Question: I was discussing with a devotee today. He told me that for every seva or preaching project we are engaged in we must have a vision for that. Guru Mahārāja, my question is if I am serving under the authority, can I have a vision for the project? What if our authority has different ways or visions?
Question: I heard pastimes where Śrīla Prabhupāda told you to go on chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Then you asked if you could chant Nārāyaṇa-kavaca because of some problems. I was facing a lot of obstacles in devotional service, serious health issues, not able to sleep peacefully in the night for many years, etc. And it is affecting my quality of chanting in the morning also. So should we chant Narasiṁha-kavaca and pray to Lord Narasiṁhadeva also? Is it a lower form of faith in Kṛṣṇa? Should we just go on chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa and everything will be alright? What do you suggest Guru Mahārāja?
Question: Sometimes devotees preach very harshly and condemn others particularly Indians who don’t completely understand the position of Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They approach me and ask how come they speak so cuttingly and harshly. This turns them away. How do we respond without condemning and blaspheming the devotee who spoke harshly, and at the same time encourage the person to take up Kṛṣṇa consciousness and not feel hurt by such harsh words and turn away from Kṛṣṇa because of this interaction?
Question: You said in one lecture that for making devotees it requires buckets of blood, and also for taking care of devotees it requires buckets of blood. The question is what is the moment when we are mature enough for taking care of someone? How can we learn the art of taking care of devotees? I am afraid that if Kṛṣṇa sends someone, maybe I will not be able to take care properly.
Question: I had a question on my mind for a long time now and especially in the time of the pandemic. So when I hear at the crucial times of some devotee’s health situations it sometimes looks as if he or she may make some decisions that seems more in the direction of leaving their bodies rather than live. How to understand or see this in a Kṛṣṇa conscious way?
Question: Could you please explain what is the most effective way to make people realize that we need to take Kṛṣṇa consciousness seriously right away. Many people understand the concepts but do not develop the faith. P.S. This is with regard to Bhakti-vṛkṣa. We are a study group discussing Bhagavad-gītā for the last two years but even now there are many doubts in people. I feel responsible for not being a good example for them.
Question: No matter how hard I try I cannot escape the association of non-devotees. I am a college student who has to spend my morning till evening, with people who are materialists, Māyāvādīs or atheists. How to stay unaffected and firm on devotional path in such a situation, when I have to spend half of my day in such an association?
Question: Kṛṣṇa consciousness is a very blissful process, but some resentment, some bad interactions we had with devotees occupy so much of the mind, that absorption and focus in our Kṛṣṇa consciousness becomes difficult, and again and again same thoughts come when we see that devotee. How to overcome all this and absorb in service to our guru?
Question: Gross body is changing continuously from boyhood to youth to old age, but we are the same being with same spiritual identity. And also, we remember some past memories because we are the living spark which does not change, Guru Mahārāja, please help me understand is there any role of the DNA in maintaining our identity and any role of our mind, intelligence, in remembering past memories?
Question: I am stuck in reading the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. I have read Caitanya-caritāmṛta before and heard many stories that are wonderful. But now since few years I cannot read beyond first few books because I don’t understand the philosophy. Should I go on or conclude that I don’t have that level and stick to Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity to ask my question.
Question: I was working in a place where other staff are Muslims. I used to carry water in a bottle to drink water. From the same bottle, they also drink sometime. Once I heard that a devotee should not take anything from the same utensil. So I am a bit confused. What should I do now? Allow them to drink or not? Please guide me. And also please guide me how I can preach in this situation and stay Kṛṣṇa conscious.
Question: I had some fixed time for study of scriptures. Now I am reading the Caitanya-caritāmṛta, Antya-līlā, which will end in a few months. Thus, I hope it will be one round of all Śrīla Prabhupāda books. All your books, all the volumes of Śrīla Prabhupāda Līlāmṛta, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā, Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Until publication of your Caitanya Book, what will be the best for me to read daily?
Question: I am studying in college and want to join ISKCON being inspired by devotees and Śrīla Prabhupāda books. The ISKCON Youth Forum authorities have instructed me to complete my studies and then join. I am doing this. While studying I come across many prajalpa in the studies when the teachers in the class are teaching the studies. Under these circumstances how should I deal with this prajalpa?
Question: You said we should not grieve for the departure of any material body when we know the soul is still there, but still being in Kṛṣṇa consciousness we shed tears and mourn for any material departure of near and dear ones. Please suggest how can we make ourselves understand those circumstances?
Question: Śukadeva Gosvāmī was an impersonalist devotee before he heard the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam from Vyasadeva, but we also hear that Śukadeva was Rādhārāṇī’s parrot, that he was chased by Lord Śiva when he heard the Bhāgavatam, etc. so how is it that such a dear associate of Rādhārāṇī acted as an impersonalist worshiper, though he hears the Bhāgavatam from Lord Śiva, as well as Vyāsadeva when he was in the womb?
Question: Mahārāja you mentioned that one should practice bhakti with determination, we see you as a personification of this condition. In so many years, you have been practicing and spreading Kṛṣṇa consciousness under difficult conditions, across the world. So what is the secret of your determination in your service to Śrīla Prabhupāda so that we can follow in your footsteps.
Question: As you said in today’s class if we associate with more pure devotees, we can overcome our offenses, but how do we avoid offences from non-devotees who rarely believe in Kṛṣṇa or chanting, although we are sometimes bound to be in touch with them? If you could please suggest what should we do here?
Question: The great souls like Vidura and Haridāsa Ṭhākura were associates of the Lord and they were themselves great devotees of the Lord, so it was very easy for Them to have the people to have these facilities, but fallen souls like us what to speak of giving association to them, we ourselves get affected by material association and we go down, so what to do in this kind of situation?
