The pandala was again a great success. The crowds seem to be growing larger each evening as word gets out. The dancing and chanting of the devotees is attracting a lot of attention, and Srila Prabhupada's strong and dynamic discourses are having a telling impact. Despite the politics of secularism and official lack of support for spirituality in the country, people require only a little coaxing for their natural attraction to blossom forth.
Tonight's chief guest was supposed to be the Chief Minister of Punjab, Shri Giani Zail Singh, but due to prior commitments he was unable to attend. Instead, he sent a short note of apology, which was read out by his relative, Giani Gurcharan Singh, and in his place as chief guest was Shri K.L. Poswal, Home Minister for Haryana.
Prabhupada was in fine form, speaking forcefully and directly for about fifty minutes. He had Pradyumna read out Bhagavad-gita 7.1 and picked up from where he left off last night, again contrasting the two classes of people, demons and demigods, delineating their different qualities and lifestyles. Beyond these two classes there are also the pure devotees, and then there is the Lord Himself Who, Prabhupada told everyone, comes as Ramacandra and Krishna just to show that He is not formless.
He informed his audience that it is imperative to understand that there is a next life and to know what that next life will be. Speaking without compromise, he said that those who fail to understand God and live a life of "simply eating, drinking, and making merry" are living like animals and are called demons.
To understand that there is a God was not difficult, he said, and he gave a simple, logical argument for support. "The Lord Himself is saying, mayadhyakshena prakritih suyate sa caracaram [Bg. 9.10]; the Lord is maintaining this universe. Because of my presence in my body, everything is working as it should. If you go to the government, there are ministers, there is president, and the government is working correctly; if you go to office, there is managing director and the office is working properly. So wherever you go, you will find one karta, worker, and an owner. So there is such a big universe-is there no one? Jagad ahur anisvaram [Bg. 16.8]. Such a great foolishness. Whoever says that there is no God, he is very great fool. Wherever you go, there will be one karta, one witnesser, and one who gives orders. So without discussing these things, they say there is no God. That is why they are called mudha."
One by one he described the four different types of demonic personalities. As he did so he recalled the comments made to him on his walk this morning. "Third one is naradhamah: one who by acting very sinfully becomes degraded, even with the human form of life. Today morning I met a man; he said, 'I want only roti, garments, and a home to stay. So I have nothing to do with God.' All right, you want the roti and garment, but there are animals, they don't want the garment even, only roti?the animals, they are better than you, because they only need roti! Scripture says, 'those who are working hard only for bread are considered to be on the level of the hog.' We see the hogs are working very hard all day long in the search for stool. They always think, 'Where can I find stool? Where can I find stool?' If a human being acts similarly by engaging himself in hard work just for bread, they are acting just like dogs and hogs. Everything is working like this. One who does not know God, who does not want to understand God, he is like a pig, animal. Sa eva go kharah [SB 10.84.13]. This is the verdict of the scriptures."
Whatever one's position, Prabhupada said, in the human form there is a relationship with God, as he graphically illustrated. "There is government; it has connection with the people inside the jail and also outside the jail. And the government connection cannot be broken. So similarly, the demons have connection with the Lord and the demigods also have." Just as the prisoners have been put into jail to suffer due to their sinful acts, similarly those who forget God, the demoniac, they have to come to the material world. Yet punishment is only one feature of jail; there is also the opportunity to reform. "Slowly, slowly by pious activities, mad yajino 'pi mam [Bg. 9.25], one starts worshiping and becomes a devotee of the Lord and attains the Lord. That is the purpose of the scriptures, to remind those foolish people who have forgotten the Lord and their relationship with Him, so that slowly, slowly, slowly, slowly they can learn."
Citing Prahlada Maharaja's prayers to Lord Nrisimha-deva, Srila Prabhupada described the role of the devotees in this reformation. "Vaishnava is para duhkha duhkhi [Vilapa kusumanjali 6]. They have no distress and they don't ask for anything from the Lord for themselves, but they feel the distress of others, so para duhkha duhkhi. The foolish people are suffering having forgotten the Lord. They work very hard like a hog just to earn their bread, with no higher understanding, and so they think this is life. They don't understand this and they reject the scriptures. Just see, you have got human form of life and you are working hard like a pig, like an ass; they pull rickshaw and they work so hard and have to go far away, and still they are encouraged, 'Work hard! Work hard!' They do horse's work, ass's work, and still they are told, 'Your hard work is not enough, do more, do more!' This is not human life."
