Lecture by His Holiness Candramauli Swami (download mp3), at the 2007 Gaura Purnima Festival, Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir, Mayapur, India.
ittham vrajan bharatam eva varsam
kalena yavad gatavan prabhasam
tavac chasasa ksitim eka cakram
ekatapatram ajitena parthah
TRANSLATION: Thus, when he was in the land of Bharatavarsa traveling to all the places of pilgrimage, he visited Prabhasaksetra. At that time Maharaja Yudhisthira was the emperor and held the world under one military strength and one flag.
PURPORT: More than five thousand years ago, while Saint Vidura was traveling the earth as a pilgrim, India was known as Bharatavarsa, as it is known even today. The history of the world cannot give any systematic account for more than three thousand years into the past, but before that the whole world was under the flag and military strength of Maharaja Yudhisthira, who was the emperor of the world. At present there are hundreds and thousands of flags flapping in the United Nations, but during the time of Vidura there was, by the grace of Ajita, Lord Krsna, only one flag. The nations of the world are very eager to again have one state under one flag, but for this they must seek the favor of Lord Krsna, who alone can help us become one worldwide nation. [End of purport]
Candramauli Swami: So here we are reading about the pilgrimage of Saint Vidura. Why was Vidura on pilgrimage? This is a very instructive point that is being played out here. Vidura was the uncle of Duryodhana and the brother of Dhrtarastra. As we have been hearing from previous verses, he was always the well-wisher of Dhrtarastra, and the whole family, in fact.
His advice was sought after in many cases on spiritual matters. But here, in this particular instance, Vidura's advice to Dhrtarastra fell on deaf ears. He explained how, "Dhrtarastra, you are old. It's about time you take up spiritual life. You've been defeated in battle. Everything is finished." But actually, he was criticized, he was blasphemed, and he was thrown out of the house.
That same house was the house were Lord Sri Krsna actually resided. He immediately took this as an opportunity to visit holy places. We might even say, from his point of view, to purify himself. The question came up, Lord Sri Krsna was there during that particular incident. Why didn't he take shelter of the Lord? Why did he choose to travel to different holy places? Not only for a few years, but actually, for thirty-three years he traveled to holy places. What was his motivation? Sri Krsna is the personification of all holy places.
But the point was made that actually because of his association with Dhrtarastra, and of course Duryodhana, he felt he had become sinful. He felt he had become contaminated. He felt that he was not able to approach the lotus feet of the Lord. So he was thinking, "Let me purify myself. Let me purify my heart, and in that way I will be able to approach the Lord." So he left.
The situation that he left under is explained as an interesting fact. He was actually trying to preach. He was actually the well-wisher of everyone. His motivation was simply to do good to Dhrtarastra and his family. He had no personal motivation. He had no personal interest. He was simply trying to help them by giving them direction, counsel, and spiritual knowledge.
But because Dhrtarastra was blind, it is explained that his blindness was not simply physical, that was one aspect of his blindness; he was actually spiritually blind also. He was attached. He was attached to his family members. He was attached to his sons, even though they were so nefarious, even though they had acted against the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
It's amazing. Dhrtarastra actually knew that the Pandavas were favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and he understood that. But still, he could not, because of his spiritual blindness, he couldn't act intelligently. He couldn't act properly. It's amazing how attachment can overshadow one's good intelligence, how attachment can overscome one's good intelligence. This is very, very instructive because sometimes we know it's right, but still, because of attachment, or let's say weakness of heart, not be able to make that proper decision still based on material attachments.
Material attachments go deep. The conditioned soul has been associating with the material energy for so many million lifetimes. We can't even trace out the sojourn of the living entity in the material world. It is explained that the living entity is called nitya-baddha. The word nitya means eternal and baddha means conditioned. So how is it possible that this term can apply to the conditioned soul? How it is possible to be eternally conditioned? It's not. Because we understand:
nitya-siddha-krsna-prema 'sadhya' kabhu naya sravanadi-suddha-citte karaye udaya
In the hearts of all living entities, eternal, loving relationship to the Supreme Personality of Godhead exists as one's constitutional nature. That love is ecstatic and eternal and completely fulfilling. Yet the conditioned soul, falling into the material world, has been so much conditioned that they cannot even trace out their conditioning. So that term nitya-baddha explains how the living entity becomes trapped by the material energy, even when given good advice.
Vidura was not someone coming from outside. Dhrtarastra wasn't seeking some advice or getting some advice imposed upon him by someone who was a stranger. He was a family member. He was a friend. And everyone respected Vidura, but still the attachment Dhrtarastra had, he couldn't hear. "I know it's right, but still I can't do it."
