automatically. So the key is the morning. I’m getting there with this verse…! Half way done!
“Thus, they meditate upon Your Lordship in Your quadruple expansion.”
Shoo! These sages are very serious! Now they are meditating upon the Lord in His quadruple expansion! But we follow these sages, although generally, I must admit, I’m not so often meditating on the Lord in His quadruple expansion! Today we will follow these sages and also meditate on the Lord in His quadruple expansion and realising that the Lord expands Himself into all these forms and then begins to deal with the material energy. Because it is said in the quadruple expansion, the Lord begins to deal with the material creation and He also is supervising the functioning of this material creation in this quadruple expansion. So it’s the link that the Lord has with us here in this material world. Thus through meditating upon this quadruple expansion, we are actually relating to Krsna in the here and now. So that helps because otherwise you might think, ‘Well, God He exists but He’s very far away in His eternal abode and that’s very far away from here! And He’s absorbed in His transcendental pleasure pastimes and they are also very, very far removed from everyday life from where I am. I’m facing reality, you know, I’m facing reality right here on the ground! I have to deal with it; I have to deal with this world and the spiritual world, it sounds very nice and rosy and so on but it is so, so far removed from my life. I mean, I almost cant relate to it: desire tree and gems on the road that are touch stones and wish-fulfilling cows, and everything is conscious and so on…it sounds wonderful but it’s even more far out than the fairy tales! It sounds a little airy-fairy!’
The mind could easily come up with this kind of thinking. No, the Lord is also here- everywhere- involved in every aspects of our life! And thus every moment, every moment, we’re associating with Krsna- all the time. Yes, He’s right there wherever you go- He’s already there. That’s how it is! And when we leave the temple, it’s not like we’re leaving Krsna because wherever we go Krsna is also there- Krsna’s in the car, Krsna’s on the road, when we’re asleep Krsna’s there, when we’re awake Krsna’s there- everywhere He’s there! You can’t go anywhere because Krsna’s already there. That’s how it is! You come into the temple and you ring the bell…the other day I was reading an article about ringing the bell before you enter the temple, and it was written by some professor, and he was saying, “This is a funny practice! It’s as if God is sleeping and as if you have to wake Him up.” And of course I would have liked to write back to this professor; I wish I had his e-mail and say, it’s not God who is sleeping, it is you who are sleeping, it’s us who are sleeping! And we ring the bell so that we wake up…ding! Ding! – it’s a big one here! Wake up! You’re going before Krsna! But then when we go out of the temple we remember that Krsna’s also there- He’s everywhere! He’s there all the time.
So this is the reality that we remember- that Krsna’s everywhere. So when we’re meditating on this quadruple expansion we can see how Krsna is behind anything and everything. Then we get that part of the verse that is sort of relating to the circumstances of the day:
“Your lotus feet are just like a blazing fire that burns to ashes all the inauspicious desires for material sense gratification.”
So here the ‘forest fire’ analogy is being used in a positive sense. I know that most of Australia right now can’t hear much positive about forest fires but still there has been a lot of ‘forest-fire katha’ the last few days! Yesterday morning someone walked into my room and said, “You’re going to Victoria? Are you sure?” I go like, “Yeah, why not?” He said, “You know, there’s huge fires- 30 m high! 100km coming at you! Just the heat alone is sooo incredible! You know, just one fire fighter, he couldn’t take it anymore, he just fell on the ground, covered his face…there’s smoke everywhere…and the whole state of Victoria is covered in smoke! And when you come into Melbourne, you won’t be able to see a thing! That’s how much smoke there is! And I’m sure, you know, you’re going to see clouds of smoke as you fly!”
So I was looking and looking if there’s any smoke out there- no smoke at all- nothing! I couldn’t see a single fire! I was a little disappointed! You get all this anticipation and you think now I’m really going to see a real forest fire…nothing! But anyway, it is real for those that were in there.
