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Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya
Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya

Hare Krishna!

So, today I thought we would discuss Bhagavad Gita

I know that you are all knowers of Bhagavad Gita. Bhatagad Gita contains essence of the vast Vedic literature. There is a verse on the board but we don’t have the time to chant Sanscrit. Therefore we are going straight to the translation and purport.

“One who does not does not envy anyone and is friendly to all living entities, who is free from all sense of proprietorship and false ego, who remains undisturbed both in happiness and grief, who is tolerant and is ever-satisfied, who, conquering his senses and concentrating on Me his mind and intelligence, who wholly gives himself to devotional service, such a person is very dear to Me”.

Coming back to description of pure devotional service, the Lord in these verses discusses qualities of a pure devotee. Such devotee in all circumstances remains peaceful and undisturbed. He does not envy anybody and is not inimical to anybody. Instead of being inimical, a devotee thinks, this person is inimical to me as a punishment for my past sins. Therefore it is better to humbly bear suffering caused by him. In Srimad Bhagavadam 10.14.78 it is said, tat te ‘nu gampam su sumiksamam evatma kritam viparam – When getting into troubles or encountering difficulties, a devotee sees them as a mercy of the Lord. In punishment for his past sins, he thinks, I should have suffered more then I do now. Only by the mercy of the Supreme Lord I have not received my deserved punishment to the full extent/ By the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead I got only a little bit of suffering.

Therefore a devotee always remains peaceful and undisturbed, and tolerantly bears any sufferings. A devotee is also unchangingly kind to all living entities, even to his enemies.

Nirmama. He does not give any special meaning to bodily sufferings, for he clearly knows that he is not this body. Since a devotee does not identify himself with material body, he has no false ego and he is equally peaceful in both happiness and grief. He is tolerant and satisfied with whatever comes to him bye the grace of Supreme Lord. Not making difficult-to-achieve goals before him, he is always situated in happy spirits. Undeviatingly following instructions of his spiritual master, a devotee becomes a perfect yogi. And since he conquered his senses, he has unshakable determination. He will never be bewildered by false arguments, for nobody and nothing can shake his determination to do devotional service. He fully realized that Krishna is the eternal Lord and nothing can shake him. All this helps him to fully concentrate his mind and intelligence on the Supreme Lord. Naturally, it is rare for anyone to archive such high level of devotional service, but everyone can get to this step if hi follows the instructions of devotional service. Moreover, such devotee is very dear to Him, for the Lord is happy with everything he does in full Krishna Consciousness.

Om ajnana timirandasya
Jnananjana salakaya
Caksur unmilitam yena
Tasmai sri-gurave namaha

In the concluding lines of these slokas, Krisnha says, sam me priyah. Who knows real sam me priyah? “He becomes dear to Me”. So, how many of you would like to become dear to Krishna? All? Only sankirtana devotees? Okay, all of you raised hour hands. That means that you all want to become dear to Krishna. But we have to pay a price if you want to become dear to Krishna. “Ne bezplanto”. It is not free. Krishna says, I will protect you and take you back to Godhead. But only if you surrender to Me. So in these two lines Krishna gives us certain qualities we should develop. He says, if you develop these qualities, only then you become dear to Me. Krishna does not say you do your nonsense and still you will become dear to Me. Krishna is very specific. So, Bhagavad Gita presents a summary of vast Vedic literatures. And this Bhagavad Gita was spoken for whom? For Arjuna’s benefit. It was spoken through the medium of Arjuna for the benefit of entire humanity. Especially for devotees of Azerbaijan. So, Bhagavad Gita contains guidelines for humanity. It establishes the position of the Supreme Lord, establishes His identity, and that is Krishna. Sri Bhagavan uvaca. The Supreme Lord is speaking. And also as this knowledge is spoken by the Supreme Lord it is known as sanantan dharma. In the Fourth Chapter of the Gita Krishna also gives the history of the Gita. He says, I imparted this knowledge to the Sun-god Vivasvan. And from there this knowledge came to Manu, the forefather of mankind. From there it came to Iksvaku. But in course of time this knowledge was lost. Therefore I am giving to you, Arjuna, again. Why to Arjuna? Why to not somebody else? Arjuna was a family man. Not a sannyasi or brahmacari. But why did Krishna select him? He was His devotee and friend. Not only devotee. Because you are my friend and devotee. Therefore you can understand secrets of this great science. So, this is a great science. The path of devotional service is a great science. In the Ninth Chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna says, the science of devotional service is the king of all education, raja-vidy. Sometimes people think that path of devotional service is some sentimental process that you may be presenting. Srila Prabhupada encouraged us to study his books. In ISKCON devotees are encouraged to take part in devotional programs. Prabhupada translated hundreds of these books. And now they are translated near to 90 languages of the world. Why do we read these books? To understand the philosophy and not be sentimental. So, we need to understand the scriptures through a proper agency of a devotee of the Lord.

