Guru Maharaj evening darshan, questions and answers, on 19 July, 2018, Chennai, India
(Transmission started with no sound for the first two odd minutes)

Yesterday’s question being repeated as there was transmission problem yesterday.

Question: I am deluded by lusty desires even after living in association of good devotees. I am not able to devote my mind to Krishna. What is the solution?

Guru maharaj: There are two methods. One is to dovetail the desires in Krishna’s service and so if one has a particular desire, in this case, I presume lusty desire means to have a relationship with a man or woman. One possibility is to be responsible, get married and have Krishna conscious children. The other possibility is the desire is like itching in the hand and even if you scratch your hand it gives immediate relief but later it itches more. So other choice is just to tolerate the itching, keep one’s self busy in serving Krishna. So dovetailing is one option or ignoring is the other. If in spite of neglecting, mind is thinking again and again about these things, after some years one may decide to change the ashram. That is not also easy. We have many Krishna conscious couples and they do lot of preaching together. Everyone is an individual and according to the individual nature the particular ashram is suited.

Question: Often it happens that after practicing Krishna consciousness for a couple of years sometimes our sincerity and enthusiasm slowly wears out and we tend to act casually in bhakti. Kindly enlighten how to maintain our enthusiasm and sincerity.

Guru maharaj: If we see the maya we were in and then see the goal ahead, we see we have only come a little bit and we have to maintain our speed forward. Prabhupad said it took him twenty years to achieve realization. How long will it take us? Twenty births? We want to achieve success in this birth, we don’t have any time to waste. My mother told me why don’t you take this up when you grow old before you die. I asked her, how long do I have to live? She said, no mother or father will say how long their children will live. So then I said, well I may die young so I better take it up now.

Question: When I get responsibility I think myself incapable and pass the responsibility to another devotee. Is this attitude right?

Guru maharaj: Well, if someone thinks we have enough capability then why one shouldn’t do it? We are thinking ourselves incapable but someone else thinks us as capable. So how will we increase our capabilities if we do not increase our responsibilities. If we have a particular doubt we should ask what we should do in this case. When we read out the question see if the person who asked the question is present there. Since the questions are from yesterday, some people may not be there. Ok now they are today’s questions.

Question: How many hours should one read Prabhupad’s books – brahmacharis and grihasthas?

Guru maharaj: What should I say? 24 hours!! Ha! I think Prabhupad said his books should be read one hour a day. Some brahmacharis courses, they read one and a half hours to two hours a day. It depends on what one’s service are. We say chant a minimum of 16 rounds. In the Calcutta temple on the verandah I was walking up and down and chanting 32 rounds and Srila Prabhupad asked me what are you doing? And I was very proud, I thought it will please Prabhupad, so I said, I am chanting 32 rounds! And Prabhupad said, you chant your 16 rounds and go out and preach. If you don’t preach, who will? So reading books, chanting rounds, depends on one’s service, one’s situation. So let us say a minimum of one hour and more will depend on what one’s service is or what one’s situation is.

Question: It is said that grihastha ashram is the license of sense gratification. I also wish to be a grihastha in the future. Sometimes it comes in mind that I want to be a grihastha, then I should not follow so much restrictions. How can I overcome this kind of thinking?

Guru maharaj: In the other three ashrams celibacy is observed. So the grihastha ashram they can have procreation. Bhakti Vinod Thakur was saying that all the scriptures recommend one to be an ideal householder. And it is alright to talk to one’s wife, to touch her, but the couple’s sadhana bhakti should be only increased. I got a letter from a brahmachari and he broke a principle and he asked me if he should still be a brahmachari? Srila Prabhupad said guided someone that if they broke a principle they are fallen. But as a married man, preaching to the wife, raising children, that is not fallen. So if one takes grihastha life, he follows the same spiritual practices as a brahmachari. It is said he may have a wife, children and otherwise he preaches, he practices. He has independent financing, he raises money, so he is considered to be the stomach of the universal form. All our temples are built with donations from grihasthas. Although there is little license for them to have some material facility they also have same spiritual duties.

