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Necessary But Misleading

In this lecture Vishnujana Maharaja, the legendary disciple of Srila Prabhupada explains the difference between fanaticism and Krsna consciousness, the reason why there are so many religious paths in the world and how we can deal with fanatical preachers who disturb the minds of the general public.

Vishnujana Swami: We are offering our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of our spiritual master, Sri-Srimad A.C. Bhaktivedanta Goswami Maharaja Prabhupada, who has kindly come to us, who are all standing in darkness with our eyes closed shut, and is forcing our eyes open with this torchlight of knowledge.

We are trying to follow in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami and get his kripa, get his mercy, for understanding this science of sadhana-bhakti. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-Gita that if we do not have transcendental love for Him, then we should practice the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga, whereby we shall gain a desire to achieve Him. So we have to fall down at the feet of the acharyas and get their mercy and their instruction for carrying out the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga so that our desire can be reformed to Krishna-prema.

We are studying The Nectar of Devotion, "Evidence Regarding Devotional Principles," page 60, "To Follow in the Footsteps of Saintly Persons."

"In the Skanda Purana it is advised that a devotee follow the past acharyas and saintly persons, because by such following one can achieve the desired results, with no chance of lamenting or being baffled in his progress.

"In the scripture known as Brahma-yamala it is stated as follows: 'If someone wants to pose himself as a great devotee without following the authorities of the revealed scriptures, then his activities will never help him to make progress in devotional service. Instead, he will simply create disturbances for the sincere students of devotional service.' Those who do not strictly follow the principles of revealed scriptures are generally called sahajiyas -- those who have imagined everything to be cheap, and who have their own concocted ideas, and who do not follow the scriptural injunctions. Such persons are simply creating disturbances in the discharge of devotional service.

"In this connection, an objection may be raised by those who are not in devotional service and who do not care for the revealed scriptures. An example of this is seen in Buddhist philosophy. Lord Buddha appeared in the family of a high-grade kshatriya king, but his philosophy was not in accord with Vedic conclusions and therefore was rejected. Under the patronage of a Hindu king, Maharaja Ashoka, the Buddhist religion was spread all over India and the adjoining countries. However, after the appearance of the great stalwart teacher, Shankaracharya, this Buddhism was driven out beyond the borders of India.

"The Buddhists or other religionists who do not care for revealed scriptures sometimes say that there are many devotees of Lord Buddha who show devotional service to Lord Buddha, and who therefore should be considered devotees. In answer to this argument, Rupa Goswami says that the followers of Buddha cannot be accepted as devotees. Although Lord Buddha is accepted as an incarnation of Krishna, the followers of such incarnations are not very advanced in their knowledge of the Vedas. To study the Vedas means to come to the conclusion of the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore, any religious principle which denies the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead is not accepted and is called atheism. Atheism means defying the authority of the Vedas and decrying the great acharyas who teach Vedic scriptures for the benefit of the people in general.

"Lord Buddha is accepted as an incarnation of Krishna in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, but in the same Srimad-Bhagavatam it is stated that Lord Buddha appeared in order to bewilder the atheist class of men. Therefore his philosophy is meant for bewildering the atheists and should not be accepted. If someone asks, 'Why should Krishna propagate atheistic principles?' the answer is that it was the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to end the violence which was then being committed in the name of the Vedas. The so-called religionists were falsely using the Vedas to justify such violent acts as meat-eating, and Lord Buddha came to lead the fallen people away from such a false interpretation of the Vedas. Also, for the atheist class Lord Buddha preached atheism so that they would follow him and thus be tricked into devotional service to Lord Buddha, or Krishna."

So here is a revelation of a great ignorance which has covered the world for thousands and thousands of years in all religions. This ignorance is that they are unable to catch up the three important factors in spiritual development. What are these three important factors? One is called the shastra, one is called guru, and one is called acharya, saintly persons in the past. These three things are necessary in order to ply along clearly to the destination of unalloyed devotional service or love of God. For many, many years, there have been exponents of different branches of the Vedic knowledge. But because the acharyadeva, one who knows the conclusion of the Vedas, is not respected by the people in general, therefore they take the injunctions of the various branches of the Vedas simply to be moral codes meant for conducting the society with the sole aim of achieving the results of religiosity, namely kama, artha and moksha. These things are desired by materialistic persons. First of all, they want to have some result from their work, from their pious activity -- they want to be elevated to the heavenly planets, etc., enjoy godly delights. That's popular in all religions of the world. Even in Lord Buddha's Lotus-sutra, it's given that one may be elevated to the heavenly kingdoms and enjoy, as a reward for his austerity. So they are trying to achieve godly delights by their pious activity. They want ultimately to have sufficient sense gratification in this lifetime as well, and at the end, when they are tired of all this, they want liberation or to become merged into the Absolute.

