Lecture by His Grace Anuttama Prabhu (download mp3), at the 2007 Gaura Purnima Festival in Mayapur, India.
yada sabhayam kuru-deva-devyah
kesabhimarsam suta-karma garhyam
na varayam asa nrpah snusayah
svasrair harantyah kuca-kunkumani
TRANSLATION: The King did not forbid his son Duhsasana's abominable action of grabbing the hair of Draupadi, the wife of the godly King Yudhisthira, even though her tears washed the red dust on her breast.
dyute tv adharmena jitasya sadhoh
satyavalambasya vanam gatasya
na yacato 'dat samayena dayam
tamo-jusano yad ajata-satroh
TRANSLATION: Yudhisthira, who was born without any enemy, was unfairly defeated in gambling. But because he had taken the vow of truthfulness, he went off to the forest. When he came back in due course and begged the return of his rightful share of the kingdom, he was refused by Dhrtarastra, who was overwhelmed by illusion.
PURPORT: Maharaja Yudhisthira was the rightful heir to his father's kingdom. But just to favoUr his own sons, headed by Duryodhana, Dhrtarastra, Maharaja Yudhisthira's uncle, adopted various unfair means to cheat his nephews of their rightful share of the kingdom. At last the Pandavas demanded only five villages, one for each of the five brothers, but that was also refused by the usurpers. This incident led to the War of Kuruksetra. The Battle of Kuruksetra, therefore, was induced by the Kurus, and not the Pandavas. As ksatriyas, the proper livelihood of the Pandavas was only to rule, and not to accept any other occupation. A brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya will not accept employment for his livelihood under any circumstances. [end of purport]
When I come to Mayapur every year, I always can't help but remember sitting in various places and chanting or listening to class, all of the Vaisnavas who have come and some gone either physically or spiritually in this lifetime from our view. I would like to pause and give thanks to all of those devotees who all of us owe great gratitude for for the work that they did in building this temple, paying for this temple, installing and worshipping these Deities, preaching to many of us who were very young devotees so that we can be here today. Without those persons, even though some of them may not today be active in devotional service, without their kindness and sacrifices, many of us would not be here. So to them, Hare Krsna.
So this is an interesting character study laid out here of the two personalities of Dhrtarastra and Yudhisthira. In the two verses several statements are made about Yudhisthira and about Dhrtarastra. So first of all it is explained that Dhrtarastra offended Draupadi by not forbidding the offence committed to her and he did it even despite the fact that she was crying. She was vulnerable and even she was calling out for protection but still he allowed this offence to go on. He allowed the unfair gambling match, robbing the Pandavas of their kingdom, and he refused the request of Yudhisthira even after they had gone away for so long to the forest, he refused their request, being overwhelmed by illusion. This is Dhrtarastra's nature in a nutshell.
Then Yudhisthira is described in these two verses: he has no enemy, he was godly, he was truthful, and even though he shouldn't have in one sense, he didn't need to, because of his conviction, his dedication to the vow of truthfulness, he went to the forest and underwent so much difficulty.
So these are the two natures described in the verse. And in the purport Prabhupada explains a little bit more: Dhrtarastra used unfair means to cheat the Pandavas. He was a cheater, it was his nature and he used unfair means. And it was he who actually induced the war due to his behaviour and his inability to intercede in his evil son's plans. Yudhisthira was such an exalted soul, he was willing to accept even five villages. Prabhupada explained that not even that they wanted the five villages, but it is their duty as ksatriyas, they cannot accept employment from someone else, they have to administer something. So even that was driven out of their desire to act properly according to dharma. And when they came back from their exile, Yudhisthira only asked for their rightful share.
Such a contrast in personalities is given here and it gives us some insight, we can understand the importance of proper character and proper behaviour of a devotee of the Lord and of a pure-hearted person who is endeavouring to become a devotee of the Lord.
