Guru Mukha Padma Vaikya (VIII)

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Radha Madangopal
Shyam Binodini Kunja Nabadwip

Q. Maharaj will you please say something about Varnashram (Varna- caste & Ashram-four stages of life)?
Ans. Varnashram means our four Varnas. Chatur Varnam maya sristam (four caste created by me) Guna Karma Vibhag Ca (divided according to quality and activities) the brahmanas, kastriyas, vaishyas and sudras. We obey the Varnashram system, as it is being practiced all the times, and not following may also create difficulties. Because if we do not follow varnashrama what happens, although it is said at a primary level that everybody takes birth as a sudra and after studying Veda he becomes vipra than Brahman etc, but still according to Vedic rules if Brahmanism is not obeyed and not practiced than in the subsequent time there is a chance of crisis which is presently felt amongst the society. As a result of completely destroying the Varnashram dharma nobody nowadays seems to have any self activeness, as in the earlier days, if somebody visits a brahman varna, house of a Brahmin than he can ascertain the qualities from appearance, mode of living, style, characteristic etc. but at present the situation has come to such a point that nowadays you even do not find 14 houses of brahmana, the brahmanas  married to other caste etc. and a kind of Sankarvarna (mixed/half-breed caste) has been manufactured.  According to sukriti (virtuous act) of his earlier birth a brahman is to attain brahmatya (complete knowledge of Brahman), but they say that anybody who does all the activities of a brahmana becomes a brahmana.  However it is not that, seminal birth is required, because that which is sukrajat (sukra-semen, prajati-species), and bija sakti (strength of seed) is being accepted, all the energies in this universe, the Lord himself says Aham bija prada pita suyate sacaracaram.  So this bija sakti, I am not getting that, though by sadhana I can achieve sadhan sakti, etc.etc. I can achieve, but the power of bija, today in case of brahmanas we may accept this but see in other fields, for example a mango tree, whatever you may do with a mango tree but it will never produce a jackfruit. So the species, you cannot change it.
Q. But as you have said that everything has been mixed up so to get a brahmana of that quality may not be possible nowadays.
Ans. Yes, nowadays there are less possibilities, particularly in the families where these kind of amalgamation has taken place, where the perfection of blood i.e. brahmana blood is not there.
Q. Mahaprabhu used to strictly follow varnashram?
Ans. Yes Mahaprabhu used to strictly follow, if anybody says that Mahaprabhu did not follow than his assumption will be wrong. Mahaprabhu has uphold his own brahmanya dharma, than vaishnava dharma and also sanyasa dharma, so Mahaprabhu has equally preserved all the three dharmas and in addition the fundamental dharma which is manusya dharma (humanity) that is there always in Him. Mahaprabhu has never accepted food prepared by a non-brahmana, but at present see, everything is accepted everywhere. So all these things, what is the result, the result is becoming otherwise, the culture of the brahmanas, that culture, nowadays nobody is able to adopt, and as a result a social imbalance has been created.
Q. Is vanaprastha and sanyas applicable nowadays?
Ans. Of course applicable but it has to be done as per the time in which it is mentioned. Now if I obey the gurukul ashram properly, if I preserve the chatur ashram of varnasram than only it will be applicable for me otherwise not. I have spent my life in terrible sense gratification than suddenly if I take varnashram than it cannot happen. So in my first life I have to preserve brahmacharya, than grihastha, and then only I can step into vanaprastha and then sanyas.
