Shikshashtakam 4 Text 1 From the partial nectar to the complete nectar
Workshop at Krishna Institute, Alachua, USA
Transcription of Lecture
Now – it is the reiteration of the same point I mentioned in Kairava-Candrika-vitrarnam. Basically the blossoming of consciousness is a progress in selflessness, from self-absorption to Krishna absorption, and that happens gradually as we connect with Krishna more and more.
So, initially we are concerned only with myself. Then we become concerned with myself and Krishna, and as we move forward we become more and more concerned about Krishna, and less and less concerned about ourselves. So, that’s how the contact with Krishna causes the blossoming of our consciousness.
After that the next is Vidya-vadhu-jivanam. The speciality of this verse is, it is packed with many metaphors. So, Kairava is a flower which blossoms in moonlight, that’s a metaphor for consciousness. Similarly the mind as a mirror was a metaphor, and material existence is a forest fire is also a metaphor.
So, here Vidya – knowledge is a metaphor, and knowledge is compared to a vadhu, that is a bride. So, Bhakti Vinod Thakur explains in his commentary that vidya refers to the internal potency of Krishna, the spiritual knowledge of how to serve Krishna. There is vidya shakti and avidya shakti. So, avidya shakti is that which takes us away from Krishna. The vidya shakti takes us towards Krishna, and this vidya shakti becomes enlivened in our heart by the presence of our Lord.
So, vidya is compared to vadhu and jivanam-life. That means when – like someone is tired or lifeless, and then they see somebody whom they like very much, whom they love – they become enlivened, “Oh, you have come.” They are filled with energy. So, like that the knowledge potency that is there in our heart, it has become inactive, but when Krishna’s presence is invoked, at that time that knowledge potency becomes active, and then that knowledge potency guides us towards Krishna.
Vidya vadhu jivanam. So, all of us for serving Krishna, we need knowledge. We need bhakti of course which gives us the intelligence to serve Krishna, but along with the intension to serve Krishna we also need direction, “How should I serve Krishna?” I may want to serve Krishna, but then what am I meant to do? How should I serve Krishna? That knowledge is what the holy name gives us, vidya vadhu jivanam. That means that knowledge becomes enlivened from within.
Now Srila Prabhupada writes in one purport that, “A devotee may be perplexed, but a devotee is never discouraged.” It is very nice, “Perplexed but not discouraged.” Perplexed means, “I don’t know what to do.”, but discouraged means, “I don’t want to do anything only.” So, a devotee is never discouraged. A devotee doesn’t feel I don’t want to serve Krishna. Sometimes it may come in our life that, “Why should I do this, why should I do this?”, and then things may not be very clear. So, that perplexity might be there, but the discouragement that I don’t want to do anything, that doesn’t come in a devotee’s life.
Even when Srila Prabhupada was an empowered mahabhagawat acharya, but it is not that for him also every single step was like a completely revealed blue-print. When Prabhupada came to America, he was telling Krishna, “My dear Lord, you must have brought me here for some purpose, āche kichu kārja taba ei anumāne, nahe keno āniben ei ugra-sthāne”
So, he is saying, “Oh, my dear Lord, you must have some purpose”, and using an interesting word there anumane. Now we talk about anuman and praman. Anuman is guessing, and we consider that as speculation. That is not something which should be done, but when Prabhupada is using anuman over here, he is saying, “I guess that you must have some purpose for me over here, āche kichu kārja taba ei anumāne, this is my guess you must have some purpose, otherwise why would have brought me to this place, and the he concludes by saying that,
“āniyācho jadi prabhu āmāre nācāte
nācāo nācāo prabhu nācāo se-mate
kāṣṭhera puttali jathā nācāo se-mate”
He says, “My dear Lord, if you have brought me here for some purpose, then make me dance, make me dance, just like a puppeteer makes a puppet dance, similarly make me dance.” So now, at one level this is a very exalted level of surrender. “Just make me dance Krishna.” but that also indicates – it is not that Prabhupada had a complete plan, “Ok, I will come to America. Then I will go to Butler, then I will go to New York, then I will go to lower east side, and then I will go here and do this.” It was Prabhupada also – whatever opportunities was coming he was taking it, and sometimes some opportunities worked out and sometimes some opportunities did not work out.
So, Prabhupada stayed in the Mishra Yoga studio, and there he was trying to do some preaching, but he was allowed only to do kirtans and told not to speak. Prabhupada said, “This is not what I want to do.” So, he was staying there for some time, and then he left that, and then he went to another place where he was staying, where the watchman and the …6.15… stole his type writer. Prabhupada said, “I cannot stay here.” Then he went to another place, then he went to 26/7 avenue, and then from there he started off. So, that means it is that, even for a pure devotee it is not necessary that everything that we will try out will always work.
