Srimad Bhagavatam

Prabhlad speaking to Lord Nrasimhadev

romapada swami on prahlada maharaja

From Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir
Date: February 18, 2017


vimuncati yada Kaman
manavo manasi sthitan
tarhy eva pundarikaksa
bhagavattvaya kalpate


O my Lord, when a human being is able to give up all the material desires in his mind, he becomes eligible to possess wealth and opulence like Yours.

Purport by Srila Prabhupad:

Atheistic men sometimes criticize a devotee by saying, “If you do not want to take any benediction from the Lord and if the servant of the Lord is as opulent as the Lord Himself, why do you ask for the benediction of being engaged as the Lord’s servant?” Sridhara Svami comments, bhagavattvaya bhagavat-saman aisvaryaya. Bhagavattva, becoming as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not mean becoming one with Him or equal to Him, although in the spiritual world the servant is equally as opulent as the master. The servant of the Lord is engaged in the service of the Lord as a servant, friend, father, mother or conjugal lover, all of whom are equally as opulent as the Lord. This is acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. The master and servant are different yet equal in opulence. This is the meaning of simultaneous difference from the Supreme Lord and oneness with Him.


Pretty acintya isn’t it!? Yes, no, and both yes and no at the same time.

We find in our pranam mantra to Srila Prabhupada “pascatya-desa-tarine”. Impersonalism and voidism is found not only in the western countries but throughout the entire world, but Srila Prabhupada went to the western countries by the order of his Guru Maharaj to deliver the western countries that are filled with impersonalism and voidism. It is most likely that Srila Prabhupada composed his own pranam mantra, since he was the only one who had the scholarly acumen to do so at that time. In any case, whoever composed it, the message of his pranam mantra is precisely what he did. He delivered the message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu which is founded in Srimad Bhagavatam ~ or, the message Srimad Bhagavatam is the message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu ~ and the message of Caitanya Mahaprabhu is the message of Srimad Bhagavatam, as they are inseparable.

Before Jiva Goswami’s time the phrase acintya-bhedabheda-tattva was not known. Jiva Goswami coined it. What are the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu when compared to other smapradayas? There are four bonafide sampradayas, according to Padma Purana. Each of the four have a Sanskrit term which expresses the essence of the sampradaya’s teachings. Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s teaching is now known by the phrase “simultaneously one and difference” between all things and their source, which is distinct from yet incorporates aspects of each of the four sampradayas.

While supporting the acintya-bhedabheda-tattva doctrine, Srila Prabhupada is taking the opportunity in his purport to defeat impersonalism and voidism. Voidism and impersonalism are not only in the West. Worldwide, this is the brand of ‘spirituality’ the masses are exposed to, when their lives turn in a spiritual direction. People who move from the all-pervasive material turmoil towards spiritual life aren’t properly guided. Just consider how important it is for them to receive Srila Prabhupada’s books!

Commonly, when applying a formal empirical approach, the conclusion is impersonal based on the “neti neti” process. “What is the Absolute? It is not this, not this.” Then what is it? The totally unsatisfying and impersonal definition is “It’s not this!” Even if not formalized via the “neti neti” process, informally people who consider themselves to be spiritual express the goal of their practice or belief in some manner that is clearly impersonal. Even those who are theists, who profess to believe in a personal God ~ scratch the surface a bit, ask them to describe the kingdom of God and what do you get?

Keep going deeper, and when you get there, what to do find? ‘God cannot have form like Krishna’s! God cannot look like that! Goloka, the planet of cows? No!’

I’ve explored this topic with theists, and I invite you to do the same. When you scratch the surface, don’t be surprised to find that even the theists are often impersonalists.

What does acintya-bhedabheda-tattva look like? This verse’s purport is offering a brief description. Prahlad Maharaja is revealing one of the features of difference and non-difference simultaneously. Prahlad is a servant. Tarhi means “at that time only” and kalpate means “becomes eligible”, which doesn’t mean that the servant is Bhagavan, or becomes Bhagavan. The servant is only the servant of Bhagavan. But the servant of Bhagavan becomes eligible at that time to manifest the opulence’s of Bhagavan. At what time? When there is no material desire in the mind, one becomes eligible to become as opulent as the Supreme Lord.

