We come to this temple, not just because there is nice atmosphere and nice prasasdam, that is one thing:
‘Because it is a nice thing to do on the Sunday…what else is there to do?! And it doesn’t cost anything? It is cheap also!’
No, that is not why we come. We come here because we realised that it is not so cheap but actually it is very precious. That it is a very precious opportunity, a very precious opportunity.
(sanskrit) So many lives we have already spent chewing the chewed – many life times! Now this lifetime we give to Krishna. And what will we do, will we become serious? What does it mean to become serious? What does it mean?…
DONT BE A BOLLYWOOD ACTOR!
To be serious means to be honest. If you came and say ‘yes yes I will be serious I will give my life to Krishna’ …then you are an actor in a Bollywood movie! Yes big movie called: ‘Surrender!’
You are filmed and you come in and make big prayer, big big big, you give big donation, big everything -big and you big devotee! No, it has to come with honesty and realize I am not at all a big devotee, I’m a big rascal!
AN ANGEL AND A DEVIL!
Everybody knows it, you look in the mirror everyone knows very well, you know very well. Your face may not show it. Yes as I was travelling to India overnight I spent the night in the house of some devotee and they had a book and on the book cover there was one man with a briefcase and above his head he had the halo the circle and at the back he had the tail of the devil!
He had both!
So you know we look in the mirror and we have that face but we don’t put our tail to the mirror! And so like this we can understand our position. We have become corrupted. This is the fact.
ALL THE NONSENSE WE HAVE LEARNED!
We have become dishonest. We have become corrupted -that we have to recognize. We have become influenced by the bad qualities of this age. We have learned it already when we were children- then we already learned and we grew up like that. In the schools, in the college, everywhere at work, in the movie, in the magazines, everywhere we learned it, in the street, all the nonsense we have learned!
BAD HABITS – OUR SECOND NATURE
Anthropologists have given an interesting definition of man. They have said that man finds himself suspended between nature and culture and it is very difficult to separate the two. So here we are – a combination of nature and culture or should I say a combination of nature and lack of culture, then what will happen to us?
Yes so many bad habits -our second nature, so this is what we are coming with. So when we come to the temple we do not come as great devotees, we come as typical cases of the age of Kali who have problems.
COME BEFORE THE LORD IN HONESTY
We have problems and we go before the Lord in all sincerity and we beg. Only those who go as beggars – just like Srila Narattoma Das Thakur was saying: I am a beggar, I am just a beggar and going before you my Lord as a beggar, I have no qualification, whatever I have you gave me and I misused it so what claim to fame do I have.
Think about it, whatever we may have had -we misused it. He gave it to us and we misused it. So what claim to fame do we have! So we come before the Lord in honesty, this is the beginning, realising that:
‘Yes I am a rascal, I have developed many bad habits and now what will I do?’
SURRENDER UNTO KRISHNA
So then Krishna understood, when Krishna spoke Bhagavad Gita and Sanjaya was there as a witness to it all – Sanjaya was exceptional because he had followed his spiritual master perfectly but who can do this ? Nowadays, very rare, so Krishna says at the end of the Gita
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
Krishna said: Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you reactions of you sinful activities. Do not fear.
LORD CHAITANYA TAUGHT BY EXAMPLE
But nobody surrendered then Krishna thought to Himself:
‘Let me appear again’ and He appeared again:
‘Let me this time teach by example.’
Because what do you do if you have a bad student and he doesn’t learn, he has to write and can’t get it write, finally so you take his hand and you make the letter and say ‘like this!’
‘oh, like this, aha, ’
So in this way Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu came to teach by example, he taught by His example and then He gave instructions to Srila Rupa Goswami. And Srila Rupa Goswami, he gave us a process, a system , a systematic process by which we can overcome our bad habits. By which we can become purified.
IT WON’T BE EASY, IT WILL TAKE DISCIPLINE
So don’t think it is going to be easy. Just like if you have a bad habit smoking…It’s not going to be easy. Everybody knows, everybody knows, you want to quit smoking, it’s not going to be easy.
But smoking is a stupid thing, there is nothing good about smoking. Right now it makes you short of breath, it gives you high blood pressure, it make your head foggy, it spoils your eyesight and that’s just the immediate, what to speak of the long term-where the chance of lung cancer and so much suffering in old age. Stupid thing!
Anyone who smokes is stupid! Sorry there is no better word, there is no polite word than stupid! But it is the truth. Sometimes the truth has to be spoken because it can wake people up – smoking is stupid!
It is like that, it is not very intelligent , so at one point one decides,that ‘I want to give it up I really want to do it’ then it will be a little difficult.
So spiritual life- don’t think: ‘It will be cheap, at first that it will be easy’
It will take some serious endeavour for purification. So this is required. It will take some discipline.
YOU MUST COME UP AND INCREASE
How can we do it – together we are strong , together we can do it, in association we can do it , under the guidance of those who are more experienced we can do it and in that way…we shall do it. And no one can stay behind, the strength of the temple is depending on the strength of the devotees. It is on the strength of each individual. everyone carries the responsibility to come up, everyone will be accepted from where you are but you must come up. If you start on one round then after some time it must be two , then four then eight and then sixteen…
PRABHUPADA WANTS US TO CHANT 16 ROUNDS MINIMUM
Like that Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu in the Sri Chaitanya Bhagavat said that He would not accept any offering from anyone who is not a lakh pati….