In fact, he said, by nature the living beings and the Lord are similar. "The living entity possesses the same qualities as the Lord; for example a gold mine and small piece of gold. It is not that being a small piece of gold, it becomes iron. Both are gold; they have the same quality of being gold." As such, he said, we do not have to work hard. Krishna has provided everything we need, obtainable without much endeavor. "Therefore the Lord is saying that 'You have an eternal body like Me, sac cid ananda vigrahah, but why do you make so much effort? Relax yourself; you are My friend.' Like a rich man who has a son but he becomes mad, the father thinks, 'How can I make my son normal and stay at home? I have so much wealth, he can nicely eat, drink, and enjoy, but what to do, he has become mad and just wandering in the streets as a child, and suffering with so many problems.' So the father becomes very much anxious.
Similarly, the Lord is also anxious, because we have come here having become mad and are trying to derive happiness.
"The demons say there is no God; therefore the Lord teaches, 'No, look; I am there, I am God. By this demoniac instinct you are suffering so much life after life. At least in this human life you could be a little happy. What if you get an animal birth in your next life? Then you have to suffer a lot. Try to think. Think of all these sarva dharman parityajya, the plans that you have made; there is no use of all these plans. Mam ekamsaranam vraja aham tvam sarva papebhyo mokshayishyami [Bg. 18.66]: I will relieve from whatever sins you have committed.'"
Repeating again and again that life was not for working like a pig simply to eat a few rotis, Srila Prabhupada told everyone that our business is to develop our knowledge and thus gain attachment for the Lord. "If you get the knowledge of Bhagavan then your life becomes successful. To get the knowledge of Bhagavan, one has to do austerities for many lifetimes. Because manushyanam sahasreshu kascid yatati siddhaye, yatatam api siddhanam kascin mam vetti tattvatah [Bg. 7.3]. The knowledge of Bhagavan is not ordinary. Amongst crores [tens of millions] and lakhs [hundreds of thousands] of people, especially at present, they just work hard like dogs and assess for two rotis. 'God? Just give us all these; we just want two rotis, cloths, and we don't have anything to do with God.' So amongst many crores of people, kascid yatati siddhaye; what is this siddhi? To understand that I am not this body. The body can be of a donkey or a pig, so to maintain this body, the pig eats stool, another eats something else?this is applicable to everyone. So then what is our life really meant for? The siddhi thinks like this, 'What is human life meant for; simply working hard?' And then attain perfection. This is siddha."
Citing Prahlada Maharaja, Prabhupada said that whether one is a prime minister, the owner of Tata, or a bird or animal, everyone is in anxiety. Therefore personalities like Prahlada Maharaja always feel compassion for the conditioned souls. When Prahlada was questioned by his father as to what was the best thing he had learned, he replied that everyone should go to Vrindavana and take shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Hari.
"So he has given this instruction," Prabhupada said. "The real instruction is this. We are working so hard; we have to take leave from this, and by the mercy of the Lord, if we get our cinmaya body, like the Lord's sac cid ananda vigraha, and then go back to the Lord-these should be the thoughts. Therefore the Lord Himself, personally, is teaching."
Prabhupada offered his audience an easy, gradual way to come to this point, without having to repair to the forest, by referring back to the verse with which he had opened his discourse. "How will you learn this? Mayy asakta manah partha: 'Whatever attachment you have, direct it towards Me.' Everybody has attachment. Some have for money, some have for somebody else, some for something else, but there is attachment. So the Lord is saying, 'Direct this attachment towards Me.' This is bhakti-yoga. If you daily take darsana of the Lord, worship Him, perform puja, perform arati for the Lord, do kirtana for the Lord, then slowly, slowly your attachment to the Lord increases. The Gosvamis have taught us that adau sraddha [Brs. 1.4.15 16], first there should be faith. 'Everybody is doing Lord's worship-by worshiping they have become happy, so I will also do it.' This is faith. Adau sraddha, tatah sadhu sanga?you have to associate with those who are worshiping the Lord. Therefore we have opened centers for Krishna consciousness movement all around the world to facilitate the association with the devotees in Krishna consciousness. At least having seen and heard here, if you come and hear the Lord's glories, then by hearing like this, sravanam kirtanam vishnu, and by associating with sadhus, devotees, then slowly, slowly, slowly you can advance. So there has to be association of devotees.
