I want to speak about why all of our guru varga are coming from India to the western countries. What is the reason and what is the message they are giving to the westerners? What is this message? This message is about how we can really enter into unalloyed devotional service to the Lord; how we can practice suddha bhakti. Suddha bhakti means unalloyed service to the Lord, pure bhakti. Because all of the Vedas discuss this; how we should enter in bhakti. In the Srimad Bhagavatam Sukadeva Goswami Pada told Pariksit Maharaj:
nityā hi jantor na hi tatra codanā
vyavasthitis teṣu vivāha-yajña
surā-grahair āsu nivṛttir iṣṭā
“In this material world, the conditioned soul is always inclined to sex, meat-eating and intoxication. Therefore religious scriptures never actually encourage such activities. Although the scriptural injunctions provide for sex through sacred marriage, for meat-eating through sacrificial offerings and for intoxication through the acceptance of ritual cups of wine, such ceremonies are meant for the ultimate purpose of renunciation.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.5.11)
na māṁsa-bhakṣaṇe doṣo
na madye na ca maithune
pravṛttir eṣā bhūtānāṁ
nivṛttis tu mahā-phalā
“It may be considered that meat-eating, intoxication and sex indulgence are natural propensities of the conditioned souls, and therefore such persons should not be condemned for these activities. But unless one gives up such sinful activities, there is no possibility of achieving the actual perfection of life.”
The Vedas also discuss this. Loke vivaha – this means they can marry, this is called vivāha, and also take meat and alcohol. Why are the Vedas saying this?
“pravṛttir eṣā bhūtānāṁ nivṛttis tu mahā-phalā” (Manu-saṁhitā)
So those following pravritti marga will gradually enter into nivritti marga. Nivritti marga means to take the renounced order and enter in devotional life. In this material world there are two kinds of human beings. Some follow pravritti marga and others follow nivritti marga. Pravritti marga means activities that are focused on how to enjoy sense gratification and nivritti marga means to completely renounce, to detach from all material things and to enter into Krsna consciousness. The Vedas also give instructions for those who are enjoying sense gratification so much. So in this regard, the Vedas give instructions, on how you can eat meat*, marry and also take alcohol, but how will we reconcile these things? Because why should you marry? Vivaha- this is not our aim and object. Sastra gives evidence about brahmacarya, grhastha, vanaprasta and sannyasa:
cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ
tasya kartāram api māṁ
viddhy akartāram avyayam
“According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.”
(Srimad Bhagavad Gita 4.13)
Krsna says in Srimad Bhagavad Gita, there are four varnas and ashrams. Brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprasta and sannyasa. Brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra.
Brahmacaris should be celibate for their whole life, or until 20 or 22 years. If, after the age of 22 years they cannot control their senses then they must enter grhastha life.
But for 20 years he must be celibate, that is called brahmacari jivana. He must study the Vedas, Puranas, Upanisads, Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavat and stay in the guru grha (the home or ashram of the guru) and follow all of the regulative principles (No meat eating. No illicit sex. No intoxication. No gambling). If after 20 years or 22 years, he cannot control his senses then sastra says he may enter in grhastha life.
How will he enter into grhastha life? He should marry one perfect suddha sadacari (purely behaved) lady. Not many. Not like cats and dogs or hogs! There should be only “eka patni vrata dhari”. He should take a vow that in my life I will only stay with one wife. Not many wives. Only one wife, one husband. Not many husbands and many wives.
Lord Ramachandra, He established very nicely eka patni vrata dhari. In the life history of Lord Ramachandra in the Ramayana you will see this very clearly. Ramachandra established these things. Eka patni vrata dhari. When Ramachandra came to Janaka puri all the girls, very young, beautiful, teenaged girls, were all attracted by the beauty of Ramachandra. They wanted to marry Him, but Lord Ramachandra said, “No, I took a vow that I would only marry one lady”. He was one-pointed, but Lord Ramachandra is Bhagavan, so he said “Okay, I will fulfil all of your desires. After my Rama lila when I come in the form of Krsna; in Krsna lila, then I will accept all of you.” Then all of Janaka puri’s kanya, girls, they later took birth in Vraja. They were called Vraja gopis. Visvanath Cakravati Thakur very nicely explains, that then they associated with Krsna. Sita devi, she also had only one husband, not many.
So this is varnasrama dharma; after brahmacarya jivana then grhasta jivana. You can enter household life. Now a license has been given to you, but be very careful about these things. This is called Vedic culture. Our guru varga, Nitya lila Bhaktivedanta Srila Swami Maharaj and Srila Gurudeva are discussing these things. Vedic culture. First follow Vedic culture. First, establish varnasrama dharma. Without following varnasrama dharma you can never enter into spiritual life.
