Bhagavad-Gita Class

Given by His Grace Sriman Jayananda Prabhu

 

 

 

Bhagavad-Gita Class

Given by His Grace Sriman Jayananda Prabhu

San Diego, 1976

 

[Note: Jayananda Prabhu was visiting the San Diego temple in late 1976 while arranging for medical treatments in Tijuana, Mexico. This class was given at that time, about 6 months before his passing in Los Angeles.]

 

Bhagavad-Gita, Chapter Twelve, Texts 18-19

 

samah shatrau cha mitre cha

tatha manapamanayoh

shitoshna-sukha-duhkheshu

samah sanga-vivarjitah

 tulya-ninda-stutir mauni

santushto yena kenachit

aniketah sthira-matir

bhaktiman me priyo narah

samah - equal; shatrau - to an enemy; cha - also; mitre - to a friend; cha - also; tatha - so; mana - in honor; apamanayoh - and dishonor; shita - in cold; ushna - heat; sukha - happiness; duhkheshu - and distress; samah - equipoised; sanga-vivarjitah - free from all association; tulya - equal; ninda - in defamation; stutih - and repute; mauni - silent; santushtah - satisfied; yena kenachit - with anything; aniketah - having no residence; sthira - fixed; matih - determination; bhakti-man - engaged in devotion; me - to Me; priyah - dear; narah - a man.

 

TRANSLATION

           One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honor and dishonor, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contaminating association, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn't care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and who is engaged in devotional service such a person is very dear to Me.

PURPORT

            A devotee is always free from all bad association. Sometimes one is praised and sometimes one is defamed; that is the nature of human society. But a devotee is always transcendental to artificial fame and infamy, distress or happiness. He is very patient. He does not speak of anything but the topics about Krishna; therefore he is called silent. Silent does not mean that one should not speak; silent means that one should not speak nonsense. One should speak only of essentials, and the most essential speech for the devotee is to speak for the sake of the Supreme Lord. A devotee is happy in all conditions; sometimes he may get very palatable foodstuffs, sometimes not, but he is satisfied. Nor does he care for any residential facility. He may sometimes live underneath a tree, and he may sometimes live in a very palatial building; he is attracted to neither. He is called fixed because he is fixed in his determination and knowledge. We may find some repetition in the descriptions of the qualifications of a devotee, but this is just to emphasize the fact that a devotee must acquire all these qualifications. Without good qualifications, one cannot be a pure devotee. Harav abhaktasya kuto mahad-gunah: one who is not a devotee has no good qualification. One who wants to be recognized as a devotee should develop the good qualifications. Of course he does not extraneously endeavor to acquire these qualifications, but engagement in Krishna Consciousness and devotional service automatically helps him develop them.

 

Jayananda: Bad association means... For one thing, a devotee doesn't engage in any sinful activities. He follows the four regulative principles. But it is even by bad association that one accepts this body as the self. So everybody is in bad association or everybody is in the mode of darkness, tamas means darkness, because everybody is accepting the body as the self. And they're making no program for getting out of the bodily conception other than simply trying to make so many temporary arrangements to try to enjoy this body up until the final blow when death comes. So all the energy, all the human energy is simply used for trying to make some kind of an arrangement to minimize the pain and maximize the pleasure, accepting the body as the self. Whereas a devotee, he's giving up this bad association, he's not accepting this association. Rather he wants to get free from bad association. He wants to understand the real position, the real constitutional position that "I'm not this body. My real identity is that I'm part and parcel of Krishna, I'm part and parcel of that Supreme Personality."

 

Therefore, this is the process. Krishna consciousness means the process to get free from all bad association. And to take up good association means to take up association with Krishna. Because Krishna is all-good. And Krishna is sat-chit-ananda-vigraha. So also we're sat-chit-ananda-vigraha. But in order to realize our sat-chit-ananda-vigraha nature, then we have to associate with Krishna because He is giving instruction on how to realize Him. Otherwise, we don't find any place that this science is being delineated. No other religion is giving this process to understand the self and the relationship with Krishna. There's no other religion, any other formula that's offering this reward that I again re-establish my eternal relationship with God. So this is the process for giving up bad association become Krishna conscious.

 

Of course, we follow... in the beginning, one follows four regulative principles and so many things. All these different principles and rules to follow, they're simply meant to bring you to this platform so you can follow this one principle of always remembering Krishna and never forgetting Krishna. And, of course, when the relationship becomes re-established, then we'll never want to forget Krishna because that relationship is so sublime and so satisfying that one will never give up that relationship again once we re-establish it. Now we've fallen into this material situation. But as we become a little serious, we take shelter of the bonafide spiritual master and by accepting initiation, by following his instructions, then gradually we're becoming purified from this bad association of so many false designations and again become situated on the real platform to understand my real identity, my spiritual identity.