Prabhupada uses this simple example how you see people in the material world, they smoke cigarettes. On the package it says, the packages are really becoming like horror statements. You read some of these packages nowadays. Especially when you go through the airport in London, these big cigarette packages: "Smoking Kills", two words half the size of the package, "Smoking Kills". And they are selling more cigarettes now than they did before this type of advertisement came out. It's amazing. Isn't that amazing? They tell you. Of course there are subtitles like "Complications in pregnancies", so many other things, emphysema, so many things. Still the living entity cannot give up material attachments, so strong.
Here what is the real deep attachment? Family affection, it goes really deep. Sometimes we see in our Krsna consciousness society how families become interruptions to one's spiritual life. A devotee will try to take to Krsna consciousness, family members will try to bring them back. So many incidents like that.
There was one incident in Bombay. Of course in India, family attachments are a little different than Western countries because the families are closer knit. In the West, families are not. Because of the sociological and somewhat political situation, families have a tendency to be more divided because of these aspects. The Vedic culture and tradition gives the Indian families a stronger sense of bondage and responsibility upon each other.
I remember in Bombay, a young man wanted to join the temple. He came and he was there. His mother, she didn't like it. She came to the temple and she demanded that her son come back.
He didn't want to come back. So there was a light fixture hanging down from the ceiling. She said, "If you don't come back, I'm going to stick my finger in that light socket." In other words, "I am going to give up my life right now." Phew!
So the boy came back. He actually came back because his mother seemed like she was really, really serious. He went home, stayed for a little while, but because of his attachment to Krsna consciousness, he came back again. And again his mother came. Again she threatened, but this time, nobody paid any attention. She was really bluffing. But see what family members can do to destroy one's spiritual life and how others will take to family life.
We have the opposite example in our society. His Holiness Giriraja Maharaja, his father, he was a wealthy, wealthy high court judge in a local district of Chicago, USA. He was a millionaire. When he [Giriraja Maharaja] joined the Hare Krsna movement, he lost contact with his family.
At one time, his mother and his father came to India to see him. Prabhupada was also there. They were begging, they were asking Prabhupada, "Can you please send our son back?"
Prabhupada said, "He is independent, he can do whatever he likes." Prabhupada didn't say one way or the other. "He can do whatever he likes."
Giriraja was there, but he wasn't willing to go. Then his father offered one million dollars, if I could have my son back.
Giriraja swami said, "Nope!" So he stayed, they went back, it went on.
Just about five years ago, just before his father left the world, again he came. He offered this time again, to his son directly, one million dollars, "Come back and be normal again." Be like us, normal, watch television, so many normal things that people do, but he was so fixed in his Krsna consciousness that he considered that one million dollars just a disturbance. So this is the ideal example, but here we have the opposite example how that attachment, Dhrtarastra couldn't.
So Vidura, he just left. It is said when you give good instructions to a fool or you give good instructions to a person who is envious, Dhrtarastra was envious of the Pandavas. He saw the Pandavas as his competitors. Although the Pandavas loved him and took care of him, still because of his attachment to his son, Duryodhana, he considered the Pandavas his enemy.
So Vidura's instructions were like Prabhupada uses the example of giving milk to a serpent. Milk is a very nice substance. Prabhupada said all nutritional qualities are found in milk. But given to a snake, it becomes poisonous. That same milk cannot be taken. Otherwise, it will cause poisonous effect. So Vidura just left.
Prabhupada says the internal energy was working in two ways in this particular situation. For Duryodhana and for Dhrtarastra, it was the external energy, but for Vidura it was the internal energy. He saw that this is Krsna's arrangement: "Here is an opportunity for me to actually take up Krsna consciousness in full determination."
This is very instructive. Krsna says, "One who sees me in everything and everything in me, I am never lost, nor is that person ever lost to me." So a devotee tries to see Krsna in all situations. Therefore a devotee is fearless. He knows that by executing his devotional service according to the instructions of the spiritual master, then whatever happens is the arrangement by the Lord to teach, to purify, or to facilitate, in one way, a devotee's purification. Sometimes a person will get sick. Sometimes a person's desire will not be fulfilled. But sometimes we can see this may be Krsna's arrangement for some higher principle.
We use the example, they say this in the West: Every cloud has a silver lining. Silver lining is supposed to be the auspicious omen that circles the black cloud. This means there is something good that is about to happen because of what appears to be negative. Someone asked Prabhupada, I remember there was a morning walk conversation, Prabhupada was talking about this.