In one sense Yudhisthira and Dhrtarastra are exact opposites, but in another sense they're actually very similar. If we look at their circumstances, they both had some relationship with Krsna, close or far, they both had some relationship to that exalted family. They both were kings. They both were wealthy. They both were powerful. They both came from honourable lineages. They both had full opportunity to hear from great personalities, they had the opportunity to serve great personalities, and to choose to act properly.
One made the right choice; the other made the wrong choice. Thus in history, King Yudhisthira is glorified, whereas Dhrtarastra is condemned. Later we know by the mercy of his brother he was redeemed, but basically one is seen as great and good and one is seen as the personification of evil, or at least foolishness and weakness in his inability to stand up to the evil of his son. Therefore, they chose two different paths. Same opportunity, same position, two different choices. One chose to act in a particular way, one chose to act in a different way.
Yesterday, in Ambarisa Prabhu's class, he quoted Prabhupada saying to all of us that devotees should be perfect gentlemen and ladies. This is in a sense telling us or instructing us that we should be careful that we are following the path of Yudhisthira and not the path of Dhrtarastra. We should also be very careful to understand what is our character, what type of characteristics are we developing or what characteristics are we trying to undevelop, most of us. What is our new set of characteristics, what set of habits are we trying to develop, what set of behaviour are we trying to develop.
Prabhupada is instructing us to be perfect ladies and gentlemen. Perfect ladies and gentleman act as Yudhisthira did even when tempted. When Dhrtarastra was tempted, out of his illusion, out of excessive affection for his son, he made the wrong choice. How many times was he reminded and admonished by his brother and others: "You're making the wrong choice, you're going to ruin your reputation and family, don't do that!" He'd say, "Yes, yes, yes." Words are cheap. But usually by the morning he would make the wrong choice again.
Yudhisthira was continuously tempted, of course we have the one example of his frailty in the gambling match (that was the rare exception) continually made the right choice. Even when he made the wrong choice, because of his vow of truthfulness, he accepted gracefully the reaction to that mistake. They went into the forest: "Yes, OK, I knew I had this weakness, I made a mistake, I accept the reaction." This was the difference in their two types of behaviour.
Also Ambarisa Prabhu was describing how Srila Prabhupada was--he used a beautiful word--he said Prabhupada was so charming. He charmed people by his presence. More than just being a gentleman or lady who does it because one is supposed to, it's just a spontaneous loving behaviour and loving character that everyone who comes into contact with that person is attracted to that person and charmed by them, feels cared for by them, wants to be with them, wants to be like them, wants to take shelter of them. This beautiful description he gave us yesterday of Prabhupada's characteristics.
So all of us are here in Mayapur because we are Prabhupadanugas. We are trying to become servants of Prabhupada, we are trying to be followers of Prabhupada. And the even heavier burden, we are trying represent Prabhupada. We do represent Prabhupada whether we acknowledge it or not or like it or not, people look at us and to one extent or another they consider "Well, if you're a follower of Prabhupada, whatever you do must reflect what he is like."
How many of us have met in different parts of the world, you can change the denomination, sometimes we meet very arrogant Christians and it makes us think pretty ill of Christianity. We think, "If that is what Christians are like, I'd rather go to hell personally, [chuckles] I don't want to be with those guys.
There are different organizations where their followers are understood worldwide as being aggressive, very obnoxious, and very full of themselves. And most people, even scholars who study them, think these people are, to use Prabhupada's words, rascals. Who wants to be like them? You are turned off by the people that supposedly represent the tradition.
So here it's being taught to us the qualities of a devotee so that we can develop that. We need to be careful in our own spiritual practice to develop the qualities and habits and behaviour of a devotee so that we also can somehow help attract people to Krsna consciousness. Certainly that's not the only way people are attracted but it's a very important way that people are attracted to Krsna consciousness or turned away from Krsna consciousness, that we represent the pure devotee of the Lord and that we try to reflect, to manifest, to be a medium of that.
