ISKCON Bangalore

HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami: So today we are going to read from Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 4 Chapter 9 “Dhruva Maharaja Returns Home” Text 11. This is all in the context of our SGGS, the Sanga of GBCs, Gurus and Sannyasis. So it is out of the normal scheme of things as the Bhagavatam classes are normally being done. This is a very nice verse spoken by Dhruva Maharaja.

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.9.11

bhaktim muhuh pravahatam tvayi me prasango
bhuyad ananta mahatam amalasayanam
yenanjasolbanam uru-vyasanam bhavabdhim
nesye bhavad-guna-kathamrta-pana-mattah

Dhruva Maharaja continued: O unlimited Lord, kindly bless me so that I may associate with great devotees who engage in Your transcendental loving service constantly, as the waves of a river constantly flow. Such transcendental devotees are completely situated in an uncontaminated state of life. By the process of devotional service I shall surely be able to cross the nescient ocean of material existence, which is filled with the waves of blazing, firelike dangers. It will be very easy for me, for I am becoming mad to hear about Your transcendental qualities and pastimes, which are eternally existent.

PURPORT: The significant point in Dhruva Maharaja’s statement is that he wanted the association of pure devotees. Transcendental devotional service cannot be complete and cannot be relishable without the association of devotees. We have therefore established the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Anyone who is trying to be aloof from this Krishna Consciousness Society and yet engage in Krsna consciousness is living in a great hallucination, for this is not possible. From this statement by Dhruva Maharaja it is clear that unless one is associated with devotees, his devotional service does not mature; it does not become distinct from material activities. The Lord says, satam prasangan mama virya-samvido bhavanti hrt-karna-rasayanah (SB 3.25.25). Only in the association of pure devotees can the words of Lord Krsna be fully potent and relishable to the heart and ear. Dhruva Maharaja explicitly wanted the association of devotees. That association in devotional activities is just like the waves of an incessantly flowing river. In our Krishna Consciousness Society we have full engagement twenty-four hours a day. Every moment of our time is always busily engaged in the service of the Lord. This is called the incessant flow of devotional service.

A Mayavadi philosopher may question us, “You may be very happy in the association of devotees, but what is your plan for crossing the ocean of material existence?” Dhruva Maharaja’s answer is that it is not very difficult. He clearly says that this ocean can be crossed very easily if one simply becomes mad to hear the glories of the Lord. Bhavad-guna-katha: for anyone who persistently engages in hearing the topics of the Lord from Srimad Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam and Caitanya-caritamrta and who is actually addicted to this process, just as one becomes addicted to intoxicants, it is very easy to cross the nescience of material existence. The ocean of material nescience is compared to a blazing fire, but to a devotee this blazing fire is insignificant because he is completely absorbed in devotional service. Although the material world is blazing fire, to a devotee it appears full of pleasure (visvam purna-sukhayate).

The purport of this statement by Dhruva Maharaja is that devotional service in the association of devotees is the cause of the development of further devotional service. By devotional service only is one elevated to the transcendental planet Goloka Vrndavana, and there also there is only devotional service, for the activities of devotional service both in this world and in the spiritual world are one and the same. Devotional service does not change. The example of a mango can be given here. If one gets an unripe mango, it is still a mango, and when it is ripe it remains the same mango, but it has become more tasteful and relishable. Similarly, there is devotional service performed according to the direction of the spiritual master and the injunctions and regulative principles of sastra, and there is devotional service in the spiritual world, rendered directly in association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But they are both the same. There is no change. The difference is that one stage is unripe and the other is ripe and more relishable. It is possible to mature in devotional service only in the association of devotees. [End]

HH Bhakti Caitanya Swami: (invocatory prayers) So as we said, we have selected this verse in the context of our program here for the next five days, the Sanga of GBCs, gurus and sannyasis. It is very relevant and it is very appropriate in this context. Of course a verse like this it is always appropriate and wonderful, very beautiful verse spoken by Dhruva Maharaja, a very amazing personality and very wonderful purport by Srila Prabhupada.

So here Dhruva Maharaja is celebrating the association of devotees, he is saying that mattah, “I am becoming mad, I have become mad for hearing your pastimes, hearing about your qualities and so many things to do with You”, but it all becomes complete, it all becomes ripe–to take the example Prabhupada gives here of the mango-it all becomes ripe in the association of devotees. If anyone thinks that I will somehow become mad after hearing the pastimes of the Lord and all these things without the association of the devotees, then as Srila Prabhupada says here very explicitly-it is very vivid and dramatic-they are living their great hallucination. It is just another type of madness, really.

So the idea in this Sanga of GBCs, gurus and sannyasis is that in this Krishna consciousness movement, we have so many wonderful GBCs, gurus and sannyasis. Just speaking from my own perspective, I get around more than most devotees, and I know more GBCs, gurus and sannyasis than so many devotees, and as far as I am concerned, from whatever my perception and capacity to evaluate may be, we have really so many wonderful wonderful amazing GBCs, gurus and sannyasis. And just in general so many wonderful devotees actually.

