Bhikshu Gita 6 – See the mind’s aversion to concentration as a trick of illusion (Srimad Bhagavatam 11.23.47)

by Chaitanya Charan dasNovember 24, 2016

Talk in the Middle East


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Transcription of Lecture

CCP: Today I will be speaking on the topic of the mind based on a section from the Srimad Bhagavatam which is called the Bhikshu Gita. This is from the 11th Canto where a mendicant Brahman realizes and analyses how the suffering is caused primarily by the mind.

mano-vaśe ’nye hy abhavan sma devā
manaś ca nānyasya vaśaṁ sameti 
bhīṣmo hi devaḥ sahasaḥ sahīyān
yuñjyād vaśe taṁ sa hi deva-devaḥ 

So, mano-vaśe ’nye hy abhavan sma devā – That all the senses have been conquered by the mind

manaś ca nānyasya vaśaṁ sameti, but the mind is not controlled by anything else.

bhīṣmo hi devaḥ sahasaḥ sahīyān – And it is extremely powerful. Power is God like.

yuñjyād vaśe taṁ sa hi deva-devaḥ 

So, one who conquers the mind will automatically conquer the senses. So, essentially this verse is talking about how we can make effective progress on the path to self mastery, and requires controlling the mind. So, many times – almost everyone recognizes that I have certain patterns of behaviour which are unhealthy, which are counter-productive, by which I hurt myself, and then we try to change those behavioural patterns.

So, for example some people if they become alcoholics and then they realize, “Oh it is terrible. It makes me crazy. I want to give this up.” Now there are some people, some medicines which sometimes people take. If they have taken that medicine, and after that if they take alcohol then they get severe bodily dis-functioning, either they vomit or they throw up, and their idea is that by taking this medicine when my body becomes unreceptive to alcohol, then I will not take alcohol, because alcohol causes suffering, but sometimes the suffering doesn’t come immediately. Initially we feel high and afterwards that highness – Feeling high we go crazy, and afterwards we realize, “Why did I act like that?” So, in order to avoid them from doing that, what they do is, they take this medicine—that’s not exactly a medicine, it’s a chemical basically which is meant to cure something else, but when we take this medicine – After that if somebody drinks alcohol, there is a severe reaction, and that way they try to avoid taking alcohol, because they know that if I am going to drink now it’s going to cause me suffering, but when the desire hits – It is so strong that even if they have taken medicine still they will drink alcohol. Even knowing that this is going to cause me suffering, and not just cause me some remote suffering which is going to come in the future –

Even after knowing that this is ahitam, this is unbeneficial for me, still we end up doing it. So, the senses – Even if we create some obstacles externally by which we say, ‘No, I will not indulge in this, but as long as the mind is there, the mind is going to create trouble. So, certainty sense control is required, but even more important is controlling the mind, focussing the mind.’

Suppose there is hunter who shoots an arrow and may be some hog there who gets pierced in the mouth. The hog gets angry and starts shooing and biting the arrow itself. The more he is biting the arrow the more it is hurting itself, and the meanwhile the hunter will shoot one more arrow and kill him, but the Lion looks around – Where did this arrow come from. Oh, this arrow has come from this hunter. Then the Lion will charge towards the hunter, and either finish off the hunter or drive the hunter away, and then afterwards this particular arrow that is there in the mouth can be deal with.

So, just trying to repress the senses doesn’t work, although some amount of controlling the senses is required, but just fighting at the level of the senses alone, that is like fighting with the arrow. The fight is not with the arrow, the fight is with the archer who has sent the arrow, and understanding this is vital for making our inner life more effective, our inner battle more successful.

So, the mind is the primary instigator of desire. There may be some external stimuli but actually it is when the mind gets agitated, that’s when we succumb, whether it be to desire, whether it be to anger, whatever it is.

Now one of the ways by which the mind makes us vulnerable is through distraction. That means that in general – Actually if you go back around the start of the 19th century when lot of machines were being developed – at that time there was a famous social scientist who wrote a essay which became quite celebrated at that time, and he said, ‘Now with so many machines being developed – then, he said—For future generations the biggest problem will be what to do with their time? Because the machine will do all the work, and then people will have nothing to do.

He thought that the people will be ideal, and he thought that what all people can do when they are ideal? Now of course that has not happened. Although there are so many machines which do our work, but there are so much other work to do, and interestingly – Yes, a lot of people can have more leisure than what they had earlier, but paradoxically it is when people have leisure—that is the time when they often have the most anxiety. If you are busy in some work – Ok, one thing, second thing, third thing, fourth thing – But when they come back home and they think, “Now let me relax”, at that time the body is relaxing but the mind is ideal, the mind starts thinking, “What if this goes wrong, what if that goes wrong?” “Now today I went to my office and the boss looked at me in a strange way, is my boss planning to fire me?” Like that one small thought comes in and it grows, and quite often the time which was meant for leisure and enjoyment – that is the time when the mind makes us most miserable.

So, the paradox is that, when we are busy we think, ‘Oh I just am going to break, there is so much work.’ We may get a break from the work, but we never get a break from the mind. The mind is always at work and the mind makes us work. So, the mind is always at work. Srila Prabhupada writes in Bhagavad-gita (3.42, purport)

indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ

So, he says, ‘The body – above the body there is the senses, above the senses is the mind, above the mind is the intelligence, and above the intelligence is the soul. So, he gives a hierarchy over here – Krishna, and there Prabhpupada says, ‘Sometimes the senses are inactive, but even then the mind is active.’ Just like when we are asleep, at that time we are physically lying on a bed but our mind is going here and going there, and we see all sorts of things, we experience so many things. So, the mind is always active. The mind is always at work.

Now whether it is doing our work or whether it is making us work, that is a difference. That means whether the mind is doing our work or the mind is making us work – What do I mean by this difference? See, the word mind has many meanings. In the Bhagavad-gita, the word mind is used in specific sense. So, in general language we may use – if there is a low ceiling or there is a low door entry – ‘Mind your head.’ So, mind your head means, ‘Be alert, be cautious.’ So, mind means – be attentive and be cautious. ‘Mind your head’, be attentive to look where your head is going – Or somebody may say – “Einstein was one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.” Here mind means intelligence – an intelligent person. So, the word mind can mean many things like that.

In the Bhagavad-gita the mind refers to a particular thing. That is the interface between the body and the soul – How do the two interface? The mechanism that brings out the interface is called the mind. Now in Western philosophy there was an idea of the soul, but from the last 300-400 years that idea has been more or less exiled from in-stream intellectual discourse, and the main reason for that was – In the Western schools of thought there was no clear understanding of how spirit which is non-material, can interact with and influence matter.