Sometimes there's a tendency among us, just as we can imagine Dhrtarastra, in his long nights of darkness sitting in his palace agonizing over what choice to make. . . it wasn't that he didn't have the information. He had the information, Vidura was always there up to the end in his ear. "Dhrtarastra, I'm telling you don't do it. I know what you're thinking, don't do it. Here's what's going to happen."
And he loved his brother so he would listen to him. You can just imagine the torment of his soul, but again he kept making the wrong choices. In the long run he was thinking, "Yes, I know that's what I'm supposed to do but I've got better reasons to do something else. Vidura, quiet. That little voice in the back of my mind telling me I don't think that's the right way to do it, be quiet. I have other priorities and I have a choice to make."
Sometimes as devotees we're tempted in that same way, but we should remember that because I'm a devotee it really matters how I act. Sometimes we think maybe with devotees it does matter, but with "ordinary people" it doesn't matter how I act. Sometimes we hear devotees use the word karmi in a pejorative way, like second class people. But we all have to remember where we come from. We chose to come into this world of fruitive activities, so we are karmis trying to become devotees. Ultimately it's described in so many places in the sastra we are all devotees. Our vision should be, as Prabhupada's was (or he wouldn't have wasted any time with any of us) that everyone is a devotee and they've forgotten. And our job is to try to help elevate them. And part of that, as explained here, is the need to act properly and to represent the Lord and his pure devotee properly. If we think it doesn't matter how we act, then we're actually contradicting sastra.
There are many places in the sastra describing the qualities of a devotee, I'll just choose two from Bhagavad-gita, one well known. I'll just read the English. Prabhupada said our society is meant for making brahamanas, so what is a brahmana? Krsna says:
"Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty (that's sometimes a tough one in Kali-yuga. It's supposed to be the last leg; sometimes it's hard to see if it's still there), knowledge, wisdom and religiousness-these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work." (Jai Sri Sri Radha Madhava ki jai.)
Again: peacefulness, self-control, austerity. . . notice these are all qualities, these are behaviours. You can act in a peaceful way, you can act in a self-controlled way, you can act in an austere way. They're not just descriptions, they're behavioural. They have to be manifested in the physical platform, in our speech, in our thoughts. Tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness.
Another verse in the Sixteenth Chapter where Krsna describes later the demoniac nature but he begins with a description of the divine nature.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Fearlessness; purification of one's existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; (again) truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding. . ." that's a tough one for some of us, myself included. Not just that you don't do it, you are averse to it, you don't like it, you back away from it, you avoid it at all costs. . . .
"compassion for all living entities. . ." not my brothers and sisters or even Godbrothers or Godsisters, but all living entities. This includes ourselves too. Sometimes we're not very compassionate on ourselves. We have to start with being compassionate on ourselves. Sometimes we're a little too tough on ourselves, that's not productive either.
"Freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigour; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honour-these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature."
So again, qualities, characteristics, character. In Kali-yuga we know, we see around us all the time, is full of people who are convinced they are right, and whatever their goals are, justify the means. Like Dhrtarastra. He's thinking, "Yes Vidura, but I really want my sons in charge. I know I'm related to the Pandavas but it's just not the same. You don't really understand what I'm seeing here."
As it's described, blinded by his family affection, blinded by his illusion. Therefore he justifies "I can do whatever what I want, I can act however I want, I can behave however I want because the means is so important."
But we see Yudhisthira actually had the right goal and he never compromised his behaviour. Dhrtarastra had the wrong goal and compromised his behaviour. Someone might say the solution is to have the right goal and compromise your behaviour. That's Kali-yuga. The world is full of people who have what they think is the right goal, willing to compromise their behaviour. Here Yudhisthira is setting the example for us: he had the right goal and refused to compromise his behaviour. This, Prabhupada says, is the divine qualities, this is a Vaisnava.
Just as Prabhupada was described being so charming, even telling his disciples coming from the most degraded backgrounds that "If you are really my disciple you have to become a perfect gentleman. That's the standard that he set.