Let’s take a short pause to help understand the Bhagavatam’s message here. One of Srila Prabhupada’s anecdotal statements in this regard came in the early days at 26 Second Avenue. One person asked Srila Prabhupada a question. “Swamiji, it is said in the scripture, you taught us, that the spiritual master is one who knows the Vedas, and one who knows the Vedas knows all things. Is that true? Can you tell me how many windows there are in Empire State Building?” Without hesitation Srila Prabhupada replied “How many drops of water are there in the mirage?” He didn’t elaborate. It’s not that the spiritual master is encyclopaedic, or that he is the knower of all triva. He knows the difference between illusion and reality and further, as far as a person who is in Srila Prabhupada’s position, or is an unalloyed servant of Supreme Lord, he has no other desire than Krishna’s desire. In turn, Krishna gives him whatever he needs to know for his service. Krishna is not restricted to imparting knowledge by being situated in his heart. He has different means of providing His unalloyed servant the knowledge of what Krishna wants. Turn left or right etc. what to do in a complex circumstance.

One Mahabarata teaching repeated often by Srila Prabhupada is “Mahajano yena gataḥ sa panthaḥ (CC Madhya 17.186)”. This phrase is taken from the section of Mahabharata where Yudhisthira is asked by the Yaksha a series of dharmic questions. One of them was, in essence “Sometimes a particular situation may be ruled by apparently conflicting codes of dharma. When such a conflict exists, how do you decide?” Yudhisthira’s answer was “Yes, applying dharmic principles can be complex.  Therefore we cannot just follow rules, we need to follow the Mahajanas.” Mahajanas are given the capacity to discern between this dharma, and that dharma, whether to turn left or right.

One who has such a capacity is described in this verse: they have no material desires. Therefore they are eligible to be bestowed by Krishna with whatever opulence Krishna wishes to give such an unalloyed servant. One then becomes the bearer of the opulence of Bhagavan. Knowledge is one of the 6 principle opulence of Bhagavan. “How many windows are there in the Empire State Building?” The knowledge necessary for a great soul is his being unflinching clear that the illusory existence is illusory, and spiritual substance is reality. That is what is being described in this verse. The consciousness of the unalloyed devotee is that he has no material desire, thus his consciousness can fix cent percent on the Supreme Lord.

The context of Chapter 10 is that Prahlad has been asked to take a benediction. His reply is “Please, no benediction. Because our relationship is you are the master and I am the servant, and nothing else. Ours is not a business relationship where I do something for you, and you do something for me. No, that is not our relationship. Our relationship is nothing else but I am the servant and you are the master. So please don’t ask me to take a benediction.”

Of the 9 process of Bhakti, Prahlad is perfect in remembrance. You cannot always remember the Lord if there is material desire within the heart. When there is material desire ~ the repeated word used in this section is kaman, specifically indicating desire separate from the Supreme Lord, unlike the servant who simply desires the desire of the Supreme Lord ~ one cannot always think of the Lord. How can you discern what material desire is? ‘Material desire’ has a really simple definition, really simple. Spiritual = seeing nothing separate from Krishna. Material = seeing things separate from Krishna. That’s the definition.

This simple definition is the essence of one of the four catur-sloki verses in the entire Srimad Bhagavatam. It goes like this: “One who sees something as having value ~ artha is the Sanskrit word ~ one who sees something having value or artha in and itself, separate from the Supreme Lord, seeing in that way is my illusionary energy maya.” One who is covered by maya can’t see Krishna. What is the essence of seeing things in maya? It is seeing something as having value in and of itself, separate from Krishna. In other words, it exits apart from Krishna, it doesn’t belong to Krishna.
We are born owning nothing. During a lifetime in maya we see so many things as having value and not belonging to Krishna. We endeavour to put those things in our pocket and make it ours. That’s material life. It doesn’t have to be physical things, vastu, in the sense of paraphernalia or some gross physical manifestation of the material energy. It can be knowledge or other things that are more subtle. I want to fill my pocket, make something mine, independent of the Supreme Lord, seeing value there. Srila Prabhupada’s discussion with Professor Durkeim on this topic is classic.
Professor Durkeim ~ a nice man, a professor in Germany, very appreciative of Srila Prabhupada ~ was arguing the position “knowledge for knowledge sake.”

