Pure Enjoyment is the latest CD by Kadamba Kanana Swami. It was released in April 2015 during the Ratha Yatra in Durban, South Africa, and also some time later in Australia but it never made it across … more
KADAMBA KANANA SWAMI:
First my thanks to all of you, for all you have done in your spiritual life. And all you have done for today and said. Because it’s all voluntary, and it’s just so rare to turn to Krsna in this day and age when the glitter of Maya’s arrangements is so bright! All around us and so all present. That is just very difficult to take this very other worldly Krishna Consciousness serious. But you all did and that is wonderful! And yes whatever I could do to be of some inspiration – Of course that is my pleasure.
It’s very nice if you can be of some inspiration to other people. I mean that gives you a purpose in life. So as you are all speaking words of appreciation. Well I thank you for your appreciation- Your appreciation is giving me strength…
It makes me feel that my life has some sense, right, Because, ok getting older, which of course is part of the function of getting older and with that I’m coming to the point where I’m reflecting on my life, on what I have achieved.
Acutya Nanda sitting at the back there from Australia carrying a huge book with him, which weighs at least 6 or 7 kilos! About the life and achievements of His Holiness Tamal Krishna Goswami. I have it upstairs in my room! In that book, it is a big pictorial: What they call a coffee table, kind of book. Done very nicely and elaborately and then yeah you get a good overview. So I was comparing myself, you know. I was thinking, ”Boy, a lot more to do”. I mean if I think what Goswami Maharaja did in China, and I’m thinking of Africa. Well, I guess I still have to do something in Africa, or so many other places. He really took a piece of Prabhupada’s mission and did something.
So also, I want to do something. Up to this point, I feel that I have not really done so much. So I hope to have some more time, and to really do something. Also hope that I’ll really be fearless and really go to areas where no one has ever been: Where no one has ever preached: Or things like that. It’s not easy out there, in such places, if they still exist. Because, Badri Narayana, who is always good in one liners or short stories, you know –had this story of how he went on a holiday. He wanted to go to a place which was untouched, and he went to New Guinea. He just picked it on the map, and he flew into New Guinea. As he came into the hotel, that he had sort of reserved; he saw the man behind the desk was reading a book of Prabhupada’s So it’s had to find a place where no one has preached. But I will try and help people.
When I came to Krishna Consciousness, well within a matter of days, they had me in management. It was not something I desired. But I do come from a family of managers. You know like, some of my family members are executives in Shell: Others in Phillips: My father was an executive: All my uncles were: My grandfathers were. And I never wanted to be. That was the last thing I ever wanted to be- anything to do with management. But it was a matter of days that I was in Vrindavan serving in the restaurant in my first week, and within a few days, the managers ran away. So I was the manager. It was like that for many years, but I always said, “ No I’m not a manager, I’m a preacher, right?”
They said, “ yeah, yeah sure, you just manage”.
Anyway Krsna made it possible for me to preach. But I guess all that training as a manager- as one who is getting things done has also left a mark, and it’s part of my nature Yadunandana Maharaja, compared me to a lion. Well, I must say that, I told you that I have a Leo rising – well so does he! So he’s the little lion. I told him that after his Sannyas. In my case, although astrology for whatever it’s worth, but I may as well tell you now, that there are other planets that are in different positions, in various houses. On top of the planets there are stars that affect these planets. Just like a billiard ball, which is rolling- you can give it a spin and then it moves in another way. So the Naxatras are the stars that are at a greater distance. They add a special effect. So in my Leo rising, it is the lion on the chase. There are different lions: There are lions that lie around and enjoy whatever, you know, they have caught. But that’s not me. I’m a hunting lion –always hunting. I can’t help myself; I keep on doing it, as soon as I go from one thing into…If I stop one thing, than I start in another direction. And I have this nature, which drives myself, and others. As you have noticed. I’m demanding. If I haven’t been demanding to you yet. It doesn’t mean that I am not demanding- I‘m very demanding!