So people in general, without respecting those saintly persons who have come to the conclusion of the Vedas, take the Vedic injunctions to be a reservoir for fulfilling their desires for these three things: sense gratification, elevation and liberation. For a long time it's been a great struggle for the real acharyas, saintly persons, to bring the people in general to the right path of devotional service. Lord Jesus Christ, for example, was persecuted severely by the followers of the Old Testament because he performed certain activities that were not in line with the injunctions of the scripture. There was one incident where they were told they could not perform certain miracles on such-and-such a day, and Lord Jesus Christ was known to be performing miracles on that day. So they criticized that, "Oh, he is not following the injunctions of the scripture, therefore he must be a bogus spiritual master," just like we think "bogus spiritual master." They were actually convinced that Jesus Christ was a bogus yogi, a bogus spiritual master, because he was not following the principles, certain rules and regulations of the scripture. However, because they were materialistic persons, they could not perceive that the acharya is not bound-up by the rules and regulations of the scripture, moral codes, ethical codes. Codes for elevation to the heavenly planets do not bind a pure devotee of the Lord. He is free to act according to his discretion for the satisfaction of the Lord and for bringing the people back to the will of the Lord, namely pure unalloyed devotional love. Therefore, Jesus was acting as guru. The guru is able to decide which injunction can be applied at a certain time and which injunction is not applicable at a certain time. That's why adhering to scripture is not enough; you have to adhere to scripture and guru. And guru is also not enough unless he is in line with the saintly persons of the past. Otherwise, not just any self-acclaimed man can come forward and make discrimination about what policies can be followed in the scriptures. He has to be living the life-style of the saintly persons of the past. Therefore, these three things are always necessary in order to not be bewildered by the activities of great devotees: one has to understand shastra, one has to understand guru, and one has to understand saintly persons of the past.

So Prabhupada is mentioning some saintly persons in the past -- Lord Buddha, Lord Shankaracharya. There is a great history in this connection: Vyasadeva compiled all the Vedic knowledge, all the branches of the Vedas, Puranas, Mahabharata, in a story form which would be suitable for the people in this age. Mahabharata, especially, which contains Bhagavad-Gita, was meant to be preached to the masses of people so that they could become interested in the story of these great personalities and at the same time hear the great philosophy of Vedanta. So Vyasadeva passed it on to his disciples, and they brought it to the different corners of the world. The great kshatriya kings, some of them, were forcibly kicked out of India. Many of them became degraded and thus the philosophy in general was used for these mundane purposes: elevation to heavenly planets, sense gratification, and ultimate liberation. Therefore, in all countries -- you take Egypt, you take the European Celtic races, you take the Greeks, all these different classes of men, Mayan Indians -- all of them have some little bit of knowledge of the Vedas. But if you study their culture, they simply were after these things: this elevation to heavenly planets, this sense gratification, and this liberation.

Therefore, Vyasadeva's original purpose of the Vedas was misunderstood. This was actually criticized to Vyasadeva by his spiritual master, Narada Muni, that, "Your compilation of the Vedas, although very, very intricate and full with knowledge of the Supreme Brahman, will be insufficient to protect them from the onslaught of material nature, and thus their minds will be oscillated like a boat on the water as to what is the real goal." Just like a boat being oscillated on the water -- it can't find out the real direction, the real goal. So similarly, the minds of the people in general, by hearing all this Vedic knowledge, these different branches of knowledge, they'll become oscillated, not knowing what is the real goal. So Narada Muni criticized Vyasadeva that, "Better you would have spent your time simply glorifying Krishna and forget all this other...better you should have just glorified Krishna and devotional service and the pure devotees of the Lord, and then their minds could have focused on this one point." However, not everyone will accept devotional service and the focusing of their mind on the service of the Supreme Lord. Therefore, the other branches of the Vedas are also necessary -- but they are misleading. They are necessary, but they are also misleading. So herein lies the great difficulty for the living entity especially in this age, Kali Yuga: that he has a tendency to not be able to grasp the conclusion, the siddhanta of the scriptures, and thus he is led by the same old materialistic desires and he uses the scriptures for his mundane purposes.

I have had many experiences while traveling and opening temples where I met people of varieties of religions: Mormon religion, Catholic religion, Jewish religion, Christian, Jesus freak, etc., etc. And all of them were very proudly, boldly presenting their scripture. But what is their goal? The same materialistic goal. But they are using the scripture for that end. That is why Lord Buddha had appeared, as described here. He denied the Vedas; he revolted against the authority of the Vedas because the people in general were misusing them, and therefore better they should not touch them at all than misuse them. Better they should simply follow Lord Buddha's ethical and moral codes of the Lotus-sutra. So this has been a mania, a disease, all over the world, that without any respect for the acharyas people are taking scripture and saying, "Oh, see it says here..." Sometimes people will approach us in the street -- "Oh, in the Bible it says that it is demonic to offer incense to God." Sometimes you hear this. You are passing out incense and some Christian will come up and say, "Oh, now I know you are a demon because you are passing out incense." But we also remember that the men that supposedly came to Jesus when he was born were bringing frankincense and myrrh. They were also demons? That they can't answer, because they are simply trying to use the scripture for creating some sectarian disturbance on the path of the eternal religion, the universal religion -- which is loving devotional service.