 

Sometimes... I can't remember, did I read this purport? I read the whole purport, didn't I? [inaudible] It's described that one who has intelligence means that one has good discrimination and a good memory. So it doesn't speak very highly of my intelligence! I can't remember. So there's a lot of... there are so many nice points that sometimes one is praised and sometimes one is defamed. But a devotee... these are just all different qualities of a devotee that naturally by practicing Krishna consciousness, automatically you'll develop these good qualities that are mentioned here.

 

I know one time... there's a nice example, Praghosh gave an example when he was in the airport in New York, somebody... he was distributing books. So there was a couple that was walking toward him so he tried to step out of the way but she came over and banged right into him. And then her husband came up, he was a big bruiser, and right away he grabbed Praghosh and he said, "What's wrong with you? Why are you pushing my wife? Why are you shoving my wife?" And he shoved Praghosh up against the wall, and his wife was standing there and she grabbed Praghosh's wig and threw his wig on the floor. So Praghosh just started chanting... Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama... he was chanting like this. And the guy was furious, he was grabbing him like that, "What's wrong with you?" And Praghosh just kept chanting because he didn't know what else to do, he just kept chanting. And finally he shook his head and [inaudible] and walked off and left him there.

 

A devotee is not so much attached that he's receiving sometimes honor, sometimes... especially you that are going out and doing, distributing the literature. You can, more than anybody else, you can appreciate all of these different things, and there are so many nice examples you're experiencing every day, how sometimes we're honored and sometimes dishonored. But a devotee is not disturbed by this honor or dishonor, he's not... Because we're trying to give them also this good association. They have so much bad association. [inaudible]

 

Actually, everybody is in the mode of ignorance. Sometimes people are working a little bit in the mode of goodness and passion. But actually, as long as they're... it's material activity, it's all material activity so it's in the mode of ignorance. So we're trying to give them this good association. And we ourselves, we are blessed, we have this good association. By the causeless mercy of our spiritual master, we have this good association of Krishna. Who could speak such wonderful philosophy as we have in Bhagavad-Gita on the Battlefield of Kuru-kshetra, and who can display so many wonderful pastimes? We have no information of any personality like Krishna, and what to speak of these poor people on the street. Who are the personalities that they've had experience with? Somebody like President Nixon, who gets the most lofty position in the country and then he's so greedy that he's not able to even keep from trying to cheat the government. You know the old saying that "don't bite the hand that feeds you." Even we can see practically, even if President Nixon would become a devotee and take the renounced life and begin to preach, he would even become... by giving up that bad association, he would even become glorified within society.

 

People would become very much impressed actually if a great person... even though he might have committed some abominable activity in his material life, but once one becomes a devotee and actually becomes sincere and pure, then anybody would appreciate that lofty position. One who would be preaching very strongly Bhagavad-Gita, how one is not the body, how one can get free from suffering, how one can give up all nonsense activities, becomes purified. So actually, devotional service for anybody in any condition of life, their life will become glorious by becoming a servant of Krishna, by giving up the bad association of material contamination. So many people fall victim. They work very hard to attain some position and then they engage in some abominable activity and they lose their reputation, everything is lost. That's the nature of material effort. One can work so hard for something, even he completes, even he makes so much progress, he makes so many goals, but then if he does something, some abominable thing, then the whole thing becomes lost.

 

In devotional service, there's never any loss. Whatever we have gained, whatever we have done on behalf of Krishna, that will never become lost and we always pick up there at that same point and start again. That just shows how wonderful... when one takes up the association of Krishna, how he becomes free from honor and dishonor. As long as one is not a devotee, if he's not associating with Krishna, then he's always... we're always plagued by... because we'll have other association. If I'm not associating with Krishna, that means that I'm associating that I'm an American, that I'm a lawyer, that I'm the president, or that I'm a cheater or that I'm a thief or I'm so many different things.

 

There was a nice article in Back to Godhead a couple of months ago that described this, how we're so much conditioned by illusion. At the very time we come out of the womb, everybody's sitting there and they're looking and they've all got some conception about what... "Oh, there's Johnny, he's going to be just like his father." Or "He's not going to be like his father. He's going to be like his uncle." Or he's going to do this, everybody's got their ideas, everybody's got their meat-hooks out there, to get their two cents in. They all have some desire. So in so many ways it described in this article, it was very nicely describing the conditioning process, how one is gradually conditioned, so many different things that one is conditioned into thinking how he's this body, he's the product of material nature. He's not part of Krishna, no, he's the product of this material nature, this society. So in that way, his false ego gradually develops.