Sometimes some idea we try out, and sometimes they don’t work, we take back and start something else at that time. So, the devotee may be perplexed, “Should I be doing this or should I be doing that?” but then the principle is that the devotee is never discouraged in the service of Krishna, and through that encouragement the devotee keeps moving forward, and ultimately a path is revealed, “This is how I should be moving forwards.” So, when we say, “Krishna gives us intelligence about how we should serve him.”, it is not necessary that intelligence – what is said, Vidya vadhu jivanam, it is not necessary that that intelligence will be like a – it’s like one day I wake up and I see a crystal clear shining path for me to Krishna. Life is never so simple. You know we have to – “If I do this service, then see how things work out. Then I decide this service is not that good – then I have to do service or I will have to go there, I will have to locate here. There are lot of changes which keeps happening in our life, but though them all if we keep chanting, if we keep praying to Krishna, “Please engage me in your service, then Krishna will guide us, “Ok this is what you should do. This is how you should move forward, and when we see the vidya shakti here, as it gets enlivened – that means that firstly that inspiration to serve Krishna always remains. That means a devotee will never become discouraged.
Even if nothing seems to be working out – “Ok, let me try working that out. Let me try that thing.” Prabhupada says, “Faith means that..” Prabhupada quotes Caitanya Caritamrita that, “sradha sabda biswas kahe srudhrir nischay, Krishna bhakti kaile sarva karma krita hoy.” That faith means, that if I just serve Krishna, then everything will be done. That is faith. Now within that also we can say, “Ok, how should I serve Krishna? That also I need to know. So, faith it also means that at one level I take one step forward, even when the full path is not clear for me. I take one step forward, and see, then take one more step forward.
Suppose I am moving on a dark road, and I have a torchlight – the torchlight is not powerful enough to show me the whole road. But if I flash downward, I can take one step ahead, “Ok there is no ditch, there is nothing slippery, there is nothing dangerous over here.” I take one step forward, and then the torchlight is there for me to show the next step again, and like that I take steps forward, forward, forward, and then I move on, I move a considerable distance. So, like that in our service to Krishna, it is not always that we will have a clear path, “This is what I should do.” But whatever service we are doing, we take one step forward, one step forward. Whatever service we get by some senior devotee’s instruction, whatever service we feel inspired to do – we take one step forward, one step forward, and through that we are showing Krishna our intension to serve him, and then Krishna will reciprocate and give us the intelligence, “Yes, this is what you should do. This is what you should not do.”
And more important that the specific service that we are doing – the specific service that we are doing is definitely important, but more important than that is the attitude of service, “That Krishna I want to serve you.” If that is there, then somehow or other some service will come and we will come and we will move towards Krishna, but that inspiration to serve also comes when we are regularly exposed to the holy name, and for the advanced devotees they know, “Ok this is what I should be doing to please Krishna.” In the spiritual world Radharani knows, “This is what I should be cooking for Krishna.” Yasoda Mai knows, “This is what I should be doing for Krishna.” They know that because they have the desire to serve Krishna with Vidya badhu jivanam. Krishna gives that intelligence by which they can serve him, and then there is – anandabadham budhi vardhanam. So, vardhana is expansion, ananda is happiness, ambudhi is ocean.
Q: Why is the knowledge compared to vadhu – wife.
CCP: Yes, just as the wife and the husband they are together, so similarly, where Krishna is there, knowledge – vidya will manifest. That is the idea. So, the point here is that when we are chanting, it is by chanting itself that Vidya will manifest, just like we have that verse in the Bhagavatam,
vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ
janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam
That just by the practice of bhakti, jnana and vairagya will come. So, similarly when we invoke the presence of the Lord by the chanting of the holy names then his consort in the form of vidya, she will also manifest over there.
So, now normally we think of the Lord’s consort as Radharani. That Radharani is his consort, and Radharani is the hladini shakti, but all the shaktis, all the energies are energies of Krishna only. So, even the samvit, the sandhini, hladini, they are all energies of Krishna. Here specifically what is being talked about is the energy that guides us for serving Krishna. So, that energy will manifest whenever Krishna is there. So, the manifestation of Krishna will cause the activation of that energy. So, the jivanam – she will become active, she will become energised and she will guide us to how we can serve Krishna. So, that’s how the metaphor is.
Any comments about this?
