And naturally, the second time around it is all not so frightening any more, and the diagnose of cancer is not as shattering. Indeed, it feels good to get a little reminder every ten years that time is gradually running out.
I remember, one year I was with Sacinandana Maharaj and a whole group of devotees on a boat, sailing in Danish waters. Maharaj gave this seminar about Krsna’s sweetness. It was all about Krsna being so sweet, looks so sweet… and this sweet and that sweet… and at one point, it just got too sweet for me.
Having a bad character and being not sweet myself, when things get too sweet, I cannot handle the sweetness. So, I spoke after Maharaj and I said, “Well, I very much appreciate the presentation of Sacinandana Maharaj but I have one little question. Why is it that in the Middle Ages, one third of the world population died of the Black plague? Why is that just a decade ago, in three days, five million people were killed in Rwanda? In one night in Bangladesh, five hundred thousand people drowned? Where is your sweet Krsna in the middle of all that? Is that sweet also?“
So I asked him, how is Krsna so sweet? I remember that he rolled-up the sleeves of his sweater and he even loosened his scarf. He was getting serious and philosophically explained how even this is sweet, bitter sweet! Because ultimately, the sweetness of Krsna means that Krsna will leave no stone unturned. Krsna is not a passive Lord who is just seated on a throne, accepting our offerings – another golden plate with beautiful fruits, “Bless, bless…” No. That is not Krsna. Krsna is the one who, out of his sweetness, is destroying our material life. As death he destroys everything. He acts as a destroyer – very sweet. Simply because Krsna cannot wait.
To the degree we forget Krsna and Srila Prabhupada, to that degree we feel lonely. Even after receiving and sustaining in our MIND the information about Their presence, our HEART may still not be satisfied due to lack of active relationship to the Supreme Lord and His pure representative. This relationship can be only reactivated by active devotional service, service to the mission of Srila Prabhupada.
As our heart is not completely filled with love of Godhead and love for His pure devotee, a vacuum so created establishes a need to be fulfilled elsewhere.
This leads even after many years of practicing “theoretical Krsna consciousness” to falldown as the feeling of loneliness becomes more and more intolerable. After all, the nature of the soul is never to be alone.
“From the life of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, an intelligent person engaged in pure devotional service can understand that He always felt separation from Krsna within Himself. In that separation He sometimes felt that He had found Krsna and was enjoying the meeting. The significance of this separation and meeting is very specific. If someone tries to understand the exalted position of Lord Caitanya without knowing this, he is sure to misunderstand it. One must first become fully self realized. Otherwise he may misidentify the Lord as nagara, or the enjoyer of the damsels of Vraja, thus committing the mistake of rasabhasa, or overlapping understanding.”
(CC Adi 4.106, Purport)
The gauranga-nagaris are quite prominent in Bengal and Bangladesh. Outwardly, they appear as regular Bengali Vaisnavas, but there is a subtle sahajiya contamination in their conception of Lord Caitanya’s mood of devotion. Thus their position is strongly refuted by the acaryas of the Gaudiya Vaisnava sampradaya, even though other aspects of this sect may seem praiseworthy: like staunch Vaisnavas, they wear tilaka and neck beads, are good kirtana performers and strictly abstain from flesh and fish.
The need is self-evident, unfortunately not to many. Either in name of imaginary transcendental progress or in name of mayavada based declaration of oneness and “unity”, the conditioned soul likes not to look into the mirror and agree on ones acquired conditioning. And so we run into the risk to become grhasta-sannyasis and sannyasi-grhastas, homely brahmacaries of ugra-tapas grhastas, ending in entirely disturbed situations, causing pain to so many other living entities.
Even most intimate associates of the Lord place themselves while performing their lilas into exemplary varna and dharma designated positions in order to teach the conditioned souls how to live a disciplined life while aiming towards the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. And whenever, like at the beginning of Bhagava-gita, a devotee THINKS to serve in a self-designated position, the Lord rectifies him instantly.
As He declares a faulty but honest servant to be superior to a self-designated hypocrite, a devote naturally strives for a position where he doesn’t disturb His master by illusory concepts about himself and his bodily destined situation.
In Srimad-Bhagavatam, the same question was asked by King Pariksit to Sukadeva Gosvami. Sukadeva Gosvami replied that even great persons who are free from false ego and selfish material motivations sometimes act in apparent contradiction to the laws of piety yet are not subject to sinful reactions; how, then, can the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme creator of all living beings and everything that exists, have any connection with the piety and impiety that affects His subordinate creations?