 

Whereas if one is a devotee, then he understands in the beginning that he's not this body, his real identity is that he's part of Krishna. And that way he gives up this bad association, so much association that simply places one in the bodily concept of life, it places one in darkness, and he is simply eating, sleeping, sex life, defending, trying to enjoy this body, and eventually everything is finished, it's taken away. So his life becomes nothing more than the cats and the dogs, nothing more than that, then the human form of life is lost. The great value of the human form of life, the facility we have for realizing the relationship that we have with Krishna, is destroyed. And then one doesn't know what one's position will be in the next life. By our activities in this life, we don't have any idea of what's going to happen in the next life. That's the position of everybody in the material world. They have no knowledge, they're in darkness. That means that they have no understanding that there's any past and they have no understanding of the future. Simply this life is the all-in-all. So whatever happens, I try to make so many arrangements. But just see how precarious all these arrangements are. They can be... the rug can be pulled from under us at any moment. Any one of these arrangements, if it becomes disturbed, then my whole consciousness can become disturbed, distressed.

But if one is a devotee, then all kinds of material difficulties can come but he's not disturbed because he's accepting his real position, that he's not this body, that he has nothing to do with all these various material calamities, with these various material distresses. A devotee doesn't have anything to do with these miseries that come upon him because he is understanding that he's not this body. In that way, he becomes free.

 

So I'll go on, there's some nice... The devotee, he's always transcendental to this distress, happiness. It's described... just like even in the Chaitanya-Charitamrita, when Haridas Thakur was given so much trouble, they whipped him in 26 marketplaces. Or his sentence was that he was to be whipped in all of these different marketplaces. And even at the end of this time, when he was whipped in so many places, the men that were doing the flogging, they were very distressed because Haridas Thakur still had not given up his life. He was still alive and so they were feeling that they would be... they were very much distressed because they were afraid of what the magistrate would do to them if they failed to kill him. Nobody had ever lived through three or four marketplaces.

 

At that time, Haridas Thakur, he wasn't feeling any distress but he was concerned about their distress. So a devotee, the position of a devotee... actually Haridas Thakur went through so much distress in the form of this whipping, but yet at the end of all these marketplaces, he was simply concerned that they were feeling some distress, and so he was trying to alleviate them. He asked them, "What is the difficulty?" And they told him, "My dear sir, we have whipped you in so many marketplaces but still you are maintaining your life. What will we do? You should have given up your life a long time ago." And Haridas said, "If that is what you desire, then I must give up my life." So he feigned that he gave up his life and, of course, they threw him in the river. That is another story. But the idea is that a devotee, he actually can tolerate all kinds of distresses because he's not on the bodily platform. He's situated on the spiritual platform so he's not attached to the happiness and distresses that one experiences with the body.

 

[break in tape] ... trying to see Krishna everywhere at all times in all places. That's his determination, a devotee. The more we become fixed-up in our relationship with Krishna, the more we understand we're not the body and the more we become fixed in our relationship with Krishna, then the more we're always trying to taste that relationship. The devotee is always trying to experience his relationship with Krishna. He knows that that is the real treasure of life, that is the real gem. So in all circumstances, he's trying to see how Krishna's mercy is everywhere. And factually, Krishna is always giving the devotee... there's always a sweet reciprocation between the Lord and His devotee. Krishna is always protecting the devotee. It's just a matter of being able to see. Krishna says that He is equal to everyone, He is not partial to anyone. But whoever renders Him service in devotion, then Krishna says that "He is a friend, he is in Me, and he is Mine." (Bhagavad-Gita 9.29)

 

So this is the... everybody is a devotee of Krishna, there's no question of that, because every living entity is part and parcel of Krishna. It's just that the devotee is striving to remember that relationship, the devotee is living in that relationship, and he is seeing everything as Krishna's energy. And so by dint of our devotion, then we become a friend to Krishna. And Krishna's position as a friend, He's always protecting the devotee, even in the midst of what seemingly is a very distressful situation. But still, because we are devotees, Krishna will protect us. There's no doubt about it. In some way Krishna will... Krishna's relationship with us is so strong that it overcomes any kind of material impediment. Devotional service cannot be stopped by any sort of material impediment. So, therefore, we can have faith that Krishna will always protect us in any kind of situation. That's the potency of devotional service, that it's transcendental to the bodily concept of life even up to the point of death. Devotional service is more powerful, because devotional service can even attract Krishna. That's the strength of devotional service the devotion can attract Krishna. So if we have... if that devotion... even Krishna says it's not so much the service that's there, but it's the attitude of the devotee, the sincere desire for Krishna's association. In that way, Krishna will protect us. Krishna says in the Gita that for one who does good, he is never overcome by evil.