Q: …13.10-18… Why vidya is coming after. It should be enlightenment first, the realization….
CCP: No, it’s even when a devotee has as I said, emotional relationship with Krishna – the devotee has the intension to serve Krishna. So, there has to be some knowledge about how to serve Krishna practically. So, this is definitely – if you look at the flow this is definitely not …13.40-46… that is the knowledge that comes in the modes. We can apply it over there, but if we look at the flow over here, the material existence is far gone, and we are coming to transcendental existence, advancing in the transcendental existence. That’s why it is not so much of – this is not the knowledge of whether I should serve Krishna or I should serve Maya. This is not the knowledge that, “Ok, I should resist temptation, and I should serve Krishna.” This is more the knowledge of how I should serve Krishna. I am already convinced that my life is meant for serving Krishna, but within that should I serve like this or should I serve like that. So, that is the knowledge that is being talked about.
Q: But that should be before…
CCP: Yea, but even if I experience reciprocation with Krishna, spiritual life is dynamic. So, everyday say Radharani cooks everyday for Krishna. So, everyday she experiences ecstasy when she serves Krishna, but the next day she has to cook again. She should think, “What should I serve, what should I cook for Krishna now?” So, knowledge and experience in that sense, they are not necessarily sequential, they are symbiotic. Now the knowledge feeds the experience, and the experience feeds the knowledge. When Radharani serves Krishna – “Yes, Krishna likes this very much. Then let me cook something similar today.” And then like that they both move in parallel.
Q: I missed the point of how… 15.22…
CCP: Yea, I just said that here, that knowledge is – it is the vidya shakti and just as the husband and wife they are together and the wife becomes active to serve when the husband is there. So, like that when the holy name manifests in our heart, then by comparing vidya to the bride(wife). The idea is that knowledge will automatically become activated. We don’t have to endeavour separately like the vedantic scholars to analyze matter and spirit and all that. That’s why it is compared with –
janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam
That knowledge will come about how to serve Krishna. That knowledge is also ahaitukam as it is talked about. The spontaneous knowledge that comes about.
Q: But gopis are not married….
CCP: Are we talking about gopis here?
Q: Both Radharani can be applicable…
CCP: But here specifically Radharani is the hladini shakti. When we are talking here, we are not talking exactly about the hladini shakti.
Q: What it refers to?
CCP: Ok, one point I will make here – see there are different frames of analysis which are used to study sastra at different times, and we cannot overlap different frames of analysis. Just like in the Bhagavad-gita there are four kinds of people who surrender to Krishna – they are the distressed, they are the inquisitive, the knowledgeable and the wealth seekers.
Now we also have Bhakti Vinod Thakur talking about people – in Caitanya Siksramrita he says, People approach God at four levels – there is fear, desire, duty and love. Now if I try to correlate fear, desires, duty and love with artho, jijnasu and jnani, they are not correlated because they are two different frames of analysis. So, here in my understanding
Caitanya Mahaprabhu is giving a different mode of analysis. This does not have to necessarily fit in with samvit, sandhini and hladini. We can check, and if some acharyas given we can see if there is some fitting. See, here Caitanya Mahaprabhu is not giving a technical analysis of the Gaudia philosophy. So, he is talking about the glories of the holy name. Now definitely we can analyse, but this is not a book of systematic theology like say – The Sat Sandharvas or the Vedanta Sutra commentary or anything like. So, in that sense whether everything that is there fits in that analytical frame – so, vidya it doesn’t necessarily have to fit to Radharani or one of the shakti’s. What it means is – the knowledge of how to serve Krishna – just like now if I go back to the lotus or to the flower or we go back to the mirror -this is one frame of analysing, and it’s not necessary that every frame of analysis has to be consistent with every other frame. See the car-driver analogy that we use – the soul is the driver, but in the chariot-body analogy the soul becomes a passenger. Now the charioteer is someone else over there. So, because there is different frame we use for analysis we use over there. So, I think it will really be difficult overlap different frame of analysis.
anandambudhi-vardhanam– It is said that there is ocean of happiness that is expanding. Now Kulashekhar Maharaj in Mukunda Mala strotra – there is an example of how he says,
hari-sarasi vigāhyāpīya tejo-jalaughaḿ
bhava-maru-parikhinnaḥ kleśam adya tyajāmi
Q: Is it that the good side we bifurcate as the intelligence, and the bad side as the mind?
