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Bhakti Vriksha Program Notes

January 20, 2001

Hare Krishna.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

Review of Bhakti Vriksha Program

January 20, 2001

To open our program, we read once more from a journal by Satsvarupa das Goswami. Devi dasi asks him about a verse in Srimad Bhagavatam (6.2.19) which discusses the potency of chanting. Chanting the holy name of the Lord is eloquently compared to taking a potent medication. The medication will take effect on the individual with or without the person's understanding of its components. Devi dasi says that this fact is very difficult to perceive and sometimes having faith in this concept is a challenge. Satsvarupa Maharaj says that sastra is axiomatic and that this is evidence in itself. If the Bhagavatam says that the chanting is effective, we should have faith. He adds that we should also think about faith and learn to count on it.

Devi dasi also poses a personal question to Maharaj in the journal entry. She asks him what inspires him in chanting. Part of his answer consisted of, "…although I don't always get the results I hanker for, whenever I think of chanting, it always appeals to me. It's always available to me and easy enough to keep trying. No matter how many times I fail, I never think of abandoning the attempt. I am always ready to try again." We had a very nice group discussion about this topic also. It is always encouraging to receive personal testimony from such an advanced soul who remains so humble.

In the last section, Maharaj discusses the concept of how chanting liberates one from the results of sinful activities along with the warning that one should not make the offense by committing sinful activities on strength of chanting the holy name. He is speaking based on the Sixth Canto verse (6.2.18). He says that we can liberate ourselves in an instant but that we should not "douse the holy fire with the water of our sinful acts".

In class, we were able to cover the texts ( 1.1.7-9). The sages offer the vayasasana to Suta Goswami out of respect because he is Vayasadeva's representative. It is explained that one can only sit on the vayasasana if one is conversant in the six philosophies namely Gautama, Kananda, Kapila, Patanjali, Jaimini, and Astavakra. If one knows the philosophy of all the Mayavadi schools, the representatives of these schools can be more easily guided in the right direction after their faulty arguments have been defeated. The Vedanta-sutras clearly explains theism but these other systems make little mention of the "ultimate cause of all causes". Vaisnavism reaches the conclusion of all the Vedas which is Krishna. He is the ultimate truth. Faith in Krishna is the final end of the Vedas.

Text eight discusses the qualities of the spiritual master. In the first text of Nectar of Instruction these qualifications are outlined. Prabhupada translates the words of Srila Rupa Goswami as follows; "A sober person who can tolerate the urge to speak, the mind's demands, the actions of the tongue, belly and genitals is qualified to make disciples all over the world." The urges of the tongue to speak prajalpa, or nonsense, is known as vacah vegam. Vegam means urge. Anger is known as krodha. Urges of the belly and genitals are udara-upastha. These are some of the most difficult urges to conquer in this world. It is very easy to slip into speaking prajalpa, particularly in the presence of non-devotees. The desire to taste foods, which are not sanctified by Krishna, also represents the uncontrollable tongue. Becoming angry is definitely an issue for many people, especially when we want to defend our false egos. Bhagavad-Gita As It Is, chapter two verse sixty-two and sixty-three elaborate more on the progression of anger whose root is lust for the objects of the senses. The sex desire is, of course, the strongest manifestation of lust in this material world.

We also discussed the several different qualities of being a Vaisnava. Throughout the world, there are differing interpretations of what being a Vaisnava means. One who worships Krishna or Vishnu as the supreme God, who wants to try to go back to Godhead, etc., can be considered a Vaisnava. Bhakti-yoga is the process of self-realization for a Vaisnava.

The ninth text served as the impetus for discussions on the qualities of the Kali-yuga and our yuga-dharma for this age. In this age, we do not have the time to read all the scriptures. We are constantly disturbed in body and mind (adhyatmika klesa), we are quarrelsome and lazy, etc. We are so fortunate that we have been given the prescription for self-realization and that there are no hard and fast rules for chanting the holy names of the Lord. The sages inquired as to what the best method would be. Our yuga-dharma is described as "the ultimate good for the people". This verse says that "people of this age are condemned in every respect". Narottama Prabhu also elaborated on the fact that this is the only Kali yuga in which Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu comes as a personal form of Krishna and actually grants souls entrance into Goloka. In previous Kali-yugas, people were only allowed entrance into Vaikuntha. This is perhaps our only good fortune in this age.

This ends the notes for this section. We will be completing chapter one of the First Canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam hopefully by the next class. Thank you for your kind attention. Hare Krishna.


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