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
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.