Mukham karoti vacalam pangum langayate girim
Yat kripa tam aham vande sri gurum dina tarinam
Paramananda Madhavam Sri Caitanya Isvaram

The lame can cross over mountains and the deaf and dumb can become great orators by the mercy of the guru and by the mercy of Lord Krsna and by the mercy of Lord Caitanya. Haribol!

Today we had the South Indian Divisional council meeting in the Chennai temple. Leaders of different temples, preaching centres, extension centres, outposts came from Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, Karnataka and Kerala. So we had a very interesting meeting. The last agenda topic was Back To Godhead (BTG). How Srila Prabhupada, he got the order from Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada to publish BTG. There was some existing magazine but Srila Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Thakur Prabhupada thought it was too high philosophy. And he wanted a magazine that would be available and understandable by the common man. So he asked what to call it? So they had an ista gosti and SP he suggested the name Back To Godhead. Then that was accepted and subsequently himself turned out to be the publisher. He did the writing, the proof reading, publish and printing, and finally he did the distribution. He asked that he would like the magazine to be very popular in English language and in its peak, it had published 2 million copies a month. Presently the Tamil edition prints 40 thousand a month and English has come down to 27th. They were saying how Tamil BTG is no. 1 position in the world! Haribol! Like that, he got some awards, last year he got the best translator award! So he took it that ISKCON was being recognized. So it is very nice to hear the report on the BTG. And we have editions in Kannada, Telugu and Malayalam. So he agreed to give some technical know how so that they can come up also. BTG, we are still publishing that in Bengali, it is called Bhagavat Darshan. So BTG – all the books we sell we get profit but Srila Prabhupada said BTG is not for profit, it is for promoting Krsna consciousness. So BTG can be given out fairly, freely! So we were discussing that, and how we can increase the publication of BTG, so that it reaches 1 lakh per month. Srila Prabhupada wanted that BTG should be in the hand of very person in America. So they were saying that in Tamil Nadu, we want to get the BTG in everyone’s hand in Tamil Nadu. Presently in America internet has taken over – magazines are not as popular as they used to be. Still people in India they read magazines but they also say they have a BTG online. We had darshan also of Nitai Gaur, Radha Krsna, Lalita, Visaka and Jagannath Baladeva Subadra Sudarsana cakra. These deities are actually called arca avatars – the incarnations of the Lord in worshipable form. We have the opportunity to dress the Lord, to feed the Lord and worship the Lord, to touch Him, and sometimes give Him flower garlands. So the Lord actually accepts the service that one offers to His arca avatar. Normally, one is not able to see the Lord until in a liberated stage. But by the mercy of the Lord, He comes as a arca vigraha. Arca avatar. So then we get the opportunity to see Him and serve Him. Ratha Yatra is a rare opportunity of the Lord where He goes out and see the people and people are able to serve the Lord by pulling His ratha. By singing and dancing in front of the Lord and doing other services. In Jagannath Puri, in one place called Lupta Asana, there everyone spreads out their offerings for the Lord. From the queen to the ordinary citizen, and the Lord, He overlooks all the offerings, and by His glance He eats them. So therefore everybody then has prasadam. So we are very fortunate that we have the deities to whom we can offer our worship to. This is one of the nine practices of devotional service, called arcana. Sravanam, kirtanam, smaranam, vandanam, arcanam, pada sevanam. That arcanam we are encouraging the devotees to have some deities in the house. In this house they have Nitai Gaur and Jagannath Baladeva Subadra, and many citra pats. In this way a grihasta should eat food offered to the Lord. That food offered to the Lord is called yajna sista, remnants of the sacrifice, and by taking that as food, one is freed from various sins. So grihastas, if they eat only prasadam, they will be basically freed of so many sins. So are there any questions today? Because it is a little late.

Question: You were talking about BTG and about its free distribution. Can we actually include the cost along with Bhagavad-gita and other books and give it free?

Guru maharaj: Srila Prabhupada was not encouraging giving out other books like Bhagavad-gita for free. But in the presentation today, they said that Srila Prabhupada made an exception to BTG. That we could give BTG with Bhagavad-gita as a special incentive. Saying that, if you had some copies left over at the end of the month, we give that to some gentleman or some library, like a prison library or college library. So that somehow we make it available, that people may read it. Srila Prabhupada said that at least one of the articles should be very thought provoking. Since in Tamil Nadu there is a big debate going on about water sharing between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, since the Kaveri goes to the Karnataka first, they somehow dam up the Kaveri and divert most of the water to Karnataka. So apparently they made some article about sharing water, from a Krsna conscious point of view. So one of the government officers said, oh, I want to read that article because it is very interesting. Srila Prabhupada would take up a mundane topic of the day and give some Krsna conscious perspective. So they are trying to do that with BTG. So if you have some copies left at the end of the month, you can give them to some gentleman or woman or you can give them to some library. I forget one place, I heard that they give out a set of seven books. They call it the sapta rishi and some of the books are free for the package and they are very low price. So you could have some package like that, but you can also have BTG included. Sapta rishi, six headed Kartikeya. Siva is Panca mukhi, Murugan is called six headed, Arumugam.

Question: Iswari Lalita devi dasi: Hare Krsna guru maharaj. Guru maharaj said; Hare Krsna. PAMRO. Please accept my blessings. What would be your instruction to all of us to distribute BTG largely?

Guru maharaj: Yes, distribute BTG widely!

Question: Abirama Nimai das: If we don’t get chance to do arcanam, should we perform arcanam in our mind? Is there any aparadha?

