Los Angeles, December 9, 1969
Disappearance Day of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja
THERE IS A NICE STORY about a sage giving different blessings to different types of persons. To a prince, he blessed, raja-putra ciram jiva: "You are a king's son, a prince. May you live forever." And he blessed the son of a saintly person, muni putra ma jiva: "Don't live." And the sadhu, the devotee, he blessed, jiva va maro va: "Either you live or you die as you like." And there was a butcher. The sage blessed him, ma jiva ma mara: "Don't die, don't live."
These words are very significant. A prince is enjoying his senses, that's all. He has enough facility for sense enjoyment. So his next life will be hellish, because if you indulge in unrestricted sex life, Krsna will give you facility to have sex three times in an hour, just like the pigeons, the monkeys, the sparrows.
Princes are after sense enjoyment. So the sage blessed the prince, "Better you live forever, because after your death you do not know what is going to happen to you. You are going to get a hellish life. Better you live for some time. Go on with your enjoyment.''
And muni-putra ma jiva. The brahmacari student working under the strict disciplinary guidance of a spiritual master is blessed, ma jiva: "You'd better die. You are trained so as to enter into the kingdom of God, so why should you take so much trouble? Better you die and go back to Godhead.''
The sage blessed the devotee, jiva va maro va: "My dear devotee, either you live or die," because for a devotee it's the same.
And the butcher the sage blessed, ma jiva ma mara: "Don't live, don't die.'' What's a butcher to do? His life is so abominable. From the morning, he has to slaughter so many animals, see the blood stains, the ghastly scenes. That is his livelihood. What a horrible life this is! So "Don't live. And don't die also.'' Because after death oh, he is going to be in such a hellish condition, nobody can describe it. So both conditions life and death are horrible.
Apart from the others, for the devotee both birth and death, appearance and disappearance, are the same.
My spiritual master appeared at Jagannatha Puri. He was the son of a very big government officer, Bhaktivinoda Thakura, who was a magistrate. In those days a magistrate was a big officer in the government, practically next to governor. And Bhaktivinoda Thakura was in charge of the Jagannatha temple. That is the system in Jagannatha Puri. The manager in charge of the temple is the district magistrate.
Once during the Rathayatra festival, Lord Jagannatha's car stopped in front of Bhaktivinoda Thakura's house. At that time, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, my Guru Maharaja [spiritual master], was a child in the lap of his mother. So the mother took the opportunity to come onto the car. Because she was the magistrate's wife, people gave way so she could go onto the car and place the child at the lotus feet of Jagannatha. There were many garlands, and one garland fell upon Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati, blessing him.
When he was a child two or three years old, he ate a mango which was kept for offering to the Deity. His father mildly rebuked him, "Oh, you have done a very wrong thing. It was meant for the Deity, and you have taken it. You should not have done it.''
The child was two or three years old, but he took it so seriously that after that he never ate a mango. Whenever we offered him one he would say, "No, I am an offender. I cannot take mangoes.'' He was thinking like that, you see. Never in his life did he take a mango. He was thinking, "I offended in my childhood by taking the mango of the Deity.''
This is the characteristic of acaryas. They teach by their life's action that one should be so determined. A child took the mango there was no offense. But he took that vow.
Another instance, in my presence. At that time, I was a young man. One of my Godbrothers, Dr. Oudh Bihari Lal Kapoor, was also young man, and his wife was also young. We were sitting together, talking with Guru Maharaja, and the girl proposed, "My dear master, I want to speak with you.''
Guru Maharaja said, "Yes, you can say whatever you like.''
She said, "I want to talk with you privately, not in everyone's presence.''
Guru Maharaja said, "No. I cannot talk with you privately. You can talk in the presence of my other disciples.''
Even though the girl was like his granddaughter by age, he refused to talk with a young woman in a private place.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura had many other sons. Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati was the fifth son. And he did not marry. From childhood he was a strict brahmacari [celibate]. And he underwent very severe penances for starting this worldwide movement. That was his mission.
Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted to do this. In 1896 Bhaktivinoda Thakura wanted to introduce the Krsna consciousness movement by sending the book Shree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, His Life and Precepts to the West. Fortunately, that year was my birth year.
By Krsna's arrangement I came in contact with my Guru Maharaja. We were born in different families. Who knew that I would come to his protection? Who knew that I would come to America? Who knew that you American boys would come to me? These are all Krsna's arrangements. We cannot understand how things are taking place.
In 1936, thirty-two years ago, I was doing business in Bombay. At that time, Guru Maharaja was a little indisposed, and he was staying at Jagannatha Puri, on the seashore. So I wrote him a letter. "My dear master, your other disciples brahmacaris, sannyasis they are rendering you direct service. And I am a householder. I cannot live with you. I cannot serve you nicely. So I do not know how I can serve you.''
Simply an idea. I was thinking of serving him. "How can I serve him seriously?''
The reply was dated 13th December, 1936. He wrote, "My dear such and such, I am very glad to receive your letter. I think you should try to push our movement in English. And that will do good to you and to the people who will help you.'' That was his instruction. And then on the 31st of December that means just a fortnight after writing this letter he passed away.