Particularly when it comes to the most senior devotees and most experienced in Krishna consciousness devotees and most knowledgeable, realized and very deeply practiced devotees, then our senior most devotees, as far as I am concerned, they are really amazing. It is really wonderful, even if you take any one or any two of them, and associate with them, it is just wonderful. But if you get about 80 or 100 of them together (chuckles), that is truly extra dimensional, that is the fifth dimension and beyond. That is the spiritual world. That is the spiritual world.

And as Srila Prabhupada mentions in the purport that, well effectively he is saying and elsewhere he does say specifically, that actually he has created ISKCON just so people can get the association of devotees. It is so foundational, so essential and just quintessential as a part of the process of devotional service.

Let me say first of all, that this Sanga is the brainchild really of His Grace Gopal Bhatta Prabhu, to be completely honest and truthful. It is the creation of the Strategic Planning Committee. Its all part of the process which is being going on in Srila Prabhupada’s movement for the last six years of trying to become more systematic and more organized in everything in Krishna consciousness and including how we present Krishna consciousness and the programs we adopt and utilize, the systems that we utilize for spreading Krishna consciousness.

I remember hearing many many years ago in the 70’s, that Nikita Khrushchev, previously he was the leader in the Soviet Union and he visited India and he came back, and I was told he said that yes I went to India, and before I went there I was an atheist. But now I have been there and I’ve come back, now I am bit more of a theist. Because I saw that in India things are going on but no one is in control, so there must be a God. Nobody else is in control. (laughter)

So in our Krishna consciousness movement maybe in the name of spontaneity, I don’t know exactly but sometimes there may be a lack of organization and systematic-ness, and so on like that, because His Holiness Giriraja Maharaj, a senior disciple of Srila Prabhupada and someone who really had a lot of close personal association and time to discuss things directly with Srila Prabhupada, he said that at the end in Vrindavana that when Srila Prabhupada was in the process of departing, Srila Prabhupada asked him, “so how will things go on after I am gone?”

And Giriraja Maharaj said to Srila Prabhupada to the effect that at least that “if we are really sincere in devotional service the movement will go on.”

Srila Prabhupada said, “Yes, sincerity and intelligence, sincerity and good organization.”

Because after all good organization does not have to be a symptom of atheism or lack of Krishna consciousness necessarily!

So we organized, not we the Strategic Planning Team actually has organized this Sanga, frankly even though I am for better or worse the chairman of the GBC body but only for another 13 days including today, I can say that frankly I didn’t even know what was going to happen till last night actually. And I still don’t know much of what is going to happen. We all like surprises, nice surprises.

So here anyway the thing is that Dhruva Maharaja he is celebrating his devotional service and his connection with the Lord, hearing and chanting about the Lord. He is celebrating. He is ecstatic, how wonderful! He just wants to go on and on hearing and chanting about the Lord but in the association of devotees. Not on his own. On his own, if that is just how the circumstances happen to be at some particular point, that is one thing, but in general as much as possible in the association of the devotees. This is such an essential factor in Krishna consciousness.

We were told in our very early days of Krsna consciousness, we were told that Srila Prabhupada said Krishna consciousness is 90% association and certainly its really very important factor, extremely important.

Even Srila Jiva Goswami in Bhakti Sandarbha commenting on one verse spoken by Lord Krishna in Eleventh Canto in Uddhava-gita. Lord Krishna is explaining, I forget the actual verse now, He is explaining certain essential factors in the process of devotional service and one of them is the association of devotees. So Srila Jiva Goswami translates this line, Krishna is speaking, he translates it that Krishna says that “serving the devotees, and associating with the devotees, is a more effective way of developing love for Me, than trying to develop love for Me.” It is very profound. It is very profound.

So we need the association of devotees, devotees who are already very dynamic and empowered and wonderful become even more dynamic and empowered and wonderful when they associate with other wonderful devotees. It is just such an important and amazing factor in devotional service.

We see here, as we said this is all the context of ultimately of strategic planning really, and the strategic planning endeavor of the GBC body, that we want to develop the Krishna consciousness movement in more strategic, systematic and intelligent Krishna conscious ways so that everything increases very positively including the preaching as such.

Dhruva Maharaja was preached to by Narada Muni, and when Narada Muni preached to Dhruva Maharaja in the forest, then Narada Muni preached very strategically. He didn’t just say something even though it is transcendental but just something very sort of ah! blunt, just ah! you are not your body, just chant Hare Krishna. I used to know one devotee back in the good old days when things were really different, and whenever he was asked a question, any question practically, his answer would be- Just chant Hare Krishna! That is a Krishna conscious answer.