It’s just that I’ve sort of learned over the years, that you can’t ask too much or all at once. But, I really would like to see progress in two areas. As far as I’m concerned Krishna Consciousness is just so inconceivable exalted. And we are so fallen and suddenly in the middle of our life- this very exalted way of life is introduced to us and we just look at if from, “Phew what is all this?” Then of course there is a lot of struggle, and I’m patient with the struggle. But, at the same time I also feel this very intense urgency in my own life, and also in you own lives – that before you know it’s too late, right? And that’s something that’s a great fear that I have. I’m not fearless: I am very much afraid- that I may just miss the boat: That I may just miss this opportunity, that is given to us, and therefore, I’ve always decided that to make an endeavour.
I had the great fortune of spending time in Vrindavan, and in Vrindavan there were so many senior leaders in our Movement. So many Sannyasis and so on, and I could see that they were different, and I was puzzled-That why was it that these Sannyasis are different? I mean they have basically changed their dress and taken some vow, and now they’re different. What is it that makes them different? And so I was always drawn to the Sannyasis and hanging out with the Sannyasis. In Vrindavan there were ample opportunity and especially, because as I was the manger. I had access to the Sannyasis. So I went for it! And I kept on being puzzled- why they were? What was it that made each of them in their own way different?
And of course, it brings up two topics, which I had in mind, for this function. I thought that I should say something about what we are suppose to be as individual, or who we are, and something about what we should do. These two things, because these two things are going hand in hand. Krishna Consciousness is not only about what you do, but also who you are -very much so, and the other way around- who you are will ultimately translate in what you do. Therefore, I wanted to begin with the theme of who you are. Exactly where it will take me- I don’t know, because I got life as hectic, as it has often been. I’m known for giving lectures without preparation. It’s not that I cannot give lectures that are prepared. I just that I never have the time to prepare. So basically, I’ve learnt to waffle my way out of anything, yes! Parthasarti Goswami in Africa says, (that I guess is true).
So what I feel is like…if I think of myself, of what I would desire to achieve, is to become strong individually: To be a strong individual. Strong in integrity: Strong in character: To be someone who lives by his word: To be someone who embraces principles: Who lives by these principles irregardless – whether it brings me gain or loss, comfort or distress. That’s what I would like to be. That’s what I would like to transmit to all of you. I would like you to be people: Who live by principles: Who live by their word- irregardless of the situation: Who can recognise that the illusory energy is strong and affects the mind and the senses, but who remains an observer of themselves. And who are not just going to fall prey to their mind and senses, but who will say, “No!” Therefore, I know that for this one needs to be strong in knowledge.
A knowledge is not just a matter of parenting or pirating. It is a matter of hearing, assimilating and to think about. I sometimes give the example of you know, you are not this body; you’re an eternal spirit soul. It is a nice slogan for on a T-shirt. But, one can also ask, “ What are the consequences of this? If I’m not this body, then what are the consequences? “ And the consequences are many. So one has to think it through in Krishna Consciousness. One has to think like, “What are the consequences of this?” Just like we are the eternal servants of Krsna – What are the consequences of this? That no matter what happens, we are the eternal servants of Krsna. Nothing in the world can ever change that! That’s very important for me. That’s like one mediation I have: Where we are eternal servants of Krsna, nothing can change that.
So a lot of my Krishna Consciousness comes from thinking. From a lot of thinking about things. Not just hearing: Not just reading Srimad Bhagavatam- but thinking about it. What does this mean for me? What are the consequences of what I’m reading here? That’s what I mean with thinking. I spend a lot of time thinking about that. What are the consequences of this knowledge? And this kind of thinking process, can eventually make us what Srila Prabhupada phrased as: “ In dependently thoughtful” And that means a lot to me. I want to support disciples. By nature, I am an energetic person, so I’m ready to go the extra mile, so to speak. Literally and also figuratively. But, I’m looking really for people who deeply think about:
”What am I doing with my life?” and “ Why am I doing this? And why I am doing what I’m doing?”