CCP: Yea I mentioned that earlier that at the subtle level the differentiation is more functional than structural. Like earth, water, fire, air. They are different elements in terms of their structure itself, but when we come to the subtle level it is all subtle. So, the differentiation is not so much structural as it is functional. So, that means that yes there distinctive functionalities and there may be – we just don’t know anything about subtle realm – how the subtle realm is existing exactly. We may say that, is the mind is made up of different constituents? Is the intelligence made of different constituents? Usually we talk of it primarily in terms of functionality only.
So, that is why we say that the atma is Sachidananda, but what is the mind, intelligence and ego? They are not made up of earth, air, water, fire, ether. So, usually when we talk about it, it is one subtle element which may be shaped or oriented or designed in a way that it functions differently, but their primary characterization is in terms of their functionality. That is why if you go in the S.B (3.20), where the characteristic of the different elements are given, at that time also when we talk about the mind, intelligence and ego – it is talked about in terms of function only, that this, this, this are the characteristics of the mind, this, this, this are the characteristics of the intelligence, and they are all in terms of the functionality. It is not so much in terms of the structural components.
Q: Is it the constitutional position that the mind is above the senses?
CCP: I think so. That is how the hierarchy is meant to be.
Q: So, is it to be accepted in that way?
CCP: Yes, I think that, the difference – I am simply saying that there is no doubt that there is a difference in terms of hierarchy, and there is a difference in terms of functionality. We are saying that whether they are structurally different, that the earth is made up of something, and the water is made up of something else, but ok – to give simple example the subtle body is compared to a software. Usually if you have the computer metaphor, the gross body is like the hardware, the subtle body is like a software, the soul is like the user. Now within the software there are different programs. I may have the operating system, I may have a audio recording software, I may have a writing app, I may have a browser app. Now in terms of what they are made of they are all just the same digital code, isn’t it? So, in terms of their coding they are all just codes. The primary difference is in terms of their functionality. So, when you come to the software, whether the software is for a text-processing thing or the software if for net-browsing – the software in terms of its component is the same. In terms of the functionality it is different. So, in that sense it could be that the structural aspect is not as important as the functional aspect.
Anandam budhi vardhanam
So, Kulasekhar Maharaj in Mukunda Mala said that, “Ocean of Lord Hari’s glories is ever expanding and let me dive into this and be free from the desert of material existence.” So, now normally we don’t think of an ocean as expanding. Normally we use word ocean in terms of say bhavasagar, the ocean of material existence.
The Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu takes the same ocean metaphor and it talks about ocean of devotion. Here also a similar ocean metaphor is used – ananda ambudhi – a ocean of happiness. So, what is this ocean of happiness? Actually the ocean is of Krishna’s glories. When we love someone – the more we come to know about their glories, the more joyful we become. Say, if we love our spiritual master, if we love Srila Prabhupada, and then we hear the glories of Srila Prabhupada – we become naturally joyful. More glories we hear, the more we become joyful. So, the previous verses have talked about how there is the love for Krishna that is developed, and as the love for Krishna increase more and more, then the delight in Krishna’s glories becomes more and more.
So, ananda abadhi – the ocean of happiness is the ocean of Krishna’s glories, and then we delight in it more and more. So, hari-sarasi vigāhyāpīya tejo-jalaughaḿ
So, Kula Sekhar Maharaj says, “I will just dive into this ocean of Hari’s glories, and I will drink as much as I can and in this way – bhava-maru-parikhinnaḥ kleśam adya tyajāmi
That this bhava- material existence is like a desert in which I have been searching for water so long, and I was dejected. Now at last I found water, and I will just dive into it and drink it as much as I want, as much as I can, to the full quenching of my hearts thirst.
Now in one sense Krishna is always glorious, and Krishna’s glories are unlimited, but as we advance our appreciation of Krishna’s glories increases. So, by the chanting of the holy name it is we appreciate Krishna’s glories more and more. So, how does this ocean expand? This ocean expands because we become more and more aware and appreciative of Krishna’s glories. Krishna’s glories are unlimited, but we may understand a little bit of his glories initially. “Oh, God is omnipotent, God is omniscient, God is omnipresent, and then as we develop more and more love for Krishna, then we start appreciating – “Oh, this wonderful pastime, this wonderful lila, this darshan, this song, we start appreciating Krishna’s glories more and more, and as we start appreciating his glories more and more, then our relation increases. So, the absorption in Krishna, that brings happiness. That becomes more and more as our attraction to Krishna increases.
