Bhikshu Gita 2 – The mind makes it difficult for people to change – be understanding (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.23.43)
Talk at ISKCON, Bahrain
Transcription of Lecture
C.C. Prabhu: Today we are continuing the discussion on the mind.
I will read a quick recap of what I spoke yesterday.
I started with a section in the Uddhava Gita, which is in the 11th canto of the Srimad-Bhagavatam. This section is called as the Bhikshu Gita where there is Avanti brahmana who loses everything and is being insulted and reviled by people, and at that time he gets a realization that actually the mind is the primary cause of my suffering. And then we have discussed how whatever problems come they are really there, but the magnitude of those problems, the effects of those problems can be magnified by the mind, and among the various problems – adhyatmika, adhibhautika and adidaivika… to some extent we accept adhyatmik, those caused by body and those caused by nature as unchangeable, and even if we resent it the resentment goes down after sometime, but when it comes to adibhautik relational problems, we expect other people to change and when they don’t change, that causes enormous heartburn and the mind makes relationship problems far far worse than what they need to be, and by accepting people the way they are – Then we can by not resenting the way they are, we can actually bring a stable foundation from which to improve the relationship.
So, today I will focus on that aspect of why people behave the way they behave- Why even not just people – Why we act the way we act?
So, this is the next verse. This is the Srimad Bhagavatam (11.23.43)
mano guṇān vai sṛjate balīyas
tataś ca karmāṇi vilakṣaṇāni
śuklāni kṛṣṇāny atha lohitāni
tebhyaḥ sa-varṇāḥ sṛtayo bhavanti
So, here it says, mano guṇān vai sṛjate balīyas, the mana is the mind, guna often in ordinary language say in Hindi or Marathi, guna is called as quality. In the philosophical context the word guna has a particular meaning, just like yesterday I discussed about the general and technical meaning of the words, just like say energy. Like that the word guna – What we call as qualities – Some people are calm, some people are very hyper-active, some people are very pessimistic. These are qualities of people. Now these qualities come from one another meaning of the world guna, that is the modes. So, what exactly are the modes? The modes can be understood in two levels. The modes are the building blocks of material nature.
Daivi esa guna mayi mama maya durataya
So, here Krishna says, maya- the illusory energy which makes this material world, it is gunamayi, it is made up of the gunas. So, in that sense we could say that if we are watching a movie on any celluloid screen, may be your T.V, computer or a movie theatre, at that time essentially there are three colours which are combined together in a myriad ways. They can be red, yellow, green whatever, but three colours when they are combined in different ways we can get almost an unlimited variety of images. Now all those images if you go down fundamentally – They are made up of fundamentally – They are pixel patterns, and they all arise from three colours. So, everything that we see on a screen, it all comes from three colours basically. So, similarly in these three modes – Everything we see in this world, everything we encounter in this world, it is made of the three modes. The three modes are the building blocks of material nature.
Along with this, and more relevant for us is that the modes are also subtle forces that shape the interaction between matter and consciousness. So, that means that if I is a conscious being, and observing something. Now when I observe that, what effect it will have on me, that is shaped by the modes. So, there is the object that is observed, there is the subject who is observing; in any conscious experience there are basically three components – there is the object of consciousness- the object that we can perceive, the subject of consciousness- the subject that we are perceiving and there is a stream of consciousness that links the object with the subject. So, for example you are looking at me right now. So, you are the subject and I am the object, and as you are looking at me, hearing at me, what is connecting us is the stream of consciousness.
So, now the object may be the same, but how that stream of consciousness will affect the subject that is shaped by the modes. So, here we could say the modes are subtle forces that act on our mind. The modes primarily act on the mind.
In the Bhagavad-gita many of you would have seen the picture of… there is man and there are three persons who are pulling strings, and above them there is Krishna. So, this three persons who are pulling strings, they are the tri-gunas. They are considered as the personification of the three modes of material nature. The three mode’s are the subtle forces – Subtle psychological forces that shapes the interaction between matter and consciousness.
So, for example say if people are travelling in a bus, and there are three people sitting in three successive windows, and say the third person is in tamoguna, the mode of ignorance, and the second person is in rajo-guna, the mode of passion, and the first person is in satwa-guna – mode of goodness. So, now- The third person is just lazy, trying to sleep and the bus is shaking, and the person is not able to sleep, and then they all look outside, there is a lush green forest outside, and this person says, ‘Oh this forest is so peaceful, I could just lie in this grass and sleep’, the second person is in the mode of passion, and as soon as he sees the forest he will remember the latest romantic movie that he would have seen, and they think, ‘If I had a partner I would have enjoyed so much with her. It is such a beautiful forest.’ Third person is in the mode of goodness. This person is trying to read a book, and as the bus is moving there is some shaking, not able to read, so he just looks over the forest, ‘such a peaceful place, I could have absorbed myself un-distractively in the wisdom of the book. So, the same object, different perceptions, and what is causing this difference? It is the modes. So, the modes are subtle forces that shape the interaction between matter and consciousness. So,
mano guṇān sṛjate balīyas
Baliyas – Very powerful this are.
tataś ca karmāṇi vilakṣaṇāni… based on the kind of modes that are influencing us we will act accordingly, and now just as from three colours we can get practically unlimited variety of colours – So, even if we want to paint the house, and say I want to paint it green – If you really go to a colour specialist, he will say that in green there are hundred shades, and they all have their names also. And you say ‘I want green, that’s all.’ But there are so many different greens. So, from these three modes by their various kinds of combinations all our individual psychological dispositions are created, and basically based on our mind we all perceive the world differently, and now quite often this is in some entertaining jokes or entertaining anecdotes that are shared with people – This is the point that is brought about how people are brought about to see things differently. Say for example, many of you would have seen an image of an outline which one way looks like a old woman, and in another way looks like a young woman. Now we may say who is that really? Is it the old woman or is it the young woman? Somebody looking for one perspective will say, ‘Yes this is a old woman.’ Other person would say, ‘Yes this is a young woman.’ Now what is it really? Actually there is simply an outline over there, and different people are perceiving differently. Why are they perceiving differently? It is not logical, it is psychological. Logical if I say, ‘I am seeing a young woman over there, Oh there is a old woman over there.’ So, this is psychological, and that is why, unless we understand that there is an intrinsic psychological dimension to our perception of reality – Unless we understand that we can have endless disagreements with others because they are just not perceiving things the way we are perceiving.
Now let’s start from a little more individual way of how the modes influence and then we will go to the inter-personal one. When we say that, ‘Oh you should change your thinking’. If somebody worries too much, we say, ‘Don’t worry’, or somebody is too pessimistic, ‘Why are you too pessimistic?’ So, actually just telling people to change their thinking is a good advice, but it is not a very helpful advice, because our thought patterns comprise our mental inclination. The word inclination is apt here because inclination also has a physical dimension. If you have a house – May be the bathroom, it may be inclined in a particular way. So, wherever the sink is, the water goes into the sink naturally.
