Apr 5, 2018

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF AUSTERITIES?

12/02/2018
São Paulo, Brazil


On Srimad Bhagavatam, 10th canto, 1st chapter, Srila Sukadeva Gosvamipad told Pariksit Maharaj about Krsna’s very nice and beautiful pastimes - Krsna-lila kathamrtam. Because from the 1st canto to the 9th canto, Sukadeva Gosvamipada told Pariksit Maharaj about many jnana and vairagya kathas. And also told many stories, many pastimes about the dynasty of the kings. Then Pariksit Maharaj asked one question, “Hey Gurudeva, hey Brahman, please don’t take my offense. I want to ask you one question.”

So Pariksit Maharaj very humbly told, “I don’t know how to make questions in front of you, if I commit any offense, please forgive me. Now I am about to die. Maybe after two days, I will die, because the snake will come and bite me. But why did you speak about many stories of kings? You told me how they are great, how they are brave, how they conquer many countries, how they gave charity, donation. You told many kathas, many jnana and vairagya kathas. Why? What benefit will I get? I cannot get any benefit.”

In the Braja language, it is said: “Ok, that person was very rich, he has so much opulence, wealth, money, he’s eating so many kinds of delicious food, laddukacori, etc… If I hear his glories, what benefit will I get? Nothing. He will not give one penny to me, he will not give any grains to me, so what is the meaning of listening to his glorification?”

Giving an example, you see a very long tree. You cannot get any benefit from this tree, because you cannot get the shade of it, it is too long. Maybe that tree’s shadow is going very far. Imagine you are walking in the summertime, then suddenly you see a very long coconut tree. You want to take some rest under the shadow of the tree, but where is the shadow of this long tree? It is going very far, in the river. So no benefit is coming from this tree. Also, you can find a big fruit tree, but if it is too long and if the branches are very high, you cannot get its fruits either. 

I am saying this because Pariksit Maharaj told Sukadeva Gosvamipad, “You told me about how great were these kings, how big, how brave. But what benefit will I get from this? I won’t be able to get any benefit…”

Then Sukadeva Gosvamipad said, “Actually, I told you about those kings’ aisvarya, opulence, but why? Because you have come from this dynasty. First, you need to understand your own glories, but how will you know your own glories? For this regard, I am telling you about your forefathers, how they were great…”

On Indian culture, everyone wants to know about their forefathers, “My father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather… how they were?”

Then Sukadeva Gosvamipad continued, “So for this regard, I explained to you about these two dynasties: somavanshi, the dynasty of the moon, and suryavanshi, the dynasty of sun. In the sun dynasty, suryavanshi, Lord Bhagavan Ramacandra has appeared. And in the moon dynasty, somavanshi, Lord Sri Krsna came.

“You see Pariksit Maharaj, how you are so fortunate! In your dynasty, the Lord Himself had come. The Lord, Bhagavan, and His incarnation, avatara, had come. And every person from your dynasty was so great as well. They were all mahatmas, great souls. All of them had jnana and vairagya - knowledge and renunciation.”

But why is he saying this? Because when bhakti manifests in one’s heart, what are the two symptoms? Jnana and vairagya - these two will come. Jnana means ‘transcendental knowledge’ and vairagya means ‘dettachament from sense gratification’. 

Bhakti-devi has two sons: jnana and vairagya. When we discuss and speak about the glories of Srimad Bhagavatam, then automatically we discuss Bhakti-devi katha.

Once Bhakti-devi told, “I was born in Dravida, then I gave birth to my two sons, jnana and vairagya. But when I came to Gujarat, my two sons became young and I became old. When I left there and came to Vrndavana, it happened the opposite way, I became young and my two sons became old.”

That means when bhakti manifests in one’s heart, jnana and vairagya will come. Some Vaisnavas say, “If you compare, bhakti is like the wife and Paramatma is like the husband - when wife and husband meet together, what will come? Sons. That means Bhakti-devi and Bhagavan gives us jnana and vairagya.

Then Sukadeva Gosvamipad said, “Hey Pariksit Maharaj, you have come in the sun dynasty, suryavanshi, where Lord Ramacandra has appeared; He who established the varnasrama-dharma in the platform of prema-madhurya katha. Then Krsna has appeared in somavanshi, the moon dynasty, and performed the sweetest pastimes with the gopis.”