And by hearing about these blazing fires, it is quite something. And the closest that I ever came to a forest fire was somewhere off in Australia and we drove through a place and well, all the trees were black! I said, okay. And then we drove further and then all the trees were black but still red hot! And it was quite smoky, and I thought like, well, if I drive any further now what’s going to happen? Should I turn around now and get out of here? I mean, still going- is it all right or what you know! And I was thinking like, well, I’m not from Australia, I don’t know about these things, and now what! May be I should ask a local…I mean, what do you do when the trees are glowing! Do you turn around or do you keep on driving! Anyway, we drove on and we survived (as you can see!) this terrible adventure. But such forest fires are also arrangements of the Supreme Lord- it is the energy of the Supreme Lord and 108 people have died. But it’s not that many.
I remember when the Tsunami hit India; India had a different mood than the rest of the world. I came to Australia with that Tsunami actually, and I flew right over the whole root. And then when we came there, over the place where the Tsunami hit India and then the pilot said, “…and on the left side of the plane you can see how the Tsunami hit India…” and then all the people, they went to the left side of the plane and the plane just went like (dramatic). Then he said, “Everyone back to your seats! Fasten your seatbelts!” and we almost landed there on the Tsunami!!! But India didn’t take it that serious, that Tsunami; they turned down the international health and 7000 people died in India. They just said, ‘we can deal with it, we can deal with this. This is Bhagavan. What to do; He gives, He takes…’
So anyway, one who has transcendental vision doesn’t become so overwhelmed by these things but accepts the will of the Supreme Lord and sees it in anyway in a perspective of eternity. Here the forest fire is used in a positive sense as the all over-powering energy of the Lord, which is so powerful that nothing can stop it, no effort can stop it. Thus the all over-powering energy of the Lord will burn up all material desires! Nothing can stop it! So this time is used to get the point across- nothing can stop it! Nothing! So don’t think, ‘oh, my material desires, it is so powerful, I mean, even bhakti is not going to purify them! I mean what can I do; my heart is as black as coal and it will stay like that and nothing is ever going to change it- it’s hopeless. I’m a hopeless case!’ No, it’s like a blazing forest fire here- nothing is going to stop it! Nothing is going to stop the effect of devotional service! That’s the message of the forest fire here, which is very important actually to us. It will work! Whether you want it or not, it says! It burns, knowingly or unknowingly- it will work! One gets purified! That is bhakti.
Okay, that’s the end of the verse; it was a very long verse and I did in steps and I still cannot summarise it but I’m going to give it one more try…
Great sages…yes, they were great because they had knowledge- they had transcendental knowledge. They knew the goal of life and not just dry knowledge; they had realised the knowledge, they’ve heard about Krsna and they appreciate the wonderful qualities and nature and thus their hearts melted. Thus these sages were self controlled and even heavenly pleasures, they couldn’t care less about them. What to speak of the pleasures of this world…these sages were always taking shelter of Krsna and that was the reason that they remained transcendental, and they worshipped the Lord in the morning (especially in the morning!) and then in the afternoon, which was more easy, and then automatically the evening followed. And then these sages, they saw the Lord everywhere, even in this world, behind everything. They understood how the Lord expands Himself and deals also with the material world and thus they took shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, which are like a blazing fire and it burns to ashes all material desires! Nothing can stop it, if one takes shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna. So we follow such sages; they are our inspiration. Now any questions or comments?
Question: (inaudible; in relation to losing everything due to a forest fire)
Maharaja: But it’s interesting because it can happen to us too and sometimes it does also in our life that everything is taken away. In my case, I went to the bathroom and somehow or other I got shot- it’s a long story, and won’t get into it- in the back and I never came back to my room. And then somehow or other, other people, they took everything out of the room and by the time I had regained consciousness in the hospital, the room was empty! And I was having these funny hospital uniform and then after a little while I asked, “Can I have some clothes please?” and all my clothes were gone- everything! Everything was gone. So I had to start again: I borrowed clothes, I even left the hospital without shoes! I had to start again. Anyway it went real quick- real quick. Before you knew, I had it all again- and better than before! Because, last time I knew what was wrong with all those things so this time I got the better stuff, you know! But it would be taken away again also. So after a while it comes, and it’s taken away and it comes and then it’s taken away…and so on. It breaks…I just met someone from South Africa who said like, ‘Ya, Australia- at least no crime!’ I said, ‘is it that bad in South Africa?’ he said, ‘well, the other day, they came to the temple and just before the Sunday Feast, they held up this Radha Ramana and they took the car- and his I-Pod!’ So that must have hurt him hard- the I-Pod- because that was his own! Temple car….well, he’ll probably cry more about the I-Pod than the car!
