Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Srila Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja

A lecture given in France: July, 1999

What are you doing? Stop making garlands. Try to make this garland in your heart. Your attention is not here. I have only come for four or five days, and this is perhaps the third or fourth day. You are losing your time. You can make garlands at night, after my class. Don't even chant. You can chant when ordinary devotees like yourselves are giving class. At that time you can chant and remember. But don't neglect any senior Vaisnava who is on the level of a Guru. Don't chant or do anything.

Your eyelids should not go down. Continually drink his words with both your eyes and ears, and also with your mouth. At that time Sri Sukadeva Gosvami may come to you. [In his previous manifestation as a parrot, Sukadeva Gosvami entered the mouth of Vyasadeva's wife while she was hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam from him. [Through her mouth he entered her womb, and remained there for sixteen years. After that, he took birth from her womb as a teenage youth.]

Sukadeva Gosvami is transcendental knowledge, and he is the embodiment of bhakti. This is the way and the process. Those who are senior did not seriously follow the process during Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja's manifested presence, and now you are not following. That is why you do not have any taste for chanting and hearing. Try to follow.

Try to hear this very carefully. If you want to do bhajana, you will have to remember this sloka of the Srimad-Bhagavatam – not the sloka, but its meaning and mood. Without such remembrance you will always be angry, with so many problems, and you will always be upset. You will not be able to do bhajana.

That sloka is:

tat te 'nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo bhakti-pade sa daya-bhak

["One who seeks Your compassion and thus tolerates all kinds of adverse conditions due to the karma of his own past deeds, who engages always in Your devotional service with his mind, words and body, and who always offers obeisances unto You, is certainly a bona fide candidate for becoming Your unalloyed devotee."]

What is the meaning of su-samiksamano? It is the careful consideration or judgment of what is good and what is bad. 'Su' means that we should consider and wait. We should consider that everything in this world, both good and bad, is coming by the mercy of Krsna. We should think, "Krsna is arranging everything, good and bad, for my benefit, for my auspiciousness."

When the Muslims were beating Srila Haridasa Thakura in the market place, how was he thinking? Su-samiksamano. He considered, "This is the mercy of Krsna. He wants to show the entire world that we should be tolerant, and He wants to use me as an example of that. He wants to glorify me throughout the world. Krsna has mercifully done this; Mahaprabhu has done it." We should see something good in whatever happens to us. We should see how Krsna has arranged all circumstances for our benefit. How should we think when a problem comes? "There is certainly something good here for me. Krsna has sent this." Su-samiksamano. We will have to reconcile everything in this way.

Why has Krsna sent this? Su-samiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam. What is the meaning? Why are all the troubles, miseries, sorrows, suffering, and problems coming? Krsna is not the cause. These conditions are the results of our past activities, and they are coming to purify us. It is the arrangement of Krsna that reactions must come as a result of whatever actions we perform, and we will have to be ready to taste these results.

No one is guilty, and Krsna is also not responsible for all these things. Who is responsible? I am. I am responsible for whatever activities I have performed. By thinking like this, we will always be happy — even if we have millions of problems. Thinking in this way, a devotee offers pranama, obeisance, and considers, su-samiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te. "O Krsna, You have sent this to purify me from all the results of my past activities." High-class devotees will think, "O Krsna, you are very tricky. By this You want to glorify me by using me to set an example. How merciful You are." Vidadhan namas te. The devotee always offers pranama to Krsna. If problems and sufferings are coming, then vidadhan namas te; he offers pranama by folding his hands.

Hrd means 'by the core of the heart,' and vag means 'by speech': "O Prabhu, I am so guilty, I am worthless, I am stupid, and I am more of a nonsense than Jagai and Madhai. I am more nonsense than the worms in stool. You are merciful, so merciful, that You have invested Your whole power in Your name — and I can chant that name. I will very quickly be free of these impurities, and I will be able to have Your service. By having done this, You are creating the process by which I can very soon reach You and serve You." By rolling down upon the earth in appreciation of Krsna's mercy, a devotee can become the heir to His service. He can have prema. What type of prema? Vraja-prema. Krsna will automatically give this. Even if a father has not written anything in his will, when he dies, everything automatically goes to his son.