Q. Is sanyas only applicable of the brahmanas?
Ans. Sanyas in its true sense is only for the brahmanas because the brahmanas take sanyas when it is actual time to take sanyas. Now I have done everything, I have done samsar dharma enjoyed all kinds of sense gratification and then become sanyas that will be not genuine sanyas. Brahmanas for example take sanyas at the age of nine, ten, eleven, he take sanyas diksha and later on if anybody wants to enter into grihastha ashram, he can enter or else he may not. So this is the condition, now another kind of sanyas which is said in the varnashram, that is applicable for the general people, for all other castes. In that case a person can enter into sanyas ashram after vanaprastha and it should happen automatically. Now regarding all these system, I thought what are the necessities for all these, the necessity I found is, as long as you are in your home, you have served your family, you have served samsara, and now as you go to the forest, taking vanaprastha, it does not mean that I will just roam around in the jungles, but there inside the jungles there are hermitages, there are ashrams where the rishis resides, you go to their shelter and taking their shelter, as you can see nowadays so many Mathas (monastries) growing up, athough they are built in cities, built in the locality, but in real meaning it is not appropriate to construct the mathas inside the cities, mathas are to be built in places of pilgrimages or in some solitary places where there are trees, forest area etc. Today mathas means huge buildings, luxuries, cars etc.etc. there is no plantation, no trees, no forest, no natural atmosphere.  A sanyasi a avadhut sanyasi has to be, as it is described in regards to Sri Sukdeb Goswamipad; when Maharaj Parikshit came and sat down, vyasashan (a place of sitting of Sri Vyasdeb or a person who is to recite Bhagavatam written by Vyasdeb) was placed, Maharaj Parikshit raised a question,  thousands of muni mandali (society of munis) were there, but no body could give any answer, as within seven days how liberation can be achieved, how can I get release from this unnatural death in the form of bite of Takshak etc. etc. No body gave any reply, Devarshi was present there, Vedavyas was there, Parashar muni was there, everybody was there and but all of them are silent, then suddenly Devarshi Narada stood up, everybody thought will Devarshi give the answer, though everybody knew the answer but nobody is considering himself fit to go and sit there in the vyasasan and give the reply. Devarshi Narada also did not go there; he stood up and went straight to the banks of Ganga.  He saw Sri Sukdeb Goswami reclining there, so he went there and paid his obeisance, as Sukdeb Goswami saw him he asked Devarshi what is the reason of your arrival, why have you come here leaving that great assembly. Narada said, yes that is going on but still I have come to see you. But Sukdeb Goswami understood that there must be some problem as he was well aware that in case of any kind of problems within the three worlds Devarshi Narada is the problem suitor, so he must surely have some reasons for his visit. So he said, without any reason you would not have come here. Sri Narada muni then replied that see Munivar, Maharaj Parikshit has raised a question that within seven days he is about to die in an unnatural death so is there no possibility for him to get release from it? So many rishi munis are present here, he alleged, you have done so many sadhana, don’t you have that knowledge, than what is your sadhana for, the whole life doing japtap and believing that in some birth by the mercy of the Lord it may happen, otherwise not, can anybody remain contended with this kind of faith?  Sukdev Goswami says see Devarshi, Maharaj Parikshit has committed an offence, he had done injustice, and because of this his death is appropriate, you don’t have to worry for him and nobody should worry, why should we be concerned? Then Narada explains that see Rishibar if you say like that than how will it be, than let me ask you a question, see there is a blind man and there is a hole, the blind man is proceeding towards that hole. A man who was sitting there is witnessing this, now that blind man is in ignorance and the man witnessing is in knowledge. So that ignorant man will fall down in the hole, he will face sufferings because of this accident, so being a knowledgeable person isn’t it my duty to save him. Today Maharaj Parikhit has committed an offence and he had accepted his offence, now if there is any way to save him, if there is any possibility, otherwise today our muni samaj (society of munis), rishi samaj, the question raised by the king, if nobody is able to face it than there will be no prestige, for the community of rishi munis, there will be no dignity for the sadhu, there will be no dignity for the sants. Then Sukdev says ok, let’s go. So describing Sukdev Goswami it is stated how Sukdev Goswami was, he says that I don’t take bath, the cloud in the sky bathes me, I don’t sleep  but earth lulls me to sleep, it makes bed for me, I do not eat but food comes to me and make me eat, the birds sings songs for me etc. Now this is the condition, one is Brahmarata and the other is Vishnurata. Maharaj Parikshit was Vishnurata saved by Vishnu and Sukdeb was Brahmarata who had darshan of Brahma. One had darshan of Vishnu and other had darshan of Brahma, both in their mother’s womb, before their birth. So when their union took place, I am saying about the situation, Maharaj Parikshit, it is explained here that his time has ended, now whether by means of curse or by any other reasons, he had left everything and came away. In our life also, everybody’s is like that, how our death should be? So vanaprastha, for the whole life you have served your family now you have retired but still you are sitting at home. One of my father’s disciple who was highly educated, now he is aged, retired from service, he was a headmaster of a High School, etc. so he was asked that now you come here, do some service in the temple look after the temple, it is your duty, but he refused saying that I don’t have time I have look after my grandchildren, I have look after their studies, so many work I have to do. So if you still have work then when will you get time, when will you be free? So this vanaprastha system is given with this purpose, that so many days staying in the samsara, the illusion which has been created, now that I have gone away to the forest, the ashramas of sadhus, coming in contact with the rishis, having satsanga, there also I am doing the same work I used to do while staying at home but there the