Question: You were reminding us that around the world they are saying that there is some crisis going on. So, we as devotees, we are also reminded to live simply and think high. So, I was curious that how is that different from what say the karmīs they are doing, like doing some remedies to help themselves against this crisis. What is the difference?
Question: As you said that everyone should chant the name of God no matter what religion he belongs. Anyone who is a sincere follower of Jesus Christ follows the principles of Bible, will he enter the Kingdom of God as Jesus Christ has said? This Kingdom of God which Lord Jesus Christ talks about, is it the same as our Vaikuṇṭha or something else?
Question: Guru Mahārāja in the last class we were told that if we speak the truth we should speak palatably. Today’s class we hear that Dhṛtarāṣṭra was spoken to very harshly by Vidura. To whom and how should we behave and tell the truth, because in order to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Vidura can speak harshly to Dhṛtarāṣṭra, but in what situation we should speak harsh words and to whom should we not? Please guide us.
Question: As we can see that when Vidurajī was insulted by Duryodhana then Vidurajī converted this adverse situation into an opportunity to visit holy places, to associate with saintly people. Guru Mahārāja, how we can also use such adversities in our life too because when such problems or adversities come, we become morose and disturbed and these adversities only become unfavorable in absorption in our spiritual activities.
Question: Śrīla Prabhupāda gave second initiation to a disciple. And then the disciple asked Śrīla Prabhupāda have I become a brāhmaṇa now? Śrīla Prabhupāda said I have given you the opportunity to achieve all the twelve qualities of a brāhmaṇa. If I cannot even acquire 1 quality of the 12 can I become a brāhmaṇa?
Question: How can we understand the mood and mentality of the spiritual master. We see in the case of Śrīla Prabhupāda in 1977 when he felt a little better, he wanted to go on Govardhana parikramā, and many of his disciples they did not want him to go, out of love for Śrīla Prabhupāda that he would not be able to bear the situation. And also we see in the case of Gaura Kiśora dāsa Bābājī he wanted his body to be dragged through the streets of Navadvīpa after his departure, but Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura did not want it. So how do we understand the mood and mentality of the spiritual master?
Question: You said that to raise the children is the most important duty of ladies. Śrīla Prabhupāda also emphasized this point. My question is in devotional service for a lady other than raising children, what are the other things she can do to make advance in spiritual life. And if she wants to do service outside, to do bhakti in a nicer way, what she should do?
Question: As you said that in this material world, at every step there is danger, and we should give this hope that it would be a nice place. But Guru Mahārāja, if the whole world becomes a devotee of Kṛṣṇa just like Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu predicted that in every town and village My name will be chanted, then still this material world would act in its own way, and remain a dangerous place? Or will it become better?
Question: Due to the preaching effort of devotees many people are taking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness amongst them are many young children who are engaged in studies. They spend a lot of money studying and get financial help from their families and parents. Now these people, when they come to Kṛṣṇa consciousness if we allure them or enthuse them with financial help, do you think this would be a good proposal? What is your opinion in this matter?
Question: You have explained how the residents of Dvārakā and the residents of Navadvīpa were so eager to see and receive Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya. In this Kali-yuga, the Supreme Lord is manifesting as the worshipable Deity to accept our services. How should we develop our love and reciprocate with the Lord in His Deity form?
Question: I recently heard from a reputed ISKCON sannyāsī that Hari-bhakti-vilāsa is not a śāstra because it falls rather in the category of sādhu and guru and therefore its statements cannot be taken in the absolute sense. What is the criteria of what is considered or accepted as śāstra, since many of the statements from the recognized śāstras come from sādhus and gurus, not exclusively from the Lord for example Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Bhagavad-gītā etc.?
Question: You have mentioned in the class that one should chant the holy names, even with offences, because it is better than not chanting the holy names at all. My question is that sometimes when we are speaking to senior Vaisnavas, sometimes unknowingly or even without us wanting, sometimes we break the etiquette. So in that case do we come under offences?
Question: Today you spoke about how you want all your disciples to go home back to Godhead and that you want them to chant without offences. And my question is that, if a husband and wife, if both of them are initiated disciples, and if the husband beats the wife or give her some psychological harassment, or inflict atrocities on her psychologically or physically sometimes beat her sometimes to such an extent that she has to be hospitalized, in such cases, is the husband performing Vaisnava aparadha? Or not and how does it affect the guru?
Question: In the verse Srimad Bhagavatam 1.10.21 explained that the human beings remain asleep within the body of the Lord until there is another creation of the material world and then they arise to take up their unfinished work. The Lord is pavitra paraman, the purest, so when the jīvas enter or merge into the body of Mahā-Viṣṇu, they are with the Lord. Why are the living entities not getting cleansed of material contamination, even though they are with the Lord. Kindly explain why do they still have to continue with the material existence?
Question: In Srimad Bhagavatam 4.4.13 purport, Srila Prabhupada writes, “a great soul may forgive offences but Krsna does not excuse offences to the dust of that great soul’s feet.” First how do we understand this? Second, in case one feels that one has offended a devotee, he can seek forgiveness but how can one save one’s self from offences to the dust of his feet?
Question: My initial days celebrating festivals like Janamastami, Gaura Purnima, I enjoyed by doing service also waiting for the date, but now I have taken certain responsibility out of enjoyment. How I got so much fear, how to? Days are very less like that. Please guide me guru maharaj how to develop correct mood to celebrate the festivals.
Question: Guru Maharaj You spoke about the glories of chanting wonderfully. My question is when we go on street Harinamas we have both men and women dancing to the holy names in the Western countries. Newcomers who are men also tend to catch our hands and dance, as they do not know about our culture. Being a woman, either married or unmarried, on Harināma, does this affect our chastity and purity?
Question: In today’s class, you mentioned about pratista and devotees must always be humble to serve guru and Krsna. Question is that in spite of knowing these attitudes of being humble and tolerant, devotees, especially in leadership, find difficulty to follow. Kindly please tell us how to be humble and tolerant in all situations?