Srila Prabhupada said knowledge has to be applied, otherwise it is meaningless. “No, no. Knowledge for knowledge sake.” The discussion went back and forth several times. Srila Prabhupada was initially patient, then finally became very firm. “It’s useless!” Maya includes knowledge separate from utility in service to Krishna. Srimad Bhagavatam is teaching, Caitanya Mahaprabhu is teaching, acintya-bhedabheda-tattva is teaching, our life is teaching us ~ everything has no value, unless it has application in service to Krishna.

dharmah svanusthitah pumsam
visvaksena-kathasu yah
notpadayed yadi ratim
srama eva hi kevalam

That’s strong! Firmly, Srila Prabhupada would repeat this message to different audiences. They would sometimes object: “Swamiji, why are you so harsh? You are sadhu, and sadhus are always peaceful and they never say things like this, Swamiji.” Srila Prabhupada was the protector of siddhanta. Just listen to morning walk conversations, and you will quickly understand how firmly he protected siddhanta.

Here is another Prabhupada lesson. The devotees were appreciating how Srila Prabhupada dealt with the President of Dai Nippon, when he was negotiating a printing contract. The devotees were marvelling how Prabhupada dealt with the President in his office. Here is a highly placed Japanese corporate magnate, in his opulent office, with Srila Prabhupada coming in his dhoti, negotiating a printing contract. The devotees said the President agreed to do something the company never did before. They agreed to printing without our giving a substantial advance of money as a deposit towards the contract, but they did it. The devotees were saying “Prabhupada, what you did was amazing!” Srila Prabhupada chuckled and said “And when the President said I am a Buddhist, I asked him if he is a vegetarian. When he said no, I chastised him. ‘What kind of Buddhist are you?’” Prabhupada laughed and all the devotees laughed.

The devotees then said “Whenever we go back to the Dai Nippon office, they always say, ‘Oh Swamiji is such a nice man!’”

How could he do that? “You are not a Buddhist, what kind of Buddhist are you?” Because of purity and many other qualifications, his age, and the empowerment of Krishna. He could say those things. We cannot say those things; we would be bounced out of the office very fast. We can’t imitate, but we can understand the non-compromising nature of our founder-acharya. Of course, he knew when to speak strongly, and when not to, because he was directed personally by Krishna. And how did he become so qualified? No material desire.

Now, I want to touch on another topic, so I will briefly hit the pause button, go quickly to this other related topic, and then come back again.

Some of the devotees here are from China. As you may know, I visit China. From visiting China, I had to learn more about Buddhism than I did before visiting China, because a lot of people say, “I’m Buddhist” and then they ask “How do you compare Bhagavad-gita’s teaching with Buddha’s teachings?” That’s very common. So I had to know more about what is Buddhist teachings.

Really short, because it can easily get complicated ~ but one of the essential teachings from Gautama Buddha is “Desire is the cause of suffering.” The history is that Buddha was a young prince, son of a king, who therefore had princely privileges. As a young man, he went here and there within the kingdom in a royal chariot. He saw people suffering material miseries – disease, old age, and dying. He saw they were suffering because of material desire. He then saw mendicant who wasn’t suffering as he had no material desires.

So he, as a prince, decided that “I want a life like that. I don’t want this suffering.” So he went to a distant place, sat under a bodhi sattva tree and attained a state of buddhi; in this way he became Buddha. Minus the Vedas, his realization was voidistic. His realisation was “The root cause of suffering is material desire. When an individual becomes free from material desire, what is left? Nothing.” Therefore his teaching is known as nirvana, or sunyavadi ~ essentially, a state of nothingness!

Let’s go over that again. The problem is something-ness, so the solution is nothingness, and how to get to nothingness? Give up material desires!

Jiva Goswami directly addresses this mistaken notion in Tattva Sandarbha where he says essentially “No, the root cause of suffering is ignorance of Krishna-tattva.” The essence of ignorance is ignoring Krishna. And from ignorance comes ignorant desires, from which come furtive activities. When you turn your back to Krishna what do you get? Darkness.