Spirit and matter are two different things. So, for example if I see – lift up this phone and there is a physical object at hand, and there is a physical object- the phone. So, physical object is exerting a physical force. So, normally in this world things move when there is physical force is exerted. Every single cause that we see, every single effect that we see, it has a material cause to it.

So, if the soul is spiritual how can the spiritual soul influence the material body? That interface mechanism they have no idea, and that is why they said, “There is no need for anything as a soul.” Everything that happens in the body can be explained by material phenomenon itself, by material causes.

Now the Bhagavad-gita’s understanding is that the mind is the subtle interface which brings about the interaction between the body and the soul. So, how does it work out? Yesterday I gave the example that the body is like the hardware and the soul is like the user, and the mind is like the software. So, now if I have a brand new computer – the latest MAC computer or the latest Windows computer, but if there is no software on it I cannot do anything on it. I may press all the keys, but nothing will happen. The software is essential for interacting with the hardware. So, like that we need the mind. Without the mind, the soul cannot interact with the body.

The soul links with the body through the mind, and in that sense we have to give simpler example that, say a person has got a ranch – A big farm in which they have maybe cultivation of crops, they have some animals – Animal husbandry is going on. So, now if they have a horse – Now they need the horse to move around in the firm, but if the horse is unruly, if the horse is undisciplined, the horse can throw them out. So, similarly – But without horse they cannot cover all the territory. So, they need to horse but they have to very cautious in handling the horse. So, our situation is like that. We need the mind for interacting with the body and interacting with the world. But at the same time, the mind is like a unruly horse. So, for example right now we are discussing the Bhagavad-gita’s – The Uddhava Gita’s message. So, right now I need my mind to be thinking, “Ok I have spoken this point and I have to speak this point.” So, I need my mind to be attentive about what I am speaking, and you need your mind to be attentive, to understand what is being spoken.

So, in this case the mind is doing our work. That means that we want to do something, and we use the mind to do our work, but sometimes the mind stops doing our work and makes us do it’s work. What does it mean? Say, I go on a computer and I start the computer. I want to go on a website and start reading over there, but suddenly as I am going towards the website some other window pop up over there, and some link comes over there, and I click on that link, and then I go on that link and I start reading there, and then I see another link, another link, another link – That thing that I came for that is gone completely, and sometimes especially if people start watching movies or seeing some pictures – They spend hours and hours. So, surfing on the internet becomes suffering on the internet.

People get addicted to the internet and what has happened is that, they came to do some work on the computer but instead of using the computer to do their work—Because the software popped up something and they just too the lure and went on – They ended up doing something else only. So, it was their time, their energy, they have to pay the electricity bill, they have to pay the data for the internet, all that – but they are doing something which they never intended to do, at least they didn’t plan to do originally.

So, like that when we are trying to do something, the mind takes us off, sometimes in an entirely different direction and when it takes us off in a different direction, we become as the word is used- absent minded. Now actually speaking the mind is never absent. So, when we say absent minded that means that the mind is absent from where we are, and where we want the mind to be. So, how it works is – Say, I am sitting in a class and say I am hearing a teacher speaking something, but then if I am absent minded the minded the mind becomes absent. The mind goes somewhere else, and then wherever it is, the mind is showing us a movie, ‘You can do this, you can do that.’ So, sometime the movie is a pleasant movie, sometimes the movie is a horror movie – “Oh he said this. Maybe this will happen, that will happen. What if this happens, What if that happens.” and either way what is happening? We are not where we want to be.

So, when this way the mind starts distracting us, then we end up doing the minds work. The mind is not doing our work, rather the mind is creating something for us and, ‘May be this will happen – What will happen?’ This way we will become tired, we become disempowered, we become discouraged completely, and thus we end up hurting ourselves. How? Because the mind when it gets distracted – I am trying to do one thing, but the mind is taking somewhere else, and firstly the work which I wanted to do is not done, and secondly, whatever the mind is thinking of – I cannot do anything about it right now. So, in that sense if there is some problem, and the problem has to be dealt with, and if there is some anxiety I have to do something for the anxiety, but while I am at one place I can’t do anything about that place. So, I will do neither anything here, nor anything there, and because of that we feel exasperated.

Sometimes we may see that actually we wake up in the morning and our mind is hyper-active, ‘What if this goes wrong, what if that goes wrong?’, and just two, three hours we have just done little work in the day and we feel exhausted. I just don’t want to do anything. What has happened? We have become mentally exhausted. Why? Because the mind is saying this and that and just we get lost. So, the mind dissipates our energy and that’s why what we need to see is that, ‘Am I focussing the mind in whatever I am doing?’

In general destruction is a big problem. There are weapons of mass destructions. We have nuclear weapons, chemical weapons – Which destroy the body, but there are weapons of mass distraction and they destroy the mind. Actually they destroy in the sense of annihilating, but the weapons of mass distraction hurt the mind in a way similar in scale the weapons of mass destruction hurt the body, and when these weapons of mass distraction – they bombard us – Because they don’t physically destroy us we don’t realize that they are damaging us, and nowadays with a lot of technology available – Lot more can be done than what people were able to do in the past.

Right now I am here in – I can communicate with someone in India, somebody in America, we can do a lot of work using technology but again the test is, “Is the technology doing our work? Or are we doing technology’s work?” I am sitting here right now and thinking, “Ok ,maybe there is a cricket match going on somewhere. I want to know the score, and then I go there – One link, second link, third link, fourth link and I get lost. So, the distractedness of the mind dis-empowers us, and when we get disempowered whatever we are doing we are not able to do effectively.

The process of bhakti is meant to help us move from distraction to concentration. Actually bhakti is ultimately meant for absorption. So absorption means there is really no effort required. Just lost in it.

Because we like it, because we find it interesting, we find it fascinating we get absorbed in it.

Once I was at airport and some India-Pakistan match was going on, and then I had to go – There was many airports – There is T.V there which people are watching. These T.V’s are more in the ground level, and I usually go on a wheel chair. So, the wheel chair assistant’s only way was between the audience who was watching the T.V match and the T.V in between. I had a flight to catch and this wheel chair and this wheel chair assistant just tried to take me along, and this people said, “No, no, you can’t go. Wait.” – And the wheel chair takes a little time to go. So, what was happening – They were waiting. So, I had to go for the flight. The announcements were coming, but they said, “You cannot go unless this over gets over. Only after this there is some pause. We can miss some action.” So, I was thinking at that time, this is just like – In a materially distorted sense, the gopis are saying, “I don’t want to close my eyes for even one moment.” So, the gopis say that, “Just as we don’t see you Krishna for one moment.” – Kavi Karnapurna in his Ananda Vrindavana Champu says – the gopis are saying, “We gopis feel as if the blinking of the eye lids for one moment is like the destruction of the whole universe. It is as devastating for us to not be able to see the form of Krishna for even one moment.” So, here for the gopis there is absorption in Krishna and they can’t even tolerate even one moment of any distraction.