Question: In Bhakti Rrasamrita Sindu, it is explained that a devotee can obtain Prema through nine ascending steps of progression. Now is it possible for someone to return back to Godhead without achieving pure love of Godhead in this lifetime? Where he perfects sadhana stage, i.e. he attains aasakti,attachment platform. Also without attaining bhava stage, can one chant shudda nama?
Question: If I know that somebody is dying in front of me and I am aware that this person is not interested in Kṛṣṇa, God, but he is dying in front of me and because I know he has no interest in Kṛṣṇa, he will have to take birth again in this material world, what should be my duty at that time towards this devotee?
Question: I am a student and I daily read Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books with my peers. We are reading the same chapter of Bhīṣmadeva leaving his body. Sometimes it is difficult to understand how is Bhīṣmadeva able to maintain his full Kṛṣṇa conscious mind in spite of having so much pain in his body as he was lying on a bed of arrows. Why such an exalted Vaiṣṇava has to suffer so much pain in his life?
Question: Guru Mahārāja you said that Gopakumar when he was going to the spiritual world, he was about to enter into the impersonal brahmā jyoti and at that time he shouted the name of Govinda and in this way he was transferred to a Vaikuṇṭha planet. Now when he was in Vaikuṇṭha planet he was thinking of himself as a cowherd boy and because of this he came back to the earth planet again and he performed his devotional service and in this way he went back to Goloka. So my question is that how is it that once Gopakumar a worshiper of the impersonal brahman, he was taken to the brahman effulgence? And the other question is that we heard that once one goes to Vaikuṇṭha, he never returns, but how is it that Gopakumar returned from the Vaikuṇṭha planet to the earth planet?
Question: I have heard in Srila Prabhupada’s lecture that if a devotee could not be able to remember Krsna at the time of death, Krsna can deliver that devotee. But in case of Jada Bharata, he took birth as a deer and undergone three lifetimes to reach Krsna. How can I understand maharaj about this?
Question: You have told us that Prabhupada said that one of the three things we can pray for unconditionally is friendship with devotees. What is the value of that friendship if those people hurt and disappoint us? Then also when the time of death comes, guru and Krsna are our only shelter, we cannot have any other attachments even to friends isn’t it?
Question: In the CC it is mentioned “in this way the Lord went to the extreme southern part of India and He converted all provinces to vaisnavism. And Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not manifest His spiritual potencies at Navadvip. But He did manifest them in South India and liberated all the people there.” So does this mean that the whole of South India became vaisnavas and with time things changed?
Question: You had said that when someone leaves the body, if someone is given and sprinkled Gaṅgā water and dry Tulasī twig is placed on his body, and he is cremated in such a way with Harināma and circumambulates his body seven times, that person gets to go back to Goloka Vṛndāvana. How should we accept this? Does that mean that person does not need to remember Kṛṣṇa at the time of death?
Question: There are many discussions whether or not we should send children to school opposed to gurukula, home schooling or devotee run schools? In a place where there is no devotee run school or gurukula, is it ok to send our children to karmi-run school, while helping them to learn Kṛṣṇa consciousness at home?
Question: In a recent class it was mentioned that if there is a pure devotee in a family, fourteen generations of his is delivered. So even if the children are not devotees like smārta-brāhmaṇa sons in the case of Advaita Ācārya, will they also get liberated and get entrance into the spiritual planets?
Question: What should be our mood when we are praying for the devotees who are suffering physically or due to other circumstances? Sometimes the devotees are cured and sometimes they leave their bodies. We understand that Krsna is the ultimate friend and controller. What should be our mood in accepting whatever the result is?
Question: How could it be that Advaita Ācārya can have three children who are smārta-brāhmaṇas? Advaita Ācārya being a great associate of Lord Caitanya. We have heard that even by remembering Śrī Advaita Ācārya we can get kṛṣṇa-prema. He was present with them 24 hours, how they did not get kṛṣṇa-prema?
Question: There are ups and downs in our consciousness. Times come when we are very attentive in our service and sadhana and time comes when we get involved in offences in office and other things and not focused in sadhana and somehow completing our daily chanting but not in full consciousness. So how to be in full consciousness, attentive about our sadhana and service without getting much distraction?
Question: I don’t eat lettuce or basil leaves during the first month of Caturmasya. But can you eat fresh basil leaves and lettuce during the first month of Caturmasya. I don’t want to do anything that is not required. Please ask guru maharaj and reply asap. Caturmasya starts here on Tuesday. Thank you so very much.
Question: Nowadays Zakir Nayak is talking a lot. The Lord has no form. Natasya pratima asti and such Vedic quotes he is misquoting and he is misguiding so called illiterate or illiterate about Vedic or Sanatana dharma. He is misguiding young children of Hindus in this way and influencing them. What is the opinion of the vaisnavas in this regard?
Question: What should be the attitude of the disciple after getting initiated by guru? Sometimes we are thinking that just after taking initiation, from the next day we will become hundred per cent pure. But it is very difficult to become changed in one day. So therefore what kind of effort should we take after initiation?
Question: Today some of us witnessed a strange incident at the Kolkata Ratha Yatra. When you were there in front of Balarama ratha, waiting to do arati, all of a sudden the ratha started rolling. Everybody started panicking and we were worried that the ratha may hit you and also the devotees. It was so scary. But we noticed that you were so calm during the whole chaos. Really wonder what was going through your mind then?
Question: Just by glancing at Caitanya Mahāprabhu the Muslims started chanting. But on the contrary, when Mahāprabhu was personally leading the saṅkīrtana movement in Navadvīpa, why were many people, even the brāhmaṇas, did not take up chanting? Can you please throw some light on this guru mahārāja?