The Vaisnava perspective is that desire is concomitant with the soul. In the pure state of the soul, there is desire in relation to pleasing Krsna. In the absence of spiritual desire, by default you acquire material desire. Following material desire you get involved in material activity, furtive activity, karma. Karma comes from kama and kama comes from avidhya. So what’s the solution? Vidhya. True transcendental knowledge result in bhakti, spiritual desire. True buddhi, or enlightenment, does just annihilate desire, resulting in nothingness.

We must free ourselves from material desires. How are we going to free ourselves from material desires? The method is found in Prahlad’s prayers. We need association of those who have the capacity, or power, or the position of no material desires. Sadhu sanga leads to bhajana kriya. If you do bhajana-kriya properly, it leads to anartha nivritti. Continue on in this way, eventually spiritual desire is fully restored.

That’s the method, or solution to material desire, sought by Buddha. The essence of spiritual desire is the desire to serve Bhagavan. The benediction sought by Prahlad is “Please award me the association of Narada, whose instructions will guide me in my engagement in the Lord’s service.” In this condition, there is no material desire.

Prabhupada provided a very simple way of saying the same thing. “When you look at the sun what do you see? Light. When you turn your back to your sun, what do you see? Shadow. What’s the solution to the darkness of material life? Turn to the sun.” Back to Godhead. Remember Krishna, never forget Him. That’s our teaching, it’s the teaching of Rupa Goswami, it’s the teaching of Srimad Bhagavatam, it’s the teaching of Caitanya Mahaprabhu, the same teaching Srila Prabhupada gave us. Rupa Goswami’s message is, “Of all the vidhis of bhakti, there is one principle that is the goal of all vidhis: always remember Krishna never forget Krishna.

smartavyah satatam vinnur
vismartavyo na jatucit
sarve vidhi-ninedhah syur
etayor eva kinkarah

Prahlad has that qualification, and he knows how to get there. If we read the Bhagavatam properly, we will also know how to get there.

One part of the problem is, however, we are covered by maya. We have material desires. Material desire by definition is desire separate from Krishna. We desire separately from the position of serving Krishna. The previous 2-3 verses explain that the mind, the senses the intelligence, dharma ~ all the instruments of knowing things become contaminated by material desire. “You want to give me a benediction? There is nothing between us other than I’m the servant and you are the master. Nothing else, no business. But if you want to give me a benediction, give me the benediction that I don’t desire anything separate from you.”

Prahlad already has no separate desires.

Those that are really qualified, they pray like that anyway. Here is another Prabhupada story, one of my favorites. In New York, Prabhupad was conducting a small darshan one afternoon before the evening class. Srila Prabhupada was having a joyful exchange with the assembled devotees, asking the question “What’s the difference between you and me?” The devotees were blissfully praising “Oh, Srila Prabhupada you are this”, “Srila Prabhupada you are that”, and the room was filled with laughter and celebration. When the time for evening class, Prabhupada ended the discussion saying “The difference between you and me is that you can fall down I cannot.”

All the devotees exclaimed “Jaya, Srila Prabhupada!!” and off they all went to the temple room with Srila Prabhupada to hear the evening class. Prior to the evening class Srila Prabhupada was standing before the deities, Radha Govinda, with his palms folded. The devotee next to him noted Srila Prabhupada saying some prayers. Then obeisance’s, then Jaya Radha Madhava then the evening class, and then he went to his room. The devotee who was standing next to Srila Prabhupada when greeting the deities bravely inquired “You were saying some prayers when you were greeting the deities. May I ask, what were those prayers?” Srila Prabhupada answered “I was praying to Krishna that He would never let me prey to maya, and always engage me in His service.” The devotee then said “But Srila Prabhupada, you told us before class that the difference between us and you is you never fall down and we will, we may.” Srila Prabhupada responded “Now you know why. I am always praying to Krishna to protect me from maya.”

Prahlad is praying in the same way. “Please protect me from material desire.”

