The effect of bhakti is immediate.

Hare Krishna

23rd October, 2015. Gurgaon

Yesterday morning I heard a beautiful lecture by HG Jananivas Prabhuji which Prabhuji gave at Mayapur. As usual it was a lecture filled with many gems. Prabhuji is a very exalted and pure devotee of Krishna, it was my good fortune that I was able to hear his lecture. Two topics in his lecture touched my heart

a) supremacy of Bhakti over all other yoga processes.

b) importance of Guru and initiation in our life.

I will write about the first part today, where Prabhuji spoke about the power of bhakti over all other processes. We may have heard all this before and know it but the way Prabhuji gave the essence was remarkable.

The particular verse on this day was from the sixth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam where the story of ‘Citraketu’ is continuing. Here is the verse:

O King Parīkṣit, after only one week of repeatedly practicing the mantra received from the spiritual master, Citraketu achieved the rule of the planet of the Vidyādharas as an intermediate product of his spiritual advancement in knowledge. (SB 6.16.28)

Jananivas Prabhuji

After first giving the listeners a brief background about the chapter, glorifying ‘Citraketu’ and then expanding this particular pastime, Prabhuji explained that, similar to ‘Citraketu’, sometimes devotees do not directly go back to Godhead but they have to take a birth. (‘Citraketu’ finally took birth as ‘Vritasura’ and then went back to Godhead).

Jananivas Prabhuji then quoted Srila Prabhupada who said:

If you still have a mood of enjoyment in Krishna consciousness, you are performing devotional service but you have the mood of enjoyment then your next birth will be in the heavenly planets. you will have to work out that enjoyment and after that you can go back to Godhead.’

Prabhuji reiterated that devotees are not expected to maintain the mood of enjoyment, especially at the last of our life, when we are leaving the body very rapidly, we should wind everything  up completely and take shelter of the Lord, then we go back to Godhead.

Prabhuji then read the below short but devotionally pregnant purport by Srila Prabhupada:

If a devotee, after being initiated, adheres rigidly to the instructions of the spiritual master, he is naturally endowed with the material opulences of vidyādhara-adhipatyam and similar posts as by-products. A devotee need not practice yoga, karma or jñāna to achieve a successful result. Devotional service alone is competent to award a devotee all material power. A pure devotee, however, is never attached to material power, although he gets it very easily without personal endeavor. Citraketu received this side benefit of his devotional service, which he rigidly performed in accordance with the instructions of Nārada. A devotee need not practice yoga, karma or jñāna to achieve a successful result. Devotional service alone is competent to award a devotee all material power‘.

Jananivas Prabhuji explained how Citraketu received this power simply as a side benefit of devotional service. Not that he was interested but somehow or other he was given that position so he could still enjoy as a side product of his devotional service. But his consciousness was more fixed on his devotional service rather than the side product of being the king of ‘Vidyādharas’. He acted like a king, it seemed like he was enjoying but his consciousness was fixed on his worshipable Lord and his devotional service.

So a devotee doesn’t have to worry about Karma, jnana or yoga to achieve successful results, devotional service alone is powerful enough to do it. This is the position of devotional service, the position of bhakti. Bhakti is independent. Whereas in karma, jnana and yoga, to get their perfection, one needs some bhakti yoga but for bhakti yoga we don’t need karma, we don’t need jnana, its independent.

For Karmis (materialists)

Prabhuji stated ‘just like the Karmis, they want sense gratification. They are religious, they are pious, they are practicing karma yoga but they want happiness in the material world.  So what does Krishna says about about karma yogi –

yat karoṣi yad aśnāsi yaj juhoṣi dadāsi yat

yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kuruṣva mad-arpaṇam (BG 9.27)

Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform — do that, O son of Kuntī, as an offering to Me.

In other words do everything for Krishna. Karma yoga culminates in bhakti yoga. When we do this, do everything for Krishna, then it becomes bhakti, our karma becomes bhakti.

For jnanis (knowledge seekers)

For jnanis, Krishna says:

bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate

vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ (BG 7.19)

After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.

So conclusion of jnana is that after thousands of births one surrenders to Krishna. In reference to this verse Srila Prabhupada said:

‘This is Krishna’s statement, after thousands of births one comes to the platform of ‘ vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti’, Krishna is the supreme personality of Godhead. I’m telling you now that Krishna is the supreme personality of Godhead, you surrender to Krishna now. You hear me, and you do that (surrender to Krishna), you skip those thousands and thousands of births because you come to the conclusion of thousands and thousands of births!

So culmination of jnana is bhakti – surrender to Krishna.

So one get the perfection of jnana when it is dovetailed or used for understanding  bhakti.

For yogis

Now to the ashtanga yogis, and all the other yogis, Krishna say:

yoginām api sarveṣāṁ mad-gatenāntar-ātmanā

śraddhāvān bhajate yo māṁ sa me yuktatamo mataḥ   (BG 6.47)

And of all yogīs, the one with great faith who always abides in Me, thinks of Me within himself, and renders transcendental loving service to Me — he is the most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all. That is My opinion.

So the conclusion of yoga is that it brings one to bhakti.

