Sri Swamiji continued…

“The main difference between bhaktisoukhya(the joy in devotion) and bhaktiprayojanaka(devotion done as a means to an end) is that if prayojanam is not obtained, then they will stop bhakti. In bhakti soukhya, such devoteescannot stop. Can anyone stop breathing? Why? Because it is inherent, natural.For great bhaktas, bhakti is inherent.

There are many granthas(texts) on the relish of devotion that explains about bhakti rasam (Relish of devotion), sukham,sugandham (fragrance of divine love) What is the necessity for books like these? When you want to dress well, you go to a fashion designer. You go to a 5-star hotel because the chef knows the intricacies of the palate and caters to it. You ask an interior decorator to decorate your house. Why?Because he is an expert in that field and can make your home look great. When you’re cooking, someone may advice you to cook in a particular way to make the dish tastier. Another person may advice you wear your dress in a particular way so it looks more becoming. Similarly, this granthaexplains how to do Krishna bhaktiin such a way that it becomes more enjoyable; what form, what approach of worship will make it more joyous to us.

Now you understand what is meant by bhakti sukham and bhakti prayojanam. Great bhaktaswill never keep the prayojanamin mind. Prayojanamis for ordinary people; for those who always think about their mundane matters. Even if such people come and sit in front of Premika Varadan for some time, whendhoopa, deepa, kirtana(offering of incense sticks, lamp and devotional music)is going, their mind will go towardstheir work, relationships, etc. Even when they are in the presence of this great divinity, they are unable to raise their mind to a higher level. Why don’t they think sometimes about Bhagavan’sface, the peacock feather, flute… and lift their mind to a higher level? Even if they sit here, their mind starts automatically roaming here and there.

The mind has different levels… sthoola, sukshma, (gross, subtle etc) etc.Only when your mind goes towards the upper levels it is possible to think of God frequently. When the mind is not dwelling in the higher levels, it is not possible for you to think constantly of God.

“How to make the mind go to higher levels? For that, as a practice, you have to chant, chant, chant (the Mahamantra) for hours together. It doesn’t matter if you chant with or without devotion. But you have to chant. Like a chanting box!And preferably with the association of a holy place.Slowly the mind will then be elevated and go to a different plane.”

Even then mundane thoughts will come, but the frequency will be less. And as these thoughts come, by vivekam(discrimination), the mind can be made to come up once again to the right path. As the mind keeps going up and up, finally we will attain samadhi! What does samadhi mean? It is a state from which one cannot get back into the world. The mind going to the upper state cannot be attained automatically. For that you should eat saatvikfood (harmonious simple non spicy healthy fresh food!), be in a saatvikatmosphere, should be very humble and cordial, and practice like a sadhana (spiritual practice) for a long time the means of bhakti that you like – listening, chanting, archana, and others.At that time, do not worry that it is not possible for you to chant with bhakti, etc.

So how to motivate yourself? See the world! You have come across so many people who are suffering from cancer, kidney problems and other diseases. There are people who are blind, mentally disabled. Some people don’t have anything to eat. Some people don’t know what they will do the next day! Some people work very hard for very small earnings. They work nights. They work in sewers and drains. But God has blessed you witheverything. Just saying thanks to Him is not enough. How to show your gratitude? Utilize your life! Utilize your birth! That is the real way of showing thanks.The real gratitude is to make your human birth fruitful and not be born once again, and go to Him instead.

If you want to come again and again to the world, you could become an elephant, a donkey, a dog. You will get beaten, they will chain you, you will cry, it will be painful and there’s no remedy. But now you know what the remedy is for it. You know how to come out of it. You know the way. But even if you know the way to come out of it, if you’re not doing something about it and are not working for it, then what is the use?

“When we eat food for taste, it fulfils our hunger also. So even if we are doing bhakti for sukham, it will free us from the bondage of birth and death. It will happen very soon.”

To experiencebhakti soukhyamyou should have the aesthetic taste (rasikatvam). But if you don’t have the aesthetic taste, at least you should do it mechanically. You cannot give it up saying that you do not have the taste.

Motivate yourself like this… so many others are not able to wear colourful dresses.But I am able to wear! If you were blind and come sit here where someone is reading Bhagavatam, what would you think? Won’t you think that if I had had eyesight, I too could have readBhagavatam?But now when you do have good eyesight, do you actually readBhagavatam?!One day if you are bedridden and someone goes to Brindavan or Badri, what will you think? If my legs were ok, I too could have travelled. But now when your legs are all right, do you go? That is the question.

“Human tendency is to think of everything after he loses the opportunity to do it.That is foolishness.”

We have to make use of the opportunity when we are fit and able to. When it is possible, do more shravanam (Listening to divine stories, lectures etc); when it is possible, chant more; when it is possible now, have more satsang. In all possible ways. You can throw the world away for anything. You should not throw divinity for anything. If you compare divinity and the world… the world is nothing!

On some days, we may feel like chanting all day, listening to Bhagavatam, etc. But on other days we just don’t feel like it. It is the nature of the mind. Some people are very good. If I ask them to read Bhagavatam, they will read Bhagavatamimmediately. If I tell them to listen to Bhagavatam, they will listen to Bhagavatam immediately. But if somebody comes and tells them, let’s go to a movie, they will go to a movie immediately. If somebody comes and tells them, “Let’s not go to the temple today, let’s go to a wedding,” they will go. This is called “chapalam”, “sanchalyam” (wavering mind yielding to worldly temptations). Even if there is an opportunity for you to go see movies or do something mundane; if it is avoidableand unnecessary, with a strong mind, you should choose not to do it. In Bhagavatam, you see Dhruva. How did Dhruva realize God?Was he a garbhashriman(jnani by birth) like Prahlada? For the first 5 years, he didn’t know what was meant by bhakti or Krishna or penance or forest! Only because of his strong mind, did he see Bhagavan.