We live in a world where people are doing just the opposite. They're thinking that "Whatever my goal is, whatever I'm working for in the world, this is so important and so unique that I can do whatever I like." We see that among atheists and theists alike. If we look at the last century, great, great thinkers, at least powerful people like Lenon and Marx come to mind, who had a true sense that my goal is so important. To one extent or another they genuinely believed this is for the betterment of people. "This Communist system is for the betterment of people and if we have to kill a few million people in the process to get what's right, it's OK." And the whole world suffered because of that deviation.
We're suffering today--there's the atheistic example--because there are so many theists who say, "God's on our side and we can do anything we want because we know what's right for the world. If we have to kill a lot of you in the process, that's OK because we're right, you're wrong."
As devotees, we need to avoid these pitfalls. They don't manifest in such a grotesque means, but by analyzing the extreme we can see how it affects us on a subtle level. Let's look at the wrong understanding first. Sometimes we think, "Because I'm a devotee, I can do no wrong." Dhrtarastra kind of thinks like that, "I'm the king, it's OK, I can get away with it." Sometimes we think "I'm a devotee, therefore, whatever I do is right because it's for Krsna, I'm a devotee." But that's a perversion. We should think, "Because I'm a devotee"--just change one word--"I MUST do no wrong." Not that "because I'm a devotee I can do no wrong, whatever I do must be right because it's for Krsna. No, because I'm a devotee, I must do no wrong."
And it's important for several reasons. Just to analyze that for a minute. First of all, we read a couple of examples here, it pleases Krsna. Krsna says, "If you are peaceful, if you are tolerant, if you are honest, if you show compassion for other living entities, then you please me." He gives a whole list of what we need to do, to at least strive to become to please him. That's a pretty good reason to do it, it pleases Krsna, it pleases Srila Prabhupada.
The second reason it is very important for us as devotees to be following very actively in the footsteps of Yudhisthira and saying, "NO!" to the little Dhrtarastra in the back of our minds is it sets the proper example for others. We are meant to be teachers and preachers and set an example for younger devotees and other people to see. How are people in the world supposed to change their behaviour if they don't see people exemplifying the proper way? Just as we look to Srila Prabhupada, we see the way he acted, and therefore, we have faith that I can do the same.
Just the other day, it struck me again, Prabhupada at seventy years of age. I am fifty-two. So I'm thinking, "OK, so another eighteen years and then you're supposed to get on the boat by yourself." I can hardly get up in the morning at fifty-two, what to speak to get on the boat. It is becoming more clear, such conviction and determination and sacrifice that Srila Prabhupada made for us. So to set an example for others it is also important for us to follow the path of Yudhisthira.
Another reason is that as we can see in this history, if we look into what was the result of Yudhisthira's path, what was the result of Dhrtarastra's path, if we act in the mode of goodness, if we act properly, if we act like perfect ladies and gentlemen, the result will last. With Dhrtarastra, he was influenced by the mode of passion, the mode of ignorance, he allowed himself to be influenced by illusion and what did he get? Well, for the short-term, he got the kingdom. He got rid of all the people that caused him so many problems, and for the short term, his son was enthroned and he thought everything was going to be OK.
Leading right up to the beginning of the Bhagavad-gita, he says to Sanjaya in a great state of anxiety, "What did my sons and the sons of my brother do? Be done with this thing. Finally let it be done! Let it be permanent!" But it wasn't to be because he chose the wrong path. So even though he got some short-term results, the long-term results. . . . His son was king for thirteen years or so, then everything was destroyed.
Yudhisthira was patient. He stuck to his vow of truthfulness, he didn't compromise, he gained the world for himself and his descendents, he gained Krsna's favour, and he gained eternal glory and fame as a devout, fixed, devotee of the Lord because he refused to compromise. He never compromised.