Question: When we do multiple services for eg, deity back up service, and preaching, at times we tend to give more importance to one’s service than the other at times. I feel I am not giving my total time to one particular service, I feel I am not doing justice to one particular service. How do we understand the multiple services?
Question: What is causeless mercy or ahaituki kripa? It seems that Jagai and Madhai became the recipients of Lord Nityananda’s mercy purely because of their completely degraded situation, Lord Nityananda wanted to display the power of Lord Caitanya’s compassion on these two fallen, drunkard brothers. Without the mercy of the Lord it would not have been possible for them to stay fixed up in that state of sadhana as displayed throughout their lives, thereafter. How can we be recipient of such mercy?
Question: For many days now we are hearing about the very merciful Lord Nityananda prabhu with regard to Jagai and Madhai. That Nitai prabhu is manifest as Nitai Pada Kamala in our Bhajan Kutir. How did Nitai Pada Kamal Doyal Thakur come to Mayapur? Since when are They are here? Kindly tell us something about that.
Question: We read in the biography, Srila Prabhupada said, let them chant Haribol! Haribol! And we will chant Hare Krsna and go back to Godhead. Then in Caitanya Caritamrita it is said that the three mantras to be chanted in kirtan in Krsna consciousness movement are Panca Tattva mantra, Hare Krsna maha mantra and Hari Haraya Nama Krsna. Why did Srila Prabhupada always end the kirtan with the Hare Krsna mantra and no Haribols or Jais?
Question: In Bhagavad-gita and many places, Srila Prabhupada has mentioned that we should act under the direction of the Supersoul situated within. How to understand the direction of the Supersoul within? How can we tune in to realize the form of the Lord he mentions is present within and is it necessary to first realize the Supersoul before approaching Krsna or Supreme Brahman? Also please tell me how to understand what Krsna, sat cit ananda form wants us to do in cases we are given free will.
Question: Here Puṇḍarīka Vidyānidhi understood his mistake when Lord Jagannātha and Lord Balarāma enacted Their punishment pastime. But I commit many offences, and sometimes I cannot even understand my offences. So in such circumstances how am I to ask for forgiveness from you and from Lord Kṛṣṇa so that you may completely forgive me?
Question: At the time of initiation we take vow of chanting minimum 16 rounds. But due to different circumstances I sometimes just somehow or other finish the 16 rounds. is it really pleasing to you? Because Hare Krsna Mahamantra is not different from Krsna Himself. Should we every time be very attentive, whenever we chant, no matter how busy we may be? I often remember my initiation vows and think how you will be pleased.
Question: We see that Caitanya Mahāprabhu had advised Gadādhara Paṇḍita to get the mantra from his dīkṣā-guru. Sometimes we see that some disciples lose their faith in their dīkṣā-guru, they have lost their taste and are attracted to other gurus other than their dīkṣā-gurus. What should they do in this situation?
Question: I cannot remember the reference where I heard or read a devotee asked Srila Prabhupada on Ekadasi, can we offer grains to the deity? Srila Prabhupada said, “Yes, but not guru. Ekadasi is observed by jiva tattva and not Visnu tattva. Caitanya Mahaprabhu should also not be offered grains because He is playing the part of devotee. Only Jagannath, Baladeva and Subadra can be offered grains. But not to guru and Gauranga. Please can you enlighten us on this. But we know Lord Caitanya is Radha and Krsna Himself. So even if He is playing the part of devotee, why no grains offered to Him? I am confused.
Question: In Heng Ho, a province, I am your only disciple. Although according to Iskcon principles, all disciples should treat all gurus in the same way and all the gurus should treat all the gurus in the same way, disciples of the same guru are more intimate and some gurus favor their own disciples more than the others. Therefore, after going to other gurus’ programs I feel benefitted in knowledge but disturbed spiritually. I am not feeling inspired and going back on my chanting and enthusiasm. For example, last week I woke up every day before 4 am. After a program I woke up after 4 am.
Question: When we have so many exalted female devotees who are very respected and advanced in their Kṛṣṇa consciousness, how do we understand and explain to other, another instruction of the scriptures that women are less intelligent. Is this the case that only women who are completely in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are intelligent?
Question: Doing Mangala Arati is important or doing chanting during that time is important? If I start doing Mangala Arati, dressing, and offering arati takes at least 40 minutes. And after, I am not able to finish chanting in the morning itself, so I am confused, which one to be given importance? So please guide.
Question: Today is the 44th anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s visit to New Talavan farm, and yesterday was the same for New Orleans temple. What should be the service mood of the devotees to Srila Prabhupada and for us, your disciples, to also please you and help you in your personal service to His Divine Grace?
Question: If we are trying to follow the regulations and practicing devotion, does that mean all our sinful reactions already vanished by Kṛṣṇa’s mercy, or as I am not perfect in Kṛṣṇa consciousness I have to suffer for my past sinful actions? If I have to suffer then will it affect my devotional service?
Question: You said that we have not done anything in Magh month? Yes, I think in Damodardesh we have been doing in the Marghasirsha month, almost every year, so we do a lot of mangala aratis. Visit everybody’s house, do mangala arati, for the last twenty odd years. So it is a program that we can help you and reach out all over the world.
Question: In this school we teach children values, human values of truth, love, peace, right conduct, non-violence and different other character strengths. We have children from 87 countries here and many of them have different religions. However, when we teach value here we don’t necessarily talk about God. It is not something that we could do in the school here. So children do exhibit their value in school and they show their good character in school but they directly or indirectly sometimes wonder why do I need to do it when nobody is watching? If nobody is watching and we cannot tell children who is watching, how do we teach them to practice these values anyway?
Question: On behalf of the Damodardesh Yatra and the UAE Yatra, we want to hear from you Guru Maharaj – you are one of the pioneers here, you are one of the first sannyasis and GBC sannyasis to come here to begin the preaching and plant the seed, as you said, Guru Maharaj, in the Middle East. We wanted to hear from you, few experiences, the first time you came to Damodardesh or anywhere in the UAE or Middle East, and your challenges, your experience then Guru Maharaj.