In the 5th canto Bhagavatam, Chapter 18, “Prayers of the Residents of Jambudvip”, there are two prayers offered by Prahlad One of those 2 prayers, paraphrased, is “My dear Lord, your sharp claws and pinching teeth are not a source of fear from me, I pray that you use them to rip from my heart all material desires.” He has no material desire, like Prabhupada had no material desire; but one who is elevated prays that way.

Humility is an intrinsic part of the nature of Bhakti. Surrender to Krishna starts with humility, and it doesn’t disappear when you become qualified like Prabhupada or Prahlad. Real humility isn’t the material kind of humility or a cheap kind of humility. The spiritual foundation for humility is “Before Krishna, I’m very tiny. I’m fully dependent on the mercy of the Lord. Fortunately He is full of kindness. And I am eager for His kindness.” To achieve consistent eagerness – how does one become qualified like that? Through association, taking up bhajana kriya very attentively, being serious about the anartha nivritti process, to further advance.

One last thing and I will stop and see if there is some discussion. Back to the theme or emphasis placed in Prabhupada’s purport regarding acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. The living entity is the servant and Bhagavan is the master. One who becomes the unalloyed servant of Bhagavan becomes Bhagavata. That’s the Sanskrit found in this verse “bhagavattvaya kalpate”. In Canto 1, Chapter 2 we find this term Bhagavata also.

nasta-prayesv abhadresu
nityam bhagavata-sevaya
bhagavaty uttama-sloke
bhaktir bhavati naisthiki

There are two Bhagavatas, Prabhupada explains, the book and the person. The person is not the book and the person isn’t equal to the book.  The person bhagavata is one who has received the message of the book bhagavata, they have brought that message into their heart, and they live their life accordingly. Not 50% or some other percent but they fully live their life accordingly.

According to the teachings of Rupa Goswami, those who are sincerely cultivating like that, those who are following the great souls, are also in that position. They too become the Bhagavata. Something like the “unripe mango” form of bhagavata, a not yet matured Bhagavata. But a Bhagavata.

There is the uttama bhagavata. They are fully realized. Prahlad is in that position. His message is ~ when one becomes eligible, at that time, tarhi, at that time when there is no material desire ~ one is the matured Bhagavata. No material desire will return where ignoring Krishna, or avidhya, is gone.

Sadhana bhakti requires knowing my position, becoming fully convinced of my position, cultivating my position, following the great souls. We have fortunately have great soul to follow; we have Srila Prabhupada, for all generations to come.

Sparing you many, many hours of our GBC and Committee and SGGS discussions, I want to stress the importance of reading Srila Prabhupada books.

Srila Prabhupada’s disciples will be gone when the time come to celebrate ISKCON 100. But those of you who are younger and who wish to celebrate ISKCON 100, one short message for you: Please! Pretty please! Pretty please with sugar on top and some cream or whatever you like ~ please carefully, systematically read Srila Prabhupada’s books. Read Srila Prabhupada’s books in such a qualitative way that it goes inside. Not just information, like filling your pocket with knowledge. Not information gathering, but really knowing Srila Prabhupada’s books, let it go inside. Qualitative study.

One very wonderful devotee Gaura Krishna from Russia invested several years of study of various religious traditions, Judaism Christianity, Islam Buddhism and several subdivisions of those organizations to determine the factors which resulted in the decline of some branches and the continued existence of others.

Expressed in the negative: if you want to see ISKCON fade and not experience its 100 year celebration, don’t read Srila Prabhupada books carefully; you can read them lightly, but not seriously.

If you don’t want to see that to happen, and want to witness ISKCON 100 ~ please, please very carefully and very deeply study Srila Prabhupada’s books. Because when that has not happen historical record shows organisations fail. They vanish, or they experience schisms over issues, they splinter and become useless.
In short, strive to become at least an unripe bhagavata.

That is how you become free from ignorance, which is the root of material desire, which is the root of material activity, which is the root of so much misery. So, we don’t like the misery part. We are not terribly fond of the furtive activity part either, but we are fond of the material desire part. We all have practical necessities of life, but the materialist’s sense of necessity is quite different from the Vaisnava’s sense of practical necessities of life in service to Krishna.