Animal beings are not following any varnasrama dharma. They have no marriage ceremony. Who is going to the marriage ceremony of the cows, dogs, donkeys and others? They are not calling me, they are not inviting me. They are only enjoying sense gratification. That is called pasu jivana. Their life is called animal life, useless life. Nothing. But the Vedas explain this. Now you have been given a license, you can marry one lady and stay with her, and both of you should serve Radha and Krsna.
“Putrārthe kriyate bhāryā” (Manu smrti)
“A wife is required to bear sons”
The Vedas explain these things. Only for producing a child should you associate with your wife. You should not be like dogs and hogs. The Vedas discuss these things. I am explaining the Vedas. And Bhaktivinode Thakur explained varnasrama dharma very clearly in Jaiva Dharma. This is very important. Then, when you are pancasat, fifty years old, you should give up your household life and enter vanaprastha jivana. Vanaprastha jivana means after fifty years you should give up your attachment for your wife, children and others. At that time you may go with your wife to a solitary place only to meditate on the Lord; that is called Bhagavat smarana. And when you are completely detached from everything, at that time you can take the renounced order; that is called sannyasa jivana. In this way the Vedas explain these things.
*The Vedas also discuss how to take meat. How is this possible? Who will take meat? Yes, the Vedas explain about taking meat. Who can take meat and how will they take it? Only for those who cannot control their tongue, the Vedas say “Okay, you may take meat. You can perform a big fire sacrifice yajna once a year. Only once a year you can take meat, not every day. But how will you take meat? You have to do a big sacrifice, and you have to spend a lot of money, after doing that, at that time you can take it”. You can take alcohol in the same way; if you cannot control your senses, do a big soma yajna, then you can take it. But you can see, people think “For only one day, once a year, I will take meat and for this, I will have to spend a lot of money? There is no need”. Automatically you will think “No need”.
“pravṛttir eṣā bhūtānāṁ nivṛttis tu mahā-phalā” (Manu-saṁhitā)
The Vedas have provided a way for you to slowly, slowly detach from all of these bad things. Understand this, this is very important. When these regulative principles (No meat eating. No illicit sex. No intoxication. No gambling) are followed, at that time in a proper way we will be able to enter into bhakti jivana; spiritual life will come.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu established these things. Just by simply chanting the holy names you will be delivered from this material world? No.
“gaura amara gaura amara mukhe bolile nahi chale
gaura achara gaura vichara laile phala phale”
(Prema Vivarta by Jagadananda Pandit)
Sastra gives evidence. I belong to Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Not only lip service. You must follow the instructions of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu explained all of these things. First, establish varnasrama dharma. Otherwise, sahajiya, sakhi beki and other apa sampradayas are also chanting the holy names, so what is the teaching of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu? What is the difference? He said, “No, you must follow all of the regulative principles”.
abhyarthitas tadā tasmai
sthānāni kalaye dadau
dyūtaṁ pānaṁ striyaḥ sūnā
“Sūta Gosvāmī said:Mahārāja Parīkṣit, thus being petitioned by the personality of Kali, gave him permission to reside in places where gambling, drinking, prostitution and animal slaughter were performed.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.17.38)
Playing chess, this is gambling. Some people ask “If we are not exchanging money, can we play?” No. It is completely and strictly prohibited. No, you cannot do this. Dyūtaṁ means this (gambling). Pānaṁ (Intoxication). Pānaṁ means to drink. Prabhupada said don’t even drink tea or coffee, so what can we say about alcohol or other things? Dyūtaṁ pānaṁ striyaḥ. Striyaḥ, that is called avaidha stri sanga (illicit association with the opposite sex). This is very important. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu can tolerate everything, but Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu cannot tolerate illegal sex (sex outside of marriage). Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very strict in this regard. Grhasta, or brahmacari, vanaprasthi or sannyasi all should follow these things.
“yadi caha pranaya rakhite gaurangera sane
chota-haridasera katha thake yena mane”
(Prema Vivarta, Chapter 7 by Jagadananda Pandit)
If you really want to make a relationship with Caitanya Mahaprabhu always remember the chastisement of Chota Haridas. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said this. Be very careful. Whether you are grhasta, vanaprasthi, sannyasi, or brahmacari. Be very careful. You may marry according to Vedic culture. You should take a vow and a brahmana (a Vedic priest) and agni deva (the presiding deity of fire) should witness this. In this way you should marry, then you can associate. Otherwise, if you associate in an illegal way, that is called sinful life, papa mayi jivana. Understand? To those who are doing these things unknowingly, the Lord will give mercy one day. But for those who are doing knowingly, that is called jnana papi, for those who are knowingly committing sinful activities, the Lord will never deliver them from this material world. Thousands and thousands of times they will go to naraka (hellish planets) and suffer many kinds of distress. This is called Vedic culture. These things are very important.