So, similarly if somebody is attached to cricket, they are absorbed in cricket. Recently this – three four months ago this new video game called Pockeman Go came out. So, whatever happened is – This game people started playing and on the street they started going to Samadhi. There is car going by, there are people …24.18… , shouting, but they are trying to catch the Pokeman – “Where is the Pokeman? I want to catch it. Maybe it is on the city wall, on this building wall, behind this room.” Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu searching, “Where is Krishna? Where is Krishna?” So, they are searching, “Where is the Pokeman?”

So, when there in interest, when there is attraction, there is absorption. Now – So, there is distraction and there is absorption, and in between to move from distraction to absorption, what we need is concentration. So, absorption is effortless. In fact when somebody is absorbed, then effort is required to get them out of the absorption. Like the gopis – Somebody has to pull them out, they just don’t want to leave. Like somebody is watching cricket – they just want to keep watching the cricket. So, that means – absorption means, there is no effort required to go in practically, but there is effort required to pull out. In concentration effort is required to go in. So, now from the stage of distraction to the stage of absorption the journey is effortful, it is effortless. We have to make consistent effort and that effort is the effort of concentration.

In Gita (5.21) Krishna says,

bāhya-sparśeṣv asaktātmā
vindaty ātmani yat sukham
sa brahma-yoga-yuktātmā
sukham akṣayam aśnute

Outer stimuli, outer pleasures one is detached from – one doesn’t get involved in them. Vidyanti atmani yat sukham. Such a person delights in inner happiness. So,

sa brahma-yoga-yuktātmā

Such a person – yuktātmā- is engaged in yoga, connected with Brahma, focussing on the Brahma. By this what will happen? sukham akṣayam aśnute. Such a person will attain akshaya sukha. Akshaya means imperishable, inexhaustible, unlimited, unending happiness. Krishna says, “This will happen by concentration.” vindaty ātmani yat sukham- So we have to move from matter to spirit, from the external to the internal, and that requires concentration.
So, now concentration is – It requires effort but actually we need to see it not as an exertion, but as a exercise. Both exertion and exercise are efforts. For example, if we say, ‘What is the primary difference between an exercise and an exertion? Say, sometimes if we have to come from say – We are coming from a airport to home or coming out, and we don’t have any porter over there, and so we are lugging along the luggage, we are carrying a bag and we are feeling exhausted, but the same people who don’t want to carry a big weight and they feel it is exertion – those same people may go to gym and do a work out where they pay to lift weights – So, here they will pay somebody else so that they will lift my weight, but here they pay someone else so that you give me weights to lift. What is the difference? The difference is in the context. Here the attitude is different. There they say, ‘This is avoidable. I don’t want to do this. Let somebody else do it.’ But when they are going to a gym, there they are thinking that, ‘If I lift this weight my body will become shapely, it will become more healthy. So, I want to do this.’ So, in essence there is energy expenditure in both, but it is a difference of attitude.

When it is that energy expenditure is in a constructive frame work, in a frame work that they feel is constructive, then they are eager to do it. Similarly when we are trying to practice bhakti, it requires concentration, studying the philosophy, studying sastras – requires concentration. Doing japa requires concentration. Now whether we will see this effort required for concentration as an exertion or as an exercise – That will depend on our attitude.

If we have studied the philosophy – Not just studied in a generic sense of knowing it, but in a immediate sense – I know and it is in the foreground of my mind, ‘Why is it important?’

So, if I am sitting down to chant, it is not just – “Oh! Every day I have to chant some rounds” – NO. It is in the foreground of my awareness, “Why is it important for me?” So, if my intelligence is strong then when I approach the chanting, I will approach it with a positive framework – “That this is going to purify me, this is going to take me closer to Krishna, this is actually the way to discipline my mind.” – And then we will invest the effort. If we don’t invest the effort in chanting, then sometimes after chanting we feel exhausted. During chanting also we also are feeling sometimes – What happens is when we are chanting, we take out beads out of the bead bag – “Has somebody changed this? Instead of putting 108 somebody has put 1008 beads?” – So if I am not convinced about the effort that I have to put in this – then the same thing which could be a exercise becomes an exertion, and if something is exertion – Just like if I am lugging a suitcase in a airport, and think, ‘When will this end?’ and that’s all – And I am thinking about it, but if say I am going to a gym and I am lifting up a weight, I think, ‘Ok, I have done 50, I have to do 50 more, whatever is my target. I look forward to do it, because I know that everything is contributing to making my body better.

So, that’s why in the practice of bhakti, having our intelligence alert is very important. It is our intelligence which will determine our attitude. Normally we see that our attitude is the product of the mind and that is true, but the mind often has some default attitudes which are unhealthy, and they need to be corrected with the intelligence. So, with the intelligence the mind may say, “The chanting business is boring. I don’t want to do this. This studying sastras. I want something light. This philosophies are all very heavy.”

So, by default the mind just passes some negative comment about anything spiritual that I am doing, and even before I start – Because the negative comment has been passed, I just become disheartened, I become half-hearted, and when we are half-hearted we don’t connect with Krishna, we don’t connect with Krishna because if actually we connect with Krishna, then there is a peace that comes in, there is some joy that we start experiencing, but without that connection there is no satisfaction, and when there is no connection, there is no satisfaction because of the lack of connection, then there is frustration, then there is exhaustion.

So we start with the mind’s wrong attitude. That is because there is no connection, and because there is no connection because of that there is no satisfaction, and because there is no satisfaction there is frustration. So, it has to all begin with changing the attitude, and we can’t change the mind’s attitude immediately. That will take time, but we can use our intelligence to subordinate the mind. So, if you study the philosophy regularly then you are intellectually convinced, “This is important for me.” And then although the mind will have some default attitude we can change it. “I will just put it …33.08-33.10…” and we can focus.

Now the mind’s default setting or mind’s faulty default setting – that effects us in all walks of life. It is not just when you are practicing spiritual life that the mind says, “It is so demanding. I can’t do this. It needs so much energy.” The same mind which de-energises us in our devotional life – When we start doing our material life – That same de-energises us, “All these is temporary only. Why are you …33.50… It is all material.”

When we are doing devotional activities, the mind becomes a non-devotee. When we are doing material activities, the mind becomes a devotee. (laughter), and the mind stars saying, “Why all these mundane?”