The Bhagavad Gita establishes the position of a soul, how the soul is eternal and the body is perishable. Once Prabhupada was giving a lecture in a well-known university of America. He said, in this great university is there any department that tells you what happens after death? And there was a complete silence. There was silence because three was no department that told you what happens after death. The Bhagavad Gita explains the difference between the soul and the body. We can see how our body is constantly changing. The soul stays on. It passes from one body to another.

Then the Bhagavat Gita explains the position of time. Time is Krisna’s representative. What does time do? It destroys everything. Today you may have a beautiful, handsome body. But time will make sure that you does not remain handsome or beautiful for long. You may have a strong body today. Time will make sure it will become week over time. And because time is a representative of the Lord, the devotee’s desire that every second is used in service of the Lord. Canakya pandita says, a minute lost cannot be made up with the wealth of the entire world. Therefore a devotee does not want to waste a minute, not waste a second. He wants to use time in service of the Lord. He does not want to waste his time with idle activities.

And the Bhagavad Gita duscusses the role of material nature, how the material nature works in the direction of the Lord. The material nature contains all ingredients necessary for our lives. You country has great natural resources: oil, gas and others. Some other countries has much water. Some have other natural resources. And all this is there due to the Lord. Therefore The Bhagadad Gita says, maya dyaksina prakritih – this material nature of Mine is acting under my directions.

Then the Bhagavad Gita discusses the nature of action, karma. We, the living entities have a free choice. Whether we engaged in akarmic activities or in vikarmic activities. Vikarma is activities against the laws of God. Akarma is those activities that don’t give you any bondage. So happiness and grief both come to us. Distress comes without invitation, we never invite distress. Similarly, Prahlada Maharaj says, happiness also comes without invitation. Let’s say, a devotee is in distress. Do you all have experience of distress at some point? Oh, there is no distress? We experience distress in many ways. Now everyone is diseased in some way or another. Economic struggle. So, there are material hardships. So, distress takes on various forms. So, when a neophyte experiences some distress, he puts all blame on God. “Why did God do all this to me? What did I do?” He does not understand who the laws of karma work. He does not understand that the soul is eternal. He does not understand how we all experience the consequences of our karma. There is a nice prayer of Queen Kunti in the First Canto. Queen Kunti knew that her nephew was a Personality of Godhead. Pandavas had to go through so many difficulties. So, what was the famous prayer of Queen Kunti? My dear Lord make it so that my distress increase. Is there anyone who prays, may my distress increase? You come to have darsan of Gaura Nitai and ask, please oh Lord, give me more distress? No, we usually say, let my distress goes away. But Queen Kunti says, my dear Lord, please, increase my distress. She says, because when You increase my distress, I meditate more deeply on Your lotus feet. And the more I meditate on Your lotus feet, the faster I get free from material birth and death. So, when a devotee gets in distress, he does not get disturbed. He holds this as an opportunity to surrender to the Lord more deeply.

And he meditates more deeply on the Lord. How does a devotee react when he is in happiness? Happiness means, he does get what he wants. You can become an oligarch. Are there any oligarchs here? Let’s say you become very rich. So, the devotee says, I became rich by my hard work, so сan I enjoy? Is it how he thinks? No, Krishna is giving this to me. This happiness today is going to go away tomorrow. I may be handsome and beautiful today, that does not mean I will remain handsome and beautiful tomorrow. So, let me not be attached to this so-called comfortable position. They can be dragged out any time. Krishna says, just like summer and winter seasons come and go, similarly, you experience happiness and distress. So, Krishna says, be equal in happiness and distress. So, when you get this so-called happiness, don’t be over joyed. As we experience distress, don’t be disturbed. Because when you are practicing spiritual life you understand to treat these equally without being attached to either.