“Kona kale nahi tara gati”
He will never be delivered from the ocean of material existence. Yesterday I explained:
“jagai madhai bale,—ara nare bapa”
(Caitanya Bhagavat Madhya 13.225)
Caitanya Mahaprabhu said “Jagai! Madai! You must take a vow that from this day onwards you will never commit any sinful activities or offences, aparadha. Then I will deliver you and take away all of your sinful reactions”. Caitanya Bhagavat explained this. So we must take a vow, that from this day we will not commit any sinful activities. This is very important. Otherwise, life is useless, nothing. You will have to go to hell. No one can protect you. This is very important in our spiritual life. If you really want to chant the holy names and be delivered from the ocean of material existence you must follow the instructions of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
“dyūtaṁ pānaṁ striyaḥ sūnā yatrādharmaś. . . . .
(Srimad Bhagavatam 1.17.38)
Sūnā means jiva himsa (violence towards other living entities). Killing other animals.
So the Vedas discuss these things. Then slowly, slowly we will enter into suddha bhakti. Bhakti is not such a cheap thing. Don’t think that just by chanting the holy names “I have bhakti”. Bhaktivinode Thakur wrote one song:
“eo to’ eka kalir celā
māthā neḍā kaupin parā, tilak nāke, galāy mālā
dekhte vaiṣṇaver mata, āsalo śākta kājer belā
sahaja-bhajan korchena māmu,
sańge lo’ye parer bālā”
(Song 6, Baul Sangit, Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur)
‘Parer bala’- This means he is doing ‘bhajan’ while associating illegally with others’ wives, wearing tilaka to show that “I belong to Caitanya Mahaprabhu” and chanting “Hare Krsna Hare Krsna” No. This is not bhajan, nothing. You are only cheating yourself, and also cheating others. You must follow the rules and regulations of the scriptures. Suddha bhakta jivana means to stay in your house with your wife and children and serve Guru and Vaisnavas.
“prabhu kahe, — “vaiṣṇava-sevā, nāma-saṅkīrtana
dui kara, śīghra pābe śrī-kṛṣṇa-caraṇa”
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Madhya lila 16.70)
“Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu replied, “You should engage yourself in the service of the servants of Kṛṣṇa and always chant the holy name of Kṛṣṇa. If you do these two things, you will very soon attain shelter at Kṛṣṇa’s lotus feet.”
Not everyone will take the renounced order. Not everyone will become a sannyasi. According to your eligibility, adhikara, you should stay in that ashram, chant the holy names and serve guru and vaisnavas. Vaisnava sevana nama sankirtan. Chant the holy names and serve the vaisnavas then very easily you will be delivered from the ocean of material existence. The Vedas very clearly explain; grhastas should take many responsibilities. They have responsibilities towards their family members, their children and their society, and with ten per cent of their earnings, they should serve guru and Bhagavan. You must follow these things. Ten per cent of your whole income you must spend on guru and Krsna. With the other ninety percent, you can serve your family members and others. This is the process. What is the meaning of grhastha life? It is not so easy. It can be very hard also. But still, they are all running after these things. It is very difficult to find a brahmacari. Whether Indian or western, it is very difficult to find a brahmacari.
But sastra says that if you perfectly follow the rules and regulations, grhastha life can also be the highest life.
“kiba vipra kiba ‘nyasi sudra kene naya
yei krsna tattva vetta sei ‘guru’ haya”
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya 8.128)
The Caitanya Caritamrta explains this. One who has realized Krsna consciousness, he is a perfect guru, whether he is grhastha, vanaprasthi, or sannyasi. But try to realize Krsna consciousness, this is grhastha jivana. Srimad Bhagavatam glorifies grhastha jivana so much.
Household life. Narada Rsi himself spoke about this with Yudhisthira Maharaja. Once Narada Rsi came to the house of the Pandavas, the house of Yudhisthira Maharaja. Yudhisthira Maharaja very nicely worshipped the lotus feet of Narada Rsi and very humbly asked Narada Rsi “We are grhastha, how can we follow the rules and regulations of scriptures, and how can we control our senses? You can read this in the Srimad Bhagavatam, Seventh Canto. Narada Yudhisthira Samvada – this is very nice and beautiful. Narada Yudhisthira Samvada- the conversation between Narada Rsi and Yudhisthira Maharaj. Yudhisthira Maharaj asked how will we control our senses?
Narada Rsi said there is only one way:
śraddhayā tat-kathāyāṁ ca
“One must accept the bona fide spiritual master and render service unto him with great devotion and faith. Whatever one has in one’s possession should be offered to the spiritual master, and in the association of saintly persons and devotees one should worship the Lord, hear the glories of the Lord with faith, glorify the transcendental qualities and activities of the Lord, always meditate on the Lord’s lotus feet, and worship the Deity of the Lord strictly according to the injunctions of the śāstra and guru.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 7.7.30-31)
“Guru-śuśrūṣayā bhaktyā sarva-labdhārpaṇena ca”; by rendering service to guru you can conquer all of your senses and attain the Lord.