Question: One time one devotee told me that someone was looking for a senior member was searching for a guru and said, I want that swami. Then finally it was understood that who they were looking for was you! What was surprising to know was they said that this person has spread Krsna consciousness in every nook and corner of West Bengal, every town, every village, every street, that the conversion in Bengal was the lowest they had noticed in any part of India. The question is I think now you are aiming to reach beyond Bengal. I heard that Bangladesh, had 108 ratha yatra on the day of Ratha yatra, one day in every nook and corner of Bangladesh there was ratha yatra this year. Srila Prabhupada did not visit Bangladesh but he sent Srila Jayapataka Swami Guru Maharaj to go there and preach! Now you have covered the Middle East. But now we hear that through His Holiness Bhakti Purushottam Swami Maharaj you are also reaching to every nook and corner of the tribal states. Because that is where the major conversion is happening. So I would quickly want to ask you what are your strategies, how do you feel? How do we reach out to them? We don’t have to convert people from other religions, we have to strengthen our Hindus to understand their scriptures and chant. we as good Hindus can inspire others to become vaisnavas too. I want your comment on that Guru Maharaj
Question: 49 years of sannyas, you have created Mayapur in a huge, huge, way. You are known to be one of the most intelligent persons ever met by many of us here. Whether it is spirituality where you are a giant, information technology, you know well ahead of time. Whether it is architecture or whether it is languages, in everything you seem to have scored almost 99 or 100 or more than 100 also! I want to ask you this. Sitting in Mayapur, sitting in Krsna’s dhama, sitting in the mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Srila Prabhupada, is that the only thing that has made you this? In every field, how do you manage it? There was no internet then, there were no books available, you didn’t have the time because you were working 24/7, 365 days, all the time. Where did you acquire this window to acquire so much spiritual plus vast material knowledge? You are a spiritual giant. You are law of knowledge. I know where I am, I know where you are. My base is minus yours is infinity. But more than this you know architecture, you know material, IT, you know geography, you know routing of airlines, you know finance, you know budgeting, in everything, when you talk to us, I get the feeling that 24/7 you are working in some multinational company. How do you manage to do this, sitting in Mayapur? That is the question. You are multi-tasking. You are working with people who are not from the same background. You are working with some who have not finished school, some of them are PhDs who have seen the spark of life and invested their lives at your feet to grow. But you are the same person but in the same background you are a giant in everything. How do you do this? Where do you get the time? Where does it come from?
Question: I met you once, you were in the Apollo Hospital in Kolkata for testing. There I got a chance to meet you and you gave me shelter. But still I have one question which disturbs me. We have our Kula Devi, Durgaji, we call her Dadiji. I keep on chanting 16 rounds, maybe 24 rounds but still I am not able to give 100% to Krsna consciousness. How do I do that?
Question: Maharaj, you have taken the trouble of coming right to Damodardesh, you are coming to our homes, what is it that you want the people in this room to do? What do you think is the best thing that can happen for all the people seated in this room? This is a chance of a lifetime. So please give us that message.
Question: Just before I post my question a little background. Guru Maharaj, as Mayapur was being built, he was also been the GBC, the highest body which makes the rules, he is also empowered to go and preach and get devotees to come join, make sure the devotees progress in their spiritual life. Well, meeting people or marketing, sales people, we all do. We sell a product for a price. But the problems that you faced, your market was one in South America, one in Middle East, where you cannot even enter or preach openly. Or it was in Bangladesh where it was all Bengalis, so you had a language barrier, or a distance barrier or you had everything where it was not straightforward marketing, it was very difficult marketing of Srila Prabhupada’s vision, of Mahaprabhu’s blessing and getting Krsna enshrined in every heart. I am going to ask you this, you paid a big price. Not even personal hardship but you were attacked once in Europe in an airport by a madcap who was a radical who do this. You have faced bandits coming and attacking Mayapur. You have been facing multiple floods in the Ganges every time in the rainy season in Mayapur. You have gone through all this Guru Maharaj. You have always said. What is this difference in you – as a person I could sell throughout the world, I did not go to Iraq and sell, I have always employed people to do my hard work. What is it that drives you, what is that one significant thing that makes you who you are?
Question: Srila Prabhupada gave you the name Jayapataka Swami, the Victory Flag. And then he took you to India, he made you in charge of Mayapur dhama, which was when you went there, just a hut in the middle of paddy fields, a typical Indian village and he said, I am giving you the kingdom of the Lord, develop it. I don’t think you were more than 22 or 23 then. And you came all the way from the USA to the so called kingdom of the Lord, and to see paddy fields, mosquitoes, snakes. As a youngster looking for a guru, looking for Krsna, you see this. What were your first feelings in your mind?
Question: We wanted to hear from you, at your young age, you are an American, born Christian, you had no idea who Rama who Krsna was, but at such a young age, what so eagerly attracted you to Srila Prabhupada? What so eagerly attracted you to Krsna consciousness, and how come you have given your whole life to join this movement?
Question: How can I make my family members favorable toward bhakti yoga? Their only concern is, how much money you can make! They are laughing at me and think I have a brain problem! They ask me if bhakti yoga can solve my financial problem? I don’t know how to explain to them so that they can support my practicing bhakti yoga?
Question: When we try to preach to the Bhakti Vrksa members and help them, sometimes they don’t help themselves. So sometimes we tend to give up. In the class you mentioned that Nityananda Prabhu desired to deliver Madhai, is it only when the Lord desires that a conditioned soul is delivered? How can we not give up on a member and continue to help them?