Now if the floor is inclined in a particular way, then as soon as water falls on the floor it will naturally flow in the direction of the inclination. If I want to change it. If say that sink is spoiled and I want the water to go to the other sink – Just by that wanting it is not going to happen. I can physically push it in the opposite direction, and if I want it to go automatically the only way it will happen is – I will have to change the construction, increase the elevation here, decrease the elevation there. Only when I do a physical reconstruction of the flooring will water naturally flow in the other direction. So, when we talk about – Just as we understand it very easily with respect to physical inclination of the floor, the same applies to the mental inclinations. So, all of us have certain thought patterns and based on those we will naturally think in particular ways. Even if I decide, ‘I don’t want to think like this.’, and others tell me, ‘Don’t think like this, why do you worry so much, why are so pessimistic?’ No, it doesn’t work. At that time the thoughts will naturally go in that direction. That is… to give a example of a device; often we have some default settings. So, default settings means that by default it will go to that setting and operate that way only.
So, if I have a phone in which I have made say Chrome as my default browser. Then, as soon as I click on any link – I don’t chose to open the Chrome. I just chose to click a link but automatically Chrome opens. So that is the default setting, and just by my intension the default setting doesn’t change. I have to go in, look at the settings and make some effort to change the setting. So, like that our mind has a default settings and sometimes we may want – No, I will not think like this in this way. Even if we decide like that because of the default setting again the mind will go in the opposite direction.
When I write articles, I often use a text to speak software which reads out what I have written, so that it can be proof-readen easily. So, to the eye – the and then looks similar and I may miss it, but when it is read out they are significantly different. So, in this text-to-speak software also there are some default setting. So, for example if some word is short, If I just written something like Mon, it will change it to Monday, and that is meant to help. The default setting is meant to help. So, once I had written an article. The soul is sat-cit-ananda, and the software read it out – The soul is Saturday-cit-ananda (laughter) so, here the auto-correct made it incorrect. I had typed correctly, and the computers intension was also to help – Whoever had made the program, but the autocorrect made it incorrect, and when the autocorrect makes it incorrect I have to go back and re-correct what was made incorrect. I typed it correctly originally but then it became incorrect, and I had to go back and correct it. So, sometimes somebody may decide, ‘I am short tempered, I am not going to become angry’, and some situations comes up where they get provoked… ‘You decided you won’t get angry.’… ‘I am not angry.’ (laughter) So, even against their conscious awareness, almost as if it is against their conscious intension… It happens as the thoughts go in opposite particular direction.
atha kena prayukto ’yaṁ
pāpaṁ carati pūruṣaḥ
anicchann api vārṣṇeya
balād iva niyojitaḥ
Arjuna asks Krishna in 3.36 in the Bhagavat Gita… anicchann api vārṣṇeya, it is as if I don’t want to do it… balād iva niyojitaḥ, it is as if by force I am impelled in a particular direction. Same word it says – baliyase – mano guṇān vai sṛjate balīyas. The mind is very powerful.
tataś ca karmāṇi vilakṣaṇāni – specific kinds of activities are just impelled towards them by the default inclinations of the mind. So, even for ourselves if we decide, ‘I want to change something. ‘Ok, this is the way I am, I don’t want to be like this, I want to change myself.’ We know that it is quite difficult to change, we try certain things and we have tried and tried and tried again – Now the New Year is coming up in a couple of months… so, many times people make New Year resolutions. So, there was a survey done about the content of the New Years resolutions, and it was found that almost 90% of people’s New Year resolutions are not new (laughter). They have made the resolution in the previous years, stuck to it for some time, and afterwards they just couldn’t do it, and this year they are again going to try.
So, we know from our own experience that trying to change ourselves is not easy. It requires effort. Now something’s may come very easily for us, and something’s – Because different people are different – So the same things which are easy for us they may be very difficult for others. Now what happens is – That we often extrapolate from our experience with that thing on another person. You may say, ‘It is so easy, why don’t you do it?’ Somebody tends to think negatively ‘Why do you think so negatively? Just think positive. It is so easy. Why do you have to think about the problems in every situation?’ There are some people, just as soon as – It depends on which way one’s intelligence has developed. As soon as they come in a particular situation they get immediately point faults, and it is not necessarily always a bad thing, but excess of it can be become very bad. So, for example if somebody has a very well developed musical sense, and then somebody is playing the kartal wrong, and then that person who is playing the kartal they are in ecstasy, they are in devotional ecstasy and somebody else is in musical torture. (laughter). … ‘How can you play like this?’
So, I am a very language-centred person. So, wherever I see – Any room I enter, I look at the words and see if there is any spelling mistakes there. It is not that I want to see, but it just default happens. Wherever I see some spelling mistake I become very critic. It’s so obvious, why can’t you change it? … ‘Who notices it…’ (laughter)
So, what may seem very basic and easy for me, it is not only difficult for others, it may be a non-issue for them. ‘Ok, spelling mistake is wrong, people understand, why don’t you understand?’ ((laughter) So, we extrapolate from what is easy or difficult for us to others. We extrapolate from what is important or noticeable for us to others.
Some people are very cleanliness conscious. Now here I am not saying whatever music – If someone is playing kartal wrong just let it go wrong, or that something wrong let it go wrong, but the point is that different people have different levels of consciousness in them. Some people are very cleanliness conscious. As soon as they come to the room, they will say, ‘this is disorderly, this is disorderly.’, and some other people they can live amidst disorder, and they don’t even notice that it is unclean. Anything goes on, and they think, ‘Why make a big fuss?’ Now here what has happened is – There is something which is right and there is something which is wrong, but within the way the mind is organized of different people, certain things are either not noticeable or not important. So, even if people who are not at all cleanliness consciousness, they will say, ‘Yes, it is unclean, maybe I should clean it.’ But it that doesn’t even registered in their mind that it is unclean.
So, for others who are very cleanliness conscious this becomes intolerable. They sometimes feel as if to provoke me only he is doing this. I told him, ‘Clean this and you are keeping it unclean and provoking me by this’, but they may have no intension of provoking. It is just that it just register in their consciousness.
So, now rather than extrapolating from our own experience, ‘This is so important, so easy, so basic. Why don’t you do it.’ and I am thinking that other people are bad, other people are irresponsible or insensitive or whatever. If we find that some other person is not able to change something, and is doing the same thing again and again, we can look at not how well we do the same thing, but we can look at something which we find difficult to do, and the struggle that we face in doing that thing – Similar is the struggle that they face in doing that thing.
So, the shoe that fits one leg, bites another leg. Different legs have different sizes, and I am very comfortable with the shoe. If I tell you, ‘If the shoe is so comfortable you wear it’ – ‘It doesn’t fit me.’