Srimad Bhagavatam very clearly discusses how we will enter into spiritual life. If someone properly follows grhastha jivana, that grhastha will be higher than the brahma jnani, yogi and tapasvi. I will give an example, sastra gives evidence. If you read Caitanya Caritamrta, the dialogue between Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Raya Ramananda. Caitanya Mahaprabhu Himself asked Raya Ramananda:
“prabhu kahe, — “paḍa śloka sādhyera nirṇaya”
rāya kahe, — “sva-dharmācaraṇe viṣṇu-bhakti haya” ”
“Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu ordered Rāmānanda Rāya, “Recite a verse from the revealed scriptures concerning the ultimate goal of life.”
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya lila 8.57)
“Prabhu kahe “paḍa śloka sādhyera nirṇaya”” Lord Caitanya asked Raya Ramananda “Can you explain what is our goal and what is our process?” What is our goal? How to attain Krsna prema, but in the beginning what should we do?
“varṇāśramācāra-vatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam”
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, is worshipped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varṇa and āśrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be situated in the institution of the four varṇas and āśramas.”
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya lila 8.58/ Viṣṇu Purāṇa (3.8.9))
“Varṇāśramācāra-vatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān” If someone follows all of the rules and regulations of Varnasrama dharma then Bhagavan Visnu will be very pleased. Our aim and object is what? How the Lord will be pleased. ‘Bhagavat prasannata’- This is our aim and object, how the Lord will be pleased.
So the first sloka explains this:
“varṇāśramācāra-vatā puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā nānyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam”
There are no other ways to please the Lord. First, follow varnasrama dharma. If you follow varnasrama dharma then you will be higher than the yogis, jnanis and others.
I will give an example. Once one brahmacari performed hard austerities; ‘chator tapasya’. For about 30 years he left his house and he went into the jungle. For thirty years he performed hard austerities. He stood on the tips of his toes and raised his two hands. His hair turned into jata, dreadlocks. Big, big jata grew, but still, he performed hard austerities for thirty years. Even some birds built a nest in his dreadlocks. Then one day, after thirty years, he opened his eyes. In the meantime, one bird came out from the nest and passed stool on his nose. At that time he became very angry, he opened his red eyes and the bird was burned into ashes. Then he realized “By the strength gained by my austerities, I have destroyed that bird”.
Then he left the jungle, and he arrived in the countryside. First, he went to the house of one householder, a very perfect grhastha, not ‘cats and dogs’ householder. A perfect grhastha. Try to understand the meaning of grhastha. Grhastha and grhamedi are not the same thing. What is the meaning of grhastha? ‘Householder’ means what?
“na gṛhaṁ gṛham ity āhur
gṛhiṇī gṛham ucyate
tayā hi sahitaḥ sarvān
( Sri Caitanya Caritamrta, Adi Lila, 15.27)
“Merely a house is not a home, for it is a wife who gives a home its meaning. If one lives at home with his wife, together they can fulfil all the interests of human life.”
If you live in a house, this is not called ‘grha’. Grha means ‘patni saha, bharya saha nivashet’. When someone lives in his house with his wife and performs bhajana and sadhana to the Lord, that is called a grhastha. That is called grha; grha mandir. If you stay with your wife and perform bhajana and sadhana in the proper way that is called grhastha jivana.
Another type of person who lives in a house is called ‘grhamedi’. ‘Medi’ means those who are so much attached and who are only moving around their house. Grhamedi. In the past, some farmers took the seeds of wheat or mustard and put one stick in the middle and a rope, and all of the cows would walk around the stick, around one place, that is called medi. Those who are only staying in their house, who are not chanting, not doing any bhajana or sadhana, and who are only attached to their wife and children are called grhamedi.
Srimad Bhagavatam and also the Vedas explain that their lives are completely useless. ‘Grhastha’ means they perform bhajana and sadhana to Krsna. The centre is only Krsna.
Tulsi dasa explains:
“chaki chalke sabke dekhe
kilke na dekhe koi
kilke jo pakad rahe
sabut rahe sei”
Now we are in the age of science, so this is very difficult to understand. In the past, they used two pieces of stone with one hole, and one stick in the middle. The two pieces of stone were moving and grinding the grains. That is called ‘Chaki’. Understand? ‘Chaki’ means those two pieces of heavy stone. One hole is in the middle, and one stick is in the middle. One stone is always moving. If you put any grains, wheat or rice and other things, automatically they will be ground, but if some grains get stuck in the middle by the stick, then the stone will never grind. So Tulsi dasa explains in this way:
“chaki chalke sabke dekhe”
We are all being ground by maya, completely, but the stick in the middle represents Krsna. If you take shelter of Krsna then maya will not touch you, maya will not grind you. Understand? This is the process. If you take shelter of the lotus feet of Krsna, then you will be saved from maya. Maya will not touch you. So grhastha and grhamedi they are not the same.