Question: Sometimes unavoidably, I have to discuss the philosophy with some Indians because of work. I found they were misguided so much from what Srila Prabhupada taught us. They have different misunderstanding and ISKCON. I tried to debate with them but they did not accept it. They even told me that you shouldn’t listen to only what your guru told you. The true guru shouldn’t limit you in the box of his own teachings. You should open your minds to listen to opinions of other sages or gurus. So what should I do in these situations. I badly need your mercy and begging your blessings upon this fallen soul.
Question: Yesterday during your class you mentioned that Nityananda and Haridas Thakur are punished because they instructed unqualified offenders. They gave proper suggestions to the two drunkards. They almost lost their lives. How can we understand this? When we encounter similar situation, what should we do?
Question: Is it the Lord’s arrangement that the two doorkeepers are cursed? The Lord gave them two choices – either seven births as devotees or three births as demons. So it seems that Krsna consciousness can be prearranged. Either leave or stay in Krsna consciousness. This is our choice. Is it correct to think like this?
Question: From one mataji, she has two children, one studying in 6th and another in 12th standard. They were practicing Krsna consciousness in their early childhood. And they also tried to cultivate their father who was not so Krsna conscious. But the mother and children preached to father and their father became favorable. But then the children they dropped their interest in Krsna consciousness after father became interested. So then they started saying there is no God, there is no bhakti. Now mother is initiated devotee and father is also practicing. But the children are not taking up Krsna consciousness. So why does this happen? And what is the remedy, how to make the children Krsna conscious? If Guru Maharaj can give blessings to them?
Question: The Lord said the different qualities of the living entities both good or bad are created by the Lord Himself. So like Jagai and Madhai so many are behaving in the same crooked way, when everything is sanctioned by the Lord, how is the living entity responsible for that? Earlier it was said, not a blade of grass moves without the will of the Lord.
Question: While I am more inclined to hear, read and discuss about the sweet pastimes of Nitai Gauracandra and visit their pastime places in Gaura Mandala Bhumi, on the contrary I don’t feel much attraction for worshiping the deities. Of course, I am not disrespectful to the Lord in His deity form, but I feel more blissful in Gaura Nitai katha, than going to altars to serve Them. However, sometimes by thinking that Srila Prabhupada had given us both, Pancaratrika vidhi and Bhagavat vidhi, I feel bad that I am going wrong. I feel puzzled. Would you please guide me to the proper understanding?
Question: Few days before you mentioned that we should not think bad about devotees, but if we see devotees doing wrong like going opposite to Srila Prabhupada’s teachings or spreading some ideas, not in line with our philosophy, then what to do in that case? If we are not their authority, how to deal with it? As in the mind it is not very positive thoughts that come about them.
Question: Bhakti Vijaya Bhāgavata Mahārāja: Nice class with Śrīvāsa and Mahāprabhu. Then Gopāla Bhārṅ, pastime also very good. In Mahāprabhu’s time it was very easy to get initiated. Mahāprabhu begged Īśvara Purī and Īśvara Purī initiated him. But nowadays our initiation program is very strong and so many processes we go through, courses, viva, so many. The verse said compassion to other poor men. So how does it get balanced? If we allow in ISKCON a little easier for initiation, maybe a bit easy to preach? It is so difficult nowadays to preach.
Question: I will be returning back to London, UK on Wednesday after having been in Mayapur for two months. I feel very fortunate to have taken aspiring from you in October. My time in Mayapur has been a huge turning point in my spiritual life. Please tell me how I can best serve you and Srila Prabhupada, when I return to London.
Question: Few days back you mentioned in your lecture that devotees should not blaspheme other devotees or even they should not find fault in others. But a madhyama adhikari also judges others and according to his understanding, he avoids envious persons and makes good relationship with devotees, show compassion to the conditioned souls. If a kanista adhikari and madhyama adhikari is judging others, then what makes the difference between kanista and madhyama adhikari.
Question: In a letter to Hayagriva, Srila Prabhupada wrote, “if one is a poor man, he can go to some friend’s home and accept food and then come back. But one should never accept residence in another’s house.” What is the reason one can accept food but should not accept residence in another’s house?
Question: I am very much eager to hear from your divine grace, the proper understanding of Srimad Bhagavatam 1.7.7. “ Yasyam vai sruyamanayam, krsne parama puruse, bhaktir upadyate pumsah, soka moha bhaypaha. Translation: Simply by giving aural reception to this Vedic literature, the feeling for loving devotional service to Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, sprouts up at once to extinguish the fire of lamentation, illusion and fearfulness.” What should be the attitude of a devotee to earn that bhakti which can remove lamentation, illusion and fear?
Question: In ISKCON we have a Vaiṣṇavī ministry, which has many stalwart Vaiṣṇavīs. I am not qualified to ask this question but for sheltering my bhakti, I am humbly asking you Gurudeva your view on female Vaiṣṇavī gurus of ISKCON. I have heard some devotees being against female gurus. I beg your forgiveness if I have made any offences at your lotus feet.
Question: Jagai and Madhai are two doorkeepers in Vaikuntha. In Srimad Bhagavatam 7.1.47 last sentence in the purport it says, through Lord Krsna’s body they returned to Vaikuntha. Although they seem to have attained sayujya mukti, in Krsna’s body, and they are cursed to take birth as demons for three births, why they became Jagai and Madhai since three births are completed and they are already back to Vaikuntha?
Question: Is there anything that we can do to diminish the disinterest of devotees with ISKCON around the world? The devotees are being interested with the facilities in Iskcon and they are in other matts or other Gaudiyas. Is there any way we can collaborate with them in a way that we can favor their advance in devotional service?
Question: Yesterday you mentioned in the class about Sakti Tattva, Visnu Tattva and Jiva Tattva. You said that Radharani and Asta Sakis are Sakti Tattvas. Are the Manjaris also Sakti Tattvas as they are potencies of Radharani? We learn that many spiritual masters like Bhakti Vinod Thakur, Bhaktisiddanta Saraswati Thakur were Manjaris. But we say that Guru is Jiva Tattva. So are great devotees who are Manjaris actually Sakti Tattva or Jiva Tattva? Can you please help in understanding this Guru Maharaj?
