Pearls of Wisdom

Pearls of wisdom

It has been our greatest good fortune that our beloved spiritual master H.H. Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaja was here in Abudhabi from 29th of November to 3rd December, immersing all of us in transcendental bliss with his nectarean instructions. We have very limited capacity to even collect the pearls of wisdom that were flowing from his lotus mouth. Whatever we could assimilate, according to our limited capacity, we would like to share with all the members of this wonderful Granthraj forum. In the Mangala aarati program on 30th November, Maharaja asked us to recite the ten offences against the Holy name. As soon as the first offence was recited, Maharaja gave a wonderful insight into it and gave a lot of practical instructons on the ways to avoid this great offence.

First Offense: 
To blasphame the devotees who have dedicated their lives for propagating the holy name of the Lord.

Maharaja categorically stated that devotees do not criticize anybody. By doing this, we save half our life. When two people meet, we always have the tendency to talk about and criticize the third one and this has to be avoided. He quoted the following verse from Mahabharat and everyone of us should remember this always in order to get out of the pitfall of criticizing others.

dharmam bhajasva satatam tyaja loka dharmaan
sevasva saadhu purusaan jahi kama trsnaan
anyasya dosha guna cintanam aashu muktvaa
sevaa katha rasam aho nitaraam pibatvam

1. dharmam bhajasva satatam: One should always focus and speak about dharma. Here the verb 'bhajasva' indicates an order and it is not a request. Dharma refers to the religion that links us to the Supreme Personality Of Godhead. We are all eternal servants of the Lord and this dharma is our constitutional position. Every part has to serve the whole. The soul, which is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, can never survive on its own. That is why the Supersoul never leaves the individual soul. If every soul is part and parcel of Krishna, we have no right to criticize anyone. This is the practical application of the knowledge. Unless the knowledge is realized and applied, it becomes mere speculation. Here it is mentioned 'satatam', which means that the religious principles have to be practised all the time. A grain of practise is more valuable than tons of knowledge. By not criticizing anybody, we are observing the austerity of speech. Speaking is a very easy activity and that is why we criticize. Our body is so formed, that we can see only other's face and we cannot see our own face. We are not aware of our own defects and we talk about others. By always performing the religious principles, we avoid this pitfall.

2. tyaja loka dharmaan: we should abandon the general meaning of religion. People are running after so many demigods, other living entities and so many rituals without actual knowledge of real religion which is to glorify the supersoul. Here again the verb 'tyaja' indicates an order to abandon and is not a request. Time is running out and we should not be running after false things. We either use the time or lose it.

3. sevasva sadhu purushaan: All through our life, we are serving our mind, greed, envy, our wife, children-everything else other than Krishna. We should serve the sadhus who are simple people who have taken shelter of Krishna. A sadhu is a renounced person, but we should be clear that renunciation is not only the showy fervor, but the actual realization must be there that 'everything here is temporary'. We should always seek the association of the sadhus. There are three things.

1. sanga – association
2. satsanga – good association
3. prasanga – prabhu's (Lord's) association.(prabhu's sanga is prasanga)

We should always seek prasanga. In Srimad Bhagavatam 1.19.16, King Parikshit prefers this prasanga when he prays 'ratih prasangas ca tad-aashrayeshu'. Krishna consciousness flows from one living entity to another and this is the value of prasanga. By this prasanga, we save ourselves from the pitfall of criticism. Any talk, other than about Krishna, affects our blood ciriculation and hampers our devotional service. If our goal is constant remembrance of Krishna, then our tongue is automatically controlled. The more we concentrate on the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad gita, the less we talk about others. In prasanga we relish His association and this brings us satisfaction. Thus our health definitely depends upon 100 percent Krishna consciousness.

4. jahi kaama trshnaan: We have to stop all material desires. In Srimad Bhagavad gita 3.39, Krishna instructs,

aavrtam jnaanam etena
jnaanino nitya-vairinaa
kaama-rupena kaunteya
duspurenaanalena ca

"Thus the wise living entity's pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire."

Devotional life means all transcendental and hence all the material desires have to be given up.

5. anyasya dosha guna cintanam aashu muktvaa: We should not think about other's bad and good qualities. We should concentrate on our own bad qualities and try to improve our qualities and behaviour. Our minds are always wandering thinking about so many things. We have already wandered through 84 lacs of species completing at least one round, but even now our mind wanders. We should stop this wandering of the mind.

6. seva katha rasam aho nitaraam pibatvam: we should drink regularly the nectarean juice of Krishna's topics. So many times we say that Bhagavad gita is non- different from the Lord, but again we do not focus on Bhagavad gita, and we talk so many other things. We have to change our nature and habituate ourselves to studying the scriptures. 'pibatvam' means 'you drink' which means that we should seclude ourselves for one or two hours and read and understand the scriptures.

In conclusion, for our own health we should stop criticizing.

Second offense:
To consider the names of demigods like Lord Shiva or Lord Brahma to be equal to, or independent of the name of Lord Vishnu.

Maharaja gave a very broad perspective of this particular offence when he said that we respect everybody, but our whole concentration is on the Supreme Personality Of Godhead. Maharaja quoted the following verse from Srimad Bhagavatam 5.18.32,

jaraayujam svedajam andajodbhidam
caraacaram devarsi-pitr-bhutam aindriyam
dyauh kham ksitih saila-sarit-samudra-
dvipa-graharksety abhidheya ekah

“My dear Lord, You manifest Your different energies in countless forms: as living entities born from wombs, from eggs and from perspiration; as plants and trees that grow out of earth; as all living entities, both moving and standing, including the demigods, the learned sages and the pitas; as outer space, as the higher planetary system containing the heavenly planets, and as the planet earth with its hills, rivers, seas, oceans and islands. Indeed, all the stars and planets are simply manifestations of Your different energies, but originally You are one without a second. Therefore there is nothing beyond You. This entire cosmic manifestation is therefore not false but is simply a temporary manifestation of Your inconceivable energy.”