For this regard, I am explaining in this way:
nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanad               
bhavausadhac chrotra-mano- ’bhiramat     
ka uttamasloka-gunanuvadat
puman virajyeta vina pasughnat
[“Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the parampara system; that is, it is conveyed from spiritual master to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore, who will cease hearing such glorification of the Lord except a butcher or one who is killing his own self?” (SB 10.1.4)]

This is a very nice sloka, everybody should learn this. Who does not want to listen to Krsna-katha? Those who are killing the animals, they are very hard-hearted. Vina pasughnat –those who are killing the animals; they don’t want to listen to Krsna-katha. Others than the butcher, they all want to listen to Krsna-katha. Even the impersonalists, those who want to emerge in Brahman, when they listen to Krsna-katha, they give up the meditation on Brahman. They get eager for listening to Krsna-katha, because this Govinda-katha is very powerful. 

So nivrttta-tarsair upagiyamanad [...] – even those who are suffering in this material world by the three miseries of maya, (adhyatmika - miseries caused by the body and the mind; adhidaivika - miseries caused by natural phenomena that demigods are sending and adhibhautika - miseries caused by other living entities such as humans, animals, insects, etc), when they listen to Krsna-katha, they forget about their samsara, because Krsna-katha is really powerful and can attract even advaitavadismayavadis.

Once there was this mayavadi who was performing austerities, for many years, in Kasi, Varanasi. And he chanted this mantra ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ – ‘I am Brahman’. Then one day he was thinking, “In my life I had never performed any tirtha-yatra, pilgrimage, so maybe I should go now to some tirtha, sacred place.” So he traveled many places, then finally came in Vrndavana, but when he got there, his mind changed completely. 
advaita-vithi-pathikair upasya
svananda-simhasana-labdha-diksah
sathena kenapi vayam hathena
dasi-krta gopa-vadhu-vitena
[“Although I was worshiped by those on the path of monism and initiated into self-realization through the yoga system, I have nonetheless been forcibly turned into a maidservant by some cunning boy who is always joking with the gopis.” (CC Madhya 24.133)]

Krsna das Kaviraj quoted this verse on Caitanya-caritamrta. He explains the purport about this sloka as he tells us what the mayavadi thought:

“First I was in the path of advaitavadis, the impersonalists, looking how to emerge in Brahman, but then I came to Vrndavana and my heart was completely stolen. Automatically Krsna-nama danced in my tongue. Automatically my ears were eager to listen to Krsna-katha.”

Advaita-vithi-pathikair upasyah [...]

“Now I am completely captivated by Krsna and His katha. Now I became a maidservant of Srimati Radhika.”

But if you become the devotee of Lord, then what benefit will you get? Prasada! You will only get prasada. But what prasadaTava kathamrtam!
tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam
kavibhir iditam kalmasapaham
sravaṇa-mangalam srimad atatam
bhuvi grnanti ye bhuri-da janah
[“Nectarean discussions about You are the life and soul of those who are tormented by separation from You, and greatly learned personalities, such as Brahma, Siva and the four Kumaras, sing of them. Those narrations vanquish the distress of past sins [prarabda and aprarabda]. Immediately upon being heard, they bestow the highest auspiciousness, and especially the wealth of prema. The nectar of Your narrations is expanded by those who glorify Your pastimes, and therefore such narrators are truly the most generous benefactors in the world.” (SB 10.31.9)]

Nice and sweet. When he heard Mahaprabhu, “Tava kathamrtamTava kathamrtam!”, he said, “Hey Krsna, Your katha is like sweet nectar. Who doesn’t want to drink this nectar?” 

Everybody wants or not? Who will eat other things except for nectar, amrtaKrsna-katha is amrta. Our Jiva Gosvamipad very nicely explains in this context; when you become pure devotee you don’t need jnana and vairagya. In the beginning, you need it; knowledge and renunciation, but then when you completely submerge in the divine love of Radha and Krsna, no need of jnana and vairagya anymore. But what is that? Our Jiva Gosvamipad explains:

“Hey prince, you will have a long life. You are the son of a king and you have so much wealth and opulence because in the previous life you performed many pious activities, punya-karma. So now you are enjoying, but you know, after your death, you cannot get anything, because this is your end.”

So that means karmis are performing good karma and enjoying because of their previous pious activities. But when this karma finishes, then they cannot get anything more. And the hunter, or the butcher, they are killing the animals. In this life, they are suffering like in hell and after death, they are also going to hell. So he continues, “Hey bhakta, why are you doing hard austerities? No need for tapasya nor anything like this.”

Mahaprabhu told this katha, “For one who attends to Hari, Krsna, what is the meaning of austerities?”

If you are not performing bhajana and sadhana, what is the meaning of performing tapasyaTapasya means when you are giving pain to your body. So what kind of benefit will you get if you are not performing bhajana and sadhana? For example, yesterday was Ekadasi and you made nirjala vrata, but you did not chant 64 rounds. So what is the meaning of your nirjala vrata? If you did not give intensity to harinama, actually you will not get proper benefit. But suppose someone did not follow nirjala - he took prasada but chanted 64 rounds. So this one is higher than the one who performed nirjala vrata and did not chant one lakh.  