A devotee said, "This principle that every cloud has a silver lining does that apply in all cases?"
Prabhupada said, "No." He said, "No." He said, "For the materialist it doesn't apply. For them a cloud is simply a cloud because they're on the wrong path."
They are looking towards the material energy as a source of happiness, as a source of success. So when they somehow or other their desires are unfulfilled, what does it mean? Are they going to give up? No, they are going to try different ways to fulfill their same desires. Unless they become so beaten down by the same material energy that they wake up and look towards spiritual life, but in general, for a materialist it doesn't lead. But for a devotee, it does. A devotee always tries to see Krsna in everything because he knows that Krsna actually is arranging everything.
Vidura had that consciousness and he left. He took the opportunity to visit various holy places. Here, this whole theme is being played again in another aspect. He is traveling from one holy place to another. Prabhupada goes into the last few purports describing what is the proper consciousness of a devotee when coming to a holy place.
So what is the proper consciousness? Prabhupada says to come to a holy place simply to take bath, to just visit the holy place is not really experiencing the holy place. One should hear from saintly persons, one should worship the Lord that is worshiped in that holy place with devotion, and one should engage in some practical devotional service.
Visiting holy places is one of the nine principles of bhakti. There are nine principles and one of them is pada-sevanam, worshipping the lotus feet of the Lord. So when we come to a holy place, we are actually performing this particular aspect of bhakti, we are worshipping the Lord's Dham.
The Dham is non-different from the Lord, especially Sri Dham Mayapur, very special Dham. It is explained that all the other Dhams, due to the influence of Kali-yuga, gradually start to develop a materialistic covering over their pure, spiritual nature. It is very difficult to perceive unless one is very highly, highly, highly spiritually advanced. The material energy cannot affect holy places, but for one who does not have that vision, it appears to.
There was one time, one man, he heard about Vrindavan Dham. He was living in Germany. He decided to go visit Vrindavan Dham. He had been reading about Vedic culture, about spiritual culture, he had read that Vrindavan Dham is the essence of all the holy places. So he traveled all the way from Germany, took a train to Delhi, somehow went from Delhi to Mathura. Gradually, as he was seeing the countryside, he was thinking, "Holy place?" When he finally got to Vrindavan, he started to see dogs, hogs, so many unpleasant sights, apparently. He never made it to Vrindavan, he turned around and went back. He said, "This is not a holy place." Simply having material vision.
In Kali-yuga, things become more and more difficult. I was just in Vrindavan last week. Dina Bandhu Prabhu made a statement, he said, "Vrindavan's becoming a little like Bombay." Especially in front of the temple, traffic and horns and so many things. Peaceful atmosphere is being challenged in a very strong way. Of course the Dham remains the Dham. It always does.
But one thing about Mayapur Dham, and this is a statement, that this particular Dham, as Kali-yuga increases, it become more and more revealed. It becomes more and more revealed. Sri Dham Mayapur has been given the special, special blessings of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and his associates. As Kali-yuga continues, people will see this Dham more and more. People will come from all over the world to take shelter. Prabhupada said, "Sri Dham Mayapur, this is our home." This is our home. He said, "When you come here, you're home." This is our home. This is as good as the spiritual world.
Prabhupada was giving a lecture in America back in the '70's. He was in Gainesville, Florida. I don't know how many people, most Americans know about Gainesville, maybe a few others. Gainesville, Florida is right near the Alachua community there, one of the biggest communities in America. So Prabhupada was preaching. At that time there was a small temple. Prabhupada said, "Here we are in Gainesville, Florida, in this very remote corner of the world, so far from Sri Dham Mayapur." Prabhupada was seeing that Mayapur was the center of the world. For Americans to think of Gainesville as remote, that's like heresy. [Chuckles.] It's like making really a strong statement to challenge the American consciousness.
Prabhupada understood this is the center of the world. So this Sri Dham Mayapur is the holy place of all holy places. While we are here, we should take shelter of hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. In Sri Dham Mayapur, the essence of Krsna conscious development is harinama-sankirtana, chanting the Holy Names of the Lord. That harinama-sankirtana has become even more powerful and even more glorious when it is performed in this place. When devotees chant and dance with enthusiasm, there is no difference between the spiritual world and the actual Sri Dham Mayapur through the chanting and dancing of the Holy Name. So this is the glory of Sri Dham Mayapur.
So we've come to this very special place. Don't waste time. It's not that we just come and visit, purchase a few things, look at the scenery, meet a few friends, and go back. Take part in the programs, dive deeply into chanting and hearing, visit the holy places, and associate with devotees in the proper mood.