Question: I have heard from a devotee that until we get kṛṣṇa-prema we have to come back to this material world. Or until we take birth in a dhāma, we will be back to this material world. But I have heard earlier that if we leave our body in dhāma we don’t come back to this material world. Please kindly enlighten gurudeva.
Question: I am unable to become absorbed and serious in various devotional practices. I chant, try to read daily, but everything seems to be at a superficial material level. It is frustrating at times, there is an intense desire to only serve you and other times mind is plaguing me with material thoughts. How to become steady, serious, mature and take up chanting and spreading as our life and soul? I want to preach and help others but if I am not at that level how can I inspire others?
Question: I read the scriptures Śrīla Prabhupāda books, am fond of reading his books, but I also read my textbooks. Sometimes I get so immersed in Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books that I lose taste for reading my text books. But I know that I require both. How can I maintain a balance between the two? Please advise.
Question: We see how importance Caitanya Mahaprabhu gives to devotees having loving exchanges. Sometimes we take devotees relationships for granted or we may not give due attention and we take it easily, junior or senior, and not to take it to heart. What is the root cause for this and how can we deepen our relationship with vaisnavas?
Question: In Krsna consciousness we see that every process has got benefits, for example when we circumambulate Tulasi maharani, all sinful reactions are eradicated, or just by chanting one holy name, shuddha nama, we get the highest perfection. But somehow or other in our lives, we are not able to get those results. What is lacking in myself that I am not able to see that result in my life? What should I improve?
Question: The heart wants to be absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and does not want to go for enjoyment of material objects, but at the same time sometimes we are attracted to enjoy and the mind pulls up to that direction, but we want to refrain from that enjoyment and devote our consciousness at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, but that does not happen. So what should we do to get this? Please say something so that we are inspired to go for devotional service.
Question: When a devotee accepts initiation, just like when a person is born materially and he or she is a baby and gradually grows. What is the situation of the person when he is spiritually initiated, what is the situation like in terms of material growth, is he a baby in spiritual life or is he an adult in spiritual life?
Question: As Damodara month is approaching from authorities’ side we are encouraged to go out and hold public programs but many of the times we don’t get permission to do so by the local authorities there, the society people or whoever. So can you give us some tips, how do we approach them and how do we get them to do some Damodara month outreach programs?
Question: Currently, GBC devotees hosting department, I am hosting all the GBC delegates who are coming here. I heard in sastras that athithi, someone who comes as a guest without prior intimation, we should host them very nicely in such a way that they get pleased. But currently even after intimating in advance what time they are coming, we are unable to meet their expectations. So in ancient days how did they please all the guests? And how can I carry that mood in my life and please all the vaisnavas?
Question: We heard that if we sow the seed, the seed turns into a tree and then gives fruit and flowers. We should only return back home with the ripened fruits. So while we preach to students, they step back from Krsna consciousness. So what do we need to do to get them to practice to enthuse them again back to Krsna consciousness?
Question: If one has taken initiation with Gayatri mantra from another bona fide vaisnava sampradaya, like Sri Vaisnava sampradaya and now is inspired by Iskcon and Srila Prabhupada, can they take initiation from an Iskcon guru too? If he is chanting 16 rounds of Maha mantra, following the regulative principles, doing service in the temple?
Question: I heard Srila Prabhupada telling that it is a good mistake for a young person to eat a lot. But when we eat more, we need to spend more time on our body maintenance like sleeping. Also, on another side Rupa Goswami says, vaco vegam manaso krodha vegam, jihva vegam udaropasta vegam. So how do we reconcile these two ideas?
Question: Is it good to be attached to the service we are doing in the temple, let it be preaching or deity related service. We being girls, we will get married in the future and go to different temples. And we may not be doing the same service there. We tend to lament that we are not able to get that service there. So how to understand this attachment to the service, and what should be our attachment?
Question: I heard that Srila Prabhupada has made a home in which the whole world can be accommodated. I also heard that people need to add Krsna to their life and can live their life. But allowing do or doing so, they may create a legacy, they may follow their own lifestyle and culture and also will chant Hare Krsna. So that may create a legacy in ISKCON or our culture, that this also can be done. So what is your opinion on that?
Question: I have this question about when we want to do preaching, the question is when is the time to start thinking big? As soon as we start chanting 16 rounds is that the expectation that we start thinking big or when is the right time? How to think big? How to implement those ideas which are in your mind and expand them so that it has a bigger impact?
Question: I have a question from my step mother. Jamie, you call her Yamuna. Her question, She said she read in the Bhagavad-gita, I should endeavor without expectation of any results. And so she has devoted her life to helping people in different ways in her professional life and spiritual life. But sometimes she feels lonely. So how to give up this loneliness, how can she continue when the work feels lonely? She doesn’t want to feel sorry for herself or to feel alone. So she wants to give all efforts to guard and not feel any loneliness. How can she do that?
Question: If someone is practicing Krsna consciousness and they are also hurting other devotees, but they continue to practice Krsna consciousness, it is better that, even though they are hurting devotees, isn’t it better that, good though that they are doing it and chanting Hare Krsna and taking the association of devotees? How does that balance out?
Question: If you could please elaborate the journey of the soul when we leave this material body and we attain our spiritual body. I remember reading somewhere Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur saying the holy name carries the soul to the spiritual world and there is very descriptive details of how the soul is finally engaged in the service of Lord Krsna eventually. Of course there are a lot of stages of training and so on and so forth. I always wondered where does the spiritual master, where does he fit in, when we depart this world and we are on our journey to Goloka Vrndavana?