Each of these qualities can be discussed for hours and hour. We don’t have that time. I am just briefly discussing these qualities.

Then Krishna says, who is tolerant. Tolerance is it important? Who mentions this also? Lord Caitanya. Where? In the third verse of Siksastaka. Krishnadas Kaviraj says, the third verse is so important: tie it down around your neck. Or in other words, understand importance of practicing the meaning of this verse. Now Lord Caitanya wants us to become more tolerant than a tree. Why is a tree considered tolerant? Tree remains undisturbed in any condition. When it is too hot you a running to an air-conditioned room. When it is rain, you use an umbrella or hide somewhere. When it is too cold you seat next to a heater. Does a tree do that also? In summer you put an air-conditioner next to the tree? Or you maybe put a fan near it? In the rainy season you put an umbrella above the tree? Tree tolerates the rain, tolerates the sun, tolerates the cold. So a tree is the example of tolerance. Some people may say, tree has no consciousness. That’s wrong. Trees do have consciousness. Many years ago I read in a Canadian newspaper, there was one research in Britain, it showed that trees can communicate to each other. They emit a particular type of air.

So, we as devotees, often get tested. Sometimes we get challenges on the devotional path. Sometimes we have to meet great obstacles on the devotional path. Sometimes we get humiliated. We may not have done anything wrong, still someone comes and chastises you. So, what do you do? Tooth for tooth? Is this the best formula? Tolerance is better. Scriptures say, tolerate it.

Than always satisfied, santusta. A devotee is always satisfied. In happiness and distress, he is always satisfied. In the Fourth Canto you read about Narada Muni’s instructions to the Pracetas. In that Narada Muni gives three-point formula how to please the Lord. What is the three-point formula? Dayaya sarva bhutesu. Be merciful to every living entity. Next is santusta eva kevala. Be satisfied in any condition. So, once you realize that the Supreme Lord is the controller, than you will be satisfied in any condition. In material life are people satisfies? You think the oligarchs in Russia are all satisfied? Who is the richest man in the world? Bill Gaits. Is he satisfied? No, no one is satisfied. Because if you are a devotee of the Lord you can be satisfied. Bali Maharaj asked from Lord Vamanadev three steps of land. Why did he ask that? You don’t look intelligent to Me. You don’t go to a big man, asking for something small, ask Me for something big. I can give you a whole planet. Bali Maharaj said, my dear Lord, one who has not conquered his mind and senses, will not be satisfied even if you give him the whole world. So, be satisfied. In material life, you see, tension is very high. People are greedy. They want more and more. And as a result, they get stress. So, be satisfied. Prabhupada was giving the example of the Goswamis of Vrindavan. Rupa had so much wealth that when he retired he had a whole boat of gold coins. But he distributed fifty percents amongst brahmanas. Twenty five percent he gave to his relatives. And twenty five he kept for future emergencies. And then in Vrindavan he lived by madhukari. But he was fully satisfied. So if you are serious and spiritually situated, you well be satisfied in any condition.

Then Krishna says, self-control. What does self-control mean? Controlling the mind, body, and senses. If you want spiritual life you have to have them under control. We need self-control.

Then engage in devotional service with determination. So, determination is the must for spiritual advancement. We discussed this point another day. It is just like in material life, unless you are determined, you won’t be successful. So, determination is nistha. And I was explaining yesterday how nistha comes by bhajana-kriya.

Then Krishna says, mind and intelligence fixed on Me. So, what do we do with the mind? Mind is a problem or no? Cancala manah, Krishna. Arjuna said, Krishna, to control the mind is more difficult then to control the wind. Then Arjuna says, the mind is turbulent inconstant, flickering. And even if Arjuna said that, is there any hope for us? Yes or no? What’s the hope? Krishna says, by the practice of devotional service, the mind will become steady. Just like when you chant your rounds attentively, study the books, follow the regulative principles, you will see, your mind will become steady. It is guaranteed. So, control the mind and intelligence. The spiritual life means the discipline of control. Fortunately, we have the weapons by which you can overcome strength of the illusory energy. Krishna says, daivi esa divya maya daivi maya duratyaya. To over this illusory energy is very difficult. But if you surrender to Me, then you can overcome. Then sometime you see, maya is very strong. Maya is strong, no doubt. But it is weaker than devotional service. So, if we surrender to the Supreme, you can get rid of maya.