So we can see within our own society also. Sometimes we have these same tests. Dhrtarastra had a test. He was sitting there on the throne, he could have snapped his fingers and they would have stopped insulting Draupadi, but he didn't because he didn't have the moral fortitude to stand up and say, "Stop!" If he had done it, it would have stopped immediately. He was sitting on the . . . because he saw the results: "This is just further leading to the humiliation of the Pandavas. This is leading to their disempowerment. This is all a part of the plot to achieve my evil goals." He didn't see it as evil, but therefore he accepted it because it was in line with what he lustfully wanted.
So we have to be very, very careful. Even though we are trying to align our goals, our community goals, with Srila Prabhupada, with Krsna, with Lord Caitanya, we also, as Ambarisa mentioned the other day, we also have to remember that we are human. We have seen plenty of examples. We look at ourselves every day--we struggle with our own lust, envy, greed, anger, and selfishness. Every single one of us has to pray to the Lord to protect us that we make the right choices. So we see how we are flickering like that drop of water on the lotus leaf that can go either way. So we have to be very cautious, but as a community also, we have to be very, very careful.
Sometimes we act unnecessarily in the mode of passion. Sometimes we take shortcuts. We can see, "This is the proper way to do something, but you know, it's a lot faster if I go this way. A little white lie never hurt anybody. A little dishonesty, who's going to know?" We make choices that aren't fair, that aren't honest, that aren't truthful. We should know from this example, we are risking short-term results. We've seen this. How many examples are there of this in our society?
I'm from North America. In the past, some of our genuinely enthusiastic efforts to try to spread Krsna consciousness, sometimes we weren't very careful of our behaviour. It yielded, often, short-term results, but long-term it's not what we'd like to show for it because we acted in the mode of passion. Sometimes out of our own arrogance, we tend to think it is up to us to twist everyone's arm and make everybody Krsna conscious in our own lifetime so that we can tell Srila Prabhupada, "I did it! Haribol! Prabhupada, aren't you pleased with me?"
But we are planting the seed and building the foundation for Krsna consciousness for the next ten thousand years. We all know, building the foundation, it is really the slowest and the most unglorious task. If you think about a building, everyone likes to be the one who comes back puts on the finishing touches. You know, puts the dome up. Or puts the paint on, you know, when you're building a building, the one who puts the paint on is the one who makes the biggest difference, the last coat that makes it pretty. Everyone goes, "Wow! You really made a difference!" But how many years and years and years went into it before that?
And just like when you're building the foundation of a building, people drive by or walk by, you don't even see it. They say, "What's going on? They've been working on this building for six months, you can't even see anything. These guys, all they're doing is putting a bunch of pipes in the ground. Useless." Because mode of passion: "Put it up, get it up in a hurry. Let's do it now! Fast! Quick!" Well, if you build something like that, we all know what happens. If you build a building and the foundation is not solid, what happens? It falls down.
We know in our own spiritual life, in our own Krsna consciousness, something I work hard on and I am praying Krsna to help pull me out of this illusion, sometimes I get caught up with I want to offer so many results to Prabhupada, I'm not careful that I maintain my own spiritual foundation strong enough. So I'm here thinking, "Krsna, please recharge my battery. I've got to recharge here."
As a community we also come to Mayapur to recharge our batteries, but also to remember our goal, our duty at this time is to build that strong foundation, to make sure it is for the long term. Otherwise, we may gain money, but we lose it. We can see this. we had some opulence, sometimes we didn't build properly, we lose those things. We have lost temples, we have lost communities, we have lost respect, we have lost reputation. Sometimes we've lost devotees. Sometimes we lose years of effort because we weren't careful to do it in a proper way. Our intention was right, but we weren't very cautious. We weren't careful, we weren't checking ourselves. That is a third important reason we have to be careful to follow Yudhisthira's path.
Another one is that because we're preachers and we're meant to actually win people's hearts. There is an English expression, "Example is more important than precept." So people are very bewildered. They are running around out there in the world looking very puffed up because they know that if they don't pretend that they're puffed up, their weakness will be exposed.