You may know about Sri Sarvabhauma Bhattacarya. At first he was a nirvesesavadi, impersonalist, but by the causeless mercy of Caitanya Mahaprabhu he was turned into a very high class of devotee. In his former life he only used to chant and remember, "Nirvisesa-brahma, nirvisesa-brahma," referring to qualitiless, nameless, attributeless spirit. Now he was changed, however. He so much hated mukti, impersonal liberation, that he would never even utter the word. He considered impersonal mukti to be a very bad thing. Although the word 'mukti-pade' is written in this Srimad-Bhagavatam verse itself, still he changed it to 'bhakti-pade sa daya-bhak.'

Caitanya Mahaprabhu was very happy to hear this, but still He corrected the Bhattacarya by saying, "You should not change the words of the Bhagavatam. Everything there is good." Here, mukti-pade sa daya-bhak means bhakti-pade sa daya-bhak. Mukti-pade means that mukti (liberation from all material connection) is always serving the lotus feet of that person who is mukti-pade. In other words, mukti always serves the lotus feet of bhakti. Thus, the devotee will automatically inherit prema-bhakti for Krsna.

Now I will give an example. Try to hear it patiently, and try to understand. If one is always in sadhu-sanga, he will inherit prema-bhakti; otherwise not. Giving up sadhu-sanga one may say, "I am proud that I have distributed so many books. I was number one on the list for this. I have done everything." Due to this false ego, such a person can easily give up this high class of association.

If you want to inherit bhakti, then always try to be in good association. If it is not available, you can read Sri Caitanya-caritamrta and associate with Srila Rupa Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvami, and all others like them. You can associate with Sri Sukadeva Gosvami by reading the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The following is an example to illustrate how this is possible.

By the time the Kuruksetra Battle was finished, millions upon millions of soldiers had been killed on both sides. Even Abhimanyu and the sons of the Pandavas were killed. On the other side, Duryodhana and all of his party were killed. When the war was over, the crown automatically came upon the head of Maharaja Yudhisthira. Yudhisthira Maharaja was very upset, however, because he did not want to be king. He wept to his brothers, "For this crown, millions of soldiers have been killed. All the ladies are now widows, and these ladies are always crying. By this, I have ruined sanatana-dharma, eternal religion." He continuously wept, and therefore Krsna began to think, "This is a very great problem. How can I pacify him?"

At that time Bhisma Pitamaha, who was a very good devotee and among the twelve Vaisnava mahajanas, was lying down on a bed of arrows at Kuruksetra. Previously, when he had requested water, Duryodhana had come forward and said, "I will bring water, because he is my grandfather." He brought some very beautiful, sweet, fragrant water in a golden pot, but Bhisma Pitamaha told him, "I cannot accept this. Where is Arjuna? He should be called." Arjuna was called and Bhismadeva said, "Can you give me some water to drink?" Arjuna said, "Oh, of course I will give it." He took his bow and arrow, shot it in the ground, and at once very sweet water came forth from the earth. It shot up in such a way that it then poured down directly into the mouth of Bhisma Pitamaha.

Bhisma Pitamaha became very happy and asked, "Can you give me a pillow?" Duryodhana ran and brought a very soft cotton pillow, and he wanted to give it to his grandfather. Bhisma Pitamaha said, "You see that I am lying down on the bed of arrows, and still you are bringing this. It is not appropriate. You are not qualified. Arjuna should be called." Arjuna was called, and Bhismadeva requested him, "Can you give me a pillow?" Arjuna said, "Why not prabhu?" He took his bow and arrow, shot it in the ground, and several arrows manifested from it. Those arrows then crisscrossed in such a way that they created a 'pillow' (looking similar to the small Indian-carved, wooden, folding bookstands).

Although Bhisma was fighting against the Pandavas, he was a pure jnani-bhakta. Krsna now told the Pandavas, "Come with Me. We are going to see Bhisma Pitamaha. He is about to pass away; so we must go." He took all the Pandava brothers and Draupadi, and came to the spot where Bhisma was lying down. When they arrived, all the Pandavas sat by his feet so that they could see his face. Sitting at the front, Krsna touched Bhismadeva, and all his pain at once disappeared. Bhisma then offered Krsna pranama by his eyes.

When all were seated there, Krsna told Bhisma Pitamaha, "Your knowledge is very transcendental, and therefore I want you to pacify all of the Pandavas. They are always weeping, blaming themselves for the death of all the soldiers. They think that they are the reason the fighting began, and they are the reason that all were killed. I want you to pacify them with your transcendental knowledge."

Bhisma Pitamaha began to laugh. He told Krsna, "You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You are the one who gave the knowledge of Gita for the benefit of the entire world, and now You are telling me to pacify them."