Bhakti means how to give intensity to Krsna-nama and Krsna-katha, because Krsna-katha is amrta, nectar. So what Srimati Radhika is saying about this? Tava kathamrtam tapta-jivanam [...] (SB 10.31.9)

But don’t misunderstand me, don’t think I am saying to you, “Don’t do nirjala vrata.” I am not saying this. I am just telling you that the primary thing is about giving intensity to the holy names, then the second thing is about doing nirjala. If your health is good and if your body tolerates, then you can do nirjala. Because bhakti is not by force, especially in Kali-yuga, there is no hatha-yoga

What is hatha-yoga? Doing austerities - “My body does not tolerate, but I will do it by force.” Bhakti is not doing this way, Bhakti-devi is spontaneous service.  

Yesterday one devotee told me, “Gurudeva, what will I do now? Shall I do nirjala or not? Because I was thinking about doing it, but when I looked to these many kinds of preparations… O Gurudeva, then what to do?! What to do?! Very hard to control my tongue.” This is hatha-yoga, there is no need for doing this by force. Bhakti should be about spontaneous service, not by force. 

When the devotees are taking prasada, it is better for you going out, maybe to the forest... Otherwise, you will see it and then you cannot do nirjala, you cannot chant holy names, you cannot do anything. Because you are not eating with your mouth, but you are eating in your mind. You are just thinking about how good that prasada must be. 

Bhakti should always be about spontaneous service, not about doing things by force. Whatever your body wants, then you can do. But I am not saying you should always only enjoy sense gratification. You should act spontaneously, but at the same time, you must give intensity to hari-katha and harinama.

In this regard, Krsna das Kaviraj explains on Caitanya-caritamrta that the gopis have spontaneous love and affection for Krsna. So bhakti should be just like the water from the river - spontaneously flowing.
anyabhilāsita-sunyam 
jnana-karmady-anavrtam
anukulyena krsnanu-silanam 
bhaktir uttama
[“Uttama-bhakti, pure devotional service, is the cultivation of activities that are meant exclusively for the pleasure and benefit of Sri Krsna. It is the uninterrupted flow of service to Sri Krsna, performed through all endeavors of body, mind and speech, as well as through expression of various spiritual moods (bhavas). It is not covered by jnana (speculative knowledge aimed at impersonal liberation), karma (reward-seeking activity), mystic yoga or austerities; and it is completely free from all desires other than the aspiration to bring happiness to Sri Krsna.” (Bhakri-rasamrta-sindhu 1.1.11)] 

[The prefix anu in the word anusilanam indicates that the cultivation of bhakti must be in anugatya (under guidance) as well as continuous and uninterrupted, like an unbroken stream of honey. In other words, pure bhakti necessitates continuous siksa from a pure devotee.]

Just giving an example, if you drop the honey from the jar. When it is dropping, the honey falls very slow, it keeps dripping very very slowly. But if you drop the water, then it very quickly falls down. So bhakti is like this honey falling down, very slow and spontaneous. But if you try to do with the honey as you do when you drop the water, it won’t be able to quickly fall down. Bhakti should be incessant, without stopping - constantly flowing like the water from the river. 

So one day you are chanting the holy names and another day you are not. This is not as it is supposed to be. Bhakti should be every day.
sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana-natibhih kalavasani-krtau
nidrahara-viharakadi-vijitau catyanta-dinau ca yau
radha-krsna-guna-smrter madhurimanandena sammohitau
vande rupa-sanatanau raghu-yugau sri-jiva-gopalakau
[“I worship the Six Gosvamis, who passed all their time in chanting the holy names, singing songs, and offering dandavat-pranama, thereby humbly fulfilling their vow to complete a fixed number daily. In this way, they utilized their valuable lives and conquered overeating and sleeping. Always seeing themselves as completely worthless, they became enchanted in divine rapture by remembering Sri Radha-Krsna’s sweet qualities.” (Sri Sad-Gosvamiastakam 6)]

Sankhya-purvaka-nama-gana [...] - That means every day you should chant a fixed number of rounds. So for this regard, Krsna-katha and Krsna-nama are ‘nityam bhagavat seva’. Nityam means ‘everyday’. Every day you have to read Srimad Bhagavatam. And there are two types: one is called grantha-bhagavatam, and the other is called bhakta-bhagavatam. You have to take a vow. Every day you read Srimad Bhagavatam and serve bhakta-bhagavatam. And every day you have to chant:

Hare Krsna Hare Krsna
Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare

Bolo Vrindavana Bihari Lala ki Jay!
Jay Jay Sri Radhe!


Transcriber: Vrndavana Candra Das (Brazil)