Coming to the holy place actually means keep Krsna consciousness the focus; no time for gossip, no time for prajalpa, no time for things are unrelated to devotional service. Leave that behind. If we leave it all behind, when we go back after experiencing the essence of the bliss, the absorption in Krsna consciousness, when we come back to our respective areas, whatever consciousness we left with will be increased in a positive way. We'll see our environment in a different way. We'll become more and more enthusiastic to become more and more Krsna conscious in our present environment. The dham has so many wonderful benefits.
And Vidura, he is absorbed. He is going from one place to another. Prabhupada makes an interesting point in this purport. So far I haven't even mentioned the purport yet. I guess you're wondering when I'm going to get to the purport. Prabhupada talks about how the whole world was under one rule. There are so many nations now, there are so many so many countries, Prabhupada said, "United Nations, so many flags." At that time, it was just Maharaja Yudhisthira, he was the emperor of the entire world.
People are hankering for peace, they are hankering for unity, at least honest and decent people are. Sometimes we question our leaders, what is actually their motivation. Some of them are motivated in the right way, but in the wrong direction. If you are going ninety miles an hour in the wrong direction, you go to hell faster. It is important not only to go with the right motivation, but in the right direction. The world at that time, Prabhupada says, it was under one flag. It was Krsna conscious.
Now there are so many flags, so many states. They try to make some kind of unity, but there is no unity because the unity that the materialistic people try is that they have to destroy diversity. They have to destroy diversity because as long as there is diversity, from their perspective, there is no unity because everyone sees themselves as the center. So what is the common bondage? There is none.
The real unity in diversity is to keep Krsna in the center or to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the supreme aspect in all situations:
yat karosi yad asnasi yaj juhosi dadasi yat yat tapasyasi kaunteya tat kurusva mad-arpanam
Krsna says everything you do, everything you do, everything you offer, everything, your whole life should be focused on Krsna consciousness, on religious principles. This is real unity. Even in our day to day dealings with devotees, always keep Krsna consciousness, religious principles in the center. In that way, everything will be for the better.
So here we are in this holy place of Sri Dham Mayapur. We have the wonderful opportunity to dive deeply into Krsna consciousness. Take the dust of the holy place, associate with devotees, and hear and chant the glories of the Lord. This is the essence of Krsna consciousness. It is said throughout the scriptures that this is the essence of Krsna consciousness. By hearing about Krsna, we chant about Krsna. When we chant about Krsna sufficiently, then we remember Krsna. And when we remember Krsna, that is the goal of life because actually that is the ultimate principle: to always remember Krsna, not when it is easy, or not when it is part of the way I usually do it. Always remember Krsna.
The Visnu Purana says, this is a very interesting statement, sometimes one might hear such strong statements, it says that what is the greatest anomaly, what is the greatest catastrophe, what is the greatest mistake? To forget the Supreme Personality of Godhead for one moment. That is from the Visnu Purana. One second. How many times do we forget Krsna? I know I don't remember Krsna all day.
But here in the Dham, the facility to remember Krsna is given a very, very powerful way. So purify our consciousness by hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. Believe me, whatever problems you have, whatever anxieties you have, whatever difficulties you have all become solved within that principle of always remembering Krsna because Krsna does everything else. He makes everything easily understood.
OK, so we have about ten minutes. Any questions, comments.
Q: Prabhupada said, "Vrindavan is my home, Bombay is my office, and Mayapur is my place of worship." Could you clarify that for me?
A: You want me to give a purport to that? I don't know if I'm qualified to give a complete purport on it because Prabhupada's statements are very deep, but Bombay, the place of office, the place of preaching. When you speak about office, you speak about preaching. What was Prabhupada's work? His work was preaching. He wanted to spread Krsna consciousness in Bombay. If he could make the city of Bombay Krsna conscious, that would spread throughout India. Same Prabhupada said in America, if we can make New York Krsna consciousness, we can make the rest of the society Krsna conscious, or we can make the Americans Krsna conscious.
As far as home, Prabhupada resided in Vrindavan five or six years before he actually took up his mission to come to the Western world. Prabhupada considered this home. It is the appearance place, the janmasthana of Lord Sri Krsna. The pure devotee sees the Lord's home in that same way. He wants to take shelter of the home of the Lord.
Place of worship, in this age, we worship Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Panca Tattva. We approach Radha and Krsna through Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In fact, that is the only way we can approach Radha Krsna in this age.
I'm sure there is much more purport to that. Yes, Prabhu, would you like to add something?