So, back to the subject, that tyagi mahatma, that yogi, he came to the perfect grhastha’s house, and he knocked on the door. “Bhiksam dehi! Bhiksam dehi!” “Give me some donation, alms”, but that chaste lady was serving her husband; pati seva. Understand these things. ‘Chaste lady’ means she loves Krsna, and she serves her husband. So she came to the door and in a very soft voice said “Mahatmaji, please wait for a couple of seconds. Now I am serving my husband, then I will give some donation to you” because sastra gives evidence, if a sadhu comes to your house and you do not give anything, you will lose your sukrti, punya. Then the sadhu will take all of your punya and the sadhu will also throw all of his past sinful activities in your house. Understand? If a sadhu will come, you must give something. Something is better than nothing. Why not? Don’t think “If I give I will lose”. No, thousands of times you will get this back.
Paramgurudeva built Devananda Gaudiya Math. There was one man, who was completely penniless. Only he was selling pots, he was a pot maker, but he served Param guru maharaj, and he also gave a donation for Devananda Gaudiya Math. If you give one penny to a sadhu you cannot realize what kind of things you will get. Srimad Bhagavatam gives evidence. Sudama Vipra, what did he offer to the Lord? Burned chipped rice. He didn’t even want to offer it to Krsna, because he thought:
kvāhaṁ daridraḥ pāpīyān
kva kṛṣṇaḥ śrī-niketanaḥ
brahma-bandhur iti smāhaṁ
“Who am I? A sinful, poor friend of a brāhmaṇa. And who is Kṛṣṇa? The Supreme Personality of Godhead, full in six opulences. Nonetheless, He has embraced me with His two arms.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.81.16)
Where am I, a sinful brahmana, and where is Krsna? How is it possible that I can give this burned chipped rice? But Krsna snatched it by force. One time, two times, He ate it. So don’t you think “If I give one penny to a sadhu then I will only have ninety-nine pence left.” You don’t know how many pennies will come. This is true. There are many examples.
So the yogi was at their house. The lady said “Mahatmaji please wait, just a couple of seconds”, but that mahatma became very angry. So much pride came. He opened his eyes and said “Hey!” but that chaste lady said “Mahatmaji, I am not that bird. You can’t burn me to ashes”.
That brahmacari, that yogi, thought “Oh, I have nothing”. Then he came to another place. One person was selling oil, in Sanskrit terms that is ‘taila dhar’’. Taila dhar means someone who is selling oil, an oil salesman. The yogi used the same words “Bhiksam dehi” “Give me some donation, alms”. That businessman said “Mahatmaji, please wait a couple of seconds. Just now I am talking with my customers. After two minutes I will give you something. As far as my ability allows, I will give to you”. That brahmacari became very angry, and again he opened his eyes, meaning that he wanted to burn him to ashes. That taila dhar said “I am not that bird. I am not that bird. You cannot burn me to ashes”.
He became very surprised “The same words that the chaste lady said, this person also said. In the forest I burned that bird, but how did they know? How did they know? And now I have no power, nothing. I can’t do anything”. Then he came in one place and asked one sadhu “Why?”
The sadhu said “Listen, karma, jnana, yoga, and tapasya, they are completely useless. That chaste lady, she performs bhajana and sadhana to the Lord and she is a perfect grhastha, so she is higher than you. And that taila dhar, he also follows all of the rules and regulations, all of the principles of society. So he is higher”.
The conclusion of this story is, if you perfectly follow all of the rules and regulations of grhastha asrama, then your life will be successful. Otherwise, life will be useless, nothing. Grhastha jivana can be the best life.
In Vrndavana, they serve Krsna with their body, mind and speech. In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Sukadeva Goswami said to Pariksit Maharaj “Look how all of the trees of Vrndavana serve Krsna. When Krsna comes to Vrndavana, automatically the trees create shade over the head of Krsna with their branches. Just like when a bonafide guru walks and his disciple holds an umbrella behind him. When Krsna comes to Vrndavana then automatically the flowers, the petals of the flowers, start to fall down and they make a very nice, beautiful, soft carpet for Krsna because they are thinking “Our beloved Krsna has come, but how can Krsna walk on the paths of Vrndavana, because Krsna’s feet are very soft”. Automatically fruits come very close to Krsna.
And automatically the honey is dropping down and Krsna, Balarama and the sakhas are licking the honey. Automatically the leaves start to move, this is what? They are fanning Krsna. Krsna has come, and automatically the creepers they also start to move, like the camara. How they have love and affection.
Visvanath Cakravati pada explains that in Vrndavana, the trees, they are called householders, grha swami, the creepers are called wives, patni, the flowers are called daughters, and the fruits are called sons. So in Vrndavana, wife, husband, daughters and sons, they all serve Krsna.
Govinda Damodara Madhaveti
So in this way we see that in Vrndavana, they are all called householders. Generally, people think “Household life is useless life, sannyasa life is the best life”, but sastra says no, in Vrndavana who is a sannyasi? Who will serve Krsna? Look at the trees, they all serve Krsna.