Realities of life become obscured due to ignorance. The risk of dovetailing your desires ~ you have a desire which conveniently matches something that Krishna accepts, it just happens that my desire fits in with some category of Krishna’s desire ~ then I do that activity with enthusiasm not because of Krishna’s desire, but because it’s my desire. Not because of Krishna’s desire, but my desire. I’m just dovetailing my desire with Krishna’s desire.

There is a risk, it’s a razors edge; we have to be careful. Keep in mind the higher goal and one with that goal engages in proper chanting of the holy name and proper study of Srila Prabhupada books. The 2 tracks of the train program. We need them both, we have been given both. We have been given the means to cross the material ocean.

Prabhupada gives a simple example that the servant of the king enjoys the opulence of the king. He lives in the palace, he dresses in fine garments, he doesn’t wear a crown but he dresses in opulent garments and is enjoying on the platform similar to the king although he is servant.

A good servant isn’t thinking “Oh, this is an opulent life I’m enjoying. I am enjoying the good life.” The good servant is thinking simply of the interest of the king. Another example is a good queen. She is followed around the palace by many ladies-in-waiting and attendants, but she is not interested in them. The good queen’s interest is in the king. Opulence is there, but she is interested in the king’s interest. Similarly with the good servant. Here we are, with all the opulence of Mayapur, so amazing! The opulence we have includes so many books. Bhakti Caitanya Maharaja was describing Bhaktivinoda Thakur as the Lone General on the battlefield upholding the glorious teachings of Lord Caitanya at a time when so much deviation had taken place. He didn’t have any books even, when he started! We have so many books, which we may take for granted, but it’s a grand opulence.

Please indulge yourselves in that opulence: read abundantly. Worship the deity, behold the opulence. But don’t be the enjoyer of it, be the servant of that gift of Krishna, meant to simulate bhakti. That’s the devotee’s consciousness behind all his activity ~ the consciousness of simplicity, humility and gratitude that leads to love.

That teaching we have been given we are not impersonal, we are not voidists. We are being trained to enter into the realm of bhakti. We have been invited in. “Come on in, Krishna is here.” The cleansing process is there in Bhagavat-dharma, resulting in no material desires. We want a strong singular desire that Krishna should be pleased.

I am not there, I want to get there, and the means is given.

I talked longer than I intended. Any questions?

Devotee: Hare Krishna, Thank you very much for your class Maharaj. I have a reflection and a question. First I was very much appreciating the point that you made, please enrich yourselves in the opulence of reading our books. On our flight, we took a flight to China via Air China. Air China doesn’t allow the use of any phones. I had planned ahead of time that I was going to be reading the Srimad Bhagavatam on the phone during the flight; but they came by and chastised me because I had my phone in sight. There was this separation I felt from not having access to Srila Prabhupada’s books. So, I was appreciating this point you were making. Now my question. Can you expand a little more how in the course of dovetailing one can protect oneself against allowing ourselves from having material desires overshadow Krishna’s desires?

Romapada Swami Maharaj: First, recognition of danger or risk must be there, just like at signal lights in city streets. There is a red light, there is a green light and sometimes there is a flashing yellow light. A flashing yellow light means dangerous intersection, slow down, look left and right, be very cautious, proceed with caution. With dovetailing your desires, you must proceed with caution, knowing that in the dovetail process I am simultaneously satisfying long-standing, deep rooted material attachments. In fact, that’s where such a material propensity comes from. I know it’s there, I must be honest and realistic about this fact. Be vigilant of the propensity, sustaining focus on offering the activity for Krishna’s pleasure. Conscious sadhana helps one remain vigilant, watching the mind: “Don’t indulge in independent enjoyment.”

In the positive sense, very strong hearing and chanting activities is the means of cleansing ~ not just the sadhana activity, but the consciousness behind the activity. “I want the cleansing effect!” Exactly as Prahlad says in his 5th canto prayer. Stay in that prayerful mood, remaining mindful of the goal. What’s the goal? Krishna bhakti. Suddha bhakti. I’m not there yet, so I must be cautious. The yellow light is flashing. Krishna is the protector; we can’t do it on own, we can acquire that purity from the Supreme Pure, Krishna.

apavitrah pavitro va
sarvavastham gato ‘pi va
yah smaret pundarikaksam
sa bahyabhyantara-sucih

Like that.