Ah, well Prabhupada said that in that one statement. He was referring to the devotees in general. In other words, this is the home of our ISKCON society, Sri Dham Mayapur, the home of the ISKCON society. This is the headquarters worldwide.
Visuddha-sattva Prabhu: Maybe you can clarify that. Whatever Prabhupada said is completely transcendental, but Prabhupada said Vrindavan is my home, also Prabhupada said Mayapur is my home. Prabhupada said, "I live eternally in my bhajan kutir in Radha Damodara." This we will take as Prabhupada's transcendental home is Vrindavan. Also, Mayapur is non-different from Vrindavan, those who have the vision. But he said the home of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness is Mayapur.
Candramauli Swami: That was the reference in that case. He was referring to our ISKCON society as a worldwide organization. He said this is our headquarters for the entire world. This is where Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared. It is mentioned in Caitanya-caritamrta that the flood of love of God, which will overcome the entire world, begins here. It flows through the many tributaries out and gradually inundated the whole world with the devotion, or with the love of God.
Any other questions? Yes, Prabhu?
Q: Thanks for the wonderful class, Maharaja. We heard in the class, Dhrtarastra, even after knowing that Pandavas are under the protection of Krsna, he didn't really understand that. Even we in our lives, after hearing so much that attachment is not good for the soul, still it's difficult to give up. So our conditioning is so intense, so how to overcome?
'sadhu-sanga' 'sadhu-sanga'-sarva-sastre kaya lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
This is the most powerful way: associating with saintly persons and hearing from them, and at the same time, engaging in the process of devotional service. The association of great souls can immediately destroy one's attachments, if that association is of the ultimate perfection, if we associate in the right consciousness.
Prabhupada was traveling and he stopped in Japan, I think, Tokyo. It was overnight. He was changing planes. One man he met at the airport, Prabhupada talked to him. He told him, "Start a center here in Tokyo." The man, first time he met Prabhupada, took it serious. He actually went out and began a center. This is the power of saintly association. Of course that person's consciousness was also in the right way.
How do we understand? We have to hear for a long time. Prabhupada was asked that question about this verse 'sadhu-sanga', 'sadhu-sanga'. How is it that we are associating and we are not getting purified, or it appears we are not becoming fully purified?
Prabhupada said, "When the wood is wet, then it has to dry out before it can ignite." We may still be somewhat deep in attachment, so we have to continue to hear for a long time and associate with great souls and continue the process of hearing. When the consciousness becomes somewhat purified, then one can give up the attachment.
Still we should try to understand the nature of material attachments, simply by intellectual understanding, philosophical knowledge that material attachments lead to suffering. They also lead us away from Krsna. By that intelligence, we should very carefully try to remove ourselves from these attachments. Gradually, by the external activity of distancing ourselves from that, and by the purification of heart that comes from hearing and chanting, that attachment can be destroyed. Both are necessary.
If we are doing one, if we are hearing and chanting, but we are still engaging in the same activity, it is very slow. And if we are just trying to give it up but we are not hearing and chanting, then it is all external. It is artificial because the living entity is by nature ananda, we always look for pleasure. We have to find that pleasure on the spiritual platform. So associate with saintly persons, hear from them, and carefully try to give up one's attachments.
Q: You mentioned that Vidura went on a pilgrimage because he felt unqualified to meet Lord Krsna, so he wanted to purify himself first. But we know that Prabhupada also encouraged that to approach the Lord is the best means to get purified.
Candramauli Swami: So here we are in a holy place. We are being purified. That is what we are doing. We come to the holy place to become more and more purified. As we become more and more purified, we can approach the Lord.
We are looking and we are seeing Sri Sri Radha Madhava. That is Krsna in Vrindavan, but do we see Krsna in Vrindavan? If you have that consciousness, then you have reached perfection. Are we seeing sometimes or not completely? How much of Krsna are we actually experiencing? Coming to a holy place purifies our heart more and more if we engage in the activities. Gradually we can actually approach the Lord.
Just like our worship is in the mood of Laksmi Narayana. We worship the Lord in opulence, with awe and reverence, but Krsna in Vrindavan we don't. That mood is the mood that Krsna is either subordinate or equal. Krsna is a beautiful, loving boy in Vrindavan. Everyone sees him as the essence of their life in all aspects. That mood of Vrindavan, they don't worship Krsna as the Supreme Lord, but as the beautiful boy of Vrindavan. So as we become purified, Krsna reveals himself more and more and more.
Any other questions?
OK, thank you very much for your kind attention.
Srila Prabhupada ki jai!