Who live very consciously and thoughtful, and in this way becomes strong in their own conviction, and independently thoughtful people. I would be glad to add to it. Someone mentioned in the discussion, that well one of my points, which I actually learnt from Tamal Krishna Maharaja. Not that he said it, but he did it. What I learnt by Tamal Krishna Maharaja by observing him was that it is the duty of the spiritual master. The principle duty of the spiritual master is to give people a greater vision for themselves, and then they came up with on their own. And I’m trying in my own limited and clumsy way. So, I’m looking for disciples who have a vision about their life: Who are realising where I am going: What I am trying to achieve in this life. And then, I am a liberal Dutchman man, you know- and therefore I don’t care about people’s nature and how much different they are. I said this morning whether you were a conservative or a freak. I’m ready to deal with anybody – that’s not the issue
But some things are favourable in Krishna Consciousness and some are not. And if there is something in us, that is not favourable- it has to go. If there’s something in me, and many things have been there, and there are still so many things that I see, that I want out of my life- then it has to go. And we have to be courageous and take it on. That we are doing together. Of course, strength requires, no matter who you are: No matter where you live: No matter what role you play in this material world. We have to go back to the roots here in hearing, chanting, remembering and serving. Hearing, chanting and remembering Krsna, and taking up some service.
Another point, that I would like to see in strong individuals, is kindness. Kindness is so important. I think all of us know it, in all of us. But, it’s so difficult to be kind. It’s so obvious that we want kindness and need it. To be on the receiving end- yes. But to be kind, is so difficult. It’s so very difficult, but this is something that I see as being part of a strong individual. It’s something that we should all try to cultivate very much. I would be so pleased if my disciples would be known for their kindness: For their extraordinary kindness. I would think that would be a real victory, because that’s what really conquers: That’s what truly will make a difference. I see that it is one quality that I appreciate in Srila Prabhupada. I mean you can see Srila Prabhupada as the most exalted, residential Vaikuntha and all we can say (Sanskrit). Can we understand even how exalted he is? But you can also see him as a very kind, wise human being and so on. So that is what I wish to become. I know and I’ll say it here, that I have a sharp sight in my nature. I can be quite cutting, and I know that it’s not my favourite quality in myself. I’m trying to grow out of it, and I guess it’s getting a little better. But those who get close to me, they get the brunt of it! Sometimes, it’s something to work on. So we maybe all challenged to grow. That is what is required. I have said it over the last few days. It’s not enough to just be a member of Iskcon- just to be there: It’s not enough to just be my disciple: It’s not enough to just be initiated. It’s nice- it’s all meaningful, all very meaningful, but I always like to compare these vows of initiation to jewels. Or I sometimes compare it to pearls, and then I tell the story about Krsna who planted the pearls- and many bushes of pearls came. I really feel that these vows of initiations should betaken like that: Like pearls that must be planted, and developed. So I’m looking for growth: I’m looking for compassion, and kindness. As a last point, I could of course, say so much more about strong individuals.
I think the cross is somewhere of a balance between naturalness and sacrifice. We have to be natural! If we are not natural, then we are in a way not utilising our potential. Being natural means to be engaged in what you have: Like all together you are quite a talented bunch. I mean we have good actors: We have good musicians: We have moviemakers: We have people that can swing fire, and inside the room, without burning down the curtains- that we are not far away. As a manager, I was watching them. I thought –ok. Shyama Nanada said,” If the fire alarm goes off, don’t worry, they’ll switch it off”.
I thought, “That’s ok, but where is the nearest escape route from here?” I thought in my mind- just in case. So, so many talents are here, and if we can bundle our talents. Bundle them in the service of Krsna- that would be very nice. Every spiritual master represents the same knowledge. There’s no difference. There really is no difference. There’s is a lot of haggling about this spiritual master, that spiritual master, and say, “This is the one”, and others say, “That is the one”. But the truth is, on a absolute level, there are all giving the same message- all the very same message. Some may be brighter lights, and some maybe less brighter lights. But in front of Srila Prabhupada we are all simply representing him and resting on him. I have said that in the initiation we are initiating people in a strict vows: Spoken vows: Four regulative principles: Minimum of 16 rounds. And that, Srila Prabhupada said it on numerous occasions; he said it in Portland, three times. First of all he said,” Anyone who chants 16 rounds and follows the four regulative principles, during this lifetime, can go back to godhead. In this very lifetime. I guarantee it… I guarantee it… I guarantee it”. He said.