All of these sectarian personalities -- Muslims, Christians, Jews, this and that -- these persons are all using the various scriptures in order to create sectarian boundaries and party sentiments, which are the greatest enemy of devotional service. So you should know that these persons are not devotees. They are non-devotee demons because they are using the words of God in order to create a disturbance on the path of devotional service. Therefore, they are actually demons. Don't be deluded by their fervor. Hitler, his Third Reich, they were also very enthusiastic, but they were enthusiastic for the wrong cause. One can be inspired in the mode of passion, one can be inspired in the mode of ignorance to do all abominable things. Just because one is inspired, that doesn't mean that it's good. Just because someone can show some mystic jugglery does not mean that it's spiritual. Spiritual means unalloyed love for the Personality of Godhead, not mystic jugglery.

You should have enough knowledge of the scriptural conclusion of shastra, guru and saintly persons so that you'll be able to defend yourself and others from the onslaught of this party feeling and sectarian sentiments, and this misuse of the scriptures in general. Sometimes people will make this argument: that devotees of Jesus Christ, devotees of Lord Buddha, devotees of this or that, they should also be accepted as pure devotees because they are dedicating their lives to these personalities. But actually if we test and see, we can understand that actually they are not devoting themselves to these personalities, because even the teachings of these personalities were in somewhat misleading form, impersonal form. They did not describe the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His beautiful feature, in His attractive features and pastimes. Therefore their teachings are bewildering because they do not come to the conclusion. Therefore, one should accept Bhagavad-Gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, as the spotless word of God, because as was advised to a great incarnation of God, Vyasadeva, literary incarnation, by his guru, Narada Muni, "Better you should have not spent your time describing anything else. You should have simply fixed-up your knowledge on Krishna, Krishna's pastime, name, form, entourage. Then you'll feel satisfaction and you'll be doing the highest good for the human beings."

So it should be understood that for the reformation of the envious people in general, the teachings of Lord Buddha, the teachings of Lord Jesus Christ, the teachings of the other portions of the Vedas are necessary -- but misleading. That should be understood by all of us. They are necessary for envious persons, in order to curb down their envious nature. For example, the hatha-yoga system: it's a mechanical way of controlling the breathing process, the sitting posture, the eating, the sleeping, the mating, the defending, in order to gain control of the senses. Therefore, it is considered to be curbing down the envious nature of the living being. But it's misleading because one comes to the conclusion that, "Oh, I am all-powerful. I am controlling my senses, I am moving the planets." They are saying like that. So it is misleading. It's necessary, but misleading. It may be good -- until one has the opportunity to come into the association of a pure devotee. Just as Vyasadeva was certainly fixed up in vow, compiling all the Vedas, and that was good, but it was not completely satisfying. Therefore, he required to be instructed by the great Narada Muni as to the cause of his dissatisfaction, which was found out to be insufficient knowledge and glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His attractive feature. So this should be understood by all of us. There is only one eternal religion and that is the religion of devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, glorifying His name, fame, entourage, and pastimes. And all other religious principles are considered to be for simply curbing down the envious nature of the living being, preserving him until he has the good opportunity to associate with a pure devotee of the Lord like Narada Muni, who can give him the conclusion of life. This should be fixed in all our minds so that we know we have come to the topmost yoga system -- Krishna consciousness -- just as Prabhupada describes, "the topmost philosophy." All other religions are contained within Bhagavad-Gita; all other principles -- moral codes, ethical codes -- are contained within Srimad-Bhagavatam, and yet there is much, much, much, much more.

So this is the eternal religion, sanatana-dharma, eternal religion of the soul -- that which can never be taken away. Heat can never be taken from fire, liquidity can never be taken from water; similarly sanatana-dharma, bhakti-yoga, can never be separated from the living being. One can separate from Christian, Hindu, Jew; but one cannot separate from devotional service. He must be devoted and serve something, that's a fact. So this knowledge, Prabhupada gives great stress to this in the beginning chapters of Srimad-Bhagavatam -- sanatana-dharma, the eternal religious principle -- that we are not introducing some sectarian philosophy. We have the whole history of this universe and many other universes in Srimad-Bhagavatam. We have the history of the creation, we have the history of the pre-creation, we have the history of the spiritual world, we have the history, on and on and on, information about the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