I took that order of my spiritual master very seriously. But I did not think that I'd have to do such and such things. I was at that time a householder. But this is the arrangement of Krsna. If we strictly try to serve the spiritual master's order, then Krsna will give us all facilities. That is the secret.
I took my spiritual master's order a little seriously by studying a commentary by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura on the Bhagavad-gita. In connection with the verse vyavasayatmika-buddhih ekeha kuru-nandana, Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that we should take up the words from the spiritual master as our life and soul. We should try to carry out the instruction, the specific instruction of the spiritual master, very rigidly, without caring for our personal benefit or loss.
So I tried a little bit in that spirit. And he has given me all facilities to serve him. Things have come to this stage, that in my old age I have come to your country and you are also taking this movement seriously, trying to understand it. We have got some books now. So there is a little foothold for this movement.
So on this occasion of my spiritual master's departure, as I am trying to execute his will I shall also request you to execute the same order through my will. I am an old man. I can pass away at any moment. That is nature's law; nobody can check it. That I may die is not very astonishing. But this is my appeal to you on this auspicious day of the departure of my Guru Maharaja: At least to some extent you have understood the essence of the Krsna consciousness movement. You should try to push it on.
People are suffering for want of this consciousness. As we daily pray about devotees,
krpa-sindhubhya eva ca
vaisnavebhyo namo namah
When one is a Vaisnava, or devotee of the Lord, his life is dedicated for the benefit of the people. You know most of you belong to the Christian community how Lord Jesus Christ said that for your sinful activities he sacrificed himself. That is the determination of devotees of the Lord. They don't care for personal comforts. They love Krsna, or God, so they love all living entities, because all living entities are related with Krsna. So similarly you should learn this. The Krsna consciousness movement means to become a Vaisnava and feel for suffering humanity.
To feel for suffering humanity there are different angles of vision. Some people think of the suffering of humanity in terms of the bodily conception of life. They try to open hospitals to give relief from disease or try to distribute food in poverty-stricken countries. These things are certainly very nice. But the actual suffering of humanity is due to lack of Krsna consciousness.
Bodily sufferings are temporary, and cannot be checked. Suppose you distribute food in a poverty-stricken country. That does not solve the whole problem. The real beneficial work is to invoke every person's Krsna consciousness.
Suppose a rich man's son is loitering in the street, forgetting his father's opulence and property, and somebody, out of sympathy, gives him some food. But another person comes to him and says, "Oh, my dear boy, I know you. You are the son of such and such rich man. Why you are loitering in the street? Come on. I shall take you to your father.'' So if that gentleman takes the loitering boy to his father, the father is glad, the boy inherits his father's property, and his whole problem of life becomes solved.
Similarly, every living entity has been loitering within this universe in different bodies, in different planets, from time immemorial. And he doesn't know that he belongs to the kingdom of God, that he is the direct son of Krsna, God, that Krsna is the proprietor of everything, and that he can enjoy his father's property and automatically solve the problems of material conditioned life.
If you become a rich man, if you can possess millions of dollars, then your poverty is automatically solved. Similarly, if you become Krsna conscious and you act in that way, then all other problems in the material conditional life are solved.
In Bhagavad-gita the Lord says that people's sufferings are due to their sinful activities, and sinful activities are caused by ignorance. Suppose a foreigner like me comes to America and does not know that cars are driven on the right side of the road. In India the car is driven on the left side. So suppose a person does not know and he drives the car on the left and gets involved in an accident. If he is taken into police custody and says, "Sir, I did not know that here the car is driven on the right side,'' that does not excuse him. The law will punish him.
So ignorance is the cause of sinful activities or breaking the law. And when you commit some sinful activity, you have to suffer the result. The whole world is in ignorance. And due to ignorance everyone is implicated in so many actions and reactions, either good or bad.
Ultimately, there is nothing good within this material world; everything is bad. We have manufactured something good and something bad. But in the Bhagavad-gita we learn that this place is duhkhalayam asasvatam, a place for misery. So in this miserable condition how can you say, "This is good'' or "This is bad''? Everything is bad.
One should be very much pessimistic about the material world. Then one can make advancement in spiritual life. Duhkhalayam asasvatam. This place is full of miseries. If you study analytically, you'll find simply miserable conditions.
Therefore we should give up our material conditional life, and in Krsna consciousness we should try to elevate ourselves to the spiritual platform and thereby be promoted to the kingdom of Godhead. Having gone there, no one comes back to this miserable world. That is the supreme abode of the Lord.
This Krsna consciousness movement is authorized and very important. Now, you American boys and girls who have taken to this movement, please take it more seriously. That is the mission of Lord Caitanya and my Guru Maharaja. And I am also trying to execute their will by disciplic succession. You have come forward to help me. Although I shall go away, you shall live. I request you all: Don't give up pushing on this movement. Continue. You'll be blessed by Lord Caitanya and His Divine Grace Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Goswami Prabhupada.
Thank you very much.