It's like you ask people, "How are you?"
"How are you?"
Everybody's fine, but if you scratch the surface a little bit, they're a wreck. "I'm fine, but I've just got to get to the gym because otherwise I might have a heart attack." And "I'm fine, but I've got to get to the therapist, otherwise, I'm about to snap. And I'm fine, but I've got to get another drink."
You know, "Let's go relax."
"What do you want to do?"
"Let's go get intoxicated so I can forget everything."
They are very painful situations. People are suffering so much. They are suffering and we are meant to give them hope.
This is our duty, but we should also remember people aren't stupid. Sometimes we tend to think we become a devotee and all of the sudden you become intelligent and everybody else is stupid. They are not stupid. People, they can see, they have some ability to measure, is this real, are these people giving something genuine, are they changing themselves, do they exemplify what they preach, what they are teaching?
People are actually looking for leadership, they're accepting so many bogus leaders, whatever it is, the music leaders, the fashion leaders, and the political leaders, economic leaders because they are offering them different things. And they are all standing in front of them saying, "Follow me. Be like this and you can be like me and I can give you some hope." But they see through all that. Then, when they come in contact with devotees, they are skeptical because they have been cheated so many times. They don't want to be cheated again. We have to be careful that our own impurities and our own passion to spread Krsna consciousness doesn't manifest in a way that people can't see past our impurities to see what Krsna has to offer them. We should pray like that. That is a great challenge.
Many of us have experienced that sometimes a devotee is the greatest obstacle for us to get to Krsna. We want to be humble and respect everybody, but objectively, sometimes we see like that, someone has stopped in their spiritual practice because of the way they are mistreated or cared for by devotees.
We need to change that because people are looking for shelter. We are meant to offer it to people. And as they say, you cannot demand respect. Sometimes we want to demand respect for our movement because we know this movement is Krsna, it is Lord Caitanya, it is non-different from Prabhupada, but actually, we have to command respect by being somewhat of a transparent medium for Srila Prabhupada and for Krsna. It is not just by the knowledge that we have that people will be attracted to Krsna and the process of bhakti-yoga, but as Yudhisthira again exemplifies, by activities and by character.
So we all come to Mayapur to be recharged. We pray to Krsna, "Please purify us. Please give us more enthusiasm to chant. Please give us more enthusiasm to preach. Please give us more enthusiasm, intelligence to manage, but we should also beg Krsna, please give us more ability to become the perfect ladies and gentleman that Srila Prabhupada wanted. Please let us be better of character, to better exemplify the path of Yudhisthira so that we can be instruments in Prabhupada's hands to help bring people to the lotus feet of Srila Prabhupada and Krsna,
I'll stop here, thank you very much, Srila Prabhupada ki jai!
So there's about five or six minutes for questions. Any questions.
Prabhu, your hand always goes up, so I'm going to see if there is anybody else. Yes, Prabhu. Maybe his hand also goes up, but I don't see it because I'm on this side. I don't know.
A: Especially who? Juhu Beach, yeah.
I hope you all heard the question.
It's not that Yudhisthira didn't fight, he led the greatest battle in history, but he fought when there was no other choice. That's one thing. Dhrtarastra and Duryodhana were ready to fight, they were ready to kill, they were ready to poison, they were ready to set them on fire, they were ready to cheat them in so many ways. Yudhisthira also fought and Prabhupada certainly fought, and in certain circumstances, we have to fight.
We are fighting in a sense in Kazakhstan because devotees are being cheated. We fight against the anti-cult movement because they're cheating. They were lying about us and misrepresenting. We have to fight. It's not that being honest and truthful you don't fight. Sometimes you also have to fight. They are two different things. They certainly don't contradict each other, but we have to be careful along that line of fighting. What we are fighting for.
Just like we raise money, well, what are we raising money for? We fight, what are we fighting for? We build buildings, what are we building buildings for?