The Bhagavatam in the 11th Canto, in the Uddhava Gita, it illustrates this with a striking example which initially might seem mundane, but it is quite an apt example. It says that just as if a wealthy person is very wealthy – wherever they go, because they have money they can enjoy. Wherever they go, they have money to spend and they can enjoy. Similarly the pure devotees of the Lord – wherever they go, because they have devotion to Krishna they can enjoy. So, what is the idea that money is completely mundane, but in this context you will spend money and enjoy, but the point is that it is resource – money is a resource, and in the material world it is a resource by which people can enjoy.
So, like that devotion is a resource. Wherever we want we can chant Krishna’s glories, we can sing Krishna’s glories, we can remember Krishna, we can – we can speak about Krishna. So, wherever we are by remembering Krishna we can be happy. So, in that sense devotion is a resource that can provide us happiness anywhere, and the more we appreciate Krishna’s glories, the more we can relish them, and that is how the ananda ambudhi vardhanam, the ocean of happiness it keeps increasing. That means that our appreciation of Krishna’ glories increasing, and as our Krishna’s glories increases we start relishing those glories more and more.
So, in India there is a state Maharastra. There is a Marathi poet. He has written a poem glorifying Lord Ram, and then he says, “Lord Ram’s eyes are as beautiful as Lord’s Ram’s eyes.” There is no metaphor that works. So, there is no metaphor only. Similarly in the Lalita Madhava written by Rupa Goswami he says that, there were kings who were glorifying Krishna. The King who Jarasandha had imprisoned, and Krishna goes and releases them.
He says, “Krishna when we were imprisoned at that time we sang prayers glorifying you, and we thought we wrote very beautiful prayers, but now that we have experienced you, we feel as if our prayers were actually insult to you. Why? Because we have glorified an emperor to be a Landlord. You are an emperor but we have glorified you, “You are such a great Landlord.” So, Landlord is of a few villages. The emperor is a Lord of many kingdoms, and they said that from our perspective we are glorifying you, but when we actually experience you, the experience is so much richer, it is so much greater – Do you understand that? Our glorification is inadequate. So, here the point is not that we shouldn’t glorify Krishna. The point is that when we come in contact with Krishna, and we experience Krishna, at that time we appreciate how glorious Krishna is, and thus the ambudhi – the ocean becomes more and more. It just keeps expanding, and the last part of this verse is pratipadam purnamrita aswadanam.
So, Purna Amrita. At every state we will experience the full nectar or complete nectar. This is a very striking example. In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna talks about different kinds of pleasure. In 18.37, 18.38 and 18.39, he talks about satwic, rasasik and tamasik pleasures. So, rajasik pleasure is more pleasure in the mode of passion. That is
yat tad agre ’mṛtopamam
pariṇāme viṣam iva
tat sukhaṁ rājasaṁ smṛtam (B.G 18.38)
So, he says, “That which comes by the contact of the senses with the sense objects, it tastes like nectar in the beginning, but poison in the end. So, it is a little nectar in the beginning, but then there is lot of consequences of misery. So, that is rajasik happiness.
Now, opposite is satwic happiness. In the mode of goodness there is
yat tad agre viṣam iva
tat sukhaṁ sāttvikaṁ proktam
ātma-buddhi-prasāda-jam (B.G 18.37)
That which tastes like poison in the beginning, but like nectar in the end – that is happiness in the mode of goodness. So, in either of this, nowhere there is complete nectar. There is either nectar in the beginning or nectar in the end, but in both cases there is poison, but when we come to the transcendental level, when we become absorbed in Krishna, there is no poison at all. That is purna amrita. There is constant nectar. That is transcendental happiness.
Full absorption in Krishna brings ecstasy, and in the material world when we are practicing bhakti, often there will be poison for us, and that poison even in the Upadeshamrita, Rupa Goswami talks about it as – syat Krishn nam charita (35.20-33) So, just like a jaundiced person cannot taste sweetness of sugar cane juice, similarly we cannot taste the glories right now. So, this is at the sadhaka stage, even in bhakti there will be phases of tastelessness, but once we become purified then it is just complete nectar. That means that there is no longer any poison face, there is just pure nectar which we will come to when we become purified. So, during that process as we are getting purified, there is this tolerance of this poison that is required. So, that poison means that we may not feel taste when we practice bhakti, and still we go through it. So, we will tolerate it and we go on with it.
Just a simple example. Now for a child playing is natural, playing is enjoyable, and if the child things, “I will just play constantly”, that maybe is like agre amritogamam, “O it is nectar”, but if the child grows, and there is no degree, they don’t get any job what they will do then? And pariname vishame. Afterwards there is big problem. The child’s career is ruined if the child just spend time playing. And on the other hand the child understands, the parents at least understands the child has to study, and then make the child study. The child say, “No, I don’t want to study.”