Yes, Haridas?

Devotee: Yes Maharaja, because Srila Prabhupada books are going to be vital we should preserve the scriptures when they were translated originally because some people get disturbed when they are changed and so they feel may be the message has been changed, I love Srila Prabhupada books and I read systematically and I have children you know, who become concerned they say, Is the original is scraped or being changed so we should preserve that and now they say it’s not Prabhupada’s writing.

Romapada Swami Maharaj: I would like Satya Narayan to answer that question. Satya Narayan is in front of you, chuckling. He is a BBT trustee and he knows the topic inside out. Short, please, really short.

Satya Narayan: I agree with you. Sometimes, from my understanding, if there are any grammatical errors found, and transcription errors, and if that can be fixed so that one can get little closer to Srila Prabhupada, message that could also be considered and appreciated I think. Hare Krishna

Romapada Swami Maharaj: Anyone else? Ladies side anyone? No? Yes? Oh, Badrinarayan Maharaja, I didn’t see in the corner of my eye.

Badrinarayan Swami: Just for fun, just to simulate, you were saying that…

Romapada Swami Maharaj: He is the fun Swami.”

Badrinarayan Swami: Hare Krishna, Unless you have to live with me.

Romapada Swami Maharaj: Did you give class here, not yet?

Badrinarayan Swami: No.

Romapada Swami Maharaj: Wait to hear his deeply thoughtful class, while at the same time everyone is rolling on the ground and laughing. Such a fun Swami. You will see. Thank you.

Badrinarayan Swami: My question is this, you know, you were saying, devil’s advocate, we need to read Srila Prabhupada’s books otherwise we won’t be able to make it to 100th anniversary. Christians they have scholars, they pour over Jesus’s words and they have and they kept so many varieties you won’t even keep track of it, 31 flavours.

Romapada Swami Maharaj: Absolutely.

Badrinarayan Swami: What’s the difference?

Romapada Swami Maharaj: Thank you for the nice question and then I’m going to end as it is the time to end. If you listen to the recording of what I said, it’s not just simply information gathering and scholarship that is the requirement for continuing in ISKCON. Its Srinvanti gayanti, grananti – the message must go inside. It takes sadhu sanga and very strong desire of receiving via the descending process from qualified sadhus. Is it possible one can go off into the ditch? Absolutely, scholars can go into the ditch, ISKCON can go into the ditch. Even reading Srila Prabhupada books and getting the meaning other than what is the intent of founder Acharya is certainly possible. So, reading alone is not sufficient; the message is not just to become scholarly. The message is receiving the descending mercy that Srila Prabhupada wanted to give through the medium of his transcendental writing. It’s the boat to cross the ocean of nescience. In the 10th Canto, Chapter 2, it says that a great acharya leaves behind for others the means to cross the material ocean. Not just information or scholarship is sufficient. One must receive the message and its purity by association with others who are similarly committed to receive that mercy; through that association, spiritual success becomes possible. Particularly for us, a very strong connection to our founder Acharya is needed. Even on the royal road, there can be accidents. But the protection of Krishna is available nonetheless. So, one who is faithful has the eligibility.

Kalpate, it will happen if Krishna bestows His mercy. It doesn’t happen if Krishna doesn’t bestow his mercy. Fortunately, Krishna is merciful so the intention of the sadhaka in reaching that destination is imperative. How do we get that purity of commitment, intention? It’s through association.

Thank you very much, Srila Prabhupada ki Jay!

About the author

Romapada Swami

Romapada Swami‘s first encounter with Krishna consciousness came in Buffalo, in the shape of a lecture at the State University of New York in 1969. The lecturer was His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. The following year, Romapada Swami joined the movement in Boston and was initiated in 1971. Despite being admitted as a pre-med student, he decided to follow his spiritual path 100% and never looked back. He took sannyasa in 1983 and became an initiating spiritual master in 1985.

Under Romapada Swami’s guidance, congregational groups of devotees of Krishna have grown in many places in the US and abroad, including Chicago, Washington DC, St. Louis, Seattle, Detroit, New York, New Jersey, Houston, Orlando, Tennessee, Boston, Hyderabad and Guyana.

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