So, like that something’s are very easy and natural for us to do, but that same shoe that fits one leg, bites another leg. If somebody is very cleanliness conscious – And it so naturally to feel comfortable, to feel happy – You feel proud to be in a place which is clean, and if everything is very unclean you feel embarrassed about it, but then for somebody else that same shoe which fits naturally for one person, it just bites another person. ‘Why are you always nagging me?’ So, in such situations when people are going to act in particular way according to their motivations – So, first of all changing any kind of rectification, any kind of change, it begins with accepting. ‘Ok, this is where we are right now. This is where I am right now, and this is where this person is right now.’ We accept where they are, and then they can make the change or we can help them make the change, but if we don’t accept… ‘Yes, I told you change it, so you change it.’ It doesn’t work like that, because they are at a different place.
To give an example of what I mean by accepting – Say, somebody is going for a meeting, and they are driving and somehow they end up taking a wrong turn, and as they take a wrong turn they end up maybe 10 miles away from where they are going, and it is a very important meeting, and when they have gone off track and now if they just… ‘Why did I take a wrong turn, why was I so stupid, why was I not more alert, why, why, why…’ That is not going to help you to get to the right place. Now what you have to do is, ‘Ok, took a wrong turn… now turn around, take the right turn and get to the place.’ But I can get to the right place only when I accept that I went to a wrong place. I made some wrong turn, somehow I made a mistake, I went to a wrong place. Only when I accept it, then I can start correcting it, but if I simply keep resenting, ‘Why did it happen?’ Then I can’t correct it. ‘Why did I do that, why did I do that?’ And even if I had turned around and I am going back from the right track- But if at that time I am resentful, ‘Why did I take ? I am such a dumb person, I am good for nothing’, and in that process again because we are so distracted in our internal monologue that we don’t get – Again we may take a wrong turn and make things worse – Just accept, ‘Ok, I have take a wrong turn, I have gone to a wrong place, now let me see how I can go to the right place.’ Now this we can understand from our common sense that, ‘Ok I went to the wrong place, Now I have to go to the right place.’
Now, turn this situation around, and say we invited a person to come to our place for meeting, and we gave them the guidance, we gave them the map or whatever… but now they have taken a wrong turn, and – ‘You fool, I told you to take a right, why did you take left over there…’ now when we start criticising others, then people go on the defensive and when they go on the defensive their energy shifts from correcting themselves to justifying themselves, and when their energy shifts from correcting to justifying what happens is that rather than they doing the right thing – The whole argument shifts from the issue to just becomes a personal matter. It doesn’t have to become a personal matter. ‘Ok, you went on the wrong track, just take a right turn…’ So, we have to accept that this person took a wrong turn and went there, but it is not that they deliberately went there and they didn’t want to come for the meeting. Not that they are deliberately wasting our time. Ok, whatever happened – They took a wrong turn, now let them come back.
So, like that in an interpersonal relationship also we tell someone, ‘You should clean you room.’ And then the next time we go to the room and it is complete mess. We just start – ‘Why can’t you clean it?’, and then as soon as we ask, ‘Why didn’t you clean?’ they will come with hundred reasons ‘Oh, Yesterday I came late, I was tired, I was this, I was that.’ And then we say, ‘You were tired! But today I saw you checking your emails. If you can check your emails why can’t you clean your room?’ — ‘It is not that important.’ – ‘How can you say that it is not important? I told you it is important for you.’, and then the whole issue becomes a unnecessary confrontation. So, Ok they have not cleaned the room, you told them to clean, ‘You are telling you will clean the room, can you do it now.’ We can just politely remind them, and mostly people are not bad, especially when we are talking about close relationships – Anybody who has formed a close relationship, they want the close relationship to be happy. They are not out there to create trouble someone else, but sometimes when we – There are two ways, either we label people as bad, then they go into complete defensive or a justifying mode, and then their energy gets distracted, or we help them to change, and if we help them to change actually change does happen.
Ultimately – If there are some doors, if there are some houses – If they are locked from inside, even if you have a key from outside you cannot open the door, because there is a latch which has been pulled from inside, and once the latch is pulled from inside no matter how good a key you have you cannot open it. So, like that the door to personal change, it is latched from inside and it can be unlatched only from inside. We can help them, but it can be unlatched only from inside. We can help them, but it can be unlatched only from inside. Only when that person desires to change, only then change is going to happen, and unless that desire comes from within no matter how much we do, our chastising that person, shouting at that person, all that is like banging on the door. That banging is not going to open the door, unless they chose to open the door it is not going to open.
So, what we need to do is pursuing them, inspiring them, help them to open the door, but it has to be done by them, and if they don’t do it, then nobody can do it. We can’t do anything about it. Ultimately people have to change by their own will. Now as I said, that sometimes just because we chastise people strongly and force them, they may change but that change will not last forever. It’s only when there is a inner desire will the change likely to be sustainable. Even just by their inner desire it’s not necessary that the change will be sustainable.
So, now let’s explore two possibilities. That some people may just not have the desire to change. They are in a particular way and that’s the way they are. So, if we find that we are trying our best to change them, and they are not changing, then it’s best to accept that this is the best way they are. This doesn’t mean that we accept everything about them, but all of us when we want to change for the better, we can list out may be a dozen things ourselves and if we ask other they will list out hundreds of things.. Now we all can’t change everything. Often when we think that I want to be better person, we go through two extremes, one is that, ‘I tried many times I can never change, let me the way I am’, and we don’t do anything to change. That is when we are discouraged, when we are exasperated. The other is when we are very enthusiastic – We think that I will change everything about me… I have a dozen things to work out, I am worn out… and then trying to change doesn’t take at one time. It’s like somebody is ready to carry a hundred Kg weight.. can you carry it, you will drop it with a big bang after some time. So, it’s… when anyone is to change, it’s best to focus one thing at a time, and when we ourselves are changing or when we are helping others to change, it is better to focus on one thing at a time, ‘ok this is what I will do, and for the next one month I will do this.’
Our mind also doesn’t like too much discipline. It has to be disciplined. Just like parents when they deal with children, they have to give some freedom to children, some amount of discipline is also required, but some amount of freedom also has to be given. So, like that if you want to change something, if you tell the mind, life-long I will never to do it again, well that life-long will not last even day long, and by the end of the day we would have done it again.
So, it’s better to start off, ‘ok one month I will focus on improving myself’, and if we find that I have five things to improve, which I want to work on improving, then because the mind needs change also, mind can’t just take too much – We decide that, ‘ok one month I will work on this, next month I will work on this’ and like that after five months I will come back and work on the same thing again. So, the mind also gets some change, and even if we relapse back after that month of improvement, we won’t go back to the complete original level. There is some amount of improvement that will remain. So, if one month I decide to cultivate cleanliness consciousness, and I be very clean in whatever I do, then after one month some amount of that sensitivity is developed, and even if I keep things unclean I won’t clean it that unclean. Even for a day or two there will be like reverse returns. That may be much more unclean, but afterwards that consciousness comes back. I will be a little more.