So on the strength of that guarantee we can initiate people and say,” Yes you can go back to godhead, because Prabhupada’s blessing is still with you today undoubtedly. And our blessings is added to the whole thing”. So whatever maybe, we are all spiritual masters in teaching the same thing, and yet we are all individuals! And so different amongst spiritual masters; we all have our nature and we emphasise something. So I do emphasise naturalness, because I believe in it. I believe that if one is natural, that we all have many great gifts, and that we should use these great gifts. We should use our natures, and we should develop of natures in the service of Krsna. But naturalness must be combined with sacrifice. In sacrifice one has to sometimes give up ones natural for the grater good or the common good- like that. So that balance I would also like to see. Naturalness – yes but with the willingness to sacrifice it anytime, any moment- just like that. If it is for the advantage of this movement or our own spiritual advancement. That’s one thought I have.
The other thing is that is a simple point. It’s a point to make a contribution. Everyone again, may feel that in a very unique way, and whatever way that is- that is fine, but let us all make a contribution, and let us think about that. I recall one devotee with a little beard, who I met, and who told me, “You know, you don’t have to be in Iskcon”. He told me three times, “You don’t have to be in Iskcon”, and I thought about that, okay I don’t have to be in Iskcon- that is true. And he meant of course “You can be in Krishna Consciousness and not be in it”
And I thought, yes, maybe. Lets say theoretically, I can because by now I have received all this mercy, and I have learnt something, and maybe I can. But, I always felt that, yes that maybe, but I want to make a contribution. I want to make a contribution. That’s another quality, because I would highly appreciate it. Not only highly appreciate that, but I feel it’s very important that whatever you may find inspiring: And whatever you may not find inspiring about Iskcon. Let it be so. What to do. There’s only one famous three words, “What to do”-about that.
Then let’s take it upon us, to make a positive contribution, and that’s what I would like you to do something. I would like you to think about that: What is my contribution going to be? And I think that the more we get into that mood of –What is my contribution going to be? The more you’ll find that a transformation starts to take place. That’s a big key in spiritual life! And when we are contemplating a contribution, then naturally we have something that suits our nature. We saw different contributions, you know, and Just as we saw, that some people make better power point more than others- do you know what I mean? Krishna Caitanya is probably better than…at least better than me, and better than many others, that he’s good at, and so on. And we may all engage that propensity and that inclination. Then again, there’s Srila Prabhupada, and there’s just his desire, his request, and in front of that everyone had to adjust. In Praubhapa’s presence, it was never a perfect fit. No one could say;” Now I have the spiritual master and it’s just all inspirational”. No..no that’s how it sounds it the storybooks, but the truth of life was that many times it was tough; it was outright difficult to adjust to what he wanted. Because Prabhupada was demanding- very demanding. He really wanted something.
Well I don’t have the same love of God that he had, to install the same level of inspiration and surrender in those who are following me. Therefore, my demands can also be less strong. One can only demand as strong, as one has generated love in someone’s heart. Otherwise how much can you demand? Therefore, I’m a little careful with what I demand. But, yes the truth of the matter is – I would like to see some people make some substantial contribution to this movement. Not just to be a member, but to do something substantial.