attachment which used to be when I was in my home, that is absent. Everything is done with the aim of serving the Lord. Although in our home we have a deity, but what we do, just give some water, some batasha (sugar balls), ring bells for a minute and give some flowers and sandal paste and then finished, but for others members in the house, there service is done in a much better way, isn’t it? But it should not be like that, everything is to be done with one intention and that is God, anything which comes to house, any food items, any kind of clothing, etc. should be offered to the Lord first and from there every thing is to taken in the form of Prasad. This kind of arrangement is only present where sadhu sants resides, or where there is a temple. So why have you come to the temple, I use to say when I go to give some pathas, don’t you have a temple in your house? See in fact you don’t know why you have come here, you just come, give some flowers, lighten a lamp, circumambulate, pay obeisance, and pray to God to fulfill your desires and then you depart. But that is not the only reason to visit a temple. The purity which is there in the temple, its beauty, its arrangements, these arrangement are to be carried upon in my mind, I have to carry the temple in my mind and in my house I have built a temple and that should be the aim for my going to the temple. Otherwise the institution become useless, if I just go there and come back donating some money in the box, I should have some intention some reasons. There is a huge temple where I go every year to give Bhagavad patha, the organizers have spent crores of rupees in building this temple. Yet, when I go there in the morning to give Bhagavad patha, except two or four pagal, chagal (crazy, goat) there is nobody else, in the evening however some people comes. So as this temple is built up, those who have donated ten lakhs, twenty lakhs all the rich people, did anybody come here, did anybody come to listen,  not for a single day they will come. Than what is the reason for them for constructing this temple and what is the need for keeping a deity here, they will never come here, although for giving money they are ready. Often I use to see that the Managing Committee is having some meeting inside, although the Bhagavad patha is going on here, but here nobody comes, everybody is busy attending meetings, and during that time all big stalwarts are present.
Q. Do some think that this is Dharma, I have built a temple, I have given a donation and in this way I have done my duty?
Ans. You build there is no problem, but that is not the only dharma, just building a temple is not the only dharma, I have built a house and have made arrangement for wife and children, that is not my only duty, to look after them, to see that there is no problem these things I have to see and that is what I feel is the real dharma. In case of temple also, today such a huge temple has been constructed, but here there is no system of giving any studies about Gita, there is no Bhagavad patha given in regular basis, and nobody is interested also. Today our samaskara (sacrament), you may not believe that this Hindu Dharma of ours, this Sanatan Dharma, the knowledge and philosophy of this dharma is respected by the whole world. Everybody, including the Muslims and the Christians, but this practice, building a large temple dancing for a while, offering some bhogas (items offered to the Lord), this is not appreciated, though everybody respects the philosophy. So about that philosophy how much do I know, how to do puja properly the pujari does not know, how to chant mantra, how to pronounce and offer everything, etc. that devotedness, all these thing, all these arrangements, these are very much scientific but for these things proper education is required, how to do jajan- jaajan (priestcraft), how to worship, what the instructions are, what are the rules, how to bathe the Lord, how to perform aarati, how to chant each and every mantras. It is said that, what is our karma (activities) why mantras are included in it, because mantra, mudra and padartha without these three no Karma is fulfilled. Without mantra your mind will not go there, it will not get engaged in that job, then mudra, when we worship using ingredients then there are various mudra (symbol made with fingers), what is the use of mudra, it is said that mu-doyati means it gives pleasure to the Lord, by exhibiting mudras when the ingredients are offered. All the ingredients has to be purified first, for example, before showing the lamp you have to purify the lamp you have to pay obeisance to the lamp and than only it can be shown to the Lord. Now all these arrangement of mantras, all these systems, nobody wants to learn it, neither tries to understand its meaning.
Q. Those who did not follow varnashram in their earlier life, will they not be able to enter vanaprastha?
Ans. Though they could not be able, but still they should try. May not be for their entire life but say for one month, two months, three months, one year etc. they can come and stay. For one year let them become vanabasi (resident of a forest). Now what does vanabasi means, it does not mean that you go there and stray around, you go there and stay at the ashramas of sadhus and munis. Nowadays you see people are going to Vrindavan etc. for doing niyamseva or something else. I have seen people in groups going to Vrindavan, I ask them why are you leaving your home and going to Vrindavan for niyamseva. You are going, but others in your house remains unaware of it, so why don’t you do this in your own house? If you have done it in your home than your family members would have witnessed how nicely you are practicing all the rules and regulations and eagerness would have aroused in them. But you are leaving your house as it is, let it remain a hell and you go away to Vrindavan for your self deliverance. In this way neither you can perform niyamseva in Vrindaban because your mind is there in your home, in your family, you will be anxious about them, once an old lady was telling me, I had a dream, I saw that my son’s shop caught fire, they didn’t let me know, I became like crazy, could not stay there any longer, so I rushed back home and found that in fact there was fire but nothing is damaged. So, in this condition what is the benefit, better you do niyamseva in your house with other family members, you invite other members of the society and tell them let us do niyamseva together, and that looks nice. I have seen this kind of niyamseva in a village; the villagers about ten/twenty in numbers are doing niyamseva together in a house of a rich man who has his own temple.