At that time agre visayiva – it is not enjoyable to study, but if the child studies then the child studies nicely, and he has got good marks, then good career, he has good job, then there is bright future ahead. So, this is from the material perspective that what is poison in the beginning can be nectar in the end. Now in the process of bhakti the same principle applies that what is poison in the beginning, that means we don’t get test in bhakti initially, but if we keep practicing it, the taste comes. Now how does this taste come? There are many levels of understanding this.
So, because we talked a lot about the mind, I will complete it with a note on the mind itself. When we talk about how the process of bhakti purifies us – how do we go beyond this phase of poison to the phase of nectar in bhakti? Now the mind has impressions in it, and the primary poison in bhakti is, we could say that there are wordly miseries that come upon us, and they create problems but actually at a steadier level the poison in bhakti comes because we are distracted from bhakti by our conditionings. That means say, if say somebody is giving me sweet rice, and I am just enjoying the sweet rice and somebody comes and pushes my neck away, and all the sweet rice spills over and I don’t get any drop. So, the sweet rice is there, but I don’t get to drink it because somebody has pushed my mouth away from there.
So, like that bhakti is relishable, but our attachments – they are so forceful that it just drags our consciousness away from Krishna. So, we are just not able to think of Krishna, we are not able to connect with Krishna, and that’s why then when we are pushed away from bhakti, pushed away from Krishna there is this whole tug of war in our heart. It’s like we are attracted to something else, but we are attracted to Krishna also. Should I do this or should I do that? So, this force which is there which pushes us from Krishna, that is what is primarily the cause of struggle and the poison in bhakti. So, if the distractions becomes less and less in our bhakti, bhakti will actually become much more joyful. So, the distractions comprise primarily the poison, and the lesser the distractions the lesser will be the poison, the greater will be the experience of nectar in bhakti. So, this poison that is there how does it come about? How do this distractions come about? There are impressions that are there in the mind, and the impressions which are there from our past indulgences, they surface periodically and they distract us. Sometimes of course we see some external sense objects, and that creates some desires. Whichever way it is, that the attachments are there in the mind and they may get stimulated by external sights or they may get stimulated by internal memories coming from within, but whichever way it comes it is the impressions that are there in the mind that distract us, when they are stimulated externally or internally.
Now, in the process of bhakti we first what we do is, as we keep practicing bhakti we are creating spiritual impressions, we are creating more and more spiritual impressions. Say, like example now this wall is there, and on that somebody has written graphiti. Now somebody may say, “We will get may be some water or we will get something and clean it all off” but sometimes the graphiti is so much written that actually to clean it off is very difficult, but then they may say, “Just over paint the whole thing. Just paint above it, and then whatever is there will go off.”
So, similarly when we talk of our mind, whatever impressions are there, the impressions themselves when we remove them, it is not that we can – the impression is not physical thing which we can dislodge from our mind and throw them out. What we do is we create devotional impressions, and as the more devotionals impressions we create, the past worldly impressions that are there, they get pushed further and further back, they go deeper and deeper into the – they go not just deeper, they go further and further away from the forefront of our consciousness, and the more they go away from forefront the less likely are they to pop up again, but the more we reinforce those impressions, then we are pushing them back, but then again we are letting them come ahead. We are pushing them back, but again they are letting them come ahead. So, then they don’t go away, but if we consistently expose ourselves to devotional impressions, then they go away and they just go so much into the background that they don’t trouble us much.
Say for example, if 20 years ago we had done some – maybe watched some T.V program like that, and now we hear that the T.V program is there – “ok”, we may not feel attached to it, but if something if we may be watched one week ago or three days ago or five days ago – “What happened in the next series?” We are a little bit more curious about it. So, that means the impressions that are there, they are forced – with how much force they come that also depends on how much we are reconnecting with them. The less we reconnect with them – the more we are exposing ourselves to spiritual impressions, the less the worldly impressions come. So, this purnamrita, this pure nectar that comes when there is no distraction because of sensual impressions – and the less we feed them, the less they will trouble us, or another example is say, if we have a pet dog and then the pet dog maybe we fondle it, we care for it, then one day the doctor comes and says that, “The dog has got rabbies.” Now when we know that the dog has got rabbies, if I pat it, if I fondle it and it bites me, then it will be deadly. So, then the dog comes along and we say, “Go away”, and the dog is surprised, the master loved me so much and now why this master is saying go away. The dog is thinking, “Is he playing with me?”, The master says, “Go away.” The dog goes away and maybe he thinks, “Maybe the master is in a bad mood today.”, and then he again comes back, and the master says, “Go away.”