The realization from this knowledge is that if everything is His energy, then we should not get stuck with His energies, but go to the energetic. Energy is always completely under the control of the energetic. All His energies are serving Him according to His order. Service means movement. There should always be movement, right from when we get up at 4.00 am As soon as movement is stopped, difficulty starts. Srimad Bhagavatam advises us that the best way to counteract the miseries arising out of body is yogic exercises (aatmajam yoga viryena 7.15.24) and exercise means movement. So any society which has ‘movement’, it progresses. Hence it is our duty to increase this Krishna conscious ‘movement’.

Third offense:
To disobey the orders of the spiritual master.

Disciple always means discipline. We have to become seriously disciplined in our lives. We should always be ready to learn. Our brain is like a sponge and because of the presence of the transcendental soul and Supersoul, we can learn so much. Scientists have found out that in the whole of our lifetime, we utilize only 10% of our brain capacity and the balance 90% we surrender at the time of death. The sponge-like brain has to be refreshed always with the learning of Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita. As soon as we stop learning or speaking about Krishna, we glide down to sense gratification and everything collapses.Voluntary control will help us to survive very happily in this world and this is the Vedic culture. The less the material touch, the better it is. Nowadays advancement means stopping movement. Anything which is detrimental to seva-katha-rasam (nectarean topics and service of Krishna), must be avoided. Austere life is always full of movement.

Fourth offense:
To blaspheme the Vedic literature or literatures in pursuance of the Vedic version.

If we do not understand the Vedic literature, then we start blaspheming. We should not lose faith in the scriptures. The transcendental topics are beyond our power of conception and we have to take the shelter of the scriptures. As Prajapati Daksha prays to the Supreme Lord in Srimad Bhagavatam 6.4.29,

yad yan niruktam vacasaa nirupitam
dhiyaaksabhir vaa manasota yasya
maa bhut svarupam guna-rupam hi tat tat
sa vai gunaapaaya-visarga-laksanah

“Anything expressed by material vibrations, anything ascertained by material intelligence and anything experienced by the material senses or concocted within the material mind is but an effect of the modes of material nature and therefore has nothing to do with the real nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord is beyond the creation of this material world, for He is the source of the material qualities and creation. As the cause of all causes, He exists before the creation and after the creation. I wish to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.”

Our duty is to continue to chant the Holy names, and in due course of time, the jiva gets the energy from Him and whatever he speaks becomes authority.

Fifth offense:
To consider the glories of chanting Hare Krishna to be imagination.

We are all concocting and we have to stop this mental concoction. In family also, transcendence is very important. With all the transcendence also, we have so many difficulties. One is considered to be a failure in his life as long as he makes no inquiry about his real identity. Engrossment in sense gratification entails transmigration from one body to another and the engrossment has its source in mental concoction. Hence this mental concoction has to be avoided.

Sixth offense:
To give some mundane interpretation on the holy name of the Lord.

We cannot interpret the meaning and the effect of the holy name of the Lord. Krishna has to be just experienced. It is said:

atah sri-krsna-naamaadi
na bhaved graahyam indriyaih
sevonmukhe hi jihvaadau
svayam eva sphuraty adah

"No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Sri Krishna through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him."

To catch Krishna, transcendence is required and to come to transcendence we should always chant "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare".

Seventh offense:
To commit sinful activities on the strength of the holy name.

We have to sincerely take shelter of the holy name of the Lord and thus get released from the propensity to act sinfully.

Eighth offense:
To consider the chanting of Hare Krishna one of the auspicious ritualistic activites offered in the Vedas as fruitive activities.

We are always after possessions and that is why we go for fruitive activities always expecting something. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad gita 4.12

kaanksantah karmanaam siddhim
yajanta iha devataah
ksipram hi maanuse loke
siddhir bhavati karma-jaa

"Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men get results from fruitive work in this world."

To avoid this, we must always visualize the last day of our life. At the last moment, all the possessions become useless. We should be attached only to the minimum extent and we must be detached from the maximum extent. We are worried about our own journey and only remembrance of Krishna will help. The visualization of the last day, makes us completely straight-forward and saves ourselves from criticism and so many other material things.

Ninth offense:
To instruct a faithless person about the glories of the holy name.

Complete faith in the Supreme gives us the psychological shelter. The child becomes peaceful, as soon as it has full faith in the parents. Unmanifested faith doesn't work. In our Vedic culture, we do not lack anything. We should first improve ourselves as soon as possible by utilizing the gift of Srila Prabhupada in the form of so much paraphernalia and thus invoke faith in others also.

Tenth offense:
To not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names and to maintain some material attachments even after understanding so many instructions on this matter.

Whenever we are lethargic or fed up with chanting or reading, we should always visualize our last moment of life, and any one can have the last moment at any time. We may not have the opportunity to come together and listen to all the valuable things. Hence we should make the best use of the available opportunity.

We all pray at the lotus feet of our spiritual master and seek his blessings that we may become successful in our sincere endeavors to avoid the above offences by following the practical instructions Maharaja has given us. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
and be happy.

– Compiled from notes on lectures of H. H. Mahavishnu Goswami

Author: ISKCON Desire Tree

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