We have the example in the Bhagavatam like Dhruva Maharaja, when he went to avenge the death of his brother, he got carried away. He was justified in that fighting, there's another example, but he got carried away. His forefathers came and said, "Hey, you're out of control here. You started out down the right path, but you have to check yourself."
In the same way, we always have to be checking ourselves, making sure. Not that I started out right, I'm automatically going to be right in the end. We continuously have to have checks and balances.
Any other question or comment? Any ladies have any questions?
Anuttama Prabhu: I'll repeat the question. She said, "Prabhupada said my movement is meant to establish two classes, the brahmanas and the ksatriyas, how does that affect what we are doing?"
I don't know where that quote is from. I've heard a couple of times devotees went to Prabhupada and said, "Prabhupada, I want to be a ksatriya."
And Prabhupada said, "Well, then you're not meant for my movement because my movement is for brahmanas."
Q: I personally typed that . . . .
Anuttama Prabhu: You personally typed that? OK. Certainly there is a need for ksatriyas. There is a need for people to administer, there is a need for people to lead, sometimes there is a need for people to fight. I think the point is, we have to be sure when that type of energy comes in, just as in any other type of activity, we have to be sure who we are doing it for and why we are doing it. Not that we get carried away as Dhruva Maharaja did in his anger. Prabhupada describes in Bhagavad-gita, Krsna was pushing Arjuna to be angry because you have to be angry to fight, but it is also described that anger is one of the gateways to hell. So, we have to be very, very careful in how we manifest that.
Well thank you, that was a much better answer than I gave. She said that Prabhupada said that ksatriyas will only fight on religious principles. Thank you very much. We have to always be making sure we are acting on religious principles.
Q: What is the compassion for oneself?
Anuttama Prabhu: Very nice question. How do we do that? What does that mean? First of all, one has to be a little patient. It was pointed out to me this morning, it is very interesting, un the beginning of this Canto, there is a picture of Lord Brahma, because it is getting into his creative potency and the development of the universe. Then it quotes one of the verses, this is plate seven:
"After sitting in mediation on a lotus for more than three hundred trillion years, Lord Brahma developed pure intelligence. . . "
It's wrong? Three hundred and twenty trillion? Well, he was there for a long time.
Hey, what's a trillion or two this way or that, right? Long time, he sat on that lotus for a long time, and he's the founder-acarya of our sampradaya. So the first thing is, we have to be a little patient with ourselves. It's not that we are going to become pure devotees overnight.
When I joined the movement, I was twenty and I had this plan way into the future. I was going to be sannyasi by twenty-four. Because Lord Caitanya took sannyasa at twenty-four, I was thinking, "Twenty-four, that ought to do it. I don't want to be puffed up and outdo Lord Caitanya, so I'll wait until twenty-four."
We have to be a little patient with ourselves and push ourselves, but just like in athletics, if push yourself too far, you hurt yourself. Just like people go running, then you see them walking with crutches.
"How's your running going?"
"I haven't run in six months."
"Well, I guess it wasn't very good the way you tried to train yourself. It was too much."
So Prabhupada said we shouldn't accept unnecessary austerities. There are already enough austerities within the process of devotional service.
Part of it is just being a little patient and understanding that this is Kali-yuga. We've got a lot of bad stuff in our mind. We've done a lot of bad stuff in this life, and certainly previous lifetimes. It's going to take a little bit of time and we should not expect ourselves to become pure overnight. And if we see some imperfections, we should sometimes be at least as kind to ourselves as we would to someone with the same imperfection.
Sometimes we have to ask, if a Godbrother came to me and said, "Prabhu, I'm having this problem, it's really bothering me," would we blast them as much as we blast ourselves with the same problem?
Probably not, probably we'd say, "Prabhu, just keep chanting, depend on the devotees, have a little more prasadam, and don't be so hard on yourself."
That's part of it. Push ourselves, yes, the spiritual master pushes us, but not to the point of breaking. We don't want to break. We want to go consistently.
Is that OK?
So thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki jai!