Guru maharaj: In Nectar Of Devotion, a very poor man, he did not have capital to have golden ornaments and golden bowls. So in the mind, he was doing an elaborate worship of the Lord. He was cooking and putting all the offerings in golden bowls, but he was doing all this mentally. One day he cooked sweet rice for the Lord, payasam. So he wanted to know if it was too hot or not. In meditation, he touched the payasam with his finger and ahhhhhhhh! Owwww! And his meditation broke and he saw his finger had a blister on it! He had burnt his finger! How could he burn his finger in meditation? So Lord Narayana was lauging and Laksmi asked, ‘what makes You laugh?’ He said, I will show You, bring him up. Then he sent His Visnudutas to bring up the brahmana, RIGHT UP TO THE SPIRITUAL WORLD, BACK TO GODHEAD! Haribol! Haribol! Haribol!

Question: Sumalini Lalita Devi dasi: Hare Krsna guru dev: Guru maharaj said: Sumalini Lalita, please accept my blessings. How to protect our bhakti lata?

Guru maharaj: How to protect bhakti lata? How do you protect your garden? You do it by building a fence, or you can stand guard, and don’t let any enemies come in to harm your creepers, no wild hogs, no rodents, no mad elephants, you keep your creeper protected. Haribol! In the Upadesamrita, there are five things that are good and five things that are bad. So you should avoid the five bad and try to do the five good. Hare Krsna. Two more questions.

Question: Himanshu. Hare Krsna guru maharaj: PAMHO. How to apply Srila Prabhupada’s teachings so as to please Krsna exclusively?

Guru maharaj: Srila Prabhupada’s teachings satisfy Lord Krsna. He is a pure devotee. So you can directly apply his teachings and that would be always pleasing to Krsna. Hare Krsna.

Question: Guru maharaj. PAMRO, Guru maharaj said: Blessings. How to be completely subservient to guru’s instructions in spite of day to day obstacles and be 100% inspired. Mitra Govinda das.

Guru maharaj: These ‘how to’ questions are very, what to say, very bewildering. How to be Krsna conscious? How to eat prasadam, with your mouth? How to follow the order of the guru? We do it by following the orders of the guru! It is like a woman saying how to be chaste? Don’t be unchaste. Stick and stay loyal to your husband and don’t go to other men. How to follow the order of the guru and be 100% blissful? If you follow the order of the guru, you will be a 100% blissful!! So sometimes I wonder what to say when someone asks ‘How to?’ Because what is the problem? How to be Krsna conscious? How to follow the order of the guru? How to be Krsna conscious- you follow the order of the guru. How to follow the order of the guru? You be Krsna conscious! Ha! Ha! So it is like a circle of questions. I am trying to understand, what is the difficulty in following the order of the guru? Difficulty is if you have bad association, they will say don’t follow the order of the guru, drink whisky. We are your friends, we want to drink together. So how do you follow the order of the guru – by not associating with bad people. How do you avoid associating with bad people? Associate with good people! Bad people don’t like good people! How do you associate with good people? How to? How to? How to? By figuring it out who is good and who is bad, and associating with the good! Those who like a satvic lifestyle and those who are devotees, are good association. Those who are non-devotees, atheists, those who are addicted to breaking principles, they are bad association. So we try to associate with the good people and then it helps us to follow the orders of the guru. Then they say what if your spouse is not Krsna conscious? How do you follow the order of the guru? Obviously, marrying a non Krsna conscious spouse makes things a little complicated. Therefore, we recommend you marry a devotee. Also check that your expectations are similar. In Bhagavatam it says yata guna tata ruci. If you see that they have the same taste, and the same qualities, compatible taste and qualities. Kardama muni was a sage and the daughter of Manu was a ksatriya. So normally a brahmana doesn’t marry a ksatriya, but this girl was very Krsna conscious. And Kardama muni wanted to get married. So he accepted Devahuti, who was the daughter of Manu, and it was austere for her, because she was used to living in a palace and Kardama muni lived in the forest in a hermitage. By using his mystic powers, he created a city that flew in the sky. These things are described in the third canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. So in this way he explains what grihasta life was. But then he made a prenuptial agreement that once he gave a son to his wife, he would take sannyas. But she had nine daughters, and he wanted to take sannyas. But she said you, promised me a son, you gave me nine daughters. So then he gave her a son, and that son was Kapiladeva, Kapila muni. Not Kapildev the cricket star of India. Kapila muni, the avatar of Krsna. So like this then she got the opportunity, to be the mother of the incarnation of Godhead. So miraculous things like this happen if one tries to serve Krsna. So Kapila muni became like the guru for His mother. He instructed on the principles of yoga. Bhakti yoga and sankya yoga. So like this it is very interesting, so that is why we recommend people read Srimad Bhagavatam. Because there are many people in many circumstances, how do you follow the order of the guru, they have shown it and how to be Krsna conscious, they show that! So that is why we recommend people read the Srimad Bhagavatam. But people say they are too busy, they read magazines, other magazines – not BTG. I go in the plane they are reading Femina, or Filmfare, other magazine I think about movie stars. They are all kinds of magazines, political magazines, cinema stars, but why they cannot read the Bhagavatam? Bhagavatam shows how great the devotees, grihastas, brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas, sudras, they all engaged in devotional service. So thank you very much. Any prasadam?

Let us chant the Hare Krsna Maha mantra for one devotee, Naresh who left his body. He was electrocuted on some Krsna conscious farm. Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. Jai Naresh!

Transcribed by Jayaraseshwari devi dasi
17 July 2019