Maharaja: Uhmm, in this world He does it because He sees that we forget Him. So then He must take away to wake us up. He must. We forget Him because of these material things. In the spiritual world He also does it and there He does it to increase our attachment to Him, because in the spiritual world we never forget Krsna. In the spiritual world we don’t care about anything but Krsna. So in the spiritual world He takes Himself away! And when He takes Himself away, then our attachment increases. Here in the material world we have no attachment to Krsna, we forget Him and we are very happy with our material things. But then He has ways…even in South Africa He has ways, in Australia He has other ways. And in Holland, where I’m from, everybody knows- the sea is rising- it is! They have reserved 20% landmass for overflow of water because a good portion of the country is below the sea level and they’re pumping to keep it dry. But they can’t keep up with the pumping and they have to let 20% more land go for overflow. So the sea levels are rising…yes! Soon Holland will be a little island. But still, rich like anything! I’ve already thought about it- we’re going to have submarines or boats with glass bottoms and all the tourists will come see what was once Holland- we’ll charge them a fortune! So we’ll have a small island but we will be filthy rich- big tourism!
Maharaja: The taste comes but the taste also goes- it’s not so deep yet. So when we go through these moments that we do experience taste and the taste is not so deep yet, it means that we simultaneously still also have taste for the material world. So we’re attracted to both- to Krsna and to Maya (the material energy). And so then the taste for Krsna can just not go so deep. So we have to let go, we have to let go of these material things. We have to let go. We have to go deeper; that means we have to make more effort on the spiritual side. When we are at that stage that the taste is just slipping away again and again, we have to really make a bigger effort. And we see that with time we have to start making a bigger effort. It almost seems that we have to do more to get the same result. Before you get your taste after a little bit of endeavour in devotional service and now for the same endeavour, you don’t get the same taste anymore. Now you have to do more to get the same taste. In this way Krsna catches us; He forces us to do more to keep that taste. So that’s the only way- we have to make a bigger endeavour now. But then after some time we’ll find that the taste becomes more lasting- as we endeavour we experience that the taste becomes so lasting.
Maharaja: Yes, so we have to give also. It’s ultimately about taking shelter and giving shelter. If we start to meditate so much on taste, taste, taste, taste, ‘I want taste…’ and so on, then we become selfish. So we just have to simply say, I need shelter and I need to give shelter. So whomever I meet I will try and give shelter and then whenever I’m not doing that, then I’ll try and take shelter. And then taste will come automatically. So the essence is more of taking shelter and taking shelter is everywhere. The Deities are there, the holy names are there, the books are there…so much is there. Today we’re going really slow with this verse- we’re taking shelter in the words of this verse. So shelter is everywhere. So we take shelter, give shelter…then that selfishness shouldn’t happen. But if you think so much about, ‘my taste…’ then we stand on others heads. What do you think?
Maharaja: Interesting! Like (devotee’s name) is a sankirtana devotee, so from a sankirtana devotee you sort of think, ‘the mood of Lord Caitanya’ but he didn’t say something about that. Sooner or later all these sankirtana devotees, they wind up with Radharani! Yes, it’s interesting; the mood of Radharani who is always engaging others in the service of Krsna, before Herself, ‘You will meet Krsna before Me…’
Shall we stop? I think so. Thanks very much. Srila Prabhupada ki, Jaya!