AUDIENCE: Can you say a little more about Prabhupada and the 60’s? Can you say a little more? Was he an American or an Indian…?

Yes I can say a little more about him thank you. No he was not American he was from India from West Bengal, to be precise from Calcutta, to be more precise. And his teachings were quite different from what was being popularly taught. At the time America, mid 1960’s was full of gurus, full of swamis, full of, all sorts of spiritual things. There was um, right around that time was the hey-day of, chant, a secret mantra 15 minutes in the morning and then 15 minutes in the evening and then pay $25 and you meditate. There were all sorts of things. Spiritual and the general trend of it was a sort of what we might now call a new-age discourse, we talk about the oneness of all beings, we talk about finding yourself in the flow of greater reality you know we find this kind of vague, everything was kind of ‘be one with everything else!’ and, ‘whatever you are doing it’s the same as everything else’ because really we think it’s everything and everything is nothing so nothing is everything you know, it goes on (CROWD LAUGHS).

And then our spiritual teacher was very definite. He was particularly clear on certain points of practice, and certain points of understanding. First point of practice was: “Without self-discipline there is no spiritual progress”. If someone is telling you that, ‘you know, whatever you are doing just continue doing that, whatever you like to smoke, whatever you like to drink, whatever you like to do, where your senses take you that’s all fine. Just subscribe to whatever idea it is or whatever little practice you add on…’ He’s cheating you blindly. That’s trash. Just as if someone says that university means ‘you just come and have a nice time and you don’t have to study and you don’t have to take any tests’ It’s out of the question. If you wanna get education there’s sacrifice, there’s discipline. So spiritual progress also, or, inner progress means there has to be some self discipline. It must mean that.

Even in sports if you want to make progress you have to follow some discipline and maybe you’ll give up smoking so you can compete and, you know all of, there must be discipline otherwise you don’t go anywhere. So our spiritual master was very clear about that. He, quite contrary to the going with the flow of the 1960s he was anti-flow. He insisted that his students give up any form of intoxicants, which were of course for many people the way for spiritual progress. And he said forget it. No intoxication, not even coffee or tea. You’re already intoxicated enough, you’ve no need to take anything more. Hmm? No gambling. No non-vegetarian food. If you want to make spiritual progress and you kill your fellow creatures at the same time or pay someone else to do it you’re not gonna make a whole lot of progress. And no unrestricted sex. Which well, what do you mean no unrestricted? No. He was against just mix and match and un-mix again and match again. He said no if you want to make spiritual progress there must be self discipline. So whatever our initial impression of that, it meant it means he’s serious. You know we’re not kidding around here. We’re talking about a serious process for making spiritual advancement. And I maybe prepared to do all of these things, I may not be prepared to do all these things, I may have questions about whether and why if and how. But it means we are talking serious stuff now, we are no longer in the realm of ‘well really, just be yourself, and whatever you are…’ that’s out.

(Jayadvaita Swami 10/2007)

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