"By associating with devotees one does bhajana kriya?how they are doing japa, how they are doing arati, how to put the tilaka on, how they have relation with God; this is bhajana kriya. If one does bhajana of the Lord, then whatever anarthas one has generated in this material world will all be relieved. You see these boys; they are removed from the anarthas?illegal relationship with women, meat eating, intoxication, gambling?they have given up all these. Why? Bhajana-kriya; this is the proof for performing bhajana-kriya: all these things will go away. Bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca [SB 11.2.42]; these are not artificially given up, but they experience absolute detachment. They were eating meat, those kirtana performers. Now you ask them, 'I will give one lakh, eat a piece of cow meat,' 'No, this is impossible'?viraktir anyatra ca. This is bhajana-kriya.
"Tato 'nartha nivrittih syat: he becomes pure. This material infection karanam guna sango 'sya [Bg. 13.22]. In this material world there are three types of association: goodness, passion, and ignorance. So one gets liberated from the association of ignorance, then by this liberation, one's attachment to the Lord becomes fixed.'
"Tatha sakti tatha ruci: then one gets taste to hear about the Lord. Like this, attachment to the Lord. These are the consequences. Therefore the Lord says somehow develop attachment towards Him. Daily go to temple and take darsana of Krishna, Lakshmi Narayana, Sita Rama. And the Lord says, 'You have come here, give me something, something to eat.' The Lord is hungry or what? No. He is saying for our benefit, patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati: 'If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a Flower, fruit or water, I will accept it' [Bg. 9.26].
This is universal. Even the poorest of the poor can offer something to the Lord. What can he offer? Little leaves, little fruit, little water. Or if you are a millionaire, then offer Me everything; this is ultimate. If you don't want give, then at least offer Me some leaves, Flowers. If the Lord eats something from your hand, then your life becomes successful."
With a final urge to the crowd to "not work like cats and dogs," Prabhupada brought his dynamic lecture to conclusion. "There is the Krishna consciousness movement. You try to understand nicely; there are so many books, you can read. This is not 'traditional.' This is all for human beings. The Lord is for everyone; it is not that He is only for Indians. Krishna does not say, 'I am for Indians, I am for Hindus.' No. Krishna says, 'Whatever species are there amongst the eighty-four lakhs species of life, I am the father.' Therefore the Lord comes and teaches His children. Make use of it; take advantage and make your life successful. Thank you very much."
Prabhupada's directness and conviction captivated his audience. He had clearly identified the problems of life and given the solutions. Despite the length of his lecture, no one left; they stayed and listened attentively. He had stimulated their thoughts, and there were some eager questions asked at the end.
When Srila Prabhupada first mounted the stage, one of the guests to receive him was businessman Raj Kumar Gupta. Being inspired by the programs, the devotees, and most of all His Divine Grace, he has now offered that if we build a temple, he will buy the Radha-Krishna Deities for it. Caitya-guru brought him up to the front of the stage and introduced him to the public, announcing his offer. Srila Prabhupada looked over at Caitya-guru and signaled him to come over. He told him, "Ask him where will we keep the Deities, because we don't have any place." Caitya-guru took the microphone again and asked the audience, "Is there any pious man who can donate the land for the Deities?" Within seconds Raj Kumar increased his offer, saying that he would buy the land as well. Prabhupada was very happy. He took the microphone and announced, "Just see, this is the response to the devotion of these young Western boys and girls."
Then Srila Prabhupada handed the program back over to Caitya-guru prabhu and the devotees. As they started kirtana and arati, Prabhupada exited the stage. A large batch of admirers surrounded him as he moved towards the car, eager to touch his feet and offer pranama, and receive his direct blessings. Akshaya and I and a few others joined hands and formed a ring around him so that he could walk unrestricted to the waiting vehicle. Once again he was well pleased with the evening's preaching.