Now they have loved the dog so much that we don’t have the heart to say, go away. And we may tell ten times go away, and then the 11th time the dog comes, you just fondle it a little bit, “Oh my master still loves me.”, and then again 10 times if he says go away, the dog will not go away, because what is happening – actually we are not actually sending a clear message to that dog.
So, like that Krishna also says,
Now vinivritta kamaha, in B.G (15.5) he says, kama is selfish desires, nivritta means to be retired, vinivritta means – it is specially retired, forcefully retired, totally retired. So, he says when we retire from selfish desires then it will not come back, but otherwise it will keep coming back, keep coming back. So, when we are practicing bhakti, if we expose ourselves more and more to devotional stimuli, and we repeatedly push away non-devotional stimuli or anti-devotional stimuli, sensual stimuli, then what will happen is – that he devotional stimuli will stay in the forefront of our consciousness, and then the distractions will become less and less.
Now of course we cannot go about in the world with closed eyes. So, there is always going to be the stimuli which are there which will agitate us – which we will encounter, but then again how much they agitate us depends on how much we dwell on them.
Prabhupada in one letter – he gives a very striking definition of intelligence. He says, Intelligence means to kill the thought before it becomes an action. There is thought, then there is desire, then there is intension, and there is action. So first I see something there is a thought over there. So, then suppose a recovering alcoholic is going along the road and sees a alcohol bottle. O there is alcohol over there, a thought is there, but from that thought, “Hey that looks nice, maybe I should have a drink. I didn’t have from a long time.” So, that thought has become a desire, and then how has it become a desire? By contemplation. Dhyato – then after that – “Yes, I am going there. I will go into that bar.” And from that desire it has become an intension, and from intension it will become an action.
So, now it is almost impossible to avoid thoughts, because the thoughts can come from outside, thoughts can come from inside. It’s almost impossible to not have thoughts, but if our intelligence is alert, then we won’t let the thoughts grow till the level of action. The thoughts may grow till desires, at that time we stop, or the thoughts may grow even till the level of intention but we stop them. The earlier we stop, the lesser is the struggle, but if we expect that thoughts itself should not come, now that is a little unrealistic expectation because it doesn’t work like that.
Even the famous verse Prabhupada would quote about Yamunacharya when he said that, ..47.39…. So, he says, “When I think about sensual indulgence my lips curl in distaste and I spit at the thought.” Now normally the focus in on how – “What is the response? Is my lips curling in distance at the thought and I spit at the thought? But then if you think about it Yamucharya is saying – he is a great sage, he says, “When I get the thought –“ that means that even he may get a thought like that.
So, the important thing is not whether the thought comes or not. The important thing is what is the response to the thought? So, in that connection I will conclude with the last point about the same. That you know there is change of desires, and there is change of values.
So, our spiritual advancement is seen more in our change of values, than our change of desires. Change of desires means, that ok I desired something, and I will no longer desire it. That is change of desire, but the change of values means that, this was what I considered desirable and this is what I no longer consider desirable. So, the nature of this world is – it is a very contaminated place – that desires will come – that will come for everyone, and if we think purity means that desire itself will never come, that level of purity may take a very long time to come, but what we can change is our values. That means that when the desires comes, What is my response?
Materialistic people – they welcome desire. Not only they welcome desire, they actually search out for desire. Isn’t it. “How can I stimulate myself more and more?” So, whereas when we start becoming spiritualists, then we try to avoid stimulating desires, we try to avoid the things that provoke desire, and so in a sense I may think that, “Oh, after practicing bhakti for so long why am I still getting this desires?” and we become discouraged. “Am I making any spiritual advancement or not?” But actually the very fact that I am asking this question, “Why am I still getting such desires?” That itself indicates that our values have changed. Earlier we would have asked, “How can I get more of this desire?” But now we are asking, “Why am I getting this desire?” So, values have changed, and change of values is actually more defining of character than change of desires, because desires can come in anyone, but if the value has changed, then if even when the desire comes, they will not act on it. Yes the desire has come, but according to the values this is not desirable desire. This is not a worthy desire. So, I will not indulge in it, and if we focus on this change of values, that is something which is definitely achievable for us.
To some extent we have already achieved it. We are concerned whether my desired have increased or decreased – increasing or decreasing, but even we can deepen and strengthen our conviction about it. This is not the path I want to go, this is the path I want to go. So, if we look at change of values that has happened in our life already, and that itself is indicative that the process of bhakti is working, and as we keep practicing bhakti more and more this change of values will more and more firm, and as it becomes more and more firm the distractions become less and less.