I used to a lot of college preaching at one time. So, what would happen is that, many of the students – Just when their TL’s would come they would fall in love with their Ramayana and the Mahabharata. They would say, “All these studies is just mundane. I now want to study sastras.” But throughout the semester they will not study sastras. Just before the exams, “All these studies. This is not important. This is mundane. Just leave it. Study sastras.”

Now actually that is not love for shastra. There can be, but quite often this is simply the minds love for laziness masquerading as love for Krishna. The mind doesn’t want to apply itself in anything. So, when you are trying to practice spirituality – It says that it is very difficult, and it doesn’t allow us to apply it. When we doing material work, the mind says, “This is all material only. Ultimately everything is temporary. Why bother?”

Now the same mind which says this is temporary – afterwards some problem comes it makes a big hue can cry, “A big problem has come.” And at that time, if you tell the mind that it is temporary, “Of course, now it is there, do something about it.” So, the important thing is that as devotees we needn’t very rigidly separate the material and the spiritual.

Yes, there has to be in a – When you separate the material and the spiritual in terms of analysis – So we have good amount of time for our spiritual activities. So, we need to in terms of say – allocating the dates schedule – you need to have some good amount of time for spiritual activities. Say I am studying sastras, doing deity worship, whatever it is, but once we have done that basic level of analysis it’s not necessary to constantly be thinking, ‘Is this material or is this spiritual?’ Because ultimately, what is material and what is spiritual? Ultimately the material and the spiritual is determined by or attitude. If my attitude is an attitude of service, if I am taking care of my family members, and I am thinking, ‘These are not just my family members. Krishna has placed me in this situation and I have to take care of them. I am serving Krishna by serving my family members.’

If I have a job and I am doing my job, and I am thinking that, “It is by Krishna’s arrangement that I am in this job, and then I am doing this job in a mood of worship to Krishna.” So,

Karmanatama abhaycha…

By your work worship him. So, then if I have that attitude then it’s not material. It’s spiritual. So, when we start too much analysing, “Is this material or this spiritual?”, that can become a trick of the mind to distract us, to de-energise us.

Mahavishmu Maharaj would say, ‘We should be workers, not shirkers.’ You shirk the work in the name of spirituality. ‘I don’t do this because I am so spiritual.’ All these is mundane, but then the problem is that, Yes there are some spiritual activities, there are some material activities, and if we had the facilities, naturally we devotees then we would want to do more spiritual activities, but the point is that if we let ourselves be controlled by the mind – If I had to do my work, and at that time because of the mind has said, ‘I won’t do this because it is all mundane, then basically I am letting the mind control me, and when the mind controls me in my material life or when I am doing material activities, the same mind will also control me when I am doing my spiritual activities. So, it’s not that while doing material activities, by trying to being spiritual I am actually becoming spiritual.

No, because I am basically coming under the control of the mind – and this distraction is something which we need to avoid, and that means whatever I am doing just let me do this whole-heartedly now. Whatever it is that I am doing, and by doing that activity whole-heartedly actually we make a connection. Connection with that particular activity itself, connection with Krishna, So, that ultimately through that activity we are having that level of Krishna consciousness, and then that connection actually leads to some contribution.

If I am studying, unless I am in connection with the subject, what I am doing? Just wasting my time. If I am doing some work unless I connect with it, if I don’t become absorbed, I don’t contribute anything, and ultimately all of us have a certain amount of work which we need to do. So, if I don’t concentrate on the time, and if I have to do that work then afterwards I have to put more time and do that work again. So, it’s better that we recognize that it is tricky mind which is distracting me, and for dealing with this tricky mind it is very important that we be intellectually alert. That our intelligence has to be sharp.

The intelligence alone cannot control the mind, but the intelligence can remind us of what will control the mind. Intelligence will do two things actually. Intelligence will first of all remind us of the need to control the mind, and secondly the intelligence will guide us towards that which will help us to control the mind.

If our intelligence is not alert, then rather we controlling the mind we will controlled by the mind and we will not even realize what is wrong. So, if we have our intelligence alert, studying sastra’s regularly, hearing in the association of the devotees regularly then we start thinking, ‘Oh my mind is creating trouble for me. This is really missing.” Actually I am supposed to be doing this. Why am I thinking about something else? If there is something else to be done whenever the time comes. But right now let me focus on this. So, we can actually catch our mind before the mind catches us.

‘Catch your mind before your mind catches you.’ That means when the mind starts – I will conclude with this example about catching the mind, and then we can have question answers –

Catch your mind means – Say, most of us have heard about the chariot-body analogy. The chariot is like the body, the horses are like the senses. The charioteer is the intelligence. Mind is the reigns which connect the mind to the horses, and of course the passengers or the horses are the soul.

Say the horses or the chariot is going on a particular road, and then the horse sees of the road some nice juicy looking fruit or vegetable, and it wants to go there. The horse starts looking in that direction, and then the horse starts running in that direction. Now if the chariot is alert, charioteer sees that the horse goes in that direction he immediately pulls the reigns. As soon as the charioteer pulls the reigns, the horse comes back in that direction, and it can’t look in that direction. It will keep moving on its track.

So, if the charioteer is alert, then the charioteer pulls back the horse quickly as soon as it gets misdirected. But if the charioteer is not alert – The horse not only sees, the horse starts running in the direction, and as the horse starts running, the more it runs the more momentum it gets, and once the horse gets the momentum, then pulling the horse back on track will require much greater work. So, catch the mind before the mind catches you. That means that catch the horse before the horse starts running so fast that the horse carries us away. So, catch the mind before the mind catches you.

If we are alert, the mind starts goes off in a particular direction, ‘The mind is going in a particular direction. Let me pull it back. Let me back, and when we are alert like this we will find that actually we will save so much of our time, so much of our mental energy from getting dissipated. Although it requires a little effort to be alert, but this alertness saves a lot of energy.

Suppose somebody is pouring water from a water tank from above, but there is leak below. Now – But sometimes there are some leaks which are very gross and very clear that from here, but somehow – From the water tank water is not just leaking out, it is seeping out. So, from where it coming out I am not able to see, but from somewhere it is coming out from. So, if say that, I just can’t find out where this water is seeping out from. So, I will not bother about it. I will just keep filling water in it. I will keep feeling water from above but actually much of the water will be seeping out. On the other hand if I just put some amount of energy in maybe coating the bottom of the tank properly, so that the water seep out – The effort required in that may not seem to be doing anything tangible in the sense that – Actually I could have been filling water in the tank – What am I doing? Just applying some glue or something on the water tank water, but not doing that will mean that we may put in 10 mugs and we will have only 5 mugs of water, or we may put in 100 Litres of water and we may have only 50 litres of water left, but putting in some effort to fix the leaking tank and afterwards whatever water we put in – That will be there available for us.