Narada Rsi himself said “Hey, Yudhisthira Maharaj, although I am in the renounced order, a sannyasi, and I have no house, Krsna always stays with you. Although you are a grhastha, Krsna always stays in your house.
yūyaṁ nṛ-loke bata bhūri-bhāgā
lokaṁ punānā munayo ’bhiyanti
yeṣāṁ gṛhān āvasatīti sākṣād
gūḍhaṁ paraṁ brahma manuṣya-liṅgam
“My dear Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, you Pāṇḍavas are so very fortunate in this world that many, many great saints, who can purify all the planets of the universe, come to your house just like ordinary visitors. Furthermore, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is living confidentially with you in your house, just like your brother.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 7.15.75)
Narada Rsi quoted this verse:
“yūyaṁ nṛ-loke bata bhūri-bhāgā”.
“Hey, Yudhistira Maharaj, all of you are very fortunate because Krsna remains in your house. Krsna is your perfect friend”. Who is called your friend? In this material world who is your friend? Generally the meaning of friend is:
“Ustsave vyasane caiva raja dvare swasahnecha ja tistati sa bandava”
Who is your friend? ‘Ustsave’- if any festival is going on and without you giving any invitation, someone comes and helps you, he is called your friend. ‘Vyasane caiva’, or if any marriage ceremony is going on, someone who comes, he is called your friend. ‘Raja dvare’- If somehow you are in prison, someone who helps you to come out of prison, he is your friend. ‘Swasahnecha’ – After your death, someone who follows you to the cemetery is called ‘swasahna bandhu’.
“Ustsave vyasane caiva raja dvare swasahnecha ja tistati sa bandhava”
This is called your friend. But Srimad Bhagavatam explains, who is your real friend?
“Se-i se param bandhu, se-i pita-mata
sri krsna carana jei prema-bhakti-dhata”
“He who has given me prema-bhakti at the lotus feet of Krsna is my supreme friend. He is my eternal father and mother.”
Your best friend is the one who gives Krsna prema, Krsna bhakti. He is your real friend. Who will give Krsna bhakti, and who will take Krsna bhakti? Who will take? Raise your hands. If you really want to take Krsna bhakti you must follow the instructions of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. This is the thing.
“Se-i se param bandhu, se-i pita-mata”
She is my real mother, he is my real father, he is my real husband, she is my real wife, he is my real brother or sister if she/he gives me Krsna bhakti.
gurur na sa syāt sva-jano na sa syāt
pitā na sa syāj jananī na sā syāt
daivaṁ na tat syān na patiś ca sa syān
na mocayed yaḥ samupeta-mṛtyum
“One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod.”
“gurur na sa syāt sva-jano na sa syāt”
He is not a real guru if he cannot give Krsna bhakti. She is not my real mother. He is not my real father. They are not my real wife or husband if they do not give me Krsna bhakti. Srimad Bhagavatam very clearly explains this. This is very important.
If you follow all of the rules and regulations of society and perform bhajana and sadhana then your life will be successful, but you need faith, dṛḍha viśvāsa. Without faith, you will never achieve perfection.
I will give one very nice, beautiful example. Once Narada Rsi came to the home of a householder, but that person suffered from leprosy. He held the lotus feet of Narada Rsi, and said, “Oh, Rsi please give me mercy, according to my karma, bad karma, I am suffering from this kind of disease”. Yesterday I told you, if you commit sinful activities you will have to suffer.
“apani karile papa apani daiye”
If you commit sinful activities, you will have to suffer. Understand this, it is very important. So he asked Narada Rsi “What will I do now?” Narada Rsi said “This is true, so what will you do now? How can I help you now?” But he held the feet of Narada Rsi and cried “Oh, please give mercy”. Then Narada Rsi said “Listen. You should listen with firm faith to the Mahabharata for one month continuously. If you listen for one month to the Mahabharata then you will be cured of this disease. But the condition is what? Firm faith. That is called dṛḍha viśvāsa. With no doubt. Understand? If doubt has come you then you will lose everything. So he promised “Okay I will listen to Mahabharata katha for one month. Please, you give the class”.
So Narada Rsi spoke Mahabharata katha for one month. For twenty-nine days he explained Mahabharata katha because Mahabharata katha is very interesting because every day the Mahabharata is going on in our house. That means what? Fighting. In our house, in our country, in our neighbourhood, every day, and even in our minds also. For twenty nine days he heard Mahabharata katha from the lotus lips of Narada Rsi.
Then automatically all of his leprosies disappeared, except for a little bit under his nail, because one day was left. On that day Narada Rsi discussed the character of Bhima. Narada Rsi said “Listen, Bhima was very powerful. When he was a very small boy, about six or seven years old, he used to juggle with elephants, about five, six or ten elephants. One day when Bhima was juggling with the elephants, he pushed one of the elephants and the elephant went into the sky, very far away, and still, that elephant is moving in the sky”.