So, like I am drinking sweet rice, and I know that somebody will come and push me like this. So, then what I am going to do is, I have my hand up. So, even if you push, you are not going to get to my mouth. So, like that if we know that the distractions are going to be there, then we are prepared to resist the distraction, and then we are not just caught napping, “Oh, how did this distractions come. It should not have come only.” No, it is going to come, but be prepared and resist it. So, that way when we are prepared for focussing on Krishna, then we can also experience nectar of bhakti. So, the nectar in bhakti is not just in winning, it is also in fighting. That means that it is not just that I have to absorb myself in Krishna, then I experience nectar. Even if I am struggling to absorb myself in Krishna, there is still a connection with Krishna over there also, and in that also there is some connection with Krishna. There is fulfilment. We please Krishna even through the struggle, and pleasing Krishna through the struggle we are moving onwards towards Krishna, and then the nectar will come.
So, I will summarize –
We discussed Sreya Kairava Chanrika vitaranam – So, we discussed that to a large extent in the previous talk, but how we move from self-absorption towards Krishna’s option, that blossoming of consciousness happens when we expose ourselves to Krishna, and that manifestation of Krishna as the holy heart in our heart, and then vidya vadhu jivanam. So, there we discussed about how the vidya potency of the Lord – the knowledge of how to serve Krishna, that becomes enlivened in our heart when Krishna’s presence is invoked as the holy name.
So, a devotee maybe perplexed, but a devotee is never discouraged. So, we may not always know how to serve Krishna, but we will stay determined, “By Krishna’s mercy I am going to serve Krishna”, and faith means the confidence that if I serve Krishna everything will work out, and faith also means that, “Even if I don’t have a clear path for serving Krishna, let me just take one step forward in serving Krishna.” Take one step forward, and then the path ahead will be revealed to me.” Then we discussed about anandabudhi vardhanam. So, the ocean is, the ocean of Krishna’s glories, and as we chant, as we expose our consciousness to Krishna’s holy names, then we experience, we become more and more aware of Krishna’s glories, and that’s how the ocean expands. It is not that it is – Krishna’s glories are endless, but our awareness of those glories increases, and in that sense our perception – “Oh, this ocean is so big, and it is becoming bigger, that increases. Just as a wealthy person can enjoy anywhere, because wealth is a resource for material enjoyment – similarly, a person who has devotion for Krishna that person can enjoy from anywhere, because his devotion is a resource that can connect us with Krishna anywhere, and last we discussed punamrita.
So, in material world when we seek sensual enjoyment, then there is nectar in the beginning but poison in the end. When we seek satwic happiness, there is poison in the beginning, there is nectar in the end, but when we come to the pure stage in bhakti, there is just remembrance of Krishna, and there is just pure nectar, right from the beginning to the end, at every step, pratipadam, and then we discussed in our practice of bhakti, we may also experience poison, and primarily that poison is because we are distracted from Krishna by our conditionings, and when we are distracted like that, at that time the struggle, “Whether to give in to conditioning or whether to move towards Krishna, that’s primarily the poison. And then how do we deal with them ? I discussed about how the mind is like a graphiti, if it is too deep, just overwrite it.
So, like that there are impressions from our past worldly indulgences which are there. So, we overwrite them by exposing ourselves to more and more devotional stimuli, creating devotional impressions, and simultaneously we minimize sensual impressions. Otherwise if we doing both, then the sensual impressions will also stay on the forefront, and they will keep coming back and distracting us. Like a dog, if you want the dog to go away you can’t just sometime pat the dog, and sometimes push the dog away. We have to firmly push the dog away. Then the dog will get the message and it will go away.
Like that we also, if we consistently say no to sensual impressions – sensual stimuli, then those impressions will go in the background, and when it is talked about saying no to sensual stimuli, that means that it is not that we can avoid the thoughts or even the desires because the world is filled with tempting objects.
So, Prabhupada explains, Intelligence means to kill the thought before it becomes a action. So, thinking, desiring or feeling, and then willing and then action. So, if we think that the thoughts itself should not come or the desires itself should not come that may be an unrealistic expectation because the world is place filled with temptations. So, change of desires is not as defining as change of values. If the desires comes, but what is my response to my desires? If I see that as – I welcome the desire, or I don’t want the desire and I try to resist the desire. So, we focus on the change of values, then when the desire comes we will be prepared to resist it, and by being prepared to resist it, we will be less distracted by it, and the less we are distracted, the more we will connect with Krishna and the more we will experience the nectar of absorption in Krishna.
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