Similarly, when we practice bhakti – Sometimes in our busy life we will have o many things to do and bhakti is also one more thing to do. So, it may seem like a burden for us. Yes, it can be a burden but actually it is a burden of 44.39… kind. It’s like a exercise, not a exertion. So, if we have the proper intellectual understanding, then we will see that the bhakti activities also require time, but this is time which disciplines my mind. This is a time which purifies our mind and ultimately of course this will connect us with Krishna, help us to become liberated from material existence, but even in this world this connection with Krishna which I have, that will help me to become more effective, more focussed, more productive. This is like fixing the water tank at the bottom, and to the extent we do this, to that extent –

praśānta-manasaṁ hy enaṁ
yoginaṁ sukham uttamam
upaiti śānta-rajasaṁ
brahma-bhūtam akalmaṣam

In Gita (6.27), Krishna states that, ‘When we keep practicing bhakti –

yuñjann evaṁ sadātmānaṁ
yogī vigata-kalmaṣaḥ
sukhena brahma-saṁsparśam
atyantaṁ sukham aśnute

So, he says that, yuñjann evaṁ sadātmānaṁ- you steadily keep practicing the process of yoga by which praśānta-manasaṁ hy enaṁ – the mind will become peaceful. upaiti śānta-rajasaṁ – the rajas, the agitating force that is there in mind, that will go away.

sukhena brahma-saṁsparśam- you come in contact with Brahman. The ultimately Brahaman – parabrahman is Krishna. We come in contact with Krishna, and when we come in contact with Krishna, what happens? Atyantam sukham asnute – That is the experience of the ultimate happiness that comes by the contact of Krishna.

So, I will summarize –

I started by speaking about how – The controlling the senses without controlling the mind is futile. So, I talked about how people in order to avoid taking alcohol, they take a chemical before that which will give severe reaction after they take alcohol, but still the desire is so forceful that they keep drinking it. They are trying to deal with a attachment purely at a sensory level. It doesn’t work. It’s like somebody has shot an arrow, and I started biting the arrow thinking that I am hurting the shooter of the arrow. So, just trying to curve things at the sensory level is like fighting with the arrow instead of the archer, and then we talked about what does fighting at the level of the mind – Or controlling the mind mean? I talked about how there is – What is the mind. The mind is essentially – it’s an interface mechanism between the body and the soul. So, we need the mind for functioning just as we need a software for working on a computer’s hardware or say a rancher will lead a horse to go over the big ranch that they may have, but the mind should do our work, not make us do its work.

So, just like a horse is out of control, the horse may go here and there and then the master’s energy gets wasted in just trying to control the horse getting back on track or just ….47.52… here and there, or if some, if I am surfing some sight and some other sights pop up and I go over there, then I waste my time on something other than what I wanted to do. Instead of internet surfing it was internet suffering that happens.

So, what determines whether the mind is doing my work or I am doing the mind’s work? I talked about how the ideal time that we have, the leisure time that we have, that is the time when the mind gets at work and it feels us with negativity, it feels us with worry, and sometimes without doing anything we feel exhausted, because the mind is constantly at work, and how to make the mind work for us? We discussed that we have to move from distraction to absorption through concentration, and we live in age of Mass distraction. Just as weapons of mass destruction hurt the body, the whole media which is there, is a weapon of mass distraction which debilitates us mentally. We have to protect ourselves, we have to make sure that whatever technology I am using I am using it do my work, not doing its work. And absorption is effortless. It comes when I have interest or I have attraction for something.

When I love something – like the people I said were watching the cricket match or people searching for Pokeman. It’s just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu was searching for Krishna or the gopis can’t tolerate even one moment of not seeing Krishna.

So, the absorption will not come automatically. We have to go through the phase of concentration which requires effort. This effort we may see it negatively as an exertion or we can see it positively as a exercise. Like a person grumbling while dragging some luggage on an airport or that same person cheerfully lifting weights in gym. So, it is matter of attitude.

So, when we have to concentrate whether in our devotional activities or in our worldy activities, whatever they may be – if we don’t concentrate we waste our time, we feel exhausted, we feel exasperated, and eventually we have to that thing again. So, if we have the positive attitude then we will see it not as an exertion but as an exercise, and that is why the intelligence is very important.

Our mind will have certain default attitudes and often those attitudes will see everything negatively. So, we have to use our intelligence to correct the wrong default attitudes, and have the right attitude towards things.

The mind acts like a non-devotee when we are doing devotional activities, and then we it becomes a devotee when we are doing non-devotional activities, but actually whatever we are doing, even if I am thinking that I am spiritual – The essence of spiritual and material is not just the form of what I am doing. The essence of spiritual and material is the intent with which I am doing things, not just the form.

So, if I am doing it with the intent of service, then even my material life can be spiritualized and even the material life if I am doing, and if I let myself get distracted spiritually or in the name of spirituality at that time, then I am not becoming spiritual. Rather I am actually coming more under the control of the mind and that will make my spiritual life also difficult when the mind gets more power and control. So, better whatever we do just focus on doing it. Focus and whole heartedly we are doing it that this is an opportunity to connect with Krishna directly or indirectly in a mood of service, and in conclusion I talked about how the alertness can help us to – it can save us a lot of time and energy. Catch the mind before the mind catches you. That means, just like a horse if it getting distracted initially it’s easy to pull it and bring it under control, but once the horse starts running in the wrong direction, then it becomes very difficult.

So, if we are alert then we can save a lot of our time and energy, although being alert needs energy also, but that is like a expenditure of energy which saves a lot of energy afterwards. Like if there is a leaking water tank, all the energy that I have spent in filling the water tank, that is not of much use because it will be leaking out from below. If I put some energy to fix the leaking tank, then whatever water I am putting in it will be available for us. So, the activities of bhakti which we do we shouldn’t see that just as one more burden, one more thing that I have to get done, but rather we should see this as an activity which will empower me to focus my mind, to purify my mind and it will help me to do everything better, because everything is ultimately a service to Krishna, and I can do it all better if I am fixed in the mood of service through my devotional activities.

Question and Answer Session:

Q.1 : We are alert when we are in a program or in the association of devotees, but when we go out that alertness goes away. Why?

CCP: Yes, it is –

Gita says that, sangat sanjayate kamah – sangah in that context means attachment. Srila Prabhupada in one lecture – he translates sanga as association. In association our desires develop. So, it’s natural that whichever environment we go in it will have some influence on us. So, what we need to do is that we have to intersperse our worldly engagements with periodic spiritual renewals. So, like we have – maybe we have a program once in a week or maybe after we come back home—Maybe we will have some time when we will spend in the altar or reading some sastra, doing some kirtans. So, this are phases when we renew ourselves.

When a plane is travelling – Say from here I go back to Mumbai – So, now when the plane is from Abu Dhabi to Mumbai 90% of the time the plane is off track because of the clouds and because of the air pressure and the winds blowing. Then how does it ever get to the destination? Because the pilot keeps re-orienting. There may be auto pilot, but it keeps re-orienting. The plane is meant to go this way, it goes the other way, again it comes back. So, that reorientation is what is required. Now if the pilot expects that my plane will always go straight, that will never happen. So, like that we can’t expect that once I decide that I am going to be spiritual, I am going to be spiritual. So, yes we will distracted. That is the nature of the mind, that is the nature of the world, and Krishna also never say that you should never get distracted.

yato yato niścalati
manaś cañcalam asthiram
tatas tato niyamyaitad
ātmany eva vaśaṁ nayet

Krishna says that, “Wherever and whenever the mind wanders bring it back under the control of the self.” That means Krishna is acknowledging that the mind will wander but get it back. So, of course what will happen as we are practicing bhakti is that, the distraction will become less, but if we have periodical renewals then at least – ‘Hey what happened, I completely forgot what I am supposed to do. I just got lost.’ So, we create this periodical renewals for ourselves. Say in the morning we have sadhana, evening we come back and do some devotional activities. In between we might get disoriented, but at least at the end of the day we come back, and as we keep doing this reorienting ourselves, over a period of time this re-orientation will become our habit.

The mind’s habit of distraction will not go away very easily, but we can cultivate a habit of reorientation. To expect that the mind’s habit of distraction will go away is to have an unrealistic expectation. That will take a long time, but what will possible for us is to create a habit of re-orientation, and the more we do that the easier it will be come back on track, and sometimes we can also find out what is the most effective way I can reorient myself. So, some of us may find that we like kirtans a lot – Just hear some kirtans, or some of us may like to recite some slokas, some of us may like to read sastras, some of us may just like to take darshan of the deities, whatever it is. Find out what is the most effective re-orienter for ourselves and try to connect with that as periodically as possible, as regularly as possible and that will bring us back on track.

Q.2 – Does the mind tempt us and control us because of the modes or is it that because we are attached to the modes, that’s why the mind controls us?

CCP: So, sometimes the questions can become like splitting a hair. (laughter) There is a hair, I will certainly through it in the dustbin, but you are trying to split the hair, it is going to be too complicated.

I am not saying that this question is like that. Some question can be like that. It’s a valid question.
Let’s give a simple example to understand this philosophy.

As I was talking about Internet surfing and Internet suffering – Now this can happen in two ways. One is that I am doing some work but I am thinking, “Maybe I can see something, I can watch something”, and then I myself go on the computer and I start surfing here and there. So, in this case what happens is that, the desire came from me and then the computer became a device for me to go – computer or phone or whatever – It became a device for me to go. So, the device becomes a gateway to the vice. The vice – the wrong desire is there within us, and the device becomes a gateway for acting on that device. So, in this case it comes for me. In the second case it can also happen that I am doing something constructive on the computer, but suddenly I look some other link comes up somewhere, and I think, “May be I can look at that”, in this way we look at one, two and third link, and then we get lost. So, in both cases we have made a choice. Without our choice we won’t go there, but the initial proposition – In one case it came from within, in another case it came from without – from the computer. So, same cases with respect to the way we may get entangled – Sometimes the modes may create some phases in the mind. Like some people they say they are poor risers. Poor risers meant that they when they wake up they are always in an irritable mood. They are always sullen, shouting and things like that, or they are just disagreeable when they wake up. This is just the way they are. After maybe they wake up, they some few things then their mood starts improving. Some people are like that.

So, nowadays we can understand that this is the nature of the …1:00:42… I just have to manage it. So, like that sometimes beyond our control some people just – sometimes our mind goes in a particular mode. We may not have done anything but just we feel depressed or everything seems gloomy, everything seems dark. Wherever we see, we see problems everywhere. So, sometimes the mind is in a mood like that. So, that we could say is the influence of the modes.

So, when without our doing anything suddenly we find a particular frame of mind over there – just coming in – that we can say the modes have acted and they have created that mode.

Now Krishna says, in Gita (14.22) that –

prakāśaṁ ca pravṛttiṁ ca
moham eva ca pāṇḍava
na dveṣṭi sampravṛttāni
na nivṛttāni kāṅkṣati

udāsīna-vad āsīno
guṇair yo na vicālyate
guṇā vartanta ity evaṁ
yo ’vatiṣṭhati neṅgate

So, Krishna says that – Prakasa, Pravriti, Moha – These are short hand words that Krishna uses for satwa guna, rajo guna and tamo guna. In Gita (14.11) he refers to Prakasa as satwa guna, pravrittim is rajo guna and moha is tamo guna.

So, basically he is saying – Sometimes our influence – Sometimes we may feel clear, thoughtful and philosophical. Sometimes we may feel hyperactive – I have to do something in my life. And sometimes, ‘Why do you need to do all this? Just calm down, just relax. No need to do anything at all.”

So, externally satwa guna and tamo guna can alike. (laughter)
I was once going for a problem. So, there was one person who would come way way before time, and I thought that he is a very sincere person. But during the class he will be completely blank. So, I used to wonder, ‘If he is not at all interested in the class how does he come before time?

So, asked him, ‘So, you always come on time?’

He said, ‘Yes Prabhu. This wall is so comfortable. I want to make sure that nobody comes and sit on the wall. So, I come before.’

So, the person is sitting in a very peaceful way – But in satwa guna I am physically peaceful but I am mentally focussed. In tamo guna maybe I am physically peaceful but I am mentally completely dull, dead, just thinking of nothing or just wandering all over, just distracted, not focussed.

So, these are three different modes. Sometimes we have different influences that come upon us. So at that time what we do is – Ok, this is just a mode, it will come and it will go… tams titiskva bharata – tolerate it, don’t act on it.

So, that means that sometimes against our doing anything the desire is coming, and that time we know that it is a mode and we just tolerate it. In some other times we ourselves get the desire but at that time also if we understand that this is just because the desire has come inside me, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it is my desire. It has come, it will be there for some time and then it will go away. So, it can work out either way. It can work out because of the modes influence – certain desires pop up, and then act on them. Otherwise sometimes some desires come up and then we do something. So, say for example, say if somebody gets sensual desire – Then they may go and see something, watch something, and they try to create that desire more and more – So, that they feel that that they can have sensual titillation and they can enjoy. So, it can work both ways. So, the important thing is that when either way it comes, we are alert.

I write on the Gita everyday. So, I wrote one article, ‘Temptations will come. We don’t have to welcome.’ They will come, they will stay for some time. We see that some person comes uninvited and they keep knocking on the door. If nobody opens the door, they will go away. But just because they knocked on the door doesn’t mean that we have to open and let them in. If we let them in, they will stay there. So, like that the temptations will come but we don’t have to welcome.

Q.3 – Yesterday I was speaking about how material problems need material solutions. So, for example Arjuna won the Kurukshetra war not just by the knowledge of Bhagavad-gita or by his bhakti. He actually fought with the Gandiva, but then it is also said that, when we seek material solutions to material problems then often the solution becomes a bigger problem.

Prahalada Maharaj also said, Dukah ausadam tada api dukham diya aham –

He says that the cure for a disease is actually was in the disease. So, then what does it mean? Do we need material solutions for material problems or should we just focus on spirituality. Actually they two are talking about different contexts. Prahlad Maharaj is talking about exclusively material solutions alone. That means there are two extremes. One is we think that the spiritual is a substitute for the material. So, that doesn’t work. If say, I have a fracture and my bone is broken, chanting Hare Krishna will not fix up the bone. Krishna can do anything but that is not the way normally Krishna works.

So, Krishna can – If someone is chanting – Fix up his fracture, but it is not for us to demand that Krishna will do like this. So, normally Krishna has given the process. Srila Prabhupada also did not demand to Krishna that, ‘Krishna you arranged to take me by a flight to America. You could have taken me as hanuman flew across.’ Prabhupada went to so many places and he got a contact who gave him free flight passage. So, he went by a normal boat. Krishna could have done anything, but even in Prabupada’s life Krishna did not intervene in miraculous way’s in the sense of super-natural or paranormal ways. The end result of what Srila Prabhupada achieved was miraculous, but it is all through normal activities, nothing para-normal much in Prabhupada’s lila. So, one extreme is to think that the spiritual will substitute for the material. That is wrong, but the other extreme is to think that the material will substitute for the spiritual. That means that all that we need to do is just improve things materially and everything will be alright. So that mentality is what Prahlad Maharaj is condemning.

Actually if we consider the world 500 years ago, there is tremendous technological progress. As compared to even 50 years ago, what to speak of 500 years ago. At the same time is humanity happier? Are people really happier? Now, you may say that, because you are a spiritualist you say that people are not happier, but we can look at it objectively that according to W.H.O statistics one million people commit suicide every year. That means one suicide every 40 seconds. So, now actually speaking this figure is even more alarming because one million suicides every year – This count is actually more than the total number of deaths due to wars, terrorist attacks, violent crimes all combined together. That means that more than the number of people who are being killed by others are the people who are killing themselves.

In the past, there were far more terrible diseases we could see relatively speaking, like black plague etc. But still in the past people were not committing suicide at this scale. Something is surely seriously wrong. So, when we work only at the material level, then we may make things more comfortable.

In the past, there were far more terrible diseases we could see relatively speaking, like black plague etc. But still in the past people were not committing suicide at this scale. Something is surely seriously wrong. So, when we work only at the material level, then we may make things more comfortable.

In modern times people are more comfortable and people are more comfortably miserable. In the past people maybe were sweating because it was so hot. Now people have A.C but in the A.C they sweat because they have so much stress. So, essentially if we just work only at the material level to solve problems, then whatever we do it only aggravates the problems, but it is not that material level should not solve the problems. Even in the vedic tradition itself there was Ayurveda and Ayurveda is – There is a understanding that Visnu is the source of the medicine ultimately. Dhanvantari is the manifestation of Visnu, but in practical terms it’s material. You have this imbalance in this body. So, to correct this imbalance you have to put this material. Take this herb, take this medicine. So, it is a material solution to material problem, and Ayurveda is a part of the Vedic body of knowledge itself.

So, the point is – it’s a material solution to material problem but it is not just a material solution because there is a spiritual understanding behind it. There is a spiritual consciousness underlying. So, there has to be balance of the material and the spiritual. In the materialistic society people think that the material will be substitute for the spiritual. We don’t need to do anything, just develop more science, develop more technology, have more economic progress and then everything will be happy. That doesn’t work, but if we have a very crude understanding of spirituality we think that the spiritual is the substitute for the material. That also doesn’t work. So, we use our material intelligence and our material skills to tackle the problem as much as we can and beyond that we will depend on Krishna.

So, the spiritual aspect is that, what is in my control I will do with my material abilities. What is beyond my control I will leave it to Krishna. So, that way we can be both having both the material aspect and the spiritual.

Once – When I just started speaking about Krishna consciousness, one devotee gave some guidelines for public speaking. So, they said – the last guideline was depend on Krishna, but in bracket (after you have prepared) (laughter) If without preparing the class, I am depending on Krishna. That is not dependence, that is simply laziness.

Sometimes we say that – What is the difference between detachment and irresponsibility? Detachment is after I have done my part. Irresponsibility is before I do my part. So, after a student has studied well enough – What question will come in the exam I don’t know. I have given my paper. Now it is upto the examiner. Now it is not in my control. So, after I have done my part I am detached, but if the student doesn’t study only, and says I am detached, that is not detachment. That is irresponsibility. So, we do our part, that our responsibility, and after doing our part we leave it Krishna. That gives detachment. Tyagat shantir anantaram.

If we have that capacity for detachment, that will bring shanty. Yes, I have done my part. Now Krishna you do your part. Whatever is your will I will accept it.

Q: 3 – How do we know if we are depending on our own endeavour or whether we are depending on Krishna, and as we advance how can we increase our dependence on Krishna?

So, he talks about accepting what is favourable, putting aside that which is unfavourable, and then he talks about having faith that Krishna will protect. It’s not that when there is danger Krishan. Even now Krishna is maintaining me. He is my maintainer. I offer my whole …1.15.05… to Krishna. Krishna is there and He is protecting me, and I belong to Krishna. Without Krishna I am nothing.

So, he talks about accepting what is favourable, putting aside that which is unfavourable, and then he talks about having faith that Krishna will protect. It’s not that when there is danger Krishan. Even now Krishna is maintaining me. He is my maintainer. I offer my whole …1.15.05… to Krishna. Krishna is there and He is protecting me, and I belong to Krishna. Without Krishna I am nothing.

Now if you see among these six elements the last four are dispositions, and the first two are actions. So, for example Krishna will protect me – It’s a disposition, it’s way of thinking and I cannot wish it. It will come gradually as my relationship with Krishna develops. Similarly the realization that actually it is Krishna who is maintaining me. All this last four they will organically grow as our relationship with Krishna grows. We cannot artificially pretend that – We cannot artificially – They are not just imagination, ‘Oh, Krishna is going to protect me.’ We can’t artificially imagine that. It is a state of realization which actually comes when we cultivate the disposition through deeper relationship with Krishna. What we can do practically is two things – that accepting the favourable, rejecting the un-favourable, and it is interesting that he is talking about this two actions as parts of surrender. Normally surrender means, ‘Krishna I depend on you.’ That’s what we call as surrender, but here is saying that, being active – Accepting this, rejecting this. That is what is surrender.

Normally whenever we talk about surrender the standard image that we have of surrender is of Draupadi. She raises her hand in helplessness and surrenders to Krishna. That is one image of surrender. That is entirely a different image of surrender. At the end of the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, ‘Surrender. Mam ekam saranam vraja.’ (Gita 18.66), and in Gita- 18.73 Arjuna says, ‘Karishey vacanam tava – I will do your will.’ That means that I will surrender, but after surrendering to Krishna what does Arjuna do? Arjuna doesn’t raise his hands. Arjuna actually raises his bow. Yatra partho dhanurdhara.

So, was Arjuna not surrendered? For Arjuna in this situation surrender meant lifting up his bow and fighting. For Draupadi in her situation surrender means raising her arms and calling out in helplessness. So, surrender can take different forms in different situations. It’s not a stereotype. So, Srila Prabhupada was surrendered when he was composing Markina Bhagavad dharma – the song, ‘Krishna make me dance, make me dance, nacao nacao prabhu nacao se mate.’ Prabhupada was surrendered when he was doing that, and Prabhupada was surrendered also when in an act of unparallel courage he was taking the disciples to Tomkin’s square park, to do a first public kirtan. Actually all of them were saying, ‘Swami we don’t do this in America. Our kirtan in the room is fine. We can’t go out and – We don’t like this.’ Prabhupada was most regally, majestically fixed. So, Prabhupada was as bold as a Lion as you say. So courageous. That is also surrender. Or Prabhupada stepping into Jaladuta alone at the age of 69 without much money, without practically any money, without any contacts. That was act of courage. That is also surrender.

So, when we depend about dependence on Krishna or surrender to Krishna, it’s not a stereotype. So, at our level the practical thing on which we can implement surrender is by accepting what is favourable and rejecting that which is unfavourable, and what will be favourable and what will be unfavourable – That we will have to use our intelligence, we have to understand the awareness of time, place and circumstance and decide that.

Now in our endeavours it is that our endeavours are also an expression of our devotion. For example when we are chanting, should we just depend on Krishna or should we try to concentrate while chanting. Concentrating is the way we express our desire for Krishna, and sometimes despite our best effort – We are trying to concentrate but we are not able to concentrate. We can call out to Krishna, ‘Please help.’ That is also one way, but it’s not that trying to depend on Krishna and concentrating – The two are opposite. Both go together. We concentrate as much as we can, and then we pray to Krishna also for help.

When Yasoda Mayi tied Krishna it was two fingers short. First was her endeavour and the second was Krishna’s mercy. So, in that sense she endeavoured as much as she could. Similarly it’s not that we should think that I am depending on my efforts or I am depending on Krishna’s efforts. We should focus on that – I have to do my best in whatever I do, and after I have done my best – Now what is my best I may not be able to know immediately, but in a reasonable way I can understand – It’s like lifting weights. If I have a capacity to lift say 20 kg weights and I start lifting 21, I can start feeling the strain. If I lift 22. It’s unbearable. So, overall we can know what is our capacity? We endeavour according to our capacity, and then if things work out then it is wonderful. That is why Krishna is reciprocating. If things are not working out that is one more impetus to call out Krishna more and depend on him more.

So, rather than focussing so much on dependence because dependence is a disposition – We can focus more on the action part. Am I doing that which is favourable, and am I avoiding that which is unfavourable? If you are doing that, that will develop our relationship with Krishna and once the relationship is developed then this feeling of dependence will naturally come.

So, in a sense we don’t have to make the whole concept of – Because this dependence and saranagati and all these can sound very lofty concepts. We can see it very practically that, Ok if I have a relationship with someone, or if I want to develop a relationship with someone – Now what do I do? I know certain things which are favourable, and things which are unfavourable for the relationship. So, if I have my spouse, I know that she doesn’t like this. If I do that he is going to get upset. If she likes something – If I do that, the he or she will be happy. So then – It’s not that everything we necessarily do according to what others want us to do, but it is just that that awareness is there – It’s not – ‘Oh do I love her. Does she love me?’ It’s all in the mind. The love is expressed through actions. So, like that similarly we can focus on – For developing relationships wha you do? Do something practical, and by doing the practical the internal will also come gradually.

So same way with Krishna, we focus on doing that is favourable and avoiding that which is favourable, and gradually the deeper dispositions will come. Of course we can also by singing Vaisnava songs, associating with devotees who have that disposition, we can also cultivate that disposition but on a practical level we can focus more on the active aspects of surrender rather than the contemplative aspects of surrender.

Q:4 – Srila Prabhupada in the Gita (9.3 Purport) talks about three levels of devotees, and there he says that actually one can rise to a higher level when the infection of karma yoga and jnana yoga goes down or it’s vanquished. So, what does it mean and how can it be done practically.

CCP: In our day to day activities we focus on trying to remember Krishna and trying to serve Krishna. When we do that – Basically the karma, jnana and bhakti are mentalities. Karma is centred on – I want to enjoy this world, and jnana is focussed on, ‘Oh this world is filled with so much misery. I want to give it up.’ But in both it is I – centred. This world will give me enjoyment. So I want it. This world is going to give me suffering. So I want to give it up. It’s all I-centred, but bhakti is Krishna centred.

‘Krishna I want to serve you, and how can I serve you? That’s why I want to find out, and that’s what I want to do.’ So, we focus on that, and the more we connect with Krishna, the more we experience the joy of Krishna bhakti, the more the contaminations of karma and jnana will go away. If you focus too much on trying to drive away the contamination of karma and jnana that is a very negative focus.

Like if a glass is there. If I decide that, ‘I want to remove all air from the glass.’ I will need some vacuum creating machine to pull out all the air, and then even if some little hole is there somewhere immediately some air will come inside. So, to create a vacuum for removing the air is a very complex thing, but simply fill the glass with water, then the air will go away. So, similarly if we try to think of – ‘Oh I have to give up karma, I have to give up jnana, that is difficult. Focus on how can I serve Krishna. How can I do this activity in a mood of devotion. How can I increase my directly devotional activities and how can I infuse devotion in my other activities also. Once you do that, the contaminations will automatically go away gradually.

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Chaitanya Charan das

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