So, same way when we are dealing with others, at that time we may feel there are so many things which we want them to change, but then we can sit down with them calmly. This kind of discussion can happen only in satwa-guna… when there are discussions which happen in Rajo-gun, what happens is that one person blasts at other person, ‘You are like this, you are like that..’ and then the other person tries to offer clarification, ‘I have to go to office now…’ and he is leaving – It is just one way traffic all the way, no communication at all. It’s not communication domination, and then that doesn’t lead to any kind of transforming. The other person feels guilty, the other person feels wronged, they feel victimized, and makes a mess of things. So, when one we are in satwa guna and other is also in satwa guna – Satwa guna people are basically calm, thoughtful, we are not under the pressure of – I have to do this thing, I have to do this thing. You sit down calmly and we discuss, and then both will understand, ‘ok this is important.’ The person who understands this is wrong, he can tell why this is important and how this is important and why it is important. Explain it to the man– And the other person may say, ‘Ok, this is my difficulty.’ and then I say ‘ok, I just don’t realize it or I am too busy about things, whatever’,
Often we will offer to help others, change at one level is more difficult than what we think, and in another level change is easier than what we think. That means for the other person – ‘just do it, just clean your room. It’s so simple’, but for somebody else – for them it’s more easy than this, you just have to do it. Somebody may say, ‘Every time I come in there are so many thoughts going on in my mind. How can I remember that I will have to keep it like this, I will have to keep it like that, it is too difficult.’ But then we may help them, ‘Ok what are the things that you commonly use?’ Now you will keep a place – Straightforward this place is for this… So, at the end even if it is not very well organized over there, at least it is in a reasonable place itself. So, if somebody helps us in doing what we find very difficult to do. We find it is not all that difficult.
The mind resists change, and one way it resists change is by making the change appear much more difficult than what it is… ‘Oh, I can’t do it, it is too difficult…’ Actually if you take it, it is not all that difficult. There is difficulty no doubt, but the mind magnifies the magnitude of it. So, if somebody gives us a structure – ‘maybe I can do this.’
So, that way if we help. So, I started with the example of reconstructing the floor to change the direction the water moves. So, this changing our habits, changing our behavioural patterns, this is not just simply – You are doing like this, you do like that. Yes, I may do it once or twice like that, but that is like pushing the water in a different direction. You say, ‘Ok, I will do it’, but actually we need to change the mental floor of the mind, and changing that mental flooring requires time, and not just time it requires a process.
So, I will conclude with this point. Then we can have questions and answers.
That see, generally with respect to physical things we easily understand that intension alone is not enough. Along with intension I need a process. So, for example I am giving a class and I am coughing in the class. Now if I just say, ‘Now I will not cough.’ By the intension I cannot crush the cough. That cough is there because there is something wrong in the chest, and I need to take hot water, I need to take some medicines, this are processes required. But as far as the physical things we easily understand that just by will power is not enough to change things. Suppose somebody has got lose motions, and they say, by my will power I will not… I will not…you can’t do anything about this. Yes, there is something physically wrong with the body. So, just as we understand the physical level – The intension is important, but the intension should be coupled with the process. I will go to the doctor, and the doctor will give me medicine. The doctor will say, the next three days just take very light food, take only khichdi, or take only soup, whatever – And I for my intention has to be used to apply the process.
The intention alone is not enough. Similarly with respect to our thought patterns also, the intention alone is not enough. In Mathematics we have the necessary, but not the sufficient condition. So, intension is necessary. As I said the door to personal change has to be opened from inside. So, intension has to be there, but intension alone is not enough. Say, somebody is locked inside but they don’t know where the latch is. Sometimes in modern houses for people who come from a traditional background they want to figure out – ‘You have a lever, you pulled it this way, that way’ they will get confused. They may need some help over there to understand how to open the door also. So, there has to be a process. It’s not just intension.
So, like that there is a process required and the process for specific habits. There might be some process that is required, but more fundamentally it requires a changing of the modes, It requires rising from rajo guna or tamo guna to satwa guna and beyond it to the suddha satwa guna, and this is where the process of Bhakti yoga comes into picture… So, Bhakti Yoga is not just about chanting. It is very important that we chant, that we practice, we worship the deities, all these needs to lead to tangible transformation.
Now Prabhupada talked about – In different ways we find Krishna Consciousness. Once he was asked, ‘So, how can we know your disciples? Prabhupada said, ‘They are perfect gentlemen, perfect ladies and perfect gentlemen.’ Now here it is a very striking answer of Prabhupada. He is not telling, ‘My disciples are always chanting Hare Krishna. That is there, they are trying to serve Krishna, they are always trying to remember Krishna’, but people in the outside world they don’t care what is your sadhana. I will be talking this in a later class, but there is sadhana, there is siddhantha an there is sadachar. Sidhanth is the correct philosophical understanding. Sadhana is the practice of the processes by which we practice Krishna Consciousness. Sadachar is the proper behaviour. So, the world doesn’t care about siddhantha, the world doesn’t care about sadhana, the world cares about sadachar… how we behave.
There is atheism, and now there is another school of thought that has become very popular, that is called apatheism. Apathy means I don’t care. So, apatheism means whether God exists or not I don’t care only. There is agnosticism which says we can’t know whether God exists, but apatheism means ‘I don’t care what I do’, and the one reason they give is, Few religious people – About what is there beyond this world you have differences and because of those differences you create conflicts here. Let that other world stay where it is, you stay peaceful here. (laughter), and from their perspective their reasoning makes perfect sense. Whatever is out there is meant to make things better here, not to make thing worse here. So, what happens… so what is people’s conception of the other world, that is siddhantha. So, the world doesn’t care about siddhantha, what the world cares about sadachar. How do you act, how do you behave. So, what Srila Prabhupada is telling over here is… or he is talking about..my disciples are ladies are gentleman. What does he mean by that? He is talking from the perspective of sadachar. They are gentle, they are sensitive, they are humble, they are kind, this are all characteristics of the gentleman. So, our sadhana, our siddhantha, all of them are important, but our sadhana and siddhantha should translate into sadachar. Otherwise what happens is that people won’t care for our sadhana and siddhantha, and unfortunately sometimes for us it can have a opposite effect.
That sometimes my strict sadhana – My clear understanding of siddhantha – What it does is, it makes me judgemental. Rather than making me more understanding, more kind, more sensitive, it makes me more judgemental towards others.