Q. You say that people of other religions do not like this dancing and singing, but they respects our philosophy, but then, we have heard that Mahaprabhu has spent His life dancing and singing.
Ans. Not at all, look at the seven Goswamis, if they have spent their lives like that than how did they find time to write about 1 lakhs books, how many years did they survive? Why don’t you think of Krishnadas Kaviraj Mahashay, at the old age of 93/94 he wrote Chaitanya Charitamrita. What a philosophical treatise this Chaitanya Charimrita is which he had written, can you imagine, so this man to write a literature like Chaitanya Charitamrita how many years of his life he had to spend to achieve that kind of knowledge? So if he had spent his life in studies than how can he find time to dance and sing? Did he find time, ofcourse not, it is proved, but the fact is, because we cannot do that, as cultivation of knowledge is a difficult subject, thus we settle down only with songs and dance.
Q. But Mahaprabhu had told us that, “seeing me a fool my guru has told that you have no need to study Bhagavat etc. you just chant”.
Ans. No need that is ok. But did Mahaprabhu did not study, in fact Mahaprabhu has said like that only for saying purpose, for those who are genuinely illiterate, but those who have some knowledge they should atleast study, they should at least cultivate some knowledge, at least try to understand. If Mahaprabhu’s instructions were like that than why did he instruct Rup-Sanatan to write books, you compose vaishnava suchi sastra (book about purification of vaishnavas) he asked them and so Hari Bhakti Vilas was written. He could have told Rup-Sanatana that no, there is no need to study. Today everything will be proved by the sayings of Puranas, so you have to nicely study all the Puranas also and from them the tattva you will get that is said to be purna tattva (complete theory). There are said to be three shastras, one is sruti, one smriti and one is puranam, sruti and smriti are the two eyes of the shastras and puran is the heart. So whatever you see if you think it is correct and make it praman swarup (testimony) than it will not be done. First you have to see it, know it, think about it and if your heart accepts it than only you preserve it in the form of a law and make arrangements accordingly. So to do all these they had to study, Rup-Sanatan had to stir all the puranas, when they had written shastras like Ujjal Nilamani, Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu etc. how many literatures they must have studied can you imagine? Then Vidhagdha Madhava etc. the literatures which he had written and the other shastras which the Goswamis have written I will say that these granthas are more difficult than even Bhagavad, specially the books written by Sri Jiva Goswami. Books like Sat Sandarbha which Sri Jiva Goswami had written is so difficult to understand that till today this book did not find proper publicity. Although some people have published some part of it but nobody could complete it. So if anybody studies Sat Sandarbha than he can guess what kind book it is, what kind of knowledge Sri Jiva must have acquired to write a book like this. If we had remained satisfied with only songs and dances, with the padas (line of poetry) of Sri Lochan Das Thakur and prarthanas (prayer) of Sri Narottam Das Thakur do you think our dharma could have survived till today, if those praman (evidences) those philosophies written by Sri Rupa Goswami, Sri Sanatan Goswami, Sri Gopal Bhatta, Sri Jiva Goswami, and all other Goswamis and acharyas would not have been there. When our Govinda Bhasya was written, nobody gave us any recognition, we don’t accept you, where is your vashya (commentary) it was said, and so at that time the vashya has to be written, at that time your songs and dances etc. did not work.
Q. So because it is easy people apply it in their lives.
Ans. Because it is easy and Sriman Mahaprabhu made it easy does not mean that you totally leave that, you do not cultivate your knowledge and remain satisfied with only songs and music. But yes, you can be satisfied, provided you have that faith, that firm belief, sufficient knowledge, but instead if you just run after the easy way, how to complete your bhajan in shortcut, than this will not happen, because it cannot be accomplished by any shortcut means.
Q. Maharaj, I sometime wonder whether this higher planets, spiritual world etc. as described in the sastras are they real?
Ans. The higher planets, spiritual world are ofcourse there in reality, if you have belief in sastras than it is there, but you have to reach there, you have to attain that level. Even Saptadeep (seven islands) which is described, that is also is not visible to us accept Jambudeep in which we are residing at present. Other than that, there are other islands such as Salmali, Plaksha etc. which are beyond our eyesight. In Jambudwip there are nine varshas (Republic union) and Bharat is one of them.
(The above conversation is translated from Bengali as I have heard from the lotus mouth of my Gurudeb Sri Kandarpa Gopal Goswami).