So, in these two verses Krishna has listed many qualities that we should develop. And if you develop these qualities, what does Krishna say? You will become dear to Him. Do you still want to become dear to Krishna or already changed your mind? You have to pay a price. And attentive chanting of the holy name will help. So, please, endeavor, and if you endeavor Krishna will help. God help those who help themselves. When Krishna saw how Mother Yasoda tried to tie Him down, and gopis were laughing how she cannot tie her son. Then Krishna agreed to let His mother tie Him.

So, Krishna sees that we are trying to serve Him and understand Him, He gives us the intelligence by which we can come to Him. In Caitanya Caritamrita you read about the Lord describing the twenty six qualities of devotees. So, you see, when you read about these qualities you see that many of them get repeated, some of them are described in different words. A sincere devotee wants to be very humble. Just to develop these qualities. How do you develop them? Is there a magic formula? Is there a shortcut? Is there a guarantied path of happiness? What is the answer? Chant the holy name. So, chant your rounds nicely. There was a father who told his . “Son, you must chant sixteen rounds”. So, the next day he asked, “Have you chanted your rounds”? So, his son said, “Yes, I’ve chanted”. His father said, “So fast”? His son said the first bead I chanted the whole mantra. Then I said, “the same, the same, the same”. So, we don’t chant “the same” rounds. Sometimes we ask devotees, do your complete your rounds? They say, yes, but we really need to improve quality of your chanting. That’s the key for spiritual advancement. So, if you want to get dear to Krishna, you have to develop these qualities. And you need to get the strength to endeavor. And the strength will come from attentive chanting. So, chant your rounds every day without fail. This is you most important business. If you want to succeed spiritually this is necessary to build a strong foundation. Are you agree? How many of you are agree? It seems you are all pure devotees. Hare Krishna! Hare Krishna!

Okay! Any questions?

Q. You said in the class that we should chant attentively and it will create wonders in our lives. What does it mean to chant attentively?

A. As we explained several times before, at least when you chant sixteen rounds and twenty five on Ekadasi, try to concentrate on it and do nothing else. Pure chanting and hearing. Not that you are chanting japa and doing other things at the same time.

Q. In this purport Srila Prabhupada is saying that a devotee regards his sufferings as a result of his previous deeds, but in case of Arjuna, Krishna did not tell him to regard his problems as a result of his previous misdeeds. He told him to fight, to follow his duty. So, how to reconcile this seeming contradiction.

A. Arjuna was never miserable. He was always blissful. Arjuna did not feel that he was suffering. Arjuna was so renounced that he said, that let them take everything. You give me just five villages. He was completely renounced.

Q. We should work on increasing the quality of our chanting, but is possible to increase the quality of our chanting without developing the qualities that are mentioned in this verse?

A. As we improve the quality of our chanting, automatically, you will develop these qualities. Just like, when you are hungry, all parts of your body become week. But when you eat all body becomes strong. You don’t have to endeavor separately to develop these qualities. These good qualities will automatically come. Of course, you should be in knowledge of these qualities. Otherwise you can try very hard. Because if you try, just thinking I won’t be envious... But if you do chant properly the holy name you will be able to overcome envy.

Q. Who will be the next acarya in our line?

A. Prabhupada said, that all my disciples are my successors. All who are serious and following Prabhupada’s instructions. That’s why the Movement is expanding all over the world. Usually after disappearance of a Founder-acarya everything stops. But in ISKCON there is an explosion. Because Prabhupada’s followers were presenting Prabhupada’s instrucions.

Q. You said that Haridas Thakur was whipped at twenty two marketplaces But Krishna says that He comes to this world to protect the devotees and to annihilate demons. So, why did this happen to Haridas Thakur, and Lord Caitanya did not protect him? But we know that after Haridas Thakur died Lord Caitanya was dancing with his body.

A. Lord Caitanya did protect Haridas. He took all the blows on His body. He later told that to Haridas.