 

Here's some more of the different qualities that are discussed. It says that "One, of course, that he does not experience any endeavor to acquire these qualifications but engaging in Krishna consciousness and devotional service automatically helps him develop them." So, of course, that's our good fortune that we've been able to contact, by Krishna's mercy we've contacted a bonafide spiritual master or a pure devotee. Because in order to advance in Krishna consciousness, the principle is that one has to accept a spiritual master. And just like Krishna... the qualification for a spiritual master is that one is a devotee. Just like Krishna revealed Bhagavad-Gita, spoke Bhagavad-Gita to Arjuna because he is a devotee as well as His friend that is the qualification of a devotee. So in the same way, Krishna... just like Srila Prabhupada. Because Srila Prabhupada is a pure devotee, therefore, he becomes qualified to also speak Bhagavad-Gita, to instruct according to time and circumstance. Otherwise, how is it possible? How is it possible that we could take instruction from anybody else who wasn't a pure devotee? It's not possible because Krishna can only be known through devotion.

 

So in order for one to fully understand Krishna, the spiritual master has to be a pure devotee. If he has any kind of material contamination, then he's not qualified to disseminate the science of Krishna consciousness. He's not qualified to take on disciples. He must be a pure devotee, of course. And Prabhupada meets all these requirements. That is our strength that we had the fortune to have a pure devotee. So everything... by simply following, by trying to please the spiritual master, by trying to follow the instructions of the spiritual master, then all good qualities automatically develop. Simply by following the instructions of the spiritual master, then we're certain that our success is guaranteed. We have a couple of minutes. Are there any questions or comments?

 

Mahatma: What's the relationship between the disciple and the spiritual master in regards to the position at the time when he himself becomes a pure devotee... because we understand now we can't render direct service to Krishna. At the same time, we understand that when we become a pure devotee, we can render direct service. But at the same time, we understand that the relationship we have with the spiritual master is pure, it is eternal, and that when we render service to him, we render service to Krishna. Does the disciple still have a relationship of service to the spiritual master [inaudible] serving Krishna when he's a pure devotee, and isn't it counted as direct service, and how is that related with his spiritual master?

 

Jayananda: As far as I understand, even... of course, Lord Chaitanya accepted a spiritual master. He was Krishna Himself. And He always... before His spiritual master, He took the position of a fool. So actually always our position before our spiritual master is always that we are a fool before our spiritual master. In other words, your relationship with the spiritual master never changes from the quality of... the basic relationship is one of awe and reverence. Of course, a Vaishnava... in the Mayavadi school, the spiritual master surpasses his spiritual master. As everybody becomes... once one becomes free from this, according to the philosophy of [inaudible], he realizes that he is Narayana, he is God, he surpasses his spiritual master.

 

But a devotee, a Vaishnava, we always hold our spiritual master in awe and reverence and we always... and that relationship never changes. As far as... just like Prabhupada is always giving credit to his spiritual master, to Bhakti-siddhanta Sarasvati. I know one time he described that he is engaging us in helping him to serve his spiritual master. One time he was speaking and described it like that. He asked the devotees what exactly... what was our program. I forget now what the question was. Did you ever hear that question? But he answered... he said that "I am simply trying to engage you in helping me serve my spiritual master." And the position never... it always remains a position of awe and reverence and that the service always, as far as I understood, the service always goes through the disciplic succession. As far as our service to Krishna ultimately, it goes through the disciplic succession, the parampara. Whatever service we render, it's being... actually we are... it's being offered first to our spiritual master and so on, even though we might... Somebody is offering even prayers, prayers to Krishna or offering aratik, there are so many different things, but it's going through the parampara. Is that right?

 

Mahatma: Yes, as far as our present position, it all goes through the disciplic succession. I don't know about when we're pure devotees.

 

devotee: Can you accept one of Prabhupada's predecessors as your spiritual master or one of his successors as you get older and things change? Or do you always have to revere Prabhupada as the spiritual master even if there's two more spiritual masters after him and you're still alive?

 

Jayananda: I don't understand the question.

 

devotee: If right now Prabhupada is my spiritual master...

 

Jayananda: Yes.

 

devotee: ...and in the future there was a successor to Prabhupada and then another successor and I'm still... even though there's two more successors, I'm still alive myself. Then does Prabhupada remain my spiritual master because he is now, or can one of his successors then become my spiritual master, or then could I even choose one of his predecessors as my spiritual master?

 

Jayananda: Well, if any of you take a different spiritual master, diksha means initiating spiritual master, is that right? Diksha is initiating and shiksha is the instructing. Just like now, you accept... the idea is that one becomes a Vaishnava, one of the principles of becoming a devotee is that one accepts a spiritual master and also takes initiation from the spiritual master. So everybody here, you're now a devotee so if you take initiation from Prabhupada, then he's your initiating spiritual master, you're his disciple eternally.

 

everyone: Jai! [Deity curtains open]

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