‘This is the right, you are not doing it right, you are a deviator.’ We start labelling people. Yes, if something is wrong there is way to explain it, and there is a way to help people to come to the right understanding, but unfortunately we become judgemental, and then that sadahana and that siddhantha – If it doesn’t translate into sadacahar, then it doesn’t do much good to others. I may say, ‘I am becoming pure, I am having the pure sadhana, I am having pure siddhantha’, but then our purity creates hostility in the community. So, I think I am right, you are wrong. Yes, there is a right and there is a wrong, but there is right and a wrong way of communicating right and wrong also. When we become judgemental then we alienate people and that creates a lot of unnecessary tension and frictions in the community. So, if we understand that our practice of bhakti is actually meant to translate into sadachar – So, our practice of bhakti it will – because naturally when we practice bhakti we will rise to the higher modes, an inner change will be easier to make – Just like if the flooring is – slowly if it’s inclination is changing then for the water to go to the other direction is easy.
So, similarly the change will become easier, but we have to know that I have to make this change – That actually my practice of bhakti should help me to become a better person. I want to become a better devotee, and apart of becoming a better devotee also become a better person, and when we connect the process of bhakti with our day to day life in this way, then bhakti doesn’t remain just a religious or a cultural activity. It becomes a transformational process of self-empowerment. It empowers us by Krishna’s mercy to transform ourselves. So, how to apply the process of bhakti for transforming ourselves, this we will discuss in future classes.
I will summarise
So, I talked about what is it that makes us behave the way we do. That is the three modes of material nature. The modes are at one level the building blocks of material existence, just like everything on a screen comprises of three colours. So, everything in the material existence is gunamayi. It is made of three modes and at a more practical level the modes are subtle, psychological forces that shape the interaction between matter and consciousness. The example of three people in the bus seeing the same forest differently. In the tamoguna, I will be pleased to sleep, in the rajo guna it is a place to romanticise, in satwa guna it is a place to read and …48.30… So, based on the modes that we are in, we all see things differently. So, the modes are like our default settings, like sat-cid-ananda became Saturday-cid-ananda.
Even if I write something correct, if my modes are of different way, it will make it incorrect. The example of a floor. If the floor is inclined in a particular way, water will naturally flow in that direction. So, like that the modes determine the inclination of our mental flooring, and based on that our thoughts will naturally flow in a particular direction. So, something’s may be very easy and natural for us, say good music or good language or good cleanliness. So, that is how our mind is inclined, but for others it just doesn’t seem important and they didn’t even notice that it is wrong. So, if we apply our standards of easiness or difficulty on others, then we will think of others as insincere or insensitive – They are just making my life miserable, but that’s not – The shoe that fits one leg bites another. So, what is easy for us maybe difficult for others. So, when we expect others to change, rather than evaluating based on how easy it is for us to do that thing, we can look at something that is difficult for us to do, and understand that this is also that difficult for them, and then it has to be changed. First the change begins with accepting.
If somebody has gone the wrong road, we accept that we have gone there and then help them to come back to the right track. If we criticize people for where they are right now, then their energy shifts from correcting to justifying, and now just they start justifying then they may not change themselves at all, or they will change for a very short while. The door to personal change can be opened only from inside. So, somehow the desire to change has to be kindled inside them, and for that we can’t take up too many things to change.
Now many new resolutions of people are not new, because they have not been able to change in the past. We need not be discouraged thinking, I can’t improve, nor should we be thinking that I will change everything. Take one thing at a time. So, when we are in satwa guna, we sit down with the other person and explain, ‘This is why this troubles we have got, and this is what we can do.’ So, for one person cleanliness is much easier than what it actually is, and for another person change may seem much more difficult than what it is. So, intension to change has to be created by proper communication and after that there is a process. Say that if I have a cough or I have loose motion I cannot by intension curve it. So, what we easily understand for physical disorders of physical problems, that same applies for mental disorder or mental problems also, mental issues also. Just intension is not enough, there is a process.
So, for changing specific habits there can be a specific process, but generically we have to raise ourselves from the lower modes to the higher modes, and bhakti yoga is meant to ultimately help us get absorbed in love of Krishna. Along with that it also is going to help us become gentlemen and ladies, well behaved people. So, sadhana and siddhantha are personal practices and philosophy that should lead to sadachar, and the world doesn’t care about what our sadhana is and what our siddhantha is. It cares for the sadachar, and to the extent we connect our practice of bhakti with trying to change ourselves for better, you will see that bhakti will make the change much easier than what we thought, and as the mental flooring changes then the change will not only become easier over a period of time, the change will become natural for us.
Question and Answer session:
Q.1: The three modes can apply in bhakti also. So, how the devotees function in the three modes of material nature?
CCP: Yes, the process of bhakti is transcendental, but we are not transcendental. So, that means that we bring our modes into the practice of bhakti. So, consider for example, say book distribution. So, there is a book selling marathon, everyone wants to distribute the maximum number of books. So, it’s actually happened unfortunately in the early days of our movement. There would be devotees in bus parties. In a temple there will be three bus parties. So, one bus party team they want to come first. So, in the early morning everybody is waking up in the morning and they are rushing out … So, one bus party team they go out and they go and puncture the tyre of the other buses. (laughter) It was not done with a bad intension. If I feel that my success requires others failure, and we may not do it that explicitly, but somehow you know somebody is glorifying, ‘this devotee sings so nicely. Yes, but… they are so proud. Can’t you see. They are doing kirtans, they are not looking at the deity, they are looking at people how they are admiring…’ They may not be looking with that intension at all. Maybe just seeing how many people are following.. whether people… how do we know people’s intensions are.
So, when for doing our service successfully we try to pull down others in whatever way it is. Pull down can be physically by obstructing the service or just verbally by undermining them a little bit – That is bhakti is in the mode of tamo guna. My success depends on others failure. In Rajo guna when we practice bhakti we feel, ‘Yes others are also doing service, but I am the best.’ In tamo-guna it has to be almost like, I am the only person doing service. Everybody else they are just in Maya, wasting time. In rajo guna, I want to be the best. So, if I do service and many devotees distribute books, and then somehow instead of coming first I come second, I feel so depressed. If only that person he had taken a book I would come first. So, how does it really matter? Yes, it is nice if you come first but it is not necessary. It’s not going to be defining for our bhakti…
So, ultimately bhakti is a relationship with Krishna. So, when we invest too much on externals – First is that we depend only on externals, and we try to damage the externals of others, but second is that where I consider myself fourth largely depending on how much I am able to succeed in the material visible sense. So, if I give a class how many people come. If somebody else gives a class how many people will come. For their class more people came, what is the use of my class… or when I crack a joke people didn’t laugh as loudly as they laughed in that person’s class. So, when we give the externals too much importance in the performance of service – We want the externals so that we can offer them in the service of Krishna, but what is important is that we want to offer our hearts to Krishna, and the externals are the means by which we can offer our heart to Krishna.