Krsna said, "You are superior to Me in this respect. I know you can pacify them. I cannot. My devotees can give more knowledge and more love and affection than I can. I cannot give love and affection like that of the gopis, for example, but superior devotees can give this transcendental knowledge."

Bhismadeva thus began to speak, and in the midst of his explanation, in a very chaste way, Draupadi began to smile. This is the ornament of chaste Indian ladies. They don't laugh aloud in public. Nowadays, even when there are many persons passing them, men and women will kiss each other — not only one time, but hundreds of times — like he-goats and she-goats. They have no shame at all. I request you not to do these things.

Seeing Draupadi shyly smiling, Bhismadeva asked her, "My dear daughter, why are you smiling? There must be some reason. I know that you are a chaste lady, and therefore without a good reason you would not do so.

Draupadi replied, "O Bhisma Pitamaha, you are now going to speak about transcendental knowledge to pacify us, and Krsna also desires that we hear from you. But where was this transcendental knowledge when an attempt was made to make me naked in the council of demons like Duryodhana and Dhusasana? I wept as they were snatching my cloth. Dhrtarastra was there, and my five husbands were there. But at that time they could not speak. Where was your knowledge at that time? Why could you not give this knowledge to Duryodhana, Dhusasana, Karna, Sakuni, and all the other demons? Why?"

Bhisma Pitamaha replied, "At that time I was taking my meals and water from those demons. I was dependent upon them. I was taking their food, their meals, their drinks, their juices, and everything else from them. My intelligence was affected by this, and I became like them. I became like a demon. This transcendental knowledge was not in my heart at that time. I had forgotten it. Now, however, due to the sharp arrows of Arjuna, all the blood that was collected by that bad association has drained out."

Visayira anna khaile malina haya mana. What is the meaning? "If I accept the foodstuffs offered by materialists, my mind will become contaminated. If my mind becomes contaminated, I will not be able to remember the name, fame, qualities and pastimes of Krsna."

If the Ford company gives us great amounts of money, and we try to enjoy that money by purchasing and eating fruits and delicious foods, what will become of our hearts' devotion? It will quickly disappear. If one takes foodstuffs offered by a prostitute, his mind will become lusty like that of the prostitute. If one takes anything from a visayi, a sense enjoyer, his mind also becomes contaminated with the desire to enjoy matter.

The word visayi also applies to a person who is chanting, remembering, worshiping, and reading the Bhagavatam. Although he is worshiping, chanting, wearing tilaka and kanti mala, and performing all other devotional activities, he is thinking, "Krsna will be merciful to me. He will be pleased, and He will give me so much money and wealth." The father and uncle of Raghunatha dasa Gosvami were like this.

You should try to consider all these things. A person may try to collect money from a visayi, in the name of Guru and Krsna. He will tell that visayi, "I want to collect something from you. Please give me something so I can serve my Gurudeva. We will serve Radha and Krsna Conjugal. We will make many arrangements for preaching, so please give something." If you take even one farthing, one pence, one fraction for yourself, not using everything properly in the service of Krsna or Guru, you will have to suffer so much. In that case you are also a visayi.

Bhisma Pitamaha thus replied to Draupadi, "At that time I used to take their meals, water, juice, and everything else. I was dependant on them, and therefore I did everything to please them. My intelligence at that time was covered."

You should also consider that if you are taking meals and all other things from visayis and not purifying those gifts of donations by giving them to Guru and pure devotees, you will fall down. Pure devotees like Prahlada Maharaja, Haridasa Thakura, and all other exalted Gurus, like Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Maharaja, were so powerful that they could take poison and purify it.

Bhisma Pitamaha continued, "At that time my intelligence was somewhat bewildered. Now, in this fifth month, my blood has gone, and after the sixth month I will give up this body. During uttarayana, when the sun's course runs into the northern hemisphere, I will leave. I am waiting for that. Because my blood has now drained out, I am purified. My intelligence has returned and now I want to give you something.

"You should not think, 'I have killed. It was only for us that all have been killed.' Here is a story to illustrate this teaching:

"Once there was a very poor brahmani widow. She had only one son, of eight or nine years, and he was very beautiful and charming. She lived in a hut, and she used to maintain herself and her son by begging. She had been initiated by a high class of Vaisnava and she daily worshiped Thakurji. She was happy in her life of worshiping, chanting, and remembering. One day, very early in the morning, she was engaged in some duty and she requested her son, 'Bring some flowers. There are flowers in the bushes. Bring them, and I will worship Thakurji'.