At that time, the householder said “Maharaj, now you have said too much! How is it possible that one person can juggle with ten elephants? And that one elephant went into the sky and is still moving? I can’t believe this. How is this possible? This is too much! This is called atisvyaukti! You are speaking too much. This is not perfect”.
At that time Narada Rsi thought “Oh my God!”
In the Srimad Bhagavad Gita Krsna says if you have a doubt about sastra and guru you will lose everything.
ajñaś cāśraddadhānaś ca
nāyaṁ loko ’sti na paro
na sukhaṁ saṁśayātmanaḥ
“But ignorant and faithless persons who doubt the revealed scriptures do not attain God consciousness; they fall down. For the doubting soul, there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.”
(Srimad Bhagavad Gita 4.40)
Narada Rsi said “You have no faith? Why not? Look” Narada clapped, one, two, three, then an elephant came down from the sky. How is it possible? Everything is possible. Narada Rsi said “Bhima is not an ordinary person. Sometimes Lord Nrsmhadeva possesses his body, enters in his body”.
The Mahabharata explains that when Bhima fought with Duḥśāsana and he opened his chest, he then drank the blood from the chest of Duḥśāsana. At that time Bhima became very angry and challenged everyone “Anybody will come and fight with me? Any Kauravas or Pandavas?” Arjuna took his bow and said “OK, I am going because I am a ksatriya; whoever challenges me, I have to fight them”
Krsna said “Arjuna, don’t go. This time don’t go. You cannot fight with Bhima. Even if I Myself go, I cannot fight with Bhima. Why? Because My own incarnation Nrsmha deva has entered his body”.
You should read Mahabharata, it very clearly explains. When Bhima opened the chest of Duḥśāsana and drank the blood, at that time Bhima became very ferocious; as ferocious as a lion. Krsna said ‘Hey Arjuna, you don’t know how powerful he is at the moment. No-one can go in front of him. Even I Myself will not go. My own incarnation Nrsmha deva entered his body. Bhagavat. So Narada Rsi said “Listen, if the Lord Himself enters someone, that person can do anything. Why not? Juggling with two, three or four elephants and pushing one of them, this is nothing because the Lord can do anything. Lord Nrsmha deva taking one elephant? Even ten thousand elephants are like one mustard seed to Him. You lost your faith, so this small area of leprosy has not been removed”
What is the purport of this story? You need faith.
Spiritual life completely depends on faith. This is called dṛḍha viśvāsa, śāstra viśvāsa, faith with śāstra and guru vakya (the words of the spiritual master). Not blind faith. Don’t become Sunanda Gandharva. Srila Gour Govinda Maharaj told this story. Many times I have told you this story; Sunanda Gandharva.
Once one washerman, he shaved his head. He met the royal priest. The priest asked “Hey! Washerman! Why have you shaved your head?” The washerman replied, “Today is the most auspicious day because today Sunanda Gandharva left his body.” He did not ask who Sunanda Gandharva was, but Sunanda Gandharva is a very nice name, so the priest also shaved.
Then the priest met the minister. The minister asked “Hey! Priest! Why have you shaved your head?” The priest replied, “Today is the most auspicious day because today Sunanda Gandharva left his body”. He did not ask “Who is Sunanda Gandharva?” Then the minister also shaved his head.
Then the minister met the king. The king said “Hey! Minister! Why have you shaved your head?” “Today is the most auspicious day because today Sunanda Gandharva left his body” replied the minister. The king did not ask who he was. The king also shaved his head.
Then the queen came. She said “Hey! King! Why have you shaved your head?” The king said, “Today is the most auspicious day because today Sunanda Gandharva left his body”. The queen asked, “Who is Sunanda Gandharva?” The king said, “Oh, I don’t know, my minister told me”.
Then the queen asked the minister “Who is Sunanda Gandharva?” The minister replied, “Oh, I don’t know, the royal priest told me that today is the most auspicious day”. Then the queen asked the priest “Who is Sunanda Gandharva”. The priest said “Oh, I don’t know. The washerman told me”.
So the queen asked the washerman “Hey! Who is Sunanda Gandharva?” The washerman replied “Oh, queen, maharani, listen, I had one donkey. His name was Sunanda Gandharva. My donkey left his body, for this reason, I shaved”.
So, Srila Gour Govinda Maharaja told this story. Without knowledge and sadhu sanga, without studying the scriptures, and just following wearing a blindfold? This is called blind faith. No, you must study sastra, and with firm faith; dṛḍha viśvāsa; then you will enter. Without sadhu sanga, without reading the scriptures; the Vedas, Puranas or Upanisads; you cannot enter in the proper way into suddha bhakti.