So when the karma, jnana and yoga are used to bring us to bhakti then they are okay but when they are not used for that purpose then they become inauspicious. If they are just used for karma, just used for jnana or just used for yoga then they become inauspicious because they keep us bound up to this material world. But when they are used to reveal the high position of bhakti then they have meaning. So without bhakti they don’t become fruitful. And bhakti even if it doesn’t has karma, jnana or yoga, still it is fruitful, it is not dependent on anything else.

Prabhuji said hence Krishna says ‘anyway don’t waste your time in karma, jnana or yoga, you just give up that controlling and enjoying aspect through your karma or through your jnana or through your yoga, you are simply using them as tools so you can still enjoy and make spiritual progress. Therefore Krishna says

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
   (BG 18.65)

Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.

Krishna is saying you surrender to me immediately. And like we are reaing in this particular pastime that the effect could be immediate. Let’s read the translation of the verse again.

O King Parīkṣit, after only one week of repeatedly practicing the mantra received from the spiritual master, Citraketu achieved the rule of the planet of the Vidyādharas as an intermediate product of his spiritual advancement in knowledge. (SB 6.16.28)

So we see that devotional service is not dependent on anything else, karma, jnana or all the other processes, and it’s effect is immediate if we put it into practice sincerely.

As for the side benefits, Prabhuji explained that bhukti (material enjoyment) and mukti (liberation) they wait as maidservants for the devotees. For a pure devotee bhukti and multi are waiting ‘How we can serve you?’ We want to serve the bhaktas. And the bhakta say ‘Get away from me!’ They kick them away…Kick…we don’t want bhukti, we don’t want mukti. But still they don’t go away, they say we will stay nearby, any service you want! We want to do bhakta seva. But the devotees, no, they kick them away.

Wasn’t it straight & simple, coming straight from the heart of a realised soul! I will try to post the second part of Prabhuji’s lecture on the importance of Guru and initiation shortly.

All glories to HH Jananivas Prabhuji.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

My 24 Gurus

Hare Krishna.

12th Jan 2014, Gurgaon.

17

As I completed my morning japa rounds the story of Shri Dattatreya somehow came to my mind and I questioned myself what I have learned from devotees and surroundings near me.

During the recent Ujjain retreat with HH Bhakti Charu Swami maharaj at Ujjain, the topic was Uddhava Gita( SB 11th canto). Guru maharaj explained in one of the initial sessions about  24 gurus of Dattatreya and how the sage learnt from each of them and treated them as his Guru. I am summarising them below.

Shri Dattatreya had twenty-four teachers from nature as he told King Yadu…. The earth, air/breeze, sky, fire, the sun, pigeon, python, sea, moth, elephant, ant, fish, Pingala the courtesan, arrow-maker, infant/playful boy, the moon, honeybee, deer, bird of prey, maiden, serpent, spider, caterpillar and water are my twenty four preceptors.

I took out my pad and started writing on what all I have learned and from whom.

1. HG Rukmini Krishna prabhu ( temple president, Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi): From him I am learning to always be helpful towards others irrespective of where they come from and give them an honest and sincere advice by which they can develop their Krishna consciousness. He is always approachable, completely dedicated to serving all Vaishnavas and following his  Guru Mahraj’s and Srila Prabhupada’s instructions.

2. Mukul Prabhu, Delhi : He brought me into Krishna Consciousness.He is an ex-financial whizkid and after leaving his job, he now consults to SMEs. He has turned each of his client into Krishna Consciousness, he is always calm whatever may be the circumstance. I am learning from him to always remain peaceful.

3. Sumeet Prabhu, Gurgaon: A very dear friend, like an elder brother. He is a very honest, practical and a sincere devotee. I am learning for him how to take my family along and that keeping them happy is very important for my own spiritual journey. He continues to give me practical advice which helps me tremendously. He comes from a vaishnava family and I can always follow his advice with my eyes closed.

4. Tree in front of my house : Till a few months back we used to live on the 4th floor an apartment building and whenever I would come to the `study’ to to do my yoga I could see the middle and top of this huge tree. Almost every single day as soon I would remove my glasses to start the yoga, I would see some form of Krishna in it and very clear. Sometime I would even call my wife and ask her can’t you see Radha and Krishna in the tree and I would try show her Their form, she would  reply yes the shape is there but it is probably more in my own mind. But I would see Lord Jagannath or many other forms of the Lord almost every single time, complete with Their facial expressions and skin color ! The lesson for me was that Lord is there in every atom, whenever I have devotion and faith in my eyes He manifests.

P.s. : Now we have shifted to the second floor of the same building. The same tree is just right outside my balcony and much much closer. I worship him as a part of Govardhan! Why ? I have no idea, my heart said whenever you see him please pay obeisances as Govardhan and I do it every morning.

5. Atma and Anand Prabhuji, Gurgaon : They are very talented twin brothers and are blessed to get personal service of serving Guru Maharaj. Their dedication to Guru Maharaj is commendable by all standards and a benchmark for me. I am learning  from them what is meant by serving our Guru.