So, that is rajo guni service when we give the externals too much importance. I am not saying the externals are not important. Yes, the externals are also an expression of our intension, but it is the intension that is more important, and sometimes by Krishna’s arrangement…. Krishna we want somebody else to get the number one, to be better than us, it doesn’t matter externally who is number one or who is number two. What matters is whether we have done our best in Krishna’s service. In satwa guna we want to share with others. So, if we learn something – Now say we are doing distribution, and we go to some seminar and we learn something. Then there are some preachers they get some, they go somewhere, they get some preaching material, can you share it – No, no one, it’s my material, my class will be special, if everybody starts speaking the same thing then what is the use? Nobody should record my class, no one should use my power point. The feel like this is my material.
Well, I am not judging. Some people may do like that and they may have an intention to actually benefit people by that also, but the point is, it again depends on mentality how they are doing it. Say, somebody doesn’t want to share what they have with others because they want to maintain position. Then, that will be in rajoguna, but whatever I have learnt let me share with others, and let others share. So, we all do… we all are serving Krishna and we all are… we are not competing against each other, we are actually fighting our common enemy. Like we are all soldiers in an army, and if one soldier knocks down more enemies it is the army that is winning. It is not that at the end of the day in a war who defeated how many soldiers, that is not as important as who won. So, if we have a weapon which is effective, we share that weapon with others then the whole army is likely to do better… So, we share what we have with others. Whatever skills that we learn, whatever tips we learn, we share and we try to help everyone move forward. That is satwa guna mode.
In suddha satwa, in the mode of bhakti, actually we try to offer others better facilities that what we have. It’s actually very difficult to do. It’s not so easy… Going back to this simple example of three modes is Prasad. If I get a special cake, then if I am in tamo guna, I will… as soon as I get the cake I will find out where is the secret room. I will go to the secret room and the whole cake myself. If I am in rajo guna, as soon as I get the cake I want the best part, so I will just take the full cream, and then whatever remains I will give the cake to everyone else. In satwa guna, ‘I got this cake, let’s all share it.’ If am suddha satwa, I share the cake with others and if somebody else comes along and there is nothing remaining, I may give my piece to them. So, it’s basically if we all – There is an external aspect to service, and that external aspect is important, but how much importance we give to that external aspect that is defined by the influence of the modes on us, and especially if we associate with devotees who are performing their services in satwa guna or suddha satwa.
Suddha Satwa it is very difficult to do, but at least in satwa guna, we associate with them then we will also feel inspired to do services in satwa guna, and over a period of time we will find that services in satwa guna brings happiness. See, any service will bring purification to some extent, but then the satisfaction that we get through the service that also depends on which mode I am doing it. So, if I am going to speak about Krishna, I will be purified, but if I am speaking about Krishna and I am concerned about how many people have come, how many people are appreciating me, how many people are praising me, then I am not really thinking about Krishna. So, then I will not experience that connection with Krishna, I won’t experience that satisfaction that comes from connecting with Krishna.
So, in general if we associate with devotees who are in goodness, who perform their service in goodness, and we ourselves experience the peace, the satisfaction of doing the service in goodness, then we can c
ome more and more towards goodness.
Question 2: When we accept others the way they are… but then we have time to act in particular ways, and we just do it in that way because others are not up to the mark. Then what can we do in that situation?
CCP: Firstly, when I say that I accept people the way they are, there is also a qualification over there. That means that they may not be able to change, but that does not mean that if somebody is not good at a particular thing they still have to do that. So, for example say somebody has a very poor musical sense, and they are singing or they are playing musical instruments. Now maybe in a small program where there are only devotees, at that time they can play instruments or they can sing, but if it is a big public program – certain services require certain skills, and those devotees can be told in a polite, gentle way that you maybe in this particular service, you can sing over here, but in this program we have these devotees. So, if there are certain services which are visible to everyone, which are very public, and then we need to have a certain level of comparison over there. Then we need to find out people who are competent, and entrust it to them, and others can be given a similar service in other cases which are not that high profile.
So, just like public speaking. When we give classes, it is not necessary that the devotees who are the most senior they maybe the best speakers. It is not necessary that they devotees who are the most advanced, they will not necessarily be the best speakers. So, then in some cases if one devotee is not that senior, is not advanced, but if you go to the public program where many people are going to come, people are not going to see the advancement of the person, people are going to see the speaking capacity, the fluency. Then according to that time, the person who is a good speaker he should be given that service.
So, there are certain areas where competency is important, and then those services should be given to the competent, and then there has to be proper sensitive communication so that that arrangement is made. So, in principle it is not that just in the name of understanding and accepting we don’t have to create a culture of what in India is called ‘Chalta Hain’ , it is not like that. If Prabhupada had wanted things to be good… at the same time improving things is also a progression.
So, sometimes in a particular community there may be a thrust on a particular thing, and when the trust is on that particular thing the focus will be on improving that for getting that, and then other things may not be prioritized at that time. So, we have to understand that the – This is also important, but the priority of the community may be different at a particular time – So, usually one of the effective ways of working in any group – lead, follow or get out of the way. That means if somebody else has a vision and they are doing something. Everybody in the temple coming and distributing books, and they are doing it very well and we follow that, but if we have been in the movement for many years, we feel that this is what needs to be done. ‘Ok, I wanted to do the aesthetics of the temple’, and nobody just criticizes, ‘Why are you not doing this?’- And if somebody is ready to take the initiative, it’s quite often that – Then you get the room to do it. What happens is that, when people just offer suggestions and offer criticism without doing anything, then over a period of time it becomes irritating.
I was in Puri for many years. So, there will be one person who will come every day after darshan he would want to meet the pujari. He would have a list written down of all the things which were wrong in the dressing. Every single day. ‘Are you taking darshan of Krishna or are you coming to see what are the faults in the dressings of Krishna?’ That person may have a very aesthetic, visual sense, because of that they would say, this turban was not right, this flute was not right. The pujaris, they have their own time to use, they have their limitations, they are doing the best that they can. So, that may not be priority. So, as I said, either lead, either follow or lead or get out of the way. If we find that that is not being done, we won’t have the facility or the empowerment to do that, then just neglect it but it is not necessary that you should always neglect it. So, if we have a drive for doing something, then we explain it to the authorities involved in a proper way, respectful way, and we are ready to take the responsibility. Usually nobody makes a big issue out of it. People allow us room to do it. So, that’s how by their accepting others that doesn’t meant that we just allow things to go and incompetently. For certain things competence is required, but then we may not be able to come to competence in all fields at the same time. So, the community may have a vision by which certain things we come to competence first. If we can ourselves take a lead in something it is good, otherwise we can just accept it, ‘This is the way it is. Maybe later on it will…1.09.20…’ but we have to find out some direction in which we can channel our energies, because we also want to serve Krishna, and once we are constructively engaged then the critical mentality doesn’t come so much.