Try to follow these things. Learn how to serve Krsna. If you are grhastha, brahmacari, vanaprasthi or sannyasi, no harm, but chant the holy names and follow the four principles. Again and again our guru varga remind us, this is very important:
“grhe va vanete thake, ‘ha gauranga’ bale dake,
narottama mage ta’ra sanga”
“Whether one lives in his home as a grhastha, or in the forest as a renunciate, as long as he exclaims, “Ha Gauranga!” Narottama dasa begs for his sanga.”
(Gaurangera Duti-Pada Verse 4)
Narottama das Thakur has sung this song. You can stay in household life or take the renounced order, no harm, but always serve guru and Krsna. Serve Thakurji, serve vaisnavas and chant the holy names. We see most of the devotees of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu were grhastha. Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acarya, Srivasa Thakur; mostly they were grhastha. Tyagis they are going where? Brahmacaris, vanaprasthis and sannyasis, where are they going? To the house of grhasthas. But, this is very important; you should follow the four principles (1. No meat eating 2. No illicit sex 3. No intoxication 4. No gambling). If you do not follow the four principles, that house is completely what? Naraka (like hell). This is very important, follow the four principles and chant the holy names, serve guru and vaisnavas.
So Raya Ramananda said;
“prabhu kahe, — “paḍa śloka sādhyera nirṇaya”
rāya kahe, — “sva-dharmācaraṇe viṣṇu-bhakti haya” ”
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya lila 8.57)
“Sva-dharmācaraṇe” means varnasrama dharma.
Jiva svarupa anubandhi means Krsna bhakti anusilanam (the cultivation of pure devotion to Krsna).
Saranapati means that the spontaneous nature of the soul is to serve Krsna. Following varnasrama dharma, this is external. So Caitanya Mahaprabhu said:
“eho bāhya, āge kaha āra”
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 8.59)
“This is external. You had better tell Me of some other means.”
Because Caitanya Mahaprabhu wants to hear about our perfect svarup anubandhi dharma – the spontaneous nature of the soul, that is to serve Krsna.
jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya — kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’
(Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya 20.108-109)
How will we serve Krsna? So, for this reason, Caitanya Mahaprabhu said following varnasrama dharma; brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprasthi and sannyasa or brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra; this external. But don’t you think “Oh, this is external, so there is no need to follow varnasrama dharma”.
So, for this reason, sastra explains:
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
“If a person violates the regulations mentioned in the śruti, smṛti, purāṇas and the Nārada-pañcarātra, great misgivings (anarthas) are produced, even though he may be engaged in unalloyed devotion to Hari (aikāntiki-hari-bhakti).”
(Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.101, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī))
This morning I explained these things. If you do not follow all of the rules and regulations of the scriptures; śruti, smṛti, Narada Pancaratra, and you think “I am one-pointed (in my devotion), so there is no need for me to follow the rules and regulations” you will make a disturbance in your society. You will make a disturbance in your own mind. You will never enter in suddha bhakti.
So in this regard, our whole guru varga explains, slowly, slowly, bhakti marga jivana. Follow varnasrama dharma and chant the holy names.
Otherwise, what is the difference between Gaudiya vaisnavas and Sahijiya babajis? Sahajiyas don’t want to follow the rules and regulations of varnasrama dharma.
So Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Siddhanta Prabhupada re-established daiva varnasrama dharma. Srimad Bhagavad Gita discusses these things; Krsna explains this; who is called a brahmana, who is called a ksatriya, who is called a brahmacari, and who is called a grhastha. These things are very important.
“sve sve ’dhikāre yā niṣṭhā
sa guṇaḥ parikīrtitaḥ
anena niyamaḥ kṛtaḥ
“It is firmly declared that the steady adherence of transcendentalists to their respective spiritual positions constitutes real piety and that sin occurs when a transcendentalist neglects his prescribed duty. One who adopts this standard of piety and sin, sincerely desiring to give up all past association with sense gratification, is able to subdue materialistic activities, which are by nature impure.”
(Srimad Bhagavatam 11.20.26)
According to his qualifications, he must follow the rules and regulations. According to your svabhava (nature), then you will belong to that varna and asrama. If you have brahmana svabhava then you will become brahmana. Satyam, saucam, dayal, pavitrata. This is the nature, svabhava, or the gunas, qualities, of a brahmana. Satyam means truthfulness; saucam – cleanliness; daya – gives mercy to all the living entities, has compassion for all of the living entities; aistika – he has faith with sastra and sadhu vakya, the instructions of guru and sastra.
Srimad Bhagavad Gita discusses the qualifications of the four varnas and asramas. How we will do these things properly. This is very important. Nothing, useless (if we do not follow these things our lives will be useless). So I am discussing how our guru varga has come from India to preach to the western countries about our Vedic culture. How we will enter into the philosophy of the Vedas and enter into Krsna consciousness.
Bolo Vrndvana Bihari Lal Ki Jaya!
Radhe Govinda Radhe Govinda!
Transcriber: Jayanandini didi (UK)
Slokas: Purandaracarya prabhu (Puri/UK)