6. HG Ganganarayan Prabhuji, co-president Ujjain temple : Such a humble devotee. I have yet to meet a more knowledgeable, dedicated and humble sanyasi-in-waiting, I am sure there would be others in ISKCON, but for me he is a benchmark of humility.  I am learning  from him how to be always humble from the core of my heart.

7. Deities: I learn building relationships from Them; starting from Vrindavan to Punjabi Bagh to my own home, they always respond to love and affection. You may call my crazy but my small Ladoo Gopal ji change expressions many a times. I have written in my earlier blogs about my past realisations in Punjabi Bagh and Vrindavan, simply divine, amazing and most merciful. I learn from Them with whom to develop my relationships with.

8. Electricity Pole : When I was in the 4th floor apartment another thing that I could out see out from my study window, besides the tree, was a giant Electricity pole. Somehow I always took it as one of the  portion of Krishna’s foot, like a Virat purush form of Krishna. I learned from him that nothing, living or non living, is separate from Krishna.

9. Punjabi Bagh temple community: I learned from them how to serve all Vaishanava as equal. I always saw a festive atmosphere whenever a senior sanyasi would visit the temple. In fact it was after an year that I found the special position of HH Gopal Krishna Goswami as each senior Sanyasi was accorded the same love and welcome.

10. Jagannath puri Dhama : I learned how does one feel when one steps into the `darbar’ (court) of the Lord. My first  experience, which I shared in detail in one of my previous blogs, was transcendental. I would never forget that feeling in my heart.  I learned how small and puny I am  in the overall scheme of things.

11. Vrindavan Dham : I learned from the Holy Dhama to be always merciful towards everyone. Irrespective of who comes to Vrindavan, with pure, polluted or zero consciousness, everyone gets the mercy.

12. Prabhuji, Punjabi Bagh : I do not even know the name of this devotee but I see him every time I am there, he would mop temple floor everyday before guru puja, he would never look around for a `help’. Summer or winter he is there, then very humbly he would stand in the last line and dance during the Guru Puja. I learned from him to always remain unseen in our service and never try to take any credit or aspire for glorification by others.

13.  Buying a house, Gurgaon :  I shared my experience while buying my new house in one of early blogs in detail, one person on whom I depended the most pulled the rug right under my feet and at the very last moment. I learned from that experience to never dislike anyone, that they are just messengers of what I did in my past and it is due to the mercy of Lord that i am getting its consequences in a far lesser dosage. And I must always remain under the shelter of the Lord, He knows what is best for me.

14. Yoga: I practiced yoga for 3 years or so and I learned how to sit at one place and meditate.

15. My Wife, Priti : I learned from her the boundless patience and love she had for the kids. I had to copy the same for Krishna and His devotees.

16. Subir Prabhu, Delhi : He is a very enthusiastic devotee and always full of energy for any thing connected with devotional service. I learned from him to be always enthusiastic in any service given to us.

17. Ujjain temple community: What a wonderful set of devotees and epitome of  hospitality. I am trying to learn to think of myself as a servant of every vaishanava and treat each of them as my own master.

18.  Amogh Lila Prabhu, Delhi : He has a gift for humour and is a wonderful preacher, now vice president for the Dwarka temple. I am learning how we can use humor as a strong tool in preaching and that I should not be serious all the time.

19. Radheshyam Prabhu, Gurgaon : Before he shifted to Vrindavan Dham, his service to devotees was unmatched in Gurgaon. He served and served, never in the limelight. I am learning from him to always try to serve the devotees with the best of my ability.

20. My Son, Samir: He is always carefree and gets back into cheerfulness within seconds of being scolded or upset about something. I am learning from him to never feel bad or sulk about any particular incident or behaoviour as that particular moment has already passed and I should look for what best I can do in this present moment.

21. Tulasi Maharani :  She takes birth in so many homes, she does not desire anything for her own self other than helping devotees connect with Sri Krishna and she is happy being always under Lord’s lotus feet. I am learning from her to always remain in the shelter of my Guru and Krishna, that is my happiest position.

22. HG Mahadevi Mataji, Vrindavan : Mataji is a disciple of Srila Prabhupada, I wrote about her in one of my previous blog on how I met her during the procession of taking Srila Prabhupada’s Deity to all the Goswami temples in Vrindavan and how she reciprocate with Srila Prabhupada in that journey. I am learning from him how we can reciprocate with Srila Prabhupada and feel his divine presence around us at all times.

23. HH Gopal Krishna Goswami maharaj : I learned from him how the mere glance of a pure vaishanava can purify me and I must always hanker to get darshan of pure devotees of the Lord.

24. Neelu, Delhi : She is the HR manager in our small company. She is always respectful towards everyone. She would even address our office peons and drivers with such humility that initially I used to to get upset about it. I am learning from her to always give respect to others irrespective of what social order they belong to.

Last but not the least, I have realised is that in spite of having these 24 gurus, 24 moons,  I can learn nothing till I do not have a special half moon in my life, my spiritual master. Without the mercy of my spiritual master all my learning enter from one ear and go out from other ear. It is only by the mercy of my spiritual master that each learning enters from one ear and then penetrate my hard heart rather going out from the other ear ! This helps get me realisations. Now the 24 and half moons are completed.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.