So, usually we may come in the temple hall just for darshan, and I look at all the announcements and see where there is spelling mistakes. But if I have come to the temple hall to give class, I am thinking about what I am going to speak, I don’t have the time to look at the spelling mistakes. So, like that if we have a service for ourselves then what happens is, we don’t have the time to look at others, and what faults they have. We know that, I am making positive contribution over there.
Question 3: If I try to change and I repeatedly fail, then we may feel that this is the way I am, and I may give up hope. So, is there any hope at that time.
CCP: Yes, there a broadly two situations in this context. One is that there may be something’s which are too difficult to change, and if that is the case there are… one senior devotee I met and he told me that there are many projects which are postponed to my next life time. (laughter) There are so many things to change, if I try I can’t do it. So, when we are doing anything in our life, we also need some taste of success, we also need some sense of having achieved something tangible. That actually gives us the confidence to go on in our life. So, if we are continuously trying something and it is just not working, then just keeping trying like that discourages. So, somebody may say that this is not very important for me. I will focus on some other thing. It may be something simple, it may be something which doesn’t have any visual thing.
When we dress the deities it’s like they have worked very hard, but it is atrocity for the eyes. So, some people they don’t have that sense. So, then to develop that sense may be very difficult. We all have a particular swabhava. So, some people may try to learn music, they just don’t. Some people are tone deaf. Not only that they can’t correct, they don’t understand what is wrong. So, it is very difficult for to correct. So, they decide that this is something that I can’t do, so I will put it aside. So, there are something’s which… it may take too much effort to change, and that change may not be really essential. It is important, but it is not essential. So, we may just put it aside and focus our energies on some other thing that we can do – Now there are other things – many things which we do need to change. So, then in that case it may be better to focus our energy on some other things where we can change, and get a sense of confidence by that. So, I fought this battle, but again and again I have just been beaten. So, now I will try to change but not now. I have on my mind two, three other things, and we also know that something’s if I try to change I can’t change.
So, if we do some other things where we do change ourselves and become better, that gives us confidence, and again we can come back and fight the battle. It also that if you keep practicing bhakti consistently, then our modes also becomes alleviated. … then it becomes easier to fight the battle which was earlier very difficult to fight. So, that’s why in our practice of bhakti we shouldn’t judge our bhakti success by how much we are able to give up something. We should focus on how much we are connected to Krishna. We do have to give us certain things but that is not the definition. That should not be the primary definer.
So, I will give an example to illustrate what I am saying. So, we all have different anarthas, it may be anger, it may be lust, it may be greed and this may just attack us at sometimes. So, if we consider desires a normal state – Normal desire is that the graph of desire will be like this… just manageable, but sometimes then suddenly the desires shoots up. It’s like in a graph there is a spike and when that spike comes it’s almost impossible to control, and we just get overwhelmed with that. Now when the spike comes usually the spike doesn’t last for long, and if say when the spike comes and we do something wrong at that time, unfortunately the mind is very tricky. So, what it does is, first the mind gives us the impulse, that spike, we just fall into something wrong, and then after that the same mind it first makes us a criminal and then it becomes the judge who sentences the criminal. ‘You are a food, why did you do that? You knew you shouldn’t have done that.’ So, we decide, I am going to diet, I am going to take proper food, and the mind… ‘you can eat a little bit of this… No problem, we have been dieting for so long, we can eat a little bit of it, and then we eat and eat and eat and after that the same mind changes roles, ‘You fool, why did you eat. When you will learn? How many time you will do the same thing’ and then what happens, we just let ourselves to be bitten by the mind and then we get completely discouraged, and then by that time the next spike comes, and then again we fall and again the mind beats us.
So, what is happening here, when the spike is there and even when the spike is not there. In both cases we are mind conscious instead of being Krishna Conscious. So, now when the spike comes it will be almost impossible for us to do anything right. We may do something wrong at that time. After the spike gets over we just forget it, and then in between the spikes focus on connecting with Krishna, focus on doing things right. There may be sometimes when we may just be forced by things beyond our control to do something wrong, but what are we doing during the spikes? If anybody – We are connecting with Krishna diligently, that is purifying ourselves, that is strengthening us, and the strength that we develop by connecting with Krishna in between eventually that will resist us to the spikes. So, if we focus, if we define our bhakti but what we are doing with the spikes, then we will always feel very disheartened, but we understand, Yes… I am not saying that what happens with the spikes is not important. The serious wrongs that we may do, and we have to deal with that appropriately, but the important thing is how is that ever going to change? If it is ever going to change – The spikes themselves are not going to go away immediately. It’s very unlikely, but what can change? …1.18.00…(inaudible) , and between the spikes I work towards connecting myself with Krishna, purifying myself and strengthening myself spiritually, then gradually I will be able to resist the spikes, and thus the change which seemed very difficult for me, that will also happen.
So, rather than focussing on the specifics of the change, we focus on the foundations for changing. Rather than why the water again go in this direction, focus on reconstructing the floor. So, even if during the process of reconstruction…. Sometimes reconstruction may need years also… and during the process water will again flow in that directions. That’s ok. That’s what is happening, but at least focus on reconstructing the flooring, changing the inclination. So, focus on practicing bhakti consistently irrespective of what happens in between the spikes or during the spikes. We may not be able to control. So, we may not be able to avert falling down in terms of some spiritual standards whatever it may be, but we can avoid staying fallen. We may fall down, but I don’t have to stay fallen.
It’s like in a boxing match somebody gives a big punch, that times you just fall. In the future I will be more prepared to dodge the punch, but now I am fallen down I can still get up… it may take some effort and energy but I can still get up. So, we needn’t let ourselves be defined by what we do in this fights, rather than focus on what am I doing in between the spikes. By that gradually we create the foundational change by which the specific change will happen more easily in the future.
Question 4: You said that ultimately unlatching the door has to be from within. So, when we are preaching Krishna Consciousness how do we inspire them when they are really interested?
CCP: So, actually one example will illustrate this. In general when people are being introduced to bhakti they require to be pushed. They have to be pushed…come for a program, come for this festival… You have to push them to some extent. At the same time the pushing doesn’t limit to that. So, a simple example to illustrate this is, that say sometimes some person is driving a car and they get into a car but the car doesn’t start. I don’t know if it happens to cars in Bahrain, but in India it happens. When the car doesn’t start then the person calls the nearby people come along, and they all push the car. Now the person from inside is trying to start the car, and people from outside are pushing it, and together they get the car to move and the car starts off. So, like that people often need help. They want to practice bhakti, but they are not able to. They just say, ‘I don’t have time, I have to do this, I have to do that.’ And we can give some practical help, ‘Ok, this thing you can do like this or you can do it now.’ We help them to create time which is basically like pushing. We create facility for them, we make it easier and easier for them to come to Krishna. So, that is like pushing the car, but imagine that say some group of people are pushing the car from outside but inside the driver has gone to sleep.