Sukadeva Gosvami further explained that even the Lord’s pure devotees are never entangled in material activities, for they find transcendental pleasure in the service of His lotus feet; how, then, can there be any question of bondage for the Lord Himself, who assumes His transcendental forms according to His own sweet will? He is the Paramatma in the hearts of the gopis and their husbands and indeed within all living beings. The Subala Upanisad says:
Here is an interesting account from the Visnu Purana regarding auspiciousness of otherwise inauspicious things.
Kali yuga is considered to be the worst of the four ages (satya, treta, dvapara and kali) for 3/4 of religious principles are abandoned, and there is a decline in all sattvic qualities of men. It is known as the age of quarrel, hypocrisy and misfortune. “O learned one, in this iron age of Kali men almost always have but short lives. They are quarrelsome, lazy, misguided, unlucky and, above all, always disturbed.” (SB 1.1.10). But still, in spite of all the bad qualities, by the Lord’s mercy, the process of self realization is so easy. Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta sanga param vrajet, “My dear King, although Kali-yuga is an ocean of faults, there is still one good quality about this age: Simply by chanting the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, one can become free from material bondage and be promoted to the transcendental kingdom.” (SB 12.3.51)
Similarly the sudras are considered the lowest of four classes (brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras) in Vedic varnasrama system, being conditioned by the mode of ignorance and thus unfit to study Vedas. Nevertheless Lord’s mercy is not out of their reach, moreover, without taking much responsibility, as higher classes do, sudras can attain the very same merit simply by serving them (other higher three classes).
Srila Prabhupada taught us that Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was the Supreme Personality of Godhead appearing as His own devotee on earth five hundred years ago. Krsna as Lord Caitanya tasted the bliss that Srimati Radharani experienced in loving Him and simultaneously distributed that prema to the jivas of the material realm. On the strength of Srila Prabhupada’s own conviction; on the strength of the several Vedic evidences he quoted; on the strength of the Gaudiya-Vaisnava acaryas’ opinions and on the realization which comes from chanting and participating in the Sankirtana Movement-some devotees have been fortunate enough to receive faith in the divinity of Lord Caitanya.
Others however, are doubtful. First there are those who doubt that someone appearing so much like an ordinary man could be God incarnate. Secondly there are those who worship their own elected “avataras” or “incarnations” as God. Thirdly there are those who simply don’t know. All of these are in trouble by not recognizing Lord Caitanya’s unique position.
In this article we shall present many astounding verses from the 5,000 year old Vedic literature which leave no doubt as to who the incarnation of God is in the age of Kali. Some of these verses are well-known because Srila Prabhupada used them repeatedly and some of these passages are new to us. We are grateful to Sriman Kusakratha Prabhu for uncovering these many scriptural jewels which de-vastate doubts as easily as a Florida hurricane knocks down trees. If you would like to delight your audience on Gaura-purnima day, read the following article to them with a loud, clear voice.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught that if you want to cry for Krsna, then no more crying for this material world. Hare Krsna. If you can once learn how to cry for Krsna, then you will no more cry for this material world. That is Vedanta. Try to feel separation for Krsna, then you won’t feel separation from this nonsense material world. Everyone is suffering or hankering. Either hankering… One who hasn’t got, he is hankering, and one who has but lost it, he is lamenting. This is the activity. But Krsna consciousness means once you hanker after Krsna, there will be no more lamentation. Here the lamentation is, “I could not find Krsna,” not that “I have lost Krsna.” First of all get Krsna; then there is question of loss. But once you get, there is no more loss. That is Krsna consciousness. Once you get Krsna, there is no more loss; you get it forever, and you enjoy with Krsna in perfection. This is Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s philosophy.
From Srila Prabhupada’s lecture, Panca-tattva Deity Installation – Hawaii, Unknown date
Unfortunately instruction manuals on this issue written in the past are presently not available to me, but they surely contained a lot of good advice regarding the daily realities a devotee who accepts managerial responsibility has to face.
Sometimes devotees tend to reach out into the material world for help on how to successfully manage large groups of people. Such books are of little use for a manager in Krsna consciousness as Srila Prabhupada’s movement is conducted under very different conditions compared to movements in the “ordinary” karmi world.
Srila Prabhupada would warn his disciples in managerial positions in letters to them that his movement is a movement based on preaching and on VOLUNTARY contribution of those who responded to the call of the sastras and surrendered their lives to the Supreme Lord. No karmi has to face such a responsibility as in the material world a material reward for ones contributions is always expected, either in form of money or in form of name fame and glory.