"The boy became very happy and left to follow her orders. He went to some nearby bushes, where there were beli, cameli, and other flowers, and he began to pick them. In the meantime, a very poisonous black snake came and at once bit the boy. Without delay, in a moment, the whole body of the boy became black, and he fell flat on the ground and died. At that moment a hunter was walking in the forest, carrying a clay pot. Seeing this accident, he became very compassionate. He knew a vasibhut, controlling mantra, to catch a snake very easily. Hearing the hunter's mantra, the serpent became peaceful, and the hunter was thus able to put that serpent in his clay pot. The hunter then covered the mouth of the pot, took the boy in his arms as well as the pot, and he approached the boy's mother.

"When the old widow saw her son, she cried out, 'What happened?' She began to bitterly weep, 'Haya! Haya! Alas! Alas!' After some time she was somewhat pacified, at which time the hunter told her, 'Mother, I was there when he was picking flowers. He was innocent. He never attacked that snake, and he did not disturb it at all. Still, that snake came from within the bushes and bit him. I know a mantra, and by that mantra I have caught this poisonous snake and kept it in this pot. Please order me to cut the snake into pieces. I will burn it, and there will be no sign of its existence. Please order me. Please order me.'

"Although the hunter appealed to her again and again, the old widow told him, 'O hunter, by killing and burning this poisonous serpent, will my son return?' He replied, 'Never.' She said, 'Then why should you kill it? I don't want to kill it.' The hunter said, 'He is very wicked. He may bite another person. You must order me.' Again and again he insisted, but that kind widow brahmani was a realized soul and a devotee of Krsna. She said, 'Don't kill it. If my son will not return by your doing this, why should you kill it?' He told her, 'He will again attack a passerby without any reason.'

"At that time the serpent interrupted, 'Why should I do that? For years and years I was there, but I never bit anyone. Today I bit this boy, and it was only because death came and told me, "You should bite him." I'm innocent. Don't kill me.'

"In the meantime, death personified as Yamaraja Maharaja, the controller of our deaths, came and said, 'You say this is due to me? You say that I ordered you to bite him? I never did so. Why are you accusing me? I am not responsible for this. The boy is responsible for his own actions. In the boy's previous life that serpent was in a human body, and the boy was also a human. They were fighting each other, and the boy killed that other person. That murdered person is now a snake and he has taken his revenge. The boy's actions themselves are like a poisonous snake, and he was bitten by that snake. I am not responsible. Neither this serpent nor myself, Yamaraja, are responsible.'"

If any problem comes in your life, it means that you have done something wrong in the past, and now the result is coming. Why are you now afraid to taste the result? You must taste it. If you are fearing, if you don't want the result, still it will take place. You will have to taste all of your bad actions, and this is similarly true regarding your good actions.

Don't fear. Krsna has arranged this situation. If you abuse anyone, Krsna will abuse you. You cannot clap with one hand. In other words you have done things in the past, and that is why this reaction is coming. If the widow had asked the hunter to cut and burn the snake, in her next life she would have had to take birth, and again the serpent would come as a human and take revenge. Therefore, if someone is abusing you, don't abuse him in return. If anyone is making problems and giving poison to you, be very careful. Be like Prahlada Maharaja and Haridasa Thakura. Although Haridasa Thakura was beaten in so many market places, he was praying, "O Krsna, be merciful and try to excuse them. These beatings are the result of all my bad activities. Your mercy is coming in this way." Be calm and quiet, and chant, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare."

You should think, "I am worthless. I have offended many Vaisnavas, and the reaction is that I am so stupid and nonsense. Although I am chanting the holy name, tears are not coming and my heart is not melting. O Krsna! What should I do?" You can also remember Caitanya Mahaprabhu: "O Caitanya Mahaprabhu, You are causelessly merciful. Please bestow Your mercy upon me. In this kali-yuga life is very, very short, there are many problems, and the mind is always upset. What should I do? I am always covered with so many obstacles in my attempt to execute bhakti. I have no association, I am very weak, and I have not obtained the mercy of Krsna. What should I do? O Caitanya Mahaprabhu, I know only You. You are causelessly merciful. Please sprinkle Your mercy upon me. You have sprinkled your mercy even to Jagai and Madhai. Why not to me? I think I am more wretched than them, and therefore I am qualified to receive Your mercy."

If you weep in this way, then Krsna will give His mercy. By chanting, your heart will be melted and tears will come. If tears do not come you should think, "I have committed so many offenses. That is why tears are not coming." Always repent like this, and chant, "Hare Krsna Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare."