Seminar on Vaisnava Etiquette and Culture given by HH. Bhaktividya Purna Swami given at ISKCON Radhadesa in 1998.
Understanding the principles, then details become clear.
So basically what we would like to discuss, with the blessings from the assembled devotees and Maharaja, is that in approaching or understanding the Sadhana or the culture of Krishna consciousness there’s some basic philosophical points on which it’s all based and by understanding those then the rest of it becomes quite easy. If one understands the principles, then the details underlining those principles become clear and very practical, because otherwise we get caught up in details and we think that the details is the important element. Details of course are important. But what is more important is applying the details. This way one knows how to apply a principle in so many different situations, otherwise we will find in one situation we are performing an activity and it works very nicely but then we do the same in another situation it doesn’t work. That is because the principle behind it is not understood. If we understand the principle then the details are very easily applied. So this subject can be approached in so many different angles. So we will try one of them now.
Culture – measures one’s activities.
Basically we have to see what is the purpose, what is culture. So culture we were basically defining as that you have a philosophy by which one gauges or measures one’s activities and then performing one’s activities in line with that understanding. That is your culture. So culture isn’t just going to the opera or drinking your tea with your little fingers sticking out but culture actually is a lifestyle. It’s a way of thinking. It’s a way of living. So if we look at this it means that everything that we do has something behind it. So if you have a rule then there’s something behind that rule that it’s trying to establish. So the rule itself is not an end. The rule is actually just something to ensure that the purpose or the mentality is actually being attained. That is the purpose of the rule. Now one may look, “why do have to have rules in the first place”. So we have to go back a little bit to the spiritual realm. Everyone in the spiritual realm performs their activities because of their love for Krishna. They have pure love and based on that pure love they will manifest a particular form and they will follow a particular way of dealing or a particular culture that fits their Rasa. And if they act outside of that culture it becomes Rasabhasa and it doesn’t match the relationship they have with Krishna. Like the Gopis don’t walk up to Krishna and slap Him on the back the Cowherd boys do that. Mother Yashoda won’t do that either. She will come and embrace Krishna, sit Him down and feed him. So because of the Rasa that they have, that establishes the particular way they behave and what they do and this is based on their pure love. So here you have very natural environment where everything is spiritual. Spiritual living entities are interacting with Krishna in a spiritual way.
We come to the material world.
Now when we come to the material world, then we have a slightly different situation. We’re dealing with material elements and we’re not dealing in a spiritual environment. And the principle of being here in the material world is that we forgotten Krishna. So the whole idea, the purpose of the material world, at least Krishna’s purpose, is how to reform the living entities and bring him back to his service. Though of course the living entities have the independence to stay for as long as they like. But the actual purpose of the material world is that they come out. So if they’re going to come out that means if you want to be organized or function within the material world properly. You must actually be following a lifestyle or a culture that is close enough to the spiritual culture that you can actually interface with. And in this way you can get out when you decide. So Krishna’s idea is, even if you’re not Krishna conscious you should still follow Krishna’s culture. Though you may do it from material motives for Karma, for Jnana, for Yoga. But still the principles of Krishna’s culture – spiritual culture is to be put into place. But there’s a slight difficulty in doing this and that it because culture happens naturally in the spiritual realm because of the pure love and pure association. But here that won’t happen.
But here! We don’t have pure love.
We don’t have pure love. So it doesn’t spontaneously manifest to culture and we don’t have that pure association. We’re just basically associating with matter. So therefore, Krishna then takes this culture and establishes it in the Vedic literatures as a codes of conduct-set of rules, and these rules are called religiosity or religion (Varnashram). These are the codes of conduct on how one should behave and they are the codes of someone who is in pure devotion on how they would do things. But since we don’ t have that. We don’t know what to do. So therefore it’s made its rules so that we will follow them. Now along with these essential principles and rules that are for those who want to follow the spiritual culture in the material world as practice, which means you know the rule, you follow it and practice it in the material world. If you understand the purpose, you also develop the proper mentality, the spiritual mentality, and then you’re fit to associate with those who follow the pure spiritual culture. But there are those who want to be here and not follow that spiritual path. So they are follow the same culture but because they are not trying to go upwards in this path they’re just want to stay loiter on the path. Krishna says there’s only 1 path. You have Him at one end and Hell at the other and so the pious people were kind of stay in the middle. They don’t want to use the culture for Krishna. So they there are so many responsibilities they must take because Krishna’s not involved Krishna’s not the doer in the equation. So therefore you do something you must take the reaction. So all these things are written in. So for those who are the Karmis, the Jnanis, and Yogis there will be some extra rules for them. In this way, then because it’s meant for everybody, who is in the material world, Vedic rules and regulations or culture becomes very broad. But what is broad is not the principles but so many details. Because all details in the Vedic culture you can bring back to the basic Krishna conscious principles. But they manifest in a way that the materials doesn’t actually know that they’re spiritual. Like respect for authority: the whole idea is that we respect Krishna -The supreme authority! So that’s written everywhere into the whole Vedic culture but the materialist is he’s not interested in God. He’s interested in himself. So he wants to learn something. So the process is you must be respectful otherwise, if I’m not respectful who wants to teach me. So it’s for my gain I’m respectful. Then when I become qualified, I’m the teacher, I want that respect, right? That’s my whole goal either gross or subtle sense gratification. So I’m very happy with this principle of respect. But that’s not actually what it’s for. It’s for actually contacting the pure devotees respecting them and making advancement and coming to the platform of accepting the spirit of the leading devotees in the spiritual realm.
Prabhupad says that when one comes to the platform of advance devotional service then one follows in the footsteps of a particular devotee of Vrindavan. So that means this principle of accepting if someone higher than us is eternally going to be there even in the spiritual realm. Means someone has a mood of Vatsalya Rasa they will eternally be serving under Mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja, and Vrishabhanu Maharaja. That’s going on. You’ll never will be equal you always have that. So this principle must be established so that it’s working then so nicely.
Vedic literatures that has been approved for us by our Acharyas
So now what we’re looking at what we actually want to focus on is within that great body of rules and regulations that are given by the Vedic literatures then there are those that are recommended by the Acharyas. Especially because we ourselves are Rupanugas so Rupa Goswami has chosen from that what is important and as far as the principles and what are the purposes and their basic applications and Sanatana Goswami has taken those and also giving their purposes but also giving technical rituals to it. Like Rupa Goswami says: “you must chant Hare Krishna” and there must be a regulated amount. But he doesn’t get into fine details like: you have a bid bag and that has form and shape like lotus petals with four leaves, you have beads that 108th they go like a snake shape from big down to small, there’s the main Krishna bead which is bigger, and you don’t cross that. So Sanatana Goswami gives and that becomes the ritual. But the purposes of chanting the mood of chanting that is all given by Rupa Goswami and Sanatana Goswami and it connects the ritual to that. And then you have a very complete picture. So they have gone through all the various scriptures “nana-sastra-vicaranaika-nipuna”, and they have chosen what we are to follow. So when we mean Vedic culture we mean the culture that Krishna gives us to the Vedic literatures that has been approve for us by our Acharyas. So it’s Vedic. Vedic means that we follow the laws of God. Krishna has given laws. We follow those laws. Those laws are the Vedic culture. This is the basic principle and Prabhupad uses term Vedic culture. The Vedic culture is eternal so it’s not that it only works 5000 years ago or it only works when Lord Caitanya was here. No, It always works. It eternally works. But for what we want to get out of here the Acharyas drop off all the extraneous rules that are meant for the Karmis, the Jnanis and Yogis and keep the ones that are meant for the devotees. In other words, the devotee’s rules are the primary and the foundation. And then extra ones that are added on – those are dropped. So it’s a very clear process. It’s not just they picked something here and there at random. So when Prabhupada says Vedic culture, he means his culture he’s giving us in his books. And the examples are given in the books are given in the Bhagavatam, given in the Gita and given in the Chaitanya-Charitamrita. So we can see these books from the philosophical point, which is their primary purpose but we can also see them from the cultural point. Because if you have accepted this philosophy then you’re going to apply it in your life so there’s a culture of those also. And it’s systematic of those who are applying this philosophy. So Gaudia Vaishnava philosophy we see that it’s very nicely given in the Vedic literature especially the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sri Caitanya-Caritamrita gives even more fine like coming down to the very detailed points for us. And if we understand this than what we see the body of Vedic literature we can also see the example what is given to us. And then it becomes very practical for us. Many times I’ve heard: “well is not practical, Vedic culture is not practical” or “where is the example”. Somebody will say: “or well, where is the example of it?” But example is given there in the Bhagavatam. We can see how people react. How they deal, just like Krishna says in the Gita: “tad-vini prani pateina parni pashneina sayvoy”. So then we will say this is nice. Ok and then we will try to do it. And how do we do this? Gita itself is the excellent example of this. Krishna speaking, and Arjuna has accepted him as his authority. Arjuna wants to know. Right? So Prani-pata has been attained. He has the desire to know. Then Krishna talks and Arjuna asks questions – pati-prashna. He doesn’t ask challenging questions. He is saying stuff like, – “Krishna you said this and you said that, I don’t understand “So this is very important. How when one hears things that seem contradictory how you asks that question. He doesn’t go – “ …you say this and now you say that this is sounds very contradictory. I think maybe you’re making a mistake here. You have to pick this or that. Don’t be confusing… you should be straightforward. … Krishna get it together!”. NO, But he (Arjuna) says: – “ it’s contradictory, so I don’t understand I’m not educated enough. So could you please explain how these two seemingly contradictory things are not contradictory? How they’re complimentary”. So the whole book is just questions and answers. Arjuna is constantly questioning because the purpose of questioning is to remove doubts and misgivings. That’s Anartha-nivriti, anarthas manifest as doubts and misgivings. When there’s a doubt then we can’t do it. When there’s no doubt then we do it. When there’s doubts were confused we’re not quite sure we get influenced. When there’s no doubt, we know what to do and we’re very fixed. So the whole book is showing us how to go through this and then after hearing the instruction one applies it and Krishna says at the end, “ you’re heard” and Arjuna says, “yes”. And so what is he going to do now he’s going to fight. He’s going to fight now thinking of Krishna. So we see how a student behaves and in the same time we see how a teacher behaves. Krishna is very gentle. He is very kind in his explanation but he’s very firm. He says things how Arjuna can understand them. But he doesn’t compromise and we see at the end after he’s finished explaining everything he asked him “Do you understand?” and he is willing to go through the whole process again if it means that if that will help his student. If his student understood fine if not he’ll go through the whole thing again. Re-explain it. That’s a teacher. So its patience, so he says the Brahman has all these different qualities, like patience, tolerance, forgiveness all these things. Why? Because otherwise how do you teach. So Krishna is giving the perfect example of how to teach. So like this just we see here in the Gita so many practical examples in the Bhagavatam so many more. Gita establishes us in proper consciousness by which we could approach the Bhagavatam. The reason Bhagavatam is written in this form it means the absolute truth is given to us in this form because this is the form that we require. We don’t have the intelligence. We don’t have the determination to just take straight from Upanishads or straight from the Vedic literature and understand the whole philosophy, understand the whole culture and the mentalities, just by its study and then apply it in your life.
Topmost Vedic philosophy – given to us in the form of stories.
Therefore, the absolute topmost Vedic philosophy and principles is given to us in the form of stories. And these stories are the interactions between the devotees in the Lord at every level of progress. And this is for us. It’s not for someone else. When they say, “ it was ok, Bhagavatam, pure devotees, 5000 years ago” but why are they pure devotees. This we discussed little bit last night, its because of their endeavor to please the Lord. We’ve seen in the Bhagavatam their exclusive approach the Lord for whatever it is. Bhagavatam says, “Whatever you want you want liberation, you want material facilities, you want to go back to Godhead you approach Krishna”. So we see examples of all this. Kardama went through so much austerity to approach the Lord for the wife. So he’s following this and because of this he becomes perfect. Because he went to Krishna’s process, approaching Krishna to get want he wanted. He didn’t use another process. Therefore it’s in the Bhagavatam. Puru-rava was even more how would you say – materially inclined. Kardama is a good Brahmachari first class Brahmachari. He is just knows I have attachments I need to get married but he follows very strictly the Sadhana and everything in fact one of Prabhupada’s very strong verses on Brahmachari behavior is found in the middle of this chapter. He is doing his yajnas and all that to please the Lord to get a wife and in the purport Prabhupada is talking about Brahmachari. Because he has the mentality he sees the Lord. One may ask well how was one can be a good Brahmachari and approach the Lord for a wife. Because he’s approaching the Lord so anything approaching the Lord is transcendental. Right? So the first principle I do these yajnas, I do these sacrifice, I do my Japa, I do my Sadhana to please the Lord. Once I please the Lord then okay I may be foolish enough that I ask Him for a marriage situations instead of going back to Godhead. When the Lord came he could have said, “All I want is you”. But we don’t see that. He just told Him I want a wife. But because he approached the Lord means he’s God conscious. And in this way then he attained to perfection, because he had approached the Lord in such purity the Lord himself came as his son. Not someone else but the Lord himself. Now you see here how a Brahmachari acts. The Prabhupada says the first class Brahmachari becomes a first class Grihastha. Here’s the example. How it is that it works? We may make up our own idea. But here’s the example of how it’s actually going on. And we see as Bhagavatam goes you get higher and higher levels. Then you get the story of Dhruva. He wanted a kingdom. He really wanted that. He’s approaching the Lord. So someone may also asks, “ Well, how is that if someone has material desire. How will they see the Lord?” It wasn’t that he was thinking the material desire in his meditation. He’s thinking of the Lord because He’s the one who he wants to ask for the desire. So when he’s (Druva) doing his meditation the desire is not part of it. Just like you see this person to make him fulfill your desire. You are completely determined, “I’m going to see this person. Once I see this person then I’m going to remember my desire and ask for it”. But after seeing the Lord he gave up that desire.
Then we see later Prahlada Maharaj. He never had any desire. He is just approaching the Lord of pure devotion. So that is a very special platform that he is on. So we see it as a Bhagavatam goes it shows more and more deep surrender and understanding. So we get to the 10th canto where we see the greatest surrender and understanding of the residence of Vrindavan. Then it goes to show how it’s going from there coming back down to the material world. It’s showing how it going up through the stages to get to that platform. Then it’s showing how these things transform. We see Krishna from there goes to Mathura goes to Dvaraka then 11th canto we discussing what’s happening after the material world and then coming back down to the kings and then finally to the kali-yuga. So it’s these things are being practically shown in the Bhagavatam. So the point here is that we do have the practical example of how to live. We do have the practical example of how to interact and that is the Vedic literature as given to us by our Acharyas, by Srila Prabhupada and Goswamis. So what Shrila Prabhupada says and the Acharyas say this is Vedic culture. This is what we mean by Vedic culture. The Prabhupad is always using word Vedic culture. Is this clear? This is kind of establishes where we’ll continue from.
5 levels of consciousness
Okay, so now if we want to look at what we’re dealing with in the culture in the form of rules and regulations. This is very important to understand what. Basically the living entity has 5 levels of consciousness (annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya and anandamaya) that they can function on. They can function on sensual platform, which is called annamaya. They can also function on the extended sensual platform which is called manomaya. Say if we’re working on our own senses then you don’t need much structure in society. Basically you work on the logic of the fish “ whoever is the biggest wins”. Like you see the animals. There is something to eat whichever is the bigger animal they get to eat it like that. Very simple and you don’t need a whole lot of cultural structure. But if you want to recognize: “Ok, I want to eat, you want to eat”. Then we need some rules. So then you have your platform of justice, your economics. In other words we cooperate together for economic development. And then if someone doesn’t follow this you have justice. And then you have your basic principles of morality: “don’t steal because it’s not nice. Someone else has it than you respect his right to have things. He shouldn’t steal from me either”. Like this, so that’s called pranamaya, or accepting life, accepting others. Then you have the next platform higher than that and is called manomaya or it’s also known as jnanamaya. Sometimes it’s misunderstood that they’re two different things. Manomaya and Jnanamaya are the same. Because Jnana means you have only an intellectual understanding and the mind has accepted that. The intelligence can say so many things but you can’t work with it until the mind accepts it. You know this is right. I’ve thought about it in so many ways but I can’t accept it. So you don’t actually have that knowledge. Until the minds takes it so therefore it’s called Manomaya or Jnanamaya meaning that the knowledge is there – means intellectual understanding only. So then on this platform you have 3 categories that fit into there. That is the religious codes given by God, means directly the Vedic codes – (varnasrama) and all those codes that goes with that. Then the second will be none Vedic religions and religious principles that are there that are coming down in some way through God. Then you have mental speculation it’s when someone makes up their own philosophies.
Then the next level above that is the platform of intelligence, where we understand we’re not the body that we’re the soul. That’s vijnana-maya. On that platform then we have basically the understanding, “ I am Brahman” and one who will act within that culture. But we don’t have understanding of the supreme Lord. So this is the platform the impersonalist. Then the top platform is called anandamaya. Anandamaya means the platform of relationship with the Lord. And relationship then gives happiness. This is very important to understand. So we become attached then on these levels. So the whole philosophy of Krishna consciousness and the Vedic literature can be a boiled down into this point. It’s all attachment and relationship. Everything ultimately goes back to this as we mention first there is the devotees affection for Krishna that’s their attachment and that creates the Rasa the relationship so based on your kind of Rati or attachment you have a relationship with Krishna. So the same principle comes down into the material sphere. It’s your attachment. Are you attached to the senses- annamaya, extended self gratification- Pranamaya, religious principles – Manomaya or the understanding I am Brahman – vijnana-maya?! That’s your attachment and based on that you’re going to act. And you’re going to try to get your taste from that your Rasa from that. That’s the principle. Now within this these 5 levels of consciousness you have a 3 basically pure situations of attachment. You have the spiritual which is the Anandamaya, you have the emotional or mental which is the middle of manomaya, the third level and you have the attachment to the senses Annamaya and those in between this second and fourth the Pranamaya and the Jnanamaya. These are just junctions between. They have qualities of both that which is above and below them so they’re like a a ah junction between them. So it is explained that the living entity has these 3 platforms then which they can get Rasa which they can get exchange between themselves and others. So if one understands this science then one can actually get oneself out of this material world at the same time being as satisfied as possible in relationships in the material world. And if one doesn’t understand this science it’s practically impossible to get out. Because we will not attain that. Krishna says in the Gita, that you perform your prescribed duties and perform them for him. And he has given details of prescribed duties done to the smallest little detail. Even how you brush your teeth, so you can connect it to Krishna. One may ask how do I connect it to Krishna. First is that, you can remember Krishna while you’re brushing your teeth. If you can’t do that at least you brush your teeth because Krishna said I should brush my teeth. So either from the side of ritual or from the side of remembrance one can remember or one follows that so that they can teach it to others. But in this way it’s connected to Krishna. So Krishna in 11 Canto tells Udhuva,” I’ve dictated so many rules just so everything that you do you can connect to Me”. So that is what the rules are for. This is the body of literature. So now we have to understand that those rules and the whole Vedic culture that is platform of Manomaya and that is platform of emotion proper material, pure material emotion. Pure emotion isn’t experienced on the platform on the senses. It’s just a sense with the sense object and we know that just like they’re saying, “one man’s food is another man’s poison”. So it’s how you perceive it . How your mind perceives it, if it is good or bad. Just like you go outside it’s cold. Somebody goes, “hah fresh brisk nice” and they’re very inspired to walk around and breath the fresh air. Someone else walks out saying, “oh it’s cold” and goes back inside. The same sense with the same sense objects have come in contact but because how the mind perceives it there’s something different. So we see that the senses are actually part of the platform of the mind. Then, also there’s another we may think will this middle level the Pranamaya or the platform of morality and all that is the real platform of Rasa. But there is actually just extending the sense gratification. I want facilities you want facilities let’s share these facilities. And we make rules how it should be shared, like there must be legislation there must be justice to see that it is being legislated. And in this way we try to become happy but still what is a yard stick. That’s the thing. There has to be a yard stick by which you measure morals.
The difficulty in the modern society
That is the difficulty in the modern society today because they are so much confusion. They have no yardstick. What was freedom of speech hundreds of years ago is different from today. Before freedom of speech mean you say whatever you like but you have to say it in some proper way. You have to behave nicely. You have to be a good moral Christian person and with that in mind say what you need to say. You have a brain. You though something you observe you say it. Nowadays, that’s not there . Just that I have a tongue and I can vibrate it that’s called freedom of speech. Therefore I can say things offend everybody, completely upset the culture completely undermine everybody else’s platform of existence morals and culture. That’s what it called “ freedom of speech”. So this Pranamaya or economics, like you see business means you buy something cheap and you sell it more expensive. That’s business. That’s it. It’s not something else. . I mean there’s many details of course but that’s the fundamental. If you attain that principle you make profit. You don’t then you might as well forget it. So now in that you can either follow the Vedic principles you get things people need sell it at a reasonable price and then in this way live. But now you take things people don’t need because they don’t need it they don’t think about it so you do advertise so they think about it and then charge them an exorbitant price because you made it like something prestige. So this is business so it fits into that Pranamaya. It fits into that level but it has nothing to judge against and so it creates difficulty. I do business but I don’t care for material nature. Then we have the pollution and all things. I do business they don’t care for the culture and therefore billboards can show anything. Do anything. So like this, “people don’t need it, I’ll force them to buy it”. You don’t need you don’t have money to buy a car or buy a house. But I advertise in such a way that you can buy it and then for the rest of your life you’re paying mortgages and this and that. Plus I make a profit off it. So in this way there’s no balance. So there’s this dissatisfaction because there’s no proper way that you can interface with others. Because it’s the Pranamaya platform is still Annamaya. It’s just we’ll work together. . We’ll pleasantly deal with each other. So we don’t offend each other. But the problem is this, there’s no exchange. Real exchange. It’s still selfish. I still have my agenda you have your agenda. We’ll compromise so the both of our agendas have win win. And this is the platform of business management. All the modern management books are dealing with business management. I have my agenda you have yours and we’ll cooperate and I respect you have yours. So he is trying to establish people properly on the platform of Pranamaya. Rather than get into Annamaya. But the real exchange comes on the third platform on the Manomaya platform. That is where actual emotional exchange takes place and it includes the lower. Emotion means you’re going to express your emotion it will be through something. There has to be seen otherwise, I’m experiencing emotion the other can’t feel it. The others experience emotion you can’t feel it. So there has to be a way to exchange that like friends who whack each other on the back or wrestle together or sit down and eat on the same plate or just do things together. That’s the medium through which they express the emotion they’re experiencing like mother with a child, feeding the child or dressing the child. They’re always fussing with the child. And then that is expressed so the senses and the platform of morals are automatically there within this platform of ethics in these rules.
So there Vedic culture is there to establish proper emotional stability in those persons who want to get to the spiritual platform. So by doing this, it establishes this 12 Rasas. There are the 12 Rasas meaning the 5 primary and the 7 secondary. And you follow the rules and regulations so that what you’re doing is very similar to the spiritual culture. Then you can understand Rasa and then it makes it very easy to work with the spiritual principles. But at the same time you must understand. It’s still is perverted. It’s still material. It doesn’t have direct connection. Just like Krishna dancing with the Gopis, there’s nothing to do with material lust. But the principle – you have a boy with the girl, that remains and how they will exchange. How they sit together and smile and all these different things that remains but now it’s a different thing. The modern thing is that everything comes down to the sensual platform. We think boy and girl just together we only think it is sensual aspect. The boy has his senses he wants to please them through the girl. The girl has her senses she wants to please also through the boy. So basically they kind of work together Pranamaya to respect each other, not move too fast until they worked it out: “ This one doesn’t mind this, that one doesn’t mind that” until you find the balance situation then each of them can enjoy their senses. But there’s still no sacrifice. There’s no sacrifice they are still have they agenda, “ Instead of doing it this way I’ll do it that way”. But the platform of Manomaya or religious principles or Varnashrama means sacrifice, for a relationships I must sacrifice. The husband must sacrifice for the family he must bring facility, he must protect. Those things are of a great burden. It’s a sacrifice. Because he does that there’s a taste in that, which is not gotten by just following your own agenda. The children must sacrifice they must behave in certain ways. Parents must sacrifice more. Right? The sacrifice is the greatest on the parent part. That’s why it’s a higher Rasa. That’s why they get more out of it. So in other words when we accept the Vedic principles as given by Acharyas and do them because they’re duty. Not because were attached to them. As what Krishna says, he spends the whole Gita basically telling Krishna do your duty. After telling him, he is a fool for talking about doing duties or running away from duties. Because he’s saying, “do the duty to please Krishna “ that’s reality. Doing a duty just for duty that’s no real meaning. So you do your duty because you’re supposed to do it. I may like it. I may not like it. The men may not like getting in the car and drive down an hour into town and then sitting in this crazy office with all these nonsense people for 5 days a week so he can get money. So he can maintain his house but he does it because of the relationship. It’s his duty. He wants to be a Grihastha. He has to somehow another been able to maintain it. So it’s a duty. So we see the tendency in the modern culture is to give up that sacrifice. Give up that duty so to remove far away from sacrificing for Krishna where I just do things for myself. So we came closer and closer just to the animal culture. Sophisticated, but we must also appreciate it there are very sophisticated animals also. Western culture are used to dogs and cats that are not overly sophisticated. But when you associate with other animals like elephants, parrots and cockatoos. They are quite sophisticated. Swans, they’re very sophisticated in their movements, in their dealings how they eat. So their culture is developing into higher quality animals. If you’re an Afghan, or you’ll Bull Terrier you’re still a dog. So this acceptance of the principles of the Vedic culture and doing it because it’s a duty that what makes sacrifice that makes for relationships. But now as Krishna pointed out, that’s not enough. It has to be done for Krishna. Then it actually becomes a life.
Follow the Vedic Culture – for spiritual or material result
If you want material world to work nicely for you, you have to follow the Vedic Culture. And if you wanted to actually have a spiritual result then you have to connect it to Krishna. So Krishna is recommending that. Otherwise, if we just have the culture without the philosophy, it’s sentiment. That’s the mind the emotions the sentiments all that. Prabhupada says, “you have religion but no philosophy, it’s sentiment”. Like you see many followers of the Vedic culture, Indians and that they follow very nicely they have faith in it. They’re getting the results. They have nice family relationships. Marriages don’t break up. Kids turn out very nice. The economically they are very well established. They have very good family relationships big huge families. And they’re all very emotionally satisfied. But it’s all sentiment because there’s no philosophy behind it or Prabhupada says if we have philosophy but no religion means we don’t follow the Vedic culture then we end up with mental speculation. So generally you think, “well the sentiment it’s just the – Karmis and the philosophy without the culture that’s just the- Jnanis, nothing to do with us”. But the point he is making means that the devotees have both. So if we just take the one we’ll end up a sentimentalists. You may have a nice emotional time. But we still won’t be satisfied we joined this movement because materially we can’t be satisfied. We want to be devotees. We want to know something more. At the same time if we just take the philosophy without the culture, we become impersonal. So it is the Karmis and Jnanis but devotional service can be affected by this. Kapila-muni explains this. Devotional service can be done in mode of ignorance, in the mode of passion, in the mode of goodness, so Krishna is recommending pure goodness. And this is by engaging what one is doing in Krishna’s service. Because if you do an activity for Him. There’s no desire. You understand He is the reason that is happening. He is the doer then there’s no misunderstanding there’s no ignorance. There’s no material desire. There’ s no passion. So we’re doing it out of duty. So it’s mod of goodness. So goodness what is the definition of goodness without passion or ignorance. It’s pure goodness. Though it maybe through the mechanical process that’s Sadhana. So we establish yourself on the platform of pure goodness by the mechanics of the Sadhana and the culture by this mentality. And with time by doing that by associating with the Lord and the devotees through this platform we’re enlightened and we become detached from the material energy. Then we find slowly that affection for Krishna naturally starts awakening within the heart by that spiritual association. Then whatever we’re doing becomes spiritual. This is the mechanical process of what we’re talking about. So when we say our devotional service is spiritual, this is mechanically how it works. That’s what Krishna’s telling in the 18th chapter of Gita. If he gives this, you perform your duty without attachment without thinking you’re the doer it means without false ego and without desire for results. So that means do your duty without any passion or ignorance. And then if you could remember the Lord then you yourself are situated in pure goodness. At least if it’s not you than it’s your activity is. And by associating with the Lord through these activities then we become purified. So this is what Krishna’s recommending.
If we have any difficulties on the emotional platform in other words the social platform, interaction with the others. It basically boils down that we are not following the proper rules for that interaction nor accepting the mentalities and the purposes for those rules that go with that. Just like a teacher is supposed to teach. So the basic principle is okay the teacher is the authority the students are learning. But there’s a mentality that goes with that. There must be compassion. If you see the picture of Prabhupad when he’s teaching Dwarakadeesh how to write. And Prabhupad sitting there at the desk and Dwarakadeesh is sitting next to him and Prabhupad is holding his hand. Prabhupada’s total attention is on how Dwarakadeesh is writing. It’s not somewhere else. Total attention is there. So that’s sacrifice by the teacher for the students must be there. Then we see we get an excellent result. That student gets full attention and they feel satisfied. They’re emotionally satisfied. And when they grow up they’ll be able to do the same for the next generation. But If you are thinking of the something else, this student will be thinking of something else too and when they grow up when they teach they’ll be thinking of something else. Their students will think of something else. The next generation will get worse than the last. But if full attention is there and that is because of duty this is how the teacher does. Out of compassion there must be patience. So many different things cause when you hold that hand and you move it they may move with you may not move with you. So many things you have to and it’s not you controlling. You are helping them. So this is the interesting thing when you understand the culture you see all the aspects that everybody sits and argues about they’re all contained in 1 place.
The purpose of accepting the authority
Is the teaching authoritative or is it democratic or is it liberal. These are the discussions that go on in educational circles. But all of those have to be there at one time, the one maybe prominent than the other. The teacher is the authority,” This is how you write the letter. You can’t make up your own letter And a has a particular way of how it looks”. That’s it. Some little variation, individually but if it’s not in the circle it’s not an A. That authority is there and working with the student is there and then that liberality, sometimes the student does this and that. You let it go for a moment then catch it. So when that all is there you have a good teacher and you have a good student. And what is the purpose of that, the student has full attention on these things and they learn the foundations by which they can learn higher subjects. That they can learn about Krishna. And the teacher has to live the example to do these things so he actually wants that this student goes back to Godhead. That’s what it says: “ Don’t become a mother a father, a teacher, a king or a demigod unless you can take your students or your dependents back to Godhead”. So that’s the purpose so when you have that purpose with following Krishna’s rules and then engaging these senses all in Krishna’s service, you have a complete spiritual experience and material experience. So basically what it means is if there is any difficulties we’re not following the rule or even if we’re following the rule because Rupa Goswami says, Niyamagraha- means either you’re not following the rules cause you don’t know why and that it looks stupid it’s not practical or you’re following the rules because it’s a rule. And you don’t know the purpose behind it and the mentality by which it follows. So either one of them are useless. Not following the rules means we fall on the platform of mental speculation. We have the philosophy but we don’t accept the rules. They don’t accept the religion so therefore it becomes mental speculation or accept the rule but I don’t know how to connect the philosophy and therefore it’s a sentiment. So generally if you look at look at difficulties that are there in establishing proper relationships and social interaction is simply because we fall in one of these 2 categories, we are either sentimentalist or mental speculations. Very few accept the philosophy accept the rules and know how to connect them together. And that is what the Bhagavatam is for. It gives the philosophy and in the philosophy there’s giving the story behind it. So you can see practically how it’s applied. Kardama Muni accepts the philosophy: “whenever I want, I approach the Lord”. What did he do? He didn’t just come for 2 seconds, “please Krishna give me this things”. He actually went to the austerity to please Krishna by the process of Sadhana to please the Lord, which means it has to be done in devotion. He wasn’t thinking of the wife all the time he was thinking of devotional activity. And then at the proper time then: “ okay what is your request? This is my request: “ I want to be able to serve you through this ashram. I’m not properly situated in this”. So that’s the practical application of it and you see it works very nicely. He was very qualified. He was the first class Brahmachari. His wife was very qualified. Because she wanted somebody who is qualified and it made a wonderful match. It goes into detail description their whole life and you don’t see any problems in their relationship. You don’t see any problems there and you see what is necessary. Some will say, “Grihastha life – there is nothing explains much”. But he even gets into how to conceive a child.
He was very austere controlled senses the wife has developed good submissiveness, good service attitude, because their son is going to take on the qualities of the mother. Mothers respectful. Mother has a good service attitude the son has that. Then that makes a good leader. He can be a good devotee a good leader.
Platform of reality is our spiritual interaction.
So the rules are written into the relationship for all these purposes and we’re just doing it as duty, because ultimately material nature is not the platform of reality. Platform of reality is our spiritual interaction. It means that the service for Krishna and ultimately that we remember Krishna and go back to Godhead. That is service. So Srila Prabhupada always says this just like a drama. But unless you do your part in the drama it’s not a very good drama. A good drama is when each person plays his or her part. Then it works very nicely. This then draws out the proper emotional exchange and with that naturally morals are practiced there and senses get taken care of. From dharma comes Artha, from dharma following religious principles comes economic development from that comes sense gratification. So devotees are wondering, “how to make the economic development”? Just by following dharma by accepting this, that will come. But we’re not doing it for that purpose that (Artha and Kama) will come automatically. If you eat you become satisfied. So you follow that but for Krishna, in other words we don’ apply our attention down from Dharma out to the Kama. We do the Dharma for Krishna then the Artha and Kama automatically come but also in connection to Krishna. So it’s a very interesting balance here. That one has to understand these codes. Then one understands why a Brahmachari must to do these things. One must see what is the mentality. Prabhupada explains in the purports. Many time someone may just say, “ that’s something else”. No, that is why it works. We may take hard-core philosophy and we may take hard care rules. But we have a tendency to leave what is in between, that what explains why they work what is the mentality and what is the actual application. We’ll take the rule of the Brahmachari but not the mentality of the Brahmachari. Because the Brahmachari is detached therefore he has nothing to deal with, he needs very little he has no responsibilities. So whatever free things he needs he keeps that’s it. It’s not just because he keeps a few things he is a Brahmachari. It’s because he has the mentality he keeps a few things then because there’s no attachments and because he’s on the bottom of the pile he is very gentle with everyone else. He cultivates this mood of submission to the teacher and so he is very gentle by nature and he’ll deal gently with everybody else. Like you see Narada Muni and everybody else when they’re dealing very gently and then that is the real Brahmachari. Right but we don’t take that part of it. We just take Brahmachari like this: cuts his nails, eats chunks of wood for breakfast, spits on woman, this kind of stuff and but we see that those never last as Brahmacharis. It’s just like a countdown, Brahmacharini ashram may be going on a betting how long a guy will last, “I say three moths… nah it’s not that long”, like that – because it’s not a Brahmachari life. It’s not the right mentality. That’s the thing so you accept the mentality you get the act application just, like in the spirit it’s going on a spiritual realm. The spiritual realm you have an attachment for Krishna that manifest your body “yam krodha-kama-sahaja-pranayadi-bhiti-vatsalya-moha-guru-gaurava-sevya-bhavaih” (Sri Brahma-Samhita 5.55). That according to that Bhava that’s the service you do you manifest the form. You have the friendship attachment towards Krishna you manifest cowherd boy body. You have a parental attachment for Krishna you manifest an older Gopi or an older Gopa body. So in the same way is you have a mentality here you accept all the principles of mentality of the rule, then it actually manifest the rule. In other words from subtle you get gross. Material world started out from false ego, false ego then went to intelligence then down like this until you get down to earth. So from subtle comes the gross: thinking, feeling and willing. You think it then you feel you become attach to it then you engage the senses and try to get it. There’s always subtle to gross.
That is why we are Rupanugas
So what happens is we have taken the philosophy and we’re taken the gross application but we haven’t taken what actually makes the gross application work. So that is Abhidheya that is the process of devotional service that is why we’re Rupanugas because our emphasis is on that. That is the process of pleasing Krishna, serving Krishna so that is the mentality. There’s a mentality behind it. There’s a ritual and there’s the purpose. So unless these 3 are understood or in place you don’t get the proper thing. You may have the right mentality. You may know the purpose but don’t perform the ritual properly. It’s not so bad. There’s no ego, we were just discussing this with Jayadvaita Maharaj. In the beginning devotees first started. You know, 26nd avenue, they didn’t know what was going on. But because they understood this is to please Krishna and they had the right mentality even although the ritual and the technique wasn’t so good it still functioned. Devotees were happy. But if we get the ritual without both of these others we won’t be happy. If you thrown out Manomaya or the rituals there then that only leaves us with Pranamaya and the Vedic literature doesn’t content, doesn’t have Pranamaya without Manomaya, it’s always connected. You have the main principles then you have the sub ones and then the ones below that and all that. They’re all connected in the line. So if you throw out the top principles then it’s very hard to actually put together something. So the tendency is to throw the whole thing out and then we fall back into our habits. We’ll have to take western paradigms to try to create some social situations. But what we have to do is accept the Vedic. Accept the mood behind the activity. The proper manifestation of the activity and what is the purpose and how it connects to developing love for Krishna. That combination makes it very strong and that is the wonderful devotee and the association that, we join the movement to find, that is it. One who understands this has the mood proper mood in performing an activity. They understand they are serving Krishna and they want pure love of God. Then it’s a complete package. And anything less than that doesn’t work. It’s not complete. And this is like Lord Caitanya says, is that until you understand relationship, process and goal or result you don’t actually know Gaudiya vaishnava philosophy. And then in this process, we have to know these parts. What is the ritual what is the purpose of that ritual what’s the mentality behind performing that ritual. When I say ritual I mean any activity it means how you take prasadam or how you run your household or how you deal with others. It doesn’t just mean religious ceremony in the temple. Because the idea of the Vedic culture that everything you’re doing is a religious ceremony. Taking care of your child and the houses part of the religious ceremonies. That’s why the Vedic culture is so special, because God is not just in the temple. God is in every activity that you do as long as you see the connection. So it’s very special. How you dress, how you behave, how you talk, how you interact with others. Krishna entered it through all these things. So we instead of rejecting and following the Niyamagraha in one-way or doing it fanatically, we have to understand why. Then it becomes gentle and very nice very tasty.