People will say, why should I keep pushing? Worst still the person inside is pressing the break, then – ‘why should I push it so much.’ So, like that there are some people you may find out after sometime they are repeatedly giving us signals that I am not interested. It’s not necessarily that it necessarily makes them bad people, and nor does it makes us a bad person. Sometimes we make it into a our own character or something. If I cannot make this person into a devotee then it is my character failure. Parents may do this for children. It’s not like that. The child is a sacred soul, and the parent is a separate soul and even Krishna cannot force anyone do anything. So, who are we to force anyone to do anything. So, we definitely need to provide our children facilities to become devotees, but ultimately it’s their choice. So, we don’t have to bring… while encouraging or inspiring others to take up bhakti. We don’t have to bring too much of… we don’t have to make it into a personal issue. Their taking bhakti or their not taking bhakti, we should not make it a personal issue.
So, let me say I am in a office in a particular position, and I ask someone to come to the program. They don’t come, I take it a personal… ‘I told you to come, why did not come.’ No, don’t take personally because different people are in different stages of their spiritual evolution and some people may just need some time. They may be at least not be ready right now. What we should not do is alienate them. If we become very judgemental, ‘I told you to come so many times you did not come. All the reason you are giving are lies.’ When we start making judgmental statements like that, then even if they feel inspired to come, they will not come, because they will be hurt by the way you have spoken. So, if you push them a little bit and we see that they are not interested then just end that interaction on a cordial note. Let them feel that I met a nice person. ‘Ok I am not interested in following right now, but in future life… they say life is a school of hard knocks. So, eventually when they get hard knocks at that time they will remember, ‘you know I remember, I read in the Bhagavat Gita that this world is a dukhalayam, let me go and explore what the Bhagavat Gita is teaching.’ So, whatever, when their time will come they will com. So, we can encourage people but we don’t have to push them too much. So, if after reasonable amount of inviting, reminding, if again and again people are not coming, then better go and find other people who are interested, and focus energies on them, and don’t make their coming into a personal issue. Just end that in a cordial note.
Just one point about the previous answer, that even Prabhupada, when he is speaking the Bhagavat Dharma, he is saying that, ‘Oh Krishna please make my words understandable to them.’ So, even Prabhupada recognizes that, ‘tomar icchaya saba hay maya basa, tumar icchaya ….’ So, it not my statement, it is not my power that is transforming it, it’s Krishna’s power. So, we can pray to Krishna and depend on Krishna.
Question 5: If we have certain default settings, though the default settings come from our past karma or do they come from our association.
CCP: Both. See generally speaking our behaviour is determined by five factors. First is our past karma. The past karma creates a swabhava. Swabhava is our innate nature. To some extent in modern scientific language we could translate it as genetics. Some people are genetically disposed. Now say they are very good at something. Some people are say superkinds. Some people are computer based kids… Right from childhood they are so brilliant. It’s just in their genes. So, what that means is that by our past karma our behaviour is determined, but that is not the …1.27.18… second is our upbringing. So, certain things they are just natural for us in a… For example somebody is born in society where meat eating is natural, Then… they never had a choice about it. It’s natural that they are eating it. So, our upbringing shapes our behaviour also. So, one reason I am talking about this is, sometimes some people may be by their swabhava in satwa guna in terms of their own disposition, but they are just brought up in a culture where meat eating is just a normal thing. So, in one side there is an aspect of their life which is satwic, but in another in eating they may be rajasic or tamasic also. So, we cannot judge people just by one behaviour… So, the upbringing is the second thing. Third is the association. The kind of people we associate with.
So, the first two things are more or less unchangeable for us. Our past karma and our upbringing we can’t change now, and our association we can change. May be not entirely, but substantially. So, the kind of people we associate with that substantially shapes our behaviour. So, for example somebody may be by their past karms was ver atheletic, they like to be energetic, but by their association they may decide which sports I will take, or somebody may be musically inclined by their past karma but which specific instrument they will play, they will accept, that will be driven by their association.
So, somebody may be in India and is mad after cricket, and then they go to America and nobody knows about cricket over there. Now people know because there is a substantial NRI community, but there American people are after baseball. The same athletic inclination may make them change to baseball. So, because that’s how everybody is… that’s what is cool in that culture. So, that is association. So, if we want to change ourselves in any way it’s vital for us to place ourselves in the association of people who are of the kind we want to be with. If we want to be devotees, then we have to associate with devotees. If we want to give up certain habits we have to associate with people who have given up their habits, or who don’t having the habit. Then only. So, association is what determines substantial, what is in our …1.29.51…
Fourth is our free will that means despite all these three thing, the swabhava, the upbringing and the association, it is our free will – Somebody may have all these three good but still some people may become bad, because ultimately they have the free will, and they can chose whatever they want.
Some people maybe in a very impure association but by their free will they can stay pure. So, this three things they push us, they don’t force us. The push, and we can counter push. Whether we will counter push or not, that depends primarily on our free will. So, this three created the inclination of the mental floor, but we can change the inclination.
So, even if the inclination is like that, still I can push the water in the opposite direction. So, our free will is still there, and the fifth factor is God’s grace, Krishna’s mercy. By Krishna’s mercy things can change dramatically in our life. We may laboriously try to change the mental floor or its inclination. Krishna can do it overnight also.
So, we can observe it ourselves that in some cases certain desires just have changed. So, for example some of us might have been – before we started Bhakti we might have been eating meat, and we might have been very attached to it at also, but after we started practicing bhakti, even if somebody nearby is eating meat you don’t feel tempted so much. Prasad is actually, literally higher taste. So, what has happened? Although that desire was there, not just desire but a strong pushing was there, but now it has gone.
So, not that I am fighting against it, and I am unable to win. Rather there is no need fight only, the temptation itself is gone. So, there is conviction and there is purification. Conviction is of the intelligence, purification is of the mind. So, actually conviction has to come first.
evaṁ buddheḥ paraṁ buddhvā
jahi śatruṁ mahā-bāho
First I will have to be at least convinced with my intelligence, ‘This is right, this is wrong, this way I want to act, this way I don’t want to act.’ And when we act consistently in that way… when there is conviction of intelligence, then there is application of bhakti, then there is purification of the mind. So, when we say conviction, that means that I still have the desire, I still have a tendency to act in a particular way, but I know that I should not act in that way, therefore I fight that, but when there is purification then that inclination or the desire itself is not there, and when that purification happens, when the inclination or desire itself is not there, that time susukham…bhakti will become joyful. Till that tendency or desire is there, bhakti will be a struggle because we are fighting… desire is coming… no….desire is coming…no…but if the desire itself goes away, then there is like a un-distracted, uninterrupted connection with Krishna, and that is joyful. It may take some time to come, but it will come.
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