Question: You mentioned in the lecture that we are all like floating straws in the river, sometimes we come together as a family, sometimes we take birth elsewhere. What is the relationship between guru and disciple, if the disciple has not attained perfection and has to take birth again, will they be together?
Question: I was trying to preach to a gentleman in New York very recently and it happened before also. The gentleman was asking me that where in Bhagavad-gita it mentions you cannot eat fish, meat and all. So I told him that it is patrampuspam.. that sloka. But he was not happy. So both the times they were not happy. So I want to know if you have got any suggestion, so next time people ask me I can give a better answer.
Question: In yoga practice we feel immediate relief and stress free situation and to develop bhakti-yoga, or chanting, Krsna consciousness or Maha-Mantra and everything, it takes little time to develop our bhakti. So what should we do that we get immediate relief and faster process of having Krsna conscious bhakti?
Question: The species Srila Prabhupada says, again and again from the scriptures that no species become extinct, but our modern science tells us that dinosaurs were here and now they are extinct. And all kinds of other animals are becoming extinct. So how do we accept that? We don’t see dinosaurs walking around. We don’t see any of these animals that are said to be extinct.
Question: There are three types of God, Brahman, Supreme Personality of Godhead and Paramatma. What I am trying to do and I think is wrong, or maybe it is correct, that is why I am asking, is it okay to do, of course I love Krsna, you know I am here but at the same time we are connected with Paramatma, which is inside me, and Brahman which is outside, is that okay?
Question: Right now we are reading the second canto in Srimad Bhagavatam and of course there are so many questions about all the Maha Visnu and Visnu expansions. I have a question that I was wondering, was one, they are talking about, Mahavisnu lying down in the causal ocean, I was wondering what is the causal ocean? What is that? And also they talk about the ocean of milk, which Visnu is laying in the ocean of milk and where is the ocean of milk?
Question: You were talking about the mindset of mother Saci when she was raising Nimai, Lord Caitanya. And Jagannath Misra said that how it changed, they wanted Him not to take sannyasa because then they didn’t want Him to leave and didn’t educate Him. So what is the mindset we should have when we are raising children?
Question: Many years ago I was telling you about how when we first installed Gaura Nitai, we dressed Them like sannyasis. Then I said to you, maharaj, it will be so nice if we can see Lord Caitanya again as a sannyasi! You said, why do you want to see Him in that condition? It was a suffering condition. Could you please elaborate on that instruction you gave.
Question: Saci mata thought negative about Viswarupa taking sannyasa and thought offensively about Advaita Acarya. She is a very great soul and I am very low. But sometimes negative thought, in Krsna conscious practice, we don’t want to commit any offences but sometimes some negative thoughts come in our mind of devotees. So it is because of our karma or out of habit? If it is so, how to stop erasing those negative thoughts and be saved from vaisnava aparada? Will you please help me to understand?
Question: This morning you said, when you asked me how I feel and how my body feels? It is two different ways. You said, I feel thankful for Srila Prabhupada, I am always thankful for Srila Prabhupada. But then when I said, how are you? When I asked about your body, you said, don’t ask! So it is a very powerful thing to do that differentiation. How do you do it? How do you strengthen the differentiation? How do you continuously gain power from your spiritual body?
Question: Recently got to see some of your magazines from Mayapur when you were very young brahmacari and then a sannyasi. I was observing that in your career as a devotee, you went on increasing your determination and surrender to Srila Prabhupada. My question was that we find brahmacaris staying for ten years or twelve years and then moving out. We find that maya’s influence is more and more. So my question is how can the new preachers and the brahmacaris stay stable and determined in Krsna consciousness for many years, standing out. Do you have some pointers to tell us?
Question: We see that in previous years, in Prabhupada’s times, there were so many Srila Prabhupada disciples and we distributed books in millions all over the world. During the last few years although the book distribution is on the rise once again, why was there such a drop in Srila Prabhupada’s books distribution?
Question: My question is about book distribution. One time when I was doing book distribution, I met someone from another religion, they said, I like the word Krsna. So I thought I will give him a book and he took the book. And I was a little surprised because he was from the Middle East and he said, ‘I really like Krsna.’
Question: Dear Guru Mahārāja we have heard that Lord Gaurāṅga gave more mercy in South India after His sannyāsa than when He was in Navadvīpa before sannyāsa. But in our temples we worship Lord Gaurāṅga’s form before sannyāsa. What is the reason we worship Lord Gaurāṅga’s form before sannyāsa, though His sannyāsa form is apparently more merciful?
Question: At the time of death, if we think only of Lord Krsna or His incarnation, then we will either be liberated or get a human birth again, but as a rich or brahmana family where we can execute Krsna consciousness better. What if one thinks of his or her spiritual master only at the time of death?
Question: So I am kind of a neophyte devotee myself and not having a great deal within my family. So I need to lie to them at times for example, simple Ekadasi fast, I need to lie to them. Till what degree it is better? And also, I have to step down from my principles sometimes, so what (audio break)
Question: What should be the consciousness or mood in which we have to do deities related backup services like arranging jewelry of the Lord, boutique services, after decoration etc. At times we tend to commit offences unknowingly when we are doing this service. How do we ask forgiveness for such mistakes?
Question: I try to read Śrīla Prabhupāda books every day, but I don’t know how to manage the time. Maybe today I read one hour, then next day maybe it is half an hour. Then again maybe time increases or maybe I only get ten minutes. So how to maintain the timing for reading more? Please instruct me Guru Mahārāj.
Question: I took initiation from Bhakti Abhaycaran Swami in 1989 in Lima. You know the history. At that time when my spiritual master fell down, like 18 or 19 years back. It was said at that moment that in 20 years he can come to the normal standard, good standard. 15 years. Somebody said in ISKCON that in 15 years he can come back to his normal standard. I would like to know your opinion that because now it is very required to have senior preachers in our movement.