“A strong mind is very important.If a strong mind is not there, any virtue will be of no use.”

It was not possible for Jadabharata to overcome (his attachment to the deer) because he was not strong-minded. It was possible for Dhruva to overcome because he was strong minded. Have you heard of the man who once walked a tightrope between the twin towers in New York? It was not allowed and he did it illegally, under a lot of stress. How many people were going to watch from below!What will be the air force on that day at that altitude! Even a bird flying near him could cause him to lose balance! For the last 2-3 days before the walk, he never slept day or night.But he completed it. It was because of his drive to do it!

“If you want to do something in your life, definitely you will do it. If you don’t do it, it means your intention is not strong enough.”

If you want to see Krishna in your life, you will. Howcan you go without seeing him! But if you keep saying “I want to see, I want to see”, just to show off to others, it won’t work. But if your desire is firm, it has to happen. Because of the will power, because of a strong mind. Take Vishwamitra for example. How many times he fell down! Yet his will was strong. Everytime when we fall down, only will power and a strong mind can make us rise again.

Use your will power to chant, to stay in the path. The path itself willlead you. And the grace will take you. It will take you to the state of longing. When somebody you love is out of the house, you will think of them day and night, anxiously waiting for them to return. You will constantly think about when they will come back. No other sadhana, not even chanting. What will be your stateofmind at that time? Just longing, longing with love. For a family person – mother, father sister, kith and kin – thelonging will be for one or two days. For Krishna, you should have the same longing until He comes before you. As you chant, the longing will start slowly and it will grow. It will start light; but always intensity will grow. Sometimes people will cry because of the longing. The quantum of anxiety will grow intense. AndGod will appear before themat that time.This is called faith.There is longing; there is craving; there is real love. It’s like the example of a chakorapakshi’slonging for the chandra, the moon. The chakorapakshi(a special kind of bird which is extinct now) always waits for the moon. Its entire life, it is alwayscraving for the moon. Like that, here, those longing for Krishna will always cry, cry, cry. This crying is not due to any pain or pity or self-sympathy; it is merely because of pure selfless love. I want to see Krishna. Why? Not becauseHe is the highest. But because He is one I love the most! TheGopiswanted to see Krishna. They longed and craved for Him, not because He was the Supreme! They don’t need bhakti for the “highest person.” They simply love Krishna. He’s very handsome. They would think of His curly locks, His kundala (his earrings), His lovely form; they would thinkof His flute, His music, His clothes, His style. All this will make them love Him and long for Him much more!

When Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Tamil Nadu, he went to Rameshwaram through Madurai.At Madurai, he stayed in a house. In that house lived a Rama bhakta. This devotee would always fast and never take food. He would always cry. He would never go out. What was the problem with him? He felt very bad that a rakshasa likeRavanahad touched Sitamataand abducted her. He felt very bad. So he would cry, “O my Sitadevi, you were touched by that vile asura! How can I eat?How can I sleep?” Even Chaitanya Mahaprabhu himself could not convince that devotee. Mahaprabhu went to Rameshwaram. There he happened to find a Ramayana, and in that book it was said that Ravana took only a ‘shadow’ (chhaya) Sita. Immediately Mahaprabhu made a copy of that book, gave the copy to the owner and took the original with him back to Madurai to the Rama devotee (because if he took the handwritten copy, then that devotee would not believe it and simply say that Mahaprabhu had written it only to convince him). Mahaprabhu showed the original book to the Rama bhakta and convinced him that his Sitadevihad really not been touched by Ravana, and set him to rest. What was the purpose of that bhaktacrying lifelong? Because of bhakti. What else could it be?Was he going to get any prayojanamout of it? Not at all. Something is unique about this. This is bhakti. There was a great saint called Vasudeva thatha. He had darshan of Lord Rama and Sitamata. During his last breath, he cried, “Oh Queen Sita, you walked intothe forest; stones touched your feet!How is it possible for you to go to the forest from this big palace?”

It is stated in Naradabhakti sutra, that the beginning of bhakti starts with chanting Nama. After going to temples, taking bath in holy rivers and doing other similar things, after some time you come to a satsang. That satsang should be a real satsang. You should get some benefit from that satsang. Your bhakti should flourish and grow in that satsang. You should not go to a satsang where people are not focused. In the world, there are many satsangs. But doesBhagavancome to that satsang? That is the question. It is said in the scriptures that Bhagavan is going to come to satsangs. But this is not happening. Why? Because even the goal of people who participate in satsang is often not to realizeGod. Their goal is something else – fame, money, etc. Wherever you go, your bhakti should grow. Otherwise‘ignorance’, the devil, will try to push you out. You should notget caught in the hands of the devil; you should stick to the divine. And try to grow devotion, bhakti, with patience. If you’re really progressing in life, not wishing for this and that in the world, the firstsign is that your mindwill not go to mundane matters. That is good. Slowly you are improving. That is good. You have not wasted today. That is good. Like this, you have to continue to pray. Then God will give you bhakti suddenly one day.”

The conversation also stopped suddenly. Reluctantly the devotees stood up and with mind charged with these inspiring words left for their rooms with a silent prayer to the master for blessing them with bhakthisoukyam alone.