This is the missing knowledge that the world is hankering after. Just as Vyasadeva was hankering after it, so all other living beings -- no matter how austere or fixed-up in vow they may be -- they are hankering after this knowledge. Therefore a devotee has nothing to learn from these other philosophies, he has nothing to gain from these other religious principles because he has already come to the hundredth floor of the spiritual ladder. When one has come to the hundredth floor, he has already come to the fiftieth floor, sixtieth floor, seventieth floor, all other floors. So one who has come to the path of bhakti-yoga already understands all other principles, and what the motive is for practicing them, what the result is from practicing them -- everything he knows. He knows the modes of material nature, how they are acting on the living beings, forcing them to accept religions in the different modes. Worshiping at the tombs of dead men in the mode of ignorance, ghosts and spirits in the occult philosophies, all in the mode of ignorance. He knows them worshipping in the mode of passion, powerful scientists and men. He knows them in the mode of goodness, worshiping the demigods for material results. And he knows what is the transcendentalist, worshiping through favorable devotional service the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, a devotee knows everything. All there is in the material world, according to Krishna and Bhagavad-Gita, is the interaction of these gunas and time. That's all there is in this material world. So one who understands these things, he knows everything about this material world. And if one knows Krishna, then he knows about the spiritual world, and he knows everything.

This confirms that when your intelligence has come out of this dense forest of delusion, then everything will be revealed to you just as the sun reveals everything in the daytime. In the night everything appears as though one, merged. But when the sun is arisen, then you can see everything in its real variety and presence. So similarly, in material darkness the most we can conclude is that everything is one -- impersonal, reactionary philosophy. But when the Krishna-sun is arisen in your heart, then you can understand everything in its variety and its connection with Krishna. One who has the Krishna-sun arisen within his heart, according to Srimad-Bhagavatam, cannot be in darkness about anything relative or absolute. What does that mean -- that he can't be in darkness about anything relative or absolute? There are so many relative truths: When shall I leave for the airport? How shall I do this? What time shall I start this? So many relative truths. Always devotees are perplexed about these relative truths. Should I get married? Should I not get married? So on, this and that. What to do? What to do? But one who has the Krishna-sun arisen within his heart, he knows about these relative truths. And what to speak, he knows the absolute truth -- he knows about Krishna. Nobody can know about Krishna completely, but as far as Krishna reveals Himself, he can understand. So one who has controlled his mind and senses, he has reached the Supersoul, and the Supersoul informs him how to carry out the relative and the absolute truth. He informs him.

Just like our spiritual master, His Divine Grace, we all know many examples how he knows everything about relative and absolute truth. He is able to decide accurately at every moment what is to be done. He is able to know what is most auspicious to be performed at a particular moment when there are so many things that could be done. Why? Because he is in direct touch with Krishna and he knows what Krishna's preference is. He is not bewildered, like Arjuna was bewildered in the beginning in the Bhagavad-Gita -- "What is most auspicious? On one hand, I'm supposed to fight because I'm a kshatriya; on the other hand, they are my grandfathers, I am not supposed to kill them." He didn't know what is most auspicious to be performed. You see? But when he controlled his mind and senses, being convinced by Krishna, by His instructions, then he agreed to act under Krishna's instruction. Krishna sat on his chariot, "Arjuna, you kill him now." "Oh, but Krishna, this one is not even with his weapons, he is not even on his chariot." Krishna said, "Kill him." So he killed him immediately -- a completely immoral act. He killed him, because the supreme morality is to act on the order of Krishna. So only one who has Krishna riding in his chariot and giving him instructions: "You shoot here," "You do this now," "You go here now," "You get married," "You don't get married," "You do this" -- only he is able to know what is to be done, what is not to be done. Others, they only do the wrong thing, always do the wrong thing. Krishna consciousness is not artificial. Either we come to the point of having that Krishna-sun arisen in our heart, thereby being able to understand Krishna's desire and the relative and absolute, or we have to remain on the mental platform, speculating what is to be done, what is not to be done.

Now, in our beginning stages, it is not expected that we should have the Krishna-sun arisen within our heart immediately, and therefore the spiritual master acts as the external representation of Krishna and directly gives us instruction: "You do like this. You rise at this time. You bathe now. You take care of this detail, that detail." In this way, if you don't have the Krishna-sun arisen within your heart, you can be preserved -- until that time when the Krishna-sun arises within your heart -- by carrying out the same order coming down from the lips of the spiritual master. So the spiritual master is the external representation of the Supersoul because he gives you instruction how to perform activity. Now an actual problem for most devotees is, "Well, Prabhupada isn't always here to ask about so many details. Then how do we make any decision? Are our hands tied that we can't do anything?" But we should understand this from the letters of our spiritual master, that he may give us a general instruction: "You manage nicely." He'll say like that: "You manage this nicely." So the details of how to manage he may not have given. And by inquiry of some older Godbrothers, he may not be able to find out in detail how it was done properly in the past.