Question: We feel ourselves fortunate that you are giving us your valuable association like this, my humble obeisances at your lotus feet. My question is, what should be our duty – to purify ourselves first and then preach to others or both can be simultaneously done?

Guru maharaj: What is important is that we only speak what we read or heard. The philosophy is very deep and impeccable. If someone asks a question and we don’t have an answer we should not speculate. Better to say, I will come back tomorrow, I will find out from my seniors and tell you. If we speculate we won’t be satisfied and the person won’t be satisfied. Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita, He is the knower of the Vedas, speaker of the Vedas and the writer of the Vedas. So the more pure we are the more effective our preaching would be.
Ok I will give short answers.

Question: How can I decide who is my spiritual master and what are the suitable prayers?

Guru maharaj: Which spiritual master inspires you most and you feel Prabhupad and the previous acharyas are talking to you through him. And who is available and willing to give you time when you need it. Second part of the questions I don’t understand. What prayers? Of course you can pray to Prabhupad and the deities to reveal who your guru is.

Question: What is the foremost principle of management dealing with devotees as I am in a management position now?

Guru maharaj: Interesting question. Some people have different styles. I was made the temple president by Srila Prabhupad two weeks after my initiation and I was very young. So I asked Prabhupad I am only 19 how can I be a temple president? I forgot the exact words but he said something to the effect, you are not the body, and you should carry out the order of the guru. So I found out that if you order the devotees, you do this, you do that, no one will listen to you. Since no one is paid and everybody is there out of love, so I would a different style. I tried asking them, would you like to go shopping? Instead of ordering them, like, you go shopping! So then if they said, no, I would convince them how they should go! And this habit stayed with me. Except on some dire emergencies. I would rather ask the devotee; how would you like to do this? And I wouldn’t let go that devotee. So different styles work for different people.

Question: As we know maya is very strong and any time any one may fall down and we all have lust. How can one confidently join brahmacharya ashram while still fearing lust?

Guru maharaj: Some time spent as a brahmachari is a good training. Then one can decide, Prabhupad said, before 30 or ideally 25 they should decide whether they want to continue to be a brahmachari or be a grihastha. Most devotees would be grihasthas. But in India it is a good place to be a brahmachari. There are lots of other brahmacharis. Ladies and men separate naturally. Whereas in the West it is free mixing.

Question: My parents are old; they need my help. Should I continue my brahmachari life or should I go and help them?

Guru maharaj: These are like personal questions. And this session is for philosophical questions. Next, someone will say, should I marry this girl or should I marry this brahmachari? So let us try to keep the questions more philosophical. Some devotees want to go home, care for their parents, get married. Some get some allowance from the temple and send it home to help the parents. Some arrange for their parents to come to Mayapur or Vrndavan. So some have many children and one child as a brahmachari, then it doesn’t matter. So this type of question is usually asked by a disciple to one’s guru and then they get some advice. Some parents are committed fish eaters.

One grihastha husband was against Krishna consciousness and wife, children were all initiated. Then he was diagnosed with cancer. So he was lying on his bed. He saw some hairy people come through the wall with leather ropes. He remembered the Yamadutas. Presidents of the lords of death. They take sinful people to hell to be punished. He was freaked out. The Yamadutas went away. Then he got angry wit his wife. I will wear Tulasi beads around my neck, will chant, will read Bhagavad Gita. Bring the Gita just now he said. In one second he had a complete change! Complete change! The Yamadutas did nice preaching and the husband became a devotee. So he was a non veg but overnight he became a vegetarian. So I guess he wanted a sign and he got one. So now it is 10 pm.

7.30 to 8 book distributors sankalpa.
8 onwards question and answers tomorrow.

I usually take my dinner before question answers. So that is about like 7.30 to 8. It depends when I eat lunch. And what about the initiations?

Transcribed by Jayaraseshwari dd
19 July 2018