But then we heard that Srila Prabhupada when he opened the Krishna Balarama temple, he stayed on for some days and weeks after to see that everything was functioning nicely. Srila Prabhupada everyday he would do some type of inspection around to see what was happening or not happening and one morning maybe at this time of the day after the Bhagavatam class, Prabhupada was walking around the temple room, around the sort of verandah area, around the courtyard and Prabhupada saw and there was one light on. There was just no need at all. And Prabhupada said, “What are we going to do about this?” This light being left on!

And the Temple President tried to give, and he told me later that he really thought, I have got to give a Krishna conscious answer here to Prabhupada. So he said to Prabhupada, “We are going to become Krishna conscious”, and Prabhupada answered “an impractical suggestion.” (laughter).

Just chant Hare Krishna, Just Hare Krishna. Its good, its not bad. It can’t really be bad, but to really take things forward in the Krishna consciousness movement, it will help and already it is helping in different ways to think more strategically and systematically and get a bit more organized.

And its interesting Narada Muni preached to Dhruva Maharaja initially in what you might call a sort of like a very basic, straightforward way. You are just a young boy. Why are you here in the forest? You should go home! Dhruva said, oh! but I am trying to find God. And Narada said, well! God is in the palace also, why don’t you go back to the palace and try and find God there? He was saying just some basic good things, like don’t be materialistic, don’t worry about if you have wealth and a kingdom and so on. It is all true and all very good. But it didn’t influence Dhruva Maharaja.

Basically Dhruva Maharaja told Narada Muni, “Look, thanks, thank you very much, you are saying very good things. But if you cannot help me in my mission to find God in the way that I have decided I want to find God, if you cant help me then please leave me alone. Please go. You go your way, I’ll go my way. Thanks, but no thanks.”

So then Narada Muni became more strategic, oh yes. He really thought how to deal with this boy in such a way, with empathy, with some feeling and understanding and appreciation for his condition and how to touch his heart. So Narada Muni, then, in that way, he gave Dhruva a process of something like astanga-yoga, something like that, some sort of physical exercises and something a bit more dramatic sounding.

And Dhruva thought, yes, this sounds good, if I do this I am going to become powerful and if I become powerful I can get a kingdom. This is good!

But Narada Muni, with his strategic intelligence and with his depth of Krishna consciousness, he injected into that, something extremely Krishna conscious. You do all these exercises and so on but you chant Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya. This is very important part of the process.

Because of the way Narada Muni had presented everything, Dhruva was already embracing everything, Dhruva embraced that and so he did that and we all know what happened.

Eventually the Lord revealed Himself, and Dhruva said, actually I just, I was interested in the kingdom but now I have got You! Now I can see that this what I was looking for – the kingdom, it was just something useless. I thought it was a big mountain of gems, unlimitedly valuable but now I see it just like a pile of broken colored glass. It is just rubbish in other words, just to be thrown away.

So we see with Srila Prabhupada, we see with Lord Caitanya. The other day we were celebrating the appearance of Lord Nityananda. We see with Lord Nityananda that they were not stereotyped you could say, Krishna conscious stereotyped about how they presented Krishna consciousness. Whereas others, and maybe even us sometimes, or whoever may try to actually present Krishna consciousness but in ways which are not so really deep in Krishna consciousness and it doesn’t have so much effect.

One devotee told me he was with Srila Prabhupada here in Mayapur when George Harrison the famous musician donated Bhaktivedanta Manor just outside London to Prabhupada’s movement 1973. That day Srila Prabhupada was going to visit one of his Godbrothers in Navadvipa. We wont mention any names. They were just about to leave when the news came through. This devotee, Murti Das from New Vrindavana some of you may remember him from the old days. So Murti told me atleast that he said to Srila Prabhupada, “Oh, you know we just got this huge donation, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of property, biggest donation ever in ISKCON, Oh! It is so wonderful. We must tell that particular devotee they were going to go and see, Prabhupada was going to go and see one of his Godbrothers.”

And Srila Prabhupada said, “No, don’t tell him, he won’t understand. He’ll think that this George Harrison is a mleccha and we accept something substantial like this from a mleccha we will become contaminated. So don’t tell him.” So Srila Prabhupada in so many ways he was creative and strategic in his thinking and how he developed this Krishna consciousness movement in so many ways.

So here we, over these next five days including today, we are all going to be getting together and trying to churn the ocean of Krsna consciousness, and churn the ocean of the Krsna consciousness movement and all the different programs and ideas for spreading and developing the Krsna consciousness movement. I am sure that as this ocean becomes churned and churned some real nectar is going to come out amongst the senior devotees and then be distributed among the devotees in general and it is really going to be very wonderful.

Again, welcome to one and all, all devotees who have come to participate. Thank you for taking the trouble and making the effort and thank you to you all everyone for participating. And let us see what, by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada, comes out of everything at the end of this program after five days. Hare Krishna! Srila Prabhupada ki jai!

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