One desire that I have and I have sometimes spoken about it, is that before I die, I would like to see a thousand Sannyasis in Iskcon, and maybe that’s just my desire. You know a thousand Sannyasis in Iskcon, and you never know, who could be one of them. I was like one of the earliest Grhastha in this movement: A speck of white in a ocean of saffron: A second-class citizen: A fallen lusty householder, I was, and they tolerated me, and now the roles have reversed. Now I’m a speck of saffron in a ocean of white. Krsna’s grace- my Guru’s grace. So keeping all these things in mind, yes that is one of my desires: That some of my disciples will take Sannyas, not today. But it requires a bit more preparation. But it was here in Radhadesh, when I first came back after years in India. When I also happen to give a lecture, straight after a marriage. Somehow or another my lectures are always coinciding with a marriage, and then I always get a verse, you know, which is really not me. They think it’s me, but I always get a verse about renunciation. Like before Rupa Sanatan’s marriage I got a verse about brahmacaria, and I just told the truth – not maliciously, but what to do, I told the truth. Some like it, some didn’t. So I remember on that occasion, I came back here in Radhadesh, just after so many years in India. I gave a talk and in the talk, it the verse was all about renunciation, and I said, “Even in the Grhastha ashram, one should be thinking of Sannyas on the first day of his marriage”. Not meaning that one marries the one day and leaves the next day, but meaning that, that’s how long it takes to muster up the strength, to actually do it, because, it’s not so easy. It is a step-by-step preparation, but I hope that some are going to go that route, and maybe some of you will surprise me. Because you never know who will come forward.
No one ever thought that Prabhupada would be the one. Not that nice Mr Day: Not that Grhastha, right: Not him as the most prominent of all. In terms of result, no one could have ever dreamt- but it happened. It so happened. So that’s one desire. I have desires that, some of you who have writing skills. I know that several of you are such good writers. Me I’m such a hopeless writer. I’m trying, but it’s so difficult for me. That’s one thing but I’m, doing it… slowly. But those who are good, please write, and push on and enlighten the world about this knowledge.
All of you are so skilled. Please use these skills, and make a contribution. Last but not least in South Africa recently, well let me take it back a little bit further. Few years ago my spiritual master started to develop a desire. To develop a BBT – division in Africa, because in the past Africa was part of…well it was under India basically. Under the Indian BBT. That made it a step child, because in India there are huge numbers of books going out. In a marathon in Delhi. In Christmas marathon they do something like two hundred fifty thousand Bhagavad Gitas!
Then Africa comes. What’s Africa going to do? Two hundred fifty thousand Bhagavad Gitas in one month. So Africa was a step child – in terms of BBT. So Jayadvaita Maharaj starting talking to me a lot. We spent a lot of time together every year in Mayapur. So daily he was speaking about this, and became more and more enthusiastic. This year he took it up with an enthusiasum. And further, he started to travel all over Africa really everywhere! He was in Egypt: He was in the East: In the West: In the South: He was on the Islands. He was everywhere in Africa! Enlivening people about this African BBT book distribution, and book production.
Then a very large conference was organised, that Jayadvaita Maharaja linked up with a very qualified Manager: A professional Manager – really really good, who organised a huge conference. Leaders came from all over Africa, and it was a very powerful gathering, and something happened to the devotees, which at least when they walked out; they realised that they had to make a change in their priorities.
Everyone came out of that meeting, with a feeling, ” We have to make a change with our priorities; we have to do something about getting Prabhupada’s literature out there”.
How long that feeling will last, I cannot say! You know such feelings come and go, and some they stay. So I do want to stress it here also today, that wherever we can place Srila Prabhupada’s books in the centre: Their great spiritual potency will be present and probably it will be so much more effective, than what we can do with our own inspiration. So that can also be considered as part of a contribution. I’m specifically inspired by those amongst my disciples who distribute books.
And I sort of felt after that conference that maybe I should also start it up again, a little bit in my life. And go out sometimes, which I haven’t been doing too much, because I always feel, “I have too much pressure, how can I deal with that as well” But I guess I have to.
So my word of thanks, once again for all the contributions, you’ve already made: For all the personal commitment you’ve already made. All my blessings are with you! Blessings means whatever austerity I have performed in service: What may have attracted to the mercy of Krsna, upon me. I pray to Krsna to transfer that mercy upon you! And I hope that all of you will be successful in spiritual life. Become great and deep vaishnavas, who will deliver many conditioned souls in this world by their influence. And who at the end of this life will return back to Godhead!
Thank you very much
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, Vyasa Puja Address Radhadesh 2010)