One lakh is the same as sixty four rounds on the beads.
In Chaitanya Bhagavat Lord Chaitanya performed His pastime and said:
‘I will not accept any offering from anyone who doesn’t chant sixty four rounds a day!’
Ahhh! This is not simple, what to do!
‘It is not practical and how can we chant so many rounds’
Even the brahmacaris are crying and saying ‘Ohhhh we can’t do this!’
What to speak of Grhasta’s, no time, there’s no time to then sleep, no not possible. So the devotees said to Srila Prabhupada that it was not possible, so Prabhupada made it less and less – first thirty two, than twenty five and finally he said sixteen and no less. So Prabhupada said; ‘Chant sixteen rounds.
THE SIGNIFICANCE OF SIXTEEN ROUNDS
So what is the significance of chanting these sixteen rounds. On many occasions Srila Prabhupada spoke out quite clearly about the significance of these sixteen rounds . He said if you during this life time follow four regulative principles and chant sixteen rounds, then you will go back to Godhead and then he said:
‘I guarantee it! I guarantee it! I guarantee it!’
Three times he said I guarantee it! He said it on several occasions in different places.
THE LORD UPHOLDS THE WORDS OF THE SAINTLY PERSONS
Prabhupada said that when Lord Brahma gave the benedictions to Hiranyakashipu – that he would not die in day or the night not inside not outside not on the land, not in the water then Krishna upheld the words of Lord Brama and He killed him on His lap. It wasn’t on the ground, it wasn’t in the air and it wasn’t by a man and it wasn’t by an animal because He was half Man half Lion and so on. He fulfilled all the conditions, not weopans… by His nails. Yes Hiranyakasipu. So that was done.
So Prabhupada said ‘Yes, when the saintly personalities speaks the Lord will uphold, so if you follow the four regulative principles and chant sixteen rounds, the saintly person says if you do that you must go back to Godhead then you will go back to Godhead!’
Prabhupada said like that so many occassions . He pointed this out.
So this initiation, the sixteen round initiation is the back to Godhead initiation!
IT IS URGENT TO COME TO THIS STANDARD
That was Prabhupada’s mission, Back to Godhead this lifetime initiation. So this is why it is so pressing and so urgent that we come to this standard. And you may think ‘Oh well this is so difficult, sixteen , I am already chanting eight ‘
Ok so get up one hour earlier, one hour earlier and you will be chanting sixteen. How to get up one hour earlier, put your watch one hour ahead! That’s one solution! Yeah so somehow or other go to bed one hour earlier.
People that have a problem getting up in the morning they don’t have a problem getting up early in the morning – they have problem in going early to bed! They have a problem going to bed at night.
If you are in bed early enough, then at four o clock you can not sleep any more even if you try!
So we need this quality. I know many devotees who are actually following these standards at home nicely everyday and chant their sixteen rounds and they are eligible , eligible to go home back to Godhead, this lifetime.
THE STANDARD IS FOR EVERYONE, THE CHANCE IS FOR EVERYYONE
So this is what actually this movement is about, this is our purpose of the Sunday feast actually. That everyone will come to this standard and then will maintain it . So the Sunday feast is first of all to wake up those who are sleeping and who are not yet there on that level.
Four is also good – not bad, Four is not bad – but not good, not good enough
‘Sorry,…. Sixteen no less!’
‘Yeah but that is only grandmothers who chant like that! Grandmothers have time for this. The old people they have time for this’
No, even the young ones can do it, everyone! Prabhupada gave initiation to all, men, women, irregardless, it is for all, the chance is there. If you want to take it- take it!
DON’T TAKE IT, MISS THE BOAT, THINGS GET WORSE!
If you don’t want to take it- miss the boat!
The boat is there, you can get on board. You want to take -take. Don’t want – ok , boat will go without you!
No ticket, sorry- have to stay behind. It is like that. Those who don’t take advantage will have to stay behind.
‘Oh well, it’s not so bad, Swamiji, it’s not so bad to stay for a little bit. It’s alright we take a few lives, it’s not so bad in this world’
Just wait a while, it will get worse and worse – Bhagavatam is describing.
Already getting quite bad. – Recession and if you are not afraid of the recession, then what about 2012..the movie is coming, Everyone knows the end of the world is near!
ASSOCIATION IS OUR SUPPORT
So this Sunday feast is giving us an opportunity to wake up and take shelter of this process, shelter of Krishna, pray to Him with all mercy and strength with all honesty and humility:
‘I am fallen, I need help’ and then look for help, take the process and then those who are already following- the Sunday feast is there as a support, association as a reminder as we are prone to forget all the time,
‘Where is my bead bag, where is my bead bag? Yeah, I haven’t seen it for three days!’
Yes so in this way being in the association of those who are serious, we can also become serious. It doesn’t matter who we are and what our position is, because in front of the Lord nobody is big, everyone is small! Everyone is small – This is the fact.
We must make that sacrifice, that special sacrifice to attract the mercy of Krishna. Those who are eager. Eagerness is the secret, to success in spiritual life, this eagerness. Not just automatic ritual, no.
Eagerness to serve
Eagerness to chant
Eagerness for mercy
And there is no loss because the interest percentage is pretty good!
Thank you very much.
(Kadamba Kanana Swami 14/02/2010)