But you have to think like this: "Since my spiritual master has ordered me to manage nicely, therefore the details will be revealed to me if I carry out this organization on his instruction, without any other motive. Simply I have to make decisions in order to manage nicely on his instruction." Prabhupada says in his letter that along with the order of the spiritual master comes the ability to carry it out. So we should know with faith and conviction that if we carry out a general instruction from our spiritual master, without any other motive except to satisfy his order, then the details of that instruction will be revealed to us. This is the beauty of Krishna consciousness, that you actually get a tangible experience in this way of the transcendental relationship between yourself and the spiritual master that, "Even though he is not there personally giving me detailed instruction, I know what to do because I am acting only on his instruction. Therefore I know what decision to make." So even this may not come at first, because after all there are so many personal motives that enter in many times. But if we keep association with older Godbrothers, older devotees, then we'll be able to see their example, how they are carrying it out nicely. Although they may not know so many details, they are not perplexed -- they are making decisions, hundreds of decisions daily, with faith and conviction. Therefore, I simply have to align myself with their activities and I will also become engaged and learn this art -- how to carry out the order of the spiritual master with faith and conviction -- and that along with his order comes the ability to carry it out. That the Krishna-sun will rise in my heart if I simply act on his order without any other motive, and the details of all relative and absolute truth will be revealed to me.

This is confirmed in the Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-Gita: that even if the spiritual master does not instruct the disciple, Krishna Himself from within will give this disciple full instruction -- if he is sincere to carry out the order. Sincere means to carry out the order with faith and conviction that everything will be revealed to me if I simply do this. And the order is not very difficult: chant Hare Krishna, eat Krishna-prasadam, go on street sankirtan, preach, spread Krishna consciousness, go on pushing forward. Don't be satisfied that, "Oh, now we have a nice temple. Everything is nice, now we can just sit back." No, we have to go out and defeat the rascals, like Lord Chaitanya went out. He didn't stay in the temple. He went out and He approached the scientists Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, and Prakashananda Sarasvati -- they were great impersonal scientists. He approached them and He defeated them, and converted them. So since we are following in the line of Lord Chaitanya, we also have to do that. We can't be satisfied that, "Oh, now we have a nice, beautiful temple." No. Following in Lord Chaitanya's footsteps means to go out and convert these rascals. That is Lord Chaitanya's movement. If you have any questions or comments -- to follow the footsteps of the saintly persons.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Yes, you can know one who has the Krishna-sun arisen within his heart because, Prabhupada says, "He is godly-haunted." He doesn't speak about anything except the service of the Lord, the pastimes of the Lord and the instructions of the Lord. If you meet someone whose only topic is the instructions of the Lord, the service of the Lord, and the pastimes of the Lord, then you should know that he has fixed himself on the lotus feet of Krishna. No other business except these things -- pastimes, instructions, service. That's all. That's also in this book, Nectar of Devotion. Everything -- every answer to every question -- is in this book, Nectar of Devotion. Any other questions or comments?

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: You should think about this one principle: that scripture is not enough -- one has to have guru and he has to have knowledge of saintly persons in the past. That is the only sure platform. Any other platform, you are bound to be misled by your own desires. Unless you get these three things fixed up -- shastra, guru, saintly persons -- then you are bound to be misled and mislead others, just like all these other sects are doing. They crucified Jesus for this reason -- because they didn't understand the principle of guru along with scripture. Therefore, they crucified him. And they thought they were doing it on the basis of scripture: "Oh, he's a rascal -- kill him." So we have to protect ourselves from this type of delusion. It's a mania. So we protect ourselves in this way -- by informing ourselves about guru, scripture and saintly persons. Try to see how the whole fate of the world has been condemned because they haven't understood these three things. All these religions are condemned because they haven't understood these three things. Just these three things have condemned the whole world, because they've refused to understand them, accept them. So if you want to save this condemned world then you have to bring the knowledge of guru, scripture and saintly persons. Yes?

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: The solution I have already given you, that these sub-religious principles are meant to curb down the envious nature of the living being. So if his envious nature is curbed down and he does get association with a pure devotee of the Lord, then he'll become a bhakta.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: No. The idea is that there is no question of devotional service in connection with Lord Buddha's teachings; however, Lord Buddha's mission was to curb down their envious nature, which may lead them to devotional service. Just like the conclusion of all the Vedas is devotional service to Krishna; however, the branches of the Vedas by themselves, without the revelation of an acharya, a great spiritual master, will lead one to kama, artha, moksha. So everything depends upon coming eventually into association of this pure philosophy -- Krishna consciousness. However, these other things may preserve one in the mode of goodness until such a time comes. They may preserve one on that platform so that he will be able to take advantage of the teachings of the devotees when they come. So it can be considered as a preliminary position for devotional service. That's also stated in Bhagavad-Gita, that as far as the impersonal philosophy is concerned, it may be good up until the time one has association with a pure devotee. But there is difficulty, there is risk. This is a great point of understanding, that people in this age of Kali are envious, and in order to curb down their envy, scriptures in the mode of passion and scriptures meant for those in the mode of ignorance have to be injected in society by great incarnations of God like Lord Buddha, Lord Jesus Christ, etc. But at the same time, there is a great difficulty that results, because then their minds are oscillated and they don't know what is the real path. Therefore, there are hundreds of sects all over the world, with hundreds of different conclusions -- and all of them wrong. So their envious nature has been curbed down somewhat. We can see the great work that Lord Jesus, Lord Mohammed, Lord Buddha, have done in the world. They have obviously curbed down the envious nature of the world. But at the same time now there's a million different sects and nobody knows what is the conclusion, and they are fighting over this one and that one. So you can see the difficulty the world is in.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Yes, it is bewildering. It curbs down their atheistic nature.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Therefore, now Lord Chaitanya has appeared. Lord Buddha appeared, Lord Shankara appeared, now Lord Chaitanya has appeared to solve the whole problem of this age. These other personalities, they reformed the people somewhat, but now Lord Chaitanya has come to solve the whole problem -- sankirtan-yajna. Solve the whole problem.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Yes, artha is desire to be elevated, kama is fruitive result, lust, desires. They want to satisfy their lust by religion.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: No, Vedic knowledge is fact. Although it may be written in a story form, it's a factual story. The demigods are factual -- although they appear very fantastic in our conception -- they are factual personalities.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Contradictions like that, they have to be resolved by an acharya. So a neophyte is not expected to oscillate his mind to try to solve the contradictions of what people have done to the words of God. Since we are not authorities, how can we solve the problem? Therefore, we have to go to an authority. Just like Prabhupada says, "The commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' is in the Bible, but they say 'Thou shalt not murder men.' Not animals. Animals have no souls and they are meant to be killed and eaten." So Prabhupada comes to the conclusion, because he is acharya, that the Bible says, "Thou shalt not kill," but they say, "It doesn't mean animals, it means only men." But he says, "No, it means all -- thou shalt not kill. Emphatically, not kill anything." So an acharya, he resolves the contradiction. We are not expected to have to resolve these contradictions.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Yes, the teachings of Rupa Goswami are sadhana-bhakti, devotional service in practice, leading to the realization of our original relationship with Krishna and the mellow of that loving exchange. So a devotee of Rupa Goswami is called a rupanuga. He is following in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami by practicing the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga, the rules and regulations of Deity worship, developing the saintly characteristics, all the things that are revealed in Nectar of Devotion.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Right. Just like you are tasting the charanamrita -- that's recommended by Rupa Goswami. You are seeing the Deity -- that's recommended by Rupa Goswami. Everything here is recommended by Rupa Goswami. You are associating with devotees, you are hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, you are chanting Hare Krishna -- these are all the instructions of Rupa Goswami. And Prabhupada is teaching the same thing. So you are called a rupanuga, following in the footsteps of Rupa Goswami. Rupa Goswami warns against not following the principles of the revealed scriptures, becoming sahajiya, those who have imagined everything to be cheap and who have their own concocted ideas and do not follow the scriptural injunctions. So we have to take Rupa Goswami's warnings as well as Rupa Goswami's encouragements, and then we will be called rupanuga. The whole Nectar of Devotion is like that: it will give something positive and then it will give something negative. Something positive, something negative. You have to accept all these things. For example, it will say, "One can chant Hare Krishna and thus be relieved of thousands of sins, more than he could possibly commit." But then after that it says, "If one commits sin on the strength of chanting Hare Krishna, then such a sinner can never be relieved." So it gives a positive and then it gives a negative. So one has to catch up this instruction, that we are not dealing with simply rules and regulations, we are dealing with a person -- Krishna. You get some positive, some negative, because you are dealing with a personality, you are dealing with Krishna. He has likes and He has dislikes, and you have to satisfy His likes and you have to avoid His dislikes.

Devotee: (indistinct)...who say, "Jesus is the only way."

Vishnujana Swami: Then they are demons and you are not to associate with them. You are supposed to have come to the platform of being a madhyama-adhikari -- that means someone who associates with devotees, who offers his love and devotion to the Supreme Lord, he instructs the innocent and he avoids the atheist demon. So anyone who is misinterpreting the scripture, who is against devotional service of the Lord, as expounded by the great acharyas and saintly persons -- that man is considered a demon, he is not to be associated with. He just wants to stop you from doing devotional service.

Suppose I come up to you and say that, "You join my religion or you'll go to hell." And then if you ask me, "All right, so I join your religion -- now what do you want me to do different?" Then I'll say, "Well, don't put that stuff on your forehead, don't wear that sari...don't, don't, don't, don't." I have nothing positive to offer you, I just want you to stop doing all these devotional activities. [laughter] "You accept Jesus Christ in your heart and stop all these devotional activities, and you'll go to heaven." That is their philosophy. That, "You simply accept this person and you become an American again, and you'll go to heaven." [laughter] Just see what a demon they are! He has nothing positive, he just wants to take your tilak off, take your shikha off, take your sari off and put you back in American society. Eating chickens. [laughter] Yes, I saw. I was opening a temple in Austin, Texas, and some Christians were trying to preach to me in the street and I told them to get away from me. And so they tried their loving approach. [laughter] Right? And they came up to me, "Brother, tonight we're having a wonderful dinner. We just want you to come. We don't want to argue with you -- we just want you to come to this dinner." And I said, "Oh? What are you having?" They said, "Well, we're having 200 chickens." [laughter] So I said, "Oh, 200 chickens! Is Jesus going to be there?" They said, "Well, yes." I said, "Is he going to be sitting at the head of the table?" They said, "Yes." I said, "Well, then if that is your conception of heaven, then you can go on eating chicken forever. But in our heaven there is no such thing as chicken-eating, animal-killing. And our saintly persons certainly don't sit down at such a nonsense meal." So I said, "I don't want to come to your dinner."

They are envious, they are demons, they have nothing to do but harm in the society. Actually they should be killed, but since that's not possible in this age, you have to simply avoid them. [laughter] That's a fact -- actually they should all be killed. They are against devotional principles, they are against the scriptures, they are against the saints, they have their own motives. [Note: Here Maharaja is referring to the fact that Lord Krishna would have killed a demon, whereas in this age, Lord Chaitanya kills their demonic mentality with Hari-nama-sankirtan.]

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: I have already mentioned that -- that one should not be impressed by any mystic jugglery. One should be impressed only by devotional service. One who knows what is love of God, who knows that love of God means to be engaged in the service of the Lord, the instructions of the Lord and the pastimes of the Lord. This mystic healing, or mystic anything is all demonic.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Exactly. Actually, they want to come to this state -- everyone originally wants to become Krishna conscious, but they dream up some hospital or some utopian concept: "We'll build a hospital," or "We'll open an orphanage," or "We'll educate the world," or "We'll stop killing animals." Something like this. But that never is it. The real thing is what we're doing here -- Krishna consciousness. Obviously. This is what they want, but they are unable to accept it because they are envious. Therefore they dream up: "I will open a hospital and become famous." Again, envy for God: "I will become famous for what I do." They are unable to accept it.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Not very much disturbance, no. So don't be disturbed by these little volcanoes in the ocean of devotional service.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Yes, you can always challenge them, but you are not to discuss with them. In other words, you don't debate with them, you just challenge them that, "We say 'Thou shalt not kill' means 'Thou shalt not kill any living beings.' And whatever one has to kill for maintaining this body, that should be offered, according to the rules of scripture, to God." That's all. Then when they want to debate, you say, "No, we are not debating with atheists."

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: Jai! [laughter] That is devotional service -- simply to appreciate the association of devotees. That is devotional service. So now you are feeling happy also, isn't it? The idea is to keep your mind always fixed on Krishna's desires, the desires of your spiritual master, and always try to satisfy the devotees. Make that your business always: "How can I satisfy my Godbrothers, how can I satisfy my Godsisters?" Unless you do this...I see this tendency all over the society, especially recently developing, that we treat one another too much as peers instead of as Prabhus, as masters. And we tend to neglect one another -- we don't take care of each other's health, we don't take care of each other's physical needs as well as spiritual needs, we don't give each other enough instruction on the orders of Krishna, and the pastimes of Krishna, and the service of Krishna. So I think it would behoove all of us if we just try to fulfill this one injunction -- and that is to offer respect to the devotees. If you don't offer respect to devotees, then you become what is called a vaishnava-aparadhi, an offender of the devotees. Just for neglecting the devotees you become an offender of the devotees, and by doing so your attachment for Krishna wanes, it becomes less and less. And you can know this because your mind will be more and more agitated for materialistic fulfillment. So you have to be very, very careful of fault-finding, a peer type of feeling amongst your Godbrothers and Godsisters, and you have to treat everyone that, "Oh, they are the personal property of Rukmini and Dwarakadish." Then, if you think like that and you touch their feet, offer obeisances, then automatically your mind will be clear just like the high sky, and you won't be able to have impure thoughts because you'll always be protected by Krishna, being a friend of the devotees.

So everyone should try to become a friend of the devotees, not antagonistic to devotees; if you do that, you are treading very dangerous water. Krishna does not forgive that kind of offense -- your attachment will definitely wane. And I have seen it happen lots of times. So you should all protect yourselves by being attentive to taking care of your Godbrothers and Godsisters, being attentive to give them the respect which is due one who has surrendered his life in the service of the Lord. Obviously, if you respect a person who first comes here and does a little bit of devotional service, how much more you should respect your Godbrother or godsister who is giving their life and has been doing so for sometime. So you should be very careful of this familiarity which breeds contempt. You have to avoid that by always keeping yourself in a servant position -- not a familiar position -- a servant position. Just like a sannyasi, everyone considers themself servant of a sannyasi, isn't it? So there is no "familiarity breeds contempt" because there is no argument between servants and their superiors. Argument only comes when we are peers, so-called equal; then the argument comes -- my opinion, your opinion. But if our opinion is to satisfy Krishna by serving each other and engaging each other more and more in Krishna's service, then there is always that service attitude, then there is no difficulty. Lord Chaitanya recommends that if we keep ourselves in a humble state of mind, we can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly. So herein lies the clue. You have to chant constantly, but to do it you have to be in a humble state of mind, which means you have to have developed a service attitude towards the devotees. So here is a great key to advancing in Krishna consciousness.

Devotee: (indistinct)

Vishnujana Swami: This is always going to be a difficulty, because not everyone is on the same level. But the whole idea of guru is that he is patient. He knows the disciples are all fools. Prabhupada said that many times. [laughter] Most of you know -- many times he said that, "You boys -- where is your qualification? Nothing. But I am simply praying to Krishna, 'Please accept them.'" So therein lies our qualification -- that he is praying to Krishna, "Please accept them." That is our qualification. Why? Because Krishna doesn't refuse the request of a pure devotee. If Krishna is requested by his pure devotee to accept us, then Krishna does so. There are many examples in Prabhupada's writings of this, especially his first poem written upon coming to this country. So at his request, at his patience, we are advancing imperceptibly in devotional service. In other words, in spite of ourselves, in spite of all our bad qualities, he is developing our good qualities by his patient acceptance of what little bit we can do under his instructions. So therein lies the solution to all the problems -- you align yourself with the patient mercy of the guru, and you exhibit that same patient mercy to everyone else, then you become representative, you become guru. You see how Prabhupada treats particular persons...just like if a rascal impersonalist comes in the room, Prabhupada says, "Get him out." So if a rascal impersonalist comes in, he doesn't want to hear, he wants to speak all nonsense, you do the same -- "Get him out." We had an example the other day in our bus, the same thing.

Then, if you see a devotee is having some problem, you watch how Prabhupada treats them, or you hear from an older Godbrother how Prabhupada treats them, then you also treat them in that way. In other words, when you exhibit the same patient mercy that guru exhibits, you become guru. You have to catch up the example, the instructions of your guru. If you don't exhibit that mercy, if you become fanatically hard on some particular issue or some particular person and you don't exhibit the same mercy that the spiritual master exhibits, then you are not a guru. You are not a guru, then. So you have to be very careful that you learn from older devotees. This is why I wrote Prabhupada recently, "I don't think the older devotees are associating enough with the younger devotees in order to imbue them with the same patient acceptance that Prabhupada extends to the world, so that they can also become guru in that same way." And Prabhupada replied to Brahmananda Maharaja that, "Yes, this is the difficulty in our society, that the older devotees are not taking enough time with the younger devotees in order to imbue them with the attitudes of our spiritual master towards a particular consciousness and situations in the world." We are not to tolerate things which are against the message of devotional love. We're not supposed to tolerate them, we're not supposed to be like mush. We're not supposed to tolerate them, we're not supposed to be like mush, just listening to nonsense and just losing our strength from doing that. We're supposed to be strong -- if a rascal comes in, get him out. Like that. Just like Prabhupada does it. But because we come from a very "mushy" society, we say, "Oh well, let him walk around and do all nonsense. We don't have to kick him out. That won't be showing him mercy." Actually kicking him out is the highest mercy -- to represent guru. You see? And similarly, if you see some devotee is having some difficulty, but they rendered so much service in the past, you shouldn't condemn them. You should do as our guru does -- he accepts all, "You've done so much in the past, ask me anything, I'll give it to you." I've seen him do that. Some devotee falls down, Prabhupada calls to see him, "You've rendered so much service in the past, ask anything from me, I'll give it to you." I've seen that. That is representing guru. Therefore, older devotees that know this have to associate with younger devotees and imbue them with this understanding.

Devotee: Karandhar once said when these rascals come, you should also give them some prasadam, of course, right away. [laughter] And the prasadam you give them will test them to see if they'll... (indistinct) ...then [laughter].

Vishnujana Swami: Yes, they should be tested, that's a fact. [laughter] We had that example in the bus the other day. A boy was there, he took some prasadam, then he started speaking all nonsense. And we asked him to reform his attitude, and we explained to him what a spiritual master actually is. And he became offended and we had to kick him out. So yes, one should have that discrimination. Therefore older devotees have to associate with younger devotees to give them that discrimination. To show them that discrimination.

All right. Glories to Prabhupada!

devotees: Jai! Hari Bol!

>>> Ref. VedaBase => VSN: Nectar of Devotion